D&D 5E Krynn's Free Feats: setting-specific or the future of the game?

What's the future of free feats at levels 1 and 4?

  • It's setting-specific

    Votes: 17 13.5%
  • It's in 5.5 for sure

    Votes: 98 77.8%
  • It's something else

    Votes: 11 8.7%

James Gasik

Pandion Knight
Supporter
It is a really weird one, noble. It's like you have this "I'm better than you" aura that all peasants the world over simply detect and they must grovel. Likewise, all other nobles can sense that same aura but read it as "you're better than everyone else, just like me" and will be your friends. It's a really strange permanent and global friendship & charm person spell. Most players think it works just like mind control. It's so weird.
It's a fantasy game, so it's a riff on the myth of the "divine right of kings" or "nobles are just better" tropes. Honestly, it was just my backstory, I didn't expect it to be a big deal, as backstory elements rarely are (unless my DM wants to exploit them to make my life more difficult), but when it actually would matter, being told "ehhhh..." made me think that backgrounds were pointless and everyone should just get two free skills.

Along with how often I saw "personality traits", "ideals", "bonds", "flaws", or that weird little item sitting in my backpack mattered.

I mean, I even had to point out to my DM that I was carrying around a signet ring, wearing fine clothes, and had a scroll of pedigree!

And don't get me started on free tool proficiencies, lol....oh sure Thieves' Tools are useful, but let's talk about my Gaming Set proficiency...
 

log in or register to remove this ad


overgeeked

B/X Known World
yes becuse getting a place to spend the night is the same as charm....
No, but this is:

FEATURE : POSITION OF PRIVILEGE
Thanks to your noble birth, people are inclined to think the best of you. You are welcome in high society, and people assume you have the right to be wherever you are. The common folk make every effort to accommodate you and avoid your displeasure, and other people of high birth treat you as a member of the same social sphere. You can secure an audience with a local noble if you need to.
having things on your sheet should mean something
Sure. Mean something. But not "every noble simply knows I'm awesome" nor "every peasant will bend over backwards to accommodate you". That's some weird mind-control aura stuff right there.
It's a fantasy game, so it's a riff on the myth of the "divine right of kings" or "nobles are just better" tropes.
Yeah, exactly. And it's freaking gross. I was born just being better than you. That's some nasty unexamined fantasy we should really not be promoting.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Nope. The document doesn't connect the options to a background at 4th level. There's no "if you were a Folk Hero you take YYY" suggestion. Even the knight and wizard ones aren't conneyto background, only requiring a previous feat, something you might get by being human.
If you are not choosing one connected to a background, you get to pick your 4th level feat from this list.

Divinely Favored
Skilled
Tough
Alert
Mobile
Sentinel
War Caster

Enjoy.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I mean, it was obviously intended for the Background Feature to matter in games, but it often is vestigial with no real benefit, especially in public play. I remember my noble getting zero benefit for being a noble, and then one time when we needed shelter, I announced I'd ask the local lord to put us up in his keep, using my feature, and the DM actually said "I mean, I guess, but I don't understand how that works, the guy has never heard of you."

When I get pushback on simply finding my party a place to sleep for the night, it's obvious (to me) that a component of backgrounds has failed to work as advertised.
In my game nobility brings with all that nobility would, which is usually significantly more than the background gives you, so it's the one background you need my permission to take. If you have it, though, and I have had nobles in my campaigns, it means something.
 


James Gasik

Pandion Knight
Supporter
Well overgeeked, it's like this. If there's no place in your game for that "fantasy", that's fine. I didn't really expect to be treated like a king when I chose noble for my character, but I did think it would be more useful than it ended up being. I mean, even in AL, I would occasionally see an adventure that says "hey if a character belongs to this Faction or has this Background, this happens". I just never got my turn at bat, as it were.

Obviously, as Maxperson has pointed out, this is campaign-dependent; if a DM wants to work Backgrounds into their campaigns, great, since I think the intent is that they do- but without guidance, a player can pick a Background that doesn't really matter in the game that's being played.

Like if I'm an Outlander or Outlaw and we're working for the rightful ruler of a land, that might be a disadvantage! Yet the Background implies that being an Outlander or Outlaw is an advantage.

A lot of space in the PHB is devoted to Backgrounds, so I don't think they were intended to be vestigial, yet they certainly can be, and you do get DM's who say "you have no right or expectation for your Background to matter".

Who could blame a designer for realizing they could have bypassed this by giving each Background a mechanical benefit instead of a vaguely defined Feature?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
FEATURE : POSITION OF PRIVILEGE
Thanks to your noble birth, people are inclined to think the best of you. You are welcome in high society, and people assume you have the right to be wherever you are. The common folk make every effort to accommodate you and avoid your displeasure, and other people of high birth treat you as a member of the same social sphere. You can secure an audience with a local noble if you need to.
I see nothing there that grants advantage to any roll. And "inclined to think the best of you" is not "will think the best of you." It's not charm. Rather, it's what nobles get for the most part in media and historically.
Sure. Mean something. But not "every noble simply knows I'm awesome" nor "every peasant will bend over backwards to accommodate you". That's some weird mind-control aura stuff right there.
And it didn't say that every noble knows you're awesome or that every peasant will bend over backwards. It's just an inclination that won't hold true in all cases.
I was born just being better than you.
That's nobility. You can create your game world with no nobility in it, but in a game world that has nobility, there will be the class differences that go along with it.
 

James Gasik

Pandion Knight
Supporter
I see nothing there that grants advantage to any roll. And "inclined to think the best of you" is not "will think the best of you." It's not charm. Rather, it's what nobles get for the most part in media and historically.

