Put initial stat bonus in class not background

Branduil

Adventurer
For some reason people just refuse to accept that custom background is the default, and all example backgrounds can be freely customized. It’s bizarre.
This was also a problem in the 5e PHB, even though it explicitly stated they were sample backgrounds and RAW you can customize backgrounds as much as you want.

I think the issue is that it's just a giant list of backgrounds without any indication in the backgrounds themselves that they're just suggestions. I would just attach random character names to each one to make it clear "this is just one example of a background, it doesn't have to match yours."
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I'm not sure it really matters. If it's in race, people will choose their class and then look for the elf with the stat bonuses that match. If it's in background, people will choose their class and then look for the background with the stat bonuses that match. At least this way is honest.

Personally, I didn't see what was wrong with them just being floating, making both race and background essentially free choices. Or, even better, building them into the point buy/standard array/rolling method.
They essentially are floating in the playtest, since backgrounds are malleable and customized by default.
 



Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
For some reason people just refuse to accept that custom background is the default, and all example backgrounds can be freely customized. It’s bizarre.
I get it. If they had only shown one example background (like when they follow a sample character creation as examples in the PHB) it would be obvious you were supposed to build it custom.

Instead they devoted a large amount of real estate to making a bunch of "examples" which can look like a list to choose from instead of several of infinite possibilities.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I get it. If they had only shown one example background (like when they follow a sample character creation as examples in the PHB) it would be obvious you were supposed to build it custom.

Instead they devoted a large amount of real estate to making a bunch of "examples" which can look like a list to choose from instead of several of infinite possibilities.
I mean, it is a list you can choose from. That’s the point, if you want to make your own you can; if you want to just pick a premade and call it good, you can do that too. I don’t understand what’s so confusing about it.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
I mean, it is a list you can choose from. That’s the point, if you want to make your own you can; if you want to just pick a premade and call it good, you can do that too. I don’t understand what’s so confusing about it.
People don't always read from front to back, they also flip around and read here and there. If one were just glancing at the playtest, but we're familiar with 5e then one could easily assume backgrounds worked similar to 5e but now had stat mods attached to them.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Sure, but that's a really long way around just to get back to "assign them where you want".
Necessarily so, in order to both provide “assign them where you want” and the option to pick a set that has already been assigned for you if you want.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Sure, but that's a really long way around just to get back to "assign them where you want".
The only way it could be less direct and still slow for easy quick build packages would be to inject “suggested” and “example” language to each background. Which is fine, I’ll probably encourage that in my feedback.

But it’s hardly a long way around.
 




delericho

Legend
The only way it could be less direct and still slow for easy quick build packages would be to inject “suggested” and “example” language to each background. Which is fine, I’ll probably encourage that in my feedback.
If it's about quick build packages than they should go in class. Those will be pointing to default backgrounds, and will be picked to maximise the prime requisites anyway, so they might as well put the ASIs there too.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
If it's about quick build packages than they should go in class. Those will be pointing to default backgrounds, and will be picked to maximise the prime requisites anyway, so they might as well put the ASIs there too.
No. Background should be impactful, and some parts of the character should sometimes be orthogonal to what makes the class stronger.

Not only that, but also the class would be even more limiting in perception than the background is. It would be much harder to get people to understand that it’s actually a floating bonus, and the listed stats are suggestions.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
13th Age, a d20 that came out a bit before 5e, had an interesting way to do this. (This was a years and years before Tasha's.)

Race gave +2 to one of two ability scores.
Class gave +2 to one of two ability scores.
They couldn't be the same score.

So You have that a halfling wizard and a dwarven wizard, both have +2 Int for their class, but the halfling might have +2 Dex vs. the dwarven wizard with +2 Con. So race would impact how you built your character, but you would always have the right ability scores for your class so all race/class combos were on an even playing field.
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
13th Age, a d20 that came out a bit before 5e, had an interesting way to do this. (This was a years and years before Tasha's.)

Race gave +2 to one of two ability scores.
Class gave +2 to one of two ability scores.
They couldn't be the same score.

So You have that a halfling wizard and a dwarven wizard, both have +2 Int for their class, but the halfling might have +2 Dex vs. the dwarven wizard with +2 Con. So race would impact how you built your character, but you would always have the right ability scores for your class so all race/class combos were on an even playing field.
What’s the point of that?
 

delericho

Legend
No. Background should be impactful
I actually agree. But ASIs are a terrible way of doing this.

Additionally, if backgrounds are just a collection of floating stuff then they won't be impactful. For that, the ability to customise must be limited.

, and some parts of the character should sometimes be orthogonal to what makes the class stronger.
Realistically, it won't matter. The vast majority of characters will have the ASIs put to bolster the player's chosen build, where the class is by far the most important element. That's one of the reasons putting ASIs in race was a bad idea - people chose their race based on which class they wanted. And putting fixed ASIs in background would be equally bad, for the same reason.

Making them floating but listing "suggestions" in backgrounds is the worst of both worlds. You're wasting space providing suggestions that by rights should just be ignored and you're muddying the waters where people fail to appreciate that they're just suggestions.

Not only that, but also the class would be even more limiting in perception than the background is. It would be much harder to get people to understand that it’s actually a floating bonus, and the listed stats are suggestions.
Each class already has a clearly marked "Quick Build" suggestion that identifies scores to emphasise. That's the place to put suggestions of this sort.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I actually agree. But ASIs are a terrible way of doing this.

Additionally, if backgrounds are just a collection of floating stuff then they won't be impactful. For that, the ability to customise must be limited.
Eh, I disagree, and we aren’t going to change each others minds, I imagine.
Realistically, it won't matter. The vast majority of characters will have the ASIs put to bolster the player's chosen build, where the class is by far the most important element. That's one of the reasons putting ASIs in race was a bad idea - people chose their race based on which class they wanted. And putting fixed ASIs in background would be equally bad, for the same reason.
The vast majority of players don’t optimize.
Making them floating but listing "suggestions" in backgrounds is the worst of both worlds. You're wasting space providing suggestions that by rights should just be ignored and you're muddying the waters where people fail to appreciate that they're just suggestions.
It’s absolutely the best of both worlds, as long as they make clear in the backgrounds that these are examples for everyone who doesn’t want to make every individual decision.
Each class already has a clearly marked "Quick Build" suggestion that identifies scores to emphasise. That's the place to put suggestions of this sort.
Again, that ends up restricting ASI choice more, and encourages CharOp thinking.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
People don't always read from front to back, they also flip around and read here and there. If one were just glancing at the playtest, but we're familiar with 5e then one could easily assume backgrounds worked similar to 5e but now had stat mods attached to them.
None of these books should be written to save players from themselves.

If a player chooses not to read the Player's Handbook about character creation and chooses a Background from the pre-rendered list without reading the section and realizing their first option was to make their own... and then gets pissy after the fact that the Background they chose had two ASIs in abilities they didn't want and could have in fact had them on two abilities of their choosing but they just didn't realize it... that's on them.

WotC has enough stuff to put in these books without having to spend paragraph and after paragraph and bolded header after bolded header waving their arms to say "HEY! HEY YOU! READ THIS! THIS IS IMPORTANT!" It's a rulebook. The entire thing is important. If you don't read it... don't complain when you make mistakes.
 

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