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    Default [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    Dynamic Racial Benefits

    Title: The racial benefits that a character gains from his or her race remain static, while the character's class abilities are dynamic. The higher a character is in levels, the more important his or her class abilities are, while at the same time the importance of his or her racial abilities decrease. With the exception of magic items, other effects, or prestige classes that require a specific race, there is little mechanical difference between characters race at the higher levels of the game. The ability modifiers and racial characteristics (special qualities and special abilities) do not scale with level.

    Object: Dynamic Racial Benefits begin with the standard benefits derived from race and increase those benefits as characters gain class levels. In addition to an increase in the mechanical benefits of the already present racial abilities, new racial abilities may be gained to further differentiate a characters race.

    Thesis: Abilities that scale in power and utility are more powerful than static abilities. The relative value of abilities can be characterized by which Tier their function places them.

    Tier 6 - Least powerful are abilities that provide a single static ability that is not tied to a progression of more powerful abilities. Feats that are not a pre-requisite for other feats are an example of this, as well as class abilities that do not scale.

    Tier 5 - Next powerful are abilities that provide a benefit when subsequent abilities are gained. Feat trees are an example of this. Endurance becomes more powerful when a character also has Diehard. Weapon Focus allows a character to gain Weapon Specialization.

    Tier 4 - Abilites that scale in power but not utility are next. A Monk's lay on hands is an example.

    Tier 3 - Next powerful are abilities that provide new or multiple uses for an ability. Tactical and Weapon Style feats, along with feats that grant new uses for skills, are an example of this. Trapfinding grants new capabilities for the use of Search & Disable Device.

    Tier 2 - Abilities that scale in power and utility while requiring subsequent investment. A Cleric's ability to turn undead has many uses, but it's primary ability is dependent on the character continuing to take levels in Cleric. A Paladin may use his or her Lay on Hands to cure Hit Points or Harm Undead, but the power of that ability is tied to the character's level in the Paladin class.

    Tier 1 - Most powerful are abilities that scale in power and utility without requiring subsequent investment. Spellcasting is an example of this. A spellcaster may gain the ability to cast spells from a class and then leave that class, entering others that continue to increase the power of spellcasting, such as from entering a Prestige Class that advances previous spellcasting ability.
    Question: How can racial benefits be changed to become dynamic abilities that scale in power without introducing a complex additional system or element to the game? How can dynamic racial benefits be balanced against other abilities gained, such as from class features or magic items?

    Problem: Devise a system that grants additional racial benefits without increasing the complexity of options for a character.

    Stakes: To enhance the distinct and unique characteristics of racial abilities. To provide a rationale for enhancing characters racial abilities. To maintain the importance of racial selection at higher levels in the game.

    Context: The new abilities presented in Dungeons and Dragons 3.75 (new classes, alternative class features, feats, spells, and equipment) further serve to illustrate the difference in design philosophy from Dungeons and Dragons 3.0 with regard to racial abilities and characteristics. There have been attempts to bring racial abilities up to the same power level as other abilities but these attempts have failed to do so in a manner that is consistent.

    Pretext: There have been three major attempts to increase the importance and power of race in Dungeons and Dragons. These are Bloodlines and Racial Paragon Classes from Unearthed Arcana and Racial Substitution levels. Racial Subsitution Levels vary in their power and feasibility; some are only useful in specific instances while others are more powerful than the standard class. In addition there is a lack of completeness as there are not substitution levels available for every class/race combination.

    Bloodline and Racial Paragon Classes fail by forcing the player to give up class abilities in order to gain racial abilities. They are furthermore plagued by the ease with which they may be used to abuse and break the game, such as increasing a class ability beyond it's intended power level.

    Mode: 3.5 Homebrew Theory: The Philosophy of Creation by Djinn in Tonic. Content and discussion will be focused on creating thematically appropriate and mechanically balanced racial abilities.

    Genre: This text is meant as a character option resource. As such it will present the new abilities, explain them, and provide for the discussion of their use.

