Ill-advised flamebait post: the dirty little secret of level caps
So Trollsmyth posted an interesting, open-ended question about demihumans in 5e and BANG. Level caps in the first comment, end of useful discussion.
OK. Some people on both sides of the level caps question think their answer is simply and obviously the right one. I may be one of them, but I may also be open to persuasion. So please, if you support level caps, try me, because I would like to know why they could possibly be a good thing, by which I mean make for a more fun game experience.
The trick with being persuasive would be to lead with an argument that doesn’t make you sound like a crazy racist. Some pointers:
1. Don’t lead with “because I want humans to dominate my game” unless you also have good arguments for why, then, players can choose to play crippled non-humans, and/or unless you want to talk about why domination is important to you.
2. Don’t say “because I’m emulating Conan (or whatever other Appendix N title)” unless you also enjoy railroading to replicate Conan plots and over-ruling players who deviate ever from acting in a Conanlicious way.
3. Don’t say “it should be there because Gary said it” if there is any aspect of any Gary-penned edition of DnD that you don’t use. And if you can answer that one, then also say why you don’t play Lejendary Adventures.
4. Don’t say “balance” unless you can explain exactly how a few advantages at low level are supposed to balance not getting to play any more at higher levels in a way that actually works for the player party, and how all this would not be better handled (but still badly handled) by different xp targets for leveling up.
5. If you say “because that’s how I roll” I’ll smile and say “sure” but you should know that you haven’t presented an argument.
Here’s the dirty little secret of level caps for non-humans (or demi-humans, if you prefer): if you use them, then the player who decides to play an elf anyway is telling you up front I don’t expect to play in this game for long enough for the cap to matter.
Jeff Rients is the only person to field a workable answer so far, I think.