D&D 5E [Homebrew] Character Origin by Trait Selection


Garbage Bear
Prompted in part by some of the negative response to the new treatment of half-races in the new 2024 playtest material (and various questions about the separation of biology and culture in race selection), I've put together a document as a proof of concept for a modular system that allows more variation and player choice in their character's origin.
The basic idea is that instead of choosing a race and background and each of those giving you a bundle of traits you instead make a series of trait selections directly. Different traits are lumped into categories and you get to pick a limited number of each category. For example, there are ancestry traits that represent your race/species/whatever-else-you-want-to-label-this-conceptual-space, and to play as a half-race you would choose both the ancestry traits of your parents. You also choose traits related to your character's size, the culture they were raised in, plane-touched elements, etc.

This document mostly uses existing traits from 5E or the 2024 playtest verbatim, and it should be treated as a proof of concept rather than an actual working document. As such, I have also mostly disregarded power level, as that's not really the point of this example.

I am looking for thoughts and opinions on the structure and the degree of complexity a system like this entails, rather than comment on the actual traits themselves.
Namely, is this way too fiddly? Is there value in pursuing this idea further?

Obviously, unless power level as considered very carefully in an actual implementation there is a lot of opportunity for extreme min-maxing. Are there other concerns I may not have considered?


  • OriginTraits_v0.1.pdf
    791.1 KB · Views: 92

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