A new attempt at Eberron Races

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HawkDiesel
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Re: A new attempt at Eberron Races

Post by HawkDiesel » Wed May 23, 2018 7:10 pm

AvonRekaes wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 3:51 pm
I'll just point out that +1d8 to any d20 roll every short rest DOES scale with level, because it will always be added ontop of whatever you're rolling and it will always allow you to break the confines of your normally bounded accuracy at whatever level you are.

Also I think I've done enough justification by comparing them to the halfling. If you think the Dragonborn are clearly better than the Orc, then the Dragonborn are clearly better than the halfling, and it sounds like a Dragonborn problem.
Regarding the +1d8 (which I believe started as a +1d4): Sure, it technically scales. But for me it is a rather boring ability. I also don't see the link between a 1d8 bonus and "passion." But that may just be me.

My problem with the orc as you presented it is that it basically has a 1/short rest ability, a 1/encounter ability, and a skill proficiency. Where are the "always on" abilities? Most races have something that they always have access to. Class abilities should be the primary realm of 1/rest or encounter abilities. Races should have greater focus on things that come so naturally as to take little effort. And no, I do not consider skill proficiencies or ribbon abilities like Powerful Build to represent good "always on" abilities.

The Halfling Luck ability is HUGE. Sure it only happens once in a while, but it happens at the literal worst point in any gamer's life. Turning a natural 1 into a success is exciting, thematic, and anything but boring. They can also do this every time you roll a one (unless the 1 comes on the reroll). But this ability alone makes the Halfling difficult to compare to other races. The reason that I chose to compare your orc to the dragonborn is because 1) they have a similar number of racial abilities and 2) both their most noteworthy abilities are per rest abilities (orc passion vs dragonborn breath weapon). In this sense, despite dragonborn often presenting as one of the weaker races, the breath weapon is at least visually interesting. I don't know how to visualize the passion ability. It's also something that can be gained elsewhere through either bardic inspiration, a fiend warlock's Dark One's Own Luck, and a couple of cleric domain and paladin oath abilities grant something similar. It's not a unique ability, nor does it in some way transform it to be what one might consider to be specifically "Orcish." Also, just because you compared your version of the Orc to Halflings doesn't mean that comparisons to other core races is without merit. A race should be generally comparable to any and every core race.

Finally, as I mentioned before, there is nothing about the orc that approximates the half-orc. Half-elves have very clear mechanical links to their elven and human ancestry. Half-orcs should also have something that links them. Half-orc have no resemblance to your version of the orc.

And yes, while I understand that I am claiming your 1d8/short rest is boring, the same complaint can be lodged against my suggested Heavy Hitter ability. But I defend my ability because 1) Adding damage is ALWAYS fun for players, 2) it is thematic in representing the natural strength of orcs and their proficiency (without mechanical proficiency) of using heavy weapons, and 3) it creates a relationship between the full-blooded Orc and the Half-Orc with their Savage Attacker ability.

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AvonRekaes
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Re: A new attempt at Eberron Races

Post by AvonRekaes » Wed May 23, 2018 10:01 pm

I increased it to d8 after listening to the criticism that it was too weak. Like I said I erred on caution, and agreed that it was an error in this case.

As for finding the ability boring, that's your opinion, and a valid one. I just disagree with it. I love getting Bardic Inspiration from the party bard, and the idea of getting my own automatically even if one isn't in the party is exciting to me, and turning a 17 against an enemy that I know from previous rounds has an AC of 18 into a hit in a very exciting feeling. And unlike Lucky, in this case, I can make a tactical decision to use my ability, and in this specific instance I know I am assured of success (baring a spell like Shield or something, which I may still be able to beat if I roll high enough on the d8). Whereas with Lucky, I can turn that 1 into a whopping 2. Or another 1. Or any other number that would probably also be a miss. I did the comparison, Lucky will apply more often, but Passionate's bonus is bigger and more reliable, and can make you do better than you normally could.

Also, I think another addition I made since you last looked at it may have gone unnoticed. At 3rd level, I allow you to apply the d8 to damage rolls, so it's like each orc is their own Bard of Valor.

As for not seeing how "d8" maps to "passion", you can say the same thing for "d8" mapping to "inspiration". I do not feel this is valid or constructive criticism, as d8 for (a certain kind of) inspiration is part of the game already.

