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Why do Half-Orcs have 19 str?

Half-Orc high str rating confuses me, yes your average half-orc should be stronger than your average human, but isn't 19 str a bit excessive?

19 str is Hillgiant str right? or at least the the average Hillgiant str.

For a half-orc to be able to match str with a 5m tall 650kg monster seems kind of implausible.

Does anybody know the standard str of a Orc?

Comments

  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 5,951
    @SmilingSword They don't all have 19 STR, that's the maximum. On average they have one more STR than a human, i.e. 11.5.

    semiticgodelminsterGrumOlvynChuru
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 16,523
    It's just there so that you could make a 19 STR warrior from the start and rip all those gibberlings apart.

    Actually, in the 3rd Edition and the 3.5e half-orcs receive a +2 modifier to strength and -2 modifiers to intelligence and charisma ability scores. So, 19 STR for half-orcs in BG is a kind of an adaptation of it.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 9,762
    edited November 2015
    Which makes no sense in a 2E game. 19 STR is the same as a 12-foot-tall giant. I don't care how much you work out, you're just not going to get *that* strong. 18/00 is the same as an ogre. Only humans and demihumans in the 99th percentile are meant to get that strong.

    And by the way, orcs are substantially smaller and weaker

    It's honestly so frustrating that the developers kept (and keep) adding stuff that doesn't work, and justified it (and still justify it) by saying basically, "well that mechanic comes from a different game system that happens to be made by the same company. So it probably works fine." Umm, no, it doesn't work fine.

    Proper rule: each level of STR score between 18 and 19 (18/01, 18/51, 18/76, 18/91, 18/00) is separate and counts as a different STR score. Each bonus to STR bumps you up one level BETWEEN 18 and 19... not FROM 18 to 19. So a fighter with 17 STR who gets a +2 bonus should now have 18/51 STR. Not 19 STR.

    Bioware rule: jump right to 19 STR because more STR makes my character more bada$$! :mrgreen: :wink: :sweat_smile: :naughty: :innocent:

    Proper rule: Non-warriors cannot START with exceptional 18/xx STR, but they CAN get it if they get bonuses. A thief with 17 STR who gets a +2 bonus should also become 18/51... not 19.

    Bioware rule: 19 is MOAR BADA$$!!1!1

    Proper rule: Half-orcs (and full orcs and even half-ogres...!) get a +1 to their STR roll but they are still limited to 18 max.. In other words, among this population the average STR score is higher, but they still cannot exceed that of a full-blooded ogre - much less a giant!

    Bioware rule: Um, did you not hear me when I yelled "moar bada$$?" I used all-caps and everything...

    Ultimately the real problem is the exceptional 18 STR chart itself, which is unfathomably stupid and encourages munchkins to carve out exceptions and game the system.

    Feh. Let's blame millennials.

    SmilingSwordSkatantypo_tilly
  • MeyahiMeyahi Member Posts: 137
    Honestly I don't see the point of exceptional STR. It actually increases strengh range into something like 3-30 and 15 strengh (much higher than average) yields no combat bonus.
    Removing it and giving fighter classes innate bonuses would be much cleaner.
    I'm glad 3rd Edition corrected this.

    FinneousPJsmeagolheart
  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 1,944

    18/00 is the same as an ogre. Only humans and demihumans in the 99th percentile are meant to get that strong.

    A human warrior's probability of having 18/00 STR is 0.005%, so it's much rarer than even that. Even for Half-orcs, only the top half of a percentile should have 19 STR. I guess it doesn't seem all that unreasonable to me that a few exceptional Half-orcs would be about as strong as an average Hill Giant.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 9,762
    Yeah but the way the game works (i.e. incorrectly), you only need to roll 18 to get your half-orc to 19 STR.

    If the game worked like I described above - an 18/40 roll became 18/51 for a half-orc, and 18/95 became 18/00, and only 18/00 became 19, then yeah I would really have no problem with it.

    But instead the devs make that "+1" bonus really equate to +5 for half-orcs. Note how many people advise playing half-orc thieves, because that thief can start with 19 STR. When really it should be 18/01 or at best 18/51.

    I've tried to mod this in various ways. I tried to re-cast STR scores to have 17 be the normal human max, and make 18 and the 18/xx 'exceptional' scores equate to ogre- or giant-level STR. But then I ran into issues with all sorts of .CRE files in the game that expect 18 to be normal (or, the top of normal range).

    Ultimately my house-rule solution is to basically remove the 'exceptional' bonuses. STR bonuses start at 14 and then there is either a damage bonus or a thac0 bonus at each step above that. The difference between 18 and 19 is exactly equal to the difference between 15 and 16, or 21 and 22. The only difference between 18/01 and 18/99 is like 10 pounds of carry weight.

    In other words, the only way to ameliorate the crappy way game implements exceptional strength is to eliminate exceptional strength. Now half-orcs are still stronger than other races, with noticeable benefits... but those benefits are much closer to what they are supposed to be in according to the real game rules.

    semiticgodSkatan
  • MathsorcererMathsorcerer Member Posts: 2,557
    My answer was going to be "why not?".

