Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Page 4 of 10 FirstFirst 12345678910 LastLast
Results 91 to 120 of 271
  1. - Top - End - #91
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    I'd start by ditching the construct of "race" conflating species and culture, and then maybe have both as separate things.

    Are orcs just cosmetically different humans, or a subspecies, or a different species? Does the orc struggle with complex math and book research because orc brains aren't good at those things, or because orc culture doesn't provide the necessary educational foundation for those things? Would the "average" orc raised by humans behave in ways indistinguishable from humans, or would they still be different from inherent differences in the orc brain?
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    The Worldbuilding Forum -- where realities are born.

  2. - Top - End - #92
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Virtual Austin

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    The D&D racial stat bonuses aren't offensive.

    Some people are offended by them - which is entirely different. Whether this matters is up to each of us to decide.

    I will caution that there is no place to go with creative writing if you must always try and write such that nobody anywhere is offended. It's a losing proposition.
    Last edited by Democratus; 2020-12-28 at 03:31 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #93
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    And if the tone of the game is about exceptional people changing the world in their own imsge?
    First things first, I want to point something out. Nobody in this thread so far is making a good case, or really any case, that racial mods are intrinsically offensive. Combined with the fact that none of the flex stats fans were saying that in 2019, I think it's safe to say that claims of offensiveness were just emotions riding high and both sides being politically primed. Both by WotC's press release at the time, and the culture in general.

    On to a game design and theme perspective, a lot goes into the question of how far a character can rise from the accident of their birth. Like I mentioned before, a 5e character spends over half their career in theory and often all of it in practice being 5% behind if they don't have an appropriate racial stat boost. I'm not a fan of freeform racial ASIs, and I can appreciate that's a fair argument. In an alternate D&D where everybody got enough level based ASIs to cap out their primary stat in early T2, I'd say that the problem self-corrects early enough to not be worth any fuss. If the problem persisted over a character's whole career but were a percentile system where racial mods only accounted for 1-2% of the character's total, I'd be more inclined to say it was a nonissue.

    Edit to add: Looking at your system and spelling it out for everyone else here, it looks like it's 1d20 + stat (on a 1-10 scale) + usually 5 for a skill that's in your character's wheelhouse. With advancement being point based. A racial +1 to an attribute that still respects the 10 cap is essentially just a few free character points that have to be spent a specific way. Ditto for baked in traits, and point based games will often treat races as package deals that come with a slight discount over what all the bundled traits would cost individually. (Which makes sense. A package deal usually isn't as synergistic as what could be bought for the points spent freely, so it's okay to give a bit of a discount for that.) Having racial mods break the 10 cap for PC races might make people feel like some races are more or less mandatory because that would be a 5% difference that never really goes away.

    So you have a couple of options. You could not bother with race rules at all, and ask people who do want to play an oddball race to approximate it buying existing traits and refluffing. (Alternately, you could create a few special monster traits for things like being exceptionally large/small and add those to the expected bundle for people who want to approximate a monster.) Or if you really want to make multiple PC races an active thing, you could have them bundle a few traits and stat boosts together and cost character points. The devil will be in the details and it will require playtesting, but in principle I don't see anybody calling it either unplayable or offensive.
    Last edited by Anymage; 2020-12-28 at 03:02 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #94
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Democratus View Post
    The D&D racial stat bonuses aren't offensive.

    Some people are offended by them - which is entirely different. Whether this matters is up to each of us to decide.

    I will caution that there is no place to go with creative writing if you must always try and write such that nobody anywhere is offended. It's a losing proposition.
    I'm not offended.

    I just find the conflation of species and culture counter-factual.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    The Worldbuilding Forum -- where realities are born.

  5. - Top - End - #95
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Virtual Austin

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I'm not offended.

    I just find the conflation of species and culture counter-factual.
    Right. I was addressing the OP who brought up the possibility that they were offensive.

    As for the term "race", that is the term used in great number of fantasy stories. The race of men. The race of elves. The orc race. It's the language of the literature.

    The meanings of words come from how they are used. And "race" is a word used in this very way in classic fantasy.

  6. - Top - End - #96
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    And if the tone of the game is about exceptional people changing the world in their own imsge?



    Thanks for the sentiment, but at this point thats all there really is for me.

