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NeoSeraphi
2011-10-12, 12:54 PM
The human race in D&D has always irked me. That free bonus feat doesn't work at all with the other races. Human is the only race that allows customization, while every other race is exactly the same as other members of it (and subraces are exactly the same as other subraces)

The problem is that humans are supposed to be playable, but they can't have ability score adjustments because they are the basis for all ability score adjustments. So you have to make "adaptability" a meaningful, meta-worthy racial trait, or else you'll give humans the half-elf syndrome.

Still, I think I've got it. So tell me what you all think of this:

Racial Traits:

Humans receive the following racial traits


Medium: As Medium creatures, humans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Human base land speed is 30 feet.

4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level.

At 1st level, a human may choose any two skills. That human gains a +2 racial bonus on checks with the two chosen skills.

At 1st level, a human may choose one skill listed in the Player's Handbook. That skill is always treated as a class skill for the human.

At 1st level, a human may choose one type of saving throw, be it Fortitude, Reflex or Will. That human gains a +1 racial bonus on saving throws of the chosen type.

Automatic Language: Common and any one other. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic). See the Speak Language skill.

Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass human takes an experience point penalty, his or her highest-level class does not count.

Pyromancer999
2011-10-12, 01:03 PM
NOOOOOOO!!! My precious bonus feat. T.T

So, now humans are basically just skillmonkeys?

YouLostMe
2011-10-12, 01:05 PM
The abilities are nice, but not very useful. I mean, for me, the choice between any race and human is "do I need the stat boost?" v. "Do I need the feat?" Now humans don't have the feat, but they also come without a stat boost, so I'm completely uninclined to take the race at all.

I believe the solution to the customizability seperation gap can be solved by providing more flexibility to non-humans, instead of paring humans down.

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-12, 01:07 PM
NOOOOOOO!!! My precious bonus feat. T.T

So, now humans are basically just skillmonkeys?

Humans still get a bonus feat. It's just been picked for them, like how that race in Frostburn (can't remember it) gets Endurance for free. So it's fair.

In my opinion, humans were originally intended to be skill monkeys. The designers figured that in Core, the only feats that humans could qualify for at first level weren't too game-breaking. But their thought process did not take into account that humans would take a Metamagic feat at 1st level and then just wait until they had enough spell levels to start ripping people apart.

"Adaptable" doesn't mean "powerful". Feats are too rare and too significant to just give someone an extra one, especially at the beginning of their career when they haven't earned it.


snip

You're right, but as it stands, humans are too good. Too many classes are feat-starved. If multiple people at the table are playing humans, the group feels homogenized and uninteresting.

I'd rather bring the human down than the other races up, as most of the other races got plenty of love from Unearthed Arcana and other sourcebooks that gave subraces. (I'm looking at you, elves!)

Domriso
2011-10-12, 05:31 PM
I agree with you on this one, and fully support it to boot. My hatred of everyone playing Humans in games usually leads me to outlaw them all together when I run a game. I've tried making them worse, taking away the bonus feat, adding more interesting races, but none of it works. I still end up with half of my players being Human, unless I take them out. Hell, sometimes when I outlaw them all together, they still get picked, and then I have to reiterate that they aren't a choice. </rant>

In terms of what you've actually put forth, I like it. It's how I've always pictured Humans to be; skilled at a whole bunch of things.

Ziegander
2011-10-12, 05:47 PM
Now humans don't have the feat, but they also come without a stat boost, so I'm completely uninclined to take the race at all.

I agree with this.

The idea that "they still get a feat, so it's fair," is pretty ludicrous in my opinion, especially when it's Able Learner. I know you're looking to power down the race, but with these adjustments you easily make it as bad as a Half-Elf.

