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Soepvork
2006-03-20, 09:29 AM
This has probably been discussed before, but what are your thoughts about grey elves as a playable race:

From the SRD:

Gray Elf

Taller and grander in physical appearance than others of their race, gray elves have a reputation for being aloof and arrogant (even by elven standards). They have either silver hair and amber eyes or pale golden hair and violet eyes. They prefer clothing of white, silver, yellow, or gold, with cloaks of deep blue or purple.
Gray Elf Traits (Ex)

These traits are in addition to the high elf traits.

* +2 Intelligence, -2 Strength.

The trade-off of Int for Str bugs me a bit: Isn't a racial bonus to a mental stat a bit too strong to not have a LA? In my opinion, this sub-race is superior to the standard Elf, since I don't see why any spellcaster (and especially a wizard) wouldn't choose the Gray Elf rather than a standard elf since they have no use of Str anyway.

Any thoughts?

Orion-the-G
2006-03-20, 09:32 AM
well, obviously the spellcaster thing only operates for wizards, since they're the only ones who use Int as a major part of their spells. That said the Strength rather than Con penalty would be very attractive.

But really is it any worse than half orcs for barbarians? since a barbarian has very little use for Int and Cha but a lot for strength. Heck from the half orc indication +2 to strength is worth 2 mental ability decreases. so it should balance out easily.

Yuki Akuma
2006-03-20, 09:33 AM
Well, the -2 Con still hurts (remember, most elf subraces still have the +2 Dex -2 Con, unless it specifically says they don't... and grey elves don't say the ability score adjustments replace the high elf's. They're in addition to them.)...

Goumindong
2006-03-20, 09:33 AM
Yes, just about any bonus to a spellcasting determining stat warrants at LEAST +1 LA

Goumindong
2006-03-20, 09:38 AM
well, obviously the spellcaster thing only operates for wizards, since they're the only ones who use Int as a major part of their spells. That said the Strength rather than Con penalty would be very attractive.

But really is it any worse than half orcs for barbarians? since a barbarian has very little use for Int and Cha but a lot for strength. Heck from the half orc indication +2 to strength is worth 2 mental ability decreases. so it should balance out easily.

Yes, but YOU decide the race and class.

This is important, it also hints at why half-orcs are less often sorcerers and wizards, and more often fighters and barbarians.

Some races are better than others at certian things, however since any spellcaster would almost always choose that grey elf over any other race, it requires an LA. 90% of fighters and barbarians arent half-orcs are there? Cause in that system nearly all grey elves would be wizards and nearly all wizards grey elves.

Soepvork
2006-03-20, 09:39 AM
Well, I agree that the -2 str, +2 int part is very useful for wizards, but I still see it as a favorable trade-off for most other spell-caster classes, since these tend to stray far away from combat (thus, little use for 2 strenght), but still get a +2 int for skills...Therefore, I see no reason why spellcasters would not take up a grey elf


Edit:
I think Goumindong summarizes my line of thought a bit more clearly :)

Yuki Akuma
2006-03-20, 09:41 AM
Well, I agree that the -2 str, +2 int part is very useful for wizards, but I still see it as a favorable trade-off for most other spell-caster classes, since these tend to stray far away from combat (thus, little use for 2 strenght), but still get a +2 int for skills...Therefore, I see no reason why spellcasters would not take up a grey elf



..Because -2 Con really hurts sorcerers, and -2 Str really hurts divine spellcasters. Bards would get some use out of it, what with the +2 Dex...

Soepvork
2006-03-20, 09:45 AM
..Because -2 Con really hurts sorcerers, and -2 Str really hurts divine spellcasters. Bards would get some use out of it, what with the +2 Dex...

Maybe I'm not too clear on this:
basically, I mean the trade-off between a normal elf and a grey elf when deciding to play a wizard/sorceror: since you've already decided to play an elf (and therefore accepted the -2 con), I see no reason not to take the -2 Str as well for the more usefull +2 Int.

Basically, in my opinion the grey elf renders the normal elf obsolete for (most) spellcasting classes (even a number of divine spellcasting classes, shugenja and wu-jen (CD) come to mind, basically all spellcasting classes who rely pretty much only on spells)

Dhavaer
2006-03-20, 09:50 AM
When you consider that the standard elf is the second worst from the PHB for arcane casters, is it really so bad? Sure you'd always play one if you had to be an elf, but I'd submit that gnomes make just as good wizards as grey elves.

The White Knight
2006-03-20, 09:52 AM
I honestly don't see what all the fuss is about with mental stat bonuses "deserving at LEAST a +1 LA OMGZ0rZ!!1".

Races are tuned toward particular classes, that's why favored classes exist. Yes, the gray elf makes an ideal wizard, just like (as was argued before) a half-orc makes a fantastic barbarian. What's that? Those are those races' favored classes? Wow... who'd have thunk it.

An extra skill point and +1 spell DC? Whoopdedoo. A +2 strength gets you higher carrying capacity, higher to hit and higher damage output (something that is more repeatable than spells, especially at low levels where these racial ability bonuses really make the difference anyways).