    Right now the game is more or less finished. The mechanics arent perfect, but work as well as any published game I have ever played, and the text is complete. I cant afford a proffesional editor or layout guy atm, my artists are backed up, and I cant playtest or run demo games due to covid.

    So right now all I can do is revise the text, clarifying the language, fixing typos and rules glitches, and look for things that are inconsistent, offensive, or otherwise embarrassing to smooth out.
    What does a professional editor cost for a project of that size?

    As to the primary issue of the thread; I don't think they're offensive, but that means little as its not my opinion that would matter; it's very hard to predict exactly what people will find offensive, as some of it is edge cases and randomness, and standards change over time. It does seem like for most stats it isn't really problematic, especially not for strength. Intelligence is the one likeliest to be perceived as a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Democratus View Post
    The D&D racial stat bonuses aren't offensive.

    Some people are offended by them - which is entirely different. Whether this matters is up to each of us to decide.

    I will caution that there is no place to go with creative writing if you must always try and write such that nobody anywhere is offended. It's a losing proposition.
    I don't think those two things are really different; it seems to me that 'being offensive' is a social fact. And as such, whether or not something is offensive pretty much IS whether 'some people are offended by it'; the only real difference is that 'being offensive' is typically done on some sort of scale to measure how many people are offended to decide if it qualifies as offensive.
    A neat custom class for 3.5 system
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94616

    A good set of benchmarks for PF/3.5
    https://rpgwillikers.wordpress.com/2...y-the-numbers/

    An alternate craft point system I made for 3.5
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...t-Point-system

  7. - Top - End - #97
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Democratus View Post
    The D&D racial stat bonuses aren't offensive.

    Some people are offended by them - which is entirely different. Whether this matters is up to each of us to decide.

    I will caution that there is no place to go with creative writing if you must always try and write such that nobody anywhere is offended. It's a losing proposition.
    The relevant question when talking about a game mechanic is, in fact, whether it will offend people. Not whether it's objectively offensive, not whether those people are 'right' or 'wrong' to be offended in some nebulous sense, but whether you can take the rules as they are presented in the book and show them to your group without anyone refusing to play because they find the contents objectionable. That's not an impossible task by any stretch, but it does require that a game designer take a step back from whether they think they should be allowed to write something in the abstract and instead consider whether that's a good thing to add to a game that is intended for public consumption.

    Consider that a bit of writing that offends 'only' one person in ten has nearly even odds of someone at a five person table (four players and a GM). And then consider that if you include ten equally controversial takes in your RPG book, you're 99.5% likely to upset someone with something in the book as a whole. And sure, maybe they don't put the book down and decide to play something else at the first whiff of suspect writing. But after three or four things that annoy them? Eventually that table is going to decide to play something else. Putting things you already know are going to be controversial is a sucker's game - you're eating directly into your leeway for accidentally offensive writing.
    Last edited by Grek; 2020-12-28 at 05:47 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #98
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    The relevant question when talking about a game mechanic is, in fact, whether it will offend people. Not whether it's objectively offensive, not whether those people are 'right' or 'wrong' to be offended in some nebulous sense, but whether you can take the rules as they are presented in the book and show them to your group without anyone refusing to play because they find the contents objectionable. That's not an impossible task by any stretch, but it does require that a game designer take a step back from whether they think they should be allowed to write something in the abstract and instead consider whether that's a good thing to add to a game that is intended for public consumption.

    Consider that a bit of writing that offends 'only' one person in ten has nearly even odds of someone at a five person table (four players and a GM). And then consider that if you include ten equally controversial takes in your RPG book, you're 99.5% likely to upset someone with something in the book as a whole. And sure, maybe they don't put the book down and decide to play something else at the first whiff of suspect writing. But after three or four things that annoy them? Eventually that table is going to decide to play something else. Putting things you already know are going to be controversial is a sucker's game - you're eating directly into your leeway for accidentally offensive writing.
    Generally speaking, if something offends more than a dozen people or so, you'll find someone willing and able to articulate why they find it offensive.

    You have a fair number of people in this thread who say that they want some flexibility in racial features. Some for narrative reasons (a human orphan raised by dwarves might well mix biological and cultural traits), some for gameplay ones (being 5% behind on your main rolls for a good chunk of your career can be annoying). I don't dispute them, even if I think that the former needs to be worked out with the DM instead of Tasha's hands off "just put whatever wherever" attitude and the latter needs a more significant overhaul to 5e's systems. What I don't see here, though, is anyone even calling fixed stat mods offensive much less giving any reason why they'd be so. As such, I don't think that "gnomes get +2 Int while dwarves don't" will use up offensivity leeway in any real sense.

