Race Design for 5e: Mathematical analysis of WOTC races, rev

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Coronoides
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Race Design for 5e: Mathematical analysis of WOTC races, rev

Post by Coronoides » Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:24 am

As suggested I’m starting this thread for people to discuss the 5e race analysis and design system. The document and excell sheet are the result of almost three years of playtesting and development. The most up-to-date released version can always be found at RPG Geek. The links are in my signature.

A short overview of the work is found in RPG Review Issue 34 here:
http://rpgreview.net

Please post any new races you design with the system here, of if you post in another thread let us know here.
Also post any typo’s, design issues, and other suggestions for improvement. That said there are some questions and criticisms I have seen over-and-over already often from people who haven’t bothered to read the document wherein their questions have been answered. Therefore to save effort and to provide an overview of the project I present the following FAQ’s lifted from the document:

FAQs

Can I publish races created with this system?
Sure go nuts! You may use this to create races for publication if I am credited as “Additional game design by Karl David Brown”. I expect no other payment.

HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM ALL THE OTHER FAN-CREATED RACES?
In Part 2 I have analysed all the race and feat traits in the PHB, Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG), and Elemental Evil Player’s Companion (EEPC) and then reverse engineered the system Wizards of the Coast uses in-house to create PC races. There may be differences in some of the relative point values presented here but otherwise this is very close to what WOTC uses. This provides a basis beyond intuition to evaluate races and greater creative freedom than using existing races as templates. I’m confident most of the races produced by this process will be balanced.

Has this been play-tested?
This project began in October 2014. In the year since then the system has been critiqued and used during the construction, building example races, and beta release phases through forums at WOTC, RPG.net, RPG Geek, and Enworld. Additionally there has been hundreds of player/hours of live testing at Gatekeeper Games Melbourne Australia.

Are you going to analyse Volo’s Guide to Monster’s races?
I already have. I am currently polishing a 3rd edition of the system which will be release several months from now.

But there is no system!
Some people do not think WOTC has a secret in-house system for me to reverse engineer. I believe that there is a system because WOTC is investing millions based on detailed math created and maintained by a team that is likely to have a shifting membership over several years, WOTC is going to want records to ensure the continuity of future products. Probably information gleaned from practical play concerns etc. are fed back into the evolving document at WOTC. Therefore what I have reverse-engineered is a ‘snapshot’ of that evolving document taken at the time the EEPC was released. If I have reverse engineered a WOTC system my work should be able to predict new material by WOTC. My confidence is buoyed by my work predicting that some traits were zero point before the release of Waterborne Unearthed Arcana wherein the designer's confirmed they used zero point traits which they call 'ribbons'. Furthermore the beta version accurately priced most of the EEPC races when that document was released. Furthermore, most of the races in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide also are priced very close my target value of 12 by vesrion 2.00 of the system (Mean average: 11.58, Median average: 12.00, Mode Average: 12.00, Standard Deviation: 2.77).
Update: version 2.03 was able to price 9 of the 12 Volo’s Races at 12. The 3 races where it failed are new sources of evidence being used to tweak the 3rd edition.

How did I set point costs?
All costs are relative to ability scores. I arbitrarily set +1 ability score = 2pt. We know from the human that a race is 12pt and the variant rule for humans gives us the means to price a few other items. For example at first level feats are worth 6pt. If we place in the known items then we can try to find values for the unknowns so that all races add up to 12pt and all feats are worth 6pt.
Essentially it’s a giant algebra problem.
The more traits a race shares with other races the more certain we can be of these cross-referenced point values. In some cases a similar approach was taken to some levels of a few classes. The point values of some traits are solid and others are less certain. This is because there is only so much evidence available, particularly for infrequently used traits. I use a rating system to let you know how certain I am of the assigned point value. Additionally, the trait tables list page numbers for the evidence used to assign the values for each trait.

House-rules ethos
In the end some of you are going to disagree with some of the values presented here. Even in Part 2, where I am deriving values from evidence in the PHB, I cannot account for the reality of your group and how you play. As with the canon works or anything else, if you want to change anything here, do it!

Why do you assume that all canon races are of equal value?
I make this assumption for two reasons.
Firstly, I believe WOTC would intend to design races that are equal at the table. This view is supported by press releases and communications with fans wherein WOTC consistently reflects the fan-base’s obsession with ‘balance’. As fans we can argue if they succeeded forever. This issue is compounded because every group plays differently, even if the rules are identical the mix of challenges and how they are presented varies from group to group.
Secondly, the assumption makes it possible to replace most guesswork with math. Using this assumption I remove much of the ‘why’ of judgment, and judgment is really just another word for guessing; guessing what WOTC’s designers were thinking. By making this one assumption I can avoid hundreds of other judgment calls (guesses). Where possible I limit guesswork by using math. If I do not make this assumption the math CANNOT be done and I am reduced to guessing the values of every trait like everyone else then arguing the relative merits of traits qualitatively and endlessly like everyone else.
If I assume that canon races are not worth the same amount of points my project cannot be done at all.

Why did I price this or that trait the way I did?
Your experience and reasoning may lead you to believe that a particular trait is more or less useful in play than my pricing would indicate. The problem is everyone has differing opinions about these relative values. This is why I use math to remove as much of my own judgment as possible, give you a rating of confidence in evidence, and list the page numbers for the evidence I used for each trait. After all that I still tell you to change anything you don’t agree with.
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/magh66x3ly8q5 ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

zontoxira
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Re: Race Design for 5e: Mathematical analysis of WOTC races,

Post by zontoxira » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:55 am

I've been wanting to test this system on my iteration of Dark Sun races, but I need more free time. Your work is immense, I must say.
Have a look at my Dark Sun Reconstruction Project at Homebrewery or Dark Sun 5e files at Google Drive
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Cager extraordinaire, at your service!
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Coronoides
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Re: Race Design for 5e: Mathematical analysis of WOTC races,

Post by Coronoides » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:50 am

New version (3.04) has been submitted for checking my admin at RPG Geek. This new version adds the evidence from Volo’s and the Tortle Package. Usually takes a little while for admins there to approve it.
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/magh66x3ly8q5 ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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Coronoides
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Re: Race Design for 5e: Mathematical analysis of WOTC races,

Post by Coronoides » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:26 am

3rd edition incorporating evidence from Volos and the Tortle Package is now available at link in my signature!!
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/magh66x3ly8q5 ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

User avatar
Coronoides
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Re: Race Design for 5e: Mathematical analysis of WOTC races,

Post by Coronoides » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:58 am

zontoxira wrote:I've been wanting to test this system on my iteration of Dark Sun races, but I need more free time. Your work is immense, I must say.
Let me know when you find the time for this. I’m curious to see the outcomes.
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/magh66x3ly8q5 ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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