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Josh Sawyer reveals some information about Project Eternity's attribute scores


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Are you suggesting that the physiological differences in perceptive capability between an Orlan (feline-type humanoid) and a Human are insignificantly small? Partially feline ears and human ears are pretty much the same thing, and that shouldn't affect Perception/hearing, even if they're modeled by the mechanics already? That seems like a pretty stiff stance on things.

 

Besides, even if the differences "only affect dialogue and story," how is that going to work? "Hey guys, since I'm an Orlan, and this is story dialogue, I actually hear stuff other people didn't, and people recognize that distinction of Orlans, as opposed to other races, and yet, my Listen checks, in the in-game mechanics, are actually no different from anyone else's. u_u..."

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Are you suggesting that the physiological differences in perceptive capability between an Orlan (feline-type humanoid) and a Human are insignificantly small? Partially feline ears and human ears are pretty much the same thing, and that shouldn't affect Perception/hearing, even if they're modeled by the mechanics already? That seems like a pretty stiff stance on things.

 

Besides, even if the differences "only affect dialogue and story," how is that going to work? "Hey guys, since I'm an Orlan, and this is story dialogue, I actually hear stuff other people didn't, and people recognize that distinction of Orlans, as opposed to other races, and yet, my Listen checks, in the in-game mechanics, are actually no different from anyone else's. u_u..."

 

Those differences may indeed be negligibly small.  We don't know enough about the lore of P:E to say.

 

As for the second point, I think what Micamo is saying is not that, "the races should have abilities that affect your dialogue choices but don't appear in other mechanics," but rather that "if you are an orlan, the world should react differently to you than if you are an elf."

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There are a lots of abilities and hindrances that would be orthogonal to class abilities. Better at hearing but worse at seeing for example (provided hearing and seeing were handled differently). Night vision. Bonus on cooking, repair or haggle.

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Those differences may indeed be negligibly small.  We don't know enough about the lore of P:E to say.

 

As for the second point, I think what Micamo is saying is not that, "the races should have abilities that affect your dialogue choices but don't appear in other mechanics," but rather that "if you are an orlan, the world should react differently to you than if you are an elf."

I fear you have missed the intended point. The differences between feline ears and human ears are, in reality, absolutely significant. Regardless of reality, they're different. They function in different ways, and to different extents. P:E lore can do whatever it wants, true. But, what is it feasible for it to do? "Oh, feline ears actually aren't any different than human ears in P:E world." Okay, so cats suck now? How are they even an existing animal? They can only hear as well as Humans? Do they have any other significant differences in senses? Also, at what point do you just have a bunch of races who are all functionally Humans, but with slightly different aesthetics? "These Aumaua have about 3 times the body mass of the average Elf, and yet their physiology doesn't offer them ANY kind of strength difference that increased muscle mass offers, as compared to an Elf."

 

What I'm getting at is the nature of racial variety in fantasy lore.

 

As for the 2nd point, methinks you missed that, too. If the world reacts differently to you, but the mechanics (which are part of the world to some extent) do no such thing, then where does that leave you? How does that not result in simply a bunch of different factions of the exact same race? "Oh, you're an ORLAN... well, you're no different from a Human, but I'll react as if you are, because of the man-made association with the label of 'Orlan' as opposed to the label of 'Human.'"

 

It's not about arbitrarily making sure the mechanics offer racial differences, because that would mechanically be neat. It's about the coherency between lore and mechanics. Again, if cats hear better than Humans, and Orlans are fundamentally feline in their physiology/DNA (yes, obviously living things are still living things with DNA and such, in P:E world, with cells and different organ structures and everything), then depriving them of some pseudo-feline aspect that Humans don't have directly clashes with the lore.

 

Just because there are differences doesn't mean they HAVE to come across in the game as stats. They could simply be skill bonuses, etc. "Orlans get a +4 bonus to acrobatics and a +2 to listen checks," etc. Or, the typical DnD application of things like lowlight vision and infravision are perfect examples of this. If you have infravision, you don't get increased accuracy with a bow, or a bonus to Escape Artist checks (like increased DEX -- a stat -- would provide), yet you still are inherently different, for the race that you are, from a member of another race.