    Style: The abilities will be presented in the standard table/text format. The content should be immediately identifiable and the format should not interfere with the reader's understanding of the content.

    Reader: Any DM or Player that would like the choice of race to have more impact in their game. The reader is encouraged to provide criticism of the content and create his or her own for consideration.

    Author: Has gamed for over 12 years, with Dungeons and Dragons 3.X as his primary game of choice. Extensive time spent playing and thinking about the game has lead the Author to anaylze the nature of the game mechanics and seek alternative methods for either improving or replacing systems within the game. Time spent not playing makes the Author sad.

    Rules Concerning Racial Abilities:

    Gaining Racial Abilities

    Racial abilities are automatically gained upon reaching the indicated level. If a character is subject to permanent level loss, the character loses the racial abilities indicated for the corresponding levels lost. For example if a 6th level character permanently loses 2 levels, the character loses the racial abilities for levels 5 and 6.

    Changing Form

    All racial abilities follow the rules for changing form depending on which method the character is using to change form (Alternate Form, Change Shape, Alter Self, Polymorph, Wild Shape, etc). For ease of reference, abilities will be designated as either Extraordinary(Ex), Supernatural(Su), Spell-Like (Sp).Those not labeled one of those three are considered racial traits. Due to Wizards' mishandling of the rules for changing form, it is advised that the DM determine ahead of time which set of rules for changing form he or she is using and which racial abilities will be maintained, lost, and gained when changing form.

    Dynamic Racial Benefits fall into four categories.

    Ability Boost
    You gain a permanent +1 increase to the given ability score. This is similar to the ability increase gained by characters at every fourth level.

    Racial Affinity
    You gain a bonus (either +2, +4, or +6) on all Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, and Perform checks made to interact with creatures of your race.

    Skill Boost
    You receive a +2 bonus on checks made with the given skill.

    Special
    You gain a special ability. Common racial special abilities include bonus feats, special qualities and abilities, or spell-like abilities.

    Progression of Racial Abilities

    The default progression for racial abilities is coded in the table below. Some races have minor variations, replacing one type of ability for another at a particular level.
    Spoiler
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    {table=head]Level|Ability Gained
    1st | Basic Racial Abilities
    2nd | Bonus Feat
    3rd | Ability Boost
    4th | Special
    5th | Affinity +2
    6th | Special
    7th | Skill Boost
    8th | Special
    9th | Ability Boost
    10th | Special
    11th | Affinity +4
    12th | Special
    13th | Skill Boost
    14th | Bonus Feat
    15th | Ability Boost
    16th | Special
    17th | Affinity +6
    18th | Special
    19th | Skill Boost
    20th | Special[/table]

    Presentation of Benefits


    The SRD text of each races basic abilities are copied and placed with each race for completeness. The only change to these abilities is that Humans receive a +2 bonus to an Ability Score of their choice at first level.

    Human
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    • +2 to any Ability Score
    • Medium: As Medium creatures, humans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
    • Human base land speed is 30 feet.
    • 1 extra feat at 1st level.
    • 4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level.
    • Automatic Language: Common. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic). See the Speak Language skill.
    • Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass human takes an experience point penalty, his or her highest-level class does not count.

    {table=head]Level|Ability Gained
    1st | Basic Racial Abilities
    2nd | Skill Focus: Any
    3rd | +1 Any Ability Score
    4th | Teamwork (Ex)
    5th | Human Affinity +2
    6th | Skill Synergy (Ex)
    7th | +2 Any Skill
    8th | Intuition
    9th | +1 Any Ability Score
    10th | Bonus Feat [Any]
    11th | Human Affinity +4
    12th | Knack (Ex)
    13th | +2 Any Skill
    14th | Bonus Feat [Any]
    15th | +1 Any Ability Score
    16th | Cunning (Ex)
    17th | Human Affinity +6
    18th | Versatility (Ex)
    19th | +2 Any Skill
    20th | DR 5/-[/table]

    Teamwork (Ex)
    Humans add a +3 bonus instead of a +2 when using the Aid Another action.

