race-as-class vs class-as-race

If it doesn't fit into a category above, then inscribe it here, O Mighty One...

Moderators: DJ LaBoss, finarvyn, michaelcurtis, Harley Stroh

Post Reply
BanjoJohn
Wild-Eyed Zealot
Posts: 86
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2015 6:00 pm
FLGS: there are a few but I dont really consider any of them as my main flgs

race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by BanjoJohn » Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:55 am

So we've got race-as-class for Elf, Halfling, and Dwarf. And class-as-race for Humans (human warrior, human wizard, human cleric, human thief) . Without exploding out the choices by making something similar to DCC with the "any race, any class" that we get from other games, would expanding humanoid classes somewhat by giving them 2, and maybe sometimes 3, options for class-as-race choices available

Like.. change the name of the current Elf to.. Elf Spellsword, and add Elf Ranger as a second Elf class.
Rename Dwarf to Dwarf Defender. Add in a second class, Dwarf Berserker.
Etc.

I dunno, seems like a nice way to expand options without making any choices too samey.

User avatar
GnomeBoy
Tyrant Master (Administrator)
Posts: 3576
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:46 pm
FLGS: Bizarro World
Location: Left Coast, USA
Contact:

Re: race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by GnomeBoy » Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:29 am

Personally, I prefer the esthetic of characters morphing over time into something much more unique than a Class, so keeping the Classes really simple (as they are) as a base on which to build is preferable. Like for a short while I had a player with a Warrior, but he could cast magic if it came from the hand of his master... he'd been the chief armorer to a particularly martial sorcerer, so had been trained in a bit of magic, but not in magical theory. That's more unique and appealing to me than just a Warrior/Wizard multiclass, for example.

But I could easily see doing a campaign where the Race-as-Class options and/or the Human Class options were different.
Gnome Boy • DCC playtester @ DDC 35 Feb '11. • Beta DL 2111, 7AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since '77 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters.

Link: Here Be 100+ DCC Monsters

bygrinstow.com

Kuruz, Mendicant, N • AC 8, 4 hp • R-1, F0, W0 • S9 A8 S9 P11 I16 L8
Zend, Grave Digger, L • AC 9, 3 hp • R-1, F0, W1 • S14 A6 S9 P13 I13 L6
Mercer, Outlaw, N • AC 12, 2 hp • R0, F-1, W1 • S7 A9 S6 P13 I8 L13
Dejah, Ropemaker, C • AC 10, 3 hp • R0, F1, W-1 • S8 A12 S15 P7 I11 L7

Ozerulz
Wild-Eyed Zealot
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:35 pm
FLGS: Gamers Haven

Re: race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by Ozerulz » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:14 am

With DCC you can do pretty much anything but just min/maxing DCC like D&D will just end up with you playing D&D.

BanjoJohn
Wild-Eyed Zealot
Posts: 86
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2015 6:00 pm
FLGS: there are a few but I dont really consider any of them as my main flgs

Re: race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by BanjoJohn » Sat Sep 07, 2019 11:45 pm

Well one of the problems with D&D is stat bonuses from race. I don't think having multiple dwarf, elf, whatever classes available would lead down that road if you kept it like the human classes where you can just kinda.. fit your character into a role that might be better for their stats.

Jim Skach
Deft-Handed Cutpurse
Posts: 232
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:42 pm
Location: Crystal Lake, IL

Re: race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by Jim Skach » Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:30 am

BanjoJohn wrote:fit your character into a role that might be better for their stats.
Why?

Starbeard
Far-Sighted Wanderer
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 7:43 pm
FLGS: Brookhurst Hobbies

Re: race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by Starbeard » Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:16 pm

In my game we have a dwarf cleric because the dwarf in question had a 0-level occupation that suggested a clerical path of advancement, and the player likes the whole dwarf cleric thing. In the end we found some house ruled "dwarf cleric" class from a 'zine or 'blog, then gave it a quick vetting to make any little changes we felt like making.

As for class names, my preference is for using normal class names like "Dwarf Cleric" and "Elf Wizard-Warrior," rather than unique, descriptive names like "Dwarf Runecaller" and "Elf Mageblade." The latter both sound too much like they are trying to direct things toward a specific setting, where Runecallers™ and Mageblades™ are actual categories with an actual presence in the game world, instead of what they really are, which is a priest who's a dwarf and an elf who uses his sword when he isn't slinging spells. There's no reason we have to assume that a Dwarf Warrior class has to do exactly the same things the Human Warrior class does.

