log in or register to remove this ad

 

Level Up (A5E) Class redesign

dave2008

Legend
To me generic culture (since we are looking settingless):

Agricultural area (get animal handling or nature or survival)
Big City
Port City (good with knots or sailing or small boat handling or swimming)
Industrial Area
Militaristic nation
Religious nation
University town/city
Trading center (learn 1 additional language of your choice)

etc........so, you might grow up in an agricultural area, but not be a farmer. Your culture might give you +2 to nature, or survival, for example. If you were a farmer (or even farmhand) as your background, you'd get another +2 and have some knowledge of tools or animal handling

You grow up in a university city, you might get a boost to some Wis or Int skill.

Stuff like that makes sense to me. Of course, there would be traits/flaws/whatever to go along with the modifiers.
In general I agree, but I am starting to like the idea that your culture is comprised of several things you get to choose:

Culture:
  1. Select a background
  2. Select a religious system (including none)
  3. Select an environment (coastal, mountain, rural, urban, etc.)
All three (or more) make up your culture and they all give you different things.
 

log in or register to remove this ad


Your culture could be a la carte: pick a background, pick a lifestyle, pick a community, pick a religion, etc. and all of these go into your "culture." It could be a generic set of tables that cover a wide range of aspects that together define your character's "culture."
Actually, that is what I have been saying. It is alacarte.

The "culture" is made out of the possible background choices.

Change the backgrounds and the culture becomes different.



None of this would require a specific setting. Just some lists to roll on or select from to pick 3-5 elements that make up your culture. I think I like that idea a lot.
The choice of background IS the "culture".

For example, if I pick a Nomadic background. Then the character comes from a nomadic background.

Somewhere in the SETTING a nomadic culture must now exist.

Either the DM included the background because there is one or more nomadic cultures that are prominent in the setting. Or the player is asking the DM for this background, and the DM is willing to find a place in the setting where a nomadic culture can make some sense.

Either way, there is a one-to-one correspondence between background and culture.



Besides background, what else is necessary to reflect a culture? The background can supply a language, and work like History to make Lore checks that pertain to that culture. Nothing else is needed, mechanically, beyond a background.

Meanwhile, a DM might want to point to an area in a setting map to give the player a sense of where the culture is currently flourishing.




Suppose the DM wants a magi-tech Mountain Dwarf culture. The DM can create say 5 backgrounds with magi-tech themes. Think about how a dwarf in that culture would use this technology. Say, there is a Dwarven magi-tech brewery, that uses magic and rituals to produce high quantities of high quality ale. There might be a ritual that allows a character to convert underground fungi into excellent ale. Perhaps the ale is nutritious and serves as a hearty meal (for those with high alcohol tolerance). Perhaps there are even medicinal properties, like removing 1 level of exhaustion extra per long rest, or longevity. Perhaps there is only one particular mountain where the dwarven community is known for their magi-tech. In any case, creating five backgrounds that highlight the main tropes of that community culture, brings the culture to life. The backgrounds help the players identify with the gameworld culture in a fun way.

Meanwhile the "dwarven magi-tech brewer" gains access to the language of that mountain, perhaps a peculiar dialect. Any skill checks about that mountain culture and other cultures that have connections with it (mainly from market contacts), are proficient because of the background.

Does every dwarf speak the same language? Probably not. Humans dont. So the actual language depends on the setting, but the background grants it, whatever it is.
 
Last edited:

In general I agree, but I am starting to like the idea that your culture is comprised of several things you get to choose:

Culture:
  1. Select a background
  2. Select a religious system (including none)
  3. Select an environment (coastal, mountain, rural, urban, etc.)
All three (or more) make up your culture and they all give you different things.
To me background is everything.

Religious system? Pick a background that refers to it. Maybe the character comes from a priestly family, or was groomed to serve as a shaman? The asset could be some kind of sacred ritual that the character can perform with a benefit.

Terrain? That comes with the background. Only characters who actually do sail, would know how to sail. Only character who actually mine metal would know how to mine metal.

Presumably, any Background is customizable. So it is possible for a player to tweak a background, to swap in a different tool proficiency, for example.
 

dave2008

Legend
The choice of background IS the "culture".

For example, if I pick a Nomadic background. Then the character comes from a nomadic background.

Somewhere in the SETTING a nomadic culture must now exist.
Ok, as I suspected we are using different meanings for the same terms.

Besides background, what else is necessary to reflect a culture? The background can supply a language, and work like History to make Lore checks that pertain to that culture. Nothing else is needed, mechanically, beyond a background.
I think there could be more to it than just your background as I noted here. I mean I could want to be from a nomadic background that this polytheistic or animist or monotheist or something else. Better to break it down into more options IMO.
 

dave2008

Legend
To me background is everything.

Religious system? Pick a background that refers to it. Maybe the character comes from a priestly family, or was groomed to serve as a shaman? The asset could be some kind of sacred ritual that the character can perform with a benefit.