    Skill Synergy (Ex)
    You receive a +3 synergy bonus instead of a +2 synergy bonus for having 5 ranks in a skill that grants a synergy bonus to another skill.

    Intuition (Ex)
    At 8th level a human gains 5 bonus skill points.

    Knack (Ex)
    Choose 3 skills. When making a skill check with one of these skills, you may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent you from doing so.

    Cunning (Ex)
    Humans receive a +3 bonus to Initiative.

    Versatility (Ex)
    You may make untrained skill checks with skills that do not allow untrained checks.


    Dwarf
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    • +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

    {table=head]Level|Ability Gained
    1st | Basic Racial Abilities
    2nd | Great Fortitude
    3rd | +1 Con
    4th | Craft Expertise (Ex)
    5th | Dwarf Affinity +2
    6th | Improved Stonecunning (Ex)
    7th | +2 Craft
    8th | Improved Darkvision 30ft (Ex)
    9th | +1 Con
    10th | Save Bonus +1 (Ex)
    11th | Dwarf Affinity +4
    12th | Giant Dodge +2
    13th | +2 Intimdate
    14th | Diehard
    15th | +1 Con
    16th | Save Bonus +2 (Ex)
    17th | Dwarf Affinity +6
    18th | Improved Darkvision 30ft (Ex)
    19th | +2 Appraise
    20th | DR 5/Adamantine[/table]

    Craft Expertise (Ex)
    A dwarf may add his character level as a racial bonus on all Craft checks related to stone or metal items.

    Improved Stonecunning (Ex)
    A dwarf's racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework increases to +4. The range at which he receives an automatic Search check for coming near an example of unusual stonework increases to 20 feet. Also, he can intuit where true north lies in relation to himself (as if he had 5 ranks in Survival) whenever underground.

    Improved Darkvision (Ex)
    A dwarf's darkvision range increases by 30 feet. At 18th level it increases again by 30 feet.

    Save Bonus (Ex)
    A dwarf's racial bonus on saves against poison and against spells and spell-like effects increases by 1. At 16th level it increases again by +1.

    Giant Dodge (Ex)
    A dwarf's dodge bonus against creatures of the Giant type increases by +2.

    Diehard (Ex)
    A dwarf gains this bonus feat even if he or she does not meet the pre-requisites.


    Elf
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    • +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution.
    • Medium: As Medium creatures, elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
    • Elf base land speed is 30 feet.
    • Immunity to magic sleep effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells or effects.
    • Low-Light Vision: An elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
    • Weapon Proficiency: Elves receive the Martial Weapon Proficiency feats for the longsword, rapier, longbow (including composite longbow), and shortbow (including composite shortbow) as bonus feats.
    • +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks. An elf who merely passes within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Search check to notice it as if she were actively looking for it.
    • Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan.
    • Favored Class: Wizard. A multiclass elf’s wizard class does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.

    {table=head]Level|Ability Gained
    1st | Basic Racial Abilities
    2nd | Lightning Reflexes
    3rd | +1 Dex
    4th | Weapon Focus (Ex)
    5th | Elf Affinity +2
    6th | Elfsight (Ex)
    7th | +2 Listen
    8th | Resist Enchantments (Ex)
    9th | +1 Dex
    10th | Sixth Sense (Ex)
    11th | Elf Affinity +4
    12th | Weapon Specialization (Ex)
    13th | +2 Spot
    14th | Blind-Fight
    15th | +1 Dex
    16th | Focused Effort
    17th | Elf Affinity +6
    18th | Improved Sixth Sense (Ex)
    19th | +2 Search
    20th | DR 5/Cold Iron[/table]

    Elfsight (Ex)
    An elf has exceptional visual acuity. Her racial bonus on Search and Spot checks increases to +4. In addition, an elf's low-light vision increases in range, allowing her to see three times as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination.

    Resist Enchantments (Ex)
    An elf's racial bonus on saves against enchantment spells or effects increases by 2.

