Why do races have ancestry-specific HP?


Ancestries & Backgrounds


I didn't like this much in Starfinder, and I'm not sure why they included it here. I don't actively hate it, but I am bothered by the fact that you can leave it away and pretty much nothing will change, apart from a minor boost to HP. I understand some races are more "tough" than others, but that's already reflected in their racial stats.

It's only a very minor thing, and in the grand scale of things it doesn't really matter when you're high-level, but why not give everyone an extra 8 HP at level 1 and be done with it? Seems like you're unnecessarily penalised (albeit very minor) for choosing a Halfling instead of a Human, even if you end up with the same stats.

I'm not advocating to abandon it, I just want to understand why it's a thing. Looks to me like it's creating unnecessary divides where there shouldn't be.


i think the sole purpose of this is, that a kobold cannot one-shot you at level one. the different values from 6- 10 are just flavor and completely unconsequential at higher levels.

i rathter like the change to make level 1 characters a little less squishy


charissi wrote:

i think the sole purpose of this is, that a kobold cannot one-shot you at level one. the different values from 6- 10 are just flavor and completely unconsequential at higher levels.

i rathter like the change to make level 1 characters a little less squishy

Yeah, and with negative hit points gone, these make up the difference.

Personally, I'd rather have less squishy level 1 characters and negative hit points back, but that's a rant for a different thread.


PCs needed more HP to cope with being subjected to more attacks and more frequent critical effects. Guess the developers felt Ancestry was a reasonable source to ascribe the additional HP to...


Yes, I said I admitted that in my original post, but why the semi-arbitrary amount of HP, instead of just "at level 1, playable characters start with 8 extra HP" or something? As I said, it's very inconsequential, but if it is, why not give everyone the same boost? Say I want to make an Elven Fighter, as opposed to the Dwarven Fighter. I can reach the same stats at level 1, but still be 4 HP short. Apart from flavour reasons, why would I want to play the Elf, if the Dwarf is better in HP? The argument of "Dwarves are tougher than Elves" is already reflected in their CON modifier, penalising their HP as well feels like a double insult to Elves.


Quentin Coldwater wrote:
Yes, I said I admitted that in my original post, but why the semi-arbitrary amount of HP, instead of just "at level 1, playable characters start with 8 extra HP" or something? As I said, it's very inconsequential, but if it is, why not give everyone the same boost? Say I want to make an Elven Fighter, as opposed to the Dwarven Fighter. I can reach the same stats at level 1, but still be 4 HP short. Apart from flavour reasons, why would I want to play the Elf, if the Dwarf is better in HP? The argument of "Dwarves are tougher than Elves" is already reflected in their CON modifier, penalising their HP as well feels like a double insult to Elves.

Well, due to new ability score layout (how they're generated) you're right, they reach the same stats. A -2 to Con only lowers the cap to 16, and in how the system is laid out, Con doesn't give HP to your race, it gives to your class. Comparing two fighters is a class focusing Con, so they would be aiming for the same anyway. If they can achieve the same, then it means nothing to say "Dwarves are tougher" in that regard.

It's more difficult to compare Ancestries due to getting Feats as opposed to all members of a race having the same raw bonuses. In exchange for that few points of HP, the Elven fighter can have enhanced mobility from Nimble, arcane spells, or a variety of other things. Most of the Dwarves' feats are focused around rocks and fortitude, much more circumstantial advantages (and part of why I very rarely make dwarven characters unfortunately. Not my thing).

The Elven feats, to me, seem more powerful than the dwarven, particularly because all of the Dwarves' bonuses either ask for a creature type or stone. A 4 HP difference seems a fair trade compared to Elves' more universal abilities.


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I think it's also there to make 0-Level class-able humanoid creatures possible.

Shadow Lodge

Isaac Zephyr wrote:
A -2 to Con only lowers the cap to 16

Actually, the con cap is 16 as there are no classes that use con as their primary stat, so elves have a con cap of 14.

Quote:
Comparing two fighters is a class focusing Con, so they would be aiming for the same anyway. If they can achieve the same, then it means nothing to say "Dwarves are tougher" in that regard.

Considering the minimum Con for a dwarf is 12, on average dwarves are going to be tougher. Races with only 1 floating +2 aren't going to put that bonus into con unless they already +2 to their primary stat.

Quote:
A 4 HP difference seems a fair trade compared to Elves' more universal abilities.

it's hardly a fair trade, at first level level it's more balanced but as characters level up 4 hp becomes meaningless.

Lets look at a dwarf and an elf wizard both with 12 con, at first level are going to have 17 and 13 hp respectively. The elf has approximately 75% of the hp the dwarf has. Pretty significant, now lets look at 10th level, 80 and 76 hp. The elf now has 95% of the hp the dwarf has. At 20th level it's 150 and 146 coming to 97% difference. Using a D6 HD class and not putting any bonuses into con is going to give us the biggest difference while keeping the con the same. Using classes with larger hit dice and a high con bonuses makes this difference even less significant.

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