D&D 5E Regional Variant Human - seeking feedback

Quickleaf

Legend
Any kind of feedback you'd like to offer is well received, whether just a "thumbs up" to my proof of concept, a "thumbs down" that it wouldn't compare favorably to variant human / standard human for you, or delving into the nitty gritty details. This is a work-in-progress & my house rules include an expanded skill list. Thank you! :)

For a campaign I'm planning (set in Forgotten Realms), my players who choose to run human PCs may opt to be a Regional Variant Human... a Regional Variant Human receives +1 to two ability scores of their choice, two languages, and then 3 perks chosen from a list corresponding to their home region.

Choose one of the following home regions: Cormyr, Dalelands, Dragon Coast, Sembia, The Pirate Isles, Turmish, or Vesperin (The Vast).

Cormyr
Begin Lifepath:
Arabel (rebellious fortified caravan city), Marsember (“Venetian” city of spices), or Suzail (capital of Cormyr’s crown)
Languages: Common and choose one: Chondathan, Cormanthan, Damaran, Elven, Gnome, Halfling, Orc, Turmish
Cormyrean Perks (choose 3):
  • Proficiency with longswords and shields. Many citizens of Cormyr receive compulsory military training by the Purple Dragons.
  • Proficiency in Animal Handling, or expertise (double proficiency bonus) if already proficient. It’s rare to meet a Cormyrean who doesn’t know how to race a horse.
  • Proficiency in High Society, or expertise (double proficiency bonus) if already proficient. Knowing the proper forms of noble address and which paperwork is required by law are hallmarks of a Cormyrean.
  • Add your proficiency bonus on Concentration checks (this does not stack if you already apply your proficiency bonus to Constitution saving throws). You were a student of the War Wizards.
  • Gain the Favored Enemy (goblins & shadovar) feature of the ranger, learning either the Goblin or Shadovar language in the process.
  • After charging 20+ feet while mounted, gain advantage on your first attack that turn. Common folk rode out to do battle against Sembia and returned Netheril, showing great courage.
  • When using downtime for Research or Work, add +5 to your checks. Cormyreans are both studious and hard-working to a fault.
  • Choose a patron deity (free spells at temple): Chauntea, Deneir, Helm, Lathander, Lliira, Milil, Oghma, Selûne, Silvanus, Tempus, Tymora, or Waukeen.

Dalelands
Begin Lifepath:
Archenbridge, Ashabenford, Harrowdale, Highmoon, Shadowdale, or Scardale
Languages: Common and choose one: Chondathan, Cormanthan, Damaran, Elven, Giant, Gnome, Orc, Sylvan
Dalelands Perks (choose 3):
  • Proficiency with shortbows and longbows. Woodsmen, hunters, and elf-friends live here.
  • Proficiency in Riverways, or expertise (double proficiency bonus) if already proficient. The River Ashaba, its many tributaries, lakes, and falls are plied by Dalesfolk young and old.
  • Proficiency in Survival, or expertise (double proficiency bonus) if already proficient. Dalesfolk are stubbornly independent with a green thumb.
  • Add your proficiency bonus to initiative rolls. “A quick hand preserves the fastness,” goes the saying. Danger has long lurked at the borders and the Dalesfolk are ever ready to defend their realm.
  • You have maximum Hit Points for 1st to 3rd levels. The Dalelands is the breadbasket of Faerûn, and its people are hearty and hale.
  • Gain the Natural Explorer (forest) feature of the ranger. Few know the woods like the Dalesfolk.
  • Gain advantage on saving throws vs. energy/life drain and reduce any Strength loss by half. You survived a brush with drow or Shadovar magic – your sheer thirst to live proved stronger.
  • Choose a patron deity (free spells at temple): Chauntea, Corellon, Lathander, Mielikki, Oghma, Selûne, Silvanus, Tempus, the “Triad” (Ilmater, Torm, Tyr).

Dragon Coast
Begin Lifepath:
Elversult (crossroads city with magic sun), Teziir (independent trade city fighting piracy), or Westgate (seedy squalid metropolis)
Languages: Common and choose one: Chondathan, Damaran, Draconic, Dwarven, Goblin, Halfling, Orc, Telpi, Turmish
Dragon Coast Perks (choose 3):
  • Proficiency with light, hand, and heavy crossbows. Effective on land and undersea, they are the weapon of choice for scoundrels of the Dragon Coast.
  • Proficiency in Skullduggery, or expertise (double proficiency bonus) if already proficient. Many a dirty deal is forged on the Dragon Coast.
  • Proficiency in shipbuilder’s tools or cooper’s tools, or expertise (double proficiency bonus) if already proficient. Finest in the land.
  • Learn 2 languages of your choice. The Dragon Coast is a cultural crossroads.
  • Gain advantage on saving throws vs. fear. You’re used to living in the shadow of dragons.
  • Gain the “Ship’s Passage” background feature of the Sailor background.
  • You do not need to make Concentration checks due to uneven seas, and ignore difficult terrain on ships.
  • Choose a patron deity (free spells at temple): Helm, Mask, Nobanion, Sune, Tempus, or Tymora.