In my humble opinion, it balances out. The DMG even says that physical bonuses actually outweigh mental bonuses, although I'd argue they're about identical when put into the hands (or minds, depending on which abilities we're talking about :P) of the appropriate classes.

Bizwacky
2006-03-20, 09:56 AM
I'd tend to agree with White Knight here, I mean Dwarves racial stats are excellent for any martial class with virtually no trade off, but you don't see all the martial classes playing as dwarves.

Goumindong
2006-03-20, 10:01 AM
I'd tend to agree with White Knight here, I mean Dwarves racial stats are excellent for any martial class with virtually no trade off, but you don't see all the martial classes playing as dwarves.

Because all the others offer similar bonuses...

Soepvork
2006-03-20, 10:06 AM
I honestly don't see what all the fuss is about with mental stat bonuses "deserving at LEAST a +1 LA OMGZ0rZ!!1".

Races are tuned toward particular classes, that's why favored classes exist. Yes, the gray elf makes an ideal wizard, just like (as was argued before) a half-orc makes a fantastic barbarian. What's that? Those are those races' favored classes? Wow... who'd have thunk it.

An extra skill point and +1 spell DC? Whoopdedoo. A +2 strength gets you higher carrying capacity, higher to hit and higher damage output (something that is more repeatable than spells, especially at low levels where these racial ability bonuses really make the difference anyways).

In my humble opinion, it balances out. The DMG even says that physical bonuses actually outweigh mental bonuses, although I'd argue they're about identical when put into the hands (or minds, depending on which abilities we're talking about :P) of the appropriate classes.

well, thank you for depicting me as an idiot during several points of your post.

As for the +2 str, it gets "higher carrying capacity, higher to hit and higher damage output". What spellcaster actually cares about these?

When viewed from another perspective: if mental stats bonuses should be common option, why do none of the PHB-races include a mental stat bonus? In my opinion, this is due to the (overlooked) option of age categories: if you want a bonus to a mental stat, either accept a LA, or deal with the fact that you can always boost mental stats in general at the expense of physical stats in general, rather than getting a bonus to a specific mental stat and a penalty to a specific physical stat


(Let me not forgot to mention that I really do appreciate everyone's input here, it gives some clear arguements to think about. Thanks.)

Catch
2006-03-20, 10:27 AM
It's a 1 for 1 trade, one pysical for one mental, so by default, it's fair. *The reason other races with mental bonuses have a LA is that they ususally have other powerful abilities, or a lack of equivalent penalties. (ie, Drow, Aasiamar). *There are other races (ie, not in the PHB) that have mental ability bonuses without a LA, I believe. *Edit: *Sun Elves. They're in the Forgotten Realms setting. *-2 Con, +2 Int.

The PHB is supposed to be a basic group of races that most (inexperienced) folk would want to play at first glance. *Half-Orcs and Dwarves for strength and toughness, Elves and Halflings for finesse, and Half-Elves and Gnomes for flavor. *It's pretty straight-foward. *If you have a min-maxing mindset, though (at this point, we all do), then you're going to try and make the 20 int wizard at first level, and it's going to look like an overpowered race.

The J Pizzel
2006-03-20, 10:49 AM
I'm not a number cruncher but I can tell the wizzie in my goup plays a grey elf wizard/druid/arcane hierophant - and he wouldn't have it any other way. I think its worked very well for him. He never goes to combat so his -str. didn't hurt him one bit. The dex and int bonuses help with his spells and allows for better ranged touch. Needless to say, he's tearing it up.

Ikkitosen
2006-03-20, 11:29 AM
I don't think grey elves are any more overpowered than, say, halflings, who if played as a rogue get a great stat bonus and an almost meaningless stat penalty (weapon finesse and sneak attack largely negate the need for strength). Yes, halflings make great rogues (and above average most things) but that's just what they do. Heck they even get +1 to hit and AC and a slew of save bonuses and such.

I certainly like grey elves a lot, but I don't think they need LA>0!

AmoDman
2006-03-20, 11:53 AM
Sheesh, what's with all the fuss? Every stat is important to -some- class. Just because in is the shizzat for wizards makes grey elves overpowered? Ya, ok, Int adds a skill point per lvl and 1 spell DC, Str adds capacity dmg & to hit, dex adds AC reflex and finesse, con adds fort and hp, cha adds...well sorcers and bards sure seem to like cha, they ALL have VERY good benefits for their prefferred classes. So because one race adds to the wizard's important stat it MUST HAVE LA! (an adjustment worth an entire lvl, mind you) Ya...no.

Toliudar
2006-03-20, 12:20 PM
I think that, balance issue aside, the fluff can save Grey Elf wizards from taking over the world (having said that, I'm playing one in a PBP who would very much like to do just that). Played as written, grey elves are aloof, arrogant, almost completely detached from other people, and...well, not likely to get invited to too many parties. Mechanically, elves are rarely an optimum build for ANY class, so if someone's playing an elf, it's probably because of a vision of the character.

