View Full Version : Racial Breeding Pool?

2011-10-15, 09:22 PM
Alright, we are all familiar with how races get their abilities form a mixture of culture, physical build, and surrounding, right? Has anyone considered making this much more flexible?

Basic breakdown of what I mean:
-Imagine a world where there are seven races, plus humans.
-These races each have set ability score mods, with humans being neutral.
-Each race has two set racial traits such as low-light vision or Dark-vision, powerful build, stone cunning, or spell-like abilities. Humans do not have these.
-Each race has two mutable racial traits, such as bonuses to skill checks or the scent ability, drawn from a pool found within this race (The human bonus feat and skill point bonuses each count as two traits, humans can have these because they lack set racial traits).
-Finally, each race has an origin trait, such as special weapon proficiencies, drawn from a pool dedicated to his homeland.

Here is an example:
Race A is a Rabbit-like race that is nimble but frail.
This race has a +2 to Dexterity but a -2 to Constitution.
It has low-light vision and a higher speed (40 ft) as set racial traits.
It has a [+2 to listen and spot checks], and a [+1 to jump, hide and move silently checks] as mutable racial traits drawn form the Race A Trait Pool (Other abilities include [+2 to Jump and tumble], [+2 to hide and move silently], [+ 1 to Listen, Spot, and Seatch], [1/day expedious retreat], and [+2 on Knowledge (Nature) and Survival])
This one grew up in the Arid Lands, so it chose [Weapon Proficientlcy (Shortbow)] as it's origin trait (Other choices include [Weapon Familiarity (Arid Lands)], [+2 to Ride and Handle Animal], [+4 to resist fatigue from heat], [Endurance], and [+2 to Knowledge (Local) and Knowledge (Nature)])

Race B is a Badger-like race that is stout but not too sociable.
This Race has a +2 to Constitutuin, but a -2 to Charisma and Wisdom.
It had Dark-vision and a burrow speed of 20ft as set racial traits.
It has a [+2 to Listen and search checks] and [scent] as mutable raciat traits.
This one hails from Deep Burrow, so it chose [Stonecunning] as it's origin trait.

Now for the interesting part, cross-breeding!
When two races have an offspring, it will always be the race of the mother. It has all the racial ability changes. However, it can substitute one of it's set racial traits for one from it's fathers. It has the option to choose it's mutable racial traits form either list, and still chooses it's origin trait depending on wherenit grew up.

To clarify: let's assume race A is female and race B is male. They have a child.
This child is Race A, thus has a +2 to Dexterity and a -2 to Constitution.
For set racial traits, it has low-light vision, but decides to swap the boost to speed for the ability to burrow.
It chooses a [+2 to Jump and Tumble] from the Race A Table and [Scent] form the Race B Table.
It grows up in Arid Lands, thus taking [Endurance] as it's origin trait.

For breeding with humans, the offspring can choose to give up both mutable traits to gain either the [Bonus Feat] or [Additional Skill points] (if the offspring is not human), or to give up one of the mentioned abilities to gain two mutable racial traits (if then offspring is human).

This encourages players to think about their heritage and origin more than it does in most other games, since they have to consider where their abilities come from, and also gives a greater coherency to mixed-race communities as a whole since all members share similar abilities though a common culture.
This system also gives an interesting twist to racial politics, since families and clans will marry to get the best "genes" for their heirs.

A bit complicated, I know, but still interesting, yes?

2011-10-16, 01:16 AM
It needs some work... but it looks like it could make some great "half-race" characters, which is always a favorite.

2011-10-16, 02:26 AM
This is pretty much the "rough draft", I'll add races, traits, and origins as I go.
I am, however, taking suggestions. Feel free to suggest an interesting ability or something I could base a race on.

Morph Bark
2011-10-16, 04:47 AM
I'm actually working on something rather similar to this based on an earlier project of mine that was aimed at diversifying humans while taking away their skill point and bonus feat.

