View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Birthsigns

2017-05-17, 02:25 AM
I'd like to introduce birthsign feats into my game, obviously being inspired by TES. I haven't introduced the idea to my players, yet, so I'd appreciate any feedback. Maybe they'll come in handy as a template to create your own birthsign system.

How the Players choose their birthsign

My campaign has already been running for some months, so it would kinda feel weird to me and maybe even to my players to just grant them feats they are supposed to be born with. On the other hand, those are free feats, so at least my group of players won't care too much.
To make it feel more immersive, the players would need to find a certain item (a map of the firmament) or speak with a certain person (a priestess of knowledge, an astronomer).
Then they'll get to choose. Each one rolls 2d12. Based on the numbers they roll, they choose between two of the 12 birthsigns.
By randomizing the process, not every player will get the results she needed to make her specialized PC even more specialized. However, I think the feats are not that overwhelming and important. They're only supposed to offer some immersion and diversity.

The Birthsigns

1. The Mountain

Increase your Constitution score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
When you take damage, you gain a moral bonus to withstand your enemies. Increase your AC by 1 until the end of your next round.

2. The Lovers
You are granted two spells that you can cast once per day. You need to touch the target with your bare hands.

Lover's Gift: The creature you touch regains health equal to 3d8 + your Charisma modifier.
Sacred Touch: You deal 3d10 damage to an Undead creature.

3. The Beggar

Increase your Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
You have advantage on Intelligence (Investigation) checks to find stores, smithies and similar shops.
You have advantage on Charisma checks to bargain any prices.

4. The Harpy

Wild Tongued (spell, once per target): You make a Charisma check against the Charisma score of one creature. The creature needs to have an Intelligence score of 6 or more and to speak the same language as you do. If you succeed, the creature has to answer one question you ask, no matter how confidential or private the subject is.

5. The Rose

If you wear very fashionable garment, you gain proficiency with any Charisma based skills as long as you wear that garment. Furthermore, other people that can see you within a range of 30 feet will suffer a disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks to notice any person other than you. The kind of garment which can be considered 'fashionable' may depend on the social and cultural circumstances.

6. The Dryad

Increase your Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
When you would make a Wisdom saving throw, you can instead make a Charisma saving throw.

7. The Maester

Increase your Intelligence score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
When you would make a Dexterity saving throw, you can instead make an Intelligence saving throw.

8. The Mountain Lion

When you take damage, you can use your reaction to move 5 feet away from the source.
Your speed increases by 10 feet and your melee attacks deal an additional 1 point of damage while you are at or below half hit points.

9. The Worm

Sucker's Touch (spell, once per day): You make a melee spell attack against a creature within your reach. On a hit, the target takes 3d10 poison damage, and you regain hit points equal to half the amount of damage dealt.

10. The Huntress

You gain a +5 bonus to your Initiative rolls.
You can shift your Initiative up enough to act before the creature that would attack before you in the Initiative count. Once you use this feature you must complete a long rest to use it again.

11. The Castle

At the start of your turn, you can reduce your speed to 0 and impose disadvantage on the next melee attack made against you before the start of your next turn.
When an effect causes you to move, you can choose to move half of the distance instead. This doesn't include falling movement.

12. The Joker

You gain proficiency in a skill of your choice.
The ability score most relevant to the skill increases by 1, to a maximum of 20.

I've used and/or adjusted some homebrew feats by BronzeJohnson, StriderT and CR4ZYD4VE. I've made the mistake of translating their feats into German for my personal notes, than translate them back into English for this post. I want to apologize for some clunky formulations. Feel free to look up their original Homebrew content via any search engine, as I've not been allowed to post any direct links yet.

Grizl' Bjorn
2017-05-17, 05:23 AM
1. They are cool
2. They are powerful but that isn't necessairly a problem because everyone gets them.
3. Some are a fair bit more powerful than others which makes things more difficult. Others vary in power vastly based on what level you're at.
4. On the whole I would advise against deciding character features like this randomly or without player consent. Some of these will shape the whole gameplay of a character. It's your game- I could be wrong- but that's just my two cents.

Let's get specific!

Mountain is fine

The lovers should scale in some way based on level.

The beggar is way too niche compared to most of the others. Way, way too niche unless haggling is a major part of your games.

The harpy is... interesting. I'm not sure how I feel. It can be difficult to assess balance in non-combat situations. On the whole I think it works. Make it "The target has to make a charisma saving throw against your spell DC" to bring it in to line with similar abilities.

The rose is by far the most powerful ability on the list. With a modicum of effort you gain profiency in all charisma skills.

The Dryad is either going to be quite useful or utterly useless (beyond the one cha bonus)

Same with the Maester

Mountain lion is v. good. I haven't played enough characters that regularly get in melee to really properly assess it. Not obviously broken but I could be wrong about that.

The worm, like the lovers, needs to scale with level

Huntress seems fine

The castle is relatively weak

The joker seems fine

2017-05-17, 06:10 AM
Thanks for your feedback!

I should have added that I had my very specific group of players in mind when I choose these feats.
That's why I defined The Lovers' and The Worm's spells with 3d8 or 3d10, because that would correlate to some spells my players would usually cast at Level 5 to 7. But I will definately think about a method to make them scale to their level. Maybe 1d8/d10 + a number of d8/d10 equal to your Charisma (The Lovers) or Intelligence (The Worm) modifier?
My specific group of players is also the reason why The Beggar wouldn't be too niche for them. They like shopping, but they don't like spending money. If I had another group of players, I would probably exchange 2-3 of those feats altogether.

I like your idea on how to adjust the Harpy to more standardized checks.

I thought about changing the Rose's proficiency bonuses to gaining advantage on each Charisma based skill test? While still wearing the garment, of course. Again, with my specific group of players in mind, I think this feat is more niche than the Beggar. So far they haven't put that much thought in what kind of stuff their PCs are wearing.

I'm especially curious how the Dryad and the Maester would work out myself, and really hope that someone will pick one of them. Overall, Wisdom and Dexterity checks have been very common in my campaign so far, so someone with better Charisma or Intelligence stats might quite enjoy to have a bit more security.

I guess you're right about the Castle. Maybe it should impose a disadvantage on the opponent's attack roll and if they still manage to hit, you can use your reaction to counter with an attack of your own?

Regarding the distribution of the birthsigns: of course I will ask my players for consent. However, they are quite aware that I got a thing for randomizing stuff a bit. I think most of those feats aren't even really fit for optimizing a specialized character, because such a character will eventually get better feats anyway. They are rather supposed to make the PCs more flexible. For example, The Lovers could save a PC's whole life when the party's cleric happens to not be around one evening.

2017-05-18, 07:26 PM
I'd recommend against random chance to determine their birth signs, if I were a player and I found there was a sign that fit my character better, I'd be annoyed. What I'd say to try instead is to let them pick their birth sign, but only tell them the names. That way they get more of a choice in their abilities and their character development, and if they're annoyed when they find out the mechanics they have no one to blame but themselves.

2017-05-19, 02:34 AM
But if you associated, let's say, the Rose or the Dryad with magic, wouldn't my players choose one of those to boost their magic performance and then be disappointed about their new Interaction skills?

In the meanwhile, I've got the chance to introduce my players to the idea. Some replied that as long as they get some new feat, they will gladly roll for it. 1-2 of them didn't seem to be perfectly convinced, however, so I'll definately talk about it again before actually asking them to roll.