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  1. - Top - End - #121
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    That's because Tolkien was big on applicability instead of allegory. Which in practical terms means you can completely abandon the idea that fictional peoples are direct analogues to any real people, yet still do reasoned cross-comparison between them, just like you'd do between different real peoples and their conditions.
    Last edited by Vahnavoi; 2020-12-30 at 05:41 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    I can imagine session zero now:

    Player: “Your orcs have different stats than humans?”
    GM: “Yes?”
    Player: “How could you! That is clearly an analog for <MOLEHILL TO DIE ON>. You’re saying all <MTDO> are strong and savage beasts with lesser intellect!”
    GM: “Uh, they’re like 400 pounds of green (or is it gray) snarling muscle...somewhat dumber snarling muscle? Because they’re orcs. They are definitely not humans.”
    P: “But they are a clear analog for <MTDO> culture! A self confirming article I read once agreed with me!”
    G: “They don’t have any religion, language, habits, appearance, hierarchy, currency, or livelihoods that look like <MTDO>...so help me out here?”
    P: “Well, they wouldn’t! That’s what makes it so insidious! Because there’s no way to know they’re racist unless you’re enlightened and transpose personal theories onto them!”
    G: “So they don’t look, behave, sound, live or generally in any way reflect <MTDO> except for your belief that because they are both stronger and dumber this must mean they are dog whistle <MTDO>?”
    P: “Yes! So do your part for great justice! Save the <MTDO>!“
    G: “Out of question, what are your thoughts on vampires?”
    P: “They are a different MTDO!”
    G: “Yeah, you’re playing the wrong game here.”

  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Any time someone tries to say that "X fiction race" are really "X real life thing" in a coat of paint, i just mentally pull up this image, keywords adjusted for whatever context.

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    Dwarves are Dwarves, Orcs are Orcs, Goblins are Goblins, Drow are Drow. Trying to tie real-world analogies to them to make them problematic is just spending too much time digging way too deep for something that isn't there.

    they're fictional. the point is that they're different and interesting. I think they've done a pretty good job of that all things considered.
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  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    Any time someone tries to say that "X fiction race" are really "X real life thing" in a coat of paint, i just mentally pull up this image, keywords adjusted for whatever context.

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    Dwarves are Dwarves, Orcs are Orcs, Goblins are Goblins, Drow are Drow. Trying to tie real-world analogies to them to make them problematic is just spending too much time digging way too deep for something that isn't there.

    they're fictional. the point is that they're different and interesting. I think they've done a pretty good job of that all things considered.
    Of course, few if any people actually say that "X race is Y real-life group". What they do is point out how presentation of fictional species can coincide with portrayal of real people, even if it's unintentional. You just prefer to boil it down to an easily-rebuked strawman.
    Last edited by Morty; 2020-12-30 at 09:15 AM.
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  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    The right way, as far as I'm concerned, is 13th Age's method (which I'm a bit surprised no one here seems to have mentioned!)

    Your character's race gives you a choice of two stats. You get +2 in one of those stats.

    Your character's class gives you a choice of two stats. You get +2 in one of those stats, as long as it's different from the previous.

    So, for example, a dragonborn paladin is locked into +2 Cha/+2 Str, because both dragonborn and paladin have "Cha or Str" as the options they provide. A half-orc wizard can have either +2 Str or +2 Dex, and also +2 Int or +2 Wis. A high elf wizard would have +2 Int or +2 Cha, and +2 Int or +2 Wis. This means the aforementioned dragonborn gets one choice: Str/Cha. The half-orc has a lot of potential variety: Str/Int, Dex/Int, Str/Wis, Dex/Wis. The high elf has slightly less variety, but still a decent set: Cha/Int, Int/Wis, or Cha/Wis.

    As a result of this, it is not possible for a player to be forced into playing a low-Int Wizard...yet by that same token, they are generally not forced into playing a high-Int Wizard either. (In fact, AFAICT, no first-party character would be forced into such a Wizard. You have to be a strong-and-charismatic paladin if you're a dragonborn, though, and you have to be a strong-and-hearty barbarian or fighter if you're a forgeborn, but by and large most characters have the freedom to choose something "non-standard.")

    It may not seem like much, but this is a huge boon. It means that people who don't like being "forced" to play optimally can choose not to, if their story leads them that way (barring the aforementioned exceptions). Yet it also means that no one is ever "punished" for playing a half-orc wizard or a dragonborn rogue or a halfling barbarian or whatever. This method preserves the notion that there can be certain loose physiological trends, while completely avoiding the questionable "and thus you'll never be as smart as an Elf can be" stuff.