I've also wondered whether it would be fun to go in the other direction, and reduce humans to a single race-class, probably Warrior. That would then free up all of the abilities from the cleric, thief and wizard classes to become professions that any character can pursue. Maybe your 5th level halfling has spent a significant amount of time dabbling in a wizard's tower between adventures, to the point where he has access to magic as a 3rd-level wizard. Your 4th-level human joins a cult and is given the benefits of 1st-level cleric abilities.

BanjoJohn
Wild-Eyed Zealot
Posts: 86
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2015 6:00 pm
FLGS: there are a few but I dont really consider any of them as my main flgs

Re: race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by BanjoJohn » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:07 am

Jim Skach wrote:
BanjoJohn wrote:fit your character into a role that might be better for their stats.
Why?
Because you can as a human? "oh my int and personality are really low, so maybe I'll be a thief or warrior instead of wizard or cleric"

Starbeard
Far-Sighted Wanderer
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 7:43 pm
FLGS: Brookhurst Hobbies

Re: race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by Starbeard » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:11 am

BanjoJohn wrote:
Jim Skach wrote:
BanjoJohn wrote:fit your character into a role that might be better for their stats.
Why?
Because you can as a human? "oh my int and personality are really low, so maybe I'll be a thief or warrior instead of wizard or cleric"
True. Assuming your characters are starting at 0-level, then your random ability scores and random race are completely independent of each other. If you stick to the classes as they appear in the rulebook, then it doesn't matter what your halfling's good and bad scores are, that character will progress as a halfling. As a human you have the choice of pursuing a different class based on what you rolled.

If everyone is starting traditionally—1st level, roll your scores and pick your class—then it's different, because you can look at your rolls and decide, "Hey, high Strength and Intelligence, maybe I'll be an elf."

User avatar
GnomeBoy
Tyrant Master (Administrator)
Posts: 3576
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:46 pm
FLGS: Bizarro World
Location: Left Coast, USA
Contact:

Re: race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by GnomeBoy » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:23 am

"Better" doesn't automatically mean "funner"... :wink:

I've had plenty of "horrible" or sub-par characters (in multiple game systems) that have been fun and interesting to play.

If the characters are having experiences from which they can change and evolve, the stats may be the least important thing about them... Very few stories of games past (IME) see anyone reminiscing about the high stats of their character. :wink:
Gnome Boy • DCC playtester @ DDC 35 Feb '11. • Beta DL 2111, 7AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since '77 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters.

Link: Here Be 100+ DCC Monsters

bygrinstow.com

Kuruz, Mendicant, N • AC 8, 4 hp • R-1, F0, W0 • S9 A8 S9 P11 I16 L8
Zend, Grave Digger, L • AC 9, 3 hp • R-1, F0, W1 • S14 A6 S9 P13 I13 L6
Mercer, Outlaw, N • AC 12, 2 hp • R0, F-1, W1 • S7 A9 S6 P13 I8 L13
Dejah, Ropemaker, C • AC 10, 3 hp • R0, F1, W-1 • S8 A12 S15 P7 I11 L7

Starbeard
Far-Sighted Wanderer
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 7:43 pm
FLGS: Brookhurst Hobbies

Re: race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by Starbeard » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:35 am

In Iron Man, 3d6-by-Crom games like OD&D, B/X and DCC, I think it's almost a given that your statistically worst characters will be the ones you remember the most fondly!

In every DCC cohort there's always that one miserable cad who gets thrown to the front of every marching order and tests every trap, yet manages to survive into perpetuity while everyone's more prized characters eat it along the way.

Jim Skach
Deft-Handed Cutpurse
Posts: 232
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:42 pm
Location: Crystal Lake, IL

Re: race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by Jim Skach » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:49 pm

BanjoJohn wrote:
Jim Skach wrote:
BanjoJohn wrote:fit your character into a role that might be better for their stats.
Why?
Because you can as a human? "oh my int and personality are really low, so maybe I'll be a thief or warrior instead of wizard or cleric"
Right...so humans have essentially no racial benefits - can't smell gold or see in the dark. One of, if the only, racial benefits humans get is more flexibility in choosing a profession; the ability to decide that given my lithe form and light of foot nature, I might want to be a thief and not some meathead sword fighter. This would be removed if you did so, I think.

Also - it doesn't really answer my question. Why do you want to fit your character into your stats to the point that you would change the RAW to do so?

I want to be very clear, this is not a RAW argument, or an askance perspective on play styles or anything like that. I'm truly asking, as much for my own curiosity about the changing nature of the DCC community as it is a prod to you to examine your approach a bit deeper.

BanjoJohn
Wild-Eyed Zealot
Posts: 86
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2015 6:00 pm
FLGS: there are a few but I dont really consider any of them as my main flgs

Re: race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by BanjoJohn » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:36 am

As a game, DCC RPG has been out now for around 7 years. So of course it has picked over with a fine toothed comb by everyone who has read the book and had some time to think about it. So of course I have formed by own opinions about how it could be expanded/improved without breaking into habits of other games/editions. One thought I had was that class-as-race seems to be a good compromise.