2011-10-19, 09:11 PM
Alright, here are the races with their ability modifiers and fixed traits:

Valer (Rabbit folk)

+2 Dex -2 Con
Low-light vision
Base speed 40ft (+10 speed boost)
Medium creatures

Valer are a graceful race that are gifted jumpers and tumblers. They are known for their athleticism, and unfortunately their fragility. They look like slender humans with long bunny ears, thin fingers, and button noses. Their "hair" comes in various tones, mostly black or brown, but sometimes wite or gray. They tend to be flighty folk, always quick to leap into action before thinking things though.

Urserins (Bear folk)

+2 Str -2 Dex
Low-light vision
Powerful Build
Medium creatures

Urserins are powerfully built beings to say the very least, though they tend to be less flexible than other races. They appear to be heavily muscled humanoids with squarely build heads, and flattened noses. Males sport fur along the backs of their arms and legs and tend to have hairy chests. Both males and females sport sideburns. Their hair color varies between black and brown, sometimes even red. They are a good natured race that is slow to anger, but woe to anyone who invokes their wrath.

Grenos (Badger folk)

+2 Con -2 Cha -2 Wis
Darkvision 60ft
20ft burrow speed
Medium creatures

Grenos are creatures known to be tough in battle, and also in conversation. They are skilled fighters, but tend to be very stubborn when committed to a cause, and irritable when others point out their shortcomings or flaws in their logic. Members of this race sport thick fingers with pointed claws. Though not usable as weapons, their hands make excellent tools for digging. They have pointed faces with small ears. Their fair tends to be short, with treks running down their spines, colors ranging generally from black to gray with white steaks.

Muslus (Mouse folk)

+2 Cha +2 Dex -2 Str
Low-light vision
40ft base speed (+10 speed increase)
Small creature

The Muslus are a jolly folk who love singing and dancing. Despite being small in stature, they make up for their lack in size with their quickness and diplomatic ability. Members look like children with large, mouse-like ears. They have slightly pointed noses with males sporting whiskers or mustaches. Their hair ranges from coal gray to almost white, with a few browns and blacks mixed in.

Lovos (Wolf people)

+2 Str -2 Cha -2 Int
Low-light vision
Natural weapons (1 bite 1d6, 2 claws 1d4)
Medium creatures

The wolf people are a proud and mildly savage race, always seeking to prow their superiority. Though skilled in combat, they tend to stile others as brutish and ill-mannered. One should not underestimate their cunning however, as they are more than capable of trickery. Members appear humanoid with slightly hunched forms and pointed ears. Their faces end in muzzles lined with sharp teeth, and their thin, muscled arms end in dexterous hand that sport shark claws. Both sexes sport fur along their arms and legs, and their hair covers much of their backs, ranging in color from gray to red or black.

Agelites (Owl people)

+2 Wis +2 Int -2 Str
Flight (gradual) 30ft (1st level glide, 5th level fly equal number of rounds equal to Con mod per day, 10th level unlimited flight; unable to hover)
Medium creature

Agelites are a wise race, skilled in words and magic. They are scholarly types who use their intellect rather than their strength to win battles. They are skilled archers, using their natural ability to fly to their advantage. They appear as moderately built humans with angular faces, hooked noses,and large eyes. They lack hair, instead having fluffy feathers on their heads that runs to the nap of their necks and range from dust gray to pure white. Instead of feet they have claws, which they use to grab hold of branches. Agelites have large owl-like wings on their backs, which gives them a mildly hunched posture.

Serpertus (Snake people)

+2 Dex -2 Str
Bite (1d4)
Poison (1d6 Dex/1d6 Dex)
Medium creatures

The Serpertus are a sly race. While they are not powerful, they are quick and nimble, using guile and stealth to win battles. They are skilled scouts and spies, adept at bringing victims back alive. They appear as humanoid beings covered in scales that range from green to black, sometimes displaying patterns on their backs. They have vaguely human faces with long fangs and purple forked tongues. They lack noses, instead having two slits for nostrils. Serpertus have digigrade legs and four fingered hands that end in stubby claws. A slim tail protrudes from the base of their spine.