 

Variety is the spice of life... AND fantasy races are alive. :)

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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All we've seen is the outside of an orlan's ears.  Not necessarily the best biological predictor of how well an orlan hears, if you want to get extremely picky and simulationist about it.

 

As to your second point, I don't think I missed it at all.  There's a very large variety of people right here on Earth, all in the same species.  So make of them all a big RPG, and even though nobody's gonna have big genetically-related stat boni or mali, you'll get huge differences in reaction to different kinds of people.  

 

Now, if you want to call those differences "mechanical" because they have an effect on the gameplay that is the result of code, that's fine but then this is a semantic argument, not a substantive one.  The point stands that there need be no numerical adjustment of any capability that the PC possesses in order for differing choices in PC race to result in different gameplay experiences.   

 

I am no opponent of racially- or culturally-based adjustments to skills and attributes.  I was merely clarifying what seemed to me to be a misinterpretation on your part.

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All we've seen is the outside of an orlan's ears.  Not necessarily the best biological predictor of how well an orlan hears, if you want to get extremely picky and simulationist about it.

I have no intention of getting extremely picky or simulationist about it. They've been officially described as pseudo-feline in nature, by Obsidian. Relevant as that is, it's still a bit beside the point, since the correlation between an Orlan's potential catlike qualities and an Orlan's feline makeup was merely an example to emphasize the fact that for a "part-cat-part-human" race and a just-human race to bear absolutely no significant differences is about as preposterous as being able to make an 8-foot-tall Halfling would be in DnD.

 

 

As to your second point, I don't think I missed it at all.  There's a very large variety of people right here on Earth, all in the same species.  So make of them all a big RPG, and even though nobody's gonna have big genetically-related stat boni or mali, you'll get huge differences in reaction to different kinds of people.

With all due respect, you seem to be working backwards here. I bolded and italicized the notable portion. If we're asking "should there be differences amongst completely different species of humanoid creatures?", why would "Well, there's not really a significant difference between a bunch of humans, in reality, who are all part of the same species" be supporting evidence for the answer of "No"? You know what, let's roll with your example. There aren't any other humanoid "races" in reality. Just us humans. And other animals. Why is it, do you think, that we often look to animals for the fabrication of fantasy meta-human races? And are there not significant differences between animals and humans? A bloodhound can smell out a person trapped under like 50 feet of rubble from about a mile away. Can any human in the world do that? Nope.

 

My questions still stand. IF you were to (purely for example) make a bloodhound-based humanoid race, would it not bear some significant characteristics of bloodhounds that humans lack, as well as some significant characteristics of humans that bloodhounds lack (such as bipedal, upright movement)? And, even if you don't use a bloodhound, or a cat, or what-have-you, then what actually makes the races "races" and not simply "different members of the same species"? What makes Elves and Orcs and Orlans not-humans, if not their physiological differences? Better yet, what makes ANY humanoid, sentient creature in a fantasy game not-a-human? "Hi, I'm a living rock-person, but my skin's actually no harder than regular human flesh. I'm made out of rock, but also I'm just made out of regular flesh. My race is called the Paradocs. I'm a Paradoc. u_u"

 

Oooh! Perfect example! Male and female humans. Obviously, Males can't get pregnant, but Females can. Males suffer a critical hit when stricken in the groin, while females do not. However, there are typically no in-game mechanics for impregnation or groin-striking, so these differences, while significant in general, become insignificant as far as mechanics are concerned. Now, if males had wings and females did not, that would probably affect the mechanics in some manner, even amongst a single species.

 

 

Now, if you want to call those differences "mechanical" because they have an effect on the gameplay that is the result of code, that's fine but then this is a semantic argument, not a substantive one.  The point stands that there need be no numerical adjustment of any capability that the PC possesses in order for differing choices in PC race to result in different gameplay experiences.

I'm not calling those differences mechanical. I'm calling them differences. IF the mechanics represent those aspects of characters, then they are mechanical. If not, then they aren't.