I'll let the fact that, of the many, many games going on on these boards, I've only run across a handful of grey elves. They are no more disproportionately represented than are dwarven clerics, halfling rogues or non-grey-elf rangers.

Elurindel
2006-03-20, 12:39 PM
I'd tend to agree with White Knight here, I mean Dwarves racial stats are excellent for any martial class with virtually no trade off, but you don't see all the martial classes playing as dwarves.

I find dwarves make better wizards and possibly rogues.

Orion-the-G
2006-03-20, 12:41 PM
Dwarves make great anything that doesn't use charisma. They get a bonus to con, if any stat bonus should get a level adj. it's that. (not that I'm saying dwarves should so don't start debating that) Everyone loves more Con.

AmoDman
2006-03-20, 01:09 PM
Dwarves make great anything that doesn't use charisma. They get a bonus to con, if any stat bonus should get a level adj. it's that. (not that I'm saying dwarves should so don't start debating that) Everyone loves more Con.

Exactly. It's useful to all classes, not just one...

The White Knight
2006-03-20, 01:22 PM
well, thank you for depicting me as an idiot during several points of your post.

As for the +2 str, it gets "higher carrying capacity, higher to hit and higher damage output". What spellcaster actually cares about these?

When viewed from another perspective: if mental stats bonuses should be common option, why do none of the PHB-races include a mental stat bonus? In my opinion, this is due to the (overlooked) option of age categories: if you want a bonus to a mental stat, either accept a LA, or deal with the fact that you can always boost mental stats in general at the expense of physical stats in general, rather than getting a bonus to a specific mental stat and a penalty to a specific physical stat


(Let me not forgot to mention that I really do appreciate everyone's input here, it gives some clear arguements to think about. Thanks.)


Hahaha, I'm really sorry if you interpreted my post as an attack toward you. It most certainly was not intended as such, and I apologize for any miscommunication. I was merely using a form of rather abrasive emphasis to highlight my feelings on the debate (one that I've seen argued many a time and have never fully understood the reasoning behind).

The +2 to strength and the accompanying benefits were with reference to any of the numerous martial classes, not spellcasters. I was just saying "hey, fighters get these with their +2 str bonus, and they're pretty sweet. I don't hear anybody complain about +2 str needing a LA".

With regard to your last comment, I will partially agree with you. However, while knowledge, wisdom, and grace are all things that come with age (as reflected by mental bonuses with aging), there ARE people who are simply born with the knack for certain things. For example, I know several people with brilliant mathematical minds (+2 int?) who have no common sense whatsoever (-2 wis?).

It only seems reasonable that an entire race of people with a natural inclination for such things as logic, calculation, formulation, etc. might exist, reflecting a +2 racial int. bonus. Particularly with races with an age of adulthood over 100, such as elves. My argument (which was what I thought the purpose of this thread was intended to be) was that such a bonus IS, in fact, statistically balanced within the ruleset of the game, and does not necessarily warrant a level adjustment if properly offset by appropriate disadvantages (like a -2 str).

Gmonkey
2006-03-20, 01:23 PM
Personally I'd feel the problem is that gray elves get 2 bonuses to stats, rather than 1. Although there's an equal number of penalties, as people have said the penalties have little bearing on the favoured class of wizard and so don't balance the extra bonus.

Dex and Int, both extremely useful
Str not particularly, Con can be useful but not essential

Nolfar
2006-03-20, 01:25 PM
3.5 dwarven rogue/fighters are tecncially broken per RAW actually, but most people don't pause to think about it. Mithril Full Plate (or tecnically any armor, but MFP gives +8 AC, allows +3 dex and doesn't have THAT bad of an ACP and can tecnically get Heavy Armor Optimization) in the hands of a dwarf with ranks in tumble means a mobile tank with sneak attack dice and the speed of a halfling (remember, Tumble isn't prohibited if you are wearing med/heay armor, it's prohibited if your movement is hindered).... But I digress. That said though, grey-elves actually aren't overpowered in my opinion. Taking a double hit on the two more important physical scores, or at least the most important (Con) and the score you most want above 10 (str) honestly breaks it a bit even with the +1 save DC and 1 bonus spell at level 1. Actually, I'd almost rather play any race other than one taking a hit on int for a wizard or other int-based caster. Also remember folks, that str hit affects your Melee Attack Bonus for those touch spells (and at low levels especally, those go FAR further than ranged spells, especally as you can hold the charge on a touch spell, but not a ranged touch).

Chris_Chandler
2006-03-20, 01:47 PM
I know I'm late in for the discussion here, but I tend to agree that the Grey Elf is, yes, attractive to use for a wizard, but not overpowered. I can't conceive of a reason why to raise LA for an ability modifier alone, especially when another ability is penalized. Is it a true "one to one" trade-off, when the question is one of arcane class preference? No, but it's a slippery slope. The Grey Elf might be more effective in actually casting the spells, but the Str and Con hits are not going to go unnoticed. It actually tends to pigeonhole the Grey elf into being a caster, and keeps it from going into any martial class, in the same way that the half-orc's unfortunate build makes it even a tertiary choice for being a druid (wild empathy being Cha-based) or cleric (again, turning being Cha-based).

