D&D 5E Do you use/allow custom backgrounds?

LapBandit

First Post
Custom backgrounds all day.

Just be sure to tell your players that they can mix and match any existing background skills/tools/features to their liking and you won't wind up with a bunch of Sailors.
 

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Caliban

Rules Monkey
Perhaps you were too subtle, or I simply misapprehended why you found it necessary that your hypothetical person who says no to a custom background necessarily appends, "You are playing the game wrong," while discussing the issue with a person who might say no to a custom background.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Hey, that's just how you roll.
 



cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I'd also be fine with saying to players to pick an extra 2 skills and 2 tools or languages and just giving them a generic background feature. Maybe even something that provides a feature like the old second wind ability from 4e.

The signature of champions.
 

mgshamster

First Post
I'd also be fine with saying to players to pick an extra 2 skills and 2 tools or languages and just giving them a generic background feature. Maybe even something that provides a feature like the old second wind ability from 4e.

The signature of champions.

Background features are supposed to grant a bit of narrative power; giving them a combat boost doesn't really do that.
 


Satyrn

First Post
Custom backgrounds all day.

Just be sure to tell your players that they can mix and match any existing background skills/tools/features to their liking and you won't wind up with a bunch of Sailors.

No one at my table cares enough about Perception for it to ever feel like a must have. It can be on our class list and we won't necessarily take it.

That's how we roll.

For my gnome battlemaster, I took Criminal for the thieves tools prof, and then swapped out nearly everything else to become more of a rangery wilderness smuggler. I used the thieves tools once during the whole character's life.
 

So, to clarify:
Is your objection that someone can freely mix and match background skills and features to create new backgrounds?

Or that someone could mix and match skills and features to create a new background and call it by the name of an existing background?
My objection is that Features are codified, and presented as interchangeable, when they shouldn't be. If your character backstory is that you're a noble, then it's already true within the game world that you are a noble, and you shouldn't need the "actually a noble" Feature from the Noble Background in order for that to be the case. If your backstory doesn't include that you're actually a noble, then it's not true within the game world that you are a noble, and nothing written on a character sheet should be able to override that.

If you want to be a noble who became a pirate, then that's who you are, and people will react to you accordingly. You shouldn't be forced into choosing between the Feature from the Noble and the Feature from the Sailor Variant: Pirate, when both choices are equally valid and neither is quite sufficient.
 

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