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View Full Version : Thought Experiment: What if Races AND Classes had levels?



Segev
2014-03-14, 09:47 AM
This is something I've toyed with periodically for a while, but there are some inspirational roadblocks to actual implementation. Assume a level-based game that has classes and races as choices one might make (as in AD&D and its successors, as well as other RPGs). (Another that might be of interest to consider, but doesn't follow this model consistently, is Palladium, which has both "Occupational Character Classes" and "Racial Character Classes," but you only get one. IF you have an O.C.C., you get either no racial features or some very basic ones, and advance in something akin to what people typically recognize as a "class" in other systems. If you have an R.C.C., you actually treat your race AS your class and advance it in levels.) But this is a tangent, so I'll spoiler-block it.

For the moment, let's assume you also only have one experience point track, and that we grant varying exp thresholds for levels in different races and classes. So, if your "Elf" race achieves level 2 at 1200 exp and your "wizard" class achieves level 2 at 2000 exp, your elf wizard with 1500 exp is a 2nd level elf and a 1st level wizard.

The most obvious benefit, to me, of this is that one could have "too powerful" races be broken down into levels that get strong as you go up without sacrificing the ability to level up character classes in interesting ways. The biggest difficulty, particularly where races are concerned, is balancing that first level. "Dragon" having powers that make it as tough as a 7th level human at first level isn't balanced out by having to wait until it has enough exp that a human would be 10th level before achieving the dragon's second; for the first 7 human levels' worth of exp, the dragon is simply more powerful.

The other difficulty lies in multiclassing, which will require rules more complicated than those in 3e D&D. (Possibly going back to AD&D's split-exp rules for inspiration is the solution, but it didn't allow for 'picking up' a new character class later on.)

My best thought on approaching it is:

If you're multi-classing, multiply the level-thresholds for each character class you're taking by the number of character classes you're taking. This effectively splits your exp evenly between them.

Picking up a new class is harder to figure out. Just adding it and trying to siphon new exp to it until it catches up leads to oddities in thresholds for class levels and keeping track of racial level. Perhaps all FUTURE thresholds for the old class(es) have the current exp subtracted, are multiplied by the new number of classes, and re-added to the current exp, while the new class's thresholds are multiplied by the new number of classes and added to the current exp. (In other words, start dividing exp evenly between all classes now and the new one just advances from level 1 starting at that point.)

This is still a bit complex, though; I'd be game for a more straight-forward mechanism that achieved a similar result when a new class is to be added.

Would forsaking a class for future levels be something that should likewise be supported?



Finally, the biggest inspirational block: What exactly does one give to various races as they level up? Things like dragons, minotaurs, demons, and other high-level-adjustment/racial-hit-die monsters in D&D obviously just need to be broken down as well as possible into individual levels. But what about "Base" races, like human, dwarf, elf, and the like? What can they gain as they level up as members of their race?

Debihuman
2014-03-14, 09:52 AM
Level Adjustment for races is factored in; although with Homebrew and some WotC material, it seems to be missing.

Debby

Segev
2014-03-14, 10:01 AM
Level Adjustment for races is factored in; although with Homebrew and some WotC material, it seems to be missing.

Debby

Er, no. You're missing the point entirely. I know how LA, ECL, and racial HD work in D&D 3e. I also know that, in 2e and earlier, the way it worked was that certain races had an exp penalty for playing them.

What I'm proposing here is a system wherein you have a racial level as well as a class level, and that racial level increases as you gain more exp.

Grod_The_Giant
2014-03-14, 10:13 AM
It's an interesting idea, but it seems excessively complex. Especially the differing experience tables. I'd recommend pulling back to a standard gestalt game-- you've got a racial class on one side, and a "standard" PC class on the other.

Segev
2014-03-14, 10:30 AM
It's an interesting idea, but it seems excessively complex. Especially the differing experience tables. I'd recommend pulling back to a standard gestalt game-- you've got a racial class on one side, and a "standard" PC class on the other.

Probably a good starting point, at the bare minimum. Particularly since my current inspirational block is on defining what the racial levels should give.

Perhaps just starting with 5 D&D races/monsters: Human Dwarf, Elf, Ogre, and Gold Dragon.

How might we write each of these to have a 20-level progression that is balanced across each of them? (The dragon may be the hardest, since different age categories vary so greatly in power, and take such a long time to progress through.)

Grod_The_Giant
2014-03-14, 11:20 AM
How might we write each of these to have a 20-level progression that is balanced across each of them? (The dragon may be the hardest, since different age categories vary so greatly in power, and take such a long time to progress through.)
I think you're going to have to look at the racial classes as, well, base classes, covering not just phenotypic traits but cultural skills and "classes". So the "Human" class may look a lot like the Factotum, while the Dwarf looks more like a Knight. Elves would probably be Duskblade-esque. Dragons might look something like this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=282016), while the ogre would probably look rather like a Barbarian. (Or, possibly, this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=222962))

Segev
2014-03-14, 11:25 AM
There's some validity to that; the challenge becomes making the "features" of racial levels such that they do not overlap egregiously with class features.

If elves, for example, are supposed to be wizards in "favored class" stereotype, it would not do to give their racial levels wizard-like things that make taking wizard a WORSE choice due to lost synergy from too much overlap.

Grod_The_Giant
2014-03-14, 11:35 AM
There's some validity to that; the challenge becomes making the "features" of racial levels such that they do not overlap egregiously with class features.

If elves, for example, are supposed to be wizards in "favored class" stereotype, it would not do to give their racial levels wizard-like things that make taking wizard a WORSE choice due to lost synergy from too much overlap.
True.

Maybe racial classes are mostly 5-level paragon classes, after which that side of your gestalt is expected to go into prestige classes?

Telonius
2014-03-14, 11:52 AM
I don't know if you'd really want to make it a "level" thing, so much as a "racial ability that scales" thing.

Say, for Dwarves: Stonecunning +2. This bonus improves to +4 at xth level (or x experience points) and to +6 at yth level (or y experience points).


If you want to make it so that a race's Favored Class comes into play, maybe make Favored Class count double for the racial ability.

gr8artist
2014-03-14, 12:25 PM
Its certainly an interesting idea. Racial ability modifiers could be expanded, making elves more dexterous and dwarves more resilient as they progress. Dark vision range could increase, and save bonuses like the Fearless trait could get stronger as well.
Rather than having stronger races progress mor slowly, I would let them level at the same rate, but spread their bonuses out more. Let weaker races get better at a faster rated than stronger races.

Segev
2014-03-14, 12:51 PM
I like the thought about bonuses scaling; that can be a major part of it. Dwarven darkvision gets longer-range. Elven bonuses to perception increase with level, maybe gain a See Invisibility capability later on. (Even if wizards can cast the spell, a racial ability to do so saves a spell slot.)

Keledrath
2014-03-14, 01:12 PM
There's some validity to that; the challenge becomes making the "features" of racial levels such that they do not overlap egregiously with class features.

If elves, for example, are supposed to be wizards in "favored class" stereotype, it would not do to give their racial levels wizard-like things that make taking wizard a WORSE choice due to lost synergy from too much overlap.

I like this kind of idea. Where, regardless of your class, your race gives you some of the flavor from the stereotypes of the race. Elves can get wizard, ranger, or duskblade, while dwarves pick from knight, cleric, or warblade.

