Level Up (A5E) #1 Origins Playtest Document - (Culture) Nitty Gritty Feedback

Stalker0

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This is thread 2 of my nitty gritty feedback. You can find the thread of Heritages here: Level Up - #1 Origins Playtest Document - (Heritage) Nitty Gritty Feedback

This thread covers the Cultures

For ease of reference, I'm going to use a quick rating system.

A - Perfect, solid, I love it.
B - A bit more niche than I would like, but probably in the right campaign it will be fine.
C - Needs some work, its on the weak side.
O - Overpowered, just too strong, needs a tone down.

One thing we have to be a little pickier on with cultures, because technically any heritage can take any culture, now is where min maxing potential kicks in, so its important to consider some of that in these results.

Dragonborn

Dragonbound: So the Gem and Essence dragon abilities are pretty weak (C). The Chromatic dragon is solid for a warrior type (A), and the metallic one in combination with taking the Guidance cantrip (which to me would be THE cantrip to take with dragonbound in general), would neat you a pretty excellent skill monkey (A).

Draconic National (O): Pack Tactics is too good an ability. Now if no one else in the party is dragon born, its useless. But if two characters decide to be dragonborn, holy crap look out!

Dragon Cultist: So one formatting note, there is no notes about the Umbral requiring rest to recharge. Therefore, in theory you can activate it "at-will", so I wasn't sure if that was intentional. I will withhold judgement until I know, as the power level of these is hugely depending on how frequently the umbral works.

Draconic Exile (A): You get the best part of the alertness feat, and a few decent skills. Only synergy I can think of would be a Prenatural Elf with this culture that has the ultimate in initiative checks.

Dwarf

Deep Dwarf (A): Only oddity here to me is the jump spell, as it even talks about them not using axes in the "cramped underground spaces". But the bonuses look decent.

Devoted Dwarf (O): I think there may be a bit too much here. The spells you get here are actually really good, getting advantage of wisdom saves vs magic is a hell of an ability. Dwarven teamwork is probably also pretty good on its own right.

Mountain Dwarf (A): Strong and solid. The only issue here is its not clear what Mountain Born actually does mechanically.

Ruined Dwarf (A or B): Its definitely not the strongest culture, but there are a lot of fun bits in here that I like. Its probably closer to a B as a number of the abilities are pretty fluffy.

Hill Dwarfs (X): So bonus wise its probably on the (B) side, but the flavor feels a bit off. They are caravaners (aka people that go around in nice covered wagons not rangers), yet they are super amazing good at survival? They have the friends cantrip, which we all know is actually the "Enemies" cantrip.

Elves

Wood Elf (A): This is probably the closest to the "baseline" culture that I have seen. You get a little skill selection, a quaint little spell, and some generally nice but not overpowered abilities (climbing speed and +5 foot speed). Its perfectly solid.

High Elf (A): Honestly I this one could be placed in the "Generic" background area, enough of it is generic enough instead of feeling "elfy". Also, I think its strange Magical Versatility allows for Int, Wis, or Cha, but Cunning Diplomat requires Int.

Shadow Elf (B): Again in campaigns were light sources really matter, the extra darkvision might be really good, but overall you just pick up a couple of spells along the way.

Eladrin (A): Twilight step is a really good power, and so I think a lot of people would step into this culture just for that. Going back to 4e criticism, some people did not like seeing "Teleports" at 1st level, so that's the main concern there. But the Twilight Step is the only true strength here, and I think other cultures give just as much.


Gnome

Deep Gnome: (B) Its probably a B, maybe a low A, but I will say there is nothing here that really makes me want to play a Deep Gnome

Forest Gnome (B): I do think people like talking to small animals at will, so that to me would be the primary draw here. So I think this is viable culture even if its on the weak side.

Tinker Gnome (A): Its a person that wants to artifice a little bit without taking the class. The Audiophone and Sensor abilities are actually quite good and I could definately see a clever player putting them to use.

Forgotten Folk (A or O): The eyes everywhere is mostly fluff, although funnily creepy fluff. However, It Takes a Village is incredibly good. Effectively I can provide advantage on an attack roll to another party member every round as a bonus action... let alone what you can do with skills. Its definately no pack tactics, but its really strong. But because that is literally its only ability it may be ok.

