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5E Jeremy Crawford Discusses Details on Custom Origins

Azzy

Newtype
I think the reinforcement of how people play, what races they pick and how they apply points matters more than the actual bonus. A +1 or 2 to any given ability is not that big of a deal, but enough people care that they gravitate towards those race/class combinations. It becomes a self-sustaining loop of sorts. Rather than putting that 15 into strength for that elf, they'll pick a dwarf or half-orc so they get that vaunted +1 bonus.
But why are you interested in reinforcing traditional stereotypes on other people's characters—especially when they are not gaming with you?
 

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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
But why are you interested in reinforcing traditional stereotypes on other people's characters—especially when they are not gaming with you?
I've explained my thoughts on this multiple times. Feel free to disagree.
 

Azzy

Newtype
Is it? Your question seemed so loaded I assumed it was rhetorical.
Yes, it is. WotC's motivations (never mind they have reversed course on that with Tasha's) have nothing to do with any motivation of an individual on the boards.

It wasn't rhetorical. However, if you assumed it was rhetorical, then why answer?
 

Yes, it is. WotC's motivations (never mind they have reversed course on that with Tasha's) have nothing to do with any motivation of an individual on the boards.

It wasn't rhetorical. However, if you assumed it was rhetorical, then why answer?
Ummm...clearly I didn't answer your question I asked a different one.

It's seems to me that iit s relevant because you accuse people of "reinforcing traditional stereotypes on other people's characters—especially when they are not gaming with you?", when clearly what people are doing is expressing their prefence for what the rules should be, which in this case is also for them remaining what they have been for the last however many years. What the rules are has nothing to do with forcing stereotypes on anyone else. Just as people in this thread have said you can ignore the new rules it was always possible to ignore the old ones.

It just seems to me bizarre and somewhat unreasonably aggressive to ask such loaded questions.

As I've said before, flexibility was added, then it was clearly deliberately and consciously removed and now it's being added back in. I just think that context and the motives for both original backpedaling and the current backpedaling of the backpedaling are relevant. Did WOTC do research back in DND Next and find that the players overwhelmingly wanted the rules to reflect traditonal archetypes? Or was it purely the preference of the designers? Was it a kneejerk reaction to what they thought the player base wanted. And if enforcing racial archetypes was the player preference do they have any real reason to think that's changed?

But I don't know. Everytime lately I've suggested stepping back from an argument, looking at the context and considering a bit more nuance, people tell me that it's irrelevant. I guess a lot of people like being morally indignant and talking past each other endlessly.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Anecdotes are nice and all, but your experiences do not jibe with the data that D&D Beyond and WotC have shared (and which is more representative of the larger player base than your personal experiences). Also, I've played a non-variant human (that was a ranger, no less). 😛
Why, though? Those extra +1s aren't that great. You don't really need your 3rd-6th stats. With the variant human you get your two +1s, an extra proficiency and a feat. That feat can be a minor feat to get a second +1 for basically a floating +2 and floating +1, or a major feat. That's a lot better than a few +1s in stats that aren't all that useful.
 
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Azzy

Newtype
Ummm...clearly I didn't answer your question I asked a different one.

It's seems to me that iit s relevant because you accuse people of "reinforcing traditional stereotypes on other people's characters—especially when they are not gaming with you?", when clearly what people are doing is expressing their prefence for what the rules should be, which in this case is also for them remaining what they have been for the last however many years. What the rules are has nothing to do with forcing stereotypes on anyone else. Just as people in this thread have said you can ignore the new rules it was always possible to ignore the old ones.
Sorry, but it doesn't seem as clear to me as it does to you. If that's honestly the case, then I retract my question.

It just seems to me bizarre and somewhat unreasonably aggressive to ask such loaded questions.

As I've said before, flexibility was added, then it was clearly deliberately and consciously removed and now it's being added back in. I just think that context and the motives for both original backpedaling and the current backpedaling of the backpedaling are relevant. Did WOTC do research back in DND Next and find that the players overwhelmingly wanted the rules to reflect traditonal archetypes? Or was it purely the preference of the designers? Was it a kneejerk reaction to what they thought the player base wanted. And if enforcing racial archetypes was the player preference do they have any real reason to think that's changed?
I believe that there are ample ways to reinforce archetypes that don't involve ASIs. I also think that there should also be a way to subvert these archetypes within the rules as well as DMs/players/other TTRPGs/settings have been doing this for decades. Now there are rules that make it much easier to do. Could those rules (in Tasha's) be better? Certainly, but it's a start. Do they invalidate traditional archetypes? No, they simply add flexibility.