    Weapon Focus (Ex)
    At 4th level an elf gains Weapon Focus as a bonus feat. This feat must apply to one of the elf's weapons that she gained proficiency with through her racial proficiencies.

    Sixth Sense (Ex)
    An elf adds a +5 bonus to her Search check when rolling to notice a secret or concealed door, whether actively looking or not.

    Weapon Specialization (Ex)
    At 12th level an elf gains Weapon Specialization with the weapon she chose at 4th level. If an elf already has Weapon Specialization for that weapon she may choose any other Fighter bonus feat for which she qualifies.

    A half-elf that chose Elf for her Divided Ancestry must have Weapon Focus with the weapon she selects for this ability.

    Focused Effort (Ex)
    When Taking 10 or Taking 20 an elf adds +2 to the result.

    Improved Sixth Sense (Ex)
    The bonus granted by Sixth Sense increase to +10.

    A half-elf that chose Elf for her Divided Ancestry must have chosen Sixth Sense to qualify for Improved Sixth Sense.


    Gnome
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    • +2 Constitution, -2 Strength.
    • Small: As a Small creature, a gnome gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but he uses smaller weapons than humans use, and his lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
    • Gnome base land speed is 20 feet.
    • Low-Light Vision: A gnome can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
    • Weapon Familiarity: Gnomes may treat gnome hooked hammers as martial weapons rather than exotic weapons.
    • +2 racial bonus on saving throws against illusions.
    • Add +1 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against illusion spells cast by gnomes. This adjustment stacks with those from similar effects.
    • +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against kobolds 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 Listen checks.
    • +2 racial bonus on Craft (alchemy) checks.
    • Automatic Languages: Common and Gnome. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin, and Orc. In addition, a gnome can speak with a burrowing mammal (a badger, fox, rabbit, or the like, see below). This ability is innate to gnomes. See the speak with animals spell description.
    • Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day—speak with animals (burrowing mammal only, duration 1 minute). A gnome with a Charisma score of at least 10 also has the following spell-like abilities: 1/day—dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation. Caster level 1st; save DC 10 + gnome’s Cha modifier + spell level.
    • Favored Class: Bard. A multiclass gnome’s bard class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty.

    {table=head]Level|Ability Gained
    1st | Basic Racial Abilities
    2nd | Iron Will
    3rd | +1 Con
    4th | Keen Senses (Ex)
    5th | Gnome Affinity +2
    6th | Innate Aptitude (Ex)
    7th | +2 Spellcraft
    8th | Improved Racial Enemy (Ex)
    9th | +1 Con
    10th | Giant Dodge +2
    11th | Gnome Affinity +4
    12th | Mirror Image (Sp)
    13th | +2 Perform
    14th | Superior Racial Enemy (Ex)
    15th | +1 Con
    16th | Gnome Magic (Ex)
    17th | Gnome Affinity +6
    18th | Resist Illusion
    19th | +2 Craft(alchemy)
    20th | DR 5/Adamantine[/table]

    Keen Senses (Ex)
    At 4th level a gnome's racial bonus on Listen checks and Craft (alchemy) checks increases to +4.

    Innate Aptitude (Ex)
    At 6th level a gnome may add his character level to his caster level to determine the effects of any spell-like ability gained as an innate ability of the gnome race.

    Improved Racial Enemy (Ex)
    At 8th level a gnome's racial bonus on attack rolls vs Kobolds and Goblinoids increases by +1.

    Giant Dodge (Ex)
    At 12th a gnome's dodge bonus against creatures of the Giant type increases by +2.

    Mirror Image (Sp)
    At 12th level, a gnome gains the ability to cast mirror image once per day as a spell-like ability with a caster level equal to his character level. The caster level bonus from Innate Aptitude does not apply to this ability.

    Superior Racial Enemy (Ex)
    At 14th level a gnome gains a +4 bonus on weapon damage rolls vs Kobolds and Goblinoids.

