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Racial Bonuses and Penalties

There is rarely any need to use Scale for traits other than Strength, Mass and Speed. It’s easy to imagine someone wanting to play a race that is slightly more intelligent than humans, but a race ten times smarter than the smartest human is so alien that it would be impossible to play. This is true for most traits we just can’t grasp such extreme differences from our world view.

Actually, there is a way to use intelligence in Scale: in a non-quantified manner. For example, when creating a dog character, you can list:

Intelligence: Great (Scale: Dog)

Since no one is able to quantify inter-species intelligence accurately, do not expect to use it comparatively. It gives an indication that, relative to other dogs, this dog has Great intelligence. The word “Scale” isn’t necessary “Great canine intelligence” works just as well.

The GM should usually use Racial Bonuses or Penalties for traits other than Strength, Mass and Speed. If the GM envisions halflings as being particularly hardy, she can give them a +1 bonus to Constitution: halfling Fair Constitution equals human Good Constitution. As another example, an alien race, Cludds, have a racial penalty of -1 to Intelligence.

It is best to use trait levels relative to humans on the character sheets, though you should put the racial-relative term in brackets. (Example: Grahkesh, Intelligence Poor [Cludd Fair].) However, always list Strength relative to the character’s own race, with the Scale (if other than 0), so the Mass will be accurate. See the sample character, Brogo the Halfling (in Sample Characters), for an example of both racial bonus and different Scale.

Racial bonuses and penalties can be used for any type of trait: attributes, skills, gifts, supernormal powers, or faults.

If using the Objective Character Creation system, each level of a Racial Bonus or Penalty is usually equal to one level of the specific trait raised or lowered normally.

That is, if you are granting a +1 to Agility or +1 to Perception for a race, it should cost one attribute level.

If a race has a bonus of a Perfect Sense of Direction, it should cost one gift. The innate ability to fly or cast magic spells should cost one supernormal power, etc.

If a race is at -1 to all Social skills, however, this should only be worth -1 skill level if you have a single skill called Social Skills. If you have many social individual social skills, it should be worth one fault. The converse is true for Bonuses that affect many skills: it should cost one or more gifts.