  9. - Top - End - #99
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    The above logic applies just as much to "I think this is a dumb mechanic and would prefer a game that didn't work like that" as it does to "wow, this bit of flavour text is kiiiiinda racist". It also includes any glaring omissions or obviously nonfunctional rules. Anything that raises a red or even yellow flag from people reading the rules counts toward the "maybe we should play something else" tracker.

  10. - Top - End - #100
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    They should design it according to their vision. Don't like the vision, pick another setting/game. I don't think it makes sense to ask whether people want that or not, some definitely will prefer it that way, some will hate it, some will not care.
    A sensible creator considers their audience. If you want wide appeal, you need to make sure not too many people "pick another setting/game."
    And if you're designing for a specific group, you probably want to make sure none of them do
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  11. - Top - End - #101
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Going back to the breaking-stereotypes thing, I've had a thought I wanted to articulate.

    Let's say you have character of race X that you want to create as class B. Normally, those two mechanics don't work well together, whether because of racial stat mods, or other less-specific circumstances. You have to answer one of the two questions:

    • WHY does your character break the mold? What makes them exceptional from any other member of their race? In stat mods, why does this racial modifier not apply to your character?
    • HOW does your character excel at their class in a different way? What could they do to apply their unique strengths and weaknesses to that class to help them perform as well as another race in the same class? In stat terms, how could they apply some other stats to shore up those differences?


    I'm generally more in favor of the latter than the former, but that's not my place to judge.

    For the mentioned orc wizard, maybe they have a better sense of intuition granted from a more spiritual rather than logic-driven magical background, and they can either use Wisdom in place of Intelligence, or at least add their Wis mod to their Int score for purposes of spellcasting/arcana/spellcraft/etc. That could be an interesting feat or perk for orcish or shamanistic characters.

    Halfling barbarians might be fast rather than super-strong. An orc barbarian standing next to a halfling barbarian, assuming both had the same general circumstances, you're going to assume the halfling is not as strong just based on sheer size. The thing is, we could add a size-based modifier for either race, to explain why the orc can carry a ton more weight and deal more damage in melee, but then how much of that is just reiterating what the strength score is supposed to be approximating anyway? Unless the system is defined as those scores being relative to their size from the outset, you're always going to have those kinds of outliers.

  12. - Top - End - #102
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post
    A sensible creator considers their audience. If you want wide appeal, you need to make sure not too many people "pick another setting/game."
    And if you're designing for a specific group, you probably want to make sure none of them do
    You pick your audience based on your vision, not the other way around. We're not Disney and we're not making some blockbuster movie here, "wide audience" is out of the question.
    Black text is for sarcasm, also sincerity. You'll just have to read between the lines and infer from context like an animal

  13. - Top - End - #103
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    I dont really see why a DM would have to react to a player that wants to play a "weak" combination of race and class.

    Thats a very powergamer kind of view on players. Not all players are powergamers.

    Heck I consider myself a powergamer and even I dont always choose the best combo of race and class.

    For example, one of my favorite characters is my paladin, who I recreated over multiple games. She's highelven. Is that a powergamer choice ? Not at all. Its super stylish though.

    I do make her Aasimar or the like whenever I get the chance, though. She's a total goody two shoes, after all.
    Last edited by Underground; 2020-12-29 at 04:52 AM.
    Time will tell. Or not.

  14. - Top - End - #104
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Vinyadan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    (almost invariably based on or inspired by a superficial take on some real life culture) which are then labelled as a 'race' and proclaimed to be in-world objectively superior or inferior to other 'races'. and played out than yet another elven wizard, human paladin or half-orc barbarian?
    Could you give some examples of those cultures used as inspiration? I frankly never noticed, maybe because I don't give much thought to the handbook descriptions (I think almost anyone can come up with something more satisfying).
    Quote Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1955
    I thought Tom Bombadil dreadful but worse still was the announcer's preliminary remarks that Goldberry was his daughter (!), and that Willowman was an ally of Mordor (!!).

