D&D 5E Everyone Should Play Custom Lineage by Default

Zardnaar

Legend
Yes to this. No other player should be telling another player how they must play their character in general or how they must slot their stats specifically. If someone starts with a 14 instead of a 16 in their primary stat, is the +1 ability modifier difference really going to ruin the campaign? If so, sounds like there's bigger issues at hand for that table.

I've had players deliberately put a 12 in their prime attributes which lead to a TPK.

I don't care if you get yourself killed,I do care if you get others killed.

Mearls also said that was the assumption vs powergamers wanting a 20.

If you build a crap PC you're effectively trolling the rest of the party.
 

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How does one player even know what the scores are for another PC?

I could have a Fighter with STR and DEX 10, and just tell the DM, "I missed. I missed again." etc. No one else needs to know what my PCs stats are.
Plenty of ways. Often, character creation happens at Session 0 when all players are present - anyone paying attention will know what's going on with their fellow adventurers. On Roll20, character sheets are very often visible to the entire party. Rolling dice on Roll20 shows your applicable ability modifiers so anyone can figure out the stats involved. One of our groups posts their character sheets to our Discord server so anyone can see them. IRL, if you sit next to someone, you are going to see their character sheet.

Knowing a bit about the character sheets of your fellow players helps you roleplay with them and helps you as a player be better able to shine the spotlight on others. Then again, players I game with aren't criticizing other players' character choices, so it's a boon and not a bane to game play at our table.
 

So an elf by default has +2 dex, age, alignment, M size, 30 ft speed, darkvision, keen senses, trance, fey ancestry, two languages, and a subrace. Subraces can change your speed. Tasha says we can swap the ASI's for any ones we want. Alignment as a racial trait is going the way of the dodo (see the goliath reprint in IWD). Languages and proficiencies are swappable. Then, Custom lineage-as-race comes in and says: you can pick size S or M. You can select a skill instead of darkvision, and trade trance, fey ancestry and your subrace for a feat.
Well, all of those are optional rules, and what is more, they are different optional rules. I can absolutely see a DM being OK with switching languages and tool proficiencies (ie what would be traditionally “cultural”), but not skills, or attributes, and not allow custom lineages.

I could also see a DM allowing switching for occasional characters (like if a player had a character they couldn’t get to “work” otherwise), but not allowing it as a matter of course.

So, I think proclaiming the death of race is premature.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Plenty of ways. Often, character creation happens at Session 0 when all players are present - anyone paying attention will know what's going on with their fellow adventurers. On Roll20, character sheets are very often visible to the entire party. Rolling dice on Roll20 shows your applicable ability modifiers so anyone can figure out the stats involved. One of our groups posts their character sheets to our Discord server so anyone can see them. IRL, if you sit next to someone, you are going to see their character sheet.

Knowing a bit about the character sheets of your fellow players helps you roleplay with them and helps you as a player be better able to shine the spotlight on others. Then again, players I game with aren't criticizing other players' character choices, so it's a boon and not a bane to game play at our table.
Sorry, I should have been more blunt: it's none of their business what my PC's scores are. :)
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
The mechanics let me say it is an Elf though.

Mechanically I am allowed to say my lineage is descended from Elven parents, and I resemble an Elf (the rest of my kin).

Unless we're saying 'Glorifindel, the 5'8" fair haired and pointy eared person born to elves, raised by Dwarves and who resembles an Elf' is not, in fact, an Elf.

Which to me, seems like a rather inane, pointless and artificial line to draw.
The mechanics don't dictate what you can "say" at all. You can "say" it's a giant man-wasp descended from beavers if you want.

But the mechanics LIST IT as "Custom Lineage". That is the name of that race in the mechanics.

And I will repeat the challenge because you ignored it earlier: If you are a wizard, who chooses a preacher background, and who picks up medium armor proficiency and proficiency with a mace, and you walk around in a breast plate with a holy symbol emblazoned on it and you hit things with your mace and you choose cleric-like spells and you SAY you're a cleric, CAN YOU TAKE A FEAT WITH SAYS "PRE-REQUISITE: CLERIC"? CAN YOU ATTUNE A MAGIC ITEM WHICH SAYS "ATTUNEMENT BY CLERIC ONLY"?

