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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
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    Default Racial Overhaul v0.5 -- full biological/cultural split. PEACH

    I've been working on a way to integrate the races more fully into my setting. Part of that is to split apart the biological parts of the races from the cultural ones, as very few of my races are monocultural and very few cultures are monoracial. This is the first full draft.

    Each PC "race" now consists of two parts: a lineage (the biological parts) and a culture (the...well..cultural parts). Any culture can be taken by a member of any lineage, but there are "recommended" lineages. Note: Tasha's floating ASIs are not in play. These replace the current races entirely. Also note that there is no way to gain a full feat at level 1.

    Numbers in parentheses in features mean how many choices you get from that list. The features are presented together below the lineages and cultures.

    Spoiler: Lineages
    Show

    Lineage Size Speed +1 ASI Feature Feature
    Barbegazi (frost goblin) S 25 CON Cold Resistance Elemental Nature (Cold)
    Cysgor (shadar-kai analogue) M 30 WIS Necrotic Resistance Shadow Walk
    Dragonborn M 30 STR Draconic Nature Resistance (Color)
    Dwarf M 25 CON Poison Resistance Darkvision
    Elementborn (genasi) M 30 Special -- Elemental Nature (Earth, Air, Fire, Water)
    Fiendborn (tiefling) M 30 CHA Fiendish Nature (2) --
    Godborn (aasimar) M 30 Wisdom Celestial Nature (2) --
    Goroesi (drow-equivalent) M 30 STR Darkvision Inexhaustible
    Gwerin (high elf) M 30 INT Superior Trance Quick Learner
    Half-elf M 30 Any Fey Nature (1) Trance
    Halfling S 25 DEX Lucky Halfling Nimbleness
    Hobgoblin M 30 INT Instinctive Tactics Shared Memory
    Human M 30 WIS Quick Learner Instinctive Tactics OR Instinctive Charm
    Ihmisi (wood elf) M 35 DEX Fey Nature (2) --
    Jazuu (goliaths) M 30 CON Stone Endurance Powerful Build
    Ophidian (yuan-ti pureblood equivalent) M 30 CHA Poison Resistance Instinctive Charm
    Orc (no half orcs) M 30 STR Relentless Endurance Inexhaustible
    Sena'ka (githyanki equivalent) M 30 STR or INT Psionic Nature (2) --
    Sher ka (tabaxi equivalent) M 35 DEX Claws Feline Agility
    Udaaka (aarocokra equivalent) M 30 ft, 30 ft fly DEX Wings Talons


    Spoiler: Lineage Traits
    Show

    Elemental Nature (Fire). The influence of the Plane of Fire has given you partial control over fire. Your Intelligence score increases by 1. You learn the firebolt cantrip. You can cast absorb elements at first level once with this trait and regain the ability to do so after you finish a long rest. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast continual flame once with this trait and regain the ability to do so after you finish a long rest. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells. Additionally, you gain resistance to fire damage.

    Elemental Nature (Air). The influence of the Plane of Air lends quickness to your movements. Your Dexterity score increases by 1. Your movement speed increases by 10 feet. Additionally, you gain resistance to lightning damage.

    Elemental Nature (Water). The influence of the Plane of Water grants you the ability to breath water as well as air. Your Wisdom score increases by 1. Additionally, you gain resistance to acid damage)

    Elemental Nature (Earth). The influence of the Plane of Earth makes you difficult to move against your will. Your Constitution score increases by 1. You have advantage on ability checks and saving throws to resist being moved or knocked prone. This includes attempts to teleport you against your will. Additionally, you gain resistance to thunder damage.

    Elemental Nature (Cold). The influence of the Plane of Ice gives you freezing blood that chills those that strike you. When you are hit by a weapon attack from within 5 feet, you can force the attacker to make a Constitution saving throw against a DC of 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. On a failed save, they cannot take reactions until the start of your next turn and their movement speed is reduced by 10 feet for this same period. Once a creature fails this saving throw, you cannot use this trait again until you finish a short rest.