    It's also worth noting that this makes the human "floating plus" actually valuable: now human is the only race that can always have "the two best stats" for any class, no matter what it wants--or can take whatever scratches the player's fancy. Human flexibility becomes actually useful, but not overpowering.

  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    @^ that sounds like a pretty solid method actually. i wouldn't mind playing around with something like that myself.



    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    Of course, few if any people actually say that "X race is Y real-life group". What they do is point out how presentation of fictional species can coincide with portrayal of real people, even if it's unintentional. You just prefer to boil it down to an easily-rebuked strawman.
    all i know is that if I'm talking about a group of orcs and their raiding habits, then I'm talking about a group of orcs and their raiding habits. You're the ones putting words into my mouth and suddenly making it about real-life people that weren't even involved in any step of the creative process of these orcs.

    Coincide or not, the Orcs are in no way related to real people. so please keep those real people off the table thank you.
    Last edited by Draconi Redfir; 2020-12-30 at 09:18 AM.
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  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    all i know is that if I'm talking about a group of orcs and their raiding habits, then I'm talking about a group of orcs and their raiding habits. You're the ones putting words into my mouth and suddenly making it about real-life people that weren't even involved in any step of the creative process of these orcs.

    Coincide or not, the Orcs are in no way related to real people. so please keep those real people off the table thank you.
    I haven't mentioned orcs or their raiding habits. Nor have you. I also haven't implied anything about how your portrayal of these hypothetical orcs is actually "about" real-life people. Could you explain how I've put any words in your mouth? All I've actually done is criticize your misrepresentation of arguments you disagree with.
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  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    all i know is that if I'm talking about a group of orcs and their raiding habits, then I'm talking about a group of orcs and their raiding habits. You're the ones putting words into my mouth and suddenly making it about real-life people that weren't even involved in any step of the creative process of these orcs.

    Coincide or not, the Orcs are in no way related to real people. so please keep those real people off the table thank you.
    I know that you are literally talking to Morty, but realistically, who are you talking to? As in, you realize the people to whom you'd need to make this argument aren't here, right? You, me, Morty, and everyone else here -- we all can do whatever we like at our own tables. Always have been able to, and always will. All these issues are at the demographic and the corporate-response level. WotC and other game-makers have to decide how they are going to proceed with the games they make going forward, and they have to deal with the POC who know about the Fire Mountain orcs and CBoH humanoids and all the rest and are looking at what the corporations are doing with their IPs when deciding whether to join the hobby or not, and what you do at your table quite literally doesn't matter (in either direction, so keep doing what you want).

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    The right way, as far as I'm concerned, is 13th Age's method (which I'm a bit surprised no one here seems to have mentioned!)

    Your character's race gives you a choice of two stats. You get +2 in one of those stats.

    Your character's class gives you a choice of two stats. You get +2 in one of those stats, as long as it's different from the previous.
    I always like this idea: An Orc can be just as good a wizard as an elf, they just might be a stronger wizard than the elf is (and an elven non-wizard be smarter than most other races).

  9. - Top - End - #129
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    I know that you are literally talking to Morty, but realistically, who are you talking to? As in, you realize the people to whom you'd need to make this argument aren't here, right? You, me, Morty, and everyone else here -- we all can do whatever we like at our own tables. Always have been able to, and always will. All these issues are at the demographic and the corporate-response level. WotC and other game-makers have to decide how they are going to proceed with the games they make going forward, and they have to deal with the POC who know about the Fire Mountain orcs and CBoH humanoids and all the rest and are looking at what the corporations are doing with their IPs when deciding whether to join the hobby or not, and what you do at your table quite literally doesn't matter (in either direction, so keep doing what you want).
    Grek made an entire post about Dwarves being analogous to real-world cultures just a few posts up, which was the main thing i was referring too. i was also adding to KineticDiplomat's post about the same topic that came shortly after that.
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  10. - Top - End - #130
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    One funny thing about all of this is that back when 4E D&D came out and removed ability score penalties for races, it was controversial - I know, because I vehemently argued against their removal. My tastes have changed a great deal since then. But when 5E came along, it didn't bring them back (not for PHB races, at least) and... nothing happened. Some people might have protested, but clearly not enough to get them reinstated during the playtest. That races only have bonuses became the new normal. Now the line has shifted towards keeping any racial modifiers at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    Grek made an entire post about Dwarves being analogous to real-world cultures just a few posts up, which was the main thing i was referring too. i was also adding to KineticDiplomat's post about the same topic that came shortly after that.
    You mean the post where she said they aren't a precise analogy?
    Last edited by Morty; 2020-12-30 at 09:35 AM.
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  11. - Top - End - #131
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    Grek made an entire post about Dwarves being analogous to real-world cultures just a few posts up, which was the main thing i was referring too. i was also adding to KineticDiplomat's post about the same topic that came shortly after that.
    I just want to note that Grek's post got modded. And that discussion on whether fantasy creatures could or could not be read as analogous to real world cultures (usually involving appeals to Tolkien) was generally around the point that the mods pulled the plug on past threads.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    The right way, as far as I'm concerned, is 13th Age's method (which I'm a bit surprised no one here seems to have mentioned!)...
    Given that Tal's game is point based, I'm inclined to just call various races in a pointbuy game just suggested bundles of powers. Ogres are encouraged to take Extra Large and Impressive Toughness while halflings are encouraged to take Short and Lucky. If you really have your heart set on a halfling with hyper-giantism who happens to have Extra Large instead of Short, more power to you.

