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    Firbolg in the Playground

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    May 2016
    Corvallis, OR

    Default Re: Racial Overhaul v0.5 -- full biological/cultural split. PEACH

    Quote Originally Posted by Catullus64 View Post
    What you've got looks really good so far, even if some of your subsequent posts make me think we're not totally of the same mind regarding worldbuilding of races and cultures.

    Since it seems like this is intended for a specific campaign world rather than general use, I would nail down specifics. Before you let real players loose on this system, decide what lineage-culture intersection points exist in the world; turn those "Suggested" lineage-culture pairings into the only ones. Who are the Fang-Kin Dwarves? What are they called? Where do they live? How did they come to be a distinct people from the Wall-Builder Dwarves? Let players have a definitive list of what societies they have to choose from, and what lineage-culture combinations are available within those societies. Otherwise players will be tempted to make lineage-culture choices motivated primarily by optimization rather than by factors that make sense in the world; or they'll just defy your suggestions and make Forest Tribal dragonborn, who don't fit into any existing cultural group, and thus have less connection to the events of campaigns.

    As the DM, you have to create structure for what it means to belong to these ethnic-cultural groups. Look forward to seeing this develop.
    I'm less worried about that. I mean, I could do that--the number of dragonborn from outside a couple of the cultures is minimal. But I've been pleasantly surprised[0] with what players have done with a much looser system (basically "pick a race and we'll discuss where they could be from, and that choice will have meaning in the campaign"). And I hold a pretty tight grip over character creation and am totally willing to push back on things that make zero sense or are actually impossible[1]. So I'm not as worried about mechanics-focused optimization.

    Someone picking, say, a Forest Tribal dragonborn would prompt me to ask "ok, so how did your infant[2] dragonborn character end up among the forest tribes? Where (showing a map) was this? What kind of people did they grow up among? Were there other dragonborn there?" Same as anyone who decided to come from a non named culture (the named ones have documentation on the setting wiki, some more extensive than others). And then their choices would actually get written into the world--there must be a tribe of this race in that forest, and their micro-culture must be that. I love when players create content for the world via their characters. I had a character build (with me in the loop) an entire organization for one of the nations; I've had people add villages, temples, and even such things as the existence of pirates in a particular area.

    [0] I had a character (well, a pair of them) decide that they grew up in a mixed gwerin/ihmisi village beyond the edge of normal civilization. By all normal standards, that would be highly improbable. And the culture we came up with for them was basically Forest Tribal...ish. Certainly not like the dominant gwerin or ihmisi cultures. That village and its history actually factored into that campaign.

    [1] although I'm having a severely difficult time thinking of anything I'd put in that category. There are exceptions everywhere; racial mixing is a major, well-known factor in the setting.

    [2] or child, or other non-adult. Young enough to fully acculturate into a culture and call that their own. I'd even be willing to accept an adult, but there'd have to be some backstory developed about how they adapted so fast.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-03-03 at 02:23 PM.
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