 

In other words, "I'm going to have one race that has relatively excellent hearing, and one race that has relatively average hearing, in general, but I'm not going to represent hearing in the game's mechanics" doesn't warrant any mechanical difference.

 

Or, to use your reasoning to make my point, there need be no numerical adjustment of any capability that the PC possesses in order for the differing choices of PC weapons/equipment to result in different gameplay experiences, either. Heck, we don't even have to have class differences. "Don't worry... even though the mechanics don't represent any of your differences, the story and NPCs will react to you as if you're a Wizard, instead of a Rogue. You'll function exactly the same, no matter what, 8D!"

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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As to your second point, I don't think I missed it at all.  There's a very large variety of people right here on Earth, all in the same species.  So make of them all a big RPG, and even though nobody's gonna have big genetically-related stat boni or mali, you'll get huge differences in reaction to different kinds of people.

With all due respect, you seem to be working backwards here. I bolded and italicized the notable portion. If we're asking "should there be differences amongst completely different species of humanoid creatures?", why would "Well, there's not really a significant difference between a bunch of humans, in reality, who are all part of the same species" be supporting evidence for the answer of "No"? You know what, let's roll with your example. There aren't any other humanoid "races" in reality. Just us humans. And other animals. Why is it, do you think, that we often look to animals for the fabrication of fantasy meta-human races? And are there not significant differences between animals and humans? A bloodhound can smell out a person trapped under like 50 feet of rubble from about a mile away. Can any human in the world do that? Nope.

 

I guess we're talking past one another here a little bit.  I'm not disputing that if there are going to be different playable races, then the races should have differing capabilties to reflect their different genetic makeup.   All I'm saying here is that radically different capabilities for different sentient races aren't necessary in the slightest in order for the PC's race to have a tangible effect on gameplay, which was what you appeared to be saying a few posts ago.  The rest of what you say there is probably true.

 

 

Or, to use your reasoning to make my point, there need be no numerical adjustment of any capability that the PC possesses in order for the differing choices of PC weapons/equipment to result in different gameplay experiences, either. Heck, we don't even have to have class differences. "Don't worry... even though the mechanics don't represent any of your differences, the story and NPCs will react to you as if you're a Wizard, instead of a Rogue. You'll function exactly the same, no matter what, 8D!"

 

 

While that is indeed wonderfully witty, it's also completely irrelevant to the point at hand.  We know that classes are in the game, so whether or not a classless game could provide significant differences in gameplay by pretending as if the character had a dialogue class but not a combat class is an interesting but bootless discussion.  We do not, however, know if the devs intend there to be significant distinctions between races in the form of numerical boni and mali.  Discussing the implications for differentiated gameplay on the basis of either narrative or mechanical adjustments for each race thus has at least some merit.

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I don't think the world reacting differently to different races that are mechanically identical is weird at all: The races look different, which is more than enough to get reactions out of folks in the real world. And I'm not saying that races should have no physiological differences, just that in most cases I honestly don't think they're big enough to justify even a +/-1 bonus to a roll, like a -2 CON penalty or a +2 Craft (Weaponsmithing) bonus. I'm very much a proponent of the "fluff-first" school of roleplaying: Make the fiction first, then design a ruleset that reasonably and faithfully matches that fiction. If the fiction justifies a mechanical difference then I'm all for it, but the difference between elves, dwarves, humans, gnomes, half-orcs, half-elves, and halflings in the fiction (in most settings anyway) just isn't big enough to justify such a differences.

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Giving each race/class combination a unique effect means a lot of dev time and potential imbalance. It won't sovle the issue of "best class for each race" issue.

It doesn't need to be unique advantages, just advantages and disadvantages. And it seems to me that you're proposing the exact same in you post. E.g elf rogue do more damage, human rogues are better with support spells. Versatilty rather than one race being absolutely superior in one class.

 

I was being too general. But in a round-about way, I suppose I do agree with the concept, but the solution can't simply be, "Make sure every class/race combination has a different bonus." Because that's complicating balance, not simplifying it. There's bound to be an optimal solution if we try something like that.

