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    Default Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    When making characters for D&D 4e I usually feel pressured by the racial mods to choose a compatible race for the class I want to play. After thinking about it for awhile I came up with the following fixes and I would like people's opinion of each of them. Please state whether your opinion is coming from a DM's or Player's perspective.

    1) All races get both racial modifier choices all the time, so Dragonborn would get +2 cha, +2 str and +2 con instead of having to choose between str and con. Humans would get a 2nd +2 to allocate where they wished but not on the same ability.

    or

    2) All races get 2 +2 to allocate to different ability scores regardless of race, this would replace standard racial mods. So Dragonborns would be able to get +2 dex and +2 Int or any combination.

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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost49X View Post
    1) All races get both racial modifier choices all the time, so Dragonborn would get +2 cha, +2 str and +2 con instead of having to choose between str and con. Humans would get a 2nd +2 to allocate where they wished but not on the same ability.

    or

    2) All races get 2 +2 to allocate to different ability scores regardless of race, this would replace standard racial mods. So Dragonborns would be able to get +2 dex and +2 Int or any combination.
    I'd consider offering #1 as a DM and would accept it without comment as a player -- different, not better, not worse, except it's likely to make humans even more popular than they already are. Would also probably lead to a slightly higher percentage of hybrids and nonstandard builds. I don't like #2 ... wouldn't drop out of a game over it if I were a player, but I'd never consider it as a DM. I don't see any need to make race a more generic construct and I already take issue with halflings and gnomes being as strong as most Medium races (to give one example). From a rational gamist perspective I think it's fine, but not so much emotionally or canonically.

    If you use #1 and allow all monster races, you'll need to decide ahead of time whether to offer a third +2 to those that only have two listed.

    I have (basically) ten races in my homebrew world. Most of them can choose any two from a set of three possible statboosts, which provides some flexibility without quite as much value as your option#1. One race has an epic feat option to gain whichever +2 they didn't pick at game start. It's hardly overpowering at that point but might be worth picking up. Even offering it in paragon would probably be okay. At that point the player has probably established pretty well what their primary stats are going to be and isn't going to be changed hugely by the extra boost.
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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost49X View Post
    1) All races get both racial modifier choices all the time, so Dragonborn would get +2 cha, +2 str and +2 con instead of having to choose between str and con. Humans would get a 2nd +2 to allocate where they wished but not on the same ability.
    or
    2) All races get 2 +2 to allocate to different ability scores regardless of race, this would replace standard racial mods. So Dragonborns would be able to get +2 dex and +2 Int or any combination.
    As a Player, I would go with the second one. I think the standard racial benefit is a good indicator of what you'd ordinarily expect to see from that race; however, as an adventurer, you are by definition extraordinary.

    As a DM, I would say the same, but I'd wonder what cheese you have in mind.
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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Suggestion: you get +2 to the primary of the class, and +2 from one of the three stats associated to the race (ETA: both can't be the same stat).

    GW
    Last edited by Grey_Wolf_c; 2014-07-26 at 10:05 PM.
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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Suggestion: you get +2 to the primary of the class, and +2 from one of the three stats associated to the race.

    GW
    I am thinking this as well, with the caveat that it can't be the same ability score from both class and race. The way 13th Age does it, basically. If you wish things locked down a bit more, you might say that they get the fixed score from race, unless it's already the class's primary, in which case they can pick between the other two. For an even looser version, you could allow a choice of any two out of the class's primary and secondaries as well as the race's ability scores.
    Hybrids of two different primaries simply get those two. If you want to give special consideration to lazy or otherwise off-stat builds, let the player declare their primary.

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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Honestly, I don't like either of the "fixes" very much.

    #1 - This does not address the stated goal very well, imo. You want to increase the number of viable classes for each race. In general you can create a perfectly acceptable character with a bonus to either your primary or secondary ability (you just have to be willing to accept you'll have to pay a little more for the other). While it is nice to have bonus to both, it isn't strictly needed. The way you've explained this method it makes a greater probability of getting a bonus to both but does not help give races get into classes that they couldn't already do at least okay with.

