Designing new PC races

 

I gave myself some guidelines for new PC races.

  • 1 big perk that grows over time and also 1 big static flaw
  • 1 or more roleplaying trait (should not be significantly + or – gameplay-wise.)
  • 1 free proficiency OR a + modifier bonus in restricted situations
  • Max ability scores adjusted up or down no more than 4 for zero net change
  • Optionally, ability score bonuses and penalties for zero net change.

I thought it was silly that in Vanilla D&D all the races have the same maximum stats. Ability scores range from 0-20. A value of 10 represents “the normal human average.” To put things into perspective, the 5E player’s handbook says “A score of 18 is the highest that a person usually reaches. Adventurers can have scores as high as 20.” Take the STR score, for example. A value of 20 is 2 points higher than most humans could ever reach, representing, maybe, an olympic weight lifting gold-medalist. Now imagine, if you will,  a 3ft-tall gnome going up against Mario Martinez in the clean and jerk. You think that gnome is going to be lifting 15 or more times it’s own body-weight? It’s a little bit silly. And yet… it is a fantasy game. I hate to use the word realism in this context, for obvious reasons, but I just think that we can do better.

There’s another reason to fiddle with Max ability scores. It creates races that offer a degree of specialization. Lots of classes have dump stats; ability scores that are simply not very consequential to their play-style. In Felmoor, I want to give players (who, like me,  might be just a tiny bit OCD about their character sheets) the opportunity to be less well-rounded in return for having a statistical profile that is tighter,  more focused on specific aspects of play. Players should be able to make interesting and consequential choices  with all their character’s abilities, and specialization is a way to turn what would normally be an unimportant stat into an opportunity. Let’s say you want to be a sneaky ranger who likes to engage bad guys from a distance, or not at all. Be a Quyg! You’ll sacrifice some room for growth in strength and constitution, but you’ll  eventually be sneakier and cleverer than anyone else, guaranteed. Do you want to be a bard but think that wisdom is overrated? Be a Ramaki! You’ll have a lower cap on wisdom, but you’re sure to be the life of the party.

Player Character Race: Ramaki

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Tieflings are the closest analogue for the Ramaki in vanilla D&D. They’re both charisma-based races with miscellaneous magical advantages.

The Ramaki are the second planestrange race, along with the humans; that’s just a way of saying that they don’t belong in Felmoor, they fell from the sky during the upheaval of the fracture. While humans are nominally associated with Ull, the Ramaki come from – unsurprisingly – Rama, the celestial plane.

From a mechanical standpoint, the Ramaki are pretty flexible, but slightly prejudiced towards spellcasting/ranged roles. They have the potential to develop into really great bards or sorcerers thanks to their high charisma cap, but there’s nothing in their design that pushes them in that direction from the start They don’t come with any ability score bonuses or penalties at all.

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Yvain, from “Stardust” was pretty much a Ramaki.

 

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