18
Sep
09

Races

Races
The time has come to discuss races in Dragon In Ninth Heaven. There are a variety of racial options in the genre, like fox spirits, but I don’t want to extend the game there yet – there’s enough detail just in the things discussed so far!

Racial traits

Height (range)
Weight (range)
Ability scores: +2 to two stats
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 Squares
Vision: Normal
Languages: Common and one other
Skill bonuses: +2 to two skills
3 racial traits, usually one as a power
Racial trait examples:
When you’re bloodied, you gain a +1 racial bonus to attack rolls
Your healing surge value is equal to one-quarter of your maximum hit points + your Constitution modifier.
+5 racial bonus to saving throws against poison.
You can use your second wind as a minor action instead of a standard action
You move at your normal speed even when it would normally be reduced by armor or a heavy load. Other effects that limit speed (such as difficult terrain or magical effects) affect you normally.
When an effect forces you to move—through a pull, a push, or a slide—you can move 1 square less than the effect specifies. This means an effect that normally pulls, pushes, or slides a target 1 square does not force you to move unless you want to. In addition, when an attack would knock you prone, you can immediately make a saving throw to avoid falling prone.
You gain training in one additional skill selected from the skill list in Chapter 5 of the Player’s Handbook.
You can use elven accuracy as an encounter power (reroll an attack roll, using the second roll).
At 1st level, you choose an at-will power from a class different from yours. You can use that power as an encounter power
You grant allies within 10 squares of you a +1 racial bonus to Diplomacy checks.
You gain a +5 racial bonus to saving throws against fear.
You gain a +2 racial bonus to AC against opportunity attacks.
You can use second chance as an encounter power (force enemies to reroll an attack that hits you, they use the second roll even if it is lower).
You know one extra at-will power from your class.
You gain a bonus feat at 1st level. You must meet the feat’s prerequisites
+1 to Fortitude, Reflex, and Will defenses.
You gain a +1 racial bonus to attack rolls against bloodied foes.
You can use infernal wrath as an encounter power (gain +1 to hit an enemy who has hit you in the last turn, add a stat modifier to the damage if it hits)
You have a +1 bonus to all defenses against attacks made by bloodied creatures
When you make an Athletics check to jump or climb, roll twice and use either result.
You have a +1 racial bonus to Will.
You gain a +2 bonus to speed when charging.
The first time you are bloodied during an encounter, you gain 5 temporary hit points. The temporary hit points increase to 10 at 11th level and to 15 at 21st level.
You have the furious assault encounter power (attacks that hit deal and additional 1[W] or 1d8 damage)

The time has come to discuss races in Dragon In Ninth Heaven. There are a variety of racial options in the genre, like fox spirits, but I don’t want to extend the game there yet – there’s enough detail just in the things discussed so far!

A race definition in D&D 4E looks as follows:

Racial traits
Height: (range)
Weight: (range)
Ability scores: +2 to two stats
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 Squares
Vision: Normal
Languages: Common and one other
Skill bonuses: +2 to two skills
3 racial traits, usually one as a power

There is some variation to the individual races (like humans only getting a bonus to one statistic), but the end result seems moderately balanced. Reductions in one area usually result in additional or more powerful racial traits.

I would like to use the existing Human race unmodified. This is because it grants interesting abilities and options, and is the default race of the system.

Moving on to variations of that race, I will need to define regional variations on humans which are different races. I really wonder if this is necessary, or something that I should avoid. I could always add more racial choices at a future time.

While looking over the existing races, I compiled a summary of all the current racial traits that I think are appropriate to Dragon In Ninth Heaven. This list comes from the Payer’s Handbook, and Player’s Handbook 2.

Racial trait examples:

  • When you’re bloodied, you gain a +1 racial bonus to attack rolls
  • Your healing surge value is equal to one-quarter of your maximum hit points + your Constitution modifier.
  • +5 racial bonus to saving throws against poison.
  • You can use your second wind as a minor action instead of a standard action
  • You move at your normal speed even when it would normally be reduced by armor or a heavy load. Other effects that limit speed (such as difficult terrain or magical effects) affect you normally.
  • When an effect forces you to move—through a pull, a push, or a slide—you can move 1 square less than the effect specifies. This means an effect that normally pulls, pushes, or slides a target 1 square does not force you to move unless you want to. In addition, when an attack would knock you prone, you can immediately make a saving throw to avoid falling prone.
  • You gain training in one additional skill selected from the skill list in Chapter 5 of the Player’s Handbook.
  • You can use elven accuracy as an encounter power (reroll an attack roll, using the second roll).
  • At 1st level, you choose an at-will power from a class different from yours. You can use that power as an encounter power
  • You grant allies within 10 squares of you a +1 racial bonus to Diplomacy checks.
  • You gain a +5 racial bonus to saving throws against fear.
  • You gain a +2 racial bonus to AC against opportunity attacks.
  • You can use second chance as an encounter power (force enemies to reroll an attack that hits you, they use the second roll even if it is lower).
  • You know one extra at-will power from your class.
  • You gain a bonus feat at 1st level. You must meet the feat’s prerequisites
  • +1 to Fortitude, Reflex, and Will defenses.
  • You gain a +1 racial bonus to attack rolls against bloodied foes.
  • You can use infernal wrath as an encounter power (gain +1 to hit an enemy who has hit you in the last turn, add a stat modifier to the damage if it hits)
  • You have a +1 bonus to all defenses against attacks made by bloodied creatures
  • When you make an Athletics check to jump or climb, roll twice and use either result.
  • You have a +1 racial bonus to Will.
  • You gain a +2 bonus to speed when charging.
  • The first time you are bloodied during an encounter, you gain 5 temporary hit points. The temporary hit points increase to 10 at 11th level and to 15 at 21st level.
  • You have the furious assault encounter power (attacks that hit deal and additional 1[W] or 1d8 damage)

Some of the races that fit the genre are:

  • Animal spirits (fox is probably the most common)
  • Nature spirits (bamboo and river spirits)
  • Demons (usually the reformed kind)

These options push the game very firmly into a fantasy genre which differs a little from the comics. There are lots of people with different skin and hair colours (and some pretty strange ones too), but that is really the highest level of racial variation. I don’t want to turn the game into one where the characters are spirits and demons – that really belongs in a different game.

If I look at creating regional races, then that will require a campaign world to go with it. I do have a skeleton of a world prepared with the peoples of the regions described, but they are all human. Character background regions, similar to the Forgotten Realms ones (which give a skill bonus or two) would really cover all the distinctions required.

For the moment I will not create new races. All characters will be human. This is a decision that I will revisit when the game is nearly complete. Maybe races are something that I can deal with in a supplement.

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