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Author Topic: WOTC Making Racial Stat Attributes All the Same is Weak and Effing Bland!  (Read 2367 times)

jhkim

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In BX no race got any stat bonuses. Same for OD&D. A halfling could be as strong as a human.
So, I think it is very important and meaningful, and having *NO* racial stat framework or profile--orallowing every race the same stats--is terribly boring, and a terrible design choice.

To be clear -- you think that OD&D and BX are terribly boring and terrible design choices? (Plus Savage Worlds and many other non-D&D-based system?)

Zelen

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It's obvious that D&D as a game system is going to become more and more rules-lite, abstract, and ad-hoc.
At the same time the implicit & published settings will also lose detail. Setting races & cultures will lose definable characteristics. Rather than detailed ethnography with population breakdowns, figures on trade, customs, religious & philosophical values, setting material will emphasize broad strokes generalization and encourage spontaneously creating these elements as needed.

SHARK

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In BX no race got any stat bonuses. Same for OD&D. A halfling could be as strong as a human.
So, I think it is very important and meaningful, and having *NO* racial stat framework or profile--orallowing every race the same stats--is terribly boring, and a terrible design choice.

To be clear -- you think that OD&D and BX are terribly boring and terrible design choices? (Plus Savage Worlds and many other non-D&D-based system?)

Greetings!

YES, they are absolutely boring and terrible design choices. The idea that Halflings can be just as strong as humans or whatever is fucking retarded.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

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jhkim

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To be clear -- you think that OD&D and BX are terribly boring and terrible design choices? (Plus Savage Worlds and many other non-D&D-based system?)

YES, they are absolutely boring and terrible design choices. The idea that Halflings can be just as strong as humans or whatever is fucking retarded.

OK, thanks for the clarification.

But why is it boring? I can understand a realism argument - i.e. realistically, halflings should be much much weaker than humans, and completely unable to hold their own in a fight. They shouldn't even be able to use most weapons. The problem with realistic attribute caps is that most of the game isn't realistic anyway. So where does one draw the line about how realistic is unrealistic? Human characters in D&D are generally capable of a lot of what would be called superhuman feats - like fighting dragons, falling a hundred feet and walking away, and so forth.

So while I get unrealistic, I don't see about boring. I never played OD&D, but I started D&D on the Basic Set, and I found it really fun - including playing other races. The Basic Set used stuff *other* than stats to make the races distinctive and interesting, which I think is much more successful in making them interesting.

HappyDaze

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To be clear -- you think that OD&D and BX are terribly boring and terrible design choices? (Plus Savage Worlds and many other non-D&D-based system?)

YES, they are absolutely boring and terrible design choices. The idea that Halflings can be just as strong as humans or whatever is fucking retarded.

OK, thanks for the clarification.

But why is it boring? I can understand a realism argument - i.e. realistically, halflings should be much much weaker than humans, and completely unable to hold their own in a fight. They shouldn't even be able to use most weapons. The problem with realistic attribute caps is that most of the game isn't realistic anyway. So where does one draw the line about how realistic is unrealistic? Human characters in D&D are generally capable of a lot of what would be called superhuman feats - like fighting dragons, falling a hundred feet and walking away, and so forth.

So while I get unrealistic, I don't see about boring. I never played OD&D, but I started D&D on the Basic Set, and I found it really fun - including playing other races. The Basic Set used stuff *other* than stats to make the races distinctive and interesting, which I think is much more successful in making them interesting.
You don't see the lack of variety caused by everything having the same (options for) racial modifiers as being even a little more boring?

jhkim

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But why is it boring? I can understand a realism argument - i.e. realistically, halflings should be much much weaker than humans, and completely unable to hold their own in a fight. They shouldn't even be able to use most weapons. The problem with realistic attribute caps is that most of the game isn't realistic anyway. So where does one draw the line about how realistic is unrealistic? Human characters in D&D are generally capable of a lot of what would be called superhuman feats - like fighting dragons, falling a hundred feet and walking away, and so forth.

So while I get unrealistic, I don't see about boring. I never played OD&D, but I started D&D on the Basic Set, and I found it really fun - including playing other races. The Basic Set used stuff *other* than stats to make the races distinctive and interesting, which I think is much more successful in making them interesting.
You don't see the lack of variety caused by everything having the same (options for) racial modifiers as being even a little more boring?

You're talking as if a bunch of different numbers on a page is supposedly more variety, but that's not something I care about.

What I care about is what actually makes a difference in actual play at the table, not pages in the book. i.e. Is there a wide variety of PCs, for example? What I see in practice is that adding in the stat optimization *reduces* the variety of PCs, at least when using roll-and-arrange.

In both roll-in-order and in point-buy, I'll still get a lot of standard archetypes like the halfling rogue - because people like those. But I'll also get more characters against type, like a halfling who rolls a low Dex who ends up a cleric, or a deliberate mounted halfling fighter modeled on Bullroarer Took.

Mercurius

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I didn't like it at first, but then I realized that A) Any DM can do whatever they want and have Ability maximums, and B) It offers more freedom to play the character you want to play without worrying about the optimal race-class combo.

It is only a problem if you play AL and/or get hung up on such things. It doesn't take anything away but adds more options.

Sure, it is ultimately virtue signaling/pandering on WotC's part, but it doesn't have to be the end of the world and DMs are still allowed to do what they want, unless you're playing with uber-entitled children, and then I'd ask, why play with such folk?

PencilBoy99

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Do you get to pick racial special abilities? Can your human get darkvision?

HappyDaze

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Do you get to pick racial special abilities? Can your human get darkvision?
Your PC can have darkvision. You can call them human if you want to.