But I don't know. Everytime lately I've suggested stepping back from an argument, looking at the context and considering a bit more nuance, people tell me that it's irrelevant. I guess a lot of people like being morally indignant and talking past each other endlessly.
Eh, I'm just getting annoyed with "because tradition". YMMV.
 

Azzy

Newtype
Why, though? Those extra +1s aren't that great. You don't really need your 3rd-6th stats. With the variant human you get your two +1s, an extra proficiency and a feat. That feat can be a minor feat to get a second +1 for basically a floating +2 and floating +1, or a major feat. That's a lot better than a few +1s in stats that aren't all that useful.
Because there weren't any feats that I wanted to start with when I created my character, so I just went with the non-variant. Also, those +1s do help with various saving throws and ability checks.
 

I think those +1s are better if you're rolling, better if you're not playing with feats and even better if you're doing both those things and playing a Fighter.

It's still a bit of a puzzler. I still haven't seen anyone other than me play a Fighter. I've never seen anyone play a Champion (or even consider playing one), and I've only seen one basic human.

I'm not saying that the data is wrong - perhaps these things are more appealing to the new players that 5e has brought in - but it doesn't actually help me much with the games I play, if these are unnappealing.
 
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FarBeyondC

Explorer
But why are you interested in reinforcing traditional stereotypes on other people's characters—especially when they are not gaming with you?

Assuming we're talking about characters being played in the game's default setting (or a sufficiently similar setting), I'm interested in reinforcement and maintenance of the traditional stereotypes because they help support the shared 'D&D' experience.
 

Azzy

Newtype
Assuming we're talking about characters being played in the game's default setting (or a sufficiently similar setting), I'm interested in reinforcement and maintenance of the traditional stereotypes because they help support the shared 'D&D' experience.
I think tht that's fair—traditional setting and traditional archetypes go hand in hand. I still believe that there are better ways to reinforce tradition archetypes than with ASIs, and the option for bucking those archetpes should exist for groups that want to explore that.
 

Azzy

Newtype
I think those +1s are better if you're rolling, better if you're not playing with feats and even better if you're doing both those things and playing a Fighter.

It's still a bit of a puzzler. I still haven't seen anyone other than me play a Fighter. I've never seen anyone play a Champion (or even consider playing one), and I've only seen one basic human.
I've played an Eldritch Knight and had a lot of fun with it. I recreated my original D&D character (from BECMI) as a Champion and have considered playing a champion, but have been seduced by other options and character concepts. Despite being 6 years later, and on our fifth campaign, my group and I are still exploring all the options available (the current campaign features our first barbarrian). I think ranger, sorcerer, and cleric have been the most played classes so far.

I'm not saying that the data is wrong - perhaps these things are more appealing to the new players that the 5e has brought in - but it doesn't actually help me much with the games I play, if these are unnappealing.
True. Many of the new options are pretty exciting—especially for those of us that have played practically every class in past editions.
 

The thing about all this, is its about differences that are seen to be important because they are so easily measurable.

If you had two Fighters at the table, one with 14 Strength and one with 16, and all rolls and ability scores were kept secret so we only knew the final totals, how long would it take before an observer could say that one character was more effective than another? Especially if they were just watching and not trying to record and graph numbers or something like that.

Who cares if a third party can tell? DnD isn't exactly marketed as a spectator sport.

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I bolded the part where you seem to not understand the other side.

It is not how they got their stats, it is that the stats create a pattern. They do this by creating positive and negative outcomes of race/class combinations. The positive obviously attracts the majority of players. Now if you (which is what this entire debate is about) remove the negative then you remove the pattern. Hence, increase the likelihood of that race/class combination being played, ie. no longer unique.

That is what the people you are debating have been saying. You literally spell it out in your counter, yet somehow fail see it.

If this is what they mean, then I reject it as a problem. In fact, it seems to me to be the main benefit. We will see more combinations. Increasing the likelihood of characters that you rarely see at the table is a good thing.

Unless you can tell me how getting more diverse characters in more diverse roles is a negative for the game?

And for the record, it is not gimping the character. It's choosing to have that character focus on something other than their class's primary calling. Often, you find ways to do that by incorporating those non-patterned characters. Again, remove the negative, remove the pattern. C'est la vie uniqueness.