Sciurluls (Squirrel folk)

+2 Dex +2 Int -2 Con
Low-light vision
Climb speed 30ft

Quick is one of the best descriptions for the Sciurluls. Though small, their nimble nature and quick whits make up for their lack in toughness, making them excellent scholars, duelists, and teachers. They generally appear as child-like beings with fuzzy pointed ears, button noses, and moderately sized buckteeth. Their short hair ranges from gray to red, and each member sports a fluffy tail that is almost as long as them. They are a cheerful race, though slightly vain. They tend to be protective of their tails, and take it as a great offense should theirs be yanked.

Turros (Turtle folk)

+2 Con -2 Dex
+2 Natural Armor
Speed 20ft (heavy armor does not slow them down)
Medium creatures

Turros are built tough. While their movements are slow and their reflexes dull, they can wade into battle and duke it out with the best of them. Sadly, this is also true for their mindset. Turros are quite stubborn and slow to change, or make a decision in general. They prefer taking their time to think of every possible solution before deciding on a course of action. A Turro appears as a squat person, unusually short and broad for their age. Generally, the race is bald, featuring a small shell-like pattern on their scalps and tend to have very flat faces. Their necks are oddly log, and they are able to draw them down below their broad shoulders. They have tough hides, a feature that makes up for their lack in quickness.

That's all for now. The next step for me is to develop lists for the mutable traits of each race, then comes the lists for the cities.
Let me know what you all think.

2011-10-19, 10:50 PM
I have a very similar method in my own system, 2d6. If you want to give it a look, hit my sig. I too was always frustrated by the lack of mixability in traditional RPGs, but then I realized something: most races probably couldn't breed. Genetics is a really complex thing, though you could kind of bend the rules by introducing magic to the reproductive process.

2011-10-19, 11:54 PM
With some rats we could get a redwall game together...
Beside the point.
My question is, how can powerful build+low-light vision = a feat?
Humans seem to get the short end of the stick here...

2011-10-20, 12:08 AM
It doesn't. I have not yet posted the mutable racial traits.

If you are wondering how I am judging all of this, I am using a point build system that was published in Complete Races (it is a wonderful way to build races).

Yet, to answer your question, let's assume that this is it. Powerful build is worth 2 points. Low light vision is worth 2 points. The human feat and the skill point bonus are worth 4 points EACH.

I am building my races to work on a 10 point average:
-Ability scorec balance out to 0
-2 set rachal traits worth 2 points each (so 4 total, or a 3 and 1)
-2 mutable racial traits, each worth 2 points (again 4 points total)
-1 origin trait worth 2 points (I will be adding this to humans)

Some small rules that I will be adding to "inheriting" traits are as follows:
-You can only swap out 1 set trait, and it has to be from the original species of the father (so no getting traits from the grandfather)
-Children can choose from the mutable traits of either species of their parents (again, nothing from the grandparent lists)
-Set traits can only be swapped out for similar traits (thus, darkvision can be replaced with low-light vision, but not powerful build). If two traits cover similar abilities, you MUST have at least the lesser of the two.

Hope this clears things up a bit.

2011-10-20, 10:05 AM
What were the writers on then? Powerfull build is nearly woth an LA in and of itself. It grants bounuses on over run, grapple, and weapon damage. It grants all the bonuses of being large whith none of the minuses... the only feat that is comparable, monkey grip, only boosts weapon damage and gives a penalty to hit while doing so.

So an abilaty that outstrips any possible use of another abilaty costs half as much as that abilaty? And this is balanced how?

2011-10-20, 10:16 AM
Are you looking at this from purely a statistical concept, or a practical concept?
Sure, Powerful Build grants those bonuses, but aside from swinging around a Big Stick or in a grapple, the other benefits don't see use very often.
Sure, that trait let's you excell in ONE role quite well, but this trait is almost completely useless for spell casters.