Pyromancer999
2011-10-12, 06:24 PM
Ideas for making this human more desirable while still retaining the skillmonkey feel:

-Able to invest one/two/Int mod more skill point(s) than everyone else(so instead of the standard max of 3 + level, humans get a skill point max of 4 + level)

-Give a bonus equal to HD on one skill

-As previous suggestion, but be able to give bonuses to multiple skills whose total equals HD

-Effect like Skill Focus, except that it applies to all skills that use a certain ability score

Any of these sound good?

Zeta Kai
2011-10-12, 07:09 PM
Humans still get a bonus feat. It's just been picked for them, like how that race in Frostburn (can't remember it) gets Endurance for free. So it's fair.

No, it's not fair. It's the difference between the Fighter & the CW Samurai: a Fighter may be considered sub-optimal, but the Samurai is just a Fighter with all of its feat chosen (poorly) for it, & is universally viewed as inferior because of this. If you wanted Able Learner, then this is fine. But if you didn't, then this is a deal-breaker.

Now, I love me some skills. Trust me, I think that the skill system is one of the best things to come out of 3rd Edition. But this is going too far to put Humans in a specific place, to their detriment. That bonus feat was the key to the Human's versatility, & this doesn't adequately replace its functionality. Instead, it pigeon-holes the Human into a skill-based role. There is no longer an incentive to make a Human Fighter, or a Wizard, or a Sorcerer.

That free feat could help many different builds, & it shows in many builds. A feat-less Human just isn't as attractive, because now the race cannot give the PC a head start on a feat chain. Now, there is no primary race that can allow a PC to take Power Attack & Cleave, or Dodge & Mobility, or Improved Unarmed Strike & Deflect Arrows; all of those option now have to wait for two more levels, which is a long time for a 1st-level character.

This may work at your table, but don't expect it to see much use elsewhere. It won't be used at my table, as I am uninterested in fixing what isn't broken.

Qwertystop
2011-10-12, 07:50 PM
If you want to fix the overuse of humans due to the power of a bonus feat, here's a way used by someone who DM-ed for a game I was in:

Humans still get the Human Bonus Feat.
Everyone else gets the Humans Aren't So Special Bonus Feat.

Humans are now good as skillmonkeys, multilingual characters (the Bonus Language: Any helps), and for multiclassing if XP penalties are enforced.


Also, feat-starvation in general is reduced.

Overall, this method is good for increasing flavorful diversity of a game, and stops humans from being the go-to race if you aren't sure.

Valwyn
2011-10-12, 08:11 PM
... am I the only one who chooses a race because of roleplay? :smallfrown: I admit, though, humans are my favorites.

Also, isn't there a halfling race (strong heart, I think) that also gives you a bonus feat?

gkathellar
2011-10-12, 08:26 PM
I think you're approaching this backwards. People want to play humans because they're mechanically awesome and therefore mechanically rewarding to play, so it would make more sense to bring other races up to the human standar—


I'd rather bring the human down than the other races up, as most of the other races got plenty of love from Unearthed Arcana and other sourcebooks that gave subraces. (I'm looking at you, elves!)

Wait, what? So ... other races have gotten enough love that you don't want to bring them up to the human standard. But humans already met the human standard, so ... they need to be brought down? Not sure I follow you there.


If multiple people at the table are playing humans, the group feels homogenized and uninteresting.

I know, I can't stand how humans are all homogenous and samey! It's like they're not even explicitly described or mechanically supported as being incredibly varied or anything.

EDIT:
... am I the only one who chooses a race because of roleplay? :smallfrown:

Oh gosh someone is complaining about mechanical power levels they must be uninterested in roleplay, right? No.

Immersion is important for roleplaying games. Roleplaying games are games. Games have mechanics. Unbalanced or uninteresting mechanical support for an option is not supportive of immersion.

MagnusExultatio
2011-10-12, 08:59 PM
If multiple people at the table are playing humans, the group feels homogenized and uninteresting.

How do you figure? I never realized that humans were all supposed to be the same.

