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OttotheBugbear
2007-11-20, 09:21 PM
Hey all.

I've got an idea for races the next time I start up a campaign and I wanted to get feedback on what I've done so far. I chose to post here instead of on Wizards.com due to their unfortunate claim to co-ownership of everything posted on their boards.

Before getting started, I have a few explanations to make.
Humanoid type (terrestrial subtype): I got a little tired of favored enemy humanoid (orc) or humanoid (elf), so I wanted to cut the list down a little bit. That sort of evolved into three subtypes of humanoids; terrestrial being land-bound humanoids (humans, elves, orcs, etc.), aerial being flying humanoids (raptorians, winged elves, etc.), and aquatic being, well, aquatic (sea elves, etc.)
Favored Classes: A long time ago -- fall of 2000 -- I dumped the Favored Class rule and the EXP penalty. Then, late last year, I came up with an idea to re-implement favored class, but make it a bonus instead of a penalty. (Players always like to see bonuses more than penalties). What you see here is the result of that change. So far, it's worked great, so it won't be changing.
Racial Traits: These are the basic building blocks of the race; size, ability bonus, ability penalty, speed, favored classes, languages. And that's it. The other stuff is all covered under Racial Advancement.
Racial Advancement: There was talk on the 4ed boards about advancing racial features. I'm interested to see how they do it (soon with the preview book), but in the meantime I wrote this up. It's pretty straight forward in application, so I'm pretty much looking for problem areas with the listed options.
Fluff: I ommited the fluff, as I'd rather not post it here. Since I'm just looking for input on the mechanical aspects, that's all that is really needed to post.
No Small Races: My 12 year old nephew would tower over the small PHB races, weigh more than them, and is likely stronger. The gnome and halfling both suffer from being equivalent to about an 8 year old human. No thanks.

Human
Humans
Racial Traits:
Humanoid type (terrestrial subtype)
Medium: As Medium creatures, humans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Human base land speed is 30 feet.
1 extra feat at 1st level.
4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level.
Automatic Language: Common.
Favored Class: Any one. A multi-class human counts any one class as one level higher when determining class abilities, excluding hit dice, base attack bonus, hit points, base saves, skill points, skill ranks, and spellcasting.
Racial Advancement - Adaptable: Beginning at 3rd level, and each odd level after that (5th level, 7th level, and so forth), a human character may choose one racial advancement trait from any other race.
Not much to say about humans, really.

Dwarf
Dwarf
Racial Traits: All dwarves have the following racial abilities.
Humanoid type (terrestrial subtype)
Medium: As Medium creatures, dwarves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
+2 racial bonus to Constitution: Dwarves are a very hearty folk.
–2 Dexterity: Dwarves have short, stocky bodies, and are less dextrous.
Darkvision: Dwarves can see in the dark. Like all creatures with darkvision, everything appears black-and-white, thus they suffer a -2 to spot and search checks in the dark.
Base Land Speed – 20 ft.: Dwarves can move at this speed even when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load (unlike other creatures, whose speed is reduced in such situations).
Automatic Languages: Dwarven.
Favored Classes: Fighter or Cleric. A multi-class dwarf with at least one level of cleric or fighter (choose one) counts that class as one level higher when determining class abilities, excluding hit dice, base attack bonus, hit points, base saves, skill points, skill ranks, and spellcasting.
Racial Advancement - Born of the Mountain: At each odd level, a dwarven character may choose one of the following traits. A typical dwarf character chooses from this list, though a DM may agree to allow some unique dwarves, such as Player Characters, to choose other traits.
Stability: All dwarves gain a +4 to resist being tripped or bull rushed.
Industrious: Dwarves gain a +2 to craft (stonework), craft (armor & weapons), and appraise checks related to stone or armor items.
Poison Resistant: Dwarves gain a +2 racial bonus to saving throws against poison.
Unyielding Form: Dwarves gain a +2 racial bonus to saving throws against Transmutation spells and effects.
Stonecunning: Dwarves automatically make spot check to notice unusual stonework, such as traps, sliding panels, trapdoors, or pits.
Dwarves don't change much; they just lose some of that pseudo-favored-enemy schtick they had. The Cha penalty being changed is mainly because, no matter what, every single dwarf character I've ever seen has a very strong force of personality. Also, the short, stocky bodies really kinda point to a reduced Dexterity.