Ikkitosen
2006-03-20, 03:38 PM
I'm playing a grey elf invisible blade in a game, no spellcasting ability whatsoever. Grey elves - not just wizards!

The White Knight
2006-03-20, 04:09 PM
Yeah, we have a grey elf rogue in a game I'm playing.

Orion-the-G
2006-03-20, 04:22 PM
yeah, logically they'd make an even better non-melee rogue than they would a wizard.

Munchy
2006-03-20, 04:44 PM
I don't see how one could argue that Grey elves are overpowered unless one also takes the stand that Dwarves and Halflings are overpowered.

If I was going to be a rogue why on earth would I pick something other than a halfling? (Assuming PHB races only). I get +1 to ALL saves, and bonuses to tons of the relevant rogue skills.

If I was going to be a Con based tank why would I choose anything but a Dwarf? The only drawback is the -2 Cha, and lets face it, that aint that big of a deal. There will be someone else in your party who has far better charisma and more ranks in the relevant skills to handle all critical interactions. 95% of the time your lower charisma will be inconsequential. If your campaign focuses for on combat and less on RP then it will be utterly inconsequential.

Does the Grey Elf seem nicer for casters? Sure. If you're concerned that every caster in your campaign will become a Gery Elf just for that bonus then introduce a new Feat available only at lvl 1 that gives you a +2 to Int with some minor drawback (Only available for races with no Int bonus).

Meepo
2006-03-20, 09:21 PM
If I was going to be a rogue why on earth would I pick something other than a halfling? (Assuming PHB races only). I get +1 to ALL saves, and bonuses to tons of the relevant rogue skills.

Lack of darkvision, for one thing. It's hard to scout ahead of the party and be sneaky when you have to carry around a torch with you.

Dhavaer
2006-03-20, 09:27 PM
And if you're going to go straight wizard or sorcerer, PHB only, the only reason not to be a gnome or halfling is roleplay and backstory reasons.
The +2 Con or +1 to all saves and small size is as good or better than +2 Int.

malcolm
2006-03-20, 09:49 PM
+2 INT is way overpowered without having a LA. Int is the best overall stat to have a high score in during character generation for two reasons:

1. Lots of skill points at level 1, and extra skills each level after that.

2. You cannot retroactively gain skill points from previous levels by putting on a magical item that raises your INT.

Constitution is arguably just as important to have a high score in for certain classes for the same reasons. However, I maintain that the overall benefit that a character gains from extra skill points and available feats with INT makes it the best general-use stat, especially when rolling up a new character.

Also, there really is no substitute for organically earned skill points. A character with few HP or low DEX can make up for it with a high AC or good Damage reduction for example. You can grab an item that adds +WIS +STR or +CHA at any point you want and still gain the full benefit. But to gain the maximum utility from INT (and to a lesser extent CON), your character needs to get that score high as early as possible.

Gildes
2006-03-20, 09:59 PM
Grey Elves are certainly far to weak for LA+1. Are you proposing to ban them outright or to change them? Adding 1LA but otherwise leaving them as they are doesn't make much sense because no one would ever take them.

For my part I think Grey Elf Wizards are a bit too powerfull, but still acceptable. Being so clearly superior to High Elves in in High Elves favoured class is a problem, though. There should be some advantage to playing a High Elf Wizard compared to a Grey Elf.

Dhavaer
2006-03-20, 10:01 PM
The thing is, though, that every PHB race except half-orcs are demonstably superior wizards than High Elves. As least Grey Elves can match up to Dwarves and Halflings.

Munchy
2006-03-20, 10:03 PM
Malcolm : hrm...can't tell if you're serious or just messing around...

I think that several of the races in the PHB are broken in that they are much better than other races as choices for specific roles.

How hard would it be modify character creation so that at Lvl1 you get to buy all features from a special list of feats and abilities? Put all these abilities into a list, and determining the amount that someone is allowed to buy for an LA of 0, +1, +2...

You average member of that race might have the abilities listed in the PHB racial description, but the PCs are hardly average. This way everyone can buy whatever abilities they want and choose the race solely based on fluff and RP criteria not on other considerations. This would help widen the variety of class/race combinations we see and avoid the typical racial meta-reasoning (E.g. I'd like to be a elven fighter but that -2 Con really hurts...I guess I'll be a dwarf).

Gildes
2006-03-20, 10:05 PM
The thing is, though, that every PHB race except half-orcs are demonstably superior wizards than High Elves. As least Grey Elves can match up to Dwarves and Halflings.
Maybe High Elves favoured class should be changed, perhaps to Ranger? But then Wood Elves make better Rangers...

Dhavaer
2006-03-20, 10:11 PM
Wilderness Rogue, I think. They make good Rogues, and Wilderness Rogue fits the fluff.

