March 8, 2017
So lets dig in deep in our races. We’ve got 8, a full compliment of “pretty” and “monster” races, just like World of Warcraft!
Orcs and Humans in the “regular person” role
Since the default adventurer is kind of “easy mode” or the simplest build choice, they need two things; flexibility and a certain amount of resilience. They both add +2 to any ability score of their choice and receive an extra trained Skill. In addition, Humans receive +1 HP per level and Orcs add +1 to any damage roll for an attack they make. Humans can take a tumble well, and Orcs are just a little more vicious. Orcs also gain Darkvision.
Next we’ve got the “strong, short, and gruff” role with Dwarves and Goblins.
This is the grounded role in most parties, the cleric or fighter, the barbarian or engineer. This is the character with an axe to grind, and an axe equipped, and is there to do some smashing. Both Dwarves and Goblins get +2 to Constitution and have Advantage on rolls to resist any ongoing status affect. They’re hardy and built to fight. Dwarves and Goblins also both get a Reflex Attack against anyone moving into or away from their threatened spaces once per turn (that is, one attack against any one target) – both have an instinctive understanding of fighting in close quarters, like caves and hallways. Goblins are slippery and double their Dexterity bonus to Physical Avoidance, while Dwarves are hardy and gain Physical Resistance equal to their Constitution modifier. Both Dwarves and Goblins have Darkvision.
Now for the ancient and wise role, the Elves and Dragonkin
On most planes, both of these are ancient, hoary races. Often with deep knowledge of each other in their cultural strongholds having been entangled with each other since they were young and agents of their first impulses. Both gain +2 to Intelligence, as well as advantage on Skill checks outside of combat owing to their long life and long practice. Their magical natures also grant them each certain benefits; Elves have Starlight (or low-light) Vision and gain an Arcane cantrip of their choice as a Racial ability, Dragonkin have Darkvision and may use a breath weapon of their heritage a number of times per day equal to their Constitution modifier (minimum 1 – even the most frail and tired Dragonkin can summon the fires of their ancestors). They also reduce penalties for long shots with ranged weapons by 1 distance increment (So Medium becomes Short and Long becomes Medium) – their eyes are sharp and their reflexes fine.
Though the most dexterous races, the natural thieves, are the Halfling and Kobold
These races have always had to scrounge from the world around them. They build small and close, stay hidden from the larger races, and find ways to get along in their lives without being noticed. This is the curse of the shorter peoples – they must remain out of sight. Both races at +2 to their Dexterity and double their Dexterity bonus to Physical Avoidance. They are also automatically trained in Stealth and Awareness – they are instinctively capable and aware of their surroundings enough to hide and avoid larger creatures. It’s how their ancestors survived. They’re also both quick, but in their own ways – Halflings gain Advantage on any Dexterity Avoidance check and do not set off tripwire or pressure plate traps (due to their sensitivity and reflexes), Kobolds gain Disengage as a free action and may make a Reflex Attack against a foe next to them when their Physical Avoidance is successful. Both also get Starlight Vision.
Finally, the…oddballs. The races that show up all over the place but don’t fit classic molds.
These races aren’t a take on the same idea from different perspectives…they’re just different. Gnomes are intelligent but reckless. They get +2 to Intelligence but -2 to Wisdom. They do, however, get Arcane Knowledge, Smithing, and Engineering as trained skills. No one really knows why Gnomes are naturally inclined toward magic and technology, but it’s something that every Gnomish child seems gifted with. Or cursed. Gnomes also get to double their Dexterity bonus to Physical Avoidance and may take a Bonus move if an attack misses them – they’ve learned from a long history of accidents how to, on the level of blood and flesh, to get away from anything that almost hurt them. Gnomes also gain their Constitution Modifier (minimum 1) to Damage Resistance from area of effect attacks (such as Fireballs, grenades, or acid-spraying traps). Gnolls, on the other hand, are pack creatures. While they have a -2 to Intelligence (they lack the calm to do much deep thinking, though they can be just as witty as any other people), they make up for this with a bonus of +2 to Dexterity. Gnolls always gain Flanking bonuses if there is another creature, a wall, or an ally on the other side of an opponent due to their natural inclination toward pressing in melee. They are also naturally ambidextrous and may attack with both hands as a standard Attack Action without training.
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