The Gaming Den Forum Index The Gaming Den
Welcome to the Gaming Den.
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Google
 Search WWW   Search tgdmb.com 
How do you balance human characters?

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Gaming Den Forum Index -> It's My Own Invention...
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Lago_AM3P
Duke


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 1276

PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:50 am    Post subject: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

As we might've guessed, the human race should be the standard for all fantasy races, since they're extremely common even in the wackiest fantasy literature and they're the least imposing on other character's designs.

However, unless you're into super edge-case cheese, the human stacks poorly against elves and dwarves, and only marginally against halflings and gnome.

In just a 3rd edition context, how would you balance the human? I would be happy with just keeping the extra feat, extra skill point per level, one skill as a permanent class skill with a +2 bonus, and plopping down a free +2 bonus in any stat with a corresponding -2 penalty to another stat. That'd be good enough.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 27146

PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:13 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

You'd have to make feats better. The human concept is that it gets a feat, and almost half of a +2 bonus to Int. That's fine and dandy, but if that's what it gets, that should be worth:

The abilty to ignore sleep (including magical sleep effects).
2 free martial weapon proficiencies.
+2 to all perception tests.
Free search checks to find doors.
Immunity to ghoul paralysis.
Low-light vision.
and so on...

When you get a feat, it should be worth all of the class features of an entire class level, because that's what it costs. It should be worth all the bonuses from a race, because that's what it costs. Throwing extra crap on next to feats is simply admitting that feats aren't as good as advertised. It would be simpler just to combine feats together.

The entire Great Cleave chain should just be a single feat, for example. Then the human and the Fighter would be just about balanced. Until you do that, it's pretty hopeless.

-Frank
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Desdan_Mervolam
Knight-Baron


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 987

PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:27 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm not gonna disagree with you Frank, Feats should be better. But I think alot of the problem can be fixed by powering down the other races too. Do the elves really need two feats and immunity to sleep to feel like an elf?

-Desdan
_________________
Don't bother trying to impress gamers. They're too busy trying to impress you to care.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lago_AM3P
Duke


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 1276

PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 5:53 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chichibu 3.0E persistent spell and initiate of Mystra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 27146

PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:29 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Initiate of Mystra is a special case because it violates some rules which are supposed to be inviolate. It's like a feat that "makes you the DM for fifteen minutes" or something.

But the idea that a feat should make you really good in a lot of ways - like Persistant Spell - is the right one. Of course, it shouldn't be applicable to Divine Power - but Divine Power shouldn't exist.

-Frank
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Boulie_98
Journeyman


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 100

PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:40 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

What's Initiate of Mystra? A feat?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 27146

PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 11:17 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Boulie_98 wrote:
What's Initiate of Mystra? A feat?


Nominally. It does a bunch of stuff, most of which is pretty unimportant. For example, it puts anyspell on your Cleric spell list - which really undermines the idea that Clerics should get a better class chasis because they have worse magic. But that's besides the point.

The important thing it does is create a unique and under-explained mechanic by which a Cleric with the feat can arbitrarily cast spells in an antimagic field or dead magic zone and have them continue to function "normally" while in such zones. Its all very nonsensical because the check to have your spells function in an antimagic field is based on the caster level of the field you are casting into when you cast the spell, but the spells function normally within antimagic fields once they've been cast this way. So it ends up encouraging you to go find weak AMFs to cast spells in.

And of course, since even supernatural abilities don't function in an AMf, you can imagine the chortling that comes out of a Cleric who effectively has DR of 15/-, or even better incorporeality when they have ghost touch weapons and noone else can.

-Frank
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Boulie_98
Journeyman


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 100

PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2004 8:18 am    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hmm, I'm visiting a FRCS-addicted friend this weekend so I'll have to take a moment or two there to read up on this feat.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
RandomCasualty
Prince


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 3511

PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:33 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

But the idea that a feat should make you really good in a lot of ways - like Persistant Spell - is the right one. Of course, it shouldn't be applicable to Divine Power - but Divine Power shouldn't exist.


I really don't think persistent spell should exist. It's inherently unbalanced. Part of the balancing factor for combat buffs is that it takes an action to cast them. Even if you quicken it, it's still a quickened action, and that's a limitation because you can't use another quickened spell that round. Making something persistent erases all cost except the spell slot. And eventually the spell slot cost becomes something that's more or less free.