    #2 - This better addresses the issue I described above. By allowing everyone everyone to get access to every stat, now everyone can be good at any role they want. However, in doing this it's kind of watered down some of the flavor of the races. A dwarf with bonuses to dexterity and charisma and below average constitution and wisdom doesn't feel as much like a dwarf to me. There are ways you could go about countering this effect, but it would require even more homebrew changes.

    That said, I don't think that I dislike either of them strongly enough to walk away from a game.

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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Suggestion: you get +2 to the primary of the class, and +2 from one of the three stats associated to the race.

    GW
    This is interesting. It would make sense that, say, a halfling fighter has exercised his strength more than others of his race, while still retaining some of that halfling-ness.
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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    A +1 bonus is not a big deal, so neither house rule is a problem, and neither is having a race that doesn't boost your primary attribute. Don't worry about it, you won't even notice it at the game table.

    That said, your second suggestion breaks racial identity, and I don't like that.
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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    That said, your second suggestion breaks racial identity, and I don't like that.
    Obryn has convinced me that the most important part of race in-play is abilities used actively rather than passive bonuses or stat increases. Since most PC and monster races have one or more active abilities in 4e (like dwarves' resilience power or their ability to choose to reduce forced movement) I think fiddling with stat bonuses isn't too bad. It looks like you feel more strongly but that may just be me reading too much into the work "break".
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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    Obryn has convinced me that the most important part of race in-play is abilities used actively rather than passive bonuses or stat increases.
    Oh, I agree completely with that. That said, I do like the principle that (e.g.) dwarves are tougher and not as smart as humans, and therefore get a +con and -int, or whatever. If players believe that they can't play (e.g.) an elf fighter because he'll be five percent less likely to hit than a human fighter, that's their loss.

    I find that most players (at least in my area) already find that basically any race/class combination is playable, and I see no need to cater to those people who really want to squeeze every last +1 out of every situation. Such as the guy in my area who plays a dwarf that's actually a shadar-kai (with the miraculous "dwarven teleport" power and no racial resilience) just because he'll get +1 to hit that way. I really don't see it as an improvement to the game to listen to such a sense of entitlement.
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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    With 4E a +2 to a modifier can give more than just +5% to hit, depending on classes and builds. For example classes that give bonuses = to half a modifier round down (such as the tactical warlord) going from 16 to 18 can double the bonus. It can also increase the utility aspect of many powers like those that allow you shift equal to your modifier. All this adds up especially if you take lots of powers/feats or class options that take advantage of this.

    Also sometimes a player wishes to play a race not for the racial abilities but because of the lore and culture attributed to said race.
    Last edited by Ghost49X; 2014-07-26 at 03:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost49X View Post
    With 4E a +2 to a modifier can give more than just +5% to hit, depending on classes and builds. For example classes that give bonuses = to half a modifier round down (such as the tactical warlord) going from 16 to 18 can double the bonus. It can also increase the utility aspect of many powers like those that allow you shift equal to your modifier. All this adds up especially if you take lots of powers/feats or class options that take advantage of this.

    Also sometimes a player wishes to play a race not for the racial abilities but because of the lore and culture attributed to said race.
    This. I find the biggest straitjacket in building a character in 4E is trying to get an 18 in the main stat, there's just too much riding on that. And it gets even worse if your secondary contributes to AC.

    It may be the dirty little munchkin in me saying that, but I've played a 16-strength Warlord before, and it was fairly unsatisfying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Suggestion: you get +2 to the primary of the class, and +2 from one of the three stats associated to the race.

    GW
    I really like this! Assumed competency, but race still contributes. Along with the siderule that both can't be the same stat, of course...
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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by VeliciaL View Post
    Along with the siderule that both can't be the same stat, of course...
    Sorry, yes, that (I thought) went without saying. But given that two people have already pointed it out, I think I'll go and explicitly add it above.

