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Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
There are also long-time gamers who simply don't role-play in that sense. So it's not just novices who may not be in the habit of detailed characterization.
Not to sound overly snobby (but I'm going to), if you haven't learned how to properly characterize your PC after multiple years of playing, you're just going to stay in the novice category for me.

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Thomas Shey

There are also long-time gamers who simply don't role-play in that sense. So it's not just novices who may not be in the habit of detailed characterization.

Yeah, there's been a great degree of variation here all the way from day one; token play was a known thing a long time ago, and some people have played that way for decades.


No flips for you!
I am a very experienced player who has always created characters with rich personalities and backgrounds... and I still find the traits, Ideals, bonds, and flaws useful!

For example, when I was creating my dwarven wizard, I had some ideas about his background, but the suggested ideas in the Archaeologist background gave me even more things to think about... does he have a mentor? Is he trying to get recognition? Are there museums? Journals?

When we first started playing 5e, we actually all agreed to roll randomly on traits, bonds, Ideals and flaws in order to challenge ourselves to play unusual characters!

I'm not trying to force you to use them, but I hope you now have examples of experienced players who enjoy the background traits, bonds, Ideals and flaws.
Okay, you were inspired by pretty obvious tropes in your character build, so the list of obvious tropes was a help to you. Those are things that I'd consider immediately with that background, as that's the functional point of being an archeologist -- these don't exist without a museum like structure behind them, and that implies mentorship and potential notoriety for large successes.

As for randomly rolling, again, the tropes presented are pretty standard tropes, so you'll never really be too far away from the normal ruts. It's not much of a challenge, really, having read the charts, especially if you are free to ignore them as you want and there's no drawback for doing so. I mean, I randomly rolled a history for my latest character in RotF, and it's been, at best, a curiosity and not much of an impact in play. And this is because, despite you deciding that your archeologist is out for notoriety, D&D is about the group, not the individual, so any playing into that desire is one that is either gifted by the GM, or requires convincing all the other players, with their own rolled or selected motivations, to do a special sidething, which, again, requires gifting by the GM (as they have to prep it). So, yeah, "I'm in it for the notoriety" is, I guess, interesting, and might occasionally come up in play so you can ding that bell, but it's largely set dressing -- not having it probably wouldn't significantly alter the trajectory of play at all.

Look, I like 5e, but it is what it is, and one of the things it isn't is a very good vehicle for exploring character. It has no mechanics for this, character details can't be staked, and there's no teeth to use character to drive play. The only thing available is really just play-acting within the scenes set by the GM. Which is fun, no doubt, and I enjoy it (elsewise I wouldn't play). I tried with the expanded background tools in Tasha's, but they're as unimportant to the trajectory of play as BIFTs usually are because play is really about what the GM brought and how the party as a whole deals with it. Individualism isn't very strong in 5e (or D&D for that matter). I also play games where character is critical to play, where who and what a character is often becomes the stakes of play, where your character can be changed by play and not by your choice. This actually digs into character in a non-superficial way. BIFTs are incredibly superficial, and they confuse the issue because they look like they might matter, but they don't, much, except in how you choose to play-act your character at the table. The existence of a museum, or a mentor, or you goal to be the most notorious archeologist in history just don't matter at all in play unless the GM decides to make them something, and then they have to be careful because they cannot cross the line into telling you anything about your character or how they should act. The museum is under threat? You can not care, or murderhobo the problem away, and it's the same same, because your BIFT doesn't actually stress anything about your character.

So, yeah, cool, if you need prompts, they are prompts, but that's about the extent of any use, and you should keep in mind that what they're prompting doesn't really impact play very much.


Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
Some people just don't care. There is no one true way. 🤷‍♂️
To my mind, the best roleplaying experiences come from players who are fully engaged at both a mechanical and narrative level, which is why I consider that the best way to play.

I know I'm going against our board's "hakuna matata" no-one-way philosophy by saying I think some methods of play are superior to others, but I'll risk it.

I think if you're not characterizing your character outside of Gygaxian pawn stance play, you're not really getting the most (or contributing the most) you could to the play experience.


Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
I'm not a mind reader, but from the normal construction of that sentence, the group would be the group that doesn't care about roleplaying, as hasn't, for some time.
I didn't think my sentence construction would end being that confusing, but thank you for clearing it up. That was exactly what I meant.

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