Maybe make them something of a cross between racial subs and racial paragons.

toapat
2014-03-14, 02:00 PM
I like this kind of idea. Where, regardless of your class, your race gives you some of the flavor from the stereotypes of the race. Elves can get wizard, ranger, or duskblade, while dwarves pick from knight, cleric, or warblade.

Maybe make them something of a cross between racial subs and racial paragons.

the idea is good but i think the problem ends up devolving into the "Humans are the generalists" problem where it doesnt matter how awesome the Elf, dwarf, or Orc Paragon is, the Human paragon can do all of those things just as well if not better.

Granted, ive come to the opinion that Humans in a fantasy setting themselves dont belong, because they give a little too much sense of self.

Keledrath
2014-03-14, 02:03 PM
I would give human the choice of the standard party. Fighter, rogue, cleric, wizard.

Or maybe some version of chameleon or factotum. You get a bit better at everything, but aren't as good at anything.

Grod_The_Giant
2014-03-14, 02:10 PM
Hmm. If I had to pick four existing classes for human, I'd say Factotum (jack of all trades), Bard (jack of all trades), Fighter (or Warblade; generic warrior), and... Urban Druid (Humans like cities)? Or maybe break it down by region-- some humans get savage classes (Barbarian/Scout/Ranger/Druid), some get urban (rogue/swashbuckler/wizard/urban druid), stuff like that.

Thunderfist12
2014-03-14, 02:40 PM
Okay. Just glancing at the thread, don't know if anyone said this, but here's a relatively easy way to handle this:


Proficiencies: An offensive character is proficient in simple weapons, as well as light and medium armor and shields (non-tower).

Hit Die: d8
{table="head"]Level | Base Attack Bonus | Good Save (1) | Poor Saves (2)
1 | +1 | +2 | +0
2 | +2 | +3 | +0
3 | +3 | +3 | +1
4 | +4 | +4 | +1
5 | +5 | +4 | +1
6 | +6/+1 | +5 | +2
7 | +7/+2 | +5 | +2
8 | +8/+3 | +6 | +2
9 | +9/+4 | +6 | +3
10 | +10/+5 | +7 | +3
11 | +11/+6/+1 | +7 | +3
12 | +12/+7/+2 | +8 | +4
13 | +13/+8/+3 | +8 | +4
14 | +14/+9/+4 | +9 | +4
15 | +15/+10/+5 | +9 | +5
16 | +16/+11/+6/+1 | +10 | +5
17 | +17/+12/+7/+2 | +10 | +5
18 | +18/+13/+8/+3 | +11 | +6
19 | +19/+14/+9/+4 | +11 | +6
20 | +20/+15/+10/+5 | +12 | +6 [/table]

Proficiencies: An average character is proficient in simple weapons, as well as light armor and shields (non-tower).

Hit Die: d10
{table="head"]Level | Base Attack Bonus | Good Saves (2) | Poor Save (1)
1 | +0 | +2 | +0
2 | +1 | +3 | +0
3 | +2 | +3 | +1
4 | +3 | +4 | +1
5 | +3 | +4 | +1
6 | +4 | +5 | +2
7 | +5 | +5 | +2
8 | +6/+1 | +6 | +2
9 | +6/+1 | +6 | +3
10 | +7/+2 | +7 | +3
11 | +8/+3 | +7 | +3
12 | +9/+4 | +8 | +4
13 | +9/+4 | +8 | +4
14 | +10/+5 | +9 | +4
15 | +11/+6/+1 | +9 | +5
16 | +12/+7/+2 | +10 | +5
17 | +12/+7/+2 | +10 | +5
18 | +13/+8/+3 | +11 | +6
19 | +14/+9/+4 | +11 | +6
20 | +15/+10/+5 | +12 | +6 [/table]

Proficiencies: A defensive character is proficient in simple weapons, as well as light armor, but not in shields.

Hit Die: d10
{table="head"]Level | Base Attack Bonus | All Saves
1 | +0 | +2
2 | +1 | +3
3 | +1 | +3
4 | +2 | +4
5 | +2 | +4
6 | +3 | +5
7 | +3 | +5
8 | +4 | +6
9 | +4 | +6
10 | +5 | +7
11 | +5 | +7
12 | +6/+1 | +8
13 | +6/+1 | +8
14 | +7/+2 | +9
15 | +7/+2 | +9
16 | +8/+3 | +10
17 | +8/+3 | +10
18 | +9/+4 | +11
19 | +9/+4 | +11
20 | +10/+5 | +12[/table]


Basically, your racial progression replaces any feats or ability improvements by level you would otherwise get. Assuming this is for Pathfinder, it would work like this.
{table="head"]Level | Special
1 | Ability Adjustments
2 |
3 | Racial Feature
4 | +1 to Specified Ability
5 | Racial Feature
6 |
7 | Racial Feature
8 | +1 to Specified Ability
9 | Racial Feature
10 |
11 | Racial Feature
12 | +1 to Specified Ability
13 | Racial Feature
14 |
15 | Racial Feature
16 | +1 to Specified Ability
17 | Racial Feature
18 |
19 | Racial Feature
20 | +1 to Specified Ability[/table]

Lets use human as an example, since they're easy.
Starting Racial Features
Ability Adjustments: +2 to any one Ability Score.
Feats: A human starts with any two feats
Skills: A human adds one rank in any skill, treating it as a class skill.

Progression
Level 3: Bonus Feat
Level 4: +1 Any
Level 5: Bonus Feat
Level 7: Bonus Feat
Level 8: +1 Any
Level 9: Bonus Feat
Level 11: Bonus Feat
Level 12: +1 Any
Level 13: Bonus Feat
Level 15: Bonus Feat
Level 16: +1 Any
Level 17: Bonus Feat
Level 19: Bonus Feat
Level 20: +1 Any

Obviously, each race needs the added equivalent of the 1st-level feat.

These aren't so much classes in the traditional sense as they are a group of class skills and class features.

At each level, the character would get a class feature based on his class. However, rather than a static feature, it is more like selecting a feat. To gain a class feature, you must meet the requirements. Also, you may choose from a variety of features. For example, a scout might be able to choose between skirmish (+1d6) and fast movement (+10ft) at first level.

When setting up class features, act as though you were setting up a group of feats based around a specific theme.

Give your class a skill list. All character's skill points equal 6 + Int modifier at each level. These skills should reflect the theme expressed in his class features.

Segev
2014-03-14, 03:16 PM
Giving them existing classes as their racial level features misses the point, again. Classes are jobs, training, etc. Races are inherent, inborn talents and traits. There is some confusion of the issue by virtue of certain classes talking about heritage, but those are heritage traits taken to a level of devotion of development equivalent to a "job" or avocation.

Here's an attempt at building a Dwarf race from levels 1-20, based on the d20 SRD. They could probably use with some more impressive toys at higher level, but for now they just get a lot of scaling bonuses.