First I had to try and understand why race-as-class could be seen as a good starting point.

One basis for "race as class" for everything but humans is that we are playing in a human-centric world. The rare Elf, Dwarf, Halfling adventurer that you might see kind of conforms to the one archetype you see as the class that is available.

Of course a second basis would be, that it makes the game simpler in that you don't worry about class/race combinations, and different ways to make races unique from each-other as a racial category with bonuses/penalties, and the abuses that could come from certain races being combined with certain classes for the maximum benefit, because each class has to have its own set of abilities and advancement independent of race.


Secondly, I had to wonder. Is just expanding the available "classes" available to players worthwhile to be restricted to "race-as-class" ? Sure you can keep adding things like gnomes, kith, whatever else. I'm sure some people like playing in worlds where humanoids might be more common than the default setting in the book. Maybe there could be more variety for each "race" as adventurers. So I had a thought, instead of taking the "pick a race, then pick a class" approach, why not just expand "race-as-class" into "class-as-race", it would functionally be the same as just adding in a brand new "race-as-class" classed available to choose from, it would just happen to be the same race as another race already in the game. Now, I don't necessarily think they need to have the exact same racial abilities even if they're the same race. And, I think even if there was some overlap in roles between a human class and a race-class, that enough differences could be kept between them so they don't have the same advantages or niche.

And, its not necessarily that I think there should be a niche class to choose for every kind of stat distribution that you could roll up. Just that maybe there is room for more than one class for each humanoid race. If there was a gnome class, I would expect many of its spells to be illusion based, and have quite a different spell list than that of the wizard or elf. If there was more room for expanding the spell list, I might even expect the Elf class to have different spells available than that of the Wizard class. For rarer or less popular humanoids, maybe one class is all they need. But I certainly could see two classes being available for the main 3 humanoid races. And I don't even think this changes RAW, as per the first part of the Judges rules pg 314.

But heck, maybe it would just be as simple as saying "Common Elf" class, "Woodland Elf" class, "Hill Dwarf" "Mountain Dwarf', who knows.

Edit: One other thought. In general I really don't much like the "forgotten realms" or other settings where there are... dozens and dozens of races available to play as, and the thought that having dozens of "race-as-class" races available makes me puke a little in my mouth. Adding some meager variety to a few races for available classes helps to expand the game without opening the pandoras box of "oh I want to play a centaur, and you can play a pixie, and you'll be a dragonborn, and you can be a tiefling, and they will play ___" , ugh...

Ozerulz
Wild-Eyed Zealot
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:35 pm
FLGS: Gamers Haven

Re: race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by Ozerulz » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:14 pm

Race as class is just a nod to BX IMO
Race and class is just min maxing IMO
Play however makes you happy

Starbeard
Far-Sighted Wanderer
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 7:43 pm
FLGS: Brookhurst Hobbies

Re: race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by Starbeard » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:03 am

BanjoJohn wrote:Now, I don't necessarily think they need to have the exact same racial abilities even if they're the same race. And, I think even if there was some overlap in roles between a human class and a race-class, that enough differences could be kept between them so they don't have the same advantages or niche.
This is underappreciated as a design concept, I think. We already hold to the presumption that it's perfectly viable for a human thief to have a completely different set of supernatural powers from a human cleric. We could even say that thieves see in the dark, magic-users automatically detect magic, and clerics automatically detect evil, and all that gets is shrug and a, "Makes sense." However, changing the vision and detection abilities of elves to be dependent on class for some reason breaks the illusion of verisimilitude, when really it shouldn't.

Likewise, elves, dwarves and halflings already have their major functions overlap to one degree or another with warriors, thieves and wizards, but that's never really bothered anyone I've ever known.

In short: I think it's a perfectly viable path to have, say, an elven-cleric class whose abilities have some crossover with but are still distinct from the human-cleric (and/or any other class, really), and whose abilities are characteristically unique amongst all of the elf classes. Whether you want to call this class a profession that is available to elves just like humans get multiple profession classes ("elf cleric"), or a blanket racial class in the BX sense of some elfin subtype ("glitter elf"), is a matter of how you would like to structure the world of your campaign.