And it didn't say that every noble knows you're awesome or that every peasant will bend over backwards. It's just an inclination that won't hold true in all cases.

That's nobility. You can create your game world with no nobility in it, but in a game world that has nobility, there will be the class differences that go along with it.
I mean look at all the people who are intensely interested in the goings on of Britain's royal family, most of whom do not live in the monarchy! There are, to this very day, people who think "royalty is special". Rightly or wrongly.
 



overgeeked

B/X Known World
Well overgeeked, it's like this. If there's no place in your game for that "fantasy", that's fine.
That's not what I said. It shouldn't go unexamined. Some nobles will certainly welcome you, say the allies of your house or clan or whatever. But those opposed to your house or enemies of your house? Clearly not...yet the ribbon feature doesn't take that into account...nor do most players. Same goes for how peasants interact with "noble" characters. Not every peasant is going to be a boot-licking toady. Some will utterly hate you simply for being a noble. Depending on the town and the peasant, "I'm a noble" is more likely to get you murdered than helped. I get the fantasy and I have issues with it, but the way the background is written is way more problematic.
I didn't really expect to be treated like a king when I chose noble for my character...
I mean, that's literally what the background says, as I quoted above. Peasants will fawn over you and other nobles will welcome you in. If the feature works as written, everyone treats you like a king.
but I did think it would be more useful than it ended up being.
Yeah, that always sucks. Differences in expectations between the players and the DM.
I mean, even in AL, I would occasionally see an adventure that says "hey if a character belongs to this Faction or has this Background, this happens". I just never got my turn at bat, as it were.
Yeah, that's lame. I can't speak to AL as I don't play that.
Obviously, as Maxperson has pointed out, this is campaign-dependent; if a DM wants to work Backgrounds into their campaigns, great, since I think the intent is that they do- but without guidance, a player can pick a Background that doesn't really matter in the game that's being played.
Absolutely. That's a feature, not a bug. You can have any kind of background you want, but it won't always matter to the game. That's just part of the game. Your class won't always be front and center. Your skills won't always be front and center. Your spell choices won't always matter. Etc.
Like if I'm an Outlander or Outlaw and we're working for the rightful ruler of a land, that might be a disadvantage! Yet the Background implies that being an Outlander or Outlaw is an advantage.
Exactly. Context matters. But the 5E design philosophy is more and more zero disadvantages and only advantages. To the point of absurdity. Even from the start. Like noble. No downsides, only upsides.
A lot of space in the PHB is devoted to Backgrounds, so I don't think they were intended to be vestigial, yet they certainly can be,
Well, 16 pages out of about 320. Whether that's "a lot" or not is up for debate.
and you do get DM's who say "you have no right or expectation for your Background to matter".
Well, yeah. It's their game to run. If your background doesn't matter, it doesn't matter. Just because you picked noble doesn't mean the game should change so that noble is now important if it wasn't before.
Who could blame a designer for realizing they could have bypassed this by giving each Background a mechanical benefit instead of a vaguely defined Feature?
Um...literally anyone who's played an RPG. Either it's specifically defined or it gets lost in interpretation. WotC learned that in 3X, codified it in 4E, and threw it out with 5E. They intentionally designed it to be vague. That was a choice they made. The ethos of 5E was a return to DM rulings not rules. That's one of the main pushes for 5E. So again, that vagueness is meant as a feature, not a bug.
 

I'm happy as long as they keep the numbers low and it doesn't add to the complexity.
PCs in 5e are already mighty heroes, so making them super-mighty won't make much difference!
 


James Gasik

Pandion Knight
Supporter
Well, 16 pages out of about 320. Whether that's "a lot" or not is up for debate.
Vs. 18 spent on the entire equipment chapter? But I digress.

The beautiful part here is, so what if Backgrounds grant Feats? The DM can still make their rulings and say "no Feats 4 U". Just as they can allow or disallow them now.

Power creep only exists if the players allow it to.

What's the rebuttal to that? Players crying about their "expectations"? Can't see how that's any different from wanting their choice of Background to matter. More work on the part of the DM to figure out what to allow or exclude? We already have that all over the place in the system.
 

Sure. Mean something. But not "every noble simply knows I'm awesome" nor "every peasant will bend over backwards to accommodate you". That's some weird mind-control aura stuff right there.
I don't even know what you are argueing at this point... like you think a place to stay for the night is the same as everyone bending over backwards?
 


James Gasik

Pandion Knight
Supporter
I don't even know what you are argueing at this point... like you think a place to stay for the night is the same as everyone bending over backwards?
It's simply that a player, by going off the wording of the Feature, may expect a lot more than, say, I did. Insisting that people in power give them the time of day, or that peasants obey their orders at all times, because of their vaguely-defined ability.
 

Who could blame a designer for realizing they could have bypassed this by giving each Background a mechanical benefit instead of a vaguely defined Feature?
There are ten mechanical benefits to backgrounds right now. But nearly zero connect to the combat pillar so most people seem to ignore them.

 

James Gasik

Pandion Knight
Supporter
1) it means I may need more thne 3 hour sleep in last 48 hours...

what I mean is how is picking alert or toughness for a homemade background diffrent then choosing position of privilege or some other feature?
One grants an obvious benefit that is not as easily subject to interpretation. If you have more hit points, you have more hit points.

The other says "it's possible, based on this ability, for it to matter a lot. But because there's no stated mechanical benefit, like advantage on Charisma checks when dealing with nobles or peasants, it's up to the DM's interpretation, and it might be meaningless."
 

Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition Starter Box

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top