    Gnome Magic (Ex)
    At 16th a gnome is able to use each of his racial Spell-Like Abilities 3/day.

    Resist Illusion (Ex)
    At 18th level a gnome gains a +2 bonus to disbelieve Illusions that are able to be disblieved.


    Half-Elf
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    • Medium: As Medium creatures, half-elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
    • Half-elf base land speed is 30 feet.
    • Immunity to sleep spells and similar magical effects, and a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against enchantment spells or effects.
    • Low-Light Vision: A half-elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
    • +1 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks.
    • +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy and Gather Information checks.
      Elven Blood: For all effects related to race, a half-elf is considered an elf.
    • Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic).
    • Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass half-elf takes an experience point penalty, her highest-level class does not count.

    {table=head]Level|Ability Gained
    1st | Basic Racial Abilities
    2nd | Skill Focus: Any
    3rd | +1 Any Ability Score
    4th | Elven Vision (Ex)
    5th | Half-Elf Affinity +2
    6th | Divided Ancestry (Ex)
    7th | +2 Listen
    8th | Persuasion (Ex)
    9th | +1 Any Ability Score
    10th | Resist Enchantment (Ex)
    11th | Half-Elf Affinity +4
    12th | Social Adept (Ex)
    13th | +2 Search
    14th | Bonus Feat [Any]
    15th | +1 Any Ability Score
    16th | Improved Persuasion
    17th | Half-Elf Affinity +6
    18th | Bonus Feat [Any]
    19th | +2 Spot
    20th | DR 5/Silver[/table]

    Elven Vision (Ex)
    At 4th level a half-elf's visual acuity improves to match that of an elf's. A half-elf's racial bonus on Search and Spot checks increases to +2.

    Divided Ancestry (Ex)
    Unlike other races, half-elves can gain abilites from more than one race. At 6th level a half-elf chooses either Human or Elf. Once the choice is made it cannot be changed. For all subsequent levels at each level a Half-Elf may take the ability from either the Half-Elf list or the chosen race's list.

    Persuasion (Ex)
    At 8th level a half-elf's racial bonus on Diplomacy and Gather Information checks increases to +3. She gains a +2 racial bonus on all other Charisma-based skills.

    Resist Enchantment (Ex)
    At 10th level a half-elf's bonus against enchantment spells or effects increases by +2. This bonus stacks with the elf's resist enchantment ability, if the half-elf has chosen elf as her Divided Ancestry and chosen that ability.

    Social Adept (Ex)
    Choose 3 Charisma-based skills. You may choose to 'Take 10' when using these skills, even if stress and distractions would normally prevent you from doing so.

    Improved Persuasion (Ex)
    At 16th level the racial bonus on all other Charisma-based skills other than Diplomacy and Gather Information increase by +2.
    Last edited by Chambers; 2010-06-26 at 10:48 PM.
    The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai Me.
    "We have sent many to Hell, to smooth our way," said I, "and we are standing yet and holding blades. What more?"
    Shadow of the Demon Lord (Robert Schwalb's New RPG)

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    Planetouched in the Playground Moderator
     
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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    -Reserved-

    More races will be posted later this weekend.
    Last edited by Chambers; 2010-06-26 at 10:00 AM.
    The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai Me.
    "We have sent many to Hell, to smooth our way," said I, "and we are standing yet and holding blades. What more?"
    Shadow of the Demon Lord (Robert Schwalb's New RPG)

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    May I say--this looks totally awesome.
    Take my love, take my land
    Take me where I cannot stand.
    I don't care, I'm still free,
    You can't take the sky from me.

    Defender of

    Don't make me trot out Smite Moron!

    Thanks to Sneak for the Avatar.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    I tried this once, it was good but progressed to slowly, this looks much better if you ask me

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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    I don't like this as a concept. Races are already a big part of your build because they provide pretty huge, albeit static, bonuses to the character in the form of stat boosts and racial abilities.

    Plus, you've managed to bring the Human from merely good to being the only playable race, assuming you intend to upgrade other races as you have.

