log in or register to remove this ad

 

Blog (A5E) A Question of Culture & Destiny

As you may know by now, a Level Up character’s origin is comprised of heritage, culture, background, and destiny. We’ve covered heritages and backgrounds in detail recently, so now it’s time to look at the other two pieces of that puzzle.


Screen Shot 2021-10-29 at 6.41.45 PM.png

 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

RPGMajor

Explorer
Ok, I'd just like to say I love what LU does with origins. In particular, I'm really glad you kept heritage related cultures; yes, individuals can be raised in different circumstances, and doing so will grant different abilities, values, skills, etc. But I do prefer the acknowledgement that other fantasy races/species/heritages do have their own native cultures, and that these are different from those others might have, without automatically imposing that culture on a particular player or individual character.

One thing I really dislike about how WotC has been handling race recently is that in an effort to fix some of the problems of race they really feel like they are stripping any sort of uniqueness or identity from different fantasy peoples, and the result is that the world feels far more generic with everyone just being a different looking human essentially. LU approach is much, much better.

Edit: Fixed typo
 
Last edited:

Masha

Villager
I stand fully behind RPGMajor on heritages & cultures.
A few questions on Destinies though (which as a concept I love):

Is there a DM advisory on the average level a player would be expected to fulfill their destiny? I mean... a level 1 player could theoretically sacrifice themselves protecting the party (Devotion)... but not sure I'd want to encourage that.

Overall inspiration seems to be encouraged more as a resource. (Excellence Destiny in my games will thrive... damn those Nat1s) Will there be suggestions on the frequency of handing out Inspiration? To balance the more narrative leaning ones (such as Dominion) vs the ones based in mechanics (Excellence).

Not a question, just an observation: Balance-wise I find the Excellence Fullfilment feature leaning strongly towards favouring spell-casters. Ability checks are more situational, maneuvers that get both attack & damage rolls seem to require at least 1 exertion from what we can tell so far. Magic School can benefit from this feature without expending any resources by way of cantrips.
 

[EDIT: Just saw Morrus' comment on another thread asking for a cease and desist on race/lineage politics, so removing my comments responding to RPGMajor. I'll just say I agree with them and move on]

I also really like the addition of destinies, and in particular giving them mechanical effects. I think they will really help newer players especially, and those who sometimes struggle to find the through-line for roleplaying their characters. I'm not sure I'd want to fully replace personality traits, bonds, ideals and flaws though - this seems more like a boosted Ideals to me?
 
Last edited:

RPGMajor

Explorer
Ah, just recently started checking/posting on the forums, was not aware of that/ any previous discussion on the topic. Will note and remember going forward.


In the interest of adding something new and not related to that topic, I'll echo that I also really like the addition of destinies. Lots of plot hooks for players and DMs in that.
 

Masha

Villager
I also really like the addition of destinies, and in particular giving them mechanical effects. I think they will really help newer players especially, and those who sometimes struggle to find the through-line for roleplaying their characters. I'm not sure I'd want to fully replace personality traits, bonds, ideals and flaws though - this seems more like a boosted Ideals to me?
From what I can tell we do get amped up bonds via backgrounds (connections & mementos). I'm not sure if traits & flaws are completely removed or snuck into another category, but my best bet would have been cultures and that is not the case. That said, thinking on it, destinies are given more weight than ideals previously and I perceive it as encouraging us to build traits around said destinies. Also, in a way this allows for more freedom in character creation, rather than have a set of personality traits linked to X part of your origin that might not actually fit with your vision.
A bit sad though, I love getting inspired by a random flaw.
 

VanguardHero

Explorer
WotC has been handling race recently is that in an effort to fix some of the problems of race they really feel like they are stripping any sort of uniqueness or identity
So much of Tasha's was either a glorified errata, since WotC refuses to do 'errata' they get to charge people for it apparently, as well as 'fixes' to problems that have all the effort of a distracted DM going "Uhhh...just do whatever then, I guess?" instead of an actually designed system. They didn't care about fixing it, they cared about getting people to stop complaining.

Systems that have actually tackled the same issue by choice and not as a reaction to backlash, such as Pathfinder 2e and Level Up, have more interesting, nuanced takes that add to interesting character building instead of everything being samey and up to 'how you flavor it with no mechanical backing'. But that's o5e for you in a nutshell.

