Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Human Question

In this thread Iamtim asks about what benefits to give humans if he removes level limits. As I am not a fan of level limits myself I am interested in the answer.

Later in the thread timmyd comes up with an idea to give Human a XP bonus. He suggests +40%!. While I think that is a bit excessive I think set to about +10% is a great way of making human attractive compared to their demi-human counterparts.

+2 to any stats of choice (can be split to +1 to two stats)
+10% XP Bonus

This can be combined with the +5% prime requisites bonus for a total of +15% to XP.

The XP Bonus seems more in the spirit of OD&D than any of the other solutions I been mulling around in my mind. Thanks Timmyd and the rest of the S&W forum crowd.

18 comments:

TimmyD said...

The +40% number came out of the fact that a human fighter can reach 10th level, while a dwarf fighter can only reach 6th level.

To make humans more attractive as characters - and therefore make them the overwhelming dominant race in the game world - a significant bonus should be applied.

blizack said...

I don't like level limits either. I was thinking of giving humans bonuses to their prime requisites, and extra rolls of the Big Pink d30 per session.

Tim Shorts said...

Either way, Ken appreciated the bump. I think it s a good idea to help 'see' why humans can with stand attacks from other races who seem to have greater advantages. This gives them a reason to be one of the top races to contend with.

The Basic Fantasist said...

In the interest of fairness, I like to enforce level limits on ALL pc races:

Human = Prime Requisite Score (lowest if multiple)

Single-classed non-human = 2/3 of PR (lowest if multiple, round down)

Multi-classed non-human = 1/2 of PR (max of two classes).

None of these are "hard" limits. Divine intervention, wishes and some magical items can increase the limit.

Word verification: resses, as in Reese's pieces sure sounds better right now than another level limit war.

Travis said...

My house rule is:

No level limits.

No bonus for prime requisite ability scores.

Humans get a 10% bonus.

Alan said...

I don't care for level limits either, and was thinking that a 10% XP bonus for humans also is appropriate.

In many fantasy settings, humans are the "youngest" of the races, and are often noted as short lived but quick learners. I think the 10% XP bonus models that fairly well.

The long-lived elves and dwarves may not advance as quickly, but over their lifetime (if they survive) may achieve greater heights due to their longevity.

The Rusty Battle Axe said...

As a human, I appreciate the 10% extra.

However, it is also nice to not be saddled with all the elf drama or dwarf angst. That's reason enough to be human.

Vincent Diakuw said...

To make humans more attractive as characters - and therefore make them the overwhelming dominant race in the game world - a significant bonus should be applied.

If you want humans to dominate the campaign world, then they do. Only a handful of the people in your world are going to be your player's characters, so any attempt to match PC demographics to campaign-world demographics seems pointless.

Imagine how you would have to twist a Star Wars game to make the profile of a PC party match the general populace. You might get one Jedi in 5 years of play!

At any rate, these carrots & sticks for players seem sort of condescending. I don't like to try to control their character creation, but if I did I'd create a table for randomizing race at PC generation. That would satisfy the fetish for trying to link the campaign world to the character generation rules cluster (as opposed to, say, the grappling rules, or skill tests, or petrification saves, or whatever).

Lord Kilgore said...

Personally, I've never really seen level limits as a way to make the game "human centric" as much as I've seen them as a way to balance demi-human abilities. Which XP penalites for demi-humans (or XP bonuses for humans) solve.

FWIW, level limits don't really balance things all that well because they don't set in until late. XP penalties/bonuses set in immediately and do a much better job of it.

The Rusty Battle Axe said...

As the player (Ken) whose human character, Syrivald, benefited from Rob's decision, I do have to say that I made the decision to play a human before Rob made his modification. Syrivald was already a third level magic-user by time Rob made that decision. So it didn't influence my decision. This being said, while I don't fret over balance, it does provide more consideration for the player who is creating a character. You get the racial benefits of being an elf right away, whereas being a human with a 10% xp bonus pays off only in the long run. I like giving players that choice to consider--somewhat similar to choosing between a fighter (power now) versus a magic-user (more power later).

Badmike said...

A good DM balances no level limits with cultural factors that non-humans must face dealing with a predominantly human centric world.

I've never had level limits in 30 years of play and have never been forced to penalize nonhumans or reward humans, yet have always ended up with balanced partys. Most players play the type or race of character they want, regardless of advantages or disadvantages, unless you are dealing with the most crass sort of min/maxer.

James Maliszewski said...

Reading the comments here and elsewhere, it seems as if I must have been the only referee to use level limits in the entire history of the hobby.

Go figure.

Havard: said...

Ive always disliked level limits. As Badmike says, people will probably play humans without this reward, though I suspect the number of half-elves would have gone down in our 2e campaigns.

The Rusty Battle Axe said...

@James: Back in my Holmes/AD&D 1e days, we used level limits. Characters either retired or spent all their time looking for wish rings, in order to move/remove the demi-human glass ceiling. At the time, it never occurred to us to drop the level limits. One character found a wish ring and asked for the ability to go up another level, which caused a stairway to appear leading to the next level up in the dungeon. He worded his second wish a bit more carefully.

limpey said...

Quote the Rusty Battle Axe: "One character found a wish ring and asked for the ability to go up another level, which caused a stairway to appear leading to the next level up in the dungeon."

Hah hah hah! That is good!

Honestly, it's not since AD&D was long out of print that I learned all the minutia of the rules. We may have violated the "level limits" rule back in the day (I can't recall) but, if so, it would have been out of ignorance rather than intent. The few PC sheets I have left don't seem to violate the level limits... but 90% of PCs died an early death so that is no indication.

The Basic Fantasist said...
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The Basic Fantasist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Basic Fantasist said...

Mighty Thews
Upon reaching a new level, a Fighting Man, Magic User or Cleric may re-roll their Strength, Intelligence or Charisma, respectively. If the new roll is greater than the previous, increase the ability to the new amount.

NOT my idea. http://swordsofminaria.blogspot.com/2010/02/house-rule-mighty-thews.html

Personally, I think he meant Wisdom instead of Cha to represent the Cleric. I also rather like "Roll over PR, add +1 to PR" (18 max).