I'm not the one who started calling it gimping their character. I believe that was @Oofta in one of his responses to me. Might have been @Helldritch though. I just kept using their terminology.

But maybe they meant it was only gimping them to make the choice to move the scores.

I mean honestly, I think you understand all this. So I am unsure why you are debating. If you wanted to predict (just as the other side is doing) that the patterns will not go away, I would like to hear that. But this false façade and adding terms like gimping seem irrelevant.

And lastly, the part about harming the team really only applies to a handful of tables. Not very many tables are as precariously balanced as yours, where losing a +5% could mean a TPK or living. I get that, and commended it.

See, I wasn't arguing that the patterns would go away, because I didn't see this as a argument solely about how likely a race/class combo was to show up.

I saw this as a discussion on whether or not a character could still be unique.

A dwarf wizard is currently being seen as unique. I guess this is solely because dwarves make poor wizards. You can tell me it is, how did you phrase it, "choosing to have that character focus on something other than their class's primary calling" but if your Dwarf has the choice to move their stats to wizard stats, and instead chooses to keep their traditional dwarf stats, Oofta and others have told me that is gimping their character.

Instead, they want no choice. No ability to alter the dwarf at all, so their dwarf wizard is required to have the poorer stat array... and that makes them unique. Having the stats doesn't make them unique. Being a dwarf wizard doesn't make them unique. Being unique is solely a function (in the arguments being presented) of not having a choose in those stat numbers.

And that makes no sense to me. It makes no sense to me that they want to argue for their being fewer dwarf wizards so they can keep feeling unique. It makes no sense to me that they can only feel unique by having the choice withheld from them.

Will there be more dwarf wizards in the future? Yes. I guess that is bad though, because people who play dwarf wizards won't feel special anymore for not caring about the stat arrays that they don't care about. Or, like Oofta, they can no longer make a statement and point by playing their character.

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Size is a factor, but not everything. Mountain Dwarves are also dense and muscular, so they get the bonus despite being smaller than a Goliath. Tabaxi are not muscular or at least not extra muscular, but are more lithe and nimble. And look, they get a dex bonus. Then there's game balance to consider, so Firbolgs get +1 and not +2. It's not an exact science, but size and body type do play rolls in the stat bonuses.

So what is the body type for Wisdom bonuses?

Charisma?

I know it isn't an exact science, but we do have some answer right? I'm sure looking at Con and seeing that Orcs, Goliaths, Rock Gnomes and Stout Halflings all have the same con bonus of +1 makes perfect sense in this set-up of body type, correct?

The end result isn't relevant to whether or not you are playing against type. The stat bonus is what matters for that. It determines the average stat for that race, so if you have a strong race that doesn't get a bonus to int(Mountain Dwarf) and you choose wizard, you are playing against type even if your dwarf ends up smarter than that elf over there.

So, you can only play against type if in the process you aren't taking advantage of your numbers.

Guess Humans, Tielfings, Tritons, Warforged, and Half-Elves have no type to play against. Seeing as how they can cover such a wide range of stats with little issue.

Or you could have just used the rules on page 285 of the DMG that tell you how to create a subrace. No need to wait on them to release new stuff at all.

Or, instead of making a new subrace, we can represent things by moving the stats. No need to have a dozen statblocks when a few open ended options work just as well.

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As I've said before, flexibility was added, then it was clearly deliberately and consciously removed and now it's being added back in. I just think that context and the motives for both original backpedaling and the current backpedaling of the backpedaling are relevant. Did WOTC do research back in DND Next and find that the players overwhelmingly wanted the rules to reflect traditonal archetypes? Or was it purely the preference of the designers? Was it a kneejerk reaction to what they thought the player base wanted. And if enforcing racial archetypes was the player preference do they have any real reason to think that's changed?

But I don't know. Everytime lately I've suggested stepping back from an argument, looking at the context and considering a bit more nuance, people tell me that it's irrelevant. I guess a lot of people like being morally indignant and talking past each other endlessly.

Well, I don't think we could ever really know without being in the meetings when it was decided.

Did they get feedback seeing that races with floating ASI's were more popular because they were more flexible?

Did they see that in their video game properties ASIs were more often swapped?

Did they see responses in surveys about classes that had people saying "this would make a great archetype for [insert race] but they make poor [insert class] so can we make it for [insert second class] instead?

Was it partially a response to the firestorm kicked up a few months ago about orcs having negative intelligence?

