There’s been a lot of talk about this all over the place for a while now.
Here are my current ideas of how I’d like to make the removal of racial ability modifiers work.
I’m replacing ‘race’ here with ‘ilk’. Even if you don’t agree with the idea, please understand that the word ‘race’ carries all kinds of real-world connotations for a lot of people, and I want to try and work around that.
First of all, we’re keeping abilities. Tieflings can Hellish Rebuke, Elves can see in the dark, Grung are poisonous. These abilities, and not whether one ilk is smarter than another, keep the flavour of a fantastical world.
We obviously have a problem with Humans here, since they have no stand-out abilities. So, we’re looking at the Variant Human only – I’ve yet to meet someone who played a base human with +1 to all abilities.
Variant humans, as written, don’t receive the same amount of points to modify their scores, because they have access to feats at first level that others don’t, and several feats give this ability bump.
Here’s my current proposal – Variant Humans gain the bonus skill as normal and gain their modifiers as below. Then either: –
In a high-powered campaign, the DM should consider starting all characters with one free feat,
In a high-powered campaign, the DM should consider allowing all characters to swap one of their ability modifiers for a feat,
In a normal-powered campaign, the human characters do not gain a starting feat and instead gains a second skill or tool proficiency.
That seems harsh but consider that a Half-Elf gains several abilities, has four points of modifier to their abilities and gets two skill proficiencies.
OK, so where does that leave us with the ability modifiers?
Well, I’ve been reading through Ancestry & Culture by Arcanist Press and Grazzilax’s Guide to Ancestry by Realmwarp Media, and a post by James Haeck on D&D Beyond from August 2019, and I think I’ve decided what I want to do.
We’re breaking down bonuses to three different +1s or a +2 and a +1.
There are three different +1s per Class and two per Background. Pick three from the options.
(I started with two per class, but mostly I was looking at quick builds and what would be good for the class to focus on, and for some, that’s at least three options!)
And now, the LISTS! Inspired liberally by Jame Haeck’s article, as well as the quick builds and save proficiencies of Classes and skill/tool proficiencies of Backgrounds.
|Class-based Modifiers||Background-based Modifiers|
|Artificer||+1 to Constitution or Dexterity or Intelligence||Acolyte||+1 to Intelligence or Wisdom|
|Barbarian||+1 to Constitution or Dexterity or Strength||Charlatan||+1 to Charisma or Intelligence|
|Bard||+1 to Charisma or Dexterity or Intelligence||Criminal||+1 to Dexterity or Intelligence|
|(Blood Hunter)||+1 to Dexterity or Intelligence or Strength||Entertainer||+1 to Charisma or Dexterity|
|Cleric||+1 to Dexterity or Strength or Wisdom||Folk Hero||+1 to Stregth or Wisdom|
|Druid||+1 to Constitution or Strength or Wisdom||Guild Artisan||+1 to Intelligence or Wisdom|
|Fighter||+1 to Constitution or Dexterity or Strength||Hermit||+1 to Constitution or Wisdom|
|Monk||+1 to Constitution or Dexterity or Wisdom||Noble||+1 to Intelligence or Charisma|
|Paladin||+1 to Charisma or Constitution or Strength||Outander||+1 to Strength or Constitution|
|Ranger||+1 to Constitution or Dexterity or Wisdom||Sage||+1 to Intelligence or One other score|
|Rogue||+1 to Charisma or Dexterity or Intelligence||Sailor||+1 to Strength or Wisdom|
|Sorcerer||+1 to Charisma or Constitution or Dexterity||Soldier||+1 to Dexterity or Strength|
|Warlock||+1 to Charisma or Constitution or Strength||Urchin||+1 to Dexterity or Wisdom|
|Wizard||+1 to Constitution or Dexterity or Intelligence|
This is all a first attempt of course, and needs a lot of work.
I added in Blood Hunter up there as a potential option, obviously there’s a lot more backgrounds to explore as well. I’d have to think on them as they come up for most things.