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Everyman
2007-04-26, 10:26 PM
In my upcoming campaign, half-orcs (and orcs) are spiritual, tribal folk. To better capture this flavor, I made the following adjustments to the half-orc race.

Half-Orcs

+2 Strength, -2 Intelligence.
A half-orcís starting Intelligence score is always at least 3. If this adjustment would lower the characterís score to 1 or 2, his score is nevertheless 3.
A half-orc takes a -2 penalty on all Charisma-based skill checks, except for Intimidate and Handle Animal.
Medium: As Medium creatures, half-orcs have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Half-orc base land speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision: Half-orcs (and orcs) can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and half-orcs can function just fine with no light at all.
Orc Blood: For all effects related to race, a half-orc is considered an orc.
Automatic Languages: Common and Orc. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Giant, Gnoll, Goblin, Sylvan, and Abyssal.
Favored Class: Barbarian and Spirit Shaman. A multiclass half-orcís barbarian spirit shaman class levels do not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty.So, tell me what you think. I rather like the changes (mostly the skill penalty rather than a flat Charisma penalty).

Proven_Paradox
2007-04-27, 12:33 AM
I wrote up a change that looks a lot like this for much the same reason. I gave them weapon familiarity with the orcish maul in my signature, and keen senses (+2 to spot, listen, and search) instead of darkvision. The main point is the same though: taking out the charisma penalty means half-orc sorcerers and favored souls (classes I use for shamanistic roles) are viable.

By the RAW, this would be LA +1 because RAW states that strength is twice as important as everything else for some retarded reason, but I get the impression that you're not overly concerned with that.

Koga
2007-04-27, 12:35 AM
How about half-nothing? The Koga hates halfbreeds. It makes humans look retarded.

Gnomes are engineers.
Haflings are theives.
Elves are elitist mages.
Dwarves are gruff craftsmen.
Orcs are brutal thugs.

What are humans? Nymphos. With so many halfbreeds is there anything a human won't screw?

Townopolis
2007-04-27, 12:37 AM
Because strength is used for hitting things, and things like intelligence and charisma are only useful for magic and diplomacy checks.

and hitting things > magic & diplomacy checks

*Sage nod*

Koga
2007-04-27, 12:39 AM
Because strength is used for hitting things, and things like intelligence and charisma are only useful fro magic and diplomacy checks.

and hitting things > magic & diplomacy checks

*Sage nod*
What are you talking about? Only if your gm is a total boob.

Low intelligence means you don't know anything about anything. When you see someone chanting you just think they're crazy, only the guy with knowledge (arcana) knows to run.

And God help you if you fail your diplomacy check in an unfamiliar town. *Plays banjo* Squeel like a piggy!

brian c
2007-04-27, 12:42 AM
Because strength is used for hitting things, and things like intelligence and charisma are only useful fro magic and diplomacy checks.

and hitting things > magic & diplomacy checks

*Sage nod*

Especially if you're an Orc (or half-orc).

Seriously though, that's what makes it unbalancing, if you make a melee character then strength is way more important than Int or Cha. Of course, you could argue that +2 Int is just as halpful for a wizard, so grey elves are extremely unbalanced (which they are; isn't it only +1 LA? should be +2 I think)



What are you talking about? Only if your gm is a total boob.

Low intelligence means you don't know anything about anything. When you see someone chanting you just think they're crazy, only the guy with knowledge (arcana) knows to run.

And God help you if you fail your diplomacy check in an unfamiliar town. *Plays banjo* Squeel like a piggy!

But D&D is rarely played as solo characters; it's assumed that if you have a low charisma and/or intelligence, then there is someone else in your party who can tell you when to run, and someone who can talk to the locals on behalf of the party.

And anyway, -2 to intelligence is only -1 to knowledge skills (and less skill points), you can still "know" a lot of things in that sense, just not quite as well as someone with higher intelligence. I've played a half-orc wizard before, it's not pretty but it's possible.

Townopolis
2007-04-27, 12:51 AM
First, *Sage Nod* has always been an indication of sarcasm in my experience.

Second, Int helps wizards and Cha helps sorcerors just as much as Str helps fighters or barbarians. However, a fighter or barbarian doesn't give two hoots about Int and Cha 90% of the time, and wizards and sorcerors feel the same about Str 90% of the time. In fact, giving Half-Orcs +2 Str and balancing it with -2 Int and -2 Cha does not balance the equation at all whatsoever.

It pigeonholes Half-Orcs.

Ok, perhaps pigeonhole is too strong a phrase, but this is what it boils down to.