I made a 2 hour rant video about dragon age 2. It's not the greatest... but if you want to watch it, here ya go:

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I don't think the world reacting differently to different races that are mechanically identical is weird at all: The races look different, which is more than enough to get reactions out of folks in the real world. And I'm not saying that races should have no physiological differences, just that in most cases I honestly don't think they're big enough to justify even a +/-1 bonus to a roll, like a -2 CON penalty or a +2 Craft (Weaponsmithing) bonus. I'm very much a proponent of the "fluff-first" school of roleplaying: Make the fiction first, then design a ruleset that reasonably and faithfully matches that fiction. If the fiction justifies a mechanical difference then I'm all for it, but the difference between elves, dwarves, humans, gnomes, half-orcs, half-elves, and halflings in the fiction (in most settings anyway) just isn't big enough to justify such a differences.

Perhaps race shouldn't incur any attribute bonus, but simply allows you to have an easier time with specific factions. If you're human, humans get along with you. If you're elf, likewise. There might be elf-lovin' humans, but they'd be few in number. Certain quests should also react differently to your race.

 

If there must be an attribute shift, perhaps it should be in picking a background for your character? Kind of what VTMB (attempted) to do - you get a penalty to certain skills and a bonus to others if you pick a certain history for your character. Or you can go vanilla and have no bonus/flaw.

 

Though, in VTMB your "race" (rather, clan), is your most significant choice. It shapes the entire game for you, as well as providing very specific active skills and attribute bonuses. It's even more different in the table top game, where no 'monster race' plays the same as any other.

Edited by anubite

I made a 2 hour rant video about dragon age 2. It's not the greatest... but if you want to watch it, here ya go:

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I agree, Lephys, that different races in fantasy usually suggest differences in biology, and I prefer when a game uses that to inform its gameplay to some extent (it's why I like things like reputation systems, so that the game actually recognizes factions and alliances).  So I agree that some mechanical/gameplay recognition of the differences between groups of any kind (species-wise, culture-wise, etc.) is great and arguably necessary.  

 

But on the note of different people recognizing other people as different, and treating them differently (story/writing wise), there's no need for actual physiological/mechanical difference.  People will differentiate or group themselves with others for any number of reasons.  It can be because someone is too tall and has pointy ears; it can be because they have tusks coming out of their otherwise human mouths on otherwise human faces.  It can be because of the locals' social life excluding or including people they like/dislike for local reasons.  That's ignoring culture and recent history, like any wars  that went on or are going on between certain groups (including races, as races presumably are native/dominant in certain areas). 

 

I assume you already get this, but I believe that was what the original point was, and was definitely my own when I first read the earlier posts.  There can be differences integrated and valid without actual mechanical changes.

The point of looking at real life is to show that people will have reasons to react to each other differently despite a thorough lack to do so in the physical-differences department (in comparison to reasons to react differently to a lion or a squid).  The color of someone's skin, a person's gender, their political leanings, their country of origin.  There's a lot of bad history between people of the same religion, and just different branches, that live in the same area and in similar/the same cultures and that have similar appearances.  I wouldn't try to show the differences between a Protestant and a Catholic during their initial schism through mechanics, unless I had a related, specific idea that messed with it (different kinds of faith-magic or whatever).

 

The races ("species") can be differentiated by the world beyond just physiological difference.  

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I'm not really sure what I'm misunderstanding. Micamo literally said: "... the differences between races are just too small to bother representing mechanically." I disagreed with that, specifically, and elaborated. I'm not dictating what everyone's arguing. I'm merely providing explanation for why I think the representation of mechanical differences between distinctive races in a fantasy RPG setting is not folly.

 

My point is only this, for whatever it is worth:

 

IF you do make races physically different, then they've got to bear some physical differences. This is precisely why I referenced the Orlans. I wasn't arguing with anyone about whether or not we should put a feline-based race into P:E. I was only pointing out that such a race is already IN P:E. Can Orlans simply LOOK different from Humans? Sure. But then, things get pretty bland if they aren't actually different in any manner other than aesthetics. Besides, aesthetics is a secondary factor. Why does this example person look different from this other example person? Because it has 5 eyes, and the other only has 2. Okay... shouldn't 5 eyes produce SOME amount of difference in eyesight capabilities than just the 2?