Elf
Elf
Racial Traits: All elves have the following racial traits.
Humanoid type (terrestrial subtype)
Medium: As Medium creatures, elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
+2 racial bonus to Dexterity: Elves are nimble and dexterous
-2 penalty to Wisdom: Elves are flighty and free-spirited.
Low-Light Vision: Elves can see clearly in shadowy areas.
Base Land Speed – 30 ft.
Automatic Languages: Elfin
Favored Classes: Sorcerer or Wizard. A multi-class elf with at least one level of sorcerer or wizard (choose one) counts that class as one level higher when determining class abilities, excluding hit dice, base attack bonus, hit points, base saves, skill points, skill ranks, and spellcasting.
Racial Advancement – Arboreal Caretakers: At each odd level, an elfin character may choose one of the following traits. A typical elf character chooses from this list, though a DM may agree to allow some unique elves, such as Player Characters, to choose other traits.
Weapon Familiarity: Elves can use the short bow, javelin, hand axe, and short spear without penalty.
Grounded: Elves receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against Enchantment spells and effects.
Lifewell: Elves receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against Paralysis spells and effects.
Ever Alert: Elves receive a +2 racial bonus on Listen, Spot, and Survival checks.
Awareness: Elves may automatically make active Spot checks as a Swift action, instead of a move action.
No more Constitution penalty; Yay! Ok, these are not Tolkien uber-elf race. The Wisdom penalty is more representative of the frivolous and fey nature of elves.

Orc
Orc
Racial Traits:
Humanoid type (terrestrial subtype)
Medium: As Medium creatures, Orcs have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
+2 racial bonus to Strength: Orcs are known for their Strength
-2 penalty to Intelligence: Orcs are not very bright.
Base land speed – 30 ft.
Darkvision: Orcs can see in the dark. Like all creatures with darkvision, everything appears black-and-white, thus they suffer a -2 to spot and search checks in the dark.
Automatic Languages: Orcish.
Favored Class: Druid or Ranger. A multi-class orc with at least one level of Druid or Ranger (choose one) counts that class as one level higher when determining class abilities, excluding hit dice, base attack bonus, hit points, base saves, skill points, skill ranks, and spellcasting.
Racial Advancement – Living on the Fringes: At each odd level, an orcish character may choose one of the following traits. A typical orc character chooses from this list, though a DM may agree to allow some unique orcs, such as Player Characters, to choose other traits.
Weapon Familiarity: Orcs can use the hand axe, short spear, javelin, and great axe without penalty.
Mistrustful: Orcs receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against Illusion spells and effects.
Feral Survival: Orcs receive a +2 racial bonus on Intimidate and Survival checks.
Iron Gut: Orcs gain a +2 racial bonus to saving throws against poison and disease.
Environmental Adaptation: Orcs gain a +2 racial bonus to endure extremely hot or extremely cold temperatures.
Mostly, I wanted to make a LA+0 Orc race that doesn't get hit with the nerf stick just because it's ugly. Ugliness is a really piss-poor reason to gimp an otherwise playable race. They now look more like a half-orc, but that's ok since I'm dropping half-orcs anyway.

Hobgoblin
Hobgoblin
Racial Traits:
Humanoid type (terrestrial subtype)
Medium: As Medium creatures, Hobgoblins have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
+2 racial bonus to Dexterity: Despite their bulk, Hobgoblins are quite dexterous.
-2 penalty to Wisdom: Hobgoblins tend not to question others or think before following orders.
Base land speed – 30 ft.
Low Light Vision: Hobgoblins can see clearly in shadowy areas.
Automatic Languages: Goblin
Favored Class: Fighter or Rogue. A multi-class hobgoblin with at least one level of Fighter or Rogue (choose one) counts that class as one level higher when determining class abilities, excluding hit dice, base attack bonus, hit points, base saves, skill points, skill ranks, and spellcasting.
Racial Advancement – Militaristic Society: At each odd level, a hobgoblin character may choose one of the following traits. A typical hobgoblin character chooses from this list, though a DM may agree to allow some unique hobgoblins, such as Player Characters, to choose other traits.
Weapon Familiarity: Hobgoblins can use the short sword, long sword, and short bow without penalty.
Toughened: Hobgoblins receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against Evocation spells or effects with an energy descriptor (Acid, Cold, Electricity, Fire, or Sonic).
Intense Training: Hobgoblins gain a +3 synergy bonus to skills, instead of the normal +2
Skill Knack: Hobgoblins gain a +2 racial bonus to Move Silently and Ride checks.
My Ally is my Strength: Hobgoblins impart a +3 bonus whenever they use the Assist Other option to increase an ally’s To Hit roll, Armor Class, or Skill Checks.
Much like the Orc, though not as bad off, these guys needed a little love.