  15. - Top - End - #105
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    Could you give some examples of those cultures used as inspiration? I frankly never noticed, maybe because I don't give much thought to the handbook descriptions (I think almost anyone can come up with something more satisfying).
    Vistani were mentioned up thread ... https://ravenloft-curseofstrahd.obsi.../wikis/vistani

    Who contain clear visual similarities. While also containing a mix of narrative elements that (pre-fixing) could be pushed to more or less match Reality, Enid Blyton, the portrayal used by Victor Hugo, that used to justify the Porjamos, and statements today...

  16. - Top - End - #106
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Vinyadan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by jayem View Post
    Vistani were mentioned up thread ... https://ravenloft-curseofstrahd.obsi.../wikis/vistani

    Who contain clear visual similarities. While also containing a mix of narrative elements that (pre-fixing) could be pushed to more or less match Reality, Enid Blyton, the portrayal used by Victor Hugo, that used to justify the Porjamos, and statements today...
    OK, from what I gathered, the original version strained belief as to how it got the OK, and it's good that they changed it. That's not really a race, however, as much as a variant within the human race and in a specific setting, something I had not considered while writing my post. My main curiosity is how the very generic races in e.g. the 3.5 player's handbook can be traced to specific cultures.
    Quote Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1955
    I thought Tom Bombadil dreadful but worse still was the announcer's preliminary remarks that Goldberry was his daughter (!), and that Willowman was an ally of Mordor (!!).

  17. - Top - End - #107
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Talakeal's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Denver.
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    First things first, I want to point something out. Nobody in this thread so far is making a good case, or really any case, that racial mods are intrinsically offensive. Combined with the fact that none of the flex stats fans were saying that in 2019, I think it's safe to say that claims of offensiveness were just emotions riding high and both sides being politically primed. Both by WotC's press release at the time, and the culture in general.

    On to a game design and theme perspective, a lot goes into the question of how far a character can rise from the accident of their birth. Like I mentioned before, a 5e character spends over half their career in theory and often all of it in practice being 5% behind if they don't have an appropriate racial stat boost. I'm not a fan of freeform racial ASIs, and I can appreciate that's a fair argument. In an alternate D&D where everybody got enough level based ASIs to cap out their primary stat in early T2, I'd say that the problem self-corrects early enough to not be worth any fuss. If the problem persisted over a character's whole career but were a percentile system where racial mods only accounted for 1-2% of the character's total, I'd be more inclined to say it was a nonissue.

    Edit to add: Looking at your system and spelling it out for everyone else here, it looks like it's 1d20 + stat (on a 1-10 scale) + usually 5 for a skill that's in your character's wheelhouse. With advancement being point based. A racial +1 to an attribute that still respects the 10 cap is essentially just a few free character points that have to be spent a specific way. Ditto for baked in traits, and point based games will often treat races as package deals that come with a slight discount over what all the bundled traits would cost individually. (Which makes sense. A package deal usually isn't as synergistic as what could be bought for the points spent freely, so it's okay to give a bit of a discount for that.) Having racial mods break the 10 cap for PC races might make people feel like some races are more or less mandatory because that would be a 5% difference that never really goes away.

    So you have a couple of options. You could not bother with race rules at all, and ask people who do want to play an oddball race to approximate it buying existing traits and refluffing. (Alternately, you could create a few special monster traits for things like being exceptionally large/small and add those to the expected bundle for people who want to approximate a monster.) Or if you really want to make multiple PC races an active thing, you could have them bundle a few traits and stat boosts together and cost character points. The devil will be in the details and it will require playtesting, but in principle I don't see anybody calling it either unplayable or offensive.
    Nobody in this thread is really pointing it out, which is annoying, as I still people claiming pretty regularly on current threads on this and other boards, they just, for whatever reason, are declining to articulate here.

    Also, that is more or less how I do it in my system currently.

    Quote Originally Posted by zlefin View Post
    What does a professional editor cost for a project of that size?
    Somewhere in the four figures range, the exact amount depends on how good an editor and how thorough a job you want.

    Quote Originally Posted by Underground View Post
    I dont really see why a DM would have to react to a player that wants to play a "weak" combination of race and class.

    Thats a very powergamer kind of view on players. Not all players are powergamers.

    Heck I consider myself a powergamer and even I dont always choose the best combo of race and class.