All day buffing just doesn't work mechanically. It looks more like a class ability than a spell and that's bad. The only way you keep buffing reasonably balanced is to make its durations short (like 1 combat) and make it cost at the very least, a quickened action, to cast.

As for the human, I don't really see how humans suck. Getting that extra feat is really worth it, just so that you can take a PrC possibly quicker than normal. Humans aren't any worse than elves or halflings.

Dwarves are the only unbalanced core race I think.

Sure, some feats could use a boost, but that's beside the point .
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Desdan_Mervolam
Knight-Baron


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 987

PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2004 8:07 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Meh, a human's extra feat doesn't do much to get you into PrCs earlier. I don't think I've ever had to wait on a feat slot for any PrC I've been aiming at since first level, it's alway skill or BAB requirements that hold me back. And Human's skill bonus doesn't really help qualifications either, because I always pay for those skills first, and then get others.

-Desdan
_________________
Don't bother trying to impress gamers. They're too busy trying to impress you to care.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
RandomCasualty
Prince


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 3511

PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2004 9:13 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I guess I also feel that elves are pretty overrated too. I mean immunity to a 1st level spell, big deal.

+2 to spot and listen, humans have that by 4th level if they wanted it. 2 free proficiencies... eh, good for a rogue, but not great for anyone else. I didn't make a wizard so I could shoot a bow anyway and clerics always have the war domain.

The ability to find secret doors is really the only "special" thing that an elf gets. Beyond that, the rest of the stuff is fairly minor, and I'd rather take something like iron will and a +1 to skill points per level than get the elven benefits.

Elves and humans are pretty balanced IMO. It's the dwarves and the halflings that seem to be better than everything else.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 27146

PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 5:33 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
+2 to spot and listen, humans have that by 4th level if they wanted it.


...and search. But anyway, no they couldn't. An Elf raises the maximum Spot, Listen, and Search bonuses, and a human just gets extra skill points. But a Gray Elf also gets extra skill points, to the extent that a human has no more skill points than a Gray Elf.

-Frank
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
RandomCasualty
Prince


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 3511

PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 11:48 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

...and search. But anyway, no they couldn't. An Elf raises the maximum Spot, Listen, and Search bonuses, and a human just gets extra skill points. But a Gray Elf also gets extra skill points, to the extent that a human has no more skill points than a Gray Elf.


And the human is stronger and healthier... what's your point?

If anything most people want to be humans over elves in D&D, for any class.

The grey elf or FR sun elf is an exception because it has an int bonus at +0 LA, which basically means every wizard player is going to want to be it. People would pick a race of walking dildos if it meant getting more int for their wizard. And the int problem is a totally separate one.

Pound for pound I don't see much difference between the core elven wizard and the human wizard or the elven fighter and the human fighter.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lago_AM3P
Duke


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 1276

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2004 2:05 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
If anything most people want to be humans over elves in D&D, for any class.


That's because humans impose the least on everyone's character vision in the game. Not everyone wants their character to be a 30-year old virgin and still look like an infant. Not everyone wants their character to be drunken, midgety bastards who sings songs about gold and ale.

As proven, people are willing to take power hits for their character vision, and considering how frickin' popular humans are, making them weaker by design compared to other races (except for, again, cheese) is totally frickin' unacceptable.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
RandomCasualty
Prince


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 3511

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2004 10:08 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

But the thing is that I don't see the majority of people saying "I wish I was an elf."

When I make a character I don't constantly think about how I'd be better mechanically if I was an elf. The differences are so minor, they don't even matter.

I mean +2 to spot, search and listen. If I'm a fighter, I don't even have any of those as class skills, so by 6th level those skills are obsolete anyway. Even if I was a rogue who cared about those skills, by 6th level the skill difference would be even, and by 12th level the human would have a 6 point edge.

The core elf is very overrated. He's frontloaded sure, but talking about 6th level and higher, I don't think he's that great at all. Definitely one of the worst races, with only the half-elf trailing it. I think I'd rather take a half orc than an elf mechanically.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lago_AM3P
Duke


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 1276

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2004 11:13 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
When I make a character I don't constantly think about how I'd be better mechanically if I was an elf. The differences are so minor, they don't even matter.


A novel new approach to rules-balancing: it may suck now but in dozen more adventures you won't care.

And by novel, I mean lame.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 27146

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2004 11:14 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
I think I'd rather take a half orc than an elf mechanically.