    Humans: They get +X to any ability score, free untyped bonuses to any skill they want, free taking 10 on skills, free feats, DR5/- (at level 20, where it's near useless), and some minor benefits.

    Dwarfs: They get... some minor benefits? Besides the craft checks and great fortitude, none of their abilities mechanically affect them that much, and Great Fortitude can be grabbed with a human bonus feat. Basically humans get everything dwarves get, except they can put it into whatever they want instead of specific things, in addition to the benefits humans already had over dwarves.

    Then again, this is just an excaberation of the problems already inherent with the races, but three bonus feats is a lot harder to look away from than one, and picking a race is already a big choice.

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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    Posted Elf, Gnome, and Half-Elf.


    Serenity / EdroGrimshell

    Thanks!

    Milskidasith

    I won't try and persuade you on the concept. If you don't like the idea, okay.

    Regarding the specifics; I haven't finished all of the classes yet. I'm posting this now to get feedback on abilities that may be too powerful or too weak.
    Last edited by Chambers; 2010-06-26 at 10:53 PM.
    The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai Me.
    "We have sent many to Hell, to smooth our way," said I, "and we are standing yet and holding blades. What more?"
    Shadow of the Demon Lord (Robert Schwalb's New RPG)

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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    Human is still pretty much strictly better than all of the ones you've listed... it's got all the abilities of the other ones, aside from fluff abilities like searching for doors, while managing to choose what they get. Every time another race gets +1 to X score, or +2 to X skill, humans get +1 to whatever score they want, or +2 to whatever skill they want.

    Humans were already good, and you're basically making them strictly better than any other race aside from cheesy combinations.

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    Planetouched in the Playground Moderator
     
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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    Tier 1 classes are strictly better than all the other classes, yet people still play non-Tier 1 classes.

    Humans don't get every ability the other races do. Searching for doors is not a fluff ability, there's a game effect. Humans can't choose abilities from other races, Half-Elves and Half-Orcs may. Humans don't gain spell-like abilities. Humans don't have bonuses against a specific non-human race (attack, damage, armor class, etc).

    Each progression is meant to increase the power of the racial abilities that are present in first level characters. Dwarfs get abilities related to Crafting, Stonework, Saving Throws, etc. Gnomes get spell-like abilities, Elves get abilities with Weapons.

    Humans get versatility in the form of skill points and bonus feats. Their increased racial abilities play on that.

    How would you change their racial abilities so that they were not strictly better?

    All of the above is meant in a tone of honest exchange, with no hostility intended. Just to clarify and preemptively avoid any hard feelings.
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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    Personally? I'd knock off the +2 to an attribute and call it a day.
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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    It's a lot of paperwork, a new ability at every level. Rather than twenty very minor bonuses, I'd like a few bonuses spread out. Additionally, these bonuses seem to be given out pretty much for free, which sort of unbalances things.

    Hmm. If I were to make a system like this, I'd do two things.

    First, change the attribute bonuses every 4 levels to +1 to two different stats, ala 4e.

    Second, give the option of replacing those stat bonuses with a racial ability. Have a long list of racial abilities for each class, some with pre-reqs, like a certain level or class. Each racial ability would have about the same power as a feat, and some racial abilities could even BE feats, if appropriate. Like, skill focus for half-elves and power attack for half-orcs.

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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    Humans don't get every ability the other races do. Searching for doors is not a fluff ability, there's a game effect.
    It's a fluff ability in that it's essentially something added purely because of the fluff that has next to no impact on the game, ever. Secret doors are rarely part of the game, to the point it seems almost Aqua-mannish to include a secret door when you have somebody who uses it. A dodge bonus against giants is likewise essentially a fluff ability. They are somewhat useful if you get to use them, but not nearly enough to build a character around, or for any character concept to reliably use.

    Humans can't choose abilities from other races, Half-Elves and Half-Orcs may. Humans don't gain spell-like abilities. Humans don't have bonuses against a specific non-human race (attack, damage, armor class, etc).