Sembia
Begin Lifepath:
Saerloon, Selgaunt, Urmlaspyr, Yhaunn
Languages: Common and choose one: Chondathan, Damaran, Gnome, Halfling, Shadovar, Turmish
Sembian Perks (choose 3):
  • Proficiency with rapiers.
  • Proficiency in Commerce, or expertise (double profiency bonus) if already proficient. Sembians are shrewd students of “the art of the deal.”
  • Proficiency in High Society, or expertise (double proficiency bonus) if already proficient. Even the lowliest guard receives training in dealing with the nobles and merchant councils, and finding legal loopholes is a national pastime.
  • You know the basic information about most evil organizations and can make contact with them. These include the Cult of the Dragon, slavers of the Eyeless Mask, the Red Wizards, the Zhentarim, and the Netherese/Shadovar.
  • You know how to reach the “Fringe Grounds”, allowing you and those you lead to traverse hidden paths through the Shadowfell while in Sembia.
  • “Twin Sword Style”, when wielding two weapons but withholding attacking with one, you gain +2 AC until the start of your next turn as if wielding a shield.
  • When using downtime for Running a Business for at least one week, you have advantage on your d100 roll and double any earnings you make. Sembia sponsors several merchant costers: the Firehands, Ironthrone, Six Coffers Market Priakos, and the Seven Suns.
  • Choose a patron deity (free spells at temple): Azuth, Deneir, Lathander, Mystra, or Sune.

The Pirate Isles
Begin Lifepath:
Immurk’s Hold (pirate port)
Languages: Common and choose one: Chondathan, Damaran, Easting, Gnome, Goblin, Sahuagin, Telpi, Turmish
Pirate Isles Perks (choose 3):
  • Proficiency with smokepowder weapons. Once, there was a portal to Lantan and the gnomes traded with the pirates; however since the collapse of the portal, smokepowder is scarce and smokepowder weapons are as uncommon as magic items.
  • Proficiency in Seamanship, or expertise (double profiency bonus) if already proficient.
  • Proficiency with gaming set (dice & cards), or expertise (double proficiency bonus) if already proficient.
  • You do not need to make Concentration checks due to uneven seas, and ignore difficult terrain on ships.
  • Gain the “Bad Reputation” background feature of the Sailor/Pirate background. Merchants of the Sea of Fallen Stars know that pirates usually seek a prize rather than destroying a ship or engaging in wanton slaughter.
  • “Seat at the table”, you are descended from one of the pirate lords which may earn you a seat at high-level negotiation tables among pirate lords.
  • “Sly Flourish” (also known as “Catspaw Style” or “Mocking Knave Style”), when you score a critical hit wielding a finesse weapon, deal additional damage equal to your Charisma modifier, the next attack against the target gains a bonus on the attack roll equal to your Charisma modifier, and the enemy’s next attack suffers a penalty equal to your Charisma modifier.
  • When using downtime for Carousing or Gambling, add +5 to your Charisma checks. The pirates of the Sea of Fallen Stars can be a rowdy and friendly lot when not robbing you blind.

Turmish
Begin Lifepath:
Alaghôn (old port city)
Languages: Common and choose one: Chondathan, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Goblin, Ignan (Primordial), Turmish
Turmishan Perks (choose 3):
  • Proficiency with shortbows and longbows. Archery is a family tradition and favored contest event.
  • Proficiency with whichever armor you next qualify for: Light, Medium, or Heavy. Turmishan mercenaries take great pride in their armor – always polished and finely adorned.
  • Proficiency in Commerce, or expertise (double profiency bonus) if already proficient. They say honest trade throughout Faerûn was born in Turmish.
  • Proficiency with artisans tools of your choice, or expertise (double proficiency bonus) if already proficient. Turmishans are well known for their ironsmithing, fine cuisine, masonry, woodworking, and wine-making.
  • You have an instinctive sense for when magic has been used to modify an ecology, such as a plant growth spell or a magically created disease. A history of necromantic magic across the Vilhon Reach and the intervention of druids of the Emerald Enclave have left some Turmishans sensitive to such magic.
  • You gain a randomly determined psionic power; roll a d20 on the Psionic Powers table (see my “Psionics” document). Turmish was built on the ruins of the psiocracy Jhaamdath, and its people have a greater propensity for psionics.
  • You belong to a respected mercenary company, keeping them abreast of your adventures, and should you die or otherwise be incapacitated, you can bring in a replacement character from the mercenary company who knows most of what your character knows and is equipped with roughly equivalent magic items at the DM’s discretion.
  • Choose a patron deity (free spells at temple): Chauntea, Eldath, Helm, Lliira, Nobanion, Selûne, Silvanus, Tempus, or Tyr.