Halfling
Bourougher (B): I see this less of a halfling culture, and more of a generic "Chef" culture....and I've definately had my share of characters that liked being the party's chef. The temp hitpoints is actually pretty good, but that's all its got going for it. Its not the strongest, but not terrible.

Kithbáin (B): I will say this is my favorite culture for flavor.... hands down. I was super in to the description. Detect thoughts and going insight expertise are really nice abilities, but the sunlight sensitivity means that this culture will heavily depend on how much outdoor adventuring the DM has in mind.

Mustbairn (B): This is again not the strongest culture, but I like the flavor of his one, as its familiar but just a little a different. There is something about the notion of sticking your hands in soil and casting augury that I just find super flavorful.

Tunnel Runner (A): This is a solid one, and I like the flavor of the Halfling warrens from a campaign standpoint. You also could probably upgrade slippery to just be at will, again its very powerful, but in very niche conditions. hehe I also see we slipped in Morrus' advantage nomenclature :) I think this will a favorite one for various rogues.

Human

Profiteer (A): This is a solid one, and I think the abilities well match the flavor.

Sheltered Citizen (C): This one is weird. I think it fits better as a generic culture. Second, the name doesn't really work with the description of the culture to me. And the abilities are a weird mishmash of powers that's doesn't really do much in the grand scheme of things.

Villager (B): I like the abilities in connection with the flavor, but I don't think powerwise this fully cuts the mustard.

Pioneer (B): Its cool, just needs a little more, as the abilities are still pretty niche.

Orc

I wanted to note that I really like the flavor of Orcs as "overly passionate people". That is a cool hook that still allows you to get to the rage filled killing machine but also allows for many different character paths. That is a nice touch.

Caravanner (A): Even though its not the strongest culture, I do think a lot of people would love the idea of an orc and his buggy just mowing down things, so I think there's a lot of flavor appeal here.

Longstoic (A): Amazing flavor here, I immediately wanted to play this one when I read it. I think the flexibility of rituals and clarity of mind is enough that even though its a little bit niche I think it has enough general application that a number of characters would like it.

Orcish Communal (O): I think allowing expertise on any skill of your choice is probably going to be abused too easily...there are probably a lot of combinations that would want to toss this culture on just for that purpose. If nothing else I would put that on a generic culture instead, so you don't have a bunch of weird "orc communal" skill monkeys.

Warhordling (A): The "stable" orc, good and solid.


Tiefling

Steam Tiefling (X): I'm not sure what to make of this one. I think flavorwise it feels more like a generic culture than anything. I think its also strange that this is the go to culture to make a grapple monkey.

Imperial Tiefling (A): This can get you access to other warlock spells and the Wrath of the Ancestors could create an intersting playstyle, where someone tries to constantly stay at half health to lay on more damage round after round...its an interesting concept.

Carnival Tiefling (O): A LOT of rogues are going to want this just for Nimble escape. I have a goblin with it in my current game, and its very good. I'm fearful this one will get taken too often.

Demon Cultist (O): Feels like we really saved the best for last. Cultist Lore spells are very strong. Bleeding Brand is better than any other elemental resistance noted so far, as you can simply switch it when you know its going to come up. Or you can just pick up a familiar, which might be enough of a culture power all on its own. Feels like there's a bit too much going on here.


General

Cosmopolitan (A): This seems to fit the bill of a nice generic culture. Pick a few skills, get a cool "read people" ability that you can use whenever you want, nice.

Feudal Subject (O): I'll again use a criticism from 4e.... some people really have issue with non-magical compulsions. The fact you can just say "Halt", and I cannot run....just rubs some people the wrong way. Also its very strange that in the flavor text it mentions "Some feudal subjects are only fair-weather friends to their flag, sycophants who boast about their patriotism but are inwardly cowards", and then the first ability is a patrotic surge.

Guild Member (A): The connected ability is cool, and a lot of players would latch on the "having a friend where ever they go". You also get enough generic bonuses to skills and things to round it off.

Lone Wanderer (O): I think this will be the absolute most picked culture for a lot of people. They will either find the culture that just really suits their character...or they will pick this. There is a reason the variant human is so incredibly popular. I am laughing at the all "Lone Wanderer" party (which I could 100% see my players doing).

Nomad (C): This one is pretty bland, just nothing really going for it.

Religious Devotee (B): Probably just a tad niche...but there's a good flavor to it that I like.
 

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