Was it an optional rule they had always had on the back burner, but had never committed to because they figured DMs would just change it if they needed it changed themselves?

Did they get a lot of questions about how best to play odd combos?

Was it a combination of two, more, or all of these?


Without a transcript of meetings that took place, we literally have no way of being certain. So, I don't know if having a discussion about it is going to be fruitful. After all, we can only talk about what we saw, but there are a lot of factors we can't see, and they could have had just as big of a bigger impact than what we know about.


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Assuming we're talking about characters being played in the game's default setting (or a sufficiently similar setting), I'm interested in reinforcement and maintenance of the traditional stereotypes because they help support the shared 'D&D' experience.

I don't think there really is a very strong "shared DnD experience". I've talked to people from other sections of the county before, who find out I'm playing DnD and want to chat, and their stories are often as strange as my own.

I mean, I've got a post-apocalyptic game where my warlock is betrothed and running a city, while we search for magic nukes in ancient ruins. I doubt that is a shared experience.

And sure, our Orc (half-orc stats) is strong and tough, but she is a barbarian, so that is expected. She is also the High Priestess of our city, wears jazzercise outfits, and punched a disease to death in a magic pond. Twice.

I think she falls outside the bounds of anyones "shared experience" with DnD, and I think what makes her amazing would still be true if she was playing a gnome instead of an Orc. Especially if she was still able to fulfill the barbarian role of being tough and strong.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Because there weren't any feats that I wanted to start with when I created my character, so I just went with the non-variant. Also, those +1s do help with various saving throws and ability checks.
Fair enough. I'll never do normal human, though. There are always useful feats and I like skill proficiencies.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So what is the body type for Wisdom bonuses?
Kind of wiry, with a big nose and glasses.

Seriously, though, we were talking about strength, not wisdom. Races with wisdom bonuses have the mental "body" for it.
I know it isn't an exact science, but we do have some answer right? I'm sure looking at Con and seeing that Orcs, Goliaths, Rock Gnomes and Stout Halflings all have the same con bonus of +1 makes perfect sense in this set-up of body type, correct?
Yep. All very healthy or hardy or sturdy races. Con makes perfect sense.
So, you can only play against type if in the process you aren't taking advantage of your numbers.

Guess Humans, Tielfings, Tritons, Warforged, and Half-Elves have no type to play against. Seeing as how they can cover such a wide range of stats with little issue.
Not the only way, but stats are the easiest way to play against type You can also play against the RP type, like a LG Tiefling for example.
Or, instead of making a new subrace, we can represent things by moving the stats. No need to have a dozen statblocks when a few open ended options work just as well
As has been noted by BOTH sides, stats are a very poor representation all by themselves. I'd rather have a new subrace, complete with both stats and abilities, than just stats.
 
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Except... it isn't doing that job. It looks like that is it's job when you compare halflings and Goliaths, who have a height difference of (6'4" to 2'9") 3 ft and 7 inches minimum... but Mountain Dwarves also have a +2 strength and have a height of 4'2" which is only a foot and five, less than half the difference.

Firbolgs are equally as tall as Goliaths, but only get a +1 to strength, and the 5 ft tall Tabaxi (nearly foot taller than the dwarf, but also more than a foot shorter than the Goliath and Firbolg) gets no bonus to strength, just like the halfling whom is still two feet and three inches shorter than the Tabaxi.

So, if part of the job of Strength is to show height.... it fails completely. The same difference of +2 can represent anywhere from nearly four feet of height difference, to four inches. That is a difference of 1200% for that range. Which gets large enough that I suspect it was never intended to be a filling that role.
I believe that the poster was talking about size rather than simply just height. - Misreading that could be where your confusion has originated. For example halflings are around the size and weight of a 5-6 year old. Dwarves, while also being short, seem to be depicted as broad, dense, and heavily-muscled: -weighing considerably more than a human of equivalent height.
Likewise the same sections that indicate that firbolgs and goliaths have similar heights should also say that goliaths are considerably heavier.
Size isn't a guaranteed measure of Str, but it can be a general indicator sometimes.

High Elves are often depicted as the best wizards and magic-users in the world, with the strongest tradition of arcane learning and study, they are masters of it. They get a +1 Int.

Humans are depicted as adapatable, they can go in any direction, they don't really have that strong tradition of magic. They also get +1 INT.