Valwyn
2011-10-12, 09:05 PM
Oh gosh someone is complaining about mechanical power levels they must be uninterested in roleplay, right? No.

Immersion is important for roleplaying games. Roleplaying games are games. Games have mechanics. Unbalanced or uninteresting mechanical support for an option is not supportive of immersion.

That's not really what I meant. I'm new to the game so I can't judge how broken a race/class/feat/etc is, so I just play with what seems to make sense character-wise rather than looking for way to empower the character. I didn't mean that trying to change humans was bad (I actually like the skill-specialist idea).

Kenneth
2011-10-12, 10:21 PM
Going on the theme that Humans are supposed to be very adaptable, more so than the other PHB races/splatbook races.

I did something that you might think.. weird. I gave Humans a 5% experience boost to support there faster learning and ability to adapt and overcome easier.

when my 3rd ed gaming group was discussing this amongst ourselves, we were slightly uopset at how in 3rd ed every race got the only advantage human had, the ability to be any class and to rise to any level, without any sort of penalty.

the extra skill point and bonus feat to us didn't seem like a fair trade off, becuase.. why be a human right?

the first incarnation was a 15% boost but that quickly got out of control as human were surpassing the other races in levels much quicker than we wanted, this really took us a few months as we tended to play lower level campaigns. Then came 10%, and while it did not have the glaring disparaity that 15% did, it was still a bit too high for our liking.so we settled on 5%, which turned out to be a good number and did not show up untill later in the career i think around level 15 or so.


I now am thinking that to neosephari idea of giving Human able learner in addition to their already human bonus feat plus the 5% boost, will do them some good.

:) another cool idea from neo-seraphi

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-12, 10:28 PM
Ideas for making this human more desirable while still retaining the skillmonkey feel:

-Able to invest one/two/Int mod more skill point(s) than everyone else(so instead of the standard max of 3 + level, humans get a skill point max of 4 + level)

-Give a bonus equal to HD on one skill

-As previous suggestion, but be able to give bonuses to multiple skills whose total equals HD

-Effect like Skill Focus, except that it applies to all skills that use a certain ability score

Any of these sound good?

Alright, added a version of your suggestion as Superior Skills, changing the original to Varied Background



:) another cool idea from neo-seraphi


I agree with you on this one, and fully support it to boot.

Thanks guys. :smallsmile:

absolmorph
2011-10-13, 01:52 AM
Humans still get a bonus feat. It's just been picked for them, like how that race in Frostburn (can't remember it) gets Endurance for free. So it's fair.
I'm not sure Able Learner (a feat that's sometimes picked for being useful) should be compared to Endurance (a feat that's taken because it's a prerequisite).
Also, the fact that there are so many ways to invalidate the need for skills entirely makes this a big time nerf for humans, who weren't all that much more powerful than other races to begin with.


You're right, but as it stands, humans are too good. Too many classes are feat-starved. If multiple people at the table are playing humans, the group feels homogenized and uninteresting.

I'd rather bring the human down than the other races up, as most of the other races got plenty of love from Unearthed Arcana and other sourcebooks that gave subraces. (I'm looking at you, elves!)
... I'm sorry, but I'm going to disagree with you on every single one of these points. That bonus feat allows humans to be more diverse in builds than any other race. There is no class that a human can't work to its full potential. That's not true of any other race, to my knowledge. They aren't any more powerful than a well-built character using the same build with traits more tailored to the build.

Furthermore, the party in my 3.5 campaign does not feel "homogenized and uninteresting" in any way. The characters are all completely different; the fighter is a former soldier, pirate and bandit who speaks Elvish more fluently than he speaks Common; the sorcerer was hurled outside the planes and spent several years outside the flow of time listening to the whispers of eldritch beings who told him to defend the Material plane against darkness in the shape of men; the cleric is in the party on the orders of the king, and is acting as their military liaison; the rogue is a bodyguard-servant who has been pulled from his place in the world by an unknown force.
They're all humans.
A "homogenized and uninteresting" party isn't a result of the race they choose, it's a result of the players not making a varied and interesting cast of characters.