User avatar
herecomethejudge
Wild-Eyed Zealot
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:52 am

Re: race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by herecomethejudge » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:05 am

GnomeBoy wrote:Personally, I prefer the esthetic of characters morphing over time into something much more unique than a Class, so keeping the Classes really simple (as they are) as a base on which to build is preferable. Like for a short while I had a player with a Warrior, but he could cast magic if it came from the hand of his master... he'd been the chief armorer to a particularly martial sorcerer, so had been trained in a bit of magic, but not in magical theory. That's more unique and appealing to me than just a Warrior/Wizard multiclass, for example.
I agree. In general, the central thing that seems to be so appealing not just to me personally but to others who are into DCC is how simple but powerful and flexible the rules are: a strong foundation that encourages imaginative add-ons. Play it straight from the Core Rules or dig up one of the 8,000 3PP classes that have been published on blogs and zines: it's up to you. DCC is way less about doing things "the right way" and coming up with unique, original, and interesting scenarios that don't conform to genre standards that have been done to death.

User avatar
Dehumanizer
Far-Sighted Wanderer
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:08 am
FLGS: Highland Games
Location: Scotland

Re: race-as-class vs class-as-race

Post by Dehumanizer » Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:54 pm

I will share with you the way I handle this, so anyone can copy or modify it, if he/she likes it.

I like the idea on OD&D that races (species) other than human are odd. They do not look weird, with pointy ears and low height, but they also do things differently. Their culture and the way they feel life and everything else in the world is different. Therefore, race-as-class appeals to me. However, I can’t see why non-humans can’t take the warrior, thief, cleric or wizard classes. They look very generic to me.

I’ve done some research to see what criticisms people make about the races and classes in D&D. The criticism I think it makes most sense to me is that in D&D demihumans gain bonuses to ability scores. That inherently makes specific races the best options for specific classe, which is the first combo that all min-maxers use when making characters. Another pertinent criticism is about darkvision, which totally breaks the light economy in dungeons. Light should be an important resource, something players should think about very well before delving into caves filled with monsters. It is a big advantage over humans to completely ignore darkness. Finally, I like the randomness in character creation present in DCC. It is fun to learn who your character is in the process, rather than designing it. Choosing races is like choosing ability scores. It can work in specific campaigns, but it is generally boring.

I’ve come across a system called GLOG ("The Goblin Laws of Gaming"), which I think it deals with races and classes very well. The blog Coins and Scrolls explains well how to design races in GLOG, and I have adapted these principles to my DCC game. Firstly, instead of giving pluses and minuses to ability scores, it allows races to reroll one of them (e.g., CHA/PER for elves, CON/STA for dwarves, and DEX/AGI for halflings; humans chose any). I don’t let any race reroll LUCK. Secondly, most character abilities must come from the class, rather than from the race. Thus, a race should not grant more than two special abilities. If races have special abilities, they must have special disabilities to balance them. Thirdly, all advantages and disadvantages must be memorable and easy to come in game. They must be easy to use and not extremely powerful. Power comes from the class. Fourthly, I also allow race-as-class, which are in fact classes that can only be chosen by characters of that specific race. For instance, ‘sword mages’ (elf class) can only be elves, ‘mine guardians’ (dwarf class) can only only be taken dwarves, ‘luck mongers’ (halfling class) can only be be halflings, and paladin/knight can only be humans. Finally, I’ve made a 1d100 table to randomly select races separate from the occupation table. In this table, the probability of getting each race can be balanced according to the setting. In my current game, the character is human in 1-50, half-elf in 51-52, elf in 53-60, etc. I have more weird races like bugbear and snakeman on that table, but with lower chance of rolling them. It is easy to adapt this to any setting. I like randomly generated characters.

I will give examples of the features I give to three classic races:
  • Humans reroll any chosen ability score. Being human is an advantage in my game, because most civilised regions are controlled by humans.
  • Elves reroll PER, are immune to sleep spell, +1d to charm saves, have low light vision (as darkvision breaks the light economy), have vulnerability to iron weapons (2x damage), and must roll a WILL save when sees ugly things or fatigues (-1 STR until full rest).
  • Dwarves reroll STA, are skilled in geology and stone architecture, have low light vision, roll a WILL save every day without consuming alcohol or stresses mentally (-1 PER until resting after drinking), moves at 20’/round.
  • Halfling rerolls AGI, heals LUCK when rests, doesn’t naturally heal any other stat unless sleeping in a proper comfortable bed.
This way the weirdness of the races naturally arise in the game. Elves like beauty stuff, and avoid unnecessary conflicts, because that’s bad for them. Dwarves are workaholics-alcoholics—they need alcohol to keep their minds sane. Halflings need comfort. An elf thief feels like an elf, a dwarf cleric feels like a dwarf, and a halfling wizard feels like a halfling. I’m game mechanics, being human is as good as being any other race. There is no power progression bound to the race, because this goes with the class.

Keep gaming,
Dehumanizer

Post Reply

Return to “DCC RPG General”