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D&D 3E
Wood elves: balanced? 
24th-Sep-2005 05:54 pm
So my powergamer today introduced a Wood elf character. This is a variant in the Monsters Manual which has all the elf abilities but also gets +2str and -2 int (so +2str, +2dex, -2con, -2int total), with no level adjustment.

Does this seem balanced to you? I didn't think so, since most creatures with a +2 to strength automatically get a +1 level adjustment. I managed to work around the fact that the player was basically introducing a new species of elves into my world roleplaying-wise, but I'm still curious about the balance issue. If this isn't balanced, what penalties should I add on there? I'd rather not make it a level adjustment, since I'm not sure it quite earns that (and it requires the player to basically relevel).
25th-Sep-2005 12:11 am (UTC)
hmm I thought they received a -2 Cha as well...but alas...

I believe that it's balanced. Remember that Wood Elves have a different favored class too...unless that's different in your world.

Perhaps the question for you should be in an rp form?
What is really different between Wood and non-Wood elves? What's the Wood Elf's view on civilization? Colonization? Exploration?
What classes are the Wood Elves more likely to take? Druids instead of Clerics? Wizards instead of Sorcerers? Rangers instead of Fighters and Rogues?

It's fine balance wise, but the rest is up for you to decide. :)
25th-Sep-2005 12:22 am (UTC)
Favored class is Ranger instead of Wizard. Which isn't exactly a penalty to counteract the +2 to strength

Of course I'll throw rp restrictions on him. But then almost all races have some kind of rp stuff. But the thing is, he doesn't exactly roleplay a lot so I'm not sure that would balance.
25th-Sep-2005 12:12 am (UTC)
That is a PC that needs to be introduced to falling rocks.
25th-Sep-2005 12:20 am (UTC)
Half-orcs have +2 Str with no LA. I believe what you might be thinking of is a +2 to any mental stat, which many people believe deserves LA. As it is, it may be a little more powerful than normal, but not enough to warrant LA. The one positive and one negative physical stat offset each other, and the -2 Int does a little bit to weaken the other bonus to a physical stat.
25th-Sep-2005 12:24 am (UTC)
But half-orcs have a +2str counteracted by a -2int AND a -2cha to other stats. So that suggests to me that a +2str can't only be counteracted by a -2int. Not to mention that elves get a ton more abilities than half-orcs.
25th-Sep-2005 12:21 am (UTC)
to balance a race, you usually look at all the bonuses they get. Not just stats

Also, I do think they got a -2 to Cha

25th-Sep-2005 12:24 am (UTC)
They probably should, but they don't. Not according to the MM and the srd.
25th-Sep-2005 12:31 am (UTC)
If you think it deserves a level adjustment, and you are DM, it gets a level adjustment. Problem fixed.

And saying he doesn't role play much, shouldn't matter. If he needs to interact to achive goals, role-play penalties matter. If it's just a monster bash, then yes, you need to balance him with something more relevant to his game. Orcs (or whatever the most common opponent in your game is) are often equipped with weapons enchanted specificly to harm wood-elves, right? If a PC in my game ever played a drow, they would be amazed at the number of anti-drow weapons in my world.
25th-Sep-2005 01:05 am (UTC)
Just don't use subraces unless you, the DM, want them in your campaign.
25th-Sep-2005 01:21 am (UTC)
Wood elves are definatly cool. But I don't like the idea of having a PC making a character and introducing it into a campeign without the DMs and other players approval. Especially if he's a powergamer.

Best way to handle those are to slap them with very serious RP considerations to take. Like leaving the forest means never being allowed to return, and everyone outside thinks he's a dark elf.
25th-Sep-2005 04:35 pm (UTC)
To me if someone wants a "wood elf", they will have a regular elf played as a wood elf. No problems.
(Deleted comment)
25th-Sep-2005 12:35 pm (UTC)
All that is a pack of damned lies, though. If mental stats are worth less than physical stats, then why can't you find any core player races with bonuses to mental stats?
25th-Sep-2005 02:07 am (UTC)
So my powergamer today introduced a Wood elf character. This is a variant in the Monsters Manual which has all the elf abilities but also gets +2str and -2 int (so +2str, +2dex, -2con, -2int total), with no level adjustment.

1: Yes, it's a balance issue. Strictly by the numbers you need another -2 in there, either in the abiliity scores or a serious ability penalty.

2: Everything's a balance issue.
25th-Sep-2005 02:59 am (UTC)
I thought any race that has +2 str also has -4 on one stats or -2 on two stats.

Are Wood Elves Xenophobic? I forget..
25th-Sep-2005 08:52 pm (UTC)
That's Wild Elves, I believe, though Wood Elves are supposed to be more insular than regular elves, who aren't known for fraternizing with just anyone.
25th-Sep-2005 03:05 am (UTC)
As I understood it from the 3.0 DMG, a Str bonus could be offset by one physical penalty, or two mental penalties, while Dex and Con could get away with being offset by each other or just one mental penalty, an example being dwarves. Half-orcs take no penalties to physical stats, so an extra mental stat is needed to offset the Str bonus, but dwarves only have a con bonus, so just taking cha is fine. However it's reasoning like that which made me glad they gave hobgoblins a +1 in 3.5
25th-Sep-2005 04:47 am (UTC)
I always found this reasoning weird, because con's a far more important stat than str, if dying's at all an issue.
25th-Sep-2005 05:20 am (UTC)
1. I think it's balanced.. balanced ability scores = + and - =0
2. Tell him he can role play a wood elf, but you are not giving them the adjustments. If they still want to play it, consider it then. If not, they're a munchkin.
25th-Sep-2005 01:53 pm (UTC)
He is a munchkin ;p I told him that I thought it needed another -2 in there (probably to charisma), and he says "oh, well I might as well just play a half-orc then". So I thought about it and was leaning towards it being not balanced, but decided I'd let it ride for this session until I could do some more research and think about it somemore. His character hasn't seemed to be too powerful, but then he's the only warrior in the group so I don't have much to compare him with (he also rolled too well for stats. Damn his powergaming luck).
25th-Sep-2005 02:36 pm (UTC)
Well, coming from my persoanl stance of hating powergamers with every fiber of my being, I would say do whatever you feel comfortable with, and more so, what your other PCs feel comfortable with. Ask them what they think, because he has to play as a party member, not just a PC.
25th-Sep-2005 03:44 pm (UTC)
I always thought if you take a races bonuses and add them to the negatives, so it'd come out, 2+2-2-2 = 0. Since you came out with a 0, the stats are balanced. I could have sworn I've read that in an offical WoTC printing...

but then, I could be wrong.
25th-Sep-2005 05:25 pm (UTC)
That's nothing. Wait until said player (or another) brings in a Grey Elf (also from the MM) Wizard with a +2 Int bonus (and -2 Str). More spells per day and higher spell DCs off the bat.

The Elf-lovers at WotC aren't as bad as they were with TSR, but they've certainly still got some pull.
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