    For example, one of my favorite characters is my paladin, who I recreated over multiple games. She's highelven. Is that a powergamer choice ? Not at all. Its super stylish though.

    I do make her Aasimar or the like whenever I get the chance, though. She's a total goody two shoes, after all.
    Its really only an issue for the DM if someone is unhappy because they feel they are being punished for playing a race they love or aren't able to play the character they wanted to play because they didn't want to fall behind mechanically.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    OK, from what I gathered, the original version strained belief as to how it got the OK, and it's good that they changed it. That's not really a race, however, as much as a variant within the human race and in a specific setting, something I had not considered while writing my post. My main curiosity is how the very generic races in e.g. the 3.5 player's handbook can be traced to specific cultures.
    Well, Forgotten Realms has a lot of human cultures imported from the real world and then not even really trying to file the serial numbers off.

    Other settings, like Warcraft and Warhammer, tend to have non human cultures that are ported very heavily from real life ones, but its not as apparent in D&D.

    In D&D (and most fantasy) its mostly just stereotypes of real races that can also be applied to fantasy races, for example dwarves and goblins are often seen as adhering to Jewish stereotypes and orcs often have stereotypes from Africans, mongols, or native Americans. I have seen elves and even Yuan-ti accused of stereotyping Asians, and so on.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  18. - Top - End - #108
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Chimera

    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Nobody in this thread is really pointing it out, which is annoying, as I still people claiming pretty regularly on current threads on this and other boards, they just, for whatever reason, are declining to articulate here.
    ...
    In D&D (and most fantasy) its mostly just stereotypes of real races that can also be applied to fantasy races, for example dwarves and goblins are often seen as adhering to Jewish stereotypes and orcs often have stereotypes from Africans, mongols, or native Americans. I have seen elves and even Yuan-ti accused of stereotyping Asians, and so on.
    There are some pretty explicit examples, and some pretty nebulous ones, and a bunch in between (I will not comment on specific instances, nor the overall validity of claims, only that they run the gamut). Some early D&D modules and books used orcs as direct stand-ins for Africans, Native Americans, or Pacific Islanders (most glaring example might be the BECMI module Drums on Fire Mountain). Later, the 2nd edition AD&D book The Complete Book of Humanoids tried to make the various humanoid races playable (again) and framed them as noble savage-esque wilderness protectors and tribal peoples and so on and so forth. And then again in other places orcs and the like are people eating monsters who are always evil and go and and kill them, etc. In my opinion it is D&D's trying to have it both ways on whether it is a generic fantasy gaming ruleset or a specific implied setting is a major contributor to the issue. Some actual hard walls between the instances where humanoids are stand-ins for IRL non-agricultural/non-Western cultures (and not giving them int penalties, etc.) and where they are designated villains/cannon fodder might have helped, although honestly just not using the same monster manual entry creatures for both roles would have been a better idea.

  19. - Top - End - #109
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Nobody in this thread is really pointing it out, which is annoying, as I still people claiming pretty regularly on current threads on this and other boards, they just, for whatever reason, are declining to articulate here.
    If we get into the actual reasons why people think drow, orcs, gnomes, etc. are uncomfortably close to being racial stereotypes, the thread will get locked. Just like every other thread on this topic where someone went there and people felt the need to argue against the point.

  20. - Top - End - #110
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by KaussH View Post
    That seems to be at the bottom of a lot of the stat mod issue. People want to play against stereotype but.... they do not want any of the mechanical issues that makes it against sterotyping.

    So... make all pc races mecanicly the same. Stat, extras, ect and then provide points to buy race add ons and get more points for issues.

    Make all the npcs differently however.
    So unless a pc gets exactly the same set up as the npcs, they are forever not quite the same as the rest of their race.
    Alternately, you could design things to lean into enabling against-type play while also supporting stereotype builds in different ways. Imagine for example removing all of the X stat to Y/use Y stat instead of X things from other sources, and have things along those lines be how racial modifiers work, as specific abilities:

    Orc: You may use Strength-4 in place of all mental attributes. Gain +2 to Strength.

    Elf: Use CL-2 in place of BAB if higher. May add Dexterity mod to damage on crits on top of Strength, and can use Dexterity for damage in place of Strength with light weapons (or double Dexterity on crits with light weapons).

