New System for Implementing Races

One of he problems with the AD&D system is that race has almost no affect on your character. The way i see it, if you're going to postulate completely separate races, they should be a little more distinct. A dwarf is not just a short, hairy human with no sense of humor. In addition to the unique background, i felt they should have more distinct statistics.

I liked the "Method VI" introduced in Unearthed Arcana, but there was one major problem with it: why should a person be optimized for their class from birth, as it were? Instead, i think that they should be racially biased in their statistics. Therefore, i adapted the system as follows. The first thing you do is determine your race. You are welcome to do so in such a manner that the class you want is guaranteed. Then you roll your statistics, as determined by the race. You may be whatever class available to the race that your abilities allow. In some cases, i allow a person to be a class if they've only missed one requirement by one or two points. I figure that there's no reason that there can't be lousy rangers out there, and so on.

Here's how to read the following forms. They are headed with the race name, followed by the homeland (if any) and family (a sagely classification scheme). The abilities are listed as +/-X,A/B[Y]. This means to roll Yd6, totalling three (usually the top three), and then add X. A and B are the min and max for the race, so if the final total is less than A or greater than B, record A or B, respectively, on the character sheet. If there is no Y, roll 4d6.

The height given is the average height in inches, male\female. The weight is a modifier from human norm. I find the average human weight for the height of the character, and multiply it by this number to get average for a person of that race and height. Age is a multiplier and/or bonus. The multiplier is applied to the human age categories, to reflect slower or quicker maturation times. The bonus is added to the total life expectancy, but doesn't affect the age categories. Movement and Armor Class are just the bases for the race. Psionics indicates any bonus the race has on a wild talent roll.

The experience point modifiers are for an alternate system i use, instead of racial level limits. See my essay on Experience for an explanation. The number give for XP can be used for an overall racial XP penalty. I prefer to use the breakdown numbers listed by each class group, which differentiate a race's talents for different skills. Finally, the location is simply where the info on the race is to be found.

For now, i'm only including the six major races from the Players' Handbook, plus centaurs and half-orcs. I've worked out these statistics for nearly 300 races, including virtually any semi-humanoid, independently-sentient race. Let me know if you want to see more of them here.

centaur dwarf elf gnome half-elf half-orc hobbit human


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