    How WotC should/will handle racial mods in the eventual 6e, as well as prototype systems people can muck around with now (the Tasha's version feeling very slapped together) are interesting discussions that I really wish didn't get sidetracked by discussions of real world racism.

  12. - Top - End - #132
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    You know.. couldn't almost all the mechanical issue be handled by a stat cap at starting level. So no one can have higher than x with or without mods. That works for other games, and I could see it working for dnd as well. Then stat mods are more flavor, and can be handled as such their own. But be you a human barbarian or orc cleric or ect, your max stat is x at game start. Call it 16 for dnd for example.

  13. - Top - End - #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    I just want to note that Grek's post got modded. And that discussion on whether fantasy creatures could or could not be read as analogous to real world cultures (usually involving appeals to Tolkien) was generally around the point that the mods pulled the plug on past threads.
    I got warned against using a particular example which was a bit too close to the line regarding the forum's rules on inappropriate topics. I think as long as we avoid further reference to any examples in that vein, it'll probably be okay?

    But more broadly, the point isn't that D&D race X is supposed to be a stand-in for real world people Y; it's that the same narratives and tropes that have historically been used to demean real world people also end up getting used to characterize various races in D&D. Hopefully nobody at anyone's table goes on about how a particular real world ethnicity are all craven cowards who habitually steal things. But Dragonlace decided to make Kender a thing, in large part by asking "What would happen if there really were a culture that actually acted like <bad stereotype>?" and running with the implications of it. Likewise, while D&D Orcs are probably not supposed to directly reflect poorly upon anyone in particular, or be a stand in for the people of any particular country, they share a common ancestor (in the 'noble savage' trope) with a great deal of modern prejudice.

    No real people on the table. Just a lot of ugly history pointing at both the people and your table.

    Quote Originally Posted by KaussH View Post
    You know.. couldn't almost all the mechanical issue be handled by a stat cap at starting level. So no one can have higher than x with or without mods. That works for other games, and I could see it working for dnd as well. Then stat mods are more flavor, and can be handled as such their own. But be you a human barbarian or orc cleric or ect, your max stat is x at game start. Call it 16 for dnd for example.
    Talakeal's rules actually do something pretty much exactly like that, in fact. I personally think it's a good way to handle the racial stats issue in particular.
    Last edited by Grek; 2020-12-30 at 12:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    okay okay, i misunderstood what i was reading, I'm sorry.
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  15. - Top - End - #135
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Option 1: Don't have modifiers at all. Give all races Nice Things and have a Point Buy method that allows you a good array. Personal bias the good array doesn't require an 18 at first level in D&D terms, but you can have one and not be The Suck because of it elsewhere.

    Option 2: Have a decent Point Buy system. Give all races Nice Things. Give everyone a +2 and +1, where you can have an 18 at first level, max, because of the +2/+1 and ok if only because of the +2/+1.

    Option 3: Do Option 1 or 2 and have Classes give a +2 to their prime. Mad classes perhaps +1/+1 or even +2/+1, hard stop max 18 at first level.
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    Option 1: Don't have modifiers at all. Give all races Nice Things and have a Point Buy method that allows you a good array. Personal bias the good array doesn't require an 18 at first level in D&D terms, but you can have one and not be The Suck because of it elsewhere.

    Option 2: Have a decent Point Buy system. Give all races Nice Things. Give everyone a +2 and +1, where you can have an 18 at first level, max, because of the +2/+1 and ok if only because of the +2/+1.