Dwarf

Level Features

1 +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma, Medium Size, Speed: 20 ft., Armored Speed, Darkvision 60 ft., Stonecunning +2, Weapon Familiarity, Stability +4, Stolid Resistance +2, Enmity (orcs and goblinoids) +1, Dodge Giants +4
2 Stolid Resistance +3, Dodge Giants +5
3 Stonecunning +3, Enmity (orcs and goblinoids) +3
4 Stability +5, Stolid Resistance +4
5 +1 Constitution, Stonecunning +4, Dodge Giants +6
6 Stolid Resistance +5, Enmity (orcs and goblinoids) +4
7 Stonecunning +5
8 Stability +6, Stolid Resistance +6, Dodge Giants +7
9 Stonecunning +6, Enmity (orcs and goblinoids) +6
10 +1 Constitution, Stolid Resistance +7
11 Stonecunning +7, Dodge Giants +8
12 Stability +7, Stolid Resistance +8, Enmity (orcs and goblinoids) +7
13 Stonecunning +8
14 Stability +8, Stolid Resistance +9, Dodge Giants +9
15 +1 Constitution, Stonecunning +9, Enmity (orcs and goblinoids) +9
16 Stability +9, Stolid Resistance +10
17 Stonecunning +10, Dodge Giants +10
18 Stolid Resistance +11, Enmity (orcs and goblinoids) +10
19 Stonecunning +11
20 +1 Constitution, Stability +10, Stolid Resistance +12, Dodge Giants +11

Medium Size: Dwarves receive no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Armored Speed: Dwarves suffer no penalties to their speed for wearing medium or heavy armor.
Stonecunning: This ability grants a racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shakey stone ceilings, and the like. Something that is not stone but is disguised thereas also counts as "unusual stonework." A dwarf who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as if he were actively searching, and a dwarf can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A dwarf can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up. He also receives this bonus on Appraise checks related to stone or metal items, and on Craft checks related to stone or metal.
Weapon Familiarity: Dwarves may treat dwarven waraxes and dwarven urgroshes as martial weapons, rather than exotic weapons.
Stability: A dwarf gains this bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground).
Enmity (Orcs and Goblinoids): Dwarves receive the listed bonus on attack rolls against orcs and goblinoids.
Dodge Giants: The listed dodge bonus is added to dwarves' AC against attacks from Giants
Stolid Resistance: Dwarves' solid physiology and psychology makes them particularly resistant to magic and poison. They gain the listed amount as a racial bonus to saves versus spells, spell-like effects, and poisons.

Grim Reader
2014-03-14, 03:29 PM
I've had a similar idea myself, but with a more unique build for each race.

All builds get a bonus feat progression and bonuses to ability scores, normally set ones. Humans get a faster feat progression and 1 extra skill point per level. Half-orcs get a faster ability score progression and +1 hp per level. Etc. At high levels, add more powerful abilities. Rages and rage powers for Half-Orcs, ability to go ethereal for elves, etc.

Segev
2014-03-14, 03:40 PM
I've had a similar idea myself, but with a more unique build for each race.

All builds get a bonus feat progression and bonuses to ability scores, normally set ones. Humans get a faster feat progression and 1 extra skill point per level. Half-orcs get a faster ability score progression and +1 hp per level. Etc. At high levels, add more powerful abilities. Rages and rage powers for Half-Orcs, ability to go ethereal for elves, etc.

This sounds interesting. I've given some thought to, for instance, Ogre-racial-progression maybe starting as Medium sized, then eventually getting Large size at a later level.

I'd be up for seeing dwarves, as presented here, get more unique toys, as well, that make him scream "DWARF!" even more.

toapat
2014-03-14, 04:30 PM
Damnit Pifro, why do you not have the ability to remove the save progressions

as for racial traits, i think alot of what we have is unworkable as a partial class when it comes to races. Humans outright break the game no matter what, while everyone else.

Dwarves: Obviously they should all get the benefits of Midgard dwarf over the 20 levels, and thus being able to craft any permanent magic item.

Elves: Everyone has such disparate ideas of what elves are exactly that this is more of "this place is entombed in landmines and C4".

Orcs: There are 2 main kinds of orcs. Warhammer and Warcraft. Pure Barbarians who civilization is millennia away from, or noble savages who can fit in with the world, but dont always. Some druidism and combat bonuses would work.

Gnomes, Halflings: can anyone really justify why there are 2 races of miniature humans in DnD? Sure, the Tinker Gnomes, the Kalandra Halflings, and the halflings of Dark sun are all awesome, but why are there 2 races? Id be perfectly happy just having the Halflings be the uncivilized side and the Gnomes be domesticated, for lack of a better word.

Ideas for Gnomes: None atm

Thunderfist12
2014-03-14, 04:44 PM
Updated my post above. It now has a basic mechanics set for this, if you want to look at it.

It is probably severely unbalanced, however, as I have been short on time.

Segev
2014-03-14, 06:31 PM
It's a set of good starts, at least. Helps get the thoughts flowing on what could be. ^^

Jallorn
2014-03-14, 06:43 PM
True.

Maybe racial classes are mostly 5-level paragon classes, after which that side of your gestalt is expected to go into prestige classes?

I like this idea. Especially since it allows you to avoid redundancy from classes. The first five levels, all races get some generic boosts that work for any class, but still exemplify the advantages of the race. Then they go into a specialization. Perhaps the Elf Wizard wants to really emphasize his magical knowledge by getting additional versatility with his lower level spells. Or maybe he'd rather bolster his ability to fight so he can live up to his peoples' (normally undeserved) reputation as Gishs.

Segev
2014-03-15, 01:16 PM
True; the oD&D elf was a class unto itself, and was basically a fighter-mage. Nowadays, by their racial abilities in 3e, they make decent rogues more than anything else. PF gives them int +2 in order to nod towards their favored class a bit more, at least.

But a fundamental key to racial levels, to me, is isolating racial features. I know this still folds in some cultural traits (dwarven bonuses against goblinoids, for instance). Maybe that needs to be pulled out, or made some sort of option.

The concept of "Racial Traits" being a list of pseudo-feats that could be picked up as you level your race is a good one. Things that might be "must be X race to get this" feats under the current paradigm, thus a little beefier than "normal" feats. They exist in some forms already; Elan have feats that can improve their already-impressive "spend PP to gain this for a round" features, for instance. Can certainly rob the Racial Paragon classes of their traits for additional ones.

Let's re-examine the dwarf again:


Skills: Dwarven class skills are Appraise (Int), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Int), and Search (Int)
Each level of Dwarf grants 2 skill points, which use the dwarf class skill list to determine costs, rank caps, and bonuses. The intelligence bonus to skill points may be spent either on racial skills or on class skills, divided as the player sees fit.



Dwarf Special
Level Abilities

1 +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma, Darkvision (60 ft.), Automatic Languages, 4 racial features
2 Racial Feature
3
4 +1 Constitution
5
6 Racial Feature
7
8 +1 Constitution
9
10 Racial Feature
11
12 +1 Constitution
13
14 Racial Feature
15
16 +1 Constitution
17
18 Racial Feature
19
20 +1 Constitution, Racial Feature


Racial Features

At levels 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, and 20, a dwarven character learns a new racial feature, chosen from the list below. Dwarves may take dwarven racial features whenever they may choose a feat that is not restricted in category (e.g. they cannot be taken in place of a wizard bonus feat). The exception is that Dwarves may take dwarven racial features as Fighter bonus feats.

