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The discussion of alternative ability scores is making me realize how much I like anti-synergistic race design

Content of the article: "The discussion of alternative ability scores is making me realize how much I like anti-synergistic race design"

What this whole discussion is making me realize is how much I like 5e races that have racial abilities that don't synergize with each other at all.

Take mountain dwarves for example. Great stat mods, +2 con and str is great for a whole slew of characters based on melee combat. And then what do they get for racial features? Armor and weapon mods that are completely and utterly useless for all of the strength-based classes. And then on top of that not being slowed down by heavy armor is just completely redundant for all of those strength based classes. I love that kind design! They're good at breaking in face, but they also get other abilities that are useful and flavorful if they break out of the mold and become a wizard or a bard or a strength rogue or what have you. Maybe not anywhere near ideal from a charop perspective but a mountain dwarf wizard getting medium armor and a battleaxe and being able to wade into melee and smack people with booming blade feels great from a mechanical and a flavor perspective.

Same goes for high elves. They get a bonus to int so often they become wizards but look at their other main racial feature: a free cantrip. While not as utterly useful as medium armor proficiency is for dwarf fighters an extra cantrip isn't really much of a help for a high elf wizard. But it CAN give a nice boost to all kinds of other classes and give them a bit of an arcane feeling that fits with high elves. Again good design.

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Those are the best examples but some others:

-Wood elves often end up as monks due to their stat mods, the class that has the LEAST use for the wood elf's extra speed. Having a little boost of speed is useful to a whole range of builds that normally don't want a wood elf's stat mods. And while it's far from optimized, I love my wood elf barbarian I rolled up who was great at chasing down his prey, gave him a great wild hunt feeling.

-Goblins are sneaky little bastards and have great stat mods for rogues but their main ability is utterly redundant for rogues, which gives us a whole range of sneaky little goblin builds instead of pigeon holing them as "a good race for rogues."

-The half-orc relentless endurance feature only kicks in if you get reduced to 0 HP something that probably happens LEAST often to barbarians out of any class, the class that the other half-orc abilities point to. While not being optimized at all that gives a half-orc squishy a nice little niche as "guy that doesn't go down like a sack of potatoes the first time the enemies try to gank the back lines."

Breakdown of some of the other races.

Not seeing anything like this for dragonborn but they're a pretty badly designed race in general. At least let their breath weapon scale with level so it's not utterly useless almost immediatley.

Halfing luck helps all kinds of classes, but they're pretty often pigeonholed with the dex-based classes. Although my son's halfling monk LOVED the ability to move through the spaces of enemies despite halflings not usually getting associated with monks.

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Half-elves, pretty overpowered although I guess their extra skills are the least useful for bards (often the go-to class for half-elves) while they can be a real godsend for a lot of other classes. I like that bit.

For gnomes there's really not that much to work with for a lot of non-wizard/archivist classes for a mechanical perspective, wish there was a bit more to chew on or other classes that used int as at least a secondary stat.

Core tieflings don't really give you much to work with besides "Cha-based caster with a few toys" but the expanded bloodlines give some interesting things to chew on since there are SO MANY different bonus spells, I'm sure I could think of an-cha based build that'd be mechanically interesting.

I'm a bit worried that making floating stat bonuses a thing would undermine some of this, as it'd let people mechanically line up their stat boosts and their racial abilities instead of having those clash a bit. If anything I'd like to give other races more of this sort of clash, which seems to open up a lot more interesting mechanical space.

Source: reddit.com

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