D&D (2024) 2024 Player's Handbook Reveal: Feats/Backgrounds/Species

mellored

Legend
If you want to mix and match species traits, you would basically need to assign a point value to every feature and have so many to spend.

Or alternatively, you create a half version for every species, and then can pick 2.
 

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Memory, like muscles, takes training to develop. So yes, it depends on your lifestyle.

Now if you want to be raised as an "Acolyte" but spent time doing cartwheels down the hallway and juggling books instead of studying, then talk to your DM.
I should have used a better word than "lifestyle," but I couldn't think of a good real-word term for what D&D calls "origin." I meant "lifestyle" as a placeholder for whatever the non-fantasy equivalent of "origin" is, not the degree of physical or mental activity in one's life. Poor word choice on my part.

Either way, I think it's silly that my Acolyte raised in a temple dedicated to the God of Strength needs the DMs permission to boost their Strength.

For every narrative the designers put forth for their ability score choices, someone's going to think of a narrative that contradicts the them. Ability scores are so much more abstract than classes, species, feats, and skills, I don't see the benefit in pairing them with specific narratives by default.
 

mellored

Legend
I should have used a better word than "lifestyle,"
I think it's an accurate word. Probably better than background.

You could of been born a noble, but your lifestyle is going outside and riding around in the forest, or training with the soldiers.

Similarly, being an acolyte of the god of strength will give you a different lifestyle than an acolyte of god of music.

Choose a background based on the style of life you lived, not where you lived it.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I should have used a better word than "lifestyle," but I couldn't think of a good real-word term for what D&D calls "origin." I meant "lifestyle" as a placeholder for whatever the non-fantasy equivalent of "origin" is, not the degree of physical or mental activity in one's life. Poor word choice on my part.

Either way, I think it's silly that my Acolyte raised in a temple dedicated to the God of Strength needs the DMs permission to boost their Strength.

For every narrative the designers put forth for their ability score choices, someone's going to think of a narrative that contradicts the them. Ability scores are so much more abstract than classes, species, feats, and skills, I don't see the benefit in pairing them with specific narratives by default.

I don't think there is a benefit in asking the DM permission per se, but I think there is a benefit in encouraging the player to actually make the effort of thinking that maybe they were an acolyte in a temple of the God of Strength, instead of just picking any abilities/skills/whatnot and not vaguely trying to make them hang together. I'm not sure of the best way of doing that.
 

I appreciate your take on this. I understand it. But can I ask you to look at intelligence a little differently?

If you view it as greater exposure, which often leads to the ability to apply that learned knowledge. You are viewing it as purely innate, and when it is viewed in that lens, I agree with you. But if you view it like strength, meaning someone can be raised to train daily, be it with a smithy hammer or mining pick, and add muscle. This, as opposed to the someone who worked in the library. By eighteen, those two might have different bodies. And the smithy might be able to apply that accrued muscle mass and hammer knowledge to fighting, whereas the librarian, maybe not so much. They can apply other things - war tactics, reading maps, etc.

Intelligence can be viewed the same way. It is not innate they are discussing with backgrounds, but exposure. In the PHB it states, "Intelligence measures mental sharpness, ability to recall information, and skill at applying logic." If you look at these skills, they are all skills that can be practiced and honed. The ability to recall information is practiced everyday, often hundreds of times, by that librarian. The greater the exposure to logic, thinking in terms of math, using the scientific method, and being involved in deep discussions regarding how to solve complex problems, gets better with practice. Sharpness too, can wane when repeating mundane tasks day in and day out.

Anyway, I hope this helps you see my side of the picture.
I can see your side of the picture, and I don't necessarily disagree with all of your points. You're certainly presenting a reasonable explanation for what Intelligence means in D&D.

At the same time, I can see other ways of interpreting Intelligence. Your argument seems to hinge on Intelligence measuring "skill at applying logic." You provide lots of examples of things you can do to practice applying logic, math, and the scientific method.

But as you note, the definition of Intelligence in D&D also currently includes "mental sharpness" and the "ability to recall information." I have a hard time envisioning any origin in which there's no opportunity to practice one or the other of those on a regular basis. Even people from non-technical backgrounds can benefit from the ability to recall information. Athletes, farmers, soldiers, and a wide range of other folk can all use the ability to recall highly-specialized knowledge on a regular basis to excel in their roles. They won't necessarily be recalling scientific knowledge, but they can make use of certain knowledge nonetheless.

I can understand why someone might disagree with my conclusion, just as I can see why someone might disagree with your conclusion. And therein lies my criticism of the ability score increase mechanism. The current Background rules support every ability score choice you believe is justified for your character, but they relegate some of the ability score choices I believe are justified for my character to optional rules in the DMG. If ability scores were Background-independent, you (specifically) would still be able to make any ability score choice you believe is justified, but I would also be able to to the same. Background-independent ability scores would accommodate both of us, whereas the current rules only accommodate players who share your interpretation of certain ability scores.
 
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MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Making a character with a mixed heritage should not ever mean that you are only and wholly one of those heritages in any meaningful way, regardless of how wh….elven, you look. It’s literally blood quantum. All they had to do was recreate the species customization rules and the custom lineage that already exist in the game. Easy. I have hair like my dad’s entire Hispanic family, with skin like my mom’s Irish American family.
And what was the harm on recognizing that human/elf is just somehow common and give it as an example just with a new name if that was their hill to die on? (And keeping lore while at it?)
 

Arilyn

Hero
And then there's the whole "I failed at my previous job/training" angle. For example: I was a wizard apprentice but spent precious study hours partying with the locals instead. I'm taking a bonus in Charisma and Constitution (socializing and surviving heavy drinking and bar fights explain these stat bumps.) I did absorb some Arcana knowledge and maybe Persuasion or Acrobatics. I can also take the magicy background feat because I wasn't a total washout, or not, if I didn't even manage that much.

I already mentioned this upthread but I really want players to create their own unique backgrounds, not just pick from the list in the book. Not having customizable backgrounds as the default being option deeply bugs me. This is the gateway game to a very creative hobby. Backgrounds are a great way for players to get imaginative with their characters and and create jumping off points for role playing. It feels like the designers are worried this can be abused or don't want new players feeling overwhelmed? I really don't get the backtracking with this one. Have lots of examples but encourage tinkering. Yes, I know it's an easy fix and my table can customize away. Looking at the game as a whole, however, I really hate this.

Edit: clarification
 
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