Honestly, were this presented as a new race, I'd be perfectly fine with it. However, replacing humans with this does not actually fix any problems with balance. Quite honestly, it seems like it would just encourage thorough abuse of skills. If you can't see a problem with a free +20 to 1+Int skills at level 20, then you need to look at the uses of various skills.
Here's a quick list of the fun this opens up:

It counteracts the penalty for making Diplomacy a single-round action.
Builds like Bubs (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7097263&postcount=38) or the abuse of two characters using Sleight of Hand (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/skills.htm#sleightOfHand).
Use Magic Device for everyone!

That was just off the top of my head and glancing at the SRD.

Yes, it's a cool idea, but this just is not the way to go about bringing down the power level of humans (which is still unnecessary).

Ashtagon
2011-10-13, 02:28 AM
I did a human fix a while back. My approach was different. Rather than make them skill monkeys, I made them the die-hard and the survivor.

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=190157 is the thread.

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10747015&postcount=7 and http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10747015&postcount=41 is my final version.

I'm still torn on whether to use "recover fatigue" or "recover Con + level hp" as the benefit of the second wind/swift recovery mechanic.

Paulcynic
2011-10-13, 02:52 AM
My group rolled up some subordinate characters for a long-running campaign, in which they were given only 15 points to purchase stats. At this point, choosing races based on their stat-mods became paramount, and we saw lots of diversity. One of our better optimizers was torn between playing a human for the bonus feat, or playing an Elf for the +2 Dex and Int. It really mattered. He went with Elf in the end; the deciding factor: more flavor.

I think the real fix here isn't to alter the racial benefits as they're written, but to reduce their stat-pool.

--pc

Eldest
2011-10-13, 10:55 AM
Superior Skills (Ex): At character creation, a human selects one skill, plus one additional skill for each point of Intelligence bonus, if any. He receives a racial bonus to the selected skills equal to his character level.
As I read that, this is... insane. A smart rouge now has 3 or 4 skills they do really well on, as opposed to the other races getting +2 to a couple of skills. I'm not saying that the +2 is the balancing point, but this combined with maxxed ranks in a skill would add up a lot for level appropriate use.

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-13, 11:02 AM
As I read that, this is... insane. A smart rogue now has 3 or 4 skills they do really well on, as opposed to the other races getting +2 to a couple of skills. I'm not saying that the +2 is the balancing point, but this combined with maxxed ranks in a skill would add up a lot for level appropriate use.

Fixed that for you.

Yes, it would. It was my hope that boosting a human's skills would be comparative to the ability score adjustments of other races. And that wasn't even my idea, it was suggested by one of the PEACHers.

Morph Bark
2011-10-13, 11:04 AM
If you want to make humans less "pick your feat out of EVERYTHING" and yet retain your "pick one skill for WIN" that seems to be inherent here, why not help me out create more sub-humans for this project (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=10848960)? :smalltongue:

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-13, 11:05 AM
If you want to make humans less "pick your feat out of EVERYTHING" and yet retain your "pick one skill for WIN" that seems to be inherent here, why not help me out create more sub-humans for this project (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=10848960)? :smalltongue:

Because that would be some major thread necromancy. But I suppose I could PM you my suggestions.

Morph Bark
2011-10-13, 11:29 AM
Because that would be some major thread necromancy. But I suppose I could PM you my suggestions.

I actually just revived it, because while looking over it I got some ideas for feats. xD

Eldest
2011-10-13, 01:50 PM
I can never spell that word right...
Do Varied Background and Able Learner complement each other, or do they just do very similar things?

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-13, 01:54 PM
I can never spell that word right...
Do Varied Background and Able Learner complement each other, or do they just do very similar things?