    Halfling: Gain access to a Luck attribute which adds it's positive modifier to all rolls and checks (no penalty on negative); however, this must be bought up from an initial score of zero via point buy points or advancement. Luck feats and abilities gain additional uses equal to the character's Luck modifier.

    Dwarf: Dwarves gain 1/- DR per 2 points of Constitution modifier, and behave as if their level were 3 higher for determining hitpoints gained (or lost) from Con. Dwarven spellcasters may substitute Constitution-4 for the usual casting stat of their class.

    Gnome: Each Gnome selects one attribute every day to act as a 'shadow statistic' - others who fail a Will save DC equal to HD/2 + Charisma modifier made at the start of an encounter interact with the character as if that attribute were 6 points higher (damage taken, DCs of spells, etc). The Gnome themselves must make this save at the start of
    each day in order to determine if they gain direct personal benefits from the shadow statistic, and may not choose to voluntarily fail it.

    The idea would be to give abilities or alternate engagements with the mechanics that would incentivize different stat distributions, while allowing those things to be utilized in a variety of ways that ideally might change how different classes end up building or playing out.
    Last edited by NichG; 2020-12-29 at 03:15 PM.

  21. - Top - End - #111
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Virtual Austin

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Alternately, you could design things to lean into enabling against-type play while also supporting stereotype builds in different ways.
    We have that now.

    You can play an Orc wizard or a Gnome barbarian in 5e. Since the game has bounded accuracy there is no need to optimize to be effective. The game as written is easy enough that even a highly sub-optimal character can excel.

    Play whatever race/class combo you like. It will work out just fine in 5e.
    Last edited by Democratus; 2020-12-29 at 03:42 PM.

  22. - Top - End - #112
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    If we get into the actual reasons why people think drow, orcs, gnomes, etc. are uncomfortably close to being racial stereotypes, the thread will get locked. Just like every other thread on this topic where someone went there and people felt the need to argue against the point.
    Willie touched on where some of the tropes for humanoids got problematic. Going farther down that route would very quickly be flirting with board rules.

    Explaining why 3.5 dwarves are okay as a culture but suddenly problematic when they get +2 Con, -2 Cha is not a position I've seen anyone defend, or even bring up outside of these arguments. By comparison, unease with some of the portrayals of humanoids goes back pretty far. Enough people were upset with orcs portrayed as "usually Chaotic Evil" in 3.0 that it got downgraded to "often Chaotic Evil" in 3.5. If nobody pointed at stat mods before now, I'm allowed to be curious why they're suddenly the heart of the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Alternately, you could design things to lean into enabling against-type play while also supporting stereotype builds in different ways. Imagine for example removing all of the X stat to Y/use Y stat instead of X things from other sources, and have things along those lines be how racial modifiers work, as specific abilities:

    ...

    The idea would be to give abilities or alternate engagements with the mechanics that would incentivize different stat distributions, while allowing those things to be utilized in a variety of ways that ideally might change how different classes end up building or playing out.
    While that's a nice idea to tool around with, it also sounds like a nightmare to balance. Especially when you ask what humans have to make them interesting. It's hard to have a general bonus in a world of strong racial perks that doesn't either overshoot or undershoot by a long shot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Democratus View Post
    We have that now.

    You can play an Orc wizard or a Gnome barbarian in 5e. Since the game has bounded accuracy there is no need to optimize to be effective. The game as written is easy enough that even a highly sub-optimal character can excel.

    Play whatever race/class combo you like. It will work out just fine in 5e.
    BA also means that each +1 matters more than they would in a system that can grow to insane heights. If anything, I wonder if the fact that modifiers could get so crazy high in 3.x is why the potential -2 for a poorly placed racial mod (if you play, say, a half orc wizard compared to a race that got +2 Int) mattered so much less in comparison. And as has been noted elsewhere, not having a well placed racial mod can mean being -1 to your most important rolls for your whole career given that many games don't get past 12.

    But that's a specific confluence of factors relevant to 5e D&D, not a general statement about all games everywhere.