If class = Melee, then: Your primary stat gets buffed, secondary stats are left alone, and the stats that have minimal effect on your character are debuffed for "balance." (Your rock)

If class = Skill or Magic then: Your primary stat gets debuffed, secondary stats are left alone, and the stat that has a minimal effect on your character is buffed. (You suck)

I know each race has classes that it's better at, but at least a halfling fighter gets +1 hit and +1 AC and can go the dodge or expertise routes.

Koga
2007-04-27, 12:56 AM
Lordsmoothe has a point, if orcs just had +2 strength and no penaties, they wouldn't be pigeonholed to be melee characters, they'd just be strong.

The problem is this makes them unbalanced with other races, so all races would have to apply this. Elves don't have -2 con, gnomes/haflings don't have -2 str, etc.

Tor the Fallen
2007-04-27, 01:07 AM
I like getting rid of the charisma penalty.
With the prevalent paradigm of "casters win", bonuses to intelligence, wisdom, and charisma will be as valuable as a strength bonus. A bonus to a primary casting ability lets you do so much more than a flat bonus to strength.

Townopolis
2007-04-27, 01:14 AM
-2 Dex & Int would be a penalty that would pigeonhole Half-Orcs less and help balance them, since Dex does actually affect warrior types. I can also see it fitting in fine with traditional orcishness.

It's bad for ranged attacks and rogues, but better for sorcerors, paladins, clerics, and similar classes.



On the subject at hand, I love the adjustments, Tarkahn.

Marcotic
2007-04-27, 02:31 AM
Hey, if you got a moment look up (in the MM) wood elves. I believe that they (or one of the other odd 40 elf spinnoffs) have the stats +2dex +2str -2 int -2 con. The Wizard near the Coast simply hates orcs (and has a hard on for elves). just as simple as that. As per your fix, I don't like it. Your fix is better balanced and all but I like the "feel" of it.
I humbly suggest that you give the HO bonus skill points as a human, a +2 "pride bonus" (or angst bonus) on will saves and treat Double axe as martial.

Yes the humble H-O is pigeon holed quite nicely, but it does do its job well. IF i recall correctly Grey elves have no LA ( though perhaps they should) Also vanarians (OA) get a -2 str +2 Wis and Int.

IonizedChicken
2007-04-27, 02:46 AM
It wouldn't be that much unbalanced to just remove the Intelligence penalty as well. After all, if you're playing a Wizard you don't need Strength at all. If you're playing a Barbarian you don't really need Intelligence. It might make orcs better than other classes in Gish roles, but not by that much.
Look at this though:



• +2 Constitution, –2 Charisma.
• Medium: As Medium creatures, dwarves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
• Dwarf base land speed is 20 feet. However, dwarves can move at this speed even when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load (unlike other creatures, whose speed is reduced in such situations).
• Darkvision: Dwarves can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and dwarves can function just fine with no light at all.
• Stonecunning: This ability grants a dwarf a +2 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, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn’t stone but that is disguised as stone 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.
• Weapon Familiarity: Dwarves may treat dwarven waraxes and dwarven urgroshes as martial weapons, rather than exotic weapons.
• Stability: A dwarf gains a +4 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).
• +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison.
• +2 racial bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like effects.
• +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against orcs and goblinoids.
• +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against monsters of the giant type. Any time a creature loses its Dexterity bonus (if any) to Armor Class, such as when it’s caught flat-footed, it loses its dodge bonus, too.
• +2 racial bonus on Appraise checks that are related to stone or metal items.
• +2 racial bonus on Craft checks that are related to stone or metal.
• Automatic Languages: Common and Dwarven. Bonus Languages: Giant, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, Terran, and Undercommon.
• Favored Class: Fighter. A multiclass dwarf ’s fighter class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing


Yes, that many.
Dwarves get a bonus to what is arguably the most generally useful ability score in the game and a penalty to what is arguably the least useful ability score in the game. Then they get tons of bonuses stacked over all of this, weapon familiarity, AND Darkvision.
Gnomes aren't that much more worse off.

Everyman
2007-04-27, 03:50 AM
Wow. So many comments...

First off, I am aware of how WotC likes to judge ability scores. I know that Str does a whole lot in the game, but (as pointed out) orcs don't get much more than that. Since Charisma is only good for skills and casting, I don't think removing it was unbalancing, especially since I emulated that gruff/angry personality via the -2 they get to most Charisma based checks. They still aren't your party face, unless they have a truly amazing Charisma score.

Second, I really don't think half-orcs need much more than what I gave them. They are no longer forced into one type of class (can branch out a bit) and have a second favored class. I think this really helps them out, without giving them a significant bonus.