As for the Culture & Destiny, damn I really like these. Villager has some surprisingly nice perks for what seems like it should be the dullest mundane option, which I love to see. "Fighter from a farm" is so cliche I've ignored it like the plague, but with Expertise in nightwatch and knowledge from stories and legends, that seems like a character I'd actually want to play! Destiny is fantastic, tying it into Inspiration gives a solid baseline of interacting with roleplay oriented Inspiration, which keeps it in play in peoples' minds instead of being completely forgotten as seems to usually be the case in my o5e experience. As for the Devotion Sacrifice, all I could think of was a plot device from the webcomic Homestuck, where a death only 'counted' if it was either Heroic or Just. Seems the sensible way to run that.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Is there a DM advisory on the average level a player would be expected to fulfill their destiny? I mean... a level 1 player could theoretically sacrifice themselves protecting the party (Devotion)... but not sure I'd want to encourage that.
Well, doing so before you can be raised means your character is dead and therefore won't really benefit from fulfilling their Destiny...

I do wish there were more guideline, but I think that most of them seem pretty high-level. You probably shouldn't let people take Revenge if they're swearing revenge on their greedy 0th-level landlord, for example. It should be a target that requires at least 10-15th level to kill (or at least, that high a level to get past all their defenses).

Overall inspiration seems to be encouraged more as a resource. (Excellence Destiny in my games will thrive... damn those Nat1s) Will there be suggestions on the frequency of handing out Inspiration? To balance the more narrative leaning ones (such as Dominion) vs the ones based in mechanics (Excellence).
Yeah, Excellence is my only real gripe about Destiny. I'm not quite sure what I'd do instead, though, since it's hard to show Excellence in an ability, which is generally shown through good rolls, through pure roleplaying. Perhaps require the PC to describe how they failed and learned from that failure?

Not a question, just an observation: Balance-wise I find the Excellence Fullfilment feature leaning strongly towards favouring spell-casters. Ability checks are more situational, maneuvers that get both attack & damage rolls seem to require at least 1 exertion from what we can tell so far. Magic School can benefit from this feature without expending any resources by way of cantrips.
While I haven't converted her yet, my o5e swashbuckler rogue definitely had Excellence as her goal, as she wanted to be the best duelist. A +2 to attacks and damage would be pretty sweet.

Morrus mentioned that they're adding more schools of magic, although to me they seem more like the tags with 3.5 spells since they're things like "fire." So if these all count as proper schools rather than tags, then it could be that individual schools are a lot smaller. I don't know for sure, of course.

A bit sad though, I love getting inspired by a random flaw.
Totally agree here. Ideals and bonds are mostly covered by Destiny and Background, but I definitely want Flaws back.
 

Ah, just recently started checking/posting on the forums, was not aware of that/ any previous discussion on the topic. Will note and remember going forward.


In the interest of adding something new and not related to that topic, I'll echo that I also really like the addition of destinies. Lots of plot hooks for players and DMs in that.
I think the main thing was that other posts have devolved into naughty word fights about contemporary politics (from what Morrus said, I'm fairly new here so haven't read those other posts. Your comment was a good one I think, and reinforced by Heroic Vanguard's remark about doing this through intentional design being the better approach. The one I deleted went further into the relationship between said design choices and IRL politics, so I thought it best that I not accidentally derail another thread.

The key point being: it sounds like we all appreciate the considered approach by Morrus' team with Level Up :)
 


Masha

Villager
While I haven't converted her yet, my o5e swashbuckler rogue definitely had Excellence as her goal, as she wanted to be the best duelist. A +2 to attacks and damage would be pretty sweet.
Remember, it's not a blanket +2, it's only to a tradition of maneuvers, like the other is to a school of magic. Difference I perceive so far is that "free" spells like cantrips are more effective combat wise than free maneuvers. (damage wise, where the +2 to damage rolls is concerned) The free maneuvers we have seen so far only give basic damage, which is a calculated number, not a damage roll. So to benefit from Excellence you have to spend exertion and that is a limited resource. Unless they overhauled how cantrips work, that gives cantrips a big advantage when it comes to the Excellence destiny.
 
Last edited:

RPGMajor

Explorer
Hmm. Having gone over it more carefully, I'm not sure I buy Mustbairn as Chaotic. Sure they oppose industry and "civilization", but they do so by being very in tune with the earth and the natural world and nature stuff has always been more Neutral to me (for me, Chaos is more Moorcock/Warhammer stuff, purple skies, raining actual cats and dogs, walls of flesh and eyes, twisted monstrosities and abberations, etc.; even good Chaos is weird, unrestrained, and refuses to be bound by any laws, including laws of nature). Part of it is I also like the idea of Alignment keeping it's focus on the cosmic and not issues of individual philosophy or morality, which in general works really well with Level Up's more restrained and limited approach to it.