Komodite
Komodite (Komodites are renamed, and rebuilt to LA +0, lizardmen)
Racial Traits:
Humanoid type (terrestrial subtype)
Medium: As Medium creatures, Komodites have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
+2 racial bonus to Constitution: Komodites’ reptilian physiology makes them quite hearty.
-2 penalty to Charisma: Komodites have trouble relating to other people, even their own kind.
Base land speed – 30 ft.
Low Light Vision: Komodites can see clearly in shadowy areas.
Automatic Languages: Komodite
Favored Class: Barbarian or Ranger. A multi-class komodite with at least one level of Barbarian or Ranger (choose one) counts that class as one level higher when determining class abilities, excluding hit dice, base attack bonus, hit points, base saves, skill points, skill ranks, and spellcasting.
Racial Advancement – Reptilian Heritage: At each odd level, a komodite character may choose one of the following traits. A typical komodite character chooses from this list, though a DM may agree to allow some unique komodites, such as Player Characters, to choose other traits.
Cold Blooded: A komodite that is subjected to fire damage of at least 3 hit points per hit die gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC, a +1 dodge bonus to Reflex saves, and may make one extra attack during a full attack action for 1 round. (This effect does not stack with haste or other effects similar to haste.)
Reptilian Physiology*: Komodites have a tail that grants them a +2 racial bonus on Balance check. They have claws that grant them a +2 racial bonus on Climb checks. They have some control over the appearance of their scaly skin (similar to a chameleon), granting them a +2 racial bonus on Hide checks. Because of their strange appearance and mannerisms, they suffer a -2 penalty on Diplomacy checks.
Natural Swimmer: Komodites gain a +4 racial bonus on Swim checks, may take 10 when swimming, and they may hold their breath for 4x their Constitution score in rounds.
Bite Attack**: Komodites have sharp teeth, and they may make a secondary bite attack, but at a -5 penalty from their normal attack bonus. This bite attack deals 1d6 points of damage, plus ½ their Strength modifier.
Deep Reserves: A komodite gains a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against Necromancy spells and effects.
*Humans do not gain the +2 racial bonus to Balance checks if they choose this trait.
** Humans may not choose this trait.
Basically, lizardmen made into a LA+0 race. Even though this one was the most radical change, it wasn't as hard as the Hobgoblin at making up new items.


So that's it, I'm open to virtually all suggestions.

Cheers

Otto :)

Lord Tataraus
2007-11-20, 10:23 PM
Very nice! I like your racial advancement idea, I might use that...

OH, and you have a typo under the Orcs:

Favored Class: Druid or Ranger. A multi-class orc with at least one level of Barbarian or Ranger (choose one) counts that class as one level higher when determining class abilities, excluding hit dice, base attack bonus, hit points, base saves, skill points, skill ranks, and spellcasting.
Emphasis mine.

Oh and the sblock BBCode is stuff here.

Riffington
2007-11-20, 10:47 PM
It's a cool idea, but it's even more human-centric than usual D&D. They still have the extra feat/skills, and now they also get a lot of the other races' cool abilities. (One fewer ability, but the ability to pick and choose from all lists)

In fact, human would still be an above-average race if you got rid of the extra feat for humans (or gave it to every race) and started the human racial abilities at 1st instead of 3rd level.

Squatting_Monk
2007-11-21, 12:15 AM
I love the way you're dealing with favored classes. Very nice, and keeps from constraining a PC into a particular role simply because of his race.