Armored Speed (Ex): May wear medium and heavy armor without suffering a reduction in movement speed.
Born in Armor (Ex): Class features which normally do not function in armor still may be used by a dwarf wearing medium or heavy armor or while wielding a shield who has this racial feature. This does not allow him to ignore Arcane Spell Failure chances due to armor, however.
Stonecunning (Ex): +2 on search checks to notice "unusual stonework." +2 on Appraise and Craft checks related to stone or metal
Stability (Ex): +4 on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground).
Weapon Familiarity (Ex): Treat weapons with "Dwarven" in the name as Martial, rather than Exotic, weapons
Poison Resistance (Ex): +2 on saves vs. poison
Magic Resistance (Ex): +2 on saves vs. spells and spell-like effects
Enmity vs. Orcs and Goblinoids (Ex): +1 on attack rolls, damage rolls, and save DCs against the named creatures; this feature may be taken multiple times
Under Foot (Ex): +4 Dodge AC vs. giants
Automatic Languages: Common, Dwarven.
Bonus Languages: Each time you choose this Feature, pick one of the following languages to learn: Giant, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, Terran, and Undercommon. This feature may be taken multiple times.
Improved Stonecunning (Ex): Stonecunning's bonuses improve by +2; must already have Stonecunning; this feature may be taken multiple times; may not be taken at first level
Improved Darkvision (Ex): Increase Darkvision range by 30 ft.; this feature may be taken multiple times; may not be taken at first level
Improved Poison Resistance (Ex): Bonus to save vs. poison improves by +1; this feature may be taken multiple times; may not be taken at first level
Improved Magic Resistance (Ex): Bonus to save vs. spells and spell-like abilities improves by +1; this feature may be taken multiple times; may not be taken at first level
Improved Under Foot (Ex): Gain the dodge bonus against any creature of a larger size category; must already have Under Foot.
Short (Ex): Must already have Improved Under Foot. Gain the dodge bonus against creatures of the same or larger size category.
(Remember: this is in ADDITION to class levels and features. The skill points are added to, not gestalted with, the class skill points, as well.)

Rephath
2014-03-15, 01:31 PM
I've actually done this in a game. I won't go too much into details due to the board's prohibition against self-promotion, but I designed a card-based RPG where you draw a number of class cards for a class equal to your level in the class. Different classes have different ability sets. Additionally, your level in your race determines how many race cards you get. Your level in wealth determines how many loot cards you get.

Because of this, leveling up was simple, multiclassing was simple, and rules were kept light. It worked pretty well. If you want more details and links to the rules and all cards, PM me.

Durazno
2014-03-15, 05:34 PM
Unless you're selling it, that seems like the kind of thing you could describe here in the homebrew board.

Gnorman
2014-03-15, 05:44 PM
The problem with this is that, usually, "elf" or "dwarf" is not a level 20 concept. You can make it one by stretching it out artificially, but when you're spreading minor scaling bonuses across 20 levels, it feels somewhat lackluster. As a player, I'm not going to get too excited about getting a +1 bonus to Stonecutting.

If you're going to entertain the concept at higher levels, you need to expand ideas about what being a dwarf or an elf means. A level 10 dwarf (by which I mean a character with ten levels in "dwarf," not necessarily a dwarf with ten levels) should be getting Stone Shape and Stone Skin as SLAs, tremorsense, the ability to glide through earth and stone like an elemental, etc. Another +1 bonus to AC against giants just isn't going to cut it.

You also have to be careful about overlapping with classes. If all elves get wizard spellcasting as part of their racial class, there will be no elven wizards. Same with dwarven knights. So you have to find the things about the races that are non-class-specific (such as the aforementioned earth gliding ability, which any class would find useful).

toapat
2014-03-15, 06:30 PM
(such as the aforementioned earth gliding ability, which any class would find useful).

Paladins of the underdark Knight orders wouldnt find that useful, but then those orders would just switch to divine spirit and kick even more ass

I didnt really say it above, but i do feel like alot of what we have on the racial tables doesnt work for this concept. the bonuses vs Goblins and giants is nice, but thats like, a level 3 Race feature that you dont really want showing back up but appreciate enough that it doesnt feel like crap.

the question becomes, what are dwarves? The answer easily could be "Legendary Craftsmen who live underground while fueled on gratuitous ammounts of alcohol", but to me that sounds broad enough

Gnorman
2014-03-15, 06:35 PM
I think there's enough mythological grist for the mill when it comes to dwarves and elves, certainly. It's harder with the less popular races - how do you come up with level-appropriate abilities for orcs, for example?

Durazno
2014-03-15, 06:51 PM
They'd probably look a lot like barbarians, actually. Maybe with some size changing, blood magic or something that plays on the fact that they're carnivores. Eventual poison immunity, perhaps.

toapat
2014-03-15, 06:52 PM
I think there's enough mythological grist for the mill when it comes to dwarves and elves, certainly. It's harder with the less popular races - how do you come up with level-appropriate abilities for orcs, for example?

Halflings/Gnomes: Bonuses to Device skills, ritual bonuses for consumption of humanoids

Orcs: depends on the objective. I like the Warcraft "Spiritual and Noble Savage", so maybe they get to do things like call upon the spirits of their great heros, or commune with nature.

Gnorman
2014-03-15, 07:11 PM
They'd probably look a lot like barbarians, actually. Maybe with some size changing, blood magic or something that plays on the fact that they're carnivores. Eventual poison immunity, perhaps.

Yeah, I can see size-changing and raging as part and parcel of the racial identity, as well as an "iron stomach" ability that makes them immune to ingested poisons, disease, etc.


Halflings/Gnomes: Bonuses to Device skills, ritual bonuses for consumption of humanoids

This I don't really get, at least outside of Dark Sun. Gnomes are pretty easy to envision with scaling illusion magic and trickery-based abilities. Halflings tend to get saddled with the lucky, determined-but-unlikely hero vibe - there's both a lot of overlap with gnomes in being small and sneaky, but also with humans in being versatile and resilient. I could see them being merged.


Orcs: depends on the objective. I like the Warcraft "Spiritual and Noble Savage", so maybe they get to do things like call upon the spirits of their great heros, or commune with nature.

Even outside of the Warcraft setting, you can get a savage hunter vibe with orcs. Perhaps some shapeshifting abilities.

Lord Raziere
2014-03-15, 07:22 PM
The problem with this is that, usually, "elf" or "dwarf" is not a level 20 concept.


"I am Lenaria, the most beautiful and clever elven noble in the kingdom of Seltenica, my political acumen is beyond reproach and my social cunning knows no bounds"

"I am Dengrol, greatest dwarven smith in all the mountains of Maganar, I have forged weapons of legend that have slain dragons and felled giants and gods! My prices are high, but my goods are unequaled in all the world."

Gnorman
2014-03-15, 07:29 PM
"I am Lenaria, the most beautiful and clever elven noble in the kingdom of Seltenica, my political acumen is beyond reproach and my social cunning knows no bounds"

"I am Dengrol, greatest dwarven smith in all the mountains of Maganar, I have forged weapons of legend that have slain dragons and felled giants and gods! My prices are high, but my goods are unequaled in all the world."

The first could be a level 20 aristocrat, the second a level 20 expert with crafting feat requirements handwaved a bit. Being an elf or a dwarf doesn't add anything that the class does not. To me, there is a difference between being a level 20 character who is also coincidentally an elf, and a level 20 "elf".

Without derailing TOO far, level 20, to me, is not "I am the best noble/smith/whatever in a particular geographic region." It is (or perhaps SHOULD BE), "I can compete on relatively equal footing with gods and demon princes."

