Having traits as Advancment rewards

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  1. #1

    Having traits as Advancment rewards

    I filled the new survey today and while doing it went through most of the playtest packet material, while doing so I realized that I really really like the background traits and the fact that they really make background somthing way more interesting than a mere skill bundles (and let's not start on the skills themselves, I don't like the current iteration).

    Now we all know that background skills can get a bonus at some levels, but that's just plain boring.

    But what if we had "advanced" traits that could be added to the character? As it is now, unlike specialities and class, background remain static, that is all fine and good considering that they are called "backgrounds" but what if we had a way of having a meaningfull advancment of a character social statues in game terms?

    It's all fussy right now but I keep having thoughts of a character who start as a noble with retainers, get knighted and receive that trait and might even become a bounty hunter along the way. And those are just using the basic traits what if we had some more exotic ones like becoming an archmage though acquiring an apprentice or becoming a landed noble whit some barren land to settle of an abandond keep to reoccupy?

    The way I see it, having somthing like this will do two things: a. it will help both the DM and the players to get the juice flowing while thinking of rewards and goals (respectably) for the PCs b. it will give defined substance to the characters actions on the game world.

    What do you think?


    the essence of D&D is "The thrill of victory the agony of a natural 1" - Mike Mearls, Gen Con 2012

    Starting From the Ground Up - ACKS Economic system
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  • #2
    Or you could do all that stuff anyway, because having it as a mechanical system will only restrict your ability to tell a story.

    Honestly, I'm strongly considering never using traits. At best, they force you to think of the RP implications of a character's backstory (which you should be doing anyway). At worst, they make no sense -- a commoner has a home somewhere in the world... and a noble doesn't? The sage automatically has meta-knowledge of all information in the universe, and practically no one will ever have to pay for food or hospitality.

    This sort of stuff should exist as DM advice, not a line in the player book saying "you get free healing!"
    Last edited by GX.Sigma; Saturday, 15th September, 2012 at 09:42 PM.

  • #3
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    I like the background traits: while I get the logical inconsistencies can develop (as GX describes), the trait is something that just is -- not a mechanical benefit, but a storytelling option. I have no difficulty imagining a world where nobles don't have a plot of land once I have taken the initial step of all would-be adventurers have the same starting gold. Really, after that, the playing field is leveled, and the game rewards players differently based on the choice made. You can have a Cleric Knight or a Rogue Priest, and the world stays intact.

    Giving nobles a larger spending budget at level 1 or a castle with retainers or whatever doesn't do that.

    What I would like to see is there being a fixed list of backgrounds. That's not to say you can't mix-and-match your three favorite skills (that'll happen anyways at tables), but when you mix-and-match, you don't get access to a trait. There are these set backgrounds, or you can just pick three skills to be trained in.

  • #4
    The way I see it, traits are story plot device. I have no problem finding ten reasons why a noble character don't have a castle somewhere, or what it means that a commoner got a home (think Aragorn and Frodo with those two).

    The way I see it traits not only grant privileges and boons but also obligations, they define how the rest of the world sees and treat the character and I would like to have a way to advance this in a meaningfull way in game.

    So you might have a priest background and somewhere along the way the character becomes a head of a temple, your DM might grant you a trait for that, signifying how the world perceive your character, and you might also lose that trait if you betrayed your order (or been framed) and forced to flee and on top of that your DM might decide to give you another trait.

    Another example is the knight trait, what would happen if your character was forced to renounce its title, wouldn't he become a former knight?

    I would like to have a list of suggested traits so that my players will have somthing to work toward in the game world and I would have ways to tell both my players and me how the game world sees and treat the characters. If one of my players will see that there is an archmage trait and would come to me and ask me what he would need to do to get it I think that the system has done its work.

    Seeing that English is not my native language, it seems like I'm having a bit of a trouble getting my ideas and thoughts across. Please bear with me.


    the essence of D&D is "The thrill of victory the agony of a natural 1" - Mike Mearls, Gen Con 2012

    Starting From the Ground Up - ACKS Economic system
    Starting From the Grounds Up, Part II - ACKS Economic system

  • #5
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    while i completely appreciate the idea of something advancing, i am not sure backgrounds should simply because, as currently defined, backgrounds are what the character did before/where he came from, and thus the advancement should be on skills and traits that the character is focusing on now (in your fighter's downtime, he's not practicing how to be a better commoner, he's practicing his swordplay, etc).

    i might be more willing to accept advancement of a background at the cost of some advancement of your specialty or something... but that just seems to cumbersome and counterproductive to get in to.

    but non-mechanical repercussions and development of background, absolutely!

    Having said that, it's just how i view it. i can respect that there are other views on this, but i'm not sure i agree.

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