The racial advances are similar to what I hope 4e will be like, and let DMs easily add more flavor and customization. I would add more advancements for each race, including some that require others to be taken first. Perhaps you could get different chains of advancements going on, with several chains united at the end by one crowning ability (preferably not to be reached before level 20). The crowning ability would represent the pinnacle of what the race can achieve simply with their innate capabilities (i.e., outside of their class abilities).

I would suggest that you knock humans down a bit. They easily fit into any role, and with their extra feat and Adaptable, they can quickly outshine the other races. If you're going to let them choose from the other races' racial advancements, let them only choose it every three levels rather than every two. I would suggest that the crowning abilities mentioned above be only achieveable by the race in question (i.e., a human can never be as good at being a dwarf as a dwarf can).

OttotheBugbear
2007-11-21, 12:42 PM
It's a cool idea, but it's even more human-centric than usual D&D. They still have the extra feat/skills, and now they also get a lot of the other races' cool abilities. (One fewer ability, but the ability to pick and choose from all lists)

In fact, human would still be an above-average race if you got rid of the extra feat for humans (or gave it to every race) and started the human racial abilities at 1st instead of 3rd level.

Think so? I thought they'd be ok still.

Perhaps if you'd give a few examples of Humans in this system being too powerful as compared to the other races. This afternoon I'll be trying out some combinations as well.


I love the way you're dealing with favored classes. Very nice, and keeps from constraining a PC into a particular role simply because of his race.

Thanks. Give it a try some time (that goes for all readers) and I think both DMs and Players will like it much better.


The racial advances are similar to what I hope 4e will be like, and let DMs easily add more flavor and customization. I would add more advancements for each race, including some that require others to be taken first. Perhaps you could get different chains of advancements going on, with several chains united at the end by one crowning ability (preferably not to be reached before level 20). The crowning ability would represent the pinnacle of what the race can achieve simply with their innate capabilities (i.e., outside of their class abilities).

I wanted to start with the minimum number (5) and go from there. Eventually, I may add more as long as I can keep them equal in number for each race. I didn't plan on going past level 9, but things may change.


I would suggest that you knock humans down a bit. They easily fit into any role, and with their extra feat and Adaptable, they can quickly outshine the other races. If you're going to let them choose from the other races' racial advancements, let them only choose it every three levels rather than every two. I would suggest that the crowning abilities mentioned above be only achieveable by the race in question (i.e., a human can never be as good at being a dwarf as a dwarf can).

Not a bad suggestion. Once I put together some Human examples and compare them to other races, that may be the best solution.

GimliFett
2007-11-21, 03:08 PM
I like what you're doing. Especially the Favored Class. However, I think it needs a better explanation. Would Casters be considered one level higher in their favored class for spells/day, spells known, etc.? Basically allowing them to cast higher level spells one level earlier? I don't mind, but spellcasting is really the only class feature of the Wizard and Sorcerer (and Cleric, too). I might have to institute this one in my games, once I've clarified. :smallbiggrin:

Baron Corm
2007-11-21, 05:59 PM
Wasn't the idea of racial abilities scaling with level to make them actually matter at higher levels? As long as you make all of them balanced for being chosen at level one, they're not going to matter at higher levels. I think you should make the ones you have be the selectable options for levels 1, 3, and 5, and you could make another set for 7, 9, 11, and 13, and another set for 15, 17, and 19 (or something like that).

OttotheBugbear
2007-11-21, 09:22 PM
I like what you're doing. Especially the Favored Class. However, I think it needs a better explanation. Would Casters be considered one level higher in their favored class for spells/day, spells known, etc.? Basically allowing them to cast higher level spells one level earlier? I don't mind, but spellcasting is really the only class feature of the Wizard and Sorcerer (and Cleric, too). I might have to institute this one in my games, once I've clarified. :smallbiggrin:

It says that spellcasting is excluded from counting as one level higher.

Basically, the stuff in the class abilities column, such as a fighter's bonus feats, or a barbarian's rage. Take this example...

A Hobgoblin Fighter 3 / Rogue 2 could choose either Fighter or Rogue as his favored class at character creation. If he had chosen Fighter, he'd get the 4th level fighter bonus feat. If he had chosen Rogue, he'd get sneak attack 2d6.

