D&D General Race Has No Mechanics. What do you play?

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
That's why in my assessment of that situation, if the changeling is always obviously a changeling it is okay. The player would need to put other resources (class, background, whatever) into being good at disguise.
but which at the same time pretty much undermines the entire point of playing a changeling, being a changeling who can't naturally disguse themselves.
 

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Aldarc

Legend
Just like the one that can change forms any time they wish, as was previously discussed.
My general sense of the premise involves the question of when and how the mechanics enter into the picture.

For example, let's take the example of a Triton/Atlantean. I may give a player a list of the available ancestries or kin. There are no mechanics detailed. However, the player may see the Triton/Atlantean and think that it would be cool they could breathe underwater. Is that actually a mechanic in the game? Are there advantages or disadvantages to that? We are agnostic on these points at this time in the process. IF there are mechanics, it may vary based upon what game we are playing. D&D likes to provide detailed mechanics. You can breathe air and water. You have swim speed 30. You have darkvision. And so on...

But if we went to a game like Fate or Cortex Prime or Fabula Ultima... What then? There are no lists of races or ancestries in these games with mechanics to engage. In Fate or Fabula Ultima I may just have an aspect where I describe my character as "Triton Heir to the Throne of Atlantis." Nowhere in here is there a defined mechanic for waterbreathing. Instead, the GM asks the player what being a "Triton" involves, and if the player and GM agree that Tritons are amphibious, then they can breathe underwater as part of the fiction. But this would scarcely count as a mechanic in 5e D&D terms.
 

That's why in my assessment of that situation, if the changeling is always obviously a changeling it is okay. The player would need to put other resources (class, background, whatever) into being good at disguise.
Well, that would be your ruling as a dm. Most times, when people are using disguise self, there is little need for training unless a social situation would arise that requires a deception check.
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
My general sense of the premise involves the question of when and how the mechanics enter into the picture.

For example, let's take the example of a Triton/Atlantean. I may give a player a list of the available ancestries or kin. There are no mechanics detailed. However, the player may see the Triton/Atlantean and think that it would be cool they could breathe underwater. Is that actually a mechanic in the game? Are there advantages or disadvantages to that? We are agnostic on these points at this time in the process. IF there are mechanics, it may vary based upon what game we are playing. D&D likes to provide detailed mechanics. You can breathe air and water. You have swim speed 30. You have darkvision. And so on...

But if we went to a game like Fate or Cortex Prime or Fabula Ultima... What then? There are no lists of races or ancestries in these games with mechanics to engage. In Fate or Fabula Ultima I may just have an aspect where I describe my character as "Triton Heir to the Throne of Atlantis." Nowhere in here is there a defined mechanic for waterbreathing. Instead, the GM asks the player what being a "Triton" involves, and if the player and GM agree that Tritons are amphibious, then they can breathe underwater as part of the fiction. But this would scarcely count as a mechanic in 5e D&D terms.
So, to try and distill this....we can assume that if a game has a concept of race/species (in the familiar "fantasy world" sense), then that concept carries a certain amount of narrative weight within the gameworld. And that weight carries with it a certain amount of leeway to influence the narrative, a narrative potency, even if that impact is not strictly defined by rules text.

Even without a "mechanic", it would be OK to have a magic item that can only be used by elves, or for a triton to breathe underwater, because of that narrative potency. And without defined mechanics, the extent of that potency has to be negotiated between the DM and the players.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Well, that would be your ruling as a dm. Most times, when people are using disguise self, there is little need for training unless a social situation would arise that requires a deception check.
The changeling in this scenario explicitly does not have "disguise self." They have an ability to alter their features that explicitly does not confer a mechanical advantage.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
but which at the same time pretty much undermines the entire point of playing a changeling, being a changeling who can't naturally disguse themselves.
If that is your point of choosing the changeling, get proficient in disguise. But that isn't the only reason to play a changeling. they have a lore and history and place in the world. And "no mechanical advantage" doesn't mean "no shapeshifting" -- maybe your changeling shifts species based on their current mod (or when mad, gnome when stupid, etc).
 

My general sense of the premise involves the question of when and how the mechanics enter into the picture.

For example, let's take the example of a Triton/Atlantean. I may give a player a list of the available ancestries or kin. There are no mechanics detailed. However, the player may see the Triton/Atlantean and think that it would be cool they could breathe underwater. Is that actually a mechanic in the game? Are there advantages or disadvantages to that? We are agnostic on these points at this time in the process. IF there are mechanics, it may vary based upon what game we are playing. D&D likes to provide detailed mechanics. You can breathe air and water. You have swim speed 30. You have darkvision. And so on...

But if we went to a game like Fate or Cortex Prime or Fabula Ultima... What then? There are no lists of races or ancestries in these games with mechanics to engage. In Fate or Fabula Ultima I may just have an aspect where I describe my character as "Triton Heir to the Throne of Atlantis." Nowhere in here is there a defined mechanic for waterbreathing. Instead, the GM asks the player what being a "Triton" involves, and if the player and GM agree that Tritons are amphibious, then they can breathe underwater as part of the fiction. But this would scarcely count as a mechanic in 5e D&D terms.
In FATE DFRPG, Water breathing is a power you can buy and you can only buy it if you have an aspect that would relate to it. So, the fiction dictates the powers you have. That said, you could just get away without having the water breathing ability and just tag your High concept to allow you to act under water unhindered.

My point, is the fiction dictates what is taken for granted, regardless of mechanics. Which is why I think the choice of a race can still be meaningful even without mechanics but it really depends on the setting.
 

The changeling in this scenario explicitly does not have "disguise self." They have an ability to alter their features that explicitly does not confer a mechanical advantage.
Read the description of disguise self and tell me how it is different from a race that can change its looks at will. If you’d read my point earlier, you will have noted that I feel disguise self’s biggest advantage is it gives you narrative control. There are almost no mechanics involved in the spell itself.
 

Ror your convenience:
The changeling in this scenario explicitly does not have "disguise self." They have an ability to alter their features that explicitly does not confer a mechanical advantage.
Disguise self
You make yourself—including your clothing, armor, weapons, and other belongings on your person—look different until the spell ends or until you use your action to dismiss it. You can seem 1 foot shorter or taller and can appear thin, fat, or in between. You can’t change your body type, so you must adopt a form that has the same basic arrangement of limbs. Otherwise, the extent of the illusion is up to you.

Besides clothing, it reads the same to me. Disguise self does not confer any mechanical bonuses. It doesn’t improve deception or give you advantage to any rolls to pass yourself off as someone else. It only changes your looks.
 

Aldarc

Legend
In FATE DFRPG, Water breathing is a power you can buy and you can only buy it if you have an aspect that would relate to it.
Fate DFRPG is a bit weird because it predates and is far crunchier than Fate Core, which formed the initial basis of my foray into Fate. But it's likely that water-breathing is a power because humans can't breathe under water, and I think that the game presumes you are playing a human, though I could be wrong. I also don't recall a water-breathing power in the subsequent Dresden Files Accelerated. Out of curiosity, I looked and Venture City, which is a Fate game that has superpowers, doesn't have water-breathing either.

So, the fiction dictates the powers you have. That said, you could just get away without having the water breathing ability and just tag your High concept to allow you to act under water unhindered.

My point, is the fiction dictates what is taken for granted, regardless of mechanics. Which is why I think the choice of a race can still be meaningful even without mechanics but it really depends on the setting.
Yeah, I think that the trend has been the whole idea of Aspects being true in the fiction makes some of these things a bit unnecessary if not extraneous.
 

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