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Narrative-Driven Character Creation
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Narrative-Driven Character Creation

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In Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition, characters have traditionally gained an ability score increase trait through their race. Critiques have been raised questioning the narrative this mechanic evokes, and I ultimately agreed that, even with politics aside, race doesn’t feel like a pleasing place to put ability score increases. It causes certain race and class pairings to perform notably weaker than others, which may dissuade players from playing a race and class combination they had envisioned.

Though a new Lineage system is being created for Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything that proposes a solution, I’m of the opinion that the system previews we have seen as of writing this material wind up causing a massive shift in the overall balance behind character creation in several races, and min-maxing players will ultimately just see the system as a means to create “optimal” characters instead of compelling ones.

Narrative-Driven Character Creation seeks to meaningfully address this by proposing a new system for Ability Score Improvement based off of you character's Background and Class, then a change to alternate proficiencies that seeks to reduce the potential for tool proficiency bloat. 

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Derek B November 17, 2020 9:14 pm UTC
When you said you were going to give the kobold a little love, I was expecting to see a variant race trait like the half-elf, human, and mountain dwarf. Was saddened to not see that. Even something that boosts them a slight bit but replaces their grovel and beg ability. I'm good with either.
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Taron P November 18, 2020 4:19 am UTC
I've got an idea for Kobold that I'd like to do in an update, but I had some other stuff come up that took precedent. Be looking forward to that in an update!
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Derek B November 18, 2020 9:19 am UTC
Absolutely will be looking forward to the update.
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Jason B November 17, 2020 9:06 pm UTC
This is a great idea and well-balanced. My only suggestion would be to cap the most you can add to one ability for background and class combination at +2. So you couldn't stack +2 intelligence from sage and then give a +1 to intelligence for wizard for a total of +3. Otherwise, you'd have a 1st level character with an 18 using the point buy or standard array method.
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Taron P November 18, 2020 4:20 am UTC
My justification for this was originally "Changeling can do it." but with the most recent errata, I think you're probably right.
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Taron P October 20, 2020 4:16 pm UTC
I’ll be doing a small update to fix the typo in the Diplomat feature and to clarify the purpose of the two tables in the background chapter. Just to answer a few questions: the second table shows you what the official background ASIs would be when used with the first table. The first table is for any custom backgrounds you might make. You don’t gain more than 2 points of improvement based on your background. Hope that makes sense!
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File Last Updated:
October 20, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on October 19, 2020.