On the other hand, an Elf Wizard 4 / Fighter 2 has only one choice for favored class; Wizard. In this case, he gets the 5th level wizard bonus feat, but he gets no advance in spellcasting. That is, no spells known, no spells per day, no more spells in his spellbook; nothing.

(For the record, I've rewritten the classes to give them more class features, so it does work a little better in the case of sorcerers or many wizard levels.)

OttotheBugbear
2007-11-21, 09:25 PM
Wasn't the idea of racial abilities scaling with level to make them actually matter at higher levels? As long as you make all of them balanced for being chosen at level one, they're not going to matter at higher levels. I think you should make the ones you have be the selectable options for levels 1, 3, and 5, and you could make another set for 7, 9, 11, and 13, and another set for 15, 17, and 19 (or something like that).

I'm less concerned with making them better at higher levels at this stage. Right now, I just wanted to get the basics done and see what everyone thought. I can see more racial abilities being created/listed sometime in the future.

For example, I've made dwarves able to pick up resistance to Transmutation spells and effects. A higher level choice might be a bigger bonus or immunity to all Transmutation. I just haven't gotten that far yet.

Nebo_
2007-11-21, 09:33 PM
On the other hand, an Elf Wizard 4 / Fighter 2 has only one choice for favored class; Wizard. In this case, he gets the 5th level wizard bonus feat, but he gets no advance in spellcasting. That is, no spells known, no spells per day, no more spells in his spellbook; nothing.

That kind of makes the sorcerer useless as a favoured class, since they don't get any thing but spell casting. If you don't actually take levels in your favoured class, can you still count as one level higher in it? ie. would a first level dwarf rogue with a favoured class of fighter get a bonus feat?

OttotheBugbear
2007-11-21, 09:45 PM
That kind of makes the sorcerer useless as a favoured class, since they don't get any thing but spell casting. If you don't actually take levels in your favoured class, can you still count as one level higher in it? ie. would a first level dwarf rogue with a favoured class of fighter get a bonus feat?

As I said, I've done a lot of rewrite work. (dsenchuk.googlepages.com/home) In the case of the sorcerer, they end up with quite a bit more class features. (http://dsenchuk.googlepages.com/sorcerer)

For core rules, it's a "little" less useful. ;)


By a little, I mean a lot, in this case.

Riffington
2007-11-21, 09:48 PM
Think so? I thought they'd be ok still.

Perhaps if you'd give a few examples of Humans in this system being too powerful as compared to the other races. This afternoon I'll be trying out some combinations as well.

Ok, Dwarf 9th level vs Human 9th level:
Dwarf: +2 Con, -2 Dex. Occasionally an advantage.
Dwarf: Darkvision. Clearly pro-dwarf.
Dwarf: 20 ft speed. More pro-human.
Dwarf: extra language.
Human: extra 4 skill points.
--I think that the above slightly favors the human over the dwarf mechanically.
Now:
Human: extra feat.
Dwarf: Let's assume a fighter-type for both, to attempt to give Dwarves a fair chance. Stonecunning, Unyielding form, Stability x 3 sounds good. (if you can only pick each ability once, human just clearly wins and let's stop now).
Human:
Grounded, Awareness, Stability, Intense Training or Coldblooded. (Coldblooded only if your group's idea of combat isn't "start with a fireball centered on the fighter"). But the feat is just nice.

And for every other race you add, humans increase a bit more in power.

Nebo_
2007-11-21, 10:48 PM
What if you have no levels in your favoured class - do you still get the benefits of having a level in it?

OttotheBugbear
2007-11-22, 08:00 AM
What if you have no levels in your favoured class - do you still get the benefits of having a level in it?

No, you do not.

"If a multiclass **** has at least one level in ... "

If you have not multiclassed, you also do not gain the benefit.

Dwarf Fighter 3 does not get that 4th level bonus feat.

