Dungeons & Dragons to Introduce Alternative Rules to Racial Ability Score Bonuses

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Dungeons & Dragons will be introducing a set of alternative rules that does away with racial ability score bonuses. Earlier this week, Dungeons & Dragons released a lengthy statement addressing diversity and equality in its game. The post also addressed several rules and in-world lore that seen as problematic due to their real world implications. One such rule is the default ability score bonuses given to a character for being of a certain race. These scores are meant to reflect that tropes such like elves are more dexterous, or that dwarves are more resilient, but they also reflect the concept of bio-essentialism in their game.

Dungeons & Dragons confirmed that an upcoming product released later this year would contain alternative rules for customizing a character's origins, including the option to change ability score increases related to being a dwarf, elf or another one of D&D's "playable folks." The point of these rules is to reflect that a character in the game is an individual that doesn't need to conform to the generalities of their race or background.

No other details were provided about the unannounced product other than that it would be released later this year. Assuming it's not the just announced Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden (which is unlikely), it would be the product traditionally released in November that is widely rumored to be a new rules expansion.

Other third-party resources have offered up alternative rules for racial score abilities and other racial traits, many of which have received acclaim. Pathfinder 2E has shifted to an ancestry model that provides players with a choice in feats instead of mandatory traits, while Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5E has received acclaim for splitting up racial abilities into ancestral traits and cultural traits, which can be mixed and matched at will. Alternative rules for these traits were also provided in the supplement.

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