Hobgoblins were not often depicted this way, they are never really considered some of the Premier Arcane Casters of the world.... they also get a +1 to Int.

If +1 INT is meant to represent a "Strong Tradition" then... humans, Hobgoblins, Gith, Warforged, Changelings, Tieflings, Fire Genasi... I mean, there is a big list here for +1 INT. All of them are well established and traditionally known for their study of Arcane Magic?
+1 Int represents the general average of a race being slightly brighter than other races. It does not indicate any sort of arcane tradition.
The fact that high elves have both a strong arcane tradition and a +1 Int bonus does not require every other +1 Int race to also have an equally strong arcane tradition.

Well, here's the thing: its a one shot module for Halloween on Roll20 with 5th level PCs. Probably not leveling during the game, and we start with one uncommon magic item of our choice (plus gold to buy consumables). So yes, I could use my free item and 4th level ASI to make up the ground, but that wasn't exactly my point.

The point is you'd think shadow sorcerer would be pretty iconic for Shadar-kai, after all elves are magical and Shadar-kai are very magical with Shadowfell magic, but nope. The ability score mods don't reinforce that and instead assume the shadar-kai are best as rogues and maybe monks. Maybe it's the bad mix of scores on that race, but it makes an obvious choice into a "against type" choice.
I think Shadow Sorceror and some Warlocks would be very iconic for Shadar-Kai.
I think that there is confusion here about general proclivities of the members of a race compared to the proclivities of players wanting to min/max a character of that race.

So what is the body type for Wisdom bonuses?

Charisma?
Do you believe that a being's mental capabilities are reflected in their body in the same way that physical capabilities like strength might be reflected in a muscular or athletic build?

I know it isn't an exact science, but we do have some answer right? I'm sure looking at Con and seeing that Orcs, Goliaths, Rock Gnomes and Stout Halflings all have the same con bonus of +1 makes perfect sense in this set-up of body type, correct?
Why would Con be reflected in a single specific body type? Or is this one of those "what exactly to hit points represent" discussions?
 

And maybe instead of Elves, I want to go back to the shadar-kai of 4e and they be human. Or maybe it makes a lot of sense for my world for them to have been descended from dwarves because of a magical feature of the mountains where dwarves live.
Technically they are Fey of the Shadowfell.
think Shadow Sorceror and some Warlocks would be very iconic for Shadar-Kai.
Don't forget Rogue. Technically we have a bunch of classes that can be seen as Shadar-Kai classes.

Warlock(Raven Queen/Hexblade), Rogue(UA Phantom), Barbarian(UA Path of the Beast, reflavor the tail as chains), Blood Hunter, Sorcerer(Shadow), Bard(College of Opera/UA Spirit Bard,) Cleric(Grave/Death Domain.)
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I am sad that you believe this about me. But, it is something I doubt I can change. But I will try... ;)

To start, I know you understand data. And you understand that in order to effectively analyze it, you need it broken into sections.

No clothes company says: "We had great weekly sales," and ends it there. No, they ask what. To understand the what they say: "What category sold best?" And that is the first two minutes of the meeting. The other 58 minutes are spent analyzing the why. "What color sold best? What was the weather like? What brands did well? What brands didn't do well? Did a sale effect the amount of purchases? Who purchased the goods? What was their average basket purchase?" And so on and so on.

I know you understand this. No mental gymnastics here. Just an understanding, that I know you have, that in order to use data, one must have the full picture. And we do not have the full picture.
Unless you think wotc and DDB are lying about the stats, there isn’t any reason to demand more in depth analysis before being able to talk about what the stats can tell us.
There is no reason to think that a bunch of ridiculous nonsense is happening to make base human champion fighter reliably the most common choice. The simplest explanation is that people like those options, more players want simple characters than any other individual specific desired character type, and the Champion is the basic iconic fighter.

The other most popular subclasses also don’t support your claim that most players go for the most optimal combinations, not the popularity of the Ranger, etc. The most popular stuff is the stuff that is iconic.

No need to jump through hoops or anything to explain it, when there is a simple explanation right there.
Non Vhumans? The most common? Well... I saw one or two in the beginning of 5ed. Now, with contacts with over 30+ DMs and their groups, I can tell you that no one play a Non VHuman. Everyone start with a feat. It has been what? 4, 5 years that I have not seen a single non variant human? The standard one might well not exist. For all intent and purpose, in my area, Vhuman is the default.
Anecdotes aren’t convincing
 

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