    Option 3: Do Option 1 or 2 and have Classes give a +2 to their prime. Mad classes perhaps +1/+1 or even +2/+1, hard stop max 18 at first level.
    What Nice Things should humans have? Not asking sarcastically, I think you're right with the Nice Things approach, but humans should have one too then.
    Black text is for sarcasm, also sincerity. You'll just have to read between the lines and infer from context like an animal

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    What Nice Things should humans have? Not asking sarcastically, I think you're right with the Nice Things approach, but humans should have one too then.
    In past games I have given humans a few good things. "Blessing of self" humans get half the penalties for trying to do something they totally unskilled at doing. It makes them a little crazy as a race, but it's less useful for pcs.

    "Adapatable " humans suffer reduced environment penalties for all environments

    "Common" humans are the majority race and suffer no/reduced social interaction penalties.

    Ect

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    What Nice Things should humans have? Not asking sarcastically, I think you're right with the Nice Things approach, but humans should have one too then.
    Humans are almost universally "The Mario" in media, meaning they're pretty good with almost everything, jack-of-all-trades master-of-none style.

    Pathfinder gets that pretty well with the +1 skill point per level and the extra feat at 1st level. not entirely sure what they get in 5th edition. extra proficiency options i guess?


    If you want something specifically specific that isn't "good at almost everything", then i think our adaptability, endurance, and creativity could all be good things to look for.

    Adaptability: Humans have spread all over the world into every biome, from the coldest to the hottest, from the deepest to the tallest, humans will find a way to live there. What this translates too in-game i'm not sure, extra bonus on all saves VS environmental checks, and a bonus to any Survival checks? Perhaps even immunity to difficult terrain?


    Endurance: Humans (at least in real life) are biologically designed to be long-distance walkers, exhausting prey by simply following it at a walking pace until it can run no further and collapses. I could see this translating to no penalties from forced-march maneuvers, reduced hours of sleep needed, perhaps more classes can fully recover during a short rest rather then a long one, and maybe even an increased movement speed when not in combat.


    Creativity: With some exceptions, humans generally seem to be the ones doing all the inventing and empire-building, it's rare to see any particular group of other races having more then one or two settlements united under the same banner, and it doesn't seem too common for them to create something non-magical that really changes the world. If your world has exotic weapons like the Gnomish hook-hammer or the Orc double-axe, i would definitely include some Human-specialized exotic weapons, possibly black-powder based firearms. Beyond that you could take a route similar to those "humans as space orcs" posts you'll sometimes see floating around. Humans will continue to attempt things even if they've proven to be dangerous before, this could translate to a guaranteed minor success at crafting and maybe even knowledge checks, but with some small penalty like a small blow to HP if rolled low enough. Or a bonus to some skill checks if the human tries something new, like getting a bonus to diplomacy checks if the human has recently eaten a local food that was almost harmful or otherwise didn't sit well with them.
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  19. - Top - End - #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    What Nice Things should humans have? Not asking sarcastically, I think you're right with the Nice Things approach, but humans should have one too then.
    Depends on if you're doing Human as Default or if you want them to be One Species Among Many. D&D usually goes for the former option, which is why humans get generic stuff like a bonus feat, or extra skill points or (in very early versions) bonuses to XP. If you're going for One Species Among Many, you'd probably play into humans as tool users (bonus tool proficiency?) or humans as pursuit predators (increased fatigue/health recovery during rests?) or humans as diplomatic (can speak haltingly, but not read/write in any language that they've heard spoke for more than an hour?).

  20. - Top - End - #140
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Humans are also exceptionally good at throwing things. Perhaps give them increased range, thus making thrown weapons better than normal but still not making a javelin better than say a bow.


    We also have good eyes at least during the day color vision.
    In a species neutral setting you could give humans advantage (or something similar) to see during the day and a penalty in the dark.

    edit
    humans are also very cooperative. I know it doesn't seem that way sometimes but its true human work together exceptionally well so you could give them a bonus on aid another actions.

    Of course humans biggest advantage besides intelligence does not translate very well to rpgs, extremely fast reproductive rate is very powerful for a species not so much for an adventurer.
    Last edited by awa; 2020-12-30 at 07:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    Humans are almost universally "The Mario" in media, meaning they're pretty good with almost everything, jack-of-all-trades master-of-none style.

    Pathfinder gets that pretty well with the +1 skill point per level and the extra feat at 1st level. not entirely sure what they get in 5th edition. extra proficiency options i guess?


    If you want something specifically specific that isn't "good at almost everything", then i think our adaptability, endurance, and creativity could all be good things to look for.

    Adaptability: Humans have spread all over the world into every biome, from the coldest to the hottest, from the deepest to the tallest, humans will find a way to live there. What this translates too in-game i'm not sure, extra bonus on all saves VS environmental checks, and a bonus to any Survival checks? Perhaps even immunity to difficult terrain?


    Endurance: Humans (at least in real life) are biologically designed to be long-distance walkers, exhausting prey by simply following it at a walking pace until it can run no further and collapses. I could see this translating to no penalties from forced-march maneuvers, reduced hours of sleep needed, perhaps more classes can fully recover during a short rest rather then a long one, and maybe even an increased movement speed when not in combat.


    Creativity: With some exceptions, humans generally seem to be the ones doing all the inventing and empire-building, it's rare to see any particular group of other races having more then one or two settlements united under the same banner, and it doesn't seem too common for them to create something non-magical that really changes the world. If your world has exotic weapons like the Gnomish hook-hammer or the Orc double-axe, i would definitely include some Human-specialized exotic weapons, possibly black-powder based firearms. Beyond that you could take a route similar to those "humans as space orcs" posts you'll sometimes see floating around. Humans will continue to attempt things even if they've proven to be dangerous before, this could translate to a guaranteed minor success at crafting and maybe even knowledge checks, but with some small penalty like a small blow to HP if rolled low enough. Or a bonus to some skill checks if the human tries something new, like getting a bonus to diplomacy checks if the human has recently eaten a local food that was almost harmful or otherwise didn't sit well with them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    Depends on if you're doing Human as Default or if you want them to be One Species Among Many. D&D usually goes for the former option, which is why humans get generic stuff like a bonus feat, or extra skill points or (in very early versions) bonuses to XP. If you're going for One Species Among Many, you'd probably play into humans as tool users (bonus tool proficiency?) or humans as pursuit predators (increased fatigue/health recovery during rests?) or humans as diplomatic (can speak haltingly, but not read/write in any language that they've heard spoke for more than an hour?).
    Quote Originally Posted by awa View Post
    Humans are also exceptionally good at throwing things. Perhaps give them increased range, thus making thrown weapons better than normal but still not making a javelin better than say a bow.


    We also have good eyes at least during the day color vision.
    In a species neutral setting you could give humans advantage (or something similar) to see during the day and a penalty in the dark.

    edit
    humans are also very cooperative. I know it doesn't seem that way sometimes but its true human work together exceptionally well so you could give them a bonus on aid another actions.

    Of course humans biggest advantage besides intelligence does not translate very well to rpgs, extremely fast reproductive rate is very powerful for a species not so much for an adventurer.
    The problem with "humans are special" approaches tends to be that people tend to try to execute them in the manner demonstrated above: by comparing humans to other animals in real life, saying that these things that are unique to us in Holocene Earth must be unique to us in an alternate world where we are surrounded by other sapient humanoids, and assigning ourselves bonuses to things that should be equally applicable to most fantasy races.

    - Endurance running: The things that make us good at that (little body hair, long limbs, torso that easily rotates independently of the neck, perspiration) apply just as much to most fantasy races.

    - Throwing: ditto. Our arms, shoulders, and hands aren't significantly different from those of elves, halflings, what have you.

    - Adaptability: This comes from tool use and the ability to change cultural practices to suit the environment, which is generally true of D&D-style fantasy races. If orcs were the only sapient species on the planet, you'd find them everywhere, too. The sort of biome specialization we see in fantasy settings (elves get forests, dwarves get mountains, and whatnot) makes sense as a form of niche protection, and we'd likely see humans in such a setting also develop a fixture to some

    - Black powder firearms: I don't know why that would be floated as a human-specific weapon. It's as human-specific as every other weapon more sophisticated than an untooled rock is, but the majority of humans who have ever lived have not seen, much less used, a firearm.

    - Language acquisition: I rather doubt that merely an hour of experience will get an adult human to be able to be functional in a new language, even haltingly.

    - @awa: Humans are just about the opposite of a species with an "extremely high reproductive rate." Human gestation takes the better part of a year, almost always produces single offspring, and then the resulting offspring will not be able to reproduce for well over a decade and won't be fully mature for over two. This is a reproductive rate closer to that of elephants and whales than to most mammals of similar size to us. Our population growth rate, under the right circumstances, can be alarming, but only on a time scale relative to our normal experiences. If you put the same amount of care and infrastructure into medicine and food production for rats as we do into humans, we could increase their population at a rate many, many times the billion-a-decade or so the world human population has been growing by.

  22. - Top - End - #142
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    What Nice Things should humans have? Not asking sarcastically, I think you're right with the Nice Things approach, but humans should have one too then.
    The bonus feat and skill works for me.