FYI, there are no clerics or druids in my campaign (only Archivists and Spirit Shamans). So, they still don't have too much flexibility, as half of all casting classes (Wizards and Archivists) require a stat they get a penalty for. Even if they decide to go with the other casters, Strength is not a great deal of help for a Sorcerer or Spirit Shaman. Ergo, they still aren't built to be casters. Perhaps my sense of "balance" is based off this knowledge.

Everyman
2007-04-27, 03:53 AM
Apologies, but the system apparently double posted the above message.

Khoran
2007-04-27, 03:53 AM
I like it, feels nice and balanced to me. Sure, accourding to RAW it should require a Level Adjustment. However, I feel that it's foolish that Str is costs double the points of other stats and I am more then willing to toss that rule out of the window.

Also, I know it's correct, but could someone remind me where I could look up where it says that 2 str is worth 4 mental stats.

IonizedChicken
2007-04-27, 04:56 AM
I know this is a little off-topic, but I would love to play a game where Orcs are scholarly, wizard types.

Khoran
2007-04-27, 05:13 AM
I know this is a little off-topic, but I would love to play a game where Orcs are scholarly, wizard types.

They have something like that in Races of Destiny, called Sharakim. They are like intelligent and civilized Orcs and their favored class is Wizard. +1 LA though :\

IonizedChicken
2007-04-27, 05:29 AM
Aye. For no real reason whatsoever.

Closet_Skeleton
2007-04-27, 10:02 AM
I would give them a con bonus rather than take away the cha penalty but that's because I remember second edition.

The Warcraft d20 book had an interesting version of half-orc. They got +2 con, -2 Wis, +1 on fear saves because they tend to be foolhardily trying to prove themselves and +2 on intimidate and sense motive because they're broody and distrusting of people's appearances.

Maryring
2007-04-27, 12:34 PM
It is good. I have only one more thing to add, don't give them a -2 penalty on UMD checks. Otherwise, it looks pretty good. A lot better than the other orc at least.

mikeejimbo
2007-04-27, 01:49 PM
What are humans? Nymphos. With so many halfbreeds is there anything a human won't screw?

Dragons are rather promiscuous in Dragonlance. They're also shapeshifters, of course.

Anyway, you're welcome to rule that there are half other things too, like a half-gnome/half-halfling.

I think there should be half-halflings anyway. And half-dwarves.

I also saw a rather good writeup on half-orc/half-elves once.

Townopolis
2007-04-27, 07:20 PM
I also dislike having half-races, especially when there's orc/human and elf/human but no orc/dwarf, gnome/halfling, gnome/elf, etc. Considering this and my desire to allow people to play full-blooded orcs and no real desire to make up half-races (An idea I had, half-orc is half as powerful as a "real" Race, same with half-elf, half-gnome, etc. Combine two half-races to create your actual race), I decided to deal with it like so.

Half-orcs are now called orcs

Elves are now called Elves (13th gen)

Half-elves are now called Elves (14th gen)

Basically, I stole the idea of generations from Vampire:TM. No, elves don't bite people, but when they have children, the children are half as elfy as the parents. 1st gen Elves are immortal and a lot like what you find in Norse and Celtic mythology.

Angafirith
2007-04-27, 08:10 PM
What are humans? Nymphos. With so many halfbreeds is there anything a human won't screw?

Sounds like somebody should write them as templates, rather than races. It works for Half Dragons, so why shouldn't it work for Half Elves and Half Orcs? Heck, you could probably just take the already existing racial abilities for those two and make them a template, since Humans have few special racial abilities.

An elf and an orc have a child (Eww). You could stat it as an Elf with the Half-Orc template or an Orc with the Half-Elf template.

Wardog
2007-04-30, 07:03 PM
I think -2 dex nicely balances +2 str. Just about anything that benefits from str also benefits from dex (and vice versa), so that combination should work (and be interesting, as none of the standard races get +str or -dex).

It also makes sense from a conceptual point of view - if an orc is big an mussly, , then it will be heavier and less nimble.


Of course, orcs/half-orcs are not normally considered particularly bright or charismatic, so maybe a penalty to one or the other would be advisable, but not to both unless they get some big other advantage.

Perhaps a +con bonus could balance this out (although that might pigeonhole them into melee types again).


How about:

Orc: +4str, -2dex, +2con, -2int, -2cha

Half-orc: +2str, -2dex

Both keep darkvision (and light sensetivity for orcs).

They probably should get some other bonuses as well, but I'm not sure what. (Non-attribute bonuses help to make races more interesting, and all the other player races get more of them than half-orcs do).

Matthew
2007-05-12, 07:27 PM
I think the original fix is fine. If anything, I would remove point 3.