But that's mostly a setting/lore thing that can easily be adjusted.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Remember, it's not a blanket +2, it's only to a tradition of maneuvers, like the other is to a school of magic. Difference I perceive so far is that "free" spells like cantrips are more effective combat wise than free maneuvers. (damage wise, where the +2 to damage rolls is concerned) The free maneuvers we have seen so far only give basic damage, which is a calculated number, not a damage roll. So to benefit from Excellence you have to spend exertion and that is a limited resource. Unless they overhauled how cantrips work, that gives cantrips a big advantage when it comes to the Excellence destiny.
True. Cantrips are still at will, so there's an edge there. @Morrus, you might want to change the Excellence ability so it only works with spells of 1st level or higher.

Hmm. Having gone over it more carefully, I'm not sure I buy Mustbairn as Chaotic.
Hmm... if Mustbairn halflings still get the Chaotic tag, then what would happen one fulfills their Dominion destiny and gets the Lawful tag? Do they explode like matter/antimatter?
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
Hmm... if Mustbairn halflings still get the Chaotic tag, then what would happen one fulfills their Dominion destiny and gets the Lawful tag? Do they explode like matter/antimatter?
Nah. They just trigger any effect that pops off on Lawful -or- Chaotic.
 



RPGMajor

Explorer
Hmm... if Mustbairn halflings still get the Chaotic tag, then what would happen one fulfills their Dominion destiny and gets the Lawful tag?
An excellent point. In truth, assuming I am understanding LU's approach to alignment correctly, that it is limited to creatures innately connected with a particular force on a cosmic level like fiends/celestials/undead, as well as a small number of humanoids that have proven themselves dedicated enough to become sworn and beholden, or aligned one might say, with one of those forces as a result of their choices and actions, then I'm not certain I think any culture should give one. Destinies, sure, as they imply your character has really done something significant to fulfill it. I could even see and am personally considering a house rule of some sort applying it to certain classes at high levels (like, if you go above level 12 or 14 or something in cleric then you gain the same alignment as the god/higher power that you worship/serve, and if you can't do so or don't want to than you'll need to multiclass at that point; high enough it won't affect most games or most characters, but acknowledging that if you involve yourself deeply enough in cosmic matters those forces are going to either start affecting you or start demanding something of you in return.).

What I don't think it should be is available right away from level 1 based on a a simple origin choice. I just don't see a humanoid at that level being important enough or deeply involved enough or having accomplished enough to really qualify. At least based on how LU appears to be doing alignment to me, which admittedly could be off (pretty much limited to currently available preview material, I missed the playtest and definitely haven't read the full books, so working off incomplete information).

But again, easy to change as a DM, so not a deal breaker at all.
 

RPGMajor

Explorer
I'm also still not a huge fan of "steamforged" being a core book culture as it fits in some settings but decidedly not in others, including the kinds of settings I tend to prefer. Again, not a huge problem to simply say "this culture is not available", but something to note.

Then again I'm also the sort who hates tinker gnomes and wish rock gnomes or their equivalent culture would go back to being miners/jewel crafters/"dwarf gnomes" instead, but I've long sense made peace with having lost that battle.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I'm also still not a huge fan of "steamforged" being a core book culture as it fits in some settings but decidedly not in others, including the kinds of settings I tend to prefer. Again, not a huge problem to simply say "this culture is not available", but something to note.
The Narrator should always decide which cultures exist in their setting. We provide guidance on that. You can’t have Dragonbound cultures in a world without dragons! But we provide the cultures so you can make the decision.
 

Faolyn

Hero
I'm also still not a huge fan of "steamforged" being a core book culture as it fits in some settings but decidedly not in others, including the kinds of settings I tend to prefer. Again, not a huge problem to simply say "this culture is not available", but something to note.

Then again I'm also the sort who hates tinker gnomes and wish rock gnomes or their equivalent culture would go back to being miners/jewel crafters/"dwarf gnomes" instead, but I've long sense made peace with having lost that battle.
It's not that hard to make new cultures. A little tricky, since they're more complicated than backgrounds are, but not that much more. You'd probably have to look at the dwarf cultures first and see what makes your type of rock gnome different than them.
 

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top