A level 20 "dwarf" should qualify for the lower rungs of the dwarven pantheon. If you're going to make a racial class for "dwarf," it should have abilities that back that up. A level 20 dwarf wouldn't be crafting a weapon to fell giants (though that could certainly be PART of it) so much as convincing the earth to spontaneously generate a miniature volcano under the giant's feet.

Lord Raziere
2014-03-15, 07:37 PM
dude, why so boring and nitpicky? :smallfrown:

Gnorman
2014-03-15, 07:40 PM
dude, why so boring and nitpicky? :smallfrown:

Because gaining an additional +2 to Stonecutting or a +1 to Constitution at level 20 is, in my opinion, a boring racial ability. If you're going to turn a race into a twenty-level progression, you should make sure that it scales commensurately with the scope of the game. That means adding new options and abilities, not just increasing a mechanical bonus (see also: why the fighter is terrible).

toapat
2014-03-15, 07:56 PM
Even outside of the Warcraft setting, you can get a savage hunter vibe with orcs. Perhaps some shapeshifting abilities.

Warcraft is honestly just taking away the Jade lenses from the view of Orcs and replacing them with Rose. after reading LotR i can actually see how Blizzard got to there.

Gnomes and Halflings dont really ever to me have justifiable reason asto why they are separate. It feels like the Caucasian/Mongoloid/Negroid Ethnographic system where in you are dividing people based on cultural bias. We should have tricky civilized shortfolk and Complete monsters barely civil ones


A level 20 "dwarf" should qualify for the lower rungs of the dwarven pantheon. If you're going to make a racial class for "dwarf," it should have abilities that back that up. A level 20 dwarf wouldn't be crafting a weapon to fell giants (though that could certainly be PART of it) so much as convincing the earth to spontaneously generate a miniature volcano under the giant's feet.

"His name is Khaz, he is a Smith. His greatest works stand among the mountains, or are wielded by the gods."

Durazno
2014-03-15, 08:06 PM
You might get some inspiration for a godly Dwarf from the Prose Edda. I think it introduces us to four dwarves who correspond to the compass directions and hold the sky up.

Here we go. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarf_%28Germanic_mythology%29)

Segev
2014-03-15, 08:17 PM
I do agree that it could do with spicing up, especially if a 20 level racial progression is supposed to compare favorably with a similar 20 level racial progression for, say, a dragon or a Marilith.

toapat
2014-03-15, 08:22 PM
I do agree that it could do with spicing up, especially if a 20 level racial progression is supposed to compare favorably with a similar 20 level racial progression for, say, a dragon or a Marilith.

how did we get to Race must be equal class? the proposed idea was for a racial set of class abilities gained in parallel of the classes normally.

Gnorman
2014-03-15, 08:41 PM
how did we get to Race must be equal class? the proposed idea was for a racial set of class abilities gained in parallel of the classes normally.

I was assuming that we were adding it on as a sort of gestalt progression alongside a normal class. They don't have to be equal, but I still maintain that when you're getting the ability to RAISE THE DEAD from your cleric progression and getting the ability to BE SLIGHTLY BETTER AT DETECTING UNUSUAL STONEWORK from the dwarf progression, the latter is going to feel like an afterthought.

Racial progression should feel unique and useful rather than being a sort of "class-lite" or "linear scaling bonus to stuff you had at level 1" progression.

Grod_The_Giant
2014-03-15, 08:49 PM
how did we get to Race must be equal class? the proposed idea was for a racial set of class abilities gained in parallel of the classes normally.
Race does not have to equal class. It does, however, have to equal "savage progression," since that was sort of the point of the exercise, and stonecunning bonuses ain't going to do it.

toapat
2014-03-15, 08:54 PM
I was assuming that we were adding it on as a sort of gestalt progression alongside a normal class. They don't have to be equal, but I still maintain that when you're getting the ability to RAISE THE DEAD from your cleric progression and getting the ability to BE SLIGHTLY BETTER AT DETECTING UNUSUAL STONEWORK from the dwarf progression, the latter is going to feel like an afterthought.

Racial progression should feel unique and useful rather than being a sort of "class-lite" or "linear scaling bonus to stuff you had at level 1" progression.

i get that it should be interesting but what i mean is that what other people seem to be taking it as is, as a result of your writings, that the race progression should be as detailed as a base class.

Personally id say where as the idea with a base class is to get 10-20 class features in that mesh together functionally and flavorfully, the racial progression should use 5-10 features unique to a given race.

Gnorman
2014-03-15, 09:10 PM
i get that it should be interesting but what i mean is that what other people seem to be taking it as is, as a result of your writings, that the race progression should be as detailed as a base class.

Personally id say where as the idea with a base class is to get 10-20 class features in that mesh together functionally and flavorfully, the racial progression should use 5-10 features unique to a given race.

Well, if it's in the style of a savage progression, then it IS sort of a base class.

I'm in agreement that there do not have to be as many racial features as class features, not even one per level. Maybe you only get racial features once every four or five levels, for example.

Quick and dirty dwarf:

1: Normal racial dwarf stuff
4: Soften Earth and Stone 3/day, can cast in armor with no ASF (or gains a bonus to AC equal to Con modifier if no spellcasting)
8: Stone Shape 3/day, gets earthglide
12: Stoneskin 3/day, gains fast healing equal to Con modifier when touching stone
16: Wall of Stone 3/day, gains construct/elemental immunities
20: Earthquake 3/day, cannot be killed while body is touching stone

Amnoriath
2014-03-15, 10:42 PM
Gnomes and Halflings dont really ever to me have justifiable reason asto why they are separate. It feels like the Caucasian/Mongoloid/Negroid Ethnographic system where in you are dividing people based on cultural bias. We should have tricky civilized shortfolk and Complete monsters barely civil ones


I couldn't disagree more with this. There are some very clear differences between the two that don't ever breakdown to cultural hierarchy.
Gnomes are eccentric and take things with playful avarice. It allows them to be great technical craftsmen as well great performers and handlers of animals. It can though produce flakish or bizarre behaviors but sometimes they intend to do that.
Halflings are adaptable, light-hearted yet devoted, and curious. They have strong clans but yet exist very well with in many cultures often them being the sources of many a good enterprises in quite a few environments. They are fiercely devoted to one another or close friends having kinsmen honor. However those behaviors can lead to closed off clans or rogues who have a hard time trusting anyone.

Amnoriath
2014-03-15, 10:48 PM
As for this thread trying to make races a full base class is just a bad idea because you would be trying to interpret the nuances of an entire culture into abilities that could compete with mythic creatures when no one in the culture is that powerful by strictly being the culture.
What you need is something that can be purchased by leveling. I would say look at how E6 buys feats and make racial discoveries that could be bought with XP.

Gnorman
2014-03-16, 12:39 AM
What you need is something that can be purchased by leveling. I would say look at how E6 buys feats and make racial discoveries that could be bought with XP.

I could see this being a decent option too.

toapat
2014-03-16, 01:05 AM
Gnomes are eccentric and take things with playful avarice. It allows them to be great technical craftsmen as well great performers and handlers of animals. It can though produce flakish or bizarre behaviors but sometimes they intend to do that.
Halflings are adaptable, light-hearted yet devoted, and curious. They have strong clans but yet exist very well with in many cultures often them being the sources of many a good enterprises in quite a few environments. They are fiercely devoted to one another or close friends having kinsmen honor. However those behaviors can lead to closed off clans or rogues who have a hard time trusting anyone.