No. You cannot. Because how you describe the character is not what dictates the mechanics. What dictates the mechanics is whether or not mechanically you chose at least one level of Cleric for your class levels.

So no. No racial feats for you, no matter how well you describe your background.

No soup for you either!

no-soup-for-you.jpg
 
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The mechanics don't dictate what you can "say" at all. You can "say" it's a giant man-wasp descended from beavers if you want.

But the mechanics LIST IT as "Custom Lineage". That is the name of that race in the mechanics.

And I will repeat the challenge because you ignored it earlier: If you are a wizard, who chooses a preacher background, and who picks up medium armor proficiency and proficiency with a mace, and you walk around in a breast plate with a holy symbol emblazoned on it and you hit things with your mace and you choose cleric-like spells and you SAY you're a cleric, CAN YOU TAKE A FEAT WITH SAYS "PRE-REQUISITE: CLERIC"? CAN YOU ATTUNE A MAGIC ITEM WHICH SAYS "ATTUNEMENT BY CLERIC ONLY"?

No. You cannot. Because how you describe the character is not what dictates the mechanics. What dictates the mechanics is whether or not mechanically you chose at least one level of Cleric for your class levels.

So no. No racial feats for you, no matter how well you describe your background.

No soup for you either!

no-soup-for-you.jpg
Im quoting the mechanics. The mechanics of custom lineage let you choose your lineage and if you 'resemble any of your kin.'

So mechanically you can say you have Elven lineage (both parents) look exactly like an Elf, and that Elves are your kin.

To me, that makes you an Elf.
 

Im quoting the mechanics. The mechanics of custom lineage let you choose your lineage and if you 'resemble any of your kin.'

So mechanically you can say you have Elven lineage (both parents) look exactly like an Elf, and that Elves are your kin.

To me, that makes you an Elf.

So "Instead of choosing one of the game's races for your character at 1st level", you are choosing one of the game's races? That's... confusing.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Im quoting the mechanics. The mechanics of custom lineage let you choose your lineage and if you 'resemble any of your kin.'

So mechanically you can say you have Elven lineage (both parents) look exactly like an Elf, and that Elves are your kin.

To me, that makes you an Elf.
If I look exactly like a cleric, and I say I am a cleric to other characters, and I use all the symbols and armory and weaponry of a cleric, and I choose spells often found on the cleric list, and other characters in the game think I am a cleric - but I have taken no levels in the cleric class - can I attune an item which has as it's prerequisite "requires attunement by a cleric"?
 

FarBeyondC

Explorer
If I look exactly like a cleric, and I say I am a cleric to other characters, and I use all the symbols and armory and weaponry of a cleric, and I choose spells often found on the cleric list, and other characters in the game think I am a cleric - but I have taken no levels in the cleric class - can I attune an item which has as it's prerequisite "requires attunement by a cleric"?

A rogue (Thief) of the appropriate level could, but then, they have a feature that explicitly lets them do so. Custom Lineage has no such feature that allows them to do the same.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Im quoting the mechanics. The mechanics of custom lineage let you choose your lineage and if you 'resemble any of your kin.'

So mechanically you can say you have Elven lineage (both parents) look exactly like an Elf, and that Elves are your kin.

To me, that makes you an Elf.
Great. Changelings can use any racial feat or magical item in the game as long as they "look" like that race when they do it.

We have literally entered "race as rubber mask" territory.
 

loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff (She/Her)
If I look exactly like a cleric, and I say I am a cleric to other characters, and I use all the symbols and armory and weaponry of a cleric, and I choose spells often found on the cleric list, and other characters in the game think I am a cleric - but I have taken no levels in the cleric class - can I attune an item which has as it's prerequisite "requires attunement by a cleric"?
Can't see why not.
 


DND_Reborn

Legend
Can't see why not.
Because you aren't, in fact, a cleric and have no connection in that sense to your god or divine power. You have no training as a cleric, neither, nor can you invoke Channel Divinity to attempt to Turn Undead.