Gildes
2006-03-20, 10:18 PM
Wilderness Rogue, I think. They make good Rogues, and Wilderness Rogue fits the fluff.
I think Grey Elves are better Rogues, though. Is there anything High Elves are not clearly inferior to a subrace at? Probably not.

Dhavaer
2006-03-20, 10:20 PM
I'd say they're both good, depending on what kind of rogue you want.
But yeah, subraces do tend to outdo the base.

Gildes
2006-03-20, 10:23 PM
How hard would it be modify character creation so that at Lvl1 you get to buy all features from a special list of feats and abilities? Put all these abilities into a list, and determining the amount that someone is allowed to buy for an LA of 0, +1, +2...

You average member of that race might have the abilities listed in the PHB racial description, but the PCs are hardly average. This way everyone can buy whatever abilities they want and choose the race solely based on fluff and RP criteria not on other considerations. This would help widen the variety of class/race combinations we see and avoid the typical racial meta-reasoning (E.g. I'd like to be a elven fighter but that -2 Con really hurts...I guess I'll be a dwarf). Interesting, but a bit complicated. It's somewhat like the Racial Paragon classes I think. Maybe thats the solution for High Elves vs subraces: Make them racial Paragon classes.

AmoDman
2006-03-20, 10:25 PM
Is there anything High Elves are not clearly inferior to a subrace at? Probably not.

They're better than hald elves...*crickets*

Orion-the-G
2006-03-21, 06:57 AM
The skill arguement doesn't hold water, Skills are generally helpful but only reasonably useful to a few classes. Most other classes either have such a small list of usefull skills that it's irrelevant or simply don't need skills to begin with.

While again, everybody uses hit points. And plenty of races, like halflings, get way more skill bonuses than the amount of points you would gain for a +1 Int mod. In fact you'll notice in the DMG that Intelligence (along with wisdom or charisma) are considered the weakest scores substitution wise. According to them the Grey elves are getting just a bit screwed.

Darkie
2006-03-21, 07:32 AM
As for the +2 str, it gets "higher carrying capacity, higher to hit and higher damage output". What spellcaster actually cares about these?
All of mine.
Any who don't aren't following carrying/encumberance rules, or are at least level 6 with Holding items.
...and grabbed Weapon Finesse for touch attacks.

paigeoliver
2006-03-21, 08:35 AM
The Living Greyhawk campaign uses two styles of elves.

Grey Elves. -2 str, -2 con, +2 dex, +2 int
Wood Elves -2 int, -2 con, +2 str, +2 dex

Even with those highly munchkinable choices available I still don't see an overabundance of elves. Most wizards I see are not grey elves and most archers I see are not wood elves.

If anything I see more dwarven and gnomish wizards than elven ones.

Sure, that grey elf wizard has great spell DCs, but he is going to die. He will probably have a 10 con at best. At 4th level that is 13 hit points. He is down in one hit, possibly dead.

I see a lot more of the 14, 16, or 18 con gnomish and dwarven wizards who have a metric ton of hit points and would reduce that grey elf wizard to a pile of dust because they can kill them with one spell, even if they MAKE their save.

squishycube
2006-03-21, 09:12 AM
Funny how usually when someone makes a race with a bonus to a mental stat the only reaction is: "a +2 to a mental stat gives +1 LA", but now there is a thread about it, almost everyone says otherwise...

Anyway, I'm in the same camp as most people here, I'd much rather (from a power gaming perspective) play a dwarven wizard then an elven wizard.

Now I'm onto it, lets go through the list:
Elven Barbarian. No thanks, I'll go with Dwarf (of half-orc of course)
Elven Bard. This might work, although gnome or halfling is probably better. Bards are underpowered anyway...
Elven Cleric. Still I would rather play a dwarf.
Elven Druid. Well, yeah. Con penalty gets wild shaped away, but so does the dex bonus. Human is better I think
Elven Fighter. Bring on the Dwarves!
Elven Monk. Con penalties suck and again a dwarf would be a better choice
Elven Paladin. Still no, con penalties are just no-go for a meleeist
Elven Ranger. Archer Ranger, maybe, but two-weapon ranger no way.
Elven Rogue. Halfling, duh
Elven Sorcerer. Gnome is better. So is Halfling
Elven Wizard. Still beaten by the gnome.

So, now that we've established that elves actually suck at everything, (And thus, so do Grey Elves, since they get the same penalty to con) I can no longer agree with anyone who says that a +2 to a mental stat warrants a +1 LA.
Quite the opposite: I'd say that a bonus to constitution is much more powerful and that measly (sp?) penalty to charisma doesn't mean anything to most classes.

Ayana
2006-03-21, 11:24 AM
If you are following all rules (like weight capacity, encumberance, food, water, coin weight) then a -2 STR penalty does count even for casters. it's the difference between 33lb light load (100 lb max load) at a STR of 10 and 26lb light load (80 lb max load) at a STR of 8.