I don't even understand this claim. At first glance, this looks like insanity at its finest, so I'm going to have to sit back and have you explain yourself a bit more before I even begin to take you to task for this remark.

-Frank
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lago_AM3P
Duke


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 1276

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2004 11:15 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
But the thing is that I don't see the majority of people saying "I wish I was an elf."


I'd also like to point out that on the vast majority of tabletop games I played, no one even came close to realizing the power of a cleric (even those unfamiliar with AD&D) even after I went hog-wild with persistent spell and the spell domain.

What does that tell you?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
RandomCasualty
Prince


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 3511

PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 4:07 am    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Minor differences aren't that unbalancing.. seriously. A +2 to spot and listen, big fvckin deal...

Immunity to a 1st level spell, to the attacks of one specific undead creature, none fo these things are even remotely unbalancing the game, and when I'm picking my race unless I'm going to make the master listener or spotter, I really don't even care about those bonuses.

Why is the half orc better? Because if you're a barbarian you get a bonus to str while dumping two stats you don't care about anyway, that's why. If I'm making a barbarian I'm getting something out of it when I pick the half-orc as opposed to the elf or human. I've got a bigger strength and I lose stats I didn't care about anyway.

As for the core elf, seriously... why is it so good? Nobody has given me a great reason as to how it's unbalanced. I realize the grey elf and sun elf make awesome wizards, but what is the core elf really good at? Is he that much of a better fighter than a human? That much better of a better wizard or cleric? I mean seriously... about all he'd be really good at is being a rogue and the halfling trumps him there anyway.

The halfling and the dwarf are really powerful.. the elf is mediocre.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lago_AM3P
Duke


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 1276

PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 11:26 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

No.

Okay, first off, the weapon proficiencies. Elves start out with proficiency in bow and arrows, the best ranged weapon in the game. When BAB is too low to swing the tide of combat (levels 1-5) and it's really your stats that matter, this actually makes elven wizards very good at ranged combat; if they put their second stat in dexterity like a lot of wizards do, they are actually as good as fighters at ranged combat at low levels. No other race can do this.

Immunity to sleep, +2 bonus to enchantment spells- Will save your life at low levels, and just becomes merely good as you gain levels. Hell, the latter part of this is a third-level monk class feature.

Low-Light vision- Gravy.

Racial Bonuses- You may call them small, but a +2 to three important skill checks is better than any other of those stupid-ass skill bonus feats in this book.

Can we recap? A +1 bonus to hide, move silently, disable device, and tumble and a +2 bonus to spot, listen, and search and a +1 to attack when using the best feat for rogues, ever (weapon finesse).

Given the noticable nerfing small melee characters get in this edition, elves make the one of the best core race for rogues and wizards, barely losing out to dwarves. I am extremely confused why you think that elves are mediocre while holding the half-orc as a paragon of balance.

Seriously, their big thing is a +1 to attack and damage! That is ABOUT equivalent to a gnome's +1 to hp per level and a +1 to DCs of the most powerful non-cheese school, and gnomes walk away with a pile of other stuff. And darkvision, but no one really cares about that. In return, you get gimped something fierce when you PrC because your skill points suck and you're taking a hit to two generically.

Given the stealth penalties you're getting all around, a half-orc breaks even with himself, even when you're choosing a no-brainer class like a barbarian. Hell, if you're going to do this crap, you might as well go with a orc, who is mathematically better than a half-orc using the half-orc's same logic for justifying itself. Given the fact that every other core ECL+0 race (except for goblins and half-elves) do more than break even, this means that the half-orc blows.

I mean, I can understand in a sense why people think the half-orc is good OR the elf is mediocre, but people thinking that the half-orc is good while the elf is mediocre AT THE SAME TIME makes me think that people haven't given this too much thought.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
RandomCasualty
Prince


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 3511

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 2:42 am    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm not saying the half-orc is good per se, I'm just saying its better than the elf. What I mean when I say the half-orc is better is that I would choose a half-orc for some characters purely for mechanical reasons. I probably wouldn't do so with the elf, because the benefits simply aren't appealing enough.