 

Granted, you don't have to give something 5 eyes. BUT, on the other hand, if everything has 2 eyes and is shaped like a human, with slightly different proportions and skin tones/coloration, then what do we have besides various ethnicities of the same race? Obviously there's not enough difference between someone who lives at the equator, and someone who lives in the arctic, to necessarily warrant some kind of +2 to Agility. However, in a game like P:E, we're talking about completely different species. It's really no different from comparing a tiger to a horse. Do you want a tiger and a horse to just be referenced as different in dialogue and narrative elements, but function identically in combat? No. If you design two things that are that different, you give them differences. If a tiger is faster than a horse, and your mechanics model movement speed, then it's literally nonsensical not to model a difference in movement speed between a tiger's and a horse's.

 

The main difference is that, with an animal, you're not going to find a tiger or a horse that just grows up in a certain line of work so that it never runs around a lot. You're not going to have exceptionally slow tigers and horses, and exceptionally fast tigers and horses. Yet, with people, you do. Hence the differing stat rolls in PnP rulesets and such.

 

*shrug*, to put it a simpler way, if you just want races to look and be reacted to differently, then there's no reason to declare them races rather than ethnicities/factions.

 

The races ("species") can be differentiated by the world beyond just physiological difference.

... "beyond"... :)

 

I have yet to in any way dispute the usefulness/importance of non-mechanical/non-physiological differences.

 

Difference is difference. Just because it shows up in various places -- mechanics and lore -- doesn't mean it's two separate differences.

Edited by Lephys
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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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My take is D&D stat differences between races are by far too slight.

 

I'd like differences to the tune of halfling max STR would be about 9, while elfs min DEX would maybe around 12.

So yeah, you can make a halfling fighter, but the strongest halflings would be around the ballpark of the weakest dwarfs.

 

And I wouldn't try to balance them at all, just model the world as best you can.

So a halfling might get something like 6 stat points less than some other race.

 

Would lead to many complaints of a totally broken system with only a few viable races and builds.

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I don't think the world reacting differently to different races that are mechanically identical is weird at all: The races look different, which is more than enough to get reactions out of folks in the real world. And I'm not saying that races should have no physiological differences, just that in most cases I honestly don't think they're big enough to justify even a +/-1 bonus to a roll, like a -2 CON penalty or a +2 Craft (Weaponsmithing) bonus. I'm very much a proponent of the "fluff-first" school of roleplaying: Make the fiction first, then design a ruleset that reasonably and faithfully matches that fiction. If the fiction justifies a mechanical difference then I'm all for it, but the difference between elves, dwarves, humans, gnomes, half-orcs, half-elves, and halflings in the fiction (in most settings anyway) just isn't big enough to justify such a differences.

What I don't understand here is how you can separate the mechanical differences from the fiction so easily and then say that they don't match. In my opinion, the difference between two races in the fiction is just so that it warrants a bonus or penalty to certain attributes. The fiction usually doesn't say "Orcs are like humans, but green. +2 to Strength." It says: "Orcs (on average) are stronger than humans, and if you want to know how much stronger they are, it can be represented by a +2 modifier to Strength."

 

Also I'd say that an "insignificant" difference is represented by a +1/-1 very well. That is insignificant, all things considered. You can usually balance it out completely if you choose to do so. But it might just help you to get a feeling for the race. "I could play this half-elf fighter just like I played my human fighter last time and balance out the +1 DEX so that in the end I have the same stats as before. But you know what, this is a half-elf! I'm going to keep his DEX a little higher, just because."

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Well, one thing about mechanics in an RPG is that mechanics inform the fiction in the mind of the player: One of the reasons I'm fiction-first is that if you design your mechanics haphazardly it's easy to make mechanics that inform the fiction in ways you never intended, or even in ways completely counter to what you intended.

 

Like, there's a difference between "Half-orcs are inherently bigger and dumber than humans" and "Half-orcs are usually outcasts who have to make their own way in the world in the lowest fringes of society, and thus tend to value immediately practical skills over abstract ones."