Now, consider the bonus feat for humans. You can use this to fill any number of niches, depending on what you need. It can be anything from a needed prerequisite like power attack to a needed boost like combat reflexes or spell focus. This let's you excel in more roles and situations than Powerful Build.

And think logically: if you know that the enemy swings a Big Stick, you blast him from a diastance! Predictability is a key flaw here.

Also, on a side note, you will notice that the Golioth and Half-Giant (who share this trait) have rather unbalanced ability scores and a couple more potent abilities (stomp anyone?) consider that too please.

2011-10-20, 11:00 AM
But for casters, you have the owls, fire raining from the sky anyone?
The problem is, unless I want to make a camelian, every archatype has a neich race.
So now, who will play a human? No one, as no matter what they want to do another race does it better.

2011-10-20, 06:47 PM
Your players must be very boring if they are unwilling to experiment and mix possibilities.

Consider this: why do so many people play humans in the regular game if they have lots of other good coices to choose from?
Have you every played an elfin fighter, and Orc bard, a halfling barbarian, or a gnome monk? Many people have! Yet human is the most played race because it provides a baseline.

Just because a race excels at a certain job does not mean that it is "locked" into that job with no other possibility. The mouse could easily do as well as the own in spell casting.

In case I haven't explained it clearly before, let me say this again:
The traits posted are called set traits. They can only be swapped out with other set traits. Humans will never get any of them, ever!

I am still working on the mutable racial trait lists, and the origin traits, please hold your judgement as to whether this is still unbalanced until that point.

Thomas Duskwind
2011-10-20, 06:52 PM
Hey have you ever seen a Dwarf Ranger? Cuase in my freinds D&D game we have a dwarf ranger, that was a sight to see! But these rules are interesting. What D&D(like 3, 3.5, 4.0, ect)are they for?

2011-10-20, 07:02 PM
All my work is done within 3.5.
And thank you for validating my point.

2011-10-27, 09:49 AM
Alright, been a while, but here are the mutable traits of the different races:


[+2 listen and spot]
[+2 hide and move silently]
[+2 jump and tumble]
[+2 knowledge (nature) and survival]
[1/day Expedious Retreat]


[+2 Intimidate and handle animal]
[+4 to resist bull rush]
[+2 climb and balance]
[+2 on Saves vs fear]
[1/day Enlarge Person]


[+2 listen and search]
[+2 handle animal and survival]
[+2 move silently and hide]
[+2 saves vs. Enchantment]
[1/day Speak with Animals (badgers only)]


[+2 hide and move silentlu]
[+2 jump and tumble]
[+2 open lock and disable device]
[+2 bluff and diplomacy]
[1/day Invisibility]
[+1 to thrown weapon attacks]


[+2 intimidate and bluff]
[+2 on strength checks to sunder objects]
[+2 on saves vs fear]
[+2 onsaces vs charm]
[1/day Magic Fang]


[+4 jump]
[+2 heal and handle animal]
[+2 spell craft and use magic device]
[+1 spot, listen, and search]
[1/day Goodberry]
[+2 on reflex saves]


[+2 bluff and deplomacy]
[+2 hide and move silently]
[+2 on grapple checks]
[+2 on saves vs poison]
[1/day hypnotism]
[Combat Reflexes]


[+2 jump and tumble]
[+2 diplomacy and sense motive]
[+2 on saves vs charm]
[+2 on reflex saves]
[1/day predigitation, dancing lights, and message]
[Improved Initiative]


[+2 on fort saves]
[+4 to resist bull rush]
[+2 on saves vs charm]
[+1 on all knowledge checks]
[1/day Endure Elements]

Remember, in this system, you choose TWO traits from the list of the race selected (or when cross-breeding, two from the father's list, two from the mother's list, or one from each list). In the case of cross breeding, you can only receive a bonus to any given skill or save only ONCE (so you cannot receive a [+2 to bluff and diplomacy] and a [+2 to bluff and intimidate] because you can only receive a bonus to bluff only once).