Quarterstaff (incl. magical staves) 4lb
Spellbook (and remember the # of pages used too!, your wizard might need several) 3lb
Spell component pocuh 2lb
250 assorted coins 5lb
Food for 5 days 5lb
Waterskin 4lb
Backpack 2lb

That is already 25lb of gear, without ANY loot being hauled back, any potions, scrolls, scrollcases, wands, soap (stinky wizard!), rope, a source of light that works in AM areas, a bedroll / tent, and so on.

Sure, you can carry more and be med/heavy encumbered, but that puts your speed at 20' and that's something a smart DM will take advantage of. As fragile as wizards are up close being unable to stay away even from a plate clad warrior (much less say a 40' speed barbarian) isn't a smart thing to do if the DM plays the game right.


Another thing is a CON penalty hurts bad for a d4 class which in average gets 2.5 hp per level. Having 2 less CON that they could means they could be almost halving their HPs!


My group has had grey elves allowed in all but one of the campaigns we played and they've been the minority of casters / wizards in favor of humans and gnomes.

Ikkitosen
2006-03-21, 03:38 PM
They make good warmages too; despite the lack of a cha bonus they get better warmage edge, better ranged touch attacks and D6 hit die and armour to aid their survivability. Carrying capacity, esp. with armour, is once more a problem though :-/

Toxic Avenger
2006-03-21, 03:39 PM
They make decent swashbucklers as well, once they get to 3rd level. (And then multiclass, of course. ;) )

PedanticTwit
2006-03-21, 07:00 PM
Personally I'd still play a human rather than a grey elf.

The last "What type of gamer are you?" test I took pegged me at 92% Power Gamer, so take that how you will.

malcolm
2006-03-21, 11:58 PM
No I'm not messing around, I honestly do think that INT is one of the best stats to have at a low level. The biggest reason I think this is that of all the stats, only INT and CON require you to be low level to gain the biggest benefits.

I agree that gray elf as it is currently written is too weak for a +1 LA, but it's too strong for no LA at all. I guess it matters what campaign you are running when comparing the benefit of HP vs. skill points. Lots of combat obviously favors HP. But I don't know of a single lv 20 barbarian that wouldn't enjoy 23 extra skill points (from just +2 INT at character creation).

Orion-the-G
2006-03-22, 12:04 AM
And honestly I don't know one that would trade 20 hit points to get them.

EDIT: and to be honest, look at the dwarves and the halflings. Can you seriously tell me that the grey elves are more unbalancing than they are? I mean it's all well and good to say Int gives the most benefit at low level but at most it gives 4 skill points at first. The halfing alone recieves a total of +4 to hide, +2 to listen, Move Silently, jump, and Climb. That's a total of 10 skill points saved (or gained depending on how you look at them) and that's not even considering that Dex applies to something like half the skills in the game. It's fine to say that by 20th level +1 int turns into 23 skill points but you don't take into account diminishing returns. Especially when you consider magic items, improved attribute bonuses, and all the rest 1 skill point at each level becomes increasingly less meaningful.

Munchy
2006-03-22, 12:12 AM
No I'm not messing around, I honestly do think that INT is one of the best stats to have at a low level. *The biggest reason I think this is that of all the stats, only INT and CON require you to be low level to gain the biggest benefits.

I agree that gray elf as it is currently written is too weak for a +1 LA, but it's too strong for no LA at all. *I guess it matters what campaign you are running when comparing the benefit of HP vs. skill points. *Lots of combat obviously favors HP. *But I don't know of a single lv 20 barbarian that wouldn't enjoy 23 extra skill points (from just +2 INT at character creation).

Unless you have truly massive amounts of RP in your campaign and little combat I find it difficult to believe that anyone would trade HP for skill points on a 1-1 basis, specially if you already have a skill monkey somewhere in your party. A wizard that has lousy HP to begin with would gladly forsake skillpoint for HP on a 1-1 basis. Try introducing a system where a character can trade skill point for HP on a 1-1 basis and see what happens.

Edit : You'd see rogues with a boatload of HP and high level Wizards/Psions would have truly gratuitous amounts of HP. Talk about milking that 36 Int for all its worth!

AvangionQ
2008-04-12, 03:35 AM
I usually allow Grey Elves, with the standard Elf package, except that their racial modifiers are:
-2 Strength, -2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence ... in other words, lose the usual Elven bonus to Dexterity ...

ZekeArgo
2008-04-12, 03:51 AM
But the real balancing factor is this: to be a Grey Elf, you have to be the guy at the table playing an effing *elf*

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-04-12, 03:54 AM
2 years! WHY?

GoodbyeSoberDay
2008-04-12, 04:03 AM
In terms of power, you're probably better off playing a Human (or, better yet, a Strongheart Halfling) wizard over a Grey Elf wizard. Feats can be devastatingly good.

Now, the question is, should Humans get a +1 LA? :smallbiggrin:

Nebo_
2008-04-12, 04:29 AM
Now, the question is, should Humans get a +1 LA? :smallbiggrin:

I disagree. The right question was already asked by Sstoopidtallkid.