Weapon proficiencies? I can get that crap with war domain or just by taking a level of fighter, ranger, or whatever. As a wizard, it's a little boost, but who really cares. I didn't get into wizardry to fire a bow anyway. As a rogue it really doesn't matter what weapon I'm using since all my damage comes from SA anyway. As a cleric, I've got the war domain. As a fighter type... well I've got it anyway, so what do I care anyway. Really the only people who are getting the bonus proficiencies are people who didn't really want them anyway. So your wizard can use a bow as a backup weapon... big deal.

The +2 bonus to enchantment is pretty good, but consider that protection from evil does the exact same thing, only it grants immunity to charms and compulsions (which are btw the entire extent of the enchantment school). Not really all that great for a PC race.

But losing 2 con really hurts. Sure you get a +2 dex, but so what? Rogues and wizards are already good offensively, a +1 to hit doesn't help you much... you need to compensate for those lower hit dice, and a -2 to con does exactly the opposite of what you want it to do. It simply isn't worth losing con, not for some meager bonuses.

Mathematically the elf may seem great, but mathematical balance and practical balance are two different things.

Basically with the elf, you trade your durability for a little extra effectiveness. So you're good so long as you get to act first. If you dont' get to act first... well then you're not in such good shape.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 27146

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 2:39 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Elves as Rogues: You get a bonus to dexterity, a bonus to three of your best skills, immunity to two of the most common kill spells that attack your worst save (actually, you get immunity to the entire chain of sleep effects, but I only see the 1st and 3rd level version of those spells actually cast, when was the last time anyone used Symbol of Sleep in your presence?), +2 to all your saves against enchantment effects (including that well-known Rogue killer - Hold Person). And best of all, you are the best scout in the party and you can take two watches per night because of your lack of a need for sleep. And you get free weapon proficiency in the longbow - which noticeably increases your damage and range. And since you are a Rogue, those basic stat modifiers ar moderately good.

Analysis: Are Basic Elves the best Rogues in the core rules? Hell no, they are totally beaten out by Gray Elves and Deep Halflings. But they are the best Rogues in the player's handbook, which is the last word in many campaigns.

Elves as Clerics: Did you know that you don't have to rest 8 hours to get your divine spells back? The fact that an Elf doesn't have to sleep is huge. And you get the Longbow for free, which means that you can skip the War Domain, which in some campaigns massively increases your available gods and thus your domains, but in any case always gives you an extra domain - so you can get one that gives you great spells like Travel or Trickery, or one with an awesome ability like Fire. Plus you can take the Elf domain.

Are Elves the best Clerics? Probably yes.

Does a race have to be the best at every class to be "pure gravy"? No it doesn't, because there are a lot of races out there. The fact that Elves are better at being Rogues and Clerics than humans are, and Dwarves are better as Fighters or Wizards than humans are - means that there's really no reason except "character flavor" to ever be a human, right?

-Frank
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
RandomCasualty
Prince


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 3511

PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 5:21 am    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'd take a core halfling rogue easy over an elven one. No con hit, so more hit points to help that weak d6 hit dice. Big bonuses to hiding, a +1 to AC for size and another +1 for dex.

You take a hit to strength, which means you use weapon finesse (which you were going to take anyway). Longbow really doesnt matter that much because most of your damage comes from sneak attack anyway.

For a cleric, yeah maybe the elf is the best though I dunno. If you're a cleric archer, then you might as well take war domain anyway for weapon focus. If you're not a cleric archer, then I don't really see how the longbow is that great.

While the elf cleric is good, I certainly don't see him as the be all end all of clerics. Many clerics don't even bother using a bow.

As for the sleep requirement, what difference does that make if you're sleeping in a rope trick?

Sure elves are pretty good... but I still don't think that -2 con penalty is something you can overlook so lightly.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 27146

PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 3:29 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
but I still don't think that -2 con penalty is something you can overlook so lightly.


Of course it is. If you don't plan on getting hit, Con doesn't really do anything. It's a nice stat, but it's not better than the second most important stat for any character.

In the short run, Con bonuses are small, they don't start to add up until high level. And with Polymorphing or Lichcraft you can ignore it entirely. So in the long run, Con doesn't mean shit anyway.

-Frank
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Oberoni
Knight


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 386

PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 4:02 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you balance human characters? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

While I disagree with RC's general assessment of the situation, even I can't argue that Con is way more important than Frank's giving it credit for.

I myself don't hulk up my character's Con score to obscene heights, but I do hate having it too low. And it's harder to keep Con above average when you take a -2 hit to it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Gaming Den Forum Index -> It's My Own Invention... All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum




Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group