... now with 35% more arrogance!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dwarves II

Yesterday's post was incomplete. I feel that a race with a benefit, like dwarves with their innate directional sense and depth sense, should have some minor downside. I'm not sure what I want for dwarves. I don't want reaction penalties: racial reaction depends on actual circumstances, like how people in the area feel about that race. Likewise, being short has its drawbacks, but possible benefits as well, so I don't want to use that as a racial drawback.

I'm tempted to go all-out fairy tale on them and give them a risk of turning to stone when exposed to sunrise, but I doubt anyone would go for that. It's kind of an extreme risk for the minor abilities they have. Perhaps a susceptibility to petrification instead? Or maybe, because of their earth affinity, dwarves don't float, but sink right to the bottom of a pool or river, although they can still hold their breath or use floatation gear. This could be worked around with magic or long snorkels or breathing bladders, and may even be beneficial in a way (bonus when resisting river current, maybe?)


  1. I think I inferred it in my last posted comment, but I don't think IMHO that you need a penalty. If each Race is equivalent (same number and range of power) in their Racial Ability (Benefit) then why force a penalty? If you go with the model that you started with Classes, then have one scalable Racial Benefit and one regular Racial Benefit.

    I am considering taking the idea and running with it. Why recreate the wheel, when this one seems like it would roll real well? To stick with the 0e feel, maybe drop the level limit for that Class or Race by one or two levels? What I mean by this, is if the average level limit(I play S&W:WB BTW) is 10th level, then for each Class, Racial, or Cultural Benefit over and above 1 scalable and 1 general, I would drop the level limit down 1 or 2 from 10. Make sense?


  2. I don't like balancing short-term benefits with very long-term drawbacks.

    Assuming you're taking race as class, maybe the minor benefits of dwarves would be balanced by a minor restriction such as restricted use of large melee weapons, or a little more xp to advance.

  3. @Roger: I do think a general (not specific to dwarves) weapon restriction is that a weapon as tall as or taller than your character must be used two-handed, and bows taller than your character either can't be used at all or have physical limitations on when/how they can be used. The XP penalty is something I may address in another post, though.

    @Bane: I'd restrict characters to one scalable class benefit (except for mixed classes, detailed earlier) and no other scalable benefits, but level penalties or XP penalties are certainly a possibility.

  4. I don't make dwarves turn to stone in the sunrise...quite.

    I make dwarves turn to stone as they age (living a normal lifespan to a human). Catch--they only age while in sunlight. So assuming normal daylight cycle they live twice as long. Stay underground most of the time....

  5. That's actually a pretty cool idea. I had a simialr idea for elves: they never age while in their elven homeland. But the downside is they also don't advance or learn anything: elven society is stagnant, repeating the same courtly ritual behaviors every day, every year. This is why elves adventure: to get better than other elves.

  6. Tries to imagine the benefit of being able to resist the current of the river from the bottom of said river . . . ;-)

  7. I guess the benefit would be that the dwarf could possible climb out in the same location as he fell in, as opposed to being swept to a different area, possibly battered on rocks or over a waterfall. Better chance of not dying?