Able Learner lets you spend 1 skill point per rank on cross-class skills, rather than 2 skill points per rank. (It doesn't increase the maximum ranks you're allowed to have, but it effectively doubles the number of cross-class skills you can pick up, if you are so inclined)

Able Learner is also a prerequisite feat for the extremely versatile Chameleon prestige class (Races of Destiny)

Meanwhile, Varied Background lets you Spellcraft as a rogue, or Climb as a wizard. It makes it a class skill, which lets you put full ranks into it, maximizing its potential.

Eldest
2011-10-13, 02:58 PM
Ok, they do complement then.

137ben
2011-10-14, 02:58 PM
The thing that always bothered me about humans was that the skill bonus increases with level, while no other race has an ability which scales. You have not changed this at all.
Still, this is probably a net nerf to non-skill based humans. I'm just not sure I like skill-monkey builds being even more inclined to play humans.

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-14, 11:10 PM
The thing that always bothered me about humans was that the skill bonus increases with level, while no other race has an ability which scales. You have not changed this at all.
Still, this is probably a net nerf to non-skill based humans. I'm just not sure I like skill-monkey builds being even more inclined to play humans.

That's true, I never thought of that. Still, the effective goal of the skill point increase was to give humans a +2 Int for skill points only, so it's kind of like a stat boost, actually.

And the reason for giving skill-monkeys more options was to give humans their little niche, just like elves play archers and dwarves play tanks. (I know that plenty of races can go outside their niches, but their races do work best in certain roles)

DeAnno
2011-10-14, 11:24 PM
The simplest use of Superior Skills, +20 to Hide at 20 HD, is potentially pretty game wrecking all by itself. Hide is already a lot easier to optimize than Spot, and such a large boost really makes HIPS abuse builds all the more ridiculous.

Not to mention silly stuff like +20 to UMD, Concentration (using Diamond Mind maneuvers), and Truespeak.

I think that bonus should be toned down to +2 to Int mod skills, to put it at the same baseline as the other racial skill bonuses.

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-14, 11:25 PM
The simplest use of Superior Skills, +20 to Hide at 20 HD, is potentially pretty game wrecking all by itself. Hide is already a lot easier to optimize than Spot, and such a large boost really makes HIPS abuse builds all the more ridiculous.

Not to mention silly stuff like +20 to UMD, Concentration (using Diamond Mind maneuvers), and Truespeak.

I think that bonus should be toned down to +2 to Int mod skills, to put it at the same baseline as the other racial skill bonuses.

Alright, that sounds fair.

Andion Isurand
2011-10-15, 02:45 AM
I think Superior Skills, as now written, places undue added pressure on having a high starting Intelligence, and would benefit some classes over others. I would limit it to a +1 racial bonus to checks with any two skills.

Here's a write up, by no means complete, with a couple of abilities to think on.


Medium: As Medium creatures, humans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Human base land speed is 30 feet.

4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level.

At 1st level, a human may choose any two skills. That human gains a +1 racial bonus on checks with the two chosen skills.

At 1st level, a human may choose one ability score. For the purpose of meeting feat prerequisites, that human may treat the chosen ability score as being 2 points higher than it's actual value.

At 1st level, a human may choose one type of saving throw, be it Fortitude, Reflex or Will. That human gains a +1 racial bonus on saving throws of the chosen type.

Automatic Languages: Common and any one other. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic). See the Speak Language skill.

Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass human takes an experience point penalty, his or her highest-level class does not count.


I've also done some revisions and additions for other races here (http://andionisurand.blogspot.com/2011/10/race-revisions-and-additions.html).

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-15, 11:13 AM
I think Superior Skills, as now written, places undue added pressure on having a high starting Intelligence, and would benefit some classes over others. I would limit it to a +1 racial bonus to checks with any two skills.

Here's a write up, by no means complete, with a couple of abilities to think on.


Medium: As Medium creatures, humans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Human base land speed is 30 feet.