    Shadow Walk. The ancestral bargain between the cysgor and Shadow itself lingers in your blood. As an action while standing in a shadow, you can teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied point you can see that is also in shadow. Once you use this trait, you can not use it again until you finish a long or short rest.

    Fiendish Nature (N). The legacy of the Infernal Territories warps your bloodline. Choose N of the following traits.
    1. Fire Resistance. You have resistance to fire damage.
    2. Necrotic Resistance. You have resistance to necrotic damage.
    3. Fiendish Charm: As a reaction when a creature you can see makes an attack against you, you can force them to make a Wisdom saving throw against a DC of 8 + your Charisma modifier + your Proficiency bonus. On a failed save, they must choose another target within range for the attack if one exists. If no suitable targets exist, the attack is lost. Once you use this trait once, you can not use it again until you finish a long rest.
    4. Fiendish Magic: You know the thaumaturgy cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the hellish rebuke spell as a 2nd-level spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the darkness spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
    5. Fiendish Physiology: You have either horns, dagger-like teeth, or a tail (your choice). You can attack with your chosen feature as a natural weapon with which you have proficiency, dealing 1d4 + your Strength modifier damage on a hit. Horns and teeth deal piercing damage, while a tail deals bludgeoning damage.
    6. Familiar Spirit: You can cast the find familiar spell once with this trait, regaining the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. The familiar you summon has the fiend type.

    Fey Nature (N). The influence of fey and kami lingers in your soul. Choose N of the following traits.
    1. Psychic Resistance. You have resistance to psychic damage.
    2. Fey Trick: As an action, one creature you can see within 60 feet must make a Wisdom saving throw against a DC of 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus. On a failure, they must use their reaction to move up to their speed in a straight line in a direction of your choice. Once a creature fails this saving throw, you cannot use this trait again until you finish a long rest.
    3. One with Nature : As an action, you can merge into a natural feature (such as a rock, tree, dirt, or unworked stone) and reappear at a different natural feature you can see within 30 feet. Once you use this trait, you cannot do so again until you finish a long rest.
    4. Nature’s Concealment : You can attempt to hide when lightly obscured by natural elements such as trees, mist, bushes, etc.
    5. Fey Companion. You can cast the find familiar spell once with this trait, regaining the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. The familiar you summon has the fey type.

    Celestial Nature (N). The fire of demigods, ascendants, or the angelic host burns in your soul. Choose N of the following traits.
    1. Celestial Verity. When you make a Charisma (Persuasion) check, you can add twice your proficiency bonus instead.
    2. Angelic Wings. As aarocokra
    3. Radiant Resistance. You have resistance to radiant damage.
    4. Necrotic Resistance. You have resistance to necrotic damage.
    5. Healing Hands. As an action, you can touch another creature and restore hit points up to 5 times your proficiency bonus to them. Once you use this trait, you cannot do so again until you finish a long rest.

    Draconic Nature. Your ancestors were created by merging them with pieces of draconic souls. That legacy lingers on in you. Choose a color (see PHB). This determines the element that you gain resistance to. Also choose one of the following traits.
    1. Draconic Fear. You gain proficiency in the Intimidation skill. In addition, as an action you can exude menace at a single creature that can see you within 30 feet. The target must make a Wisdom saving throw against a DC of 8 + your Strength modifier + your proficiency bonus. On a failed saving throw the target is frightened for one minute. Frightened targets can attempt the saving throw again at the end of each of their turns, ending the effect on a success. Once a target fails this saving throw, you can no longer use this trait until you finish a long rest.
    2. Dragon Hide. When you aren’t wearing armor, your AC equals 13 + your Dexterity modifier.
    3. Natural Weaponry. You have either claws, dagger-like teeth, or a tail (your choice). You can attack with your chosen feature as a natural weapon with which you have proficiency, dealing 1d4 + your Strength modifier damage on a hit. Claws deal slashing damage, teeth deal piercing damage, while a tail deals bludgeoning damage.
    4. Breath weapon. As per PHB, except used as a Bonus action.

