Monday, October 5, 2020

D&D Care Bear Errata - 5e Removes Racial Stat Penalties

I will confess. I've never played 5e, but as the rising tide that lifts all ships, I've followed 5e. It's close enough to the OSR rulesets that I can convert adventures and settings if needed.

It was also sold as a balanced RPG system.

I'm guessing that balance is no longer important to the powers that be.


Dungeons & Dragons players will no longer have a negative ability score modifier when building a character of a certain race. Last week, Dungeons & Dragons officially released updated errata for a number of their sourcebooks and adventures. The Volo's Guide to Monsters errata was particularly important in that it removed the negative ability score modifiers for playable kobolds and orcs. While kobolds originally had a -2 modifier to their Strength score, and orcs had a -2 modifier to their Intelligence, the updated rules remove those modifiers entirely from the game. Additionally, the errata also removes the orc's "Menacing" trait with the "Primal Intuition" trait, which grants players proficiency in two of the following options - Animal Handling, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, and Survival.

A few things to note:

This isn't errata, its a rules change not to fix and balance, but to make imaginary "races" politically correct.

So, my Kobold can be as strong as any other race. Same for my orc's intelligence. 

Because, you know, orcs are highly intelligent and Kobolds are amazingly strong - not scrawny in the least.

Are we removing bonuses that were balanced by the penalties? Er, no.

At least orcs are still "menacing", right? Nope.

they’re trying to remove “racially insensitive language” this errata also includes an update to Orc’s inborn “Menacing” has been swapped for Primal Intuition which gives a choice of skill proficiencies

Might as well make all the races the same, with just fluff to differentiate. Shit, WotC might be reading this ;)

Further thoughts on The Tavern Chat Podcast.

The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are the affiliate programs that support The Tavern.   



  1. It is errata in that it is addressing “wrongthink”. The kobold lobby isn’t done yet. I’ve seen some of their advocates currently arguing for the Kobold’s cower/beg/grovel ability to be replaced by either flight, or by +1 modifiers to Strength and Constitution scores via subraces. The age of kobold dominance is nigh.

  2. Yeah we get it. We're supposed to shake our fists because we don't like someone else's game.


  3. I would rather have strong kobolds than dragonborn and tiefling, but as the DM I can houserule whatever I like.

  4. Well, to be fair, the penalties for Orc and Kobold races were anomalies in the rule set. Everything in the PHB is bonuses only. So yes, while this may be done with the intention of removing terms that may be seen as racist, it's actually moving the 5E rules closer to alignment.

  5. Any race-based bonus is a statement both that the race in question is better and that other races are worse, relatively speaking, with respect to that ability. For example, the 5E elf's and halfling's +2 dexterity bonus means that elves and halflings are more dexterous than the other races on average; that bonus also necessarily means that all other races are less dexterous than elves and halflings on average too. If the problem WoTC is trying to address is "negative" racial comparisons, the elimination of ability penalties doesn't really solve that because those same comparisons are inherent in ability bonuses too. (Note: I don't agree that there is a problem to solve here. But if you do, eliminating penalties isn't an answer.)

  6. Back in Mystara Kobolds were just Dog boys.

  7. I'm still wondering why the rules don't say "straight 18's down the line" and leave it at that. After all, that's what twelve-year olds want, so just give it to them.

    Luckily, I can leave 5e in the dustbin of RPGs.

  8. I just wonder who the extremely racist woke person to suggest fantasy races can be comparable to real races?

  9. "Primal Intuition" sounds certain to upset those who want to read racism into it


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition