D&D (2024) How to import "race" flavor into D&D 2024 inclusively

the Jester

Legend
For example, in my example in the post above, the Elf Wizard character with a Soldier Background, takes advantage of the official permission for the player to create ones own Background. The result is an individuating character concept: a high Strength Wizard, a Fey, being tutored in wizardry by a primordial Elf, speaking Celestial, with combat experience in the High culture fighting style. This Elf is "more unique" than other Elf characters. Being "different" is part of being "unique". More customization makes this individuation possible.
You can do that without having ability modifiers tied to background, though. You just assign one of your high stats to Strength.

The Background is more than the sum of its mechanical parts. It is especially the narrative circumstances during which the character acquires these mechanics. These narrative implications can be highly relevant in certain encounters, and unique.

For this character, gaining level 1 in the Wizard class is about the most standard mechanic possible. But saying that the character reached level 1 by being tutored by one of the most powerful Wizards in the multiverse is something remarkable − campaign altering.
I feel having "my character knows one of the most powerful wizards in the multiverse" is a bit presumptuous, and a bit special snowflake, for my tastes; but if you're going to do it, you don't need a special background at all, you just make it part of your backstory (assuming you have the DM's buy-in).

If you want to know the most powerful anythings in the nation, much less the multiverse, you should- at least in my game- seek them out in play, not assume that you did it before you even start play. That is similar to the pc who wants "I was a great hero and general in the last major war" or "I'm the kingdom's heir" as part of their backstory. Unless the DM is willing to go for it, those are the kinds of things that happen through play, not before play.
 

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Yaarel

He Mage
I feel having "my character knows one of the most powerful wizards in the multiverse" is a bit presumptuous, and a bit special snowflake, for my tastes
This character concept with a personal relationship with a powerful person is a normal flavor for the Warlock class.

The point of the concept is, this Epic Wizard is literally a family member, and culturally understood as such.

It is easy to explain why Corellon doesnt normally interfere. They want their children to grow up individualists, self-reliant, self-determining, and able to become autonomously powerful to exert influence over the multiverse.

Meanwhile, the DM has a hook for adventures to play with.
 

the Jester

Legend
This character concept with a personal relationship with a powerful person is a normal flavor for the Warlock class.
I feel like there's a big difference between having a relationship with a powerful patron and having one with one of the most powerful wizards in the multiverse, but maybe that's just me.

The point of the concept is, this Epic Wizard is literally a family member, and culturally understood as such.
Right. I take issue with having such a relationship without establishing it in play. That's the kind of thing I feel should happen in the game, not as backstory. For a warlock, the DM and player negotiate the specifics of patronage; the way I am reading what you're describing is putting a lot of the authority on the nature of the patron in the player's hands. Maybe that's all just my knee jerk reaction to this as a tyrant DM of the old school, though.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
That is similar to the pc who wants "I was a great hero and general in the last major war" or "I'm the kingdom's heir" as part of their backstory.
Heh, 2014 refers to similar backgrounds, including Folk Hero and Noble. When deciding what kind of noble, the character might be the heir to the throne.

For a warlock, the DM and player negotiate the specifics of patronage.
That is still true for this Trance Tutor concept. The player and the DM need to negotiate it.

Because.

The player has total control over the character concept. But the DM has total control over the setting concept. Sometimes one jurisdiction overlaps the other.

There is need to negotiate, coordinate, make room for, and fit in.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I always found ability scores to be a pretty unflavored way of doing it. Especially once you start having multiple species with the identical abilities.

If dwarves, warforged, and orcs all had +2 Str, +2 Con (-2 Dex) then they aren't different
That would be true if the only racial identity were stat bonuses. They aren't. Goliaths aren't goliaths because they get +2 strength. They are goliaths because the race is big and strong, which translates into racial abilities AND racial bonuses. You can't describe goliaths as this big, massively strong race and then have the race be no stronger than halflings or elves. They need the +2 bonus for that to be true.

Giving them some big carrying racial ability but no strength bonus is nonsensical. They need both for there not to be a disconnect. Without both, you end up with race is stronger than other races(racial carrying ability), but is not actually stronger than any other race(same bonus to strength as a pixie). Stronger = not stronger.
 

Horwath

Legend
That would be true if the only racial identity were stat bonuses. They aren't. Goliaths aren't goliaths because they get +2 strength. They are goliaths because the race is big and strong, which translates into racial abilities AND racial bonuses. You can't describe goliaths as this big, massively strong race and then have the race be no stronger than halflings or elves. They need the +2 bonus for that to be true.

Giving them some big carrying racial ability but no strength bonus is nonsensical. They need both for there not to be a disconnect. Without both, you end up with race is stronger than other races(racial carrying ability), but is not actually stronger than any other race(same bonus to strength as a pixie). Stronger = not stronger.
I would 100% agree with you if we keep ability modifier ONLY for ability checks.
if we remove ability mods from attack, saves, AC, DC and damage than by all means have up to +/- 4 or even 6 to racial mods.

but if one race has +2 STR and other -2 STR and they both try to be a barbarian, there will be big difference in combat efficiency.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
That would be true if the only racial identity were stat bonuses. They aren't. Goliaths aren't goliaths because they get +2 strength. They are goliaths because the race is big and strong, which translates into racial abilities AND racial bonuses. You can't describe goliaths as this big, massively strong race and then have the race be no stronger than halflings or elves. They need the +2 bonus for that to be true.

Giving them some big carrying racial ability but no strength bonus is nonsensical. They need both for there not to be a disconnect. Without both, you end up with race is stronger than other races(racial carrying ability), but is not actually stronger than any other race(same bonus to strength as a pixie). Stronger = not stronger.
Goliath are not "big". 5e makes the obnoxious choice to dump that racial identity onto the gm because it stripped away the subjective mechanical elements that might make size large matter and left only a larger aura/pbaoe to being size large.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I would 100% agree with you if we keep ability modifier ONLY for ability checks.
if we remove ability mods from attack, saves, AC, DC and damage than by all means have up to +/- 4 or even 6 to racial mods.

but if one race has +2 STR and other -2 STR and they both try to be a barbarian, there will be big difference in combat efficiency.
No there won't be a big difference in combat efficiency. In 5e it won't even be noticeable. I also like how you went with -2 when I never said a word about penalties.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Goliath are not "big". 5e makes the obnoxious choice to dump that racial identity onto the gm because it stripped away the subjective mechanical elements that might make size large matter and left only a larger aura/pbaoe to being size large.
They ARE big. I said big, not size large.

"Size. Goliaths are between 7 and 8 feet tall and weigh between 280 and 340 pounds."

That's big. Even out of shape, Andre the Giant was a strength beast at 7'4". He barely worked out or lifted weights.
 

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