    JuliusBorisov
  • GallowglassGallowglass Member Posts: 3,356
    So far as I know, Orcs were invented by Tolkien with no previous "existence" in folklore, so Tolkien is the original source material for Orc lore. In Tolkien, Orcs were abominations created by forcibly distorting Elves, and the ordinary sort of Orc is of comparable size and physical abilities to an Elf. Not bigger and stronger.

    Tolkien also describes a special sort of Orc, the Uruk Hai, a more recently-developed breed which is indeed somewhat bigger and stronger than normal (and in particular is noted for having a resilient constitution). However, even the Uruk Hai are not enormously bigger and stronger than an Elf or an ordinary Orc - they're not like a Giant, they're just a particularly big and tough Orc.

    Therefore, I've often wondered if the super-strength "half-Orc" designed for D&D may not have been the result of a simple typographical error, or maybe a moment of confusion. It'd all make more sense if the intention had actually been to introduce half-Ogres as a playable species ... but then maybe someone accidentally wrote "half-Orc" instead of "half-Ogre", and no-one ever fixed the error. Unlike Orcs, Ogres are indeed meant to be substantially bigger and stronger than Elves/Humans/etc., part-way to being a Giant, so STR 19 wouldn't be so ridiculous.

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 2,778
    Back to 3rd edition
    Human average strength - 10 (+0)
    Orc average strength - 15 (+5)
    Half orc average strength - 12 (+2)

    Exceptional values are , as the name implies, rare and heroic . In fact, adventurers are a minority in a world of fantasy, and only an even rarer part of them reaches exceptional attributes.

    So my answer to your question would be "because it's a game and rpg characters are way more bada$$ in videogames."

    GrumwubbleJuliusBorisov
  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,099
    In a recent thread people talked about their stats. If we were all half orcs our average strength would be just 11-13...

    Str19 half orcs tend to be as rare as min maxed humans
    How many people have any of us met who would be str18 dex18 and con18?

    JuliusBorisovBelgarathMTH
  • NifftNifft Member Posts: 1,065
    Grum said:

    Str19 half orcs tend to be as rare as min maxed humans

    So basically every PC.
    Grum said:

    How many people have any of us met who would be str18 dex18 and con18?

    How many people have you met who had the opportunity to re-roll?

    SmilingSwordGrumJuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 10,932
    I'd definitely re-roll for a higher Charisma score. Wisdom would be nice, too.

    Rodrian
  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,099
    Nifft said:

    Grum said:

    Str19 half orcs tend to be as rare as min maxed humans

    So basically every PC.
    Grum said:

    How many people have any of us met who would be str18 dex18 and con18?

    How many people have you met who had the opportunity to re-roll?
    With enough money you can steroid abuse your way to 18 strength and con
    With enough money you can get perfect eyes and get all the training in shooting you need for 18 dex
    With enough money you can buy any degree you want, making everyone see you as having 18 int
    With enough money everyone will dawn over you like you have 18 cha
    And with enough money you can afford yes-men to tell you that you have 18 wis

    Re-rolling is certainly possible if you can afford it

    semiticgodKilivitz
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 3,540
    It sure seems as I've met a kindred spirit in @subtledoctor. I agree completely with his comments.

  • KamigoroshiKamigoroshi Member Posts: 4,462
    edited November 2015
    Personally, I'm more baffled as to how a tiny halfling barbarian can transform into a 21 str killing machine. Given that the rage is purely emotional in nature, not magical. Half-orcs with 19 str seems at the very least plausible due to their gorilla-like body mass.

    SkatanGrum
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 3,540
    edited November 2015
    I agree with that as well @kamigoroshi. It would make more sense to have rage act more like the offensive spin, adding an attack and maximizing dmg output, compared to actually increasing your stats as if magical.

    I started a thread recently talking about heights of races and this is exactly why I find it unplausable that a halfling can have that kind of strenght when its mass and size is so minor. If it was of magical nature, then it can just be explained with the ultimate "Magic, duh!" argument, but in the case of rage it just feels weird.

    This can be applied to orcs and other races as well ofc. Having the strenght of a giant without the use of magic is indeed fantastically unrealistic.

  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,437
    Worth noting: a Hill Giant PC would probably not have a strength of only 19.

    Tressetsemiticgodelminster
  • ShandyrShandyr Member Posts: 8,263
    edited November 2015
    At this point I'd like to ask everyone to not raise the strength points of their half-orcs to 19 or further.

    Yeah sure I could control myself and not maximize it for my half-orc. But it would bother me immensely knowing there may be players out there who play their half-orc with strength 19 or greater even though I do not deem that making sense!

    Please play your game the way that I think it's most fun. Thank you.

    JuliusBorisovscriverBelgarathMTHEmpyrial
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 9,762
    edited November 2015

    Therefore, I've often wondered if the super-strength "half-Orc" designed for D&D may not have been the result of a simple typographical error, or maybe a moment of confusion. It'd all make more sense if the intention had actually been to introduce half-Ogres as a playable species ...