    Each progression is meant to increase the power of the racial abilities that are present in first level characters. Dwarfs get abilities related to Crafting, Stonework, Saving Throws, etc. Gnomes get spell-like abilities, Elves get abilities with Weapons.
    And humans get anything they want, including the ability to take basically everything the other races get?

    How would you change their racial abilities so that they were not strictly better?
    I wouldn't give them DR 5/- when other races get DR 5/X, I wouldn't give them "+2 to any skill" when other races get "+2 to X skill", I wouldn't give them "Pick a bonus feat" when other races get "take this specific bonus feat", and I wouldn't give them "pick three skills to take ten on" when other races get "take ten on these three skills."

    Basically, to change them to be not strictly better... you make them not strictly better! There's really no way to break it down more; when you get an ability that can emulate the other races ability, and you get the ability to pick something more relevant to your character instead, it's going to be better. It doesn't help humans get +2 to anything when other races get +2 to X, -2 to Y.

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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    senrath

    I'm not entirely sold on the Human stat bonus myself. It seemed a way to further play on the versatility of Humans in the game.

    Apalala

    Your second suggestion runs counter to your first objection [more complicated system of selection and requirements versus not increasing paperwork].

    The basic racial benefits are also given out "for free". If everyone gets their racial benefits for free, then the balance issue lies in the power of the individual benefits.
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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    Race stuff is far from my strong suit, but the skill mastery for humans (different name, but you get what I mean) seems a bit off. To me, that's what your class features are for. I'd put Versatility at that lower level -- though make it a few chosen skills instead of all skills. Then, later on, you can give the unlimited version. To compensate, you could also give another level to the teamwork benefits or improve synergy bonuses even more.

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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by unnamedhero View Post
    Apalala

    Your second suggestion runs counter to your first objection [more complicated system of selection and requirements versus not increasing paperwork].

    The basic racial benefits are also given out "for free". If everyone gets their racial benefits for free, then the balance issue lies in the power of the individual benefits.
    I meant it would unbalance things in favor of the party vs the world, and I meant paperwork as in listing down 20 abilities rather than a few. Mine increases the power just a bit--+5/+5 ability bonus or racial abilities on that scale or a mix of the two rather than +5--rather than a lot.

    As for the paperwork, my suggestion would have five extra abilities over twenty levels rather than 19. Choosing those abilities would be a bit more work than simply jotting down the long list of racial abilities, but a lazy player has the much simpler option of simply choosing to boost their ability scores as normal. What's more, I think giving a player more choices gives them more room to flesh out their concept.

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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by unnamedhero View Post
    How would you change their racial abilities so that they were not strictly better?
    Cut the bonuses humans get in half, or double the bonuses gained by other races.

    Although you get to choose the power is less than those of the other races, meaning that it balances out somewhat, although their's not much you can do about feats other than give them a specific selection

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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    I did something like this myself, but on a smaller scale (example). I think you're aiming too high: sometimes a subtle change can be enough.

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    Default Re: [3.5]Dynamic Racial Benefits

    Great responses, thanks.

    Here are some brief proposals for changes for Humans.

    Skill Bonuses:
    Choose one skill. At the indicated levels your bonus with this skill increases by +2.

    Ability Bonuses:
    Remove the +2 bonus.
    Choose one ability score. At the indicated levels that ability score increases by +1.

    Feats:
    At 10th level choose either Lightning Reflexes, Great Fortitude, or Iron Will.
    At 14th level choose a bonus feat from your class list of bonus feats. If you do not have a class list of bonus feats, choose any feat you qualify for.

    Modify or eliminate Versatility (Ex).

    Increase bonus from either Teamwork or Skill Synergy.

    Fax

    Thanks for the suggestion and link. I'll read over it carefully later and consider using a similar method.
    The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai Me.
    "We have sent many to Hell, to smooth our way," said I, "and we are standing yet and holding blades. What more?"
    Shadow of the Demon Lord (Robert Schwalb's New RPG)

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