OttotheBugbear
2007-11-22, 08:14 AM
Ok, Dwarf 9th level vs Human 9th level:
Dwarf: +2 Con, -2 Dex. Occasionally an advantage.
Dwarf: Darkvision. Clearly pro-dwarf.
Dwarf: 20 ft speed. More pro-human.
Dwarf: extra language.
Human: extra 4 skill points.
--I think that the above slightly favors the human over the dwarf mechanically.
Now:
Human: extra feat.
Dwarf: Let's assume a fighter-type for both, to attempt to give Dwarves a fair chance. Stonecunning, Unyielding form, Stability x 3 sounds good. (if you can only pick each ability once, human just clearly wins and let's stop now).
Human:
Grounded, Awareness, Stability, Intense Training or Coldblooded. (Coldblooded only if your group's idea of combat isn't "start with a fireball centered on the fighter"). But the feat is just nice.

And for every other race you add, humans increase a bit more in power.

You can only take each one once. But even then, this actually looks far more even than you're making it out to be, IMO.

Dwarf:
+2 Con / -2 Dex
Darkvision
+2 v. Transmutation
+2 v. Poisons
+2 to Craft (stonework), Craft (weapons and armor), Appraise (weapons, armor or stonework)
+4 v. trip
+4 v. bull rush
stonecunning (+2 to search stonework, automatically search when passing unusual stonework, find traps of stone like a rogue).

Human:
Feat
increase class skills granted by 1
No bonus or penalty to abilities
no vision specialties
+2 v. Enchantment
Spot checks as swift action
+4 v. bull rush
+4 v. trip
synergy bonus +3 rather than +2
half-assed haste after taking fire damage

I must say I look at that list and I say, "Pretty damn close". Perhaps the human is slightly better, but I get the impression you're trying to say it's far and away, much too imbalanced.

Here are the ones I did up...

Human:
Vision: None
Skills: +4 bonus skill points at 1st level, +1 bonus skill point per level thereafter.
1st level: Bonus Feat
3rd level: Stable Form (dwarf): Gain +2 racial bonus to saves v. Transmutation spells and effects.
5th level: Deep Reserves (komodite): Gain +2 racial bonus to saves v. Necromancy spells and effects.
7th level: Toughened: Gain a +2 racial bonus on saves v. Evocation (acid, cold, electricity, fire or sonic) spells and effects.
9th level: Mistrustful: Gain a +2 racial bonus on saves v. Illusion spells and effects.

Elf:
Low-Light Vision
1st level: Ever Alert: Gain +2 racial bonus to Listen, Spot, and Survival
3rd level: Awareness: Make Spot checks as a Swift action, instead of a Move action.
5th level: Grounded: Gain +2 racial bonus on saves v. Enchantment spells and effects.
7th level: Weapon Familiarity: Use short bow, javelin, hand axe, and short spear without penalty.
9th level: Lifewell: Gain +2 racial bonus on saving throws v. Paralysis spells and effects.

Human:
Skills: Bonus points
Vision: None
1st level: Bonus Feat
3rd level: Industrious: Gain +2 to craft (stonework), craft (armor and weapons), and appraise checks related to stone or armor items.\
5th level: Skill Knack: Gain +2 racial bonus to Move Silently and Ride checks
7th level: Intense Training: Gain a +3 synergy bonus to skills instead of the normal +2
9th level: Feral Survival: Gain +2 racial bonus to Intimidate and Survival checks.

Orc:
Darkvision
1st level: Weapon Familiarity: Use hand axe, short spear, javelin and great axe without penalty.
3rd level: Environmental Adaptation: Gain +2 racial bonus to endure extreme tempuratures.
5th level: Iron Guts: Gain +2 racial bonus to saves v. poison and disease.
7th level: Mistrustful: Gain +2 racial bonus to saves v. Illusion spells and effects.
9th level: Feral Survival: Gain +2 racial bonus to Intimidate and Survival checks.

Human:
Skills: Bonus Points
Vision: None
1st level: Bonus Feat
3rd level: Reptilian Physiology: Gain +2 bonus on Climb and Hide checks, suffer -2 penalty to Diplomacy checks.
5th level: Cold Blooded: Gain extra attack on full attack, +1 dodge bonus to AC, +1 dodge bonus to Ref saves for 1 round after suffering at least 15 points of fire damage.
7th level: Mistrustful: Gain +2 racial bonus to saves v. Illusion spells and effects.
9th level: Stability: +4 to resist being Tripped or Bull Rushed.