Basically, I think Passionate is great and I'm not really swayed by your arguments to the contrary (although I did listen to initial criticisms that helped me to improve it, so thank you for that). Otherwise, agree to disagree here.

As for there being no connection to the Half-Orc, you are right, that's a valid criticism to me. Though I will note that currently they both have: The same ability score adjustments (+2 Str, +1 Con), the option to have the Menacing racial trait, and Darkvision (a significant ability that the dragonborn does not have, that I think you keep ignoring when comparing them)
However, I agree that there isn't anything "unqiue" enough to "orcishness" that they both share. I would probably trade out Aggressive for Savage Attacks on the full-blooded Orc. Aggressive, despite being the "5e iconic Orc ability" doesn't really fit the Eberron depiction of Orcs, and as we discussed months ago, Keith's ideas for orc culture makes passion the thing that divides them from other races, not aggression. (Nor, for that matter, hitting really hard with big stuff).

The idea here is not to make generic player character orc stats. The idea is to make Eberron player character orc stats. And so far, what we know about them culturally is that they are a very passionate people. Not that they hit super hard. That's not what makes them unique.
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Re: A new attempt at Eberron Races

Post by HawkDiesel » Wed May 23, 2018 10:44 pm

So I do want to say that I am not trying to be antagonistic or tearing apart your concept. However, re-reading my responses I can definitely see that could be reasonably assumed, so let me start by apologizing for that. I also had not seen the latest edit regarding the addition of having leveled increase to damage as well.

Additionally, I do not inherently have a problem with the Passionate ability. I have difficulty connecting the mechanic to the concept, but perhaps that is my problem and not an issue within the design itself. I do disagree that bardic inspiration or things like the guidance cantrip suffer from similar issues, but in essence you are receiving outside assistance to improve your efforts. Of course, this ability might represent a more internal well of strength or will, but I don't see that as passion so much as a power of will and internal well of energy. Passion to me represents a drive towards specific and goal directed action that is ultimately larger in scope than what would be achieved by a single d20 roll. People exude passion through causes, devotion to ideas or challenges, and beliefs and actions towards improving self and/or others. When I think of passion, I would expect a mechanic that represents it being more along the lines of joining others to your cause or convincing others that your actions are just. People get swept up in pursuits of passion. An added d8 to a single action is more akin to a short-term adrenaline rush than it is the long burning sense of passion. Passion impacts everything you do and is a defining characteristic of one's personality. Not something that in and off itself improves the success of single and potentially unrelated actions.

But I think my biggest issue with your write-up of the Orc is that it doesn't seem like it is enough for a fully fleshed out race. It seems like it needs more. Part of this my also just reflect my own personal taste and play style, but as written the Orc just doesn't do enough to grab my imagination. It doesn't give me ideas for builds that I could create with the mechanics presented, and it doesn't have enough in terms of thematic elements or style to inspire cool character concepts.

And while I understand that you have been focused on including the cultural aspect of Eberron-specific Orcs, that doesn't mean that we have to ignore the traditional or foundational ways Orcs have been represented. Regardless of their cultural identity, Orcs are large, incredibly strong, and fierce. When you think of Orcs, you can't help but think of their relationship to Elves and Dwarves. Even in Eberron, elves maintain their hereditary training with longswords and bows, and Dwarves maintain their training with warhammers and such. In 5e their are no exotic weapon proficiencies, so there are no orc specific weapons. But giving them some advantage when using the weapons they might be best associated with, and especially if it can be done without giving weapon proficiencies, is an interesting way of demonstrating some of the Orcs natural physical capabilities, as well as expanding on a reduced cultural significance in formal martial training.

So, here are some more refined ways things worth considering to be tacked on to the Orc that you have written up (because once again, I personally think it just needs a little more). Not suggesting that all of these get put on, but considered for the final product.

Heavy Hitter: When using a weapon with the Heavy property, you can use a bonus action to increase the power of your blows. Until the end of your turn add 1d4 damage to all attacks made with your weapon.

Giant's Build (As Powerful Build, with the following addition): In addition, you are considered large for the purposes of making and defending against grapples, shoves, overruns, and shoves aside.