Vesperin (The Vast)
Begin Lifepath:
Calaunt (wicked city), Raven’s Bluff (adventurer’s haven), or Tantras (bustling port)
Languages: Common and choose one: Chondathan, Easting, Dwarven, Giant, Goblin, Orc
Vesperin Perks (choose 3):
  • Proficiency in Performace, or expertise (double proficiency bonus) if already proficient. Vast folk delight in a well-sung ballad; bards and minstrels are welcome everywhere.
  • Proficiency in Streetwise, or expertise (double proficiency bonus) if already proficient. Even farmers learn how to navigate the teeming cities.
  • You know Thieves’ Cant, thanks to affiliation with the Shadowcloaks of Calaunt, thieves of Raven’s Bluff, and/or Grayclaws guild of Tantras.
  • When interacting with a NPC for 1 minute, you know whether they are bribable and have a rough sense for what sort of bribe would entice them. In the Vast, gold is more influential than government.
  • You are touched by “wildfire”; when you see a friend dropped to 0 hit points, or you are at half hit points, or you enter a wild magic zone, you are wreathed in a fire shield for as long as you maintain concentration, and you gain either the fire bolt or green flame blade cantrip during this time, choosing either Intelligence or Charisma as your spellcasting ability for this cantrip. However, your “wildfire” may have unintended side effects.
  • Gain the “Guild Membership” background feature of the Guild Artisan background.
  • When using downtime for Buying a Magic Item, add +5 to your Charisma (Persuasion) checks. Raven’s Bluff is the heart of magic item trade, and you have many connections in the trade.
  • Choose a patron deity (free spells at temple): Chauntea, Clangeddin, Eldath, Gond, Kelemvor, Lathander, Leira, Milil, Mystra, Selûne, Tempus, Torm, Tymora, or Waukeen.
 

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cbwjm

Legend
Pretty cool, reminds me of the X class of the realms books from 2e. I actually think regional additions as additional layers for character creation would be a nice addition to the game.
 


Quickleaf

Legend
Pretty cool, reminds me of the X class of the realms books from 2e. I actually think regional additions as additional layers for character creation would be a nice addition to the game.
Thanks for pointing those out to me. They're some of the "Complete" / mahogany softcovers that I didn't get back in AD&D, but look like they have some good inspiration within!
 


Laurefindel

Legend
I love regional variants! This looks good, but there’s too many options to choose from for each variant.

I’d simplify it to one or two things from your region (that all get), then « pick one of the following three options » kind of deal.

Ideally, a player would select a region and then choose which three perks to keep, but players being players, we’ll feel the need to read it all in fear of missing out the best options, then get discouraged, and go « screw this, I’ll just make a half-elf ».
 

Ulorian

Adventurer
I really like the Choose 3 aspect of this. I find racial traits like the Hobgoblin's Martial Training annoying because any class that gets access to martial weapons make this a wasted trait.
 


Quickleaf

Legend
I love regional variants! This looks good, but there’s too many options to choose from for each variant.

I’d simplify it to one or two things from your region (that all get), then « pick one of the following three options » kind of deal.

Ideally, a player would select a region and then choose which three perks to keep, but players being players, we’ll feel the need to read it all in fear of missing out the best options, then get discouraged, and go « screw this, I’ll just make a half-elf ».
The reason for the "multiple choice" is to encourage a whole range of possible characters from any given region. So, taking the Dragon Coast for an example...

If I were to say "you gain proficiency in all crossbows" as a locked in perk, well, that's not much use to a PC with proficiency in martial weapons... similarly advantage on saves vs. fear is redundant for a Paladin PC... and "Ship's Passage" is redundant for a PC with the Sailor background.
 

Horwath

Hero
I like it.

This reminds me of Players guide to Faerun and 1st level regional feats.

And now that we are going to bonus feats at levels 1 and 4, this idea might be better covered by a feat that every race can take if from that region. But, many people WILL ignore regional requirement and just take it for their mechanical value in vision of their characters,

So just maybe have a category of feats that can only be taken at level 1, and that you can only have one of those.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
The reason for the "multiple choice" is to encourage a whole range of possible characters from any given region. So, taking the Dragon Coast for an example...

If I were to say "you gain proficiency in all crossbows" as a locked in perk, well, that's not much use to a PC with proficiency in martial weapons... similarly advantage on saves vs. fear is redundant for a Paladin PC... and "Ship's Passage" is redundant for a PC with the Sailor background.
Oh, I totally get why all those choices are proposed! However, the number of available option is so high that I believe it works against your intention. Now, you know your players best and definitely should cater to them (and yourself) before anyone else, but I know that products like this turn me off just by the sheer amount of information if it were proposed, say, on DM Guild. I say that because I have a tendency to propose many options myself.

It’s not that the document lacks focus, but rather that focus is harder to see. I would tolerate some redundancy better, but maybe that just me.
 

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