If humans had two set ability boosts and a flaw, what would they be?


Homebrew and House Rules


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I've always thought the "humans can be great at anything, but elves, dwarves, and halflings are great at these specific things!" to be a little strange. Not proposing any actual changes here, but if humans followed the ability score rules of other ancestries, what would they be?

I'm leaning towards the boosts being Constitution and Charisma, with the flaw being Wisdom. Humans in fantasy tend to be known as rather hardy, surviving against all odds (Constitution), their strong forces of personality (Charisma), but also being rash and shortsighted (Wisdom penalty).


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I think the premise is flawed.

Humans are the control group versus the other Ancestries, meaning, that all of the other Ancestries have their attributes based on Humans.

In order to give humans specific attribute benefits and minuses, all other Ancestries would have to be adjusted. In your example, Humans and Dwarves would be equally hardy, which is not accurate to most interpretations of the genre (Gnomes, the fey Ancestry, would be just as charismatic).

I would find it far more palatable for all other Ancestries to move to Free bonuses than for Humans to get specific ones, but regardless this would be a monster amount of work to homebrew if you wanted to keep Ancestries consistent with how they're represented in APs/Fiction for little gain IMO.


I agree with the Charisma boost and Wisdom flaw, but I think an Intelligence boost is more fitting than Constitution. Humans do sort of have a reputation for resiliency, but I think that mostly stems from being innovative and adaptable, not physical toughness.


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I would say boost Con and Wis and penalty Int. Humans arent the strongest or faster, but we do have stamina and resiliency, so Con. As far as our Int goes most of us (even if people dont want to admit it) are below average at best, so a penalty is fitting. Now, even if people arent the smartest, they do tend to be able to adapt to situations which I view as something related to Wisdom.

Of course depending on the meaning/s used Int and Wis might flip. I dont think humans should have a charisma boost since we tend to be really bad at communicating properly.


Humans' entire thing since forever has been versatility. So, I don't know how to answer this one.


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Midnightoker wrote:
I would find it far more palatable for all other Ancestries to move to Free bonuses than for Humans to get specific ones

I actually agree, but figured this would be a more interesting discussion topic. People are open to discuss that possibility as well though.

Agent Black wrote:
I agree with the Charisma boost and Wisdom flaw, but I think an Intelligence boost is more fitting than Constitution. Humans do sort of have a reputation for resiliency, but I think that mostly stems from being innovative and adaptable, not physical toughness.

Yeah, but all ancestries get a boost to a physical score and a mental score, so I wanted to stick to that.


Well humans being humans they literally can be anything as we are usually a product of environment and culture.

A typical native (e.g. eskimos or aborigines) could easily have that extra constitution and wisdom at the cost of charisma, a farmer or factory worker type might have extra strength and dexterity at the cost of (academic) intelligence, and a monastery / scholar type might actually have reduced physical attribues but increased mental attributes.


Ubertron_X wrote:
Well humans being humans they literally can be anything as we are usually a product of environment and culture.

Yea. If I was even going to do this, it would be based on heritage. Extreme climates offering Con boosts. Seafaring pirate peoples offering Dex. That sort of thing.

Isn't it usually two set, one free, and one drawback?

That's the way that makes most sense to me is by region or culture.


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Ubertron_X wrote:

Well humans being humans they literally can be anything as we are usually a product of environment and culture.

A typical native (e.g. eskimos or aborigines) could easily have that extra constitution and wisdom at the cost of charisma, a farmer or factory worker type might have extra strength and dexterity at the cost of (academic) intelligence, and a monastery / scholar type might actually have reduced physical attribues but increased mental attributes.

The thing is, so are almost all of the other ancestries of Golarion, but that isn't represented by mechanics. So I tried to think, aside from versatility and being able to breed with just about anything, what are humans most known for?


Salamileg wrote:
The thing is, so are almost all of the other ancestries of Golarion, but that isn't represented by mechanics. So I tried to think, aside from versatility and being able to breed with just about anything, what are humans most known for?

Thats hard to answer because there is no correlation to other races on earth.

What sets us apart from animals is our manual dexterity, however most Golarion races have fingers too. Also in comparison to animals we have superior endurance and can run for hours or even days. We can use tools which is a sign of our intelligence and we are good at communicating which demonstrates our charisma. We are certainly not known for excessive strength (in relation to animals) and if you look at how the whole world is going sideways currently we certainly also do not posses decent wisdom.

So if I were to pick a favorite stats setup a CON and CHA boon versus a WIS flaw would be my obvious choice.


