Are humans really this bad? Looking for alternate bonuses.

General topics, including off-topic discussion, goes here.
Gentlefox
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:11 am

Are humans really this bad? Looking for alternate bonuses.

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:11 am

I am new to old school RPGs and appreciate most of the changes from BX -> BFRPG, but I can't wrap my head around the rationale behind the bonus humans get.

Comparing humans to dwarves, we get

Humans: No Con requirement. Can use weapons that dwarves can't, but this is close to meaningless, as equivalent weapons with the same damage exist that dwarves can use. 10% XP bonus, which is obviously the big seller, but I just don't buy it as being that useful. Lets say it takes 10 sessions to get from level 6 to 7. This benefit means you can spend one session you wouldn't otherwise as level 7. In other words, 10% of the time you benefit from 1 higher hit die, possibly one more spell per day, possibly 5% better rolls on thief skills, and around +1 to all your saving throws HALF of the time (saving throws go up in level chunks of two). Again half the time, you have 1 easier ability roll targets. And once more, about half the time, you get +1 to hit. Sounds like a lot, but lets take a thief for example. Roughly averaged out, your benefits come to 0.5% bonus to thief skill probabilities, 0.35HP, 0.05 to hit, 0.05 to your ability roll targets, and 0.05 to your saving throws.

Dwarves: 60ft darkvision (which is far superior to darkvision in BX that just showed heat), twice as likely to detect a trap or stoneworking feature, and +4 to all saving throws except for Dragon Breath which is +3. Even if these saving throw bonuses were half as good it would be a significant improvement to an incredibly important statistic.

Am I missing something here?

I think I would like to go with some kind of versatility bonus, like +1 to two different stat modifiers or something. Something that reflects a varied background.
User avatar
Dimirag
Posts: 2380
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:24 pm
Location: Buenos Aires (C.A.B.A.), Argentina
Contact:

Re: Are humans really this bad? Looking for alternate bonuses.

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:39 am

Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
Drawing portfolio: https://www.instagram.com/m.serena_dimirag/
Gentlefox
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:11 am

Re: Are humans really this bad? Looking for alternate bonuses.

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:31 pm

Thanks.

I don't buy the "human-centric" reason as good enough to have a nearly worthless bonus when Dwarves are drowning in free saves. Admittedly the majority of my fantasy ideas come from the Hobbit book and LotR movies, but I don't recall any major racism in either. Maaaaybe if the races were hated and it was -1 to all reaction rolls, but even then, that only matters if you're the one talking to monsters or hiring people.

I also don't buy a single stat capping at 17 either. Maybe if all stats were capped at 17, but even then that only matters if you're using the optional -2/+1 rule. I think people are highly overestimating how often an 18 is rolled, and underestimating how strong saving throw bonuses are. Some of these make you like 30% less likely to succumb to a spell. I'm glad my +1 to stat mods has been considered by others more experienced than me though.

I think I will go with removing Darkvision from Elves and Halflings (makes no sense anyway), disallowing Dwarves from using any large weapons, not just 2h swords/longbow, giving humans two +1 ability score modifiers that go to different stats (no more than +3), and letting humans re-roll once per session, and removing the 10% XP thing. Does this sound broken to anyone more familiar with the system than me?
User avatar
Dimirag
Posts: 2380
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:24 pm
Location: Buenos Aires (C.A.B.A.), Argentina
Contact:

Re: Are humans really this bad? Looking for alternate bonuses.

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:53 pm

The human-centric works if the GM puts those kinds of modifiers or give penalties on specific situation (reaction rolls, finding specific equipment, etc), but this is completely GM biased.

As for Saving Throws:
-Cap the saving throw value for demihumans, this value can be those of a 20th level class
-Cap it to some other value, meaning that they start better, but the lack human potential
-Use the 1st level saving throw modified by the bonuses OR the corresponding level bonus w/out bonuses, whichever is better, this will make that for some levels demihumans don't improve their values, then they will do it like humans.

I give elves "farsight" (double vision range) and "lowvision" (the can see normally on low light areas, but not in total darkness), halflings get the ability to see normally under extreme light.

Regarding ability bonuses, some house rules varies depending on the ability generating method used.
Some will use the floating score bonus
Others will let you swap some scores or rearrange them all
Others will let you roll more dice and use the better, these could be rolling 1d6 extra for each ability or an extra 3d6
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
Drawing portfolio: https://www.instagram.com/m.serena_dimirag/
Gentlefox
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:11 am

Re: Are humans really this bad? Looking for alternate bonuses.