Aggressive (changed by adding the final line): As a bonus action, you can move up to your speed toward an enemy of your choice that you can see or hear. You must end this move closer to the enemy than you started. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Edit: I just checked your most recent write-up that includes Savage Attacks. With that I think it is equivalent to the half-orc in terms of power. But still, I personally view the half-orc as a relatively under powered race compared to Elves, Dwarves, and Half-Elves. Personally I have homebrewed half-orcs to gain a +1 damage from Savage Attacks and included the Aggressive ability from the Volo's Orc write-up.

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Re: A new attempt at Eberron Races

Post by AvonRekaes » Thu May 24, 2018 12:12 am

I appreciate the apology. Any offense I might have taken is forgotten. But we homebrewers tend to be fiercly protective of our stuff, so no worries there.

Funny that you mention elves. In my Eberron, I use completely different subraces and don't allow the ones from the PHB, and the Valenar subrace (or subculture, as I base my "subrace" divisions on nurture rather than nature) has different weapon proficiencies from the High elves, because in Eberron all Valenar elves know how to use scimitars and double scimitars (which I homebrewed my own rules for), not longswords and shortswords.
https://sites.google.com/site/wayfinder ... aces/elves

This is what I mean when I say I am designing the "Eberron PC Orc". I will burn generic flavor and mechanics to the ground and build the Eberron equivalent from the ashes if I have to. I did it to the elves already, the orcs aren't safe from me either! :evil:

Also, now that you've gone in-depth about your objection to passion being represented by a situational bonus, I can understand your view a bit better. But I still don't necessarily agree that passion is always something long and sustained (someone can be in "the throes of passion" for a particular instance of time, which is what I was going for here. And I think the equation of Passion=Inspiration and similarity in game mechanics is still valid).

Here's my thinking. Bardic Inspiration is not external. The ability is not described as "magic" or "magical", so it works in an antimagic field and suchlike. This means that the Bard isn't doing something supernatural when he grants inspiration. When you spend Inspiration on a die in an antimagic field, you aren't using a magical resource. You're pulling something from deep within you that the bard, in their expertise, knows how to pull out of you. Everyone has this well of drive, passion, inspiration within them, but only bards know how to draw it out.

Except for Orcs. They are constantly inspired, by their own passions and convictions and beliefs. They do not need the help of a bard to draw on this burst of effort everyone has within them, though a bard will let them draw from it more often (As written mechanically, my Orc can be granted a bardic inspiration die, he just can't spend both it and his passionate die on the same roll).

However, I would be interested in hearing how you would mechanically represent a game mechanic based on your view of what it means for a race to be more passionate than average.

Also, incidentally, I agree with you that the PHB Half-Orc needed a boost. Mine was to change Relentless Endurance to recharge on a short rest instead of long (I was not happy with the inclusion of the word "savage" in one of the Half-Orc racial traits for Eberron, as I wouldn't call a House Tharashk liscenced inquisitive a "savage", but ultimately instead of replacing the ability with something better, I just chose to focus the race's attention on its other ability, make that the major thing most people think about when they think about half-orcs, that they're hard to keep down.) I see my Passionate and that version of Relentless Endurance as roughly equivalent. (In as much as, while one might be hypothetically better than the other or not, it is not a wide enough margin for either to be considered "unplayable" or "broken" in comparison to its counterpart.)
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HawkDiesel
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Re: A new attempt at Eberron Races

Post by HawkDiesel » Thu May 24, 2018 2:00 am

I mean certainly there's nothing wrong with homebrewing new elf subraces and everything to fit into the various themes of Eberron. But the thing about Eberron and my understanding of how @Hellcow put it together, he didn't reinvent the races mechanically. He used the same elves and dwarves and halflings from 3e/3.5. There's nothing about halflings that scream barbarian dinosaur riders, but it is an interesting new take on how halflings might exist within a different kind of world. Additionally, he looked at the lore behind elves as a long lived race with natural propensity towards magic, and examined how such a race might still be elves, but with a twist. Being a long lived race, death is something of a mystery that is both feared and revered, and that manifests in the Valenar's devotion to their ancestors as well as the Aerenal's embrace of a kind of necromancy to stave off death even further.

So to that extent, I don't know that we need to reinvent the wheel to make the existing races fit into Eberron. Keith provided the story and the roles, both embracing and finding new ways to express the mechanical benefits of the races, and also creating new roles and stories despite their natural abilities (once again, few people before Eberron would associate Halflings with barbarians).

