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I'm still fairly new to the game, and I'm working out the schematics of my character. I play a half-elf character, and I was wondering: can racial bonuses be changed once the characters been made, or during a level up, or not at all? What I mean is, as a half-elf I have a bonus of two different ability scores of my choice. One of the two isn't in what id like it to be in, and I was wondering can it be changed at all?

Someone else helped me build my character sheet, and now as time has gone on, I'm tweaking it towards my own playstyle, and that's why I'm asking.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already and see the help center or ask us here in the comments (use @ to ping someone) if you need more guidance. Good Luck and Happy Gaming! \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 14:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you discussed this with your DM yet? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 16, 2021 at 20:23

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There are no written mechanics for doing this after character creation.

Unfortunately, there aren't any mechanics (even optional ones) which allow for rearranging the racial ASI after character creation. Tasha's Cauldron of Everything introduced guidance for rearranging racial ASIs during character creation, but is explicit that the guidance is to be applied at 1st level only (Customizing Your Origin, “Ability Score Increases”).

I usually allow my players to do this anyway.

As you play a character through a campaign, it is not at all uncommon for your playstyle to change as you progress. Several times I have had this idea for a character build, and then later decided it really wasn't what I wanted after all. When this happens to my players, I'm pretty generous about allowing them to re-spec their characters - after all, we both want you to have the most fun possible, and if we can make a small change that increases your satisfaction without harming anyone else's, let's make that change. So as a player, just have a conversation with your DM. "Hey DM, so someone else helped me make my character, and as I am learning the game, I am learning what sort of playstyle suits me, I would like to make this attribute score switch that better suits the playstyle I now know I like." I imagine any reasonable DM wouldn't hesitate to let you make that change in this context.

The only time I have vetoed this suggestion was when I felt like a player was taking advantage of my generosity and trying to make situationally beneficial changes to his attribute score distribution. I let him rearrange his attributes during one of the campaign arcs, that made him better suited for the types of enemies I was using, and then he suggested making a similarly beneficial change during another arc that involved a different enemy theme.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1, and I think most DMs are (and should be!) pretty lenient on this. Particularly for a new player, using a character sheet they didn’t write in the first place, changing a decision someone else made for them, I struggle to imagine how anyone I’d consider a “good DM” could possibly refuse this case. Maybe if there was like literally only one session left before the character was to be retired anyway or something, but even then, for something as trivial as an ability score bonus... \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 14:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm with Thomas here. I'll almost always allow any changes up to and including a total respec or a brand new character after the players have a level or two to get used to their characters. Even if it's five or six levels later, if you just decide you aren't having fun with your Thief and really want to try out Swashbuckler, or have come to realize that your cleric hyperfocused on Wisdom and shouldn't have, I'm pretty okay with changing it, especially during downtime. If you're coming back every couple levels with a new build tweak, though, I'm going to get a little suspicious. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 14:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yup, I completely agree with everything here. It's a game. It's supposed to be fun. As long as no one's abusing my lenience, I'm inclined to let players make changes as needed for fun's sake. And while this isn't universally true, it tends to be the case that new players aren't the ones likely to be abusing my lenience, because they don't even know enough about the game yet to understand how this or that change would be situationally beneficial. When a new players asks to change something, it's usually a good-faith request. \$\endgroup\$
    – screamline
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 16:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ RE: that last paragraph, this is where RPG's finally steal a little back from computer games. Many of the strict ones allow one free respec (and often another after a large rules change). Same logic: you're stuck with one build, but we want to be fair that you're not stuck with one you hate. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 23:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Victory1256 If this answer has solved your problem, you can mark it “accepted” by clicking the check mark beneath the vote arrows. Glad I could help! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 12:10
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Get reincarnated until you come back as something preferable

Thomas' answer is the best and most useful answer to this question. But this solution, whilst profoundly impractical, is explicitly allowed by the published rules.

The 5th level druid spell Reincarnate restores life to a dead creature by forming a

new body for the creature to inhabit, which likely causes the creature’s race to change.

The spell calls for a roll on a D100 to determine the target's new race, so there's a minimum 4% chance of coming back as what you want to be (even if that means coming back as the same race and re-allocating your ASIs).

The spell explicitly gives the DM license to choose what race you come back as, which could be very convenient or very annoying depending on your DM. Assuming your DM rolls on the table, on average you would need 25 castings costing a total of 25,000 gp in order to come back as a half-elf and re-assign your ability scores.

As expensive and time consuming as that may be, it's more affordable and convenient than obtaining any of the magic items that grant access to the Wish or True polymorph spells - another possible but very impractical solution.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The obvious complication here is that reincarnation replaces all the other racial features too, which severely limits its utility as a “ASI changer”. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 23:47

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