Over the weekend, I may have decided to remove races from my game.

It’s an idea I’ve mulled over a few times in the past. I’ve complained about how races aren’t well-delineated by features and whatnot, and my time with 5e may have helped convince me. There’s little significance to the choice of race.

In 3e, and even moreso with 4e, the idea of race was reinforced with feats and prestige classes or paragon paths. 3e even had “racial paragon” classes.

And you know, I liked all of these things.

But 5e has shown me an ugly truth about the nature of feats — and character options in general. The less I can tweak my PC, the more I just want to play.

I don’t tack on stuff to my character’s back-story, I don’t fantasize about my character’s long-term successes or magic items I might get my hands on — feats I can take, prestige classes I can qualify for, . . . hell, I don’t even much care for spells I’ll choose apart from Animate Dead.

I just . . . want to play. I want to see what happens next. I want to speculate on events at the table, with the other players, about what a thing is, how a thing works, why an encounter went down, or what could be done differently.

Now, I realize that I’ve been moving in this direction for a while.

But I also don’t feel like having fewer character options has in any way limited my ability to play my character or, . . . you know, the game itself.

In fact, I feel more restricted by the assignment of racial ability bonuses, the betrayal of wizard class features, and the weaksauce 5e spell list than actual character options. I get more out of my henchmen than my class.


And all this helped me to realize that character options aren’t as important or integral as I once thought. Like finding out Internet Explorer wasn’t integral to Windows. There are other ways to play. More engaging ways to play.

There’s more though.

With the inclusion of my Trades (“social classes”), Race options may in fact be redundant. I mean, what do you use races for in fantasy roleplaying if not Fantastic Racism? Something, something about killing orc babies.

Since social class can actually be organized and measured with Trades, many of the storytelling tropes normally embodied by racism (being socially-based), can instead be applied to Trades. Apply discrimination to “Poor Commoners.”

My thinking is along these lines: you combine ‘belonging’ to a faction (such as a guild or city-state) with possessing a Trade and paying for a specific lifestyle — what you have a recipe for fantastic social injustice.

I still hope to do something with languages. And cultures.

But those will be secondary to the development of factions and plots and whatnot within the context of the rules. I like modeling my systems in such a way with mechanics that real-world moral/ethical problems emerge.

Such as the short-term economic benefits of slavery juxtaposed with the long-term social and cultural drawbacks. Do you take the loss now, or in the history books? Stuff like that. Little things.


Though I admit, I will miss hot elf chicks.