  23. - Top - End - #113
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by SwordCoastTaxi View Post
    Yes, but we're discussing GAME. Games have mechanical aspects. How do you express Orcs as "strong" without an in-game mechanic?
    The person you are responding to said, explicitly, how he would express that orcs are strong: with a game mechanic that is more interesting than a flat number boost. Here, it's at the beginning of his second paragraph:
    Quote Originally Posted by Silly Name View Post
    In the context of D&D 5e, I could make orcs that fit the usual archetype by switching the bonus to Strength with Powerful Build.
    A racial game mechanic which is more interesting than a flat number boost does a better job at making races mechanically distinct. If were to design a game where the only "game mechanic" is a flat +2 to one number, then that sounds like a rather boring game to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Nobody in this thread is really pointing it out, which is annoying, as I still people claiming pretty regularly on current threads on this and other boards, they just, for whatever reason, are declining to articulate here.
    Well, I've said explicilty why I want racial flat number bonuses gone. And, other people in this thread who agree with me have stated the same reason, starting with the fifth post in this thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I would argue "by not having racial ability modifiers." Regardless of real-world concerns, they're boring. They basically vanish as soon as you're done with character creation, especially if you didn't min-max (ie, if you start with a 20 when the normal max at creation is 18, that's at least sort of noticeable; if you start with a 16, who can even tell?) If you want orcs to be stronger than humans, it's more fun to give them something like Powerful Build than +2 Strength.

    A discussion very similar to this one happens when people talk about magic items in D&D 3.5. Time and time again, I've seen people on the forums say something like
    Quote Originally Posted by Generic person paraphrased
    I hate that D&D 3.5 expects the players to get tons of magic items. I want magic items to be special! That's why I'm making house rules so that magic items are super duper rare, and when the players DO find a magic item it will only give them +1 to hit and damage and not +5.
    The problem is that for me, and a lot of other people, a flat number boost on one of the most common types of die rolls is not "special" or "interesting," regardless of how common or rare they are and whether it is a +1 or a +100. If I were a player in that Generic Person's game, and my character found a magic sword just gave a flat number boost, I would not think it was "special," even if the GM insisted that it was the only magic sword in the world, because a flat number boost doesn't feel meaningfully distinct from a non-magical sword.

    And, I think the same thing about species ability score modifiers. If the only mechanical distinction between orcs and elves is where their flat +2 goes, then that isn't interesting and I'd rather the rule books not use up space on it. I'd prefer that the game designers either give each playable species unique and interesting mechanics, or don't bother making species mechanically distinct at all.

  24. - Top - End - #114
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Talakeal's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Denver.
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    Well, I've said explicilty why I want racial flat number bonuses gone. And, other people in this thread who agree with me have stated the same reason, starting with the fifth post in this thread:.
    Do not that I am talking about the "real life concerns" which Grod explicitly says he doesn't want to get into.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  25. - Top - End - #115
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    EU
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    I do want to say one thing about the possible poor implications, even unintentional, of racial modifiers (though I'm more of the inclination of disliking them at a mechanical level more than anything else): it's hard to make something truly inhuman and alien, doubly so if you want them to be playable and, therefore, relatable.

    We are human, our examples of society, mores, religions and traditions are human ones. When we make fictional characters, we either go out of our way to make them truly alien and incomprehensible, or we can't avoid making them at least somewhat human. Their drives and ambitions will resemble human ones, their fears and hopes will be the same as those of humans.

    Often, in fantasy settings, orcs and elves are completely human in their psychology, and their social structures closesly resemble human ones. This is true even in old stories and myths: the fairy-tale ogre is human in most respects apart from size. The heroes of stories featuring ogres are perfectly capable of talking with them, understand their thoughts, and trick them, to the point you could switch "ogre" with "strong, tall cannibal" in those stories and nothing would fundamentally change.

    So, often, elves and orcs end up feeling like humans with a coat of paint - and their connection to humanity is further emphasised by the existence of half-orcs and half-elves. And when you imply that orcs are genetically, innately, dumber than elves and humans, you steer close to some pretty harmful pseudoscience that plagues the real world.

    This can make people uncomfortable, especially if one of the races portrayed as innately dumber ends up resembling, even if by accident, a human culture. Again, this is because our frame of reference is inescapably human, and so it's hard to make things that have no relation to humanity.

    This can be avoided by making those creatures truly, utterly alien, humanoid only in superficial appearance (think WH40K orcs - literal Chaos-spawned fungi that can make things true simply by believing them hard enough), but it's an arduous task and may have the side effect of making them unappealing to play.