 

They're both part of what we mean when we say "half-orc" but I'd argue that the latter is the fiction proper, the interesting part that I care about, and the former is just baggage brought on by sloppy mechanic design. The problem with using "+2 STR, -2 INT, -2 CHA" to represent this fiction is that the interesting differences between half-orcs and humans arise from their position in society, not anything inherent: If you make a character in a different social position from the average half-orc then the justification for these attribute bonuses/penalties fly out the window and become nonsensical.

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I think that the decision to make these racial differences significant is arbitrary. Well, because it is. That said, we are all aware of the precedent for it. And it really only stops making sense if you decide that it doesn't yourself. Those stat modifiers can be representative of a fundamental physical difference or predisposition of a race (or mental or whatever- I'm sure as heck not trying to explain it thoroughly). In that  case, they most definitely can be inherent. Someone brought up the halfling example. Sure, one can be stronger than... well, any other person I suppose. But they are predisposed toward a smaller stature and leaner build. These differences are inherent. Obviously the circumstance of the individual is crucial in determining how it develops, I'd wager any other race in the same position would likely be stronger.

 

I'll admit that I think it is somewhat crude; I think that any quantification of one's mental aptitude, charisma, or strength is questionable. But that's what it seems we have to work with.

 

So I would disagree that any of it is nonsensical. But, that's my arbitrary opinion ;)

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My take is D&D stat differences between races are by far too slight.

 

I'd like differences to the tune of halfling max STR would be about 9, while elfs min DEX would maybe around 12.

So yeah, you can make a halfling fighter, but the strongest halflings would be around the ballpark of the weakest dwarfs.

 

And I wouldn't try to balance them at all, just model the world as best you can.

So a halfling might get something like 6 stat points less than some other race.

 

Would lead to many complaints of a totally broken system with only a few viable races and builds.

 

And this could be perfectly balanced by some kind of point-buy system, where you can get more advantageous backgrounds, better starting equipment etc. if you go with a "cheaper" race.

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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Like, there's a difference between "Half-orcs are inherently bigger and dumber than humans" and "Half-orcs are usually outcasts who have to make their own way in the world in the lowest fringes of society, and thus tend to value immediately practical skills over abstract ones."

 

There's one crucial difference especially: One statement can be represented in the character generation system, while the other has to evolve during the game. But it's not "bad fiction" and "fiction proper". Saying that halflings are half as big as humans is not bad fiction, it's a fundamental truth in this world. The same goes for "orcs are generally not as intelligent as humans".

Your example where orcs are outcasts who therefore rely on practical skills is one that has nothing to do with modifiers - you shouldn't get a bonus to Crafting, because being good at Crafting results from individual talents and life choices, while the average IQ of your race depends on the size of your brain and things like that.

 

Basically it's like gender vs. socialization. All women have breasts, but being a woman doesn't mean you can cook well. You get the +2 modifier for the Breast Roundness attribute, but if you want to be good at Cooking you'll have to put some skill points in yourself.

Edited by Fearabbit
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I gotta say, I hate the idea of any playable race having bonuses or penalties to attributes, unless there is a specific physical or mental difference within the lore that would affect them - and even then, I would rather they start out better at certain skills (e.g. Halflings are smaller than humans, and thus have a bonus to Dodge and Sneak), or have skills exclusive to their race (e.g. natural Waterbreathing for Argonians in TES).

 

But I hate all that -2 to INT junk, because there's something so horribly phrenological about it. You're basically saying that orcs can never be as smart as humans, because they're orcs. No matter what they do, they will always be two points behind a human of otherwise equivalent intelligence. Which poses a problem, because you then have to either impose limits within the fiction to justify the stat difference, thus automatically casting characters of certain races into certain molds and limiting creative possibilities, or you have to ignore the stat difference entirely, which leads to an unresolved schism between mechanics and fiction.

 

This is to say nothing of the human-centric way these scores are always plotted. Why should the human standard for intelligence be the only standard?

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I gotta say, I hate the idea of any playable race having bonuses or penalties to attributes, unless there is a specific physical or mental difference within the lore that would affect them - and even then, I would rather they start out better at certain skills (e.g. Halflings are smaller than humans, and thus have a bonus to Dodge and Sneak), or have skills exclusive to their race (e.g. natural Waterbreathing for Argonians in TES).

