No, Humans Are The Best Race!

February 24, 2010 9 Comments Wimwick over at Dungeon's Master.com recently wrote a post called "Dwarves Are the Best Race" in which he (very convincingly) explaned how Dwarves are the very best race to play in D&D 4e. Sir, I challenge you on that point of contention. I say, Humans are the best race! Now, I don't have any fancy tables like Mr. Wick, but I do have a Player's Handbook at hand, and a few quick minutes. Attribute Bonuses Humans recieve a +2 to any one ability score of their choice. Now, you may see this as a disadvantage to the other races who recieve a +2 to two different attributes, but I don't. For the other races, you have to take the bonuses in those spots. For a human, you have much more versatility. You can choose ANYTHING! Skill Bonuses Humans get an additional skill from their class skill list. That's not too shoddy. When you're trying to decide which skills to take as you put together your character, you're going to get a lot more choice, and a lot more freedom to make your character to your liking. Racial Benefits Humans get a plethora of abilities: An extra At-Will, an extra feat, and defense bonuses to Fortitude, Reflex AND Will. That extra At-Will makes your choice of actions each round more interesting. Instead of switching between two, you've got three different actions. No more are you wringing your hands, wondering which At-Will to choose between: Cleave or Wall of Steel? Take both! Why not? That extra feat is going to get you one step closer to the build you want to go with that requires a ton of feats, and also allows you to start of with some nice combos. You really have any class open to you with the Attribute choice as well as the bonuses to your defenses. More important than all this crunch is the flavor. What race are you going to be most familiar with than any other? Human. Which race is the easiest to RP? Human. What race is the most prominent in Fantasy? Human. It bothers me a bit when I end up in a party with no humans. It doesn't feel right. In almost any fantasy book, you've got at least half the party made up of humans. But not in the case of my games. We'll have one and only one human, if we're lucky. How about you? Do you find a lack of humans in your games? What race do you think is best?4e D&D, Game Theory
9 Comments to “No, Humans Are The Best Race!”
  1. Wimwick says:

    @ Mark
    Great post! I do agree, humans are fun to play. In fact I’ve played more human PCs than any other races in 4e. The extra feat and skill choice make them a very easy choice to make. Tack on the defense bonus and you have a real winner.

    Of course now you’ve written my post on humans for me, I’ll have to choose another race to highlight this week. While Dwarves might be the best, I think they all deserve to be highlighted. Perhaps I’ll look at the teifling.
    .-= Wimwick´s last blog ..Eberron Resource Page =-.

  2. Swordgleam says:

    Funny you should mention that – it’s been a point of interest in our new party. The previous party was mostly human or characters who considered themselves human. A couple players left, a new one came, and some subplots got plotty, and all of a sudden the only human character is the new guy. He keeps having moments where he goes, “How did I end up in the middle of the icy wilderness with a couple of shapeshifters and a god only knows what? They’re going to kill me in my sleep.”

  3. Mark says:

    Why thank you, Wimwick. I’m a big fan of your blog, and I’m always happy to contribute. I’m looking forward to your Tiefling post.

    @Swordgleam: I wish our group was like that. The contention in my group is the question of “I’m human, why would I want to play one in a fantasy game?”

  4. Rook says:

    I’m in the same boat as you. No one in my group is human. I think that is because all four players are new to 4E, so of course we have a dragonborn, a teifling and an elandrin. And my oldest son likes Legolas, therefore an elf ranger.
    I, on the other hand, love to play humans because of everything you mentioned above; versatility, familiarity, etc.
    .-= Rook´s last blog ..Wondrous Lootz: the Orcwand =-.

  5. Mike says:

    Pah! Humans, dwarves… everyone knows Half-Elfs are the best. They have all the advantages of being a Human and an Elf, and don’t forget triple-classing! Well maybe you should forget triple classing… it sucked having a level 1/2/1 character when everyone else had level 4! :)

    @Wimwick, definitely do a Tiefling post. I’m really enjoying my current Tiefling character.
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..Illuminated Ruminations =-.