Lets see, in your Words:

Gnomes = Inventive, Fun Loving, Obsessive
Halflings = Fun Loving, Insular, Curious.

The only lack of overlap i see is that the halflings being insular. This is DnD, the Gnomes being not-insular would be the oddity which i think you are not treating as a trait.

Heres the other thing: What you are describing about halflings? That doesnt make a strong race. A strong race has strong opinions and outlooks which you can be quickly explained. Orcs being Noble and Spiritual Savages, they are nomads who hunt, They will war without reason, but will work with the locals afterwards to rebuild. Elves are graceful immortals who watch the world change around them, while moving pawns into place to topple kings. Dwarves are greedy craftsmen, and work at improving their social stature or their crafts. The best i can do for base gnomes and halflings? Gnomes invent. Halflings steal.

Its also not like we dont have Wood elves, High Elves, Drow, and Grey elves in the core materials. Extreme racial and cultural biases/rifts dont happen to be uncommon in DnD, nor are they uncommonly left ruleless.

Durazno
2014-03-16, 08:25 AM
Hmm, I'll try:

Gnomes - Magical Mad Science. Unearthly. Fond of illusions and trickery.

Halflings - Practical and earthy. Quick of body and mind, but not all that tricksy.

toapat
2014-03-16, 09:20 AM
Hmm, I'll try:

Gnomes - Magical Mad Science. Unearthly. Fond of illusions and trickery.

Halflings - Practical and earthy. Quick of body and mind, but not all that tricksy.

i prefer the idea that Halflings would be a gestalt of the ideas from Eberron and Dark sun, and that Gnomes are "domesticated halflings" who are mad scientists and mad thaumotergists

i dont like the idea of them basically being hobbits from LotR

Durazno
2014-03-16, 09:51 AM
Fair enough, though I will add that "practical and earthy" doesn't necessarily mean "homebodies." It could be the difference between, "Let's construct an elaborate con to get his signet ring! I'll cast this spell to make you look like his mistress..." and "Let's bash him with a blackjack and be in the next county with his ring by the time he wakes up."

Amnoriath
2014-03-16, 10:09 AM
Lets see, in your Words:

Gnomes = Inventive, Fun Loving, Obsessive
Halflings = Fun Loving, Insular, Curious.

The only lack of overlap i see is that the halflings being insular. This is DnD, the Gnomes being not-insular would be the oddity which i think you are not treating as a trait.

Heres the other thing: What you are describing about halflings? That doesnt make a strong race. A strong race has strong opinions and outlooks which you can be quickly explained. Orcs being Noble and Spiritual Savages, they are nomads who hunt, They will war without reason, but will work with the locals afterwards to rebuild. Elves are graceful immortals who watch the world change around them, while moving pawns into place to topple kings. Dwarves are greedy craftsmen, and work at improving their social stature or their crafts. The best i can do for base gnomes and halflings? Gnomes invent. Halflings steal.

Its also not like we dont have Wood elves, High Elves, Drow, and Grey elves in the core materials. Extreme racial and cultural biases/rifts dont happen to be uncommon in DnD, nor are they uncommonly left ruleless.

Halflings do have strong opinions and outlooks. It deals with their strong kindredness and adaptation to their surroundings.
Gnomes being inventive aren't actually all that adaptive. Their eccentricity allows them to be fine artisans and performers but they don't synergize with craft and technology outside their expertise very well. So you can have Gnome tailors, tinkers, and architects but they don't readily work together even though they may have fun with them. Also, their could be an argument that they lack conscientiousness to which Halflings have in abundance.
Finally, the fun-loving isn't really the seem. Gnomes are more about elaborate pranks and humiliation while Halflings seem to be more content with communal teasing and running jokes.
Of course there are many references to what is what, but you aren't bound by them and unless they are an enemy there are various material on the core races to use.

toapat
2014-03-16, 11:40 AM
*snip*

you are trying to justify Halflings as they are when the argument is that Halflings, as they are, Are the weakest race in DnD. You cant describe a Halfling who exemplifies Halflingdom who sounds impressive. The Halfling Exemplar is a Farmer from England.
The Dwarven Exemplar is a smith who is permanently drunk, a grandmaster of the forge whose Works include Entire mountainranges and the weapons of the gods.
An exemplar Elf will use their vast experience to, with 4 words, cause the total collapse of their neighboring human nations, while using simple cantrips to prepare their daily tea.
The Exemplar Orc is a Mighty warrior who fights with honor, and who will pick up and tend to those he has defeated.
The Exemplar Gnome is a tech-magus who uses machinery and magic to improve their lives. To them reality is a canvas to improve upon, and will commonly replace limbs with prostetics. To play a game of Gnomes is to play Deus Ex
The Exemplar Kobold is an ancient miniature dragon who leads his people through might and knowledge, but also sponsors technological research and application. He is a master of architecture and strategy who seeks diplomatic resolutions to protecting his people, but will resort to breathing lightning if he has to.

Describe to everyone here a Core Halfling who can have stories written about them that involve exclusively their racial traits

Durazno
2014-03-16, 12:52 PM
Halfling Exemplar: El-Ahrairah? (http://watershipdown.wikia.com/wiki/El-Ahrairah)

toapat
2014-03-16, 01:01 PM
Halfling Exemplar: El-Ahrairah? (http://watershipdown.wikia.com/wiki/El-Ahrairah)

no, But i would write in a subsystem that allows Bunnies, mice, Chipmunks, and Hamsters as playable races. I would then dare people to figure out how to slay a properly statted out Thor as one of the 4

Zetapup
2014-03-16, 01:41 PM
I'm going to spew out a few ideas for elf, ogre, and gold dragon since it looks like dwarf has been covered pretty well.

The flavor of elves is all over the place. They're (supposedly) powerful magic users, are skilled with the bow and sword, and known for their poetry, dance, song, etc etc. I might focus on the woodland part of things, since that could be useful to any elf. Some sort of favored terrain ability a la pathfinder ranger maybe? The see invisible idea is good, maybe they could have a constant detect magic going on at some point? Letting them roll listen/spot checks twice could be useful for just about any class.

Ogres are pretty combat focused, so I'd prolly give them some abilities based around that. The MM says they like ambushes and sneak attacks, so maybe a scaling sneak attack or some sort of bonus for acting in the surprise round? Bonuses to rage (rage longer or more times or more rage bonuses) would make sense, although they'd be a little boring. Possibly give them something like intimidating rage where they cause enemies around them to be shaken/something when they rage? I feel like the problem with giving bonuses to rage forces ogres to be barbarians, which is kinda limiting, so I wouldn't focus on rage abilities too much. A 'might is right' sort of ability that lets them add their strength modifier to other things could be interesting. Damage reduction at higher levels is pretty much a given.

Dragons are a bit trickier to balance. I don't think they can receive all the abilities they'd normally get without being overpowered. I'd prolly remove the casting and tone down the abilities a bit. A bonus to scores would make sense, as all their scores except dex increase, although I'm not quite sure how one would handle that. A slowly improving fly speed also makes sense. A gold dragon would get immunity to fire and vulnerability to cold at first level, since that's not too big a deal. Water breathing isn't too overpowered either, so no biggie having that at first level. Alternate Form's a bit powerful for first level; maybe give them something like disguise self at first level which improves to become alternate form? Adding natural armor and dr as the gold dragon levels up is pretty logical. The breath weapon could just be the dragonfire adept's ability. The luck bonus and detect gems abilities are pretty interesting, so I'd keep them and try to build on them in some way (eg, at will detect gems or increased range or something like that).

