Level Up (A5E) Were the Planetouched a design trap?

xiphumor

Adventurer
You could. You just would not get the powers. You can still be creative, though. Nothing stops you from coming up with a great back story for how you are a mixed Genasi.
I should perhaps clarify that I’m not concerned with my own case. I have no intentions of playing a Planetouched in the near future. I’m concerned from the point of view of design, and how mechanics should reinforce story. An Earth Genasi Aasimar should have traits that suggest both angelic radiance as well as petrous gravity, and if they’re both simply Planetouched variants, that’s harder to express mechanically.
 

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WarDriveWorley

Adventurer
You could. You just would not get the powers. You can still be creative, though. Nothing stops you from coming up with a great back story for how you are a mixed Genasi.
This. Also let's assume that there's different options for paragon gifts you could have mixed abilities by choosing a paragon gift of a different element than your base heritage gift (example: Fire elemental at 1st level and Earth elemental at 10th).

Given that there's no requirement for a planetouched heritage to only choose hellish assault if they've chosen the tiefling gift (same with radiant assault/assimar) there's no reason to assume that the giftts/paragon gifts of the Genasi would be written to have such a requirement
 

xiphumor

Adventurer
This. Also let's assume that there's different options for paragon gifts you could have mixed abilities by choosing a paragon gift of a different element than your base heritage gift (example: Fire elemental at 1st level and Earth elemental at 10th).

Given that there's no requirement for a planetouched heritage to only choose hellish assault if they've chosen the tiefling gift (same with radiant assault/assimar) there's no reason to assume that the giftts/paragon gifts of the Genasi would be written to have such a requirement
True, except for this:

A87D3B0B-864F-4C87-9515-D7BFFF8692A1.png

The vast majority of people never reach level 10 or above, so paragon gifts never come into play.
 

WarDriveWorley

Adventurer
True, except for this:

View attachment 250597
The vast majority of people never reach level 10 or above, so paragon gifts never come into play.
Yeah the level block problem. The inability for most campaigns to breach those high levels is a consideration, but it shouldn't be the lynch-pin consideration. If it was the design philosophy would be to load all abilities (heritage, class, or otherwise) in the first 8 or so levels with everything beyond just being fleshing out of those abilities or candy.

Also, while I know DNDBeyond can be invaluable I wonder how many campaigns/characters aren't kept in it so aren't applying to the statistics and therefore are skewing the numbers. I know personally, and admittedly anecdotally, I've been running games for about 30 years (mostly non-stop) and have had only 4 campaigns not break the 10th level "limit" and only an additional 2 that didn't break 15th level. But I also know that findings consistent players as you become an adult is more and more difficult due to..."waves hands".

That said if you wanted to avoid that level block you could build in a semi-adjustable Genasi gift as part of the planetouched heritage. Maybe create 8 "minor" gifts (2 per element) and allow the player to choose 2 at start if they take the Genasi gift to allow for that cross-blood heritage you're looking for.
 

xiphumor

Adventurer
Attached, please find my own vision for what the Genasi could be if they were their own heritage. Hopefully this helps explain why I'm a little disappointed that future Genasi will be tied to the Planetouched base heritage; I think that there are far more interesting and evocative things that could be done with that space.



a5egenasi.jpeg
 

W'rkncacnter

Adventurer
Attached, please find my own vision for what the Genasi could be if they were their own heritage. Hopefully this helps explain why I'm a little disappointed that future Genasi will be tied to the Planetouched base heritage; I think that there are far more interesting and evocative things that could be done with that space.



View attachment 250599
i thought having your genasi type represented in both the base heritage and heritage gifts was bizarrely redundant, but then i realized - that could be representing genasi of border planes (such as storm genasi). that's...kinda cool actually.
 




Celebrim

Legend
Yes, but probably not in the way that you think.

The problem with race in D&D and most game systems is that it usually means very little. Race only lightly distinguishes characters. And in RPGs, things that are lightly distinguished generally only have a little rules text and little power. Dwarves, elves, humans, goblins, etc. generally only have slight differences in play over the course of a campaign, with racial abilities rarely coming up and rarely being important except as a flavor.

And then you get to the trap of the plane-touched races, and all of this starts breaking down. Because typically the idea then is that in that case race has a powerful and pervasive impact on the character and represents often real super-human ability and not just minor advantages or cultural differences that humans with their flexible natures can often nearly emulate anyway.

When these races were first introduced, it was recognized that there was basically no way to balance them with normal races because they had so much more rules baggage associated with the concept. The more rules baggage, the more powerful they are. They were to the editions that they were introduced to what elves were to 1e - so many expectations equals a much longer description equals more power. It took a long time to rebalance the concept of races to make elves fair, and the kludges in 1e that tried where just that - kludgy.

And that's basically what planetouched are now - the new "elves". They are what every player that would have played an elf back in the day plays now to be "cool". They should have never been introduced as a PC race. Like elves before them, there popularity is a sign of basically poor game mechanics and their ubiquity is bad for the game. Everyone in the 90's wanted to be a Drow; everyone now wants to be a tiefling. It's so tiring.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
And that's basically what planetouched are now - the new "elves". They are what every player that would have played an elf back in the day plays now to be "cool". They should have never been introduced as a PC race. Like elves before them, there popularity is a sign of basically poor game mechanics and their ubiquity is bad for the game. Everyone in the 90's wanted to be a Drow; everyone now wants to be a tiefling. It's so tiring.
Or, you know, because at least some people feel like they can identify with the weird-looking outsider.
 


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