View Full Version : Races with different attributes?

2013-01-16, 06:37 AM
Its an idea I just thought up, instead of having races with different attribute scores (like DnD), you have races that have access to different attributes.

This idea came about when I thought up a race of beings for my fantasy setting that lack the ability to use magic, but instead come with the unique ability to resist it. This simply involved replacing the last attribute (named 'power') with another attribute with different rules. I decided to stop trying to develope two different systems for a fantasy and superhero rpg, and instead create a single, generic system for both, since really when you think about it they're not all that much different, hell in superhero comics you have characters that wouldn't look out of place in a fantasy setting, like mages and people using swords or other primitive weapons. Thus, why characters normally come with 'power' as a standard attribute, it represents the power and force behind any obviously unnatural abilities that the character has, such as energy blasts, ability to fly, magic lightning bolts, etc etc...

For my fantasy setting, I now have three races, each with its own attribute. None of them have names yet. One is simply the magic-resistant race I already mentioned, another is a race of highly-skilled jungle-dwellers, I normally imagine them as cat-people but I might change that to something a bit more unique. Their unique attribute is skill, which gives them a whole lot more skill points than the intelligence attribute does. The third is meant to be the 'main' race since they're the most similar to humans and the story takes place on their homeworld anyway. Their unique attribute is called 'soul', its meant to be a supernatural attribute distinct from power, which I intend to give to another race. Not quite sure how it'll work, though it may end up doubling as a charisma attribute, and perhaps will allow cleric-like powers instead of the reality-altering powers that mages normally use. Its hard to explain, but in my setting 'mages' are more like scientists who understand how the material world works and thus have the ability to alter it or even change the rules of how reality works. Stuff they can do include transforming substances into other substances (turning water into solid ground, or solid ground into quicksand), altering gravity allowing them to make objects float or be pressed hard into the ground. The only things they can't do are non-material things. For example, they can't bring the dead back to life, they can't create living beings or bring inanimate objects to life, and they can't alter peoples minds using their powers. I'm thinking the soul attribute will allow all these things which normal magic doesn't allow.

I'd like to add more, though three or four may be enough. In my superhero setting through, there will only be two 'races', skilled and powered, simply meaning mundane humans with unique skills and people with superpowers.

What do you think? It's certainly different, and I think it helps to keep the races balanced and relatively free. For example, the soul-race could make such as good of warriors as the skill-race and the antimagic-race, its just that the antimagic-race may be more inclined to choose martial classes due to their lack of ability to use magic. Note the skill-race will probably have a limited ability to use magic, since they're supposed to be highly adaptable and good at picking up new skills.

2013-01-16, 11:11 AM
I find it highly discouraging when no one comments on my posts, or my yahoo questions, or anywhere. Just saying.

The Witch-King
2013-01-16, 12:06 PM
I think adding special attributes to different races is a good idea, a cool idea. It seems like it would be easy enough to implement in a 3.0/3.5/PF type game simply by specifying under what circumstances the attribute modifier gets applied to what roles.

That said, I do foresee a couple of problems. I think it will wind up being disappointing for some people. If the swamp-dwelling lizardman race has its own racial attribute and my character concept doesn't especially involve whatever it does, then I might make that attribute too low to have any positive effect on game play. And thus the DM might be unhappy with my playing that race. I might have picked it simply because I wanted to play a lizardman fighter and the DM or even other players may feel that if I'm not going to maximize the one truly unique thing about the race that I shouldn't play it all. Likewise, telling me I have to maximize that will make it disappointing for me if I have a different character concept.

Off the top of my head, it may be more useful to make such unique racial attributes modular. Instead of having a dedicated trading race that gets its own attribute that gives a special Charisma-like modifier to all merchant skills, you could just have that be one of several extra attributes and players just pick. That way, the guy who wants to be a merchant isn't shoehorned into playing a Goblin, or whatever your trading race is, and the guy who wants to play a Dwarf merchant or a Halfling merchant won't feel like he's gimping himself by not playing the Goblin.

Modularity, of whatever type, is one of the great advantages of tabletop games over computer games. Being limited in my choices in computer games is why I don't play them as much as I could.

Just some random thoughts. I hope you develop this concept further.

2013-01-16, 07:41 PM
I wasn't thinking of stuff like 'you get a bonus to your merchant skill', because that would technically be a stat increase.

With my current three races, each of them could make a good warrior or archer or perhaps magic-user just as good as the others, its just that each would have additional gifts. Being able to survive a fireball without harm is obviously an advantage for any character type, likewise is the ability to recover from injury better (another possible use of the soul stat), and having extra skills is pretty nice for anyone (in my game, combat abilities will probably also be skills). Note I may have a third (though far less impressive) form of magic that anyone can do, its just a matter of learning how. I think a game made up mostly of melee fighters and archers would be rather boring and mundane.