Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Should Half-Orcs Be Able to Have a 19 Strength?

One of my oldest house-rules is "The stat max is equal to 18+/- the racial modifier". I don't have too many concerns regarding that but, recently, a player rolled up a half-orc fighter and I had cause to look up the relevant bonuses and penalties.

+1 Strength, +1 Constitution, -2 Charisma.

"Wow", I thought, "he might be able to get a 19 freaking strength. That's like a hill giant..."

I was a tad nervous for a bit, then I decided to look up the mechanics.

I was not impressed. The difference, in combat, between an 18/00 and a 19 amount to a +1 damage. Whee. Certainly, a half-orc would have an edge in being able to get a 19 (roll an 18, add 1, and viola!, rather than roll an 18, roll percentile, and hope), but this is fairly minimal and altogether not worth worrying about.

Sure, half-orcs become the ultimate choice for fighters for a certain type of player (I don't actually have any of them, so, again, not an issue for me), but how is that harmful?

I'm still thinking of ditching percentile strength and reworking the chart, but that's a separate issue, one more related to my dislike of a special type of scoring for one stat.

Oh, and for those wondering, the PC in question doesn't have a 19 strength. The player's rolls were good, but not that good.


mikemonaco said...

I freaking love half-orcs but no, no-one should get a 19 strength, not even half-ogres. AD&D is humanocentric and the human maximum strength should be the maximum for everyone. I suppose you could let a half-orc keep an 18/00 if they roll it, or give a +25% to the roll for a half-orc fighter type that rolled an 18 strength before racial adjustments. I always thought the world's strongest half-orc should be a little stronger than the world's strongest dwarf, if only due to leverage/height difference.

BTW, are you dropping the half-orc's limits on Dex, Wisdom, and Intelligence, since they have no penalties there?

Doctor Apocalypse said...

That's a line of reasoning I respect, and it does make me pause for a bit. However, I'm going to stick to my original decision for this campaign. I'd like to get around to revamping the strength chart for my games, but if I do, I will have to make some changes to the half-orcs' bonuses (which I may do anyway), since I've never thought of orcs as super strong.

And to answer your question, yes, I did drop those limits (along with the dwarven limit on dexterity and the halfling limit on wisdom), they don't make sense in my eyes and so I did away with them.

mikemonaco said...

Yeah, I don't see 1/2 orcs as the brutes of 3rd edition. I see them as very tough from growing up as outcastes and due to their orcish blood. Weaklings probably wouldn't make it to adulthood. So, maybe a minimum Strength as per AD&D, but not super-strong.
If any AD&D demihmuans get a strength bonus, I suppose they should (and possibly humans too!). One idea I've kicked around is maybe having 18/Exceptional strength as just one rating (17, 18, 18(X)) and only human, half-orc, & dwarf fighters getting the 18(X) is they already have an 18 assigned to Str. Not sure what the mechanics would be, because I'm not a big fan of AD&D attribute modifiers as they stand anyway.

I don't mind attribute limits being somewhat disconnected from racial pluses and minuses, although I agree that the way thay are in set up in AD&D is not necessarily how I'd go.

By the way, nice blog you have, some good meaty posts, not to mention a classy roll...:)