ZekeArgo
2008-04-12, 05:01 AM
Wow... I hadn't even noticed that.

Thats some *deep* necromancy there.

GoodbyeSoberDay
2008-04-12, 05:04 AM
This is worse than getting rick rolled.

Talya
2008-04-12, 05:58 AM
Human is still better, so what's the problem?

Talya
2008-04-12, 06:00 AM
I usually allow Grey Elves, with the standard Elf package, except that their racial modifiers are:
-2 Strength, -2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence ... in other words, lose the usual Elven bonus to Dexterity ...

Forgotten Realms setting doesn't have Gray Elves, but the equivalent Sun Elves are -2 con, +2 int. (And Star Elves are -2 con, +2 cha).

AvangionQ
2008-04-12, 07:11 AM
Forgotten Realms setting doesn't have Gray Elves, but the equivalent Sun Elves are -2 con, +2 int. (And Star Elves are -2 con, +2 cha).

That's true, but Forgotten Realms isn't the standard campaign setting ...
-
P.S., thread necromancy? I came to this page after doing a Google search for: D20 "Grey Elf" "playable race"
This was actually before I started looking to see if there were any 4E pre-release notes on Grey Elves ...

Talya
2008-04-12, 07:46 AM
That's true, but Forgotten Realms isn't the standard campaign setting ...


Moreso than Greyhawk is.

Eclipse
2008-04-12, 10:10 AM
No I'm not messing around, I honestly do think that INT is one of the best stats to have at a low level. The biggest reason I think this is that of all the stats, only INT and CON require you to be low level to gain the biggest benefits.

I agree that gray elf as it is currently written is too weak for a +1 LA, but it's too strong for no LA at all. I guess it matters what campaign you are running when comparing the benefit of HP vs. skill points. Lots of combat obviously favors HP. But I don't know of a single lv 20 barbarian that wouldn't enjoy 23 extra skill points (from just +2 INT at character creation).

There are a few points to make here. First, if you just want the 23 skill points over 20 levels, and don't care about the spellcasting, a human makes a far better choice. They get 4 bonus skill points at level one, and 1 at every level thereafter, the same as for having a +2 int. In addition, they don't take a hit to con (-20 hp over 20 levels) or str, and they only give up a bonus to dex, which you may or may not care about, depending on your playstyle and class. Not only that, they get a bonus feat too. Sweet deal!

That said, grey elves make an excellent choice for a wizard, though I'd say not much else. After all, if you want more skill points, just play a human. +1 to saving throw DCs is very good, as are the extra bonus spells you get (or single bonus spell at low levels). I'd take that trade for the con, but short of something that awesome, I'm not trading away hit points, the lifeblood of a character. As for the skill points, that's a bonus. And humans get the same skill point bonus with no con penalty.

Dwarves are a solid choice for any class that doesn't primarily use charisma. That is, any class that isn't bard or sorcerer. And even then, I know many players who'll take the extra hit points for the hit to charisma. Their primary spellcasting stat. As for clerics, does anyone really use turn undead to actually turn undead anymore? Because I know I use mine for divine metamagic feats now, or trade it away for aura of courage and smite evil as per one of Unearthed Arcana's variants. So I don't care about charisma too much.

Gnomes make an excellent choice for any spellcaster that doesn't melee, once again for con. The take a hit to strength, and their small size means they get smaller, less damaging weapons. Not a problem if you're a social bard or death raining sorcerer/wizard. Did I mention the extra con means more hit points for that d4/d6 hit die?

So yes, gray elves are good in limited circumstances, particularly playing a wizard. Perhaps some skill oriented rogues or bards who don't want to give up their dex bonus for more skill points.

And half-orcs are good for the types who hit hard and don't need intelligence and charisma, which covers most melee classes. Dwarves are good for anyone who needs to be able to take a hit, which covers everyone, unless they need charisma, which primarily excludes two classes. Gnomes are good for anyone who needs to take a hit and has means of dealing damage other than a weapon, such as a wizard, sorcerer, or rogue. Halflings are the best rogues ever, unless you want the grey elf int bonus for skill points to go with the dex bonus. But then you're squishy, so it balances out. Humans can be made to fit any role, depending on where you put the bonus skill points and what you take for a bonus feat. As for half-elves, why-oh-why would you play one? Except for roleplaying purposes of course.

So gray elves or highly specialized, but have appropriate penalties to make it a careful choice to play one, rather than an absolute certainty.

I'd say a wizard is no more likely to be a gray elf than a barbarian is to be a half-orc.

Squash Monster
2008-04-12, 10:15 AM
Necromancy aside, does it bug anyone else that only one person mentioned humans? The biggest detractor of grey elves was basing his opinion on the extra four skill points, which humans get too. If you look at what a grey elf wizard gets compared to a human, you get:

+1 to save DCs
one more spell per day
+1 to hit with rays
+1 to AC
-1 hit point per level
lower carrying capacity
one less feat

Now personally, I would not burn a feat to get the four benefits. Getting them at the price of a hit point per level sounds awful.

