I find representations of the human race in Dungeons & Dragons offensive to the extreme. As a human being, I find my misrepresentation to be reprehensible beyond reproach. April Fool’s Day was yesterday, and this is serious: D&D humans suck.

There are no elves, dwarves, orcs, or halflings on earth. They are made-up creatures. They were invented by imaginative people. I’m fine with the idea that humans might be some kind of “baseline” for players to use as a reference to other fantasy races, but if that’s so, humans need to actually follow the rules.

Humans are often portrayed in fantasy as being ambitious, adaptable, cunning, and resilient, and they are often given special treatment, for better or worse, allowing them to break the rules in bizarre ways to achieve this additional, artificial “versatility.” In Third and Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons, this results in bonus feats and skills…

…Which would be fine if that actually meant anything.

See, the problem with receiving bonus skill training (or bonus skill points in 3.x), is that skills have little-to-no impact in combat, which is a staple of the D&D experience. This is a passive feature, of significantly lesser value than say, a +1 bonus to attack rolls while bloodied (half your hit point value or less; dragonborn racial feature).

While the bonus feat can be quite useful, and will in many ways make up for the lack of some other, far more specialized racial feature, there’s the problem that feats are a rules patch, designed to fill in the gaps left by the designers. That means the bonus feat is just one extra patch on an insufficient rules item. No points scored for that.

Third Edition gave humans the distinction of receiving no ability score penalty — at the cost of having no ability score bonus. Fourth Edition added insult to injury by providing humans a single ability score bonus that they could choose… while every other race received two ability score bonuses. Fantastic racism indeed.

Justification for these choices are weak and range from the aforementioned stated “adaptability,” to not wanting to pigeonhole humans in a single character type. The problem is that humans are still pigeonholed — they suck at everything instead of just the classes that don’t use their particular abilities.

In effect, by trying to make humans more “versatile,” they’ve accomplished the opposite. Don’t get me started on the bonus at-will power Fourth Edition humans get. You’re lucky to find two at-will powers that work with your build, let alone three.

The problem lies in the fact that humans are portrayed as tenacious and innovative, and there are two ability scores that represent those very traits — Constitution and Intelligence, respectively. Just try to argue with me using logic — right, logic and reasoning, based on Intelligence, which you have because you’re a human.

And don’t talk to me about stupid people… It’s called a dump stat.

So, what do I want to see for 4e Humans? I’ll show you:

(Modified from D&D Compendium)

RACIAL TRAITS
Average Height: 5′ 6″ – 6’2″
Average Weight: 135 – 220

Ability scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Dexterity or +2 Intelligence
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Normal

Languages: Common, choice of one other.
Skill Bonuses: +2 Endurance, +2 Insight
Resilient: You gain a +2 racial bonus to Fortitude.
Enduring: You gain a +1 racial bonus to saving throws.
Human Tenacity: You have the human tenacity power.

Human Tenacity [Human Racial Power]
No action; Personal range
Trigger: You are bloodied or reduced to 0 hit points.
Effect: You regain hit points equal to your healing surge value.

…And that’s all I have to say about that.