    Superior Trance. As regular Trance, but you remain conscious and alert (but immobile) during that time.

    Quick Learner. You gain proficiency in two languages or artisan’s tools of your choice. In addition, learning additional languages or tools costs only half the normal time and price.

    Instinctive Tactics. As a reaction when an ally you can see within 30 feet is targeted by an attack, you can shout a warning, allowing them to immediately move up to half their speed or stand up from prone without provoking opportunity attacks. Once you use this trait, you cannot use it again until after you finish a long or short rest.

    Shared Memory. When you make Intelligence checks involving remembering information, you can do so at advantage as you pull from the shared memory of your tribe.

    Instinctive Charm. When you make a Charisma check to get someone to do something for you, you can force them to make a Wisdom saving throw against a DC of 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus. On a failure, they are friendly to you for the purpose of determining the outcome of the check no matter their normal disposition. Once a target fails this saving throw, you cannot use this trait again until you finish a long rest.

    Inexhaustible. You recover 1 level of exhaustion whenever you finish a long or short rest.

    Psionic Nature (N). Your ancestors were granted uncanny gifts by their creators. Choose N of the following traits.
    1. Force Blades. As an action you can summon a blade of force. It has the statistics of a shortsword except that it deals force damage and has the thrown (30/90) property. Once thrown, it reappears in your hand at the end of that turn as long as you have a hand free whether it hit or missed.
    2. Tactical Teleport. As an action, you can teleport to an unoccupied point you can see within a 15’. Once you use this trait, you cannot do so again until you finish a long rest.
    3. Telekinetic Hand. You know the mage hand cantrip. When you cast it, it can provide up to 30 lbs of force (instead of 10) and is invisible.
    4. Mind Invasion. As an action, you can force a creature you can see within 30 feet to make an Intelligence saving throw against a DC of 8 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus. On a failed save, you can either cause the creature psychic damage equal to your level or ask the DM one question. If the creature knows the answer, you learn that information. If they do not, they take the damage instead. After the effect ends, the creature knows you assaulted their mind. Once a creature fails the saving throw against this effect, you cannot use this trait again until you finish a long rest.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-02-25 at 12:55 AM.
    Dawn of Hope: a 5e setting. http://wiki.admiralbenbo.org
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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

    Spoiler: Cultures
    Show

    Culture Suggested Lineages Descriptors ASI (+1/+1) Proficiencies Trait Language Choice (plus common)
    Caldera-born Barbegazi, dragonborn, hobgoblin, jazuu, orc hardy, aggressive, martial CON/STR medium armor, martial weapons Mountain-walk Draconic, orcish, goblin, jazuu
    Devout Any Divine, devout, traditional WIS/STR Religion, Insight Divine Initiate celestial, infernal, old imperial
    Fang-kin dwarf, half-elf, human, ophidian, sena'ka devious, devout, lithe CHA/DEX Religion, Deception OR Insight Serpent's Grace yonwach, sena'ka, ophidian
    Forest Tribal half-elf, halfling, human, ihmisi, orc, ophidian sylvan, traditional, self-sufficient DEX/WIS Nature OR History, Survival Wood-bond ihmisi, orc, ophidian
    High-mountain cysgor, dwarf, ihmisi, jazuu hardy, inventive, martial CON/INT Athletics, choice of tool Scion of the Forge God dwarf, jazuu, ihmisi
    Igazi human, sher ka, udaaka wealthy, devout, traveller CHA/STR Religion, Persuasion, vehicles (land) Haggler sena'ka, infernal
    Maritime half-elf, human, ophidian, sena'ak sea-farer, devious, martial DEX/ CHA OR INT vehicles (water), navigators or cartographers