    All quite reasonable, BUT: there is no typo. The 2nd Edition rules are quite clear that half-orcs are limited to 18 STR. In fact, even half-ogres are limited to 18 STR! Full orcs themselves are not only limited to 18, they may not get 'exceptional' 18/xx values! So while the average orc is stronger than the average human (due to the +1 bonus) the strongest orc is substantially weaker than the strongest human (18 vs. 18/00).

    In other words there is no typo, just lazy coding in the BG engine, they added the bonus but didn't bother to implement caps.

    @DJKajuru Talk of 3E rules is meaningless here because this is a 2E game. The scores in each game are not equivalent - look up the respective tables for encumbrance and combat bonuses. 19 STR in 2E is NOT the same as 19 STR IN 3E. It's more like 22. And, even in 3E, half-orcs cannot start the game with 22 STR. That are limited to 20 max, which when translated to 2E is something like 18/75.
    Dee said:

    Worth noting: a Hill Giant PC would probably not have a strength of only 19.

    Well hill giants are not a playable race. Firbolg giants are, and they are instructive: +2 bonus to rolls, but still only reaching 19 max. So actually you are wrong: a min-maxed giant-kin PC would have a STR of precisely 19.
    http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?623141-Let-s-Read-AD-amp-D-2e-The-Complete-Book-of-Humanoids&p=15336314#post15336314

    semiticgodSkatanGrum
  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,437
    edited November 2015
    @subtledoctor That's a fair point, although I was speaking in the context of a video game where, presumably, the rules for creating a Hill Giant would be similarly screwy compared to half-orcs. PnP obviously handles things differently, but there's no reason to assume that a Hill Giant would be limited in that way if a Half-Orc is not.

    Personally I prefer the stat tables from 3e and later, where the progression is linear and there's no such thing as an extraordinary Strength value; I like 5e even better, where the player's stats are capped at 20, thereby eliminating cases like the one described in this thread (even if your half-orc PC has a Strength of 20, there's going to be plenty of monsters with Strength scores higher than that).

    EDIT: That being said, I would support a request to change the engine's handling of exceptional Strength to make it more like an extension of the Strength table--so that, for instance, if you rolled a Strength of 18/01, you could shift a point from Dexterity to raise it to 18/26, and so on. And then making it so that a bonus to Strength would follow that same progression--even with a max Strength of 19, a Half-Orc would have to spend not one but several points to bump their score from 18 to 19, making it a much more expensive proposition.

    I don't know how complicated that would be engine-side, though. But on principle, I like the idea.

    JuliusBorisovtypo_tillyDexter
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 9,762
    edited November 2015
    Dee said:

    I would support a request to change the engine's handling of exceptional Strength to make it more like an extension of the Strength table--so that, for instance, if you rolled a Strength of 18/01, you could shift a point from Dexterity to raise it to 18/26, and so on. And then making it so that a bonus to Strength would follow that same progression--even with a max Strength of 19, a Half-Orc would have to spend not one but several points to bump their score from 18 to 19, making it a much more expensive proposition.

    I don't know how complicated that would be engine-side, though. But on principle, I like the idea.

    I've dreamed of this for ~15 years. I assume (perhaps too quickly?) that it's nigh-mpossible, or at least that no dev would ever bother to spend the time to do it. But maybe I'm wrong...

  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,437
    That's probably true, especially considering the number of players who probably play half-orcs solely for the purposes of having 19 Strength. Personally I prefer to just change all the tables to match 5e (10-11: +0, 12-13: +1, etc.), since that has the simultaneous effects of making enemies more powerful and also making low-stat characters feel more distinct from high-stat characters.

    But like many things, I view that as being the purview of modders.

    Tresset
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 9,762
    edited November 2015
    I agree - and that's more or less how my mod handles it.
    13 = +1 damage
    14 = +2 damage
    15 = +1 thac0, +2 damage
    16 = +1 thac0, +3 damage
    17 = +2 thac0, +3 damage
    18 = +2 thac0, +4 damage (18/anything)
    19 = +2 thac0, +5 damage

    So 19 is no longer *that* much better than 17 or 18. Meaning a half-orc is no longer superman; he is just "slightly-stronger man."

    I will slightly disagree about the "purview of modders" comment however. Only because, if Bioware had originally coded half-orcs correctly as capped at 18, it would have been SUPER simple to make a mod allowing them to reach 19.

    Whereas, the way the game is coded now, It's almost impossible to make a mod that imposes the real 2E rules. It can be done with scripting, but the method is really suboptimal.

    However, that's a criticism of Bioware in 1999, not of Beamdog in 2015. This particular horse has long since left the barn - it's not worth fixing the door now. (There are lots of more important areas the devs should focus on improving... like giving us concentration checks for spell disruption! :smiley: )

  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,437
    Right. Well, I was mostly referring to alterations to the Strength table in general. But yes, it's a fair point.

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