ShieldWife

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Well, I don’t really like a total lack of racial attribute bonuses or penalties, though I can see the reasoning behind those changes. Sure, it may be thematic for orcs (being stronger but less intelligent than humans on average) to have +2 Strength and -2 Intelligence, but is the game better for there being no orc PC wizards and most of them as fighters or barbarians? Realistically, a halfling should receive far more than a -2 to Strength, considering the fact that a 6’ tall 200 lbs human would scale down to a 3’ tall 25 lbs halfling, they should barely be able to fight at all against humans in normal combat. But, as a game, it might be fun to play a halfling fighter or an orc wizard.

It reminds me of my biggest issue with gender based modifiers. Not that they are necessarily unrealistic, but if men get +2 Strength and women get +2 Charisma, then all of the PC fighters will be men and all of the sorcerers (or sorceresses I should say) will be women.

And, if someone wants a weak halfling or a dumb orc, they can always use Strength or Intelligence respectively as dump stats, assuming that the players have control over their characters’ attributes, which is standard in most games now. In fact, bonuses and penalties to attributes basically become obsolete once you go to a point distribution system for attributes instead of rolling. If you want a stereotypical orc or halfling, you can assign your points to be that way, but should it be impossible (or just significantly punished) to make a non-stereotypical character? Is it bad wrong fun to have an orc wizard with an intelligence of 18 or a halfling barbarian with a Strength of 18? I don’t know, it’s all subjective. A lack of racial attribute bonuses or penalties does seem to give players (and potentially DMs) more options regarding character design.

I have sometimes thought that it would be neat to give each race different bonuses or penalties based on class. Kind of like how Pathfinder just favored class leveling based on race. An orc wizard might get a certain orcy bonus to wizard stuff while a halfling fighter might get a special bonus based on being a halfling. Every race and class could have that combination - so as to combine flavor and versatility.

Of course, the ultimate version of that would just be to allow every ability through point but character design, but there are countless other systems that allow for that and D&D is distinguished by having relatively rigid classes and even races.

DocJones

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My issue is the change totally removes any remaining verisimilitude in the game.  It’s pants on head idiotic that 3 foot tall, 40 pound halflings and kobolds can be as strong as a human or half-orc.
Let alone females.  ;-)

Kyle Aaron

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WOTC Making Racial Stat Attributes All the Same is Weak and Effing Bland!
It's 5e. Of course it's weak and bland.

Play 1st edition. With most rpgs, any editions after the first ten years are just a cash grab or fan service.

Brad

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The whole point of stat mods, racial min/max, and level limits was to enforce character paradigms. This is extremely evident in AD&D; did anyone ever just play a regular fighter elf instead of a fighter/magic-user? But it also encourages people to play humans, hence the whole “humanocentric” game Gygax was fond of. That’s a BETTER game, at least for D&D, than a bunch of fucking demonoid halfdragons running around, turning the game from a pseudo-medieval environment to what is essentially a fucking carnival atmosphere. And it keeps getting worse. People in this thread are acting like there was never a transition from OD&D to AD&D, or that no one ever in the history of time gave stat mods to any race before AD&D. Ever look at Runequest? Traveller? The notion of stat generation dependent upon race is pretty much ingrained in the DNA of RPGs. For good reason: it makes race choice more meaningful mechanically.

If you make race have no mechanical difference, then it’s just “humans in funny suits” which undermines he whole point of role playing a different race in the first place. Getting rid of stat mods is just another step in making the game bland and boring.

jhkim

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The whole point of stat mods, racial min/max, and level limits was to enforce character paradigms. This is extremely evident in AD&D; did anyone ever just play a regular fighter elf instead of a fighter/magic-user? But it also encourages people to play humans, hence the whole “humanocentric” game Gygax was fond of. That’s a BETTER game, at least for D&D, than a bunch of fucking demonoid halfdragons running around, turning the game from a pseudo-medieval environment to what is essentially a fucking carnival atmosphere. And it keeps getting worse. People in this thread are acting like there was never a transition from OD&D to AD&D, or that no one ever in the history of time gave stat mods to any race before AD&D. Ever look at Runequest? Traveller? The notion of stat generation dependent upon race is pretty much ingrained in the DNA of RPGs. For good reason: it makes race choice more meaningful mechanically.

While it's true that stat mods were common in older games, that doesn't mean that they're always a good idea and any game without them (like OD&D, BX, Savage Worlds, and others) is inferior.

Runequest and Traveller use roll-in-order for stats, which doesn't have the min/max problem that I discussed.

But even given that, it's also true that stats aren't the main thing making non-humans interesting. For example, in Traveller, Hivers have identical physical and mental stats to Humans. But that doesn't make them boring and bland - because stat mods are only one small piece about what makes non-human characters interesting.

Omega

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My issue is the change totally removes any remaining verisimilitude in the game.  It’s pants on head idiotic that 3 foot tall, 40 pound halflings and kobolds can be as strong as a human or half-orc.

Except in 5e any PC could put points into whatever stat they wanted and get it to the cap of 20. Human, elf, halfling, etc. Its just that some races/variants have a slight edge in getting to the cap. So the whole SJW "waaaah! boo-hoo-hoo! Racial stats is wacist!" is the usual lies and smokescreen to leverage more control and push their agenda. It means nothing and does nothing because its meaningless in the end.

In BX no race got any stat bonuses. Same for OD&D. A halfling could be as strong as a human.


With D&D 5E; they are going all the way around the world, to get back to OD&D?

Its WOTC. They will go all the way around then keep going till they stop at 4e again and then try and improve on its "success" because they know they have a dedicated cult still clinging tenaciously to the gaming perfection that is 4e.