Terrain? That comes with the background. Only characters who actually do sail, would know how to sail. Only character who actually mine metal would know how to mine metal.

Presumably, any Background is customizable. So it is possible for a player to tweak a background, to swap in a different tool proficiency, for example.
One of the backgrounds is Soldier, I would like to be able to vary the "culture" of that soldier based on his/her religion and the environment they were raised in. I think that could be wrapped up into backgrounds, but rather than having one choice carry so much weight I would prefer to have mutiple choices make up my total culture.
 

Ok, as I suspected we are using different meanings for the same terms.

I think there could be more to it than just your background as I noted here. I mean I could want to be from a nomadic background that this polytheistic or animist or monotheist or something else. Better to break it down into more options IMO.
I agree. Also, there can be multiple "nomadic" background options existing at the same time, referring to different cultures.

Now, even if no players pick the background sacred community, the DM can still use the background for NPCs that the players can establish relationships with, when they show up for major holidays, or even participate in the community daily during downtimes away from adventuring.

The existence of backgrounds shapes a culture even when nonplayers do these community roles.
 
Last edited:

dave2008

Legend
I agree. Also, there can be multiple "nomadic" background options existing at the same time, referring to different cultures.

Now, even if no players pick the background sacred community, the DM can still use the background for NPCs that the players can establish relationships with, when they show up for major holidays, or even participate in the community daily during downtimes away from adventuring.

The existence of backgrounds shapes a culture even when nonplayers do these community roles.
You can cover a lot more ground if break it out, instead of slamming it all into backgrounds. Also, we already have a game element called a background and rather than redefine that, I find it more useful to incorporate it into something new called "Culture."
 

In general I agree, but I am starting to like the idea that your culture is comprised of several things you get to choose:

Culture:
  1. Select a background
  2. Select a religious system (including none)
  3. Select an environment (coastal, mountain, rural, urban, etc.)
All three (or more) make up your culture and they all give you different things.
That works for me also.
 

To me background is everything.

Religious system? Pick a background that refers to it. Maybe the character comes from a priestly family, or was groomed to serve as a shaman? The asset could be some kind of sacred ritual that the character can perform with a benefit.

Terrain? That comes with the background. Only characters who actually do sail, would know how to sail. Only character who actually mine metal would know how to mine metal.

Presumably, any Background is customizable. So it is possible for a player to tweak a background, to swap in a different tool proficiency, for example.
Well, that's a much bigger background, which really encompasses all three things we are talking about. But it's easier to mix and match three different things, than to build all the things that contain all the combinations thereof.....
 

You can cover a lot more ground if break it out, instead of slamming it all into backgrounds. Also, we already have a game element called a background and rather than redefine that, I find it more useful to incorporate it into something new called "Culture."
What would "culture" offer (mechanically or narratively) that background wouldnt?

(I think every background should automatically with a language and proficiency for checks relating to the background.)
 

Well, that's a much bigger background, which really encompasses all three things we are talking about. But it's easier to mix and match three different things, than to build all the things that contain all the combinations thereof.....
Each background by itself is moreorless just a background.

But like a deck of cards, you build a culture by choosing which backgrounds goes into a particular deck.

The player just picks one card. But the DM has in mind the entire deck.

A culture can have five backgrounds or a hundred backgrounds, whatever the DM finds useful.

Personally I would start small. Pick say five. Then add more backgrounds if the player characters develop deeper relationships with the culture during gameplay.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Who do I report the owner of the site to for insulting me?
Your response to somebody calling you Karen is is that want to speak to my manager? At least you have a sense of humour. :)

Dude, calm down. You snarked. You got very mildly snarked back. For somebody with 7 warnings, 5 of which are for insulting other members, I’d have expected a thicker skin. You can - and do - certainly dish it out, after all.

This was a good natured ding. Quite a funny one, I might add. Don’t escalate it into a problem.
 

Level 1 Subclasses are a must.

Classes with Signature abilities or abilities tied to Subclass gimmick should scale properly so that way it doesn't feel like wet toilet paper when facing a higher level enemy. One example was the League of Legends' Fighter Archetype: The Renegade. Some of its class abilities didn't have proper Scaling in regards to damage. Which is stupid. My Hextech Gun/s should be my main source of heavy hitting damage instead of a feat and a longsword

Dead levels SHOULD NOT be a thing. It kinda sucks when a level has a "blank" and an extra prof increase or Invocation is considered good enough.

I'm still okay with Multiclass Feats or Half Feats.
 

Level 1 Subclasses are a must.
Yeah, the archetype should be the default feat for level 1.

The "zero level" character can be made out five feat units: two for species, two for class or archetype, and one for background. These feats for class or archetype are rudimentary, such as proficiency with class skills or tools, simple weapons, one martial weapon or cantrip, or rudimentary armor. Small things, but they add up. Probably the biggest thing is a special species ability.

Then at level 1, add an archetype on top of this. Round out the class later at level 3.

Level 2 gets an open feat for player preference including an ability score improvement.

This way, the character starts out doing the archetype specialization.