Mechanically, a Forgotten Realms orc and an Eberron orc are kin. They are both strong, brutish, and intense. But the difference is that Forgotten Realms orcs were portrayed as the enemies and evil savages because they were influence by the evil god Gruumsh, whereas the Eberron orcs took to revering nature and were trained by Vvaraak. But even within Eberron, I would posit that there is little mechanical difference between the orcs of the Shadow Marches versus the orcs of House Tharashk versus the orcs of the Demon Wastes. Any differences between them is more likely to be manifested by their choice of class, background, and personality. And this makes sense from an evolutionary perspective as well. Per the Eberron Wiki, orc history dates back 30,000 years. But modern humans indistinguishable from humans today emerged 200,000 years ago. And in that time we have developed different cultures and certain distinguishing characteristics (skin color, eye shape, nose shape) but over that time and the distance between different human habitats hadn't caused any drastic shifts or changes in our capacities. So orcs from 30,000 years before are likely the same kind of orcs one would find in Eberron today, regardless if their lineage was in the Shadow Marches or the Demon Wastes.

If I recall correctly, a lot of the Eberron specific traits that might manifest were introduced in the Races of Eberron book, and that was mostly through racial feats or class substitutions. But the base race was always the same, regardless if it was Valenar or Aerenal or Khorvaire Elf.

Anyway, that's my take on it.

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Re: A new attempt at Eberron Races

Post by AvonRekaes » Thu May 24, 2018 3:15 am

HawkDiesel wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 2:00 am
So to that extent, I don't know that we need to reinvent the wheel to make the existing races fit into Eberron.
Here's my thinking. Either you change the 5e elf to be proficient with scimitars and double scimitars, or you change the cultural leaning of Valenar toward training in longswords and shortswords and forget double scimitars were ever a thing.

If you decide to change the elven subrace's proficiencies to match the culture as presented previously in Eberron, then the door is open, and everything should fit the culture and flavor of Eberron as presented. That's where I'm coming from.

Also, because the precedent between things like different Weapon Training traits between elven subraces, I do not subscribe that a subrace (or setting-specific variant of a race) has to reflect only genetic evolutionary differences. There is as much culture baked into a race's traits as there are genetics. I don't think the High elf, for instance, is just innately more magical than the Wild elf. They just, as a culture, focus more on learning magic, so that by the time they are considered adults, every high elf has learned at least one cantrip. (The fact that it is Int-based spellcasting reinforces that it is learned spellcasting, not inherent like the tiefling.)
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Re: A new attempt at Eberron Races

Post by HawkDiesel » Thu May 24, 2018 4:41 am

Eh, I don't know. Swapping weapon proficiencies with other weapons is a one-to-one substitution that doesn't inherently impact things too much. I'd say this is also generally true with swapping racial skill proficiencies (with the exception of maybe perception, which is generally a more valuable skill than others). But I'd say in general the races fit their Eberron counterparts as is.

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Re: A new attempt at Eberron Races

Post by AvonRekaes » Thu May 24, 2018 4:45 am

Fair enough. I personally disagree (I can go on a long, loooooong unhinged rant about Mountain Dwarves and Rock Gnomes in Eberron, but no one wants to see that.) But this is definitely a personal taste issue with no right or wrong.
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Re: A new attempt at Eberron Races

Post by HawkDiesel » Thu May 24, 2018 4:59 am

I actually wouldn't mind hearing those thoughts. But perhaps in a dedicated thread to discuss the mechanical issues of 5e races compared to expectations of how they should appear in Eberron.

I mean, I am certainly not above homebrewing (my house rules have nearly rewritten almost all of 5e). I just try not to do it unless I see a definite need. Usually for me its to adjust a balance point (my games tend to increase the power of players and enemies) or to create mechanics that better reflect the concept.

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Re: A new attempt at Eberron Races

Post by AvonRekaes » Thu May 24, 2018 7:15 am

HawkDiesel wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 4:59 am
I actually wouldn't mind hearing those thoughts.
Okay, you asked for it. :P
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Re: A new attempt at Eberron Races

Post by HawkDiesel » Thu May 24, 2018 7:17 pm

:D

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