Since you lack all these other things that also make up "being a cleric", why should you be able to attune to an item that requires you being a cleric?

Again, resembling something, pretending to be something... does not make you that something. I could dress up like a doctor, go to a hospital and pretend to be a doctor, but it doesn't give me the knowledge or medical training a doctor has. I might even be able to fake it and do some of the things a doctor does, but again--not a doctor and most of it I can't do.
 

loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff (She/Her)
Because it simultaneously makes both actually being a Cleric and pretending to be a Cleric pointless?
Nope, it doesn't. Being a cleric is still pretty much different from being a wizard -- it's not like the only difference between them is items they are able to attune to.

Like, y'know, reskinning is a thing. Playing a cleric of Mystra as a wizard is a pretty frequent occurrence, and if you are for some stupid reason so opposed to reskinning, then question whether can cleric-not-quite-cleric attune to cleric-only item is pointless. If you aren't, then this question is pretty pointless too -- there's no single reason to not allow said character to attune to the item.
 

loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff (She/Her)
Because you aren't, in fact, a cleric and have no connection in that sense to your god or divine power. You have no training as a cleric, neither, nor can you invoke Channel Divinity to attempt to Turn Undead.

Since you lack all these other things that also make up "being a cleric", why should you be able to attune to an item that requires you being a cleric?
Last time I checked, rules are there to represent a fictional concept of cleric, not the other way around. Am I in board games forum or somethin?
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Last time I checked, rules are there to represent a fictional concept of cleric, not the other way around. Am I in board games forum or somethin?
LOL I'm not sure what board games have to do with any of this...

Rules are there to play the game. If you want nothing but fiction, go to a story-telling session or read a book. ;)
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Sorry, I should have been more blunt: it's none of their business what my PC's scores are. :)
Yea, but most scores are pretty easily derivable, assuming you roll your attacks and saves in the open. I don't see how to hide your scores unless all roll communication between a player and a DM is hidden.

In my one group, we made all our characters blind, and I knew who had what main stat by the end of the 1st combat. There's just too many tells.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Nope, it doesn't. Being a cleric is still pretty much different from being a wizard -- it's not like the only difference between them is items they are able to attune to.

Like, y'know, reskinning is a thing. Playing a cleric of Mystra as a wizard is a pretty frequent occurrence, and if you are for some stupid reason so opposed to reskinning, then question whether can cleric-not-quite-cleric attune to cleric-only item is pointless. If you aren't, then this question is pretty pointless too -- there's no single reason to not allow said character to attune to the item.
Well crap, let's just ditch classes too and let anyone do anything as long as they say that's what they are. I know my character sheet says half-orc barbarian but I identify as a halfling wizard, so I should be able to take second chance and cast fireball, right?
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Great. Changelings can use any racial feat or magical item in the game as long as they "look" like that race when they do it.

We have literally entered "race as rubber mask" territory.
Of course not, because they aren't conceptually an elf. They're conceptually a changeling.

If the DM and the player agree that me reskinning one set of mechanics to represent a different fictional concept is OK, then there's no reason not to continue that narrative representation into other rules elements.

If a certain magic item can only be attuned by elves, and the DM and the player have agreed that a different set of mechanics is consistent with an elven identity, then using the elf-only magic item simply serves to reify that already agreed upon mechanical change with the desired narrative.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Yea, but most scores are pretty easily derivable, assuming you roll your attacks and saves in the open. I don't see how to hide your scores unless all roll communication between a player and a DM is hidden.

In my one group, we made all our characters blind, and I knew who had what main stat by the end of the 1st combat. There's just too many tells.
When I play, I roll in front of me and unless I get a crit or fumble, I just call out my total to whoever is DMing, so unless another player is looking over my shoulder there is no reason for them to know what I rolled, either.

Personally, as DM, as long as I trust the player knows what they are doing, I just want the totals called out. Once an AC or DC is known, then they can just tell me hit/damage/fail/etc.

Again, exactly what my numbers are or what my rolls are aren't anyone's business but mine (and the DM if they ask).
 

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