    If not D&D a bonus mechanic of what the system provides. Say a class gives you one power from a list of choices. A human gives you two powers.
    Last edited by Pex; 2020-12-30 at 08:08 PM.
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    The problem with "humans are special" approaches tends to be that people tend to try to execute them in the manner demonstrated above: by comparing humans to other animals in real life, saying that these things that are unique to us in Holocene Earth must be unique to us in an alternate world where we are surrounded by other sapient humanoids, and assigning ourselves bonuses to things that should be equally applicable to most fantasy races.
    This is why it's a work of fiction, you can alter or change things as you see fit. To use the long distance walking as an example, you could say:

    Orcs, with their higher general muscle mass and high adrenaline production, tend to burn through energy faster then humans, possibly they have a much faster metabolism and heart rate that makes walking nonstop for days on end with little rest completely unviable. As a tradeoff though, they can run much faster and much longer then any human at a full sprint, but this will still quickly tire them out.

    Elves are adept at short jaunts through the forest and little else. Perhaps their height and longer limbs make them more adept to an Arboreal (tree dwelling) lifestyle, making them more adept for running and swinging among tree branches, tree trunks, vines, and large leaves. This combined with their general territorial nature causing them not to leave the forests very often makes them not adept at long walks on flat surfaces, but they are much more capable at moving in 3D environments up and down the forests and jungles.

    Dwarves despite their smithing lifestyles, are built for the cold. their beards may be just one of many biological insulation factors to keep them warm, they could sport short but thick full-body fur everywhere except the face and hands. Usually this is covered by clothing and armor, so some may believe they have skin like humans. All this fur though means fewer sweat glands, meaning they need to take longer periods of rest between excursions. Plus their isolationist lifestyle may have adapted them to shorter walks, or even a reliance on assisted movement such as beasts or vehicles. The heat of the forge could be a cultural thing they need to overcome their biology in order to fully embrace. Those who become true forge-masters may need to completely shave off their fur and arrange their beards in specific patterns to ensure maximum heat ventilation, as a result though, they may be less capable of leaving the area heated by the forge due to loosing their natural insulation.

    Halflings could just be the opposite of Orcs, having a much slower metabolism and moving around much less in general. They focus more on farming and animal husbandry then anything else, and have been doing so much longer then even Humans. They may need to take multiple breaks to even cross town, but as a result developed very friendly demeanors to one another as everyone figuratively stops to smell the roses multiple times per day, and may strike up a conversation with others. This would likely cause them to live much longer lifespans then humans in general.


    All you need are slight lore tweaks like this and you can really justify anything you want. If you really want to do research into the topic though, I'd recommend looking into our own history on earth, as there was one or more points in time where we did live alongside other sapient humanoids, such as the Neandertals. Looking up what helped us survive over them could be a good place to start determining what makes us special. Just take that, and assume those other hominids were able to survive to the medieval (or whatever other timeline you're in) era.
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post

    - @awa: Humans are just about the opposite of a species with an "extremely high reproductive rate." Human gestation takes the better part of a year, almost always produces single offspring, and then the resulting offspring will not be able to reproduce for well over a decade and won't be fully mature for over two. This is a reproductive rate closer to that of elephants and whales than to most mammals of similar size to us. Our population growth rate, under the right circumstances, can be alarming, but only on a time scale relative to our normal experiences. If you put the same amount of care and infrastructure into medicine and food production for rats as we do into humans, we could increase their population at a rate many, many times the billion-a-decade or so the world human population has been growing by.
    While humans tend to have a single child at a time we can have a second child while the first is still growing something few animals can do.
    Sure we don't match up compared to a rat but instead lets compare us to our close relatives, orangutan reproduce only once every 6-8 years, Humans can have another child every year. chimps are a bit faster needing to wait only 4-6 years between births and begin breeding at around 12 a few years earlier than is safe for humans but still overall slower than a human. gorillas are similar. So yes humans actually can reproduce very fast.

    Smarter animals tend to reproduce slower something equal in intelligence to a human like most fantasy races without humans ability to have multiple children at a time would suffer an immense numerical disadvantage.

    In regards to other stuff yeah were effectively taking stuff away from other species, but think about it dwarfs have short legs it wouldn't be implausible to me they are not good endurance runners. If a game designer told me his elves didn't sweat that feels entirely in character with elves I could even see them looking down on humans for being filthy sweaty beasts.

