View Full Version : Making Humans Worthwhile to Play (Advice Needed!)

2012-08-18, 02:22 AM
I just want to start off by saying I'm not sure if this is where this should go, if not I do apologize.

I'm currently working on a d20 Modern-ish system with heavy influences from Pathfinder and I'm running into a bit of a snag.

You see, the default setting for the system is Urban/Surpernatural fantasy. There are creatures like vampires and wereworlves (and a host of others) drawn mostly from Pathfinder templates with some light to moderate alteration. The problem I'm having is that with all of these supernatural creatures to play, why would anyone want to play a human?

Thus my problem. I want humans to be a viable player option. I'm keeping the Pathfinder options (+2 to any one stat, bonus feat, bonus skill points) but I want something that sets them apart but I just can't figure out what.

I figure since templates are built on top of Human character there would need to be a rule that stated upon taking a template the character loses all benefits gained from being human.

Would that be enough to make it worth while to play a human or what added benefits would make the human stand out as a viable player race?

Morph Bark
2012-08-18, 02:27 AM
If you don't give penalties to playing a vampire or such, like 3.5 did with LA, then of course many will look at it and say "oh, I can get that free of charge? Deal!"

Still, a large number of people will still want to play humans, simply because we are humans, or because they don't want to play a strong race, or for RP-related reasons.

2012-08-18, 02:28 AM
Even in vanilla 3.5, the bonus feat alone was huge. If feats are nice enough and one is a large enough chunk of a character's total allotment, that right there is enough to make humans a favorite choice.

The other option is to remember that templates come with LA. Going from generic human to werewolf is nice because of all the bennies. Going from exceptional human with class levels to werewolf, less so. Beef up the +0 races/templates until they're worth at least +1, and the loss of class levels should give humans the "has an edge at whatever they put their mind to" niche.

2012-08-18, 02:49 AM
Another thought is to give the monstrous races major drawbacks, also pretty typical in the genre.

Like vampires- feasting on blood is a pretty major downside for 'good guys'. And not being able to go out in sunlight, penalties entering churches, weaknesses like holy symbols, lots of things that a human can take advantage of.

werewolves might lose control of their actions while turned, be weaker or unable to transform at all during daylight, and cannot use guns or other manufactured weapons while transformed due to their massive claws making such things too awkward.

Yeah, humans will have weaker stats, but they have no glaring weaknesses, can wear armor and use guns (werewolves can't), and can use things like holy water and crosses (vampires can't) plus an extra feat. Define the weaknesses of the monsters well enough, up the damage on holy water some, and I don't even think you would need a level adjustment. I'd play a human in something like this and go all Van Helsing, or Harry Dresden on some monster butt.

2012-08-18, 06:10 AM
Look at what humans have in real life compared to most other animals.

Superior agility. We can bend our arms in weird, weird ways. Same for our hands.

Pretty damn impressive eyesight. In colour, HD and 3D!

Endurance that is just silly. No other animal can run for two days without a break. Most fall over dead after a few hours.

Temperature adaptation. We are pretty comfortable in most climates.

Alternatively, go for the Masquerade. Supernaturals, in one way or another, are suspicious. Perhaps they look wrong. Perhaps their aura just makes people uncomfortable. But for some reason, they can just never blend in. People dislike them on instinct. If they stay in a place too long, the police gets called on them.

The third thing would be giving humans some kind of supernatural benefit.
Mortality. They are not supernatural. This gives them impressive resistance to some magic. Steal a bit from the Dresden Files. Humans can enter homes uninvited. They can lie. They have free will. They can have faith. They can break a bargain. They can use cold iron without having their hands burned. They can enter churches.
Humans are damn scary.