Hope this helps!

Amnoriath
2014-03-16, 03:21 PM
you are trying to justify Halflings as they are when the argument is that Halflings, as they are, Are the weakest race in DnD. You cant describe a Halfling who exemplifies Halflingdom who sounds impressive. The Halfling Exemplar is a Farmer from England.
The Dwarven Exemplar is a smith who is permanently drunk, a grandmaster of the forge whose Works include Entire mountainranges and the weapons of the gods.
An exemplar Elf will use their vast experience to, with 4 words, cause the total collapse of their neighboring human nations, while using simple cantrips to prepare their daily tea.
The Exemplar Orc is a Mighty warrior who fights with honor, and who will pick up and tend to those he has defeated.
The Exemplar Gnome is a tech-magus who uses machinery and magic to improve their lives. To them reality is a canvas to improve upon, and will commonly replace limbs with prostetics. To play a game of Gnomes is to play Deus Ex
The Exemplar Kobold is an ancient miniature dragon who leads his people through might and knowledge, but also sponsors technological research and application. He is a master of architecture and strategy who seeks diplomatic resolutions to protecting his people, but will resort to breathing lightning if he has to.

Describe to everyone here a Core Halfling who can have stories written about them that involve exclusively their racial traits
1. Have you ever taken a look at Halfling PrC's or seen substitution levels? One gives some of the best things to do with a mount while advancing or outright giving it. Another is a rogue cleric, others curse people to benefit themselves. Then every substitution level almost always adds skills. They aren't Hobbits that live in hills. D&D halflings are the kind of people that could easily take up the roles of any kind of guild or even mafia if you so choose.
2. An Exemplar Halfling could rob you blind saying you are an enemy to the entire community regardless if the composition of race. While riding eagles to hunt you down and Ubercharge you. Finally, collecting the bounty they placed on you while no one is the wiser.
3. How about you actually do the same with the base racial traits of those core races? You are stipulating from the biases/flavor of D&D 3.X+other fantasy games to create those heroic stereotypes.

Gnorman
2014-03-16, 03:51 PM
Various exemplars

To be fair, some of your examples here are not very well-supported in the original text (Orcs & honor? Gnomes & prosthetic limbs?). That's okay, though - we should have room to expand beyond the strictures of what the PHB tells us about halflings. But you can't say that "the halfling doesn't support this because it's not in the book" and then cite examples that aren't in the book either.

Want to make it easier, though? Just take both the halfling and the gnome and merge them into the GOBLIN. There you go, small & sneaky burglar types + technologically inclined (read: explosive) types + excellent mounted types, all in the same package.

The Dragon
2014-03-16, 04:14 PM
@Segev: I really like that dwarf class, especially the feature that let's them use abilities in armor.

At first I was apprehensive about dwarven monks in full-plate, but then I realized how damn cool the idea of an underground dwarven monastery where the monks sit around meditating in plate armor really is.

toapat
2014-03-16, 04:31 PM
To be fair, some of your examples here are not very well-supported in the original text (Orcs & honor? Gnomes & prosthetic limbs?). That's okay, though - we should have room to expand beyond the strictures of what the PHB tells us about halflings. But you can't say that "the halfling doesn't support this because it's not in the book" and then cite examples that aren't in the book either.

Want to make it easier, though? Just take both the halfling and the gnome and merge them into the GOBLIN. There you go, small & sneaky burglar types + technologically inclined (read: explosive) types + excellent mounted types, all in the same package.

Orcs suffer from Always Chaotic Evil in DnD. It basically has to be all Homebrew for them when it concerns writing a character who represents "The Best of Orc"

Gnomes: Logical extension of invention. Limbs missing due to explosion/chemical burns? Make new ones. Tinker Gnomes arent core but they are so ubiquitous along with Trap Kobolds that they created the archetype of "Short Inventive and cute folk"

Granted i did go a bit out of the way but theres nothing i can find agreeable with the generic halfling as racial motivation. They are either Hobbits (who are ok in LotR but not fun as a result of being the audience insert) or NPC-PCs, and neither of those make me want to play them.

granted i personally feel like the first factor in determining whether a race should exist is if you can give it a strong philosophical question. I outright axed the short races except Kobolds, then gestalted the Eberron and Dark Sun halflings together and call that Gnomes.

Durazno
2014-03-16, 05:20 PM
Well, I think that if Wizards made a "Best of Orc" class, it would come across as "Worst of Orc" to the other people in the setting.

toapat
2014-03-16, 05:35 PM
Well, I think that if Wizards made a "Best of Orc" class, it would come across as "Worst of Orc" to the other people in the setting.

well thats the problem. Orc is Always Evil thanks to tolkien bias. I get that mythology has always had dark gremlins of some sort but they were always supernatural beings. Orcs going back to Tolkien? just people raised in bad situations. They are there the Fantasy equivalent of inner city black ghettos, where gangs which once were the rebelious force agianst the law are now all that hold together the area. They are the bad guys, but can you blame them when they have been Cosmically and Sociopolitically **** on for so long?

Realms of Chaos
2014-03-16, 08:07 PM
I don't think that it's been said directly (though I've probably been ninja'd a dozen times) but... what about bloodlines? You know, that thing from UA that Welknair made usable some time ago.

Just give everyone a major bloodline with no level loss and you gain more benefit from your race as you level up. Hell, the mechanic even gives you a way to communicate unusual ancestry by replacing your normal race with another one for your bloodline, something that the normal game doesn't let you do without some serious penalty.

If you wanted players a bit more commited to the bloodline of their own race rather than picking the most awesome race they can find, force each race to take their abilities and allow them to "splice" a second bloodline from a second race-specific list at listed levels (You might gain dwarf abilities with a single stone giant ability instead every 4 levels, for example).

Gnorman
2014-03-16, 08:30 PM
I don't think that it's been said directly (though I've probably been ninja'd a dozen times) but... what about bloodlines? You know, that thing from UA that Welknair made usable some time ago.

Just give everyone a major bloodline with no level loss and you gain more benefit from your race as you level up. Hell, the mechanic even gives you a way to communicate unusual ancestry by replacing your normal race with another one for your bloodline, something that the normal game doesn't let you do without some serious penalty.

If you wanted players a bit more commited to the bloodline of their own race rather than picking the most awesome race they can find, force each race to take their abilities and allow them to "splice" a second bloodline from a second race-specific list at listed levels (You might gain dwarf abilities with a single stone giant ability instead every 4 levels, for example).

Mechanically, it would work just fine. But bloodlines suffer from the same problem I've been harping on: too many boring +1s and +2s scattered about at levels where they will hardly ever be relevant. Make them more interesting generally, and I'm sold.

Realms of Chaos
2014-03-16, 09:06 PM
Mechanically, it would work just fine. But bloodlines suffer from the same problem I've been harping on: too many boring +1s and +2s scattered about at levels where they will hardly ever be relevant. Make them more interesting generally, and I'm sold.

That strikes me as a bit silly because... well... so much of the game works exactly as I described. It's like saying that the skill point system is stupid just because you'll get no more than a +1 bonus per level to optimized skills. It's like saying that BAB sucks because it will only ever increase by +1 at each level. It's like saying that saving throws are the worst things ever because even specialists only get +0.5/level. Are new hit points wasted on a level 20 fighter because an extra 1d10+Con is only 5% of your total hp instead of the 100% that it was at level 2?