    As for shoulders dwarfs and orcs are often depicted with a lot of muscles you could just say that extra strength in the arms comes at the cost of less range of motion in their shoulders limiting their ability to throw things.

    edit
    not to mention the fiction that the long lived races reproduce slowly is already their
    Last edited by awa; 2020-12-30 at 09:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    This is why it's a work of fiction, you can alter or change things as you see fit. To use the long distance walking as an example, you could say:

    ...

    All you need are slight lore tweaks like this and you can really justify anything you want. If you really want to do research into the topic though, I'd recommend looking into our own history on earth, as there was one or more points in time where we did live alongside other sapient humanoids, such as the Neandertals. Looking up what helped us survive over them could be a good place to start determining what makes us special. Just take that, and assume those other hominids were able to survive to the medieval (or whatever other timeline you're in) era.
    Three problems with this.

    First, many times the things that let us survive weren't cool things. Small rat-like mammals could survive the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs because they didn't need as many calories and could more easily find shelter, but those things aren't cool. Being a dinosaur is super cool. Since we play this game in order to do cool things, you're going to want to give humans something actively cool to do. This is the most important element; how much it would theoretically help a community for each member to have this trait is less important to a player than what it lets their individual PC do.

    Second, people's intuitive sense of biology and physics doesn't necessarily map with real biology and physics. Dragons couldn't fly on earth and giant monsters would collapse under their own weight, but very few people will walk out of Godzilla vs. Mothra because their suspension of disbelief is shattered. Playing a fantasy game already invites a certain amount of playing fast and loose with the logic, plus you can have magic cover any gaps you need. You needn't hew too close to what would does or does not work under earth physics.

    Third, most people's idea of normal is based on humans and humanlike fictional characters. Like our language and tool use are clearly light years beyond even our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, but elven poets and dwarven smiths are described as surpassing human ones. So while looking at the things that humans have over other earth animals is interesting in a HFY sci-fi story, they don't necessarily hold when compared to very humanlike fantasy creatures.
    Last edited by Anymage; 2020-12-30 at 10:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    That is a weakness, dwarves and elves are incredibly human like. It makes it harder to give humans something concrete because elves and dwarves are typically depicted as human +. Thus they have to go with the generic humans get free skills or feats because there isn't actually anything that fits the fiction. An extra feat or skill would make more sense for an extremely long lived race. The fiction usually does have humans reproduce faster but like I said earlier that's not a great pc trait.

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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    I mean, if you specifically want to go for the fantastic, why not do something like:

    Human
    For all that the myriad races differ from one another, they all share approximately the same body plan - humanoid. This is no accident: humans are the prototypical mortal, the first draft from which all later creations diverged and made directly in the image of the Gods themselves and benefit from some small measure of divine authority:
    • Medium size.
    • 30' movement.
    • Standard vision.
    • Beloved of the Gods: All beneficial divine spells cast on a human have their caster level increased by 1.
    • Masters of Nature: Humans count as being trained in Handle Animal and gain a +4 bonus on any associated checks.
    • Martial Traditions: If a human has a patron deity, they gain Weapon Proficiency in that deity's favoured weapon; otherwise they gain Improved Unarmed Attack as a bonus feat.

  28. - Top - End - #148
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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    I mean, if you specifically want to go for the fantastic, why not do something like:

    Human
    For all that the myriad races differ from one another, they all share approximately the same body plan - humanoid. This is no accident: humans are the prototypical mortal, the first draft from which all later creations diverged and made directly in the image of the Gods themselves and benefit from some small measure of divine authority:
    • Medium size.
    • 30' movement.
    • Standard vision.
    • Beloved of the Gods: All beneficial divine spells cast on a human have their caster level increased by 1.
    • Masters of Nature: Humans count as being trained in Handle Animal and gain a +4 bonus on any associated checks.
    • Martial Traditions: If a human has a patron deity, they gain Weapon Proficiency in that deity's favoured weapon; otherwise they gain Improved Unarmed Attack as a bonus feat.
    {scrubbed}
    Last edited by Peelee; 2020-12-31 at 01:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    On the mechanical end of things, one of the big veins of complaints is the matter of them disallowing certain character concepts. In this case, the solution is to have the system as a whole disincentivise highly focused player characters, penalizing the blunter varieties of min-maxing in the process, then using floor/ceiling changes as has been described about Shadowrun (notably, you have to take away from something else to actually use the increased cap, so if getting the standard 18 is already ruinous...). Consequently, there will be no robot Alcibiades or orcish Einstein, but such are specifically not proper player characters in the first place from needing to sacrifice so much of your build resources to accomplish it that you don't have enough left for necessary variety, essentially making it so everyone has to be some kind of combination build to work in play correctly.