 

But I hate all that -2 to INT junk, because there's something so horribly phrenological about it. You're basically saying that orcs can never be as smart as humans, because they're orcs. No matter what they do, they will always be two points behind a human of otherwise equivalent intelligence. Which poses a problem, because you then have to either impose limits within the fiction to justify the stat difference, thus automatically casting characters of certain races into certain molds and limiting creative possibilities, or you have to ignore the stat difference entirely, which leads to an unresolved schism between mechanics and fiction.

 

This is to say nothing of the human-centric way these scores are always plotted. Why should the human standard for intelligence be the only standard?

 

I agree with you that minuses and pluses for attributes isn't best way to go. And I also think skill bonuses or exclusive skills is better way to differentiate races from each other. Although I think that you could make some attributes cheaper and some more expensive to obtain for different races, for example intelligence (or equivalent) could cost orcs more than it cost humans, but strength (or equivalent) is cheaper. And this is to reflect that fact there are more likely be strong orcs than intelligent ones, but you could still make intelligent orc if you want, but it could mean that you may need to let some of your attributes to be lower than what would be "typical" for orc build. This system of course works only if you buy attributes instead of throwing them.

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A chimp will never be as smart as a healthy human, no matter what he does.

 

This limits creative possibilites; you can't have chimps that are nuclear physicists, for example.

 

 

:p

 

Can you guarantee that there will never be chimp that is as smart as healthy human, even if one is breed and geneticaly manipulated to add intelligence?

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Can you guarantee that there will never be chimp that is as smart as healthy human, even if one is breed and geneticaly manipulated to add intelligence?

 

 

This may be the worst example ever, but: that's exactly the point, nobody says that there can't be exceptions.

Orcs are dumber than humans on average. You all act as if that meant they couldn't be intelligent, when clearly that is not the case.

 

By the way, I think it's funny that people get so PC about this. It makes it impossible to talk about this issue. As an exercise, someone could explain to me how a Greyhound is not faster than a Chihuaha, or how a Malamute is just as strong as a Poodle. This is not phrenology, it's biology.

Edited by Fearabbit
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A chimp will never be as smart as a healthy human, no matter what he does.

 

This limits creative possibilites; you can't have chimps that are nuclear physicists, for example.

 

 

:p

 

Can you guarantee that there will never be chimp that is as smart as healthy human, even if one is breed and geneticaly manipulated to add intelligence?

 

You think RPG system should take into account people of a race not really belonging to said race?

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But I hate all that -2 to INT junk, because there's something so horribly phrenological about it. You're basically saying that orcs can never be as smart as humans, because they're orcs. No matter what they do, they will always be two points behind a human of otherwise equivalent intelligence.

 

Which poses a problem, because you then have to either impose limits within the fiction to justify the stat difference, thus automatically casting characters of certain races into certain molds and limiting creative possibilities, or you have to ignore the stat difference entirely, which leads to an unresolved schism between mechanics and fiction.

 

This is to say nothing of the human-centric way these scores are always plotted. Why should the human standard for intelligence be the only standard?

 

The first sentence is correct. If you have fiction where orcs are generally dumb and strong, then they will on average be dumber and stonger than people. If it's -2 and +2, then you can have an orc with INT of 16 which is pretty darn good, but he'd still not cut it as the smartest person in the world contest.

 

But it doesn't pose a problem at all. If orcs in the game and the game world have weaker intelligence, it does cast them in the light of having weaker intelligence, which is correct. Ignoring the stat difference would indeed would indeed lead to an unresolvable schism between the mechanics and fiction... which is why I find it so hard to understand why you would want that, people treating and considering orcs as stupid brutes, but not having that reflected in stats.

 

As for human centric.. we are in fact humans, so using humans as baseline seems more productive approach than using Amaua as the norm.

Of course you could use any race, like Elf rolls 3d6 for everything, humans get +2 STR and -2 to INT and DEX, for example.

But would that resolve anything?

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