The only elves I would consider playing are wood and fire, personally.


EDIT: And people keep saying dwarves are good for any class that does not use charisma. This is incorrect. They also make really lousy scouts. Nitpick, nitpick.

togapika
2008-04-12, 11:23 AM
I feel the problem, is that if a numbers runner is going to play a non-spellcaster, it's usually a human for the bonus feat.
Half-Orcs suckage aside, even though races like say the halfling have a lot of useful rouge related bonuses, they can't be good without the weapon finesse feat, which wastes a slot, and doesn't give them dex to damage

The ability to have a better int helps not only the saves, but also spells per day, etc.

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-04-12, 11:44 AM
That +2 to int gives +1 to saves and an extra 1st level spell at level 1.

At level 6, +1 to saves and an extra 2nd level spell.

At level 12, +1 to saves and an extra 1st and 5th level spell.

at level 20, +1 to saves and an extra 1st and 9th level spell.

+2 Int is just straight better then the extra slot feat at every level. Of course there are a lot of better feats then extra slot.

Elves also get access to options that Humans don't. It all depends on how you want to build your Wizard, but both are basically comparable. Of course, if you want to get really messed up, Elves get more feats then Humans because of the Chaos Shuffle. But that doesn't come up often.

Chronos
2008-04-12, 12:09 PM
If Grey Elves are reasonable for LA 0, then why do blues (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/monsters/blue.htm) have a level adjustment? Their only bonus is to Int, and they have two penalized scores. Granted, small size is nice for a caster, but none of their other racial traits are worth much.

As for the DMG saying that adjustments to mental scores are worth more than adjustments to physical scores, the DMG is just plain wrong. Casters are more powerful than non-casters (a point not acknowledged by the DMG), and casters are the ones who use the mental ability scores, so bonuses to mental scores are more powerful than bonuses to physical scores.

Talya
2008-04-12, 12:09 PM
Elves also get access to options that Humans don't.

Elf Generalist in Races of the Wild look like wonderful wizard substitution levels. (The first two, anyway.)

Talya
2008-04-12, 12:22 PM
If Grey Elves are reasonable for LA 0, then why do blues (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/monsters/blue.htm) have a level adjustment? Their only bonus is to Int, and they have two penalized scores.

They may not be, but ability score modifiers are generally not the primary reason for a level adjustment. You need a lot more than just +2 to a mental stat to qualify for a level adjustment. And in fact, bonuses and penalties to physical abilities are weighted more heavily than mental ones as a general rule. (See Half-Orc.)

hamishspence
2008-04-12, 12:33 PM
Which is why nearly everyone says they are underpowered. Putting Str, Con, Dex as siginificantly more important than Int, Wis, Cha, was a istake on WoTCs part, and the overall higher power of mid to high level casters over fighters just exaggerates this problem further.

That said, a caster with +2 int is a bit more powerful than one with +2 Cha (assuming skills are important in your games)

but is +2 Int enough, compared to a human's +1 feat? remeber that humans already get more skills, so your gain is more to do with casting power than skills.

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-04-12, 12:37 PM
If Grey Elves are reasonable for LA 0, then why do blues (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/monsters/blue.htm) have a level adjustment? Their only bonus is to Int, and they have two penalized scores. Granted, small size is nice for a caster, but none of their other racial traits are worth much.

Why do Blues have a level adjustment? Because WotC doesn't want you playing "Monster races?" Because everyone hates Goblins.

Because they are small size, have a bonus to Int and no penalty to Con and so someone decided they were too powerful. That someone was wrong, what else is new.

In unrelated news there are exactly zero +0LA races with a bonus to Cha that don't have a penalty to Con. Because apparently a bonus to Cha is too overpowered to get a penalty to some stat you might not need. Dwarves on the other hand? Seriously, why?

(Exception to the above: Lesser whatever, not counted because Lesser races are so broken for +0 that it isn't even worth talking about.)

Ascension
2008-04-12, 04:10 PM
Why did this thread get necroposted now?

Personally, I think as long as all the ability modifiers add up to 0, and there aren't any super racial abilities, the race is fine and dandy for an LA +0 race.

'course, I think whisper gnomes are fairly reasonable, so... I guess my credibility is gone.

ashmanonar
2008-04-12, 07:25 PM
Heck from the half orc indication +2 to strength is worth 2 mental ability decreases. so it should balance out easily.

No, it really isn't. Go compare Half-orcs to, say, Wood Elves. They get a STR bonus and a DEX bonus, with an Int and Con penalty. Certainly, that con penalty is painful, but it's still better than the raw deal Half-orcs get. The only other thing Half-orcs actually get is freaking Darkvision, which is useful, but certainly not that big a freaking deal. Elves get so many other racial features, that I'm really surprised there isn't an LA attached. At the very least, Half-orcs should get an extra free hit die or something, to weigh out the lacking features.

/rant