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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by VeliciaL View Post
    It may be the dirty little munchkin in me saying that, but I've played a 16-strength Warlord before, and it was fairly unsatisfying.
    We play 4e because we want to feel heroic -- even EPIC -- and being reliably effective is pretty important for that. I wouldn't expect anybody to feel that way about ... say ... a Paranoia character. But yeah, 4e's mode is Big Damn Heroes.

    And it's all the more important when you're in a group where someone else has better baseline competence, which almost all of them do, because every group has an optimizer.
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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost49X View Post
    When making characters for D&D 4e I usually feel pressured by the racial mods to choose a compatible race for the class I want to play. After thinking about it for awhile I came up with the following fixes and I would like people's opinion of each of them. Please state whether your opinion is coming from a DM's or Player's perspective.

    1) All races get both racial modifier choices all the time, so Dragonborn would get +2 cha, +2 str and +2 con instead of having to choose between str and con. Humans would get a 2nd +2 to allocate where they wished but not on the same ability.
    Why would humans get an extra +2? They're already one of the strongest races despite the lack of a second +2.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Suggestion: you get +2 to the primary of the class, and +2 from one of the three stats associated to the race (ETA: both can't be the same stat).

    GW
    This is the best idea... except for handling Humans.. which can remain "1 +2 anywhere"

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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sartharina View Post
    Why would humans get an extra +2? They're already one of the strongest races despite the lack of a second +2.
    Humans get a 2nd +2 cause everyone else gets a 3rd +2 the alternative is leaving the humans behind with only a measly +2 to one stat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sartharina View Post
    This is the best idea... except for handling Humans.. which can remain "1 +2 anywhere"
    I read that as humans get +2 related to their class and another +2 where ever they feel they need it (it's the only stat related buff attributed to humans)

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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost49X View Post
    Humans get a 2nd +2 cause everyone else gets a 3rd +2 the alternative is leaving the humans behind with only a measly +2 to one stat.
    I saw my problem - I misread it as "Choose from 2 of 3 in any combination", not "Get all three"

    I read that as humans get +2 related to their class and another +2 where ever they feel they need it (it's the only stat related buff attributed to humans)
    Humans don't need the class-restricted boost under this system.

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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Given that the humans' +2 will basically always go to their primary stat, the rule doesn't change them much. On the other hand I'm not sure it imbalances things too much to give them a second +2.
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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by VeliciaL View Post
    This. I find the biggest straitjacket in building a character in 4E is trying to get an 18 in the main stat, there's just too much riding on that.
    Sure. But getting an 18 primary is easy enough, even without your racial bonus. After all, the default "specialist" array is 18/14/11/10/10/8, or alternatively you can use 18/13/13/10/10/8.
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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Sure. But getting an 18 primary is easy enough, even without your racial bonus. After all, the default "specialist" array is 18/14/11/10/10/8, or alternatively you can use 18/13/13/10/10/8.
    I usually go with a 16/16/12/11/11/8 or if it's point buy I'll mess around with the lower stats a bit. My general mentality is that while having a high primary is important enough I usually prefer builds with secondaries being as high. With racial modifiers going into the primary and secondary for 2 18s. I'm not really a fan of 20 primary builds...

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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost49X View Post
    I usually go with a 16/16/12/11/11/8 or if it's point buy I'll mess around with the lower stats a bit. My general mentality is that while having a high primary is important enough I usually prefer builds with secondaries being as high. With racial modifiers going into the primary and secondary for 2 18s. I'm not really a fan of 20 primary builds...
    I wasn't suggesting a 20-primary, I was saying that if your race doesn't improve your class's primary ability, you can still easily get an 18 primary (and you'll presumably have a 16 secondary, i.e. 14 base +2 racial).
    Last edited by Kurald Galain; Yesterday at 09:20 AM.
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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost49X View Post
    I usually go with a 16/16/12/11/11/8 or if it's point buy I'll mess around with the lower stats a bit. My general mentality is that while having a high primary is important enough I usually prefer builds with secondaries being as high. With racial modifiers going into the primary and secondary for 2 18s. I'm not really a fan of 20 primary builds...
    I usually go with 16/14/14/blah/blah/blah, because I find tertiary stats to be useful as well - particularly for Defenses. Unfortunately, I also like a lot of specific races that don't always give a bonus to a primary stat, so I end up rolling things like a blah/16/16/blah/blah/16 Gnoll Bard.