  6. I am now inspired to write Why Warforged Are the Best Race. If only because I know, it will take all you guys a while before you get to them after the elves and gnomes.
    .-= Matthew Arcilla´s last blog ..Burninating the Azeroth =-.

  7. PK Sullivan says:

    I agree that the human is a great race but only that human is the best race for one class in particular – the Wizard.

    A Wizard needs to be prepared, with a trick up their sleeve for every contingency. you need a decent ranged area attack to be controller-y, a decent close attack for when your fighter falls asleep on the job and things actually reach you and, hopefully, a ranged basic so you have something to do when that Warlord in the party starts giving everyone free attacks. To me that means having scorching burst or chilling cloud, thunderwave and magic missile. What’s the only race that can provide all of these? Human.

    Even better are some of the feats humans can take. Action Surge. For a feat that can be taken at first level, it is astoundingly effective. The bonus applies to all attack rolls made during that extra action – want to drop Sleep on the boss fight? You’d best action point first.

    Want to up your damage potential? Arcane Reserves. Most folk blow their encounter power first turn – it makes sense, come out swinging. This feat also affects all targets of a power – that Thunderwave and Scorching Burst just had their damage output turned up a notch. The only downside is it doesn’t help Chilling Cloud because there is no damage roll.

    Don’t even get me started on how amazingly versatile a Human Tome of Readiness Wizard is. To be even more sickening still take Expanded Spellbook. Oh, yeah.

    That said, I do like the other races. Sometimes it’s fun to step outside of who you are just a bit more. Dwarves and Longtooth Shifters are my personal favorites.

    I’d also like to point out that the Fellowship of the Ring only had two humans. Four hobbits, a dwarf, elf, wizard and two men. Yes, Gandalf looked like a human but everyone knew he wasn’t.
    .-= PK Sullivan´s last blog ..Group Role =-.

  8. [...] a look at this infernal race. You may also want to check out Mark’s write-up on why he thinks Humans are the best race over at Dice [...]

  9. Matt says:

    Been playing 4e since it came out, and as of yet we haven’t had a single human in any of our parties. I’m about to change that with a human warlord in Dark Sun, but still. Odd. Still, humans have always seemed pretty poor to me. A bonus at-will and a bonus feat are great for complex builds, but overall they suffer from a lack of racial powers, the wealth and depth of racial feats seen for other races, and the skimpiness of their stat increases. Only one stat increase limits them as multiclassers and hybrids, and humans are supposed to be “fast-learners,” “adaptable.” And yet they can’t seem to adapt to more than one class if it doesn’t share the same primary and secondary stats.The feats available to humans are good, but most of them are saving-throw-based and action-point-based. Compare that with feats that give you proficiency in a group of weapons and a +4 to damage with them, like tieflings, githzerai, and the like get. Humans are great, but I think WotC dropped the ball a bit with their stats, ESPECIALLY in light of the further customization of other races in the Essentials books. A dwarf now gets CON and either STR or WIS–the three most widely-used stats–making him a better fighter, seeker, ranger, druid, cleric, battlemind, runepriest, warden, barbarian, etc. etc. than a human, hands down. It should be that humans get 2 stat increases, same as any race, but that both of them are the player’s choice (Half-elves, who have some of that human adaptability, should have a +2 to CHA and the other the player’s choice). I mean, why is it that humans make worse wizards than eladrin, tielflings, gnomes, etc, when the world “wizard,” to me summons the image of Gandalf, Raistlin, Elminster? Why would, in game terms, an elf be a better archer than Robin Hood or a half-orc or minotaur a better ranger than Aragorn? Any reason why goliaths, minotaurs, half-orcs, etc. are better Barbarians than Conan or why Dragonborn are better Warlords than Maximus from Gladiator?

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