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I've always thought humans as the baseline is only because, well, the people making these things are human. I assume. So obviously that's how we can put other ancestries in relation to a baseline that we know. Humans are always the control ancestry, so I'm on board with Midnightoker in that regard.

But when I think about it, humans in media with multiple ancestries tend to be more aggressive and more expansionist, on par with the more warlike ancestries, except they use their intellect, fecundity, and capacity for versatility instead of raw strength. It's been striking me as odd that humans aren't represented as these horribly aggressive creatures that are constantly fighting, just because they have big kingdoms or laws or whatever. Even on Golarion humans have spread everywhere because they have a sort of perfect storm of birth rates / endurance / learning capacity / aggression that tends to make them want to spread and want to make a mark on the world. Humans seem to like conquering as much as orcs, maybe even more so because they want to rule.

So I'd probably go with +2 CON, +2 INT, -2 WIS. I do think it'd be odd to have humans with as much of a CON bonus as dwarves, but I think it represents how well they can get on in the variety of hostile environments and still thrive. Plus they seem to be really good at surviving long enough into their "age of maturity" to reproduce like crazy. The WIS penalty I think reflects their warlike nature and recklessness (in my opinion), while the INT bonus casts them as innovators and driven to create things that might shore up their lack of inherent strength or dexterity advantages.

Just my take though.


Agent Black wrote:
I agree with the Charisma boost and Wisdom flaw, but I think an Intelligence boost is more fitting than Constitution. Humans do sort of have a reputation for resiliency, but I think that mostly stems from being innovative and adaptable, not physical toughness.

Constitution makes sense to me as a fixed ability boost for humans because humans on Earth evolved to be persistence hunters. Our strategy for taking down other animals was to power walk at them until they collapsed from exhaustion. So working from that physiological angle, I could see CON making sense.

Wayfinders

Constitution, for reasons that others have mentioned, but also perhaps Wisdom, for the whole "good at noticing patterns, to a fault" part of ours.

No clue as for the flaw, however.


I would say constitution as boost (thats the schtick we've been running with for ages) as well as intelligence (beeing smarter then the average monkey helped) and looking at civilisation now I would definitly say wisdom flaw


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Slightly off topic but I think folks might like to read the novel "A Man From Planet Earth." Its basically a story about how the galaxy decides to uplift humans because they are facing an outside threat and humans are the most barbaric warlike sapient species they are aware of.

EDIT: Also I don't agree with the wisdom flaw thing. As a general trend across our history humanity has pushed its civilizations towards productivity, freedom, technological and cultural advancement, care for its citizens and preservation of human dignity. We go against our base urges just enough, on average, to become better bit by bit.


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In general I would say that we are split with half the population having +int -wis, while the other has +wis -int. But overall its very hard to say, and might in fact change with the times.


One might note that in PF1, the reincarnate ritual automatically gave a human reincarnation +2 Con.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Temperans wrote:
As far as our Int goes most of us...are below average at best

That's not...

Averages don't...

You can't...

*head explodes*


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MaxAstro wrote:
Temperans wrote:
As far as our Int goes most of us...are below average at best

That's not...

Averages don't...

You can't...

*head explodes*

Hah! Technically, while that's not how averages typically work, they can. The mean of a data set is often but does not necessarily represent exactly half-above half-below. Take for example a set of 10 people. If 9 of them had a Str score of 10, but one of them was a heroic adventurer with 15 Str, the average would come out to aboue 10.5, meaning that 90% of the population were below average, while one was far above it.

Granted, this is where you get into conversations about statistical outliers named Georg who should not have been counted, and given the nature of how populations are typically distributed, this is almost certainly not how average intelligence works in humans.


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(Apologies for double post, I wasn't planning to weigh in on this debate initially...)

On that note, the question of which ability boosts humans might have comes off as kind of meaningless to me, because without humans providing the standard for every other ancestry to measure against, what standard is there? I saw someone up thread bring this up, but fundamentally it makes no sense to say that humans have a +2 Con without boosting dwarves to +4 Con since the reason why dwarves have +2 is to represent being tougher and more durable on average than humans, unless the rationale is changed that dwarves and humans are both generally tough species with neither surpassing the other.

The only way (it seems to me at least) you can define ability boosts for humans is in comparison to some other external average. For example, if you compared humans to the mundane animal kingdom I'd easily say that human boosts are +2 Int/+2 Con since as has been pointed out before, humans are on average the most intelligent animals on the planet (acknowledging a certain degree of anthropocentric bias in past studies of animal intelligence) with the leading contenders approaching levels similar to young humans, and have as one of our primary physical distinctions the ability to outlast virtually any other animal on the planet in sheer endurance and stamina.

On the other hand, I don't know in what attribute humans fall behind most of the animal kingdom. It's hard to make an adequate comparison with so many creatures so much larger or smaller than humans, to the point that the average strength of all animals is somewhat difficult to pin down. However, if we compared humans instead purely to the sample size of other primate species I believe we likely qualify for a -2 Str. Possibly also +2 to manual dexterity, but I don't think necessarily to overall Dex.

To summarize, if you want to give humans ability boosts and/or flaws, the first thing you need to do is define a universal standard among all your fantasy species and compare all your species to that standard instead of to the human standard. Of course, in this way it is impossible to say what particular boosts humans should have in this case because that purely depends on whether they are living in a world where the average species is stronger/weaker, quicker/clumsier, or more/less social or intelligent than they are.


Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
On that note, the question of which ability boosts humans might have comes off as kind of meaningless to me, because without humans providing the standard for every other ancestry to measure against, what standard is there? I saw someone up thread bring this up, but fundamentally it makes no sense to say that humans have a +2 Con without boosting dwarves to +4 Con since the reason why dwarves have +2 is to represent being tougher and more durable on average than humans, unless the rationale is changed that dwarves and humans are both generally tough species with neither surpassing the other.

To touch on this argument, since it's been made a few times, I think that's just an unavoidable outcome of how the ability boosts work. Like, purely based on ability scores, dwarves, gnomes, and leshies are all equally tough. While it doesn't make a whole lot of sense that plant people and little fey people are as tough as dwarves, that's how it comes out in the mechanics (of course, dwarves get more ancestral HP than any other ancestry in the game, which is how their additional toughness is shown, which I don't think has been brought up).


Salamileg wrote:
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
On that note, the question of which ability boosts humans might have comes off as kind of meaningless to me, because without humans providing the standard for every other ancestry to measure against, what standard is there? I saw someone up thread bring this up, but fundamentally it makes no sense to say that humans have a +2 Con without boosting dwarves to +4 Con since the reason why dwarves have +2 is to represent being tougher and more durable on average than humans, unless the rationale is changed that dwarves and humans are both generally tough species with neither surpassing the other.
To touch on this argument, since it's been made a few times, I think that's just an unavoidable outcome of how the ability boosts work. Like, purely based on ability scores, dwarves, gnomes, and leshies are all equally tough. While it doesn't make a whole lot of sense that plant people and little fey people are as tough as dwarves, that's how it comes out in the mechanics (of course, dwarves get more ancestral HP than any other ancestry in the game, which is how their additional toughness is shown, which I don't think has been brought up).

See, rather contrarily, I don't have an issue with the leshies and gnomes also being roughly as tough as dwarves. Rather I find it an interesting aspect about them that all three ancestries in their own ways are considered in some way tougher than humans--dwarves by being incredibly durable and hardy, gnomes perhaps by relation to their fey heritage making them much more vivacious than their delicate frame implies, and leshies are still a new concept to me but I might attribute it to their bodies being made of fairly stern plant materials animated by their spirits.

I only see it as a problem if humans are defined as +2 Con because then none of these other ancestries are considered tougher than humans, which is currently at least some part of their scthick in lore.


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Or it's just an abstraction of many different qualities.

Take hit points as an example. I think the CRB talks about how they aren't just a measure of how meaty your character is, but their vigor and ability to keep fighting when pressed. A dwarf's +2 to Con in terms of HP might be their stubbornness and their ability to take a hit. A human's +2 to Con for HP might be the "human spirit" allowing them to persevere.

I think if you accept the premise of giving humans ability score modifiers then you also have to extend that premise to humans not being a baseline/comparison ancestry. They're just another ancestry.

So why do humans have +2 Con? They've easily adapted to many harsh environments, have a remarkable ability to press on in spite of terrible wounds, and their physiology is such that their bodies process and fight afflictions more quickly or more efficiently than some other ancestries.


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+2 Dex, +2 Cha, -2 Wis.

....what? That is the same as goblins?

...well... yeah. Most races likely assume that we are some rather tall variant of goblins. We are a rather short lived race specialized in mass tactics due to our high fertility. We have a tendency to attack everything around us, and we set fire to a lot of things.

Our only other characteristic is out heavy tendency towards interbreeding with... pretty much everything.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
lemeres wrote:

+2 Dex, +2 Cha, -2 Wis.

....what? That is the same as goblins?

...well... yeah. Most races likely assume that we are some rather tall variant of goblins. We are a rather short lived race specialized in mass tactics due to our high fertility. We have a tendency to attack everything around us, and we set fire to a lot of things.

Our only other characteristic is out heavy tendency towards interbreeding with... pretty much everything.

...And you just won the thread. :)


Well its hard to argue with that description Iemeres.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I personally favor +Intelligence/+Constitution/-Wisdom, a reckless race of endurance hunters known for their quick thinking, and ability to out-think problems.

Wisdom also works because humans are generally considered to be less perceptive than their fantastical peers.

Liberty's Edge

I'm not personally a fan of the idea but if I had to pick an array it would be:
+Con/+Cha/-Wis

Humans at large are rather gregarious creatures, more so on average than other species. They are extremely effective at reproducing and are as a species fairly resilient to societal shifts, different cultures, and even natural disasters. Humans interbreed and live with creatures from other species far more often and effectively than other species which can speak to their force of personality. As a whole humanity tends to spread everywhere and "power-through" diseases, curses, devil-worshiping royalty, the end of times, aliens awaking from wasteland who aspire to become gods... all sort of stuff. They just bounce back, sure lives are lost and perhaps they didn't take the best course of action, or perhaps any action at all, but they managed to eek out the other side. Since they tend to live in communities of scale ranging from 2-100,000+ I imagine their "herd-immunity" would be fairly robust, especially those who interact with other travelers from distant lands.


Humans probably survived because they are smart and social. Almost every same sized animal is stronger, +int +cha -str.

However humans are the baseline so they should be +0 and everything else is measured relative.


Salamileg wrote:

I've always thought the "humans can be great at anything, but elves, dwarves, and halflings are great at these specific things!" to be a little strange. Not proposing any actual changes here, but if humans followed the ability score rules of other ancestries, what would they be?

I'm leaning towards the boosts being Constitution and Charisma, with the flaw being Wisdom. Humans in fantasy tend to be known as rather hardy, surviving against all odds (Constitution), their strong forces of personality (Charisma), but also being rash and shortsighted (Wisdom penalty).

I have been looking at this, myself. The humans are versatile but not the best at anything just doesn't agree with me.

I was thinking Strength and Intelligence for boots and Wisdom for flaw. But, this is part of a much more extensive exercise. When you think of champions in myth and literature, there are often examples of great physical strength. Intelligence? Well, look at where we were just one elven lifetime ago. As for the Wisdom flaw, watch the news for a week and you'll wonder how we aren't extinct yet.


Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
Salamileg wrote:
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
On that note, the question of which ability boosts humans might have comes off as kind of meaningless to me, because without humans providing the standard for every other ancestry to measure against, what standard is there? I saw someone up thread bring this up, but fundamentally it makes no sense to say that humans have a +2 Con without boosting dwarves to +4 Con since the reason why dwarves have +2 is to represent being tougher and more durable on average than humans, unless the rationale is changed that dwarves and humans are both generally tough species with neither surpassing the other.
To touch on this argument, since it's been made a few times, I think that's just an unavoidable outcome of how the ability boosts work. Like, purely based on ability scores, dwarves, gnomes, and leshies are all equally tough. While it doesn't make a whole lot of sense that plant people and little fey people are as tough as dwarves, that's how it comes out in the mechanics (of course, dwarves get more ancestral HP than any other ancestry in the game, which is how their additional toughness is shown, which I don't think has been brought up).

See, rather contrarily, I don't have an issue with the leshies and gnomes also being roughly as tough as dwarves. Rather I find it an interesting aspect about them that all three ancestries in their own ways are considered in some way tougher than humans--dwarves by being incredibly durable and hardy, gnomes perhaps by relation to their fey heritage making them much more vivacious than their delicate frame implies, and leshies are still a new concept to me but I might attribute it to their bodies being made of fairly stern plant materials animated by their spirits.

I only see it as a problem if humans are defined as +2 Con because then none of these other ancestries are considered tougher than humans, which is currently at least some part of their scthick in lore.

Instead of humans being the baseline, the average of ALL races is the baseline.

Halflings can lift 100 pounds and move 175.
Elves can lift 150 pounds and move 200
Dwarves can lift 150 pounds. and move 100
Humans can lift 200 and move 125
In this (vastly oversimplified) example, the average race can lift 150, so Elves and Dwarves are 0. Humans get a bonus and Halflings get a flaw in strength.
The average speed of all the races is also 150, so Elves get +2, Halflings get +1, humans get -1 and Dwarves get -2.

**NOTE** I am not suggesting this as an arrangement, I just threw a few races out there and made up numbers that would result in easy division in my head.**

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