Seriously, 99% of this game is arithmetically incremental and trying to make every aspect of the game exponential seems like a recipe for madness. The only things in the entire system that aren't are class features (including spells) and level-restricted feats (plus skill checks if they were well done). Maybe magic items if you want to get pedantic.

I'm not suggesting that your race outweigh your actual level by any stretch of the imagination. I am only suggesting a racial supplemental to your basic chassis so that your race plays a part in your development after level 1. Cumulative benefits instead of immediately flashy benefits.

Gnorman
2014-03-16, 09:38 PM
That strikes me as a bit silly because... well... so much of the game works exactly as I described. It's like saying that the skill point system is stupid just because you'll get no more than a +1 bonus per level to optimized skills. It's like saying that BAB sucks because it will only ever increase by +1 at each level. It's like saying that saving throws are the worst things ever because even specialists only get +0.5/level. Are new hit points wasted on a level 20 fighter because an extra 1d10+Con is only 5% of your total hp instead of the 100% that it was at level 2?

Seriously, 99% of this game is arithmetically incremental and trying to make every aspect of the game exponential seems like a recipe for madness. The only things in the entire system that aren't are class features (including spells) and level-restricted feats (plus skill checks if they were well done). Maybe magic items if you want to get pedantic.

I'm not suggesting that your race outweigh your actual level by any stretch of the imagination. I am only suggesting a racial supplemental to your basic chassis so that your race plays a part in your development after level 1. Cumulative benefits instead of immediately flashy benefits.

DISCLAIMER: My general philosophy when it comes to class/race design is to avoid anything that just "makes the numbers go up," my rationale being that we have enough incremental bonuses in the game already. So my perspective here will likely be colored by my biases.

My issue with it isn't that incremental bonuses are a bad thing, so much as when you make a racial class that is nothing but incremental bonuses to things that the character has available at character creation. Skills and BAB progression, though incremental, do slightly more than just scale linearly - opening up prestige classes, iterative attacks, skill tricks, etc. Ideally, they'd feel more like class features than chassis improvements, is what I'm trying to get across. It seems you take the opposite view, so I don't know that the difference is reconcilable.

So, racial abilities that do things like: Add +2 to Stonecutting, add +1 to saves against poison/magic, etc., shouldn't be a priority. Likewise with bonus feats, if only because they're conveniently available through other means.

On the other hands, adding NEW abilities (like letting a dwarf use class features not normally available while wearing armor) are good, even if, I suppose, they result in flat bonuses (I'm not super keen on it, but I recognize the appeal). Especially if they do things not otherwise obtainable by classes/feats. This makes the racial choice feel unique.

Segev
2014-03-16, 11:00 PM
What I like about the most recent dwarf writeup I did (inspired by others' efforts prior in this very thread, and by conversation in here, so I am very grateful for and happy with the conversations going on in here!) is that it's very flexible.

One could probably adapt it fairly easily to multiple different races, just replacing the first level's "freebies" with new ones, and changing which stat gets the periodic increase. "Racial Feature" at XYZ level is pretty flexible, so you just come up with a new suite of those for each race.

Furthermore, as is the case with feats and spells, it would be feasible to come up with new ones as new ideas occurred, new splats came out, or however you wanted to look at it.

Meanwhile, the boring +1 bonuses are there because some people may well want to see their Stonecunning improve. It's an option. I'd like it to be as good, mechanically, as any other option you could take, all else being equal, but that may not be feasible.


edit: It's worth noting that the "dead levels" in the build are currently positioned such that, in a PF game, there is a feat gained at each of them. For 3.5, it would probably do to tweak it a bit to get an extra racial feature or some other goody at levels where this doesn't overlap, and move the "dead" levels to match feat-gain.

An alternative approach would be to remove "automatic" feat gain entirely as something all characters get, and instead tie it directly to racial levels. Humans, in keeping with the "bonus feat" special feature in 3.P, might have the most feats in their progression, while other races get specialized ones.

Of course, that would require changing the "may spend generic feat slots on racial features" rule, since there wouldn't be "generic feat slots" independent of race anymore.

Lord Raziere
2014-03-17, 12:56 AM
maybe we can just make the race levels interchangeable with things like Expert and such? like, if you want to stay a level one dwarf, but level up your skill side of things, you can do that, and of course, some races will have less levels than others, like dwarves might only have....say five levels, but a dragon would have twenty.

so theoretically you could take a level in dwarf, then take a level in cyborg or something, then take a level in expert to represent getting educated, then taking a level in Winged Humanoid to represent upgrading yourself with cybernetic wings from what you learned as an Expert.

Realms of Chaos
2014-03-17, 09:53 AM
DISCLAIMER: My general philosophy when it comes to class/race design is to avoid anything that just "makes the numbers go up," my rationale being that we have enough incremental bonuses in the game already. So my perspective here will likely be colored by my biases.

Eh, I just have an opposite bias when it comes to races, is all. I typically go to races looking to find "a _____ race" instead of "a race that _______".

For example, I expect to find a tough race, a fast race, a smart race, or a skilled race, not a race that contacts spirits of the dead, a race that turns invisible, or a race that shrugs off magic.

In D&D, races have long-been a modifier for your other chosen factors rather than being a real factor in and of themselves. I came to this project looking to see how they could be empowered while remaining a modifier, meaning that the racial choice will matter in the long run.

You are totally right that this is a game with tons of modifiers and that unique abilities might make your race independently salient as its own factor in play. On the other hand, these two need not be mutually exclusive.

Look back on Segev's dwarf. You can't really be tell me that a a +5 untyped bonus to Con (as good as the best tome money can buy) and a +5 untyped bonus to saves against magic aren't level appropriate bonuses by level 20, even if some other choices (darkvision or stonecunning) seem more like "traps" and the individual +1 bonuses are small.

Add to that the fact that there are still 10 levels wide open for you to stick your more stable racial features that produce differences in kind and I'd say that we have a pretty stable situation. Some bonuses that add up to change how you play and some set racial capabilities that make your choice relevant in others ways.

Edit: Also, I admit that you seem to be looking at "racial class" while I'm looking at "scaling racial benefits by class levels". While the two seem similar and would function similar, the former may carry the need to act more like a class and obey class conventions while I'm thinking more of a scaling "template"/bloodline more than anything else.

toapat
2014-03-17, 10:09 AM
I think the best possible solution that i dont think anyone really would disagree with would be to have a mix. All races would get +X to an attribute over their lifespan, a Societial ability, and 1-2 natural abilities

For instance with Dwarf

+2 con, -2 Cha at first level, Con increases by +1 every 5th level.
+2 vs Giants at lvl 2, increases by +2 every 4th lvl
Stoneskin 3/Day at 4th at CL 1/2 Dwarf
Master Smith at 8th level, Can shape the world at 16th
Earthglide at 12
Lvl20 Capstone: Lifesmith: The greatest Dwarves of all time are rarely recognized as dwarves themselves. Pinnacle Dwarves can take stone and steel, and shape living flesh from the lifeless materials. In a single year long process, a Dwarf may forge to life a creature, as though casting Origin of Species (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3515727&postcount=17) a sufficient number of times to create a stable population.