    Keeping race choice meaningful in this situation can be done in a number of ways, obviously, but the simplest I can think of off the cuff is using secondary niche superiority, having the race "lock in" a foundational property you can do a variety of things with as their mechanical "hat". So you can be an Orc Wizard despite a lower ceiling because you don't need that reduction in maximum to be a perfectly solid Wizard, but what you gain in the process is that your core abilities for melee combat start at "solid soldier" and go up from there so magic can hone in on supplemental uses, which are required to be a solid PC because pure melee combat abilities have too many blindspots, yet also there are plentiful blind spots for any seeking to be pure magic-users (note that this necessitates setting limits on what magic can do, which having multiple fantastical power sources is damn near necessary for).

    For the worldbuilding complaints, my suggestion is simple: If your game has vastly beyond human gribblies that successfully stabbing is a major achievement, then throw the complaints in the trash. The existence of the D&D Dragon as an intelligent creature fundamentally disproves the underlying ethical framework responsible for the complaints, so if your game's setting has anything at all in the vein of the Dragon, then you can't actually solve the problem without restarting from scratch, and therefor should ignore it. When it comes to a higher-fantasy game like D&D, at least, it is equivalent to complaining that Mario Kart is a bad platformer. Those making the complaint are not your target audience if you're including inherently threatening intelligent beings.

    Though if one insists on squaring that circle, my suggestion is having a backbone of consumables as ongoing expenses and make extensive use of progress lock-in like 3.5's Racial Hit Dice. This allows for having your ridiculously powerful dragons in spectacular excess of any regular race, but also place them within a framework that locks them to needing much the same resources as a conventional race to reach the same capabilities, resulting in all the talk of superiority being undermined by the fact that they actually take about the same effort, it's that such is simply a biological imperative for them instead of a very complicated mess of discipline and scattered expenses as with the standard races. If they fail, they die before becoming fully grown, rather than platauing somewhere below the setting-shaping legends.

    ---

    To give a jab of specifics about how the caps and tradeoffs might work, there's actually a lot of things involved in extreme musculature that are directly at odds with proper intellectual function. The two big ones are that a lot of growth hormones have neurological side-effects, and the human brain, as variable in performance as it is, already consumes a vast chunk of energy as far as a creature of our body mass goes. Consequently, an Orc society in a pseudo-medieval setting is quite liable to simply not be able to sustain a fully-formed human brain alongside their more impressive musculature without running into issues getting enough energy for this, and the very same processes responsible for that musculature do a number on some aspects of intellectual function.

    This can also generate the utterly mentally incapable ever-hungering bear-crushing Ogres, as their usual depiction is roughly analogous to a triple-sized Sumo wrestler, who already need about six thousand calories a day at the least to sustain the exercises to prevent the fat from imploding their metabolism and build the muscles to actually properly move through it. Like a vastly more threatening Koala, where it is a wide array of kinds of biologically screwed up, but in this case it's in the form of a massive idiot able to punch your house down.
    Last edited by Morphic tide; 2020-12-31 at 01:11 AM.

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    Default Re: Right way to do racial stat modifiers?

    thought i had on unique human features; Packbonding maybe?


    Perhaps Humans are the only or one of the only races truly capable of forming emotional bonds with non-sapient entities. Most if not all other races merely just view animals and objects as tools to use. They might feel pity or distress at seeing a wounded animal, but they won't truly feel the emotional pain of a friend being hurt like a human would.

    how this could translate to in-game mechanics largely depends. If you like just passive abilities, a bonus to animal handling and machine-use checks would probably be fine. (People can back-bond with objects. it's happened, just look up "Lt Stabby the Roomba")

    If you're looking for something substantial however, perhaps Humans always start the game with a medium or smaller animal companion that's trained in whatever way(s) the player wants within reason, some feats or racial traits possibly allowing for larger animals, different types of companions such as feral aberrations, fey, or small draconics. Said animal companions could possibly get a template at a certain level, possibly getting small buffs throughout the game so they're not left behind. Most animals likely won't be capable of assisting in combat, but could still be used for other things such as transport, carrying items, repeated use of the "Help" action, or a passive buff to diplomacy or whatnot.

    There could also be alternative racial traits that replace this animal companion with something else if someone doesn't want to have a pet. Starting the game with additional equipment or maybe even a single masterwork item, with the fluff being that it's something the character has a close bond too such as a family heirloom. Doesn't seem quite equivalent, and one could easily make a case that everyone would immediately go for the free masterwork item, but it's 4am, i have four hours of sleep right now. you can forgive me if brain no think full at the moment.
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