Dungeons & Dragons Officially Removes Negative Racial Ability Score Modifiers From Rules

orc dnd
(Photo: Wizards of the Coast)

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.

The updated rules reflect previous comments by the Dungeons & Dragons team that promised better representation and a movement towards giving the player characters individualism as opposed to forcing them to fit within cultural stereotypes within the game's lore. While players can still choose to use the cultural generalities of D&D's various campaign settings when creating a character, the updated rules allows for greater expression and also gives DMs more freedom to create their own worlds where the standard D&D cultural stereotypes aren't present.

In addition to removing negative ability score modifiers, Dungeons & Dragons is also introducing a new set of alternative rules that give players the options of moving ability score modifiers to other ability scores to match a character's background. This opens the door for more non-traditional character builds such as an orc wizard or a halfling barbarian. These alternative rules will appear in the upcoming Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, which will be released later this year.

You can check out all of the errata (as well as an updated compendium of frequently asked questions) on D&D's webpage.