  26. - Top - End - #116
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    While that's a nice idea to tool around with, it also sounds like a nightmare to balance. Especially when you ask what humans have to make them interesting. It's hard to have a general bonus in a world of strong racial perks that doesn't either overshoot or undershoot by a long shot.
    Balance is over-rated. As long as none of the options are actually bad, I'm happy with many or all looking so good/broken that someone is always eager to play each of them. What you do want to avoid is something like a tax, which is what e.g. a human's bonus feat tends to be.

    In this case, humans could have something like getting an extra bonus stat point at levels 2, 6, 10, etc, but with the rule that they cannot invest a bonus stat point in the same stat twice in a row (so they could do Str, Dex, Str, but not Str, Str, Dex). It's +5 stat points by Lv20, which is significant, but at the same time it can't stack their SAD thing, so it means that humans would be good for MAD builds or just for having a secondary high RP attribute on a character.

  27. - Top - End - #117
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    Explaining why 3.5 dwarves are okay as a culture but suddenly problematic when they get +2 Con, -2 Cha is not a position I've seen anyone defend, or even bring up outside of these arguments. By comparison, unease with some of the portrayals of humanoids goes back pretty far. Enough people were upset with orcs portrayed as "usually Chaotic Evil" in 3.0 that it got downgraded to "often Chaotic Evil" in 3.5. If nobody pointed at stat mods before now, I'm allowed to be curious why they're suddenly the heart of the problem.
    The whole racial stat mods thing is a more subtle problem than the more glaring issues with D&D's treatment of race. Noble savages and dark skin translating to always evil are the obvious problems that every knows about and has probably read an article somewhere about. It's uncontroversial.

    Racial stats are less immediately noticeable and take some fridge logic before you realize that what you just read is kinda messed up. Take dwarves as an example: They're presented as being short, hairy, sluggish cave-dwellers with unpleasant personalities, who are perpetually at war against some a bunch of different inhuman races, but compensated for those myriad weaknesses by being natural warriors trained from birth to carry out their racial grudges and being possessed of a greater tolerance for injury and especially poisoning than other races. Taken with fresh eyes like that instead of just accepting it as part of the D&D received tradition, and suddenly the problem becomes obvious. And sure, the +2 Con, -2 Cha is only a small part of that (specifically the italicized part), but it's still there. And the title of the thread is, after all, "Right way to do racial stat modifiers?", so obviously that's what's going to get focused on in this thread.

  28. - Top - End - #118
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Talakeal's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Denver.
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    The whole racial stat mods thing is a more subtle problem than the more glaring issues with D&D's treatment of race. Noble savages and dark skin translating to always evil are the obvious problems that every knows about and has probably read an article somewhere about. It's uncontroversial.

    Racial stats are less immediately noticeable and take some fridge logic before you realize that what you just read is kinda messed up. Take dwarves as an example: They're presented as being short, hairy, sluggish cave-dwellers with unpleasant personalities, who are perpetually at war against some a bunch of different inhuman races, but compensated for those myriad weaknesses by being natural warriors trained from birth to carry out their racial grudges and being possessed of a greater tolerance for injury and especially poisoning than other races. Taken with fresh eyes like that instead of just accepting it as part of the D&D received tradition, and suddenly the problem becomes obvious. And sure, the +2 Con, -2 Cha is only a small part of that (specifically the italicized part), but it's still there. And the title of the thread is, after all, "Right way to do racial stat modifiers?", so obviously that's what's going to get focused on in this thread.
    Note obvious enough apparently, because I have no idea what real world analogy that has.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  29. - Top - End - #119
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    {Scrubbed}
    Last edited by flat_footed; 2020-12-31 at 12:21 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #120
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Vinyadan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    The assumption that everyone has read an article about something is probably the reason why things that seem obviously perceivable to everyone actually aren't.

    Thanks for linking the articles, although I don't think I will have a chance of commenting on them here, given their size.

    About Dwarves and Jews, there is a letter where Tolkien compares them to each other, although it's merely a comparison of an ethnolinguistic condition of bilingualism spurred by the choice of how to render a Dwarf in a radio adaptation. In another letter, he also compared the very different (from the Dwarves) Numenoreans to the Jews, similarly to explain certain cultural aspects.
    Last edited by Vinyadan; 2020-12-30 at 05:28 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •