So, DDI members can begin getting previews of the Player’s Handbook 3, mere months after PHB2 was released. What’s in the new book? Monks, for one. And apparently playing minotaurs and githyanki, since they are on the cover. I can’t help but think that WotC is thinking “hey, the Tauren are popular in WoW, and we have a bovine race of our own, let’s go with them.”
Hey, I’ve got a better idea. Let’s just let everyone play any damn thing they want. If PHB3 doesn’t have those death-worshipping gray people as a PC race, I’ll eat my hat. And in the “hey, I am running this game, so please don’t continue to make it hard for me to not drink the hatorade” thread, why in the name of Ningnauble the Nine Eyed would I pay $120 a year for the priviledge of reading the beta version of books that, if I want to use them, I’ll end up paying another $120 a year for? My “OMG I desperately need to know what is going to end up on my gaming rack in eight months” yearning doesn’t so deep that I would pay twice the MSRP to eventually know the answer.
And hey, I seem to remember a post lamenting the tendency to drive humans as the dominant race into the ground somewhere in this blog. Way to make PC groups even more racially diverse. I swear that at this rate, 4E gaming parties are going to start looking like Rifts.
I honestly don’t know where you get the idea that humans are underplayed. Maybe it’s just my friends being uh, specieists or something, but human has always been the dominant race around here. It got to the point where I never play humans anymore, because frankly everyone else was playing them. In Third Ed D&D it was debatable, but humans in Fourth Edition are easily the best race right now, with the possibility of the Genasi being up their, but that’s if you count all five subraces as one.
And my guess on the PHB3 is monks, as already stated, but also the rest of the psions. Soul Knife, Psion (probably the Shaper and Telepath as the two paths), and perhaps the Psionic Warrior. That nicely handles the four roles well, more or less. I’m also going to guess maybe a few more primal classes, as they are the new hotness in the PHB2 and might need some new tricks, unless the Primal Power book comes out before then.
We’ll check back on this post in a year or something, but that’s my guess, and I can’t imagine I’m too far off.
I’ll admit that I’m basing my perception that humans are increasingly becoming a minority on the empirical evidence of gaming groups of friends and others on the internet. I will also admit that I have read elsewhere what you have said: that humans are, in fact, the best race to play. But the cavalcade of what were formerly monster races as PC races is pandering to what I’ll call the “Drizzt Do’Urden complex,” the appeal of playing the unusual, perhaps even singular reformed bad guy that many RPGers seem to have.
(Someday I’ll have to delve into what I think is the root cause of this complex, but that’s for another day.)
You’re also probably right about psions, although I cringe inside because psionic ability seems to be the one thing D&D has never managed to get right. That too, deserves a post of its own.
Not sure what all you’re familiar with, but we played with The Complete Psionics Handbook (AD&D2) for years, with nary a problem in terms of balance or flavor, and no more problems with plot short-circuiting than from the spellcasters. The Psychic’s Handbook (Green Ronin; D&D3[.5]E), likewise, seems to work just fine. So, depending on your definition of “D&D”, I’d say it’s been “gotten right” at least twice in the last 35years.
I’ll say one more thing. My real problem with the never-ending stream of PHB splatbooks is my fear that sooner or later, something is going to break. Some PC race, some class, will not work out the way they intended, and WotC will then be in the unenviable position of having to either dial it down through supplemental material or boost everything else back up. Psions have been the place where it has frequently broken down, for reasons I’ll get into soon.
In the RPGA’s Living Forgotten Realms campaign, we are allowed to play Minotaurs already. Seems we get to playtest much of what will eventually be put into books.
At the same time, this past weekend I run a small RPGA convention in SE Michigan. The only person who played a ‘human’ was the first time RPGA player. Everyone else was drow, dragonborn, orc, shadar-kai, etc.
So yeah, I have to agree that humans are becoming a ‘minority’ in playing 4E.
See, what I can’t figure out is that there is already the Goliath’s in PHB2, who are the “big guys” of PC races: +2 Str, +2 Con. Only difference between them and the minotaurs in the MM2 is that the minotaurs have the gore attack. So why not just play a Goliath and call him a minotaur?
I don’t understand how extra possibilities can be a bad thing. If you’re the dm don’t allow races and classes you don’t want in the group. If you’re the player don’t play the race or class and let the dm deal with it if he let’s another play play as the race? For Dms willing to deal with it and players wanting to play it, the more options the better.
I see no problem if a group wants to play mostly non-human. Some of the funniest moments in campaigns have been from racist characters making fun of other character races.
I mean overall human might be the best race, but I feel that on a class by class basis others might overpower a human. An extra feat isn’t what is was in 3.5. They can be good at any class, but not necessarily great at any. Some classes will benefit more from +2 in two different than any of the benefits a human offers. I doubt a human sorcerer would have been better than my dragonborn sorcerer.