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:12 pm

Yeah, I don't plan on having racism or item restrictions and such so it isn't for me.

1st level + bonuses could work, but I'm kind of annoyed by the whole thing. I feel like this whole issues stems from trying to be loyal to BX but then completely ignoring that BX capped demihumans from advancing to higher levels. Narratively why are the other races all-around more durable vs magic and such anyway? Sure, Dwarves are hardy, elves are wise, and halflings are nimble, but in my head that doesn't amount to them all being significantly better than humans vs every type of magic and special ability.

As for ability generation, I use 3d6 in order, and then you can do the -2/+1 trade (except for lowering charisma)

Also kind of disappointed now by seeing that 1d10 weapons exist for clerics. Limiting their damage to 1d6 in BX seemed like a pretty obvious balance choice, and now they can hit for the same as a fighter willing to sacrifice initiative could in BX?
User avatar
Dimirag
Posts: 2380
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:24 pm
Location: Buenos Aires (C.A.B.A.), Argentina
Contact:

Re: Are humans really this bad? Looking for alternate bonuses.

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:53 pm

If I'm not mistaken, a max level (12) dwarf had better savings that a 25th level fighter.

I think their bonuses come not from their physical or mental abilities but from their nature itself, dwarves are naturally resistant to magic, that's why they can't be magic users (and in some games have trouble using magical objects), elves are on the other side of the spectrum, being of a more magical nature allowing the to resist magic.

Its not uncommon that GMs put a max damage die for non-fighters, it lets fighters have a broader weapon selection while leading the damage values, some other simply don't allow cleric the use of 2H weapons (leaving the d10 maul out of their reach)
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
Drawing portfolio: https://www.instagram.com/m.serena_dimirag/
User avatar
onearmspence
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:02 pm

Re: Are humans really this bad? Looking for alternate bonuses.

Post Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:03 pm

Gentlefox wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:12 pm
1st level + bonuses could work, but I'm kind of annoyed by the whole thing. I feel like this whole issues stems from trying to be loyal to BX but then completely ignoring that BX capped demihumans from advancing to higher levels. Narratively why are the other races all-around more durable vs magic and such anyway? Sure, Dwarves are hardy, elves are wise, and halflings are nimble, but in my head that doesn't amount to them all being significantly better than humans vs every type of magic and special ability.

As for ability generation, I use 3d6 in order, and then you can do the -2/+1 trade (except for lowering charisma)

Also kind of disappointed now by seeing that 1d10 weapons exist for clerics. Limiting their damage to 1d6 in BX seemed like a pretty obvious balance choice, and now they can hit for the same as a fighter willing to sacrifice initiative could in BX?
IMHO I suggest to stop worrying about balance. A human character offers that: to play a human in a world full of magic. The humble human warrior is like the Goblin Slayer you don't need a Maul to kill Goblins you need your wits.
Gentlefox
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:11 am

Re: Are humans really this bad? Looking for alternate bonuses.

Post Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:46 pm

I'm not worried about the balance as much as I am bothered that there's zero mechanical reason to play a human.

I think I'll go with +1 to an ability mod less than +3.
User avatar
Dimirag
Posts: 2380
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:24 pm
Location: Buenos Aires (C.A.B.A.), Argentina
Contact:

Re: Are humans really this bad? Looking for alternate bonuses.

Post Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:43 am

There's always the option of using the "race with levels" supplement. It makes demihumans start with lesser bonuses and special abilities and earn xp in order for them to increase.
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
Drawing portfolio: https://www.instagram.com/m.serena_dimirag/
User avatar
BardHarlock
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:12 pm
Location: San Angelo, TX

Re: Are humans really this bad? Looking for alternate bonuses.

Post Sat Feb 01, 2020 4:31 pm

Gentlefox wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:46 pm
I'm not worried about the balance as much as I am bothered that there's zero mechanical reason to play a human.

I think I'll go with +1 to an ability mod less than +3.
In traditional B/X the mechanical advantage was higher levels. This doesn't fit the modern sense of "balance". I personally like it OSR balance with differing advancement tables, certain classes starting weak and growing powerful, etc. so this has never bothered me.
Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 21 guests