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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    I think that there's a few groups of scores:

    16/14/14/13/10/8 - Well distributed, with 18 Main Ability, 16 Secondary and Decent Tertiary (or if you're a STR+CON Fighter, it ends up as 18/15/14/8/14/10).

    16/16/13/11/10/8 or 16/16/12/12/10/8 - When you NEED two stats and there's a few feats you'd like to poach.

    18/14/11/10/10/8 or 18/13/13/10/10/8 or 18/12/12/12/10/8 - for those rare cases where a 20 starting stat is your best bet.
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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by GPuzzle View Post
    I think that there's a few groups of scores:
    Ok. Now drop the assumption that you need a race that boosts your primary stat (because as many players have found out, you really don't!) and see what these groups of scores do for you.
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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Ok. Now drop the assumption that you need a race that boosts your primary stat (because as many players have found out, you really don't!) and see what these groups of scores do for you.
    Try playing a character with no higher than 16 in your primary or secondary stats (of course this goes without saying that you shouldn't compensate by taking other broken mechanics)

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    My first 4e character was a Half-Elf Rogue with Eyebite as Dilletante. And 14 Dex. And no Warlock MC.

    It was painful.

    Very painful.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost49X View Post
    Try playing a character with no higher than 16 in your primary or secondary stats
    Why would I do that?

    Gee, I wonder if it's possible to get more than that even without racial bonuses? Yup, looks like that's easy enough, wow!
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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    It also depends on the style of game you are playing and your GM, if you spend 95% of your time roleplaying or doing non-combat encounters it won't even register. On the other hand if you're playing a combat heavy dungeon crawl you'll feel like a cheerleader unless your GM purposely scaled things down for you. But if you're going for heavy RP and non-combat challenges you should probably have picked a different system.

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    Default Re: Looking for 2nd opinion on racial modifier house rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Sure. But getting an 18 primary is easy enough, even without your racial bonus. After all, the default "specialist" array is 18/14/11/10/10/8, or alternatively you can use 18/13/13/10/10/8.
    Right off the top of my head: Classes that like a strong tertiary, and feat prerequisites.

    Really, the problem is expecting races without stat synergy to work twice as hard to get something that races with synergy can get practically without thinking. It's the old choice of choosing what's mechanically solid, vs. the thing you really wanted to roleplay, and that sucks.

    There are systems that do well with choosing something mechanically inferior for roleplay reasons. Fourth Edition isn't one of those systems.

    Quote Originally Posted by GPuzzle View Post
    My first 4e character was a Half-Elf Rogue with Eyebite as Dilletante. And 14 Dex. And no Warlock MC.

    It was painful.

    Very painful.
    That warlord with 16 Str was initially a Warlord with 15 Str. I ended up getting the DM to let me rework my stats. xD Even then I wasn't particularly happy with it.

    That was my first character too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VeliciaL View Post
    Really, the problem is expecting races without stat synergy to work twice as hard to get something that races with synergy can get practically without thinking.
    Yes, the problem is expecting that. Because if you're not expecting that, then it turns out that it actually works fine. You start with 18/14+2/11+2/10/10/8, place the 16 and 13 so to cover your secondaries (and feat prereqs, which are actually pretty rare), and you're golden. This is actually much less of a problem than players who insist on playing a low-tier class or an ineffective hybrid combination.
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