4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level.

At 1st level, a human may choose any two skills. That human gains a +1 racial bonus on checks with the two chosen skills.

At 1st level, a human may choose one ability score. For the purpose of meeting feat prerequisites, that human may treat the chosen ability score as being 2 points higher than it's actual value.

At 1st level, a human may choose one type of saving throw, be it Fortitude, Reflex or Will. That human gains a +1 racial bonus on saving throws of the chosen type.

Automatic Language: Common and any one other. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic). See the Speak Language skill.

Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass human takes an experience point penalty, his or her highest-level class does not count.


That looks good, yeah. I'll get some critique on this.

DeAnno
2011-10-15, 01:15 PM
At 1st level, a human may choose one ability score. For the purpose of meeting feat prerequisites, that human may treat the chosen ability score as being 2 points higher than it's actual value.


This reminds me of the 4e model where Humans get +2 to a score of their choice. Unfortunately in 3.5e the default is +2/-2 rather than +2/+2, so its hard to port the idea.

On the other hand, I think a +1 bonus in two skills is insignificant enough to be mostly worthless, and you would be better off going with the one bonus class skill concept.

Andion Isurand
2011-10-15, 01:53 PM
Well, the human is already getting bonus skill points, the +1 bonus just helps the human compete for the best modifier against other races in the chosen skills.

Also, another "benefit" of the thread's premise is that polymorphing to and from human form now has benefits for all races, given that it helps remove debate over whether the human should lose their racial bonus feat (one they might be using for a prerequisite) while other races taking human form gain some racial save and skill bonuses to make up for any they might lose.

And I'd say that a human (or other race) would get to pick new skill/save bonuses each time they alter self or polymorph into a different human form.

As far as whether or not the human should keep/lose their skill points when changing form via polymorph effects... I say let the skill points stand.

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-15, 02:16 PM
This reminds me of the 4e model where Humans get +2 to a score of their choice. Unfortunately in 3.5e the default is +2/-2 rather than +2/+2, so its hard to port the idea.

On the other hand, I think a +1 bonus in two skills is insignificant enough to be mostly worthless, and you would be better off going with the one bonus class skill concept.

Changed the increase ability score back to a skill as a class skill, and increased the racial bonus on skills to +2

Andion Isurand
2011-10-15, 02:20 PM
Changed the increase ability score back to a skill as a class skill, and increased the racial bonus on skills to +2

Um, I wouldn't limit it the class skill selection to the players handbook, especially for the psionic types, lucid dreamers and iaijutsu focus users.

I would keep it at a +1 bonus, given you still want the races like elves to out-listen and out-see humans, or dwarves to outcraft humans using metal and stone.

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-15, 02:29 PM
Um, I wouldn't limit it the class skill selection to the players handbook, especially for the psionic types, lucid dreamers and iaijutsu focus users.


I don't allow Iaijutsu Focus at my table. I don't know what a lucid dreamer is. And if you want Martial Lore or Psicraft, you need to play a class from one of those books. Simple as that. The other races in the PHB were all made to be played core-only, so I made this human fix with that in mind.


I would keep it at a +1 bonus, given you still want the races like elves to out-listen and out-see humans, or dwarves to outcraft humans using metal and stone.

Why? Like what was already stated, a +1 bonus is too low to really be anything more than fluff. This is all supposed to come together to make a human still a viable selection without a +2 bonus to a score or a feat.

Andion Isurand
2011-10-15, 02:37 PM
Why? Like what was already stated, a +1 bonus is too low to really be anything more than fluff. This is all supposed to come together to make a human still a viable selection without a +2 bonus to a score or a feat.

Then what would you plan to do for the half-elves relative to humans?

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-15, 02:38 PM
Then what would you plan to do for the half-elves relative to humans?

Half-elves are already viewed as unplayable. But since you asked, this is what I did for half-elves relative to humans (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=206987).