This setup allows a Fighter to swap in a cantrip at "level 0", or so on.

And zero level characters are well understood, and doable for players who like to start roleplay as teens during level 0, or so on.
 
Last edited:

dave2008

Legend
What would "culture" offer (mechanically or narratively) that background wouldnt?

(I think every background should automatically with a language and proficiency for checks relating to the background.)
Background already is a thing in 5e. It has a particular design. So we can't really add to that and be compatible with 5e. However, we can create a new thing called "Culture" or something else that includes your background. I have already mentioned religious affiliation of something that could be included in culture and is not currently covered in the 5e "Background." Additionally, i would like to move some racial traits, and specifically sub-race traits to culture. I am thinking these would go in the "environment" portion of the culture. This 3 pronged approach allows a persons culture to be a combination of 3 things (or more if needed): Background (basically past profession as in RAW), Environment (a version of traits taken from races and possibly other things), and Religion (mostly flavor, but could include mechanical possible include mechanical bits).
 

dave2008

Legend
Each background by itself is moreorless just a background.

But like a deck of cards, you build a culture by choosing which backgrounds goes into a particular deck.

The player just picks one card. But the DM has in mind the entire deck.

A culture can have five backgrounds or a hundred backgrounds, whatever the DM finds useful.

Personally I would start small. Pick say five. Then add more backgrounds if the player characters develop deeper relationships with the culture during gameplay.
Why can't I choose a culture by picking a background, a religion, and a region? That provides the equal number of options without require a new background for every iteration of those three things. I mean, we are achieving the same goal - why are you so against the mix and match approach. It is odd since they simply can't shove it all into backgrounds and maintain the compatibility they want. So they have to create something new, and I don't think they are going to ditch RAW backgrounds.
 

dave2008

Legend
@Haldrik look at it this way: does it make more sense to have 20 options each for background, religion, and region (60 options total) that make up your "culture" or to make 720 different "backgrounds" to cover all of those possible combinations?
 

Background already is a thing in 5e. It has a particular design. So we can't really add to that and be compatible with 5e. However, we can create a new thing called "Culture" or something else that includes your background.
I am up for this approach.

If race splits off "culture" when becoming species, it is ok to merge the background design space into the new "culture" design space.

Essentially "culture" is "background".

But note. The Players Handbook background already includes: Ideal, Flaw, and what I call Quirk.

The "Ideal" is one sentence or so to convey a central concept. So here, I also have the player add a spiritual community that relates to this ideal. For example, here is the place where a cleric mentions a cosmic force or philosophy or polytheistic patron deity or pantheon, and a particular sacred community. As expansions of Ideal.

This is also where the player decides the Alignment of the character (such as Chaotic Good) and then adds a specific behavior that expresses this alignment (such as believing in personal redemption and being more likely to let a criminal go free without punishment, as long as future danger to others is less of a concern).

Likewise near Ideal, I add "Ambition", a longterm goal, usually spanning a tier. This goal correlates well with founding a stronghold and attracting followers at a higher level. It could be a wizard college with students, or a new spiritual community in a remote area, or a new import-export business, or so on. There may even be an ambition to become a leader of a region. Whatever the ambition, the player can already be thinking about the "stronghold" (whatever form it will take) from level 1, and achieve related goals toward it.

So these things − Alignment, Ideal, Spirituality, and Ambition are things that I do with the normal Background design space now.

If culture is moreorless the same thing Background is but maybe slightly beefier, such as adding proficiency with a weapon, armor, cantrip, minor ritual, or similar, that is fine with me.

Generally, a "cultural background" is worth about a feat of features.



So:

Background is often the job within a certain culture.

Ideal includes a spiritual community in the context of that culture. (But no extra mechanics: that would require a dedicated background.)

Region: the DM tells you where this culture is.
 
Last edited:

Note, some gamers seem to make a big deal about "species" and things like Darkvision. But Darkvision can easily be a CULTURAL trait. Because magic.

The Warlock can gain darkvision by means of magic despite species. Perhaps every police officer in a certain city has to be imbued with Darkvision as part of the job description. So, honestly, my only concern for who gets what, is flavor. If a dwarf culture is deep underground then for flavor reasons they seem likely to have darkvision. But if they dwell around muddy riverbanks on the surface then maybe they lack darkvision. If they live immediately under the surface using a hill like a windowless apartment building, maybe they lack darkvision, and rely on oillamps and lanterns like humans do.

Regarding Strength and small species. In my eyes, halflings are "natural" and shouldnt be strong, but gnomes are "magical" and might be superhumanly strong. So the only thing that matters is the character concept and the coherent flavor that comes with it. So the line between "species" and "culture" is porous. That said, to silo certain things into a particular species like Large size or waterbreathing, or misty step, or elven accuracy, helps give a sense of shared commonality across a species, even if individuals might swap these traits out.

The utility of "species" and "culture" is to organize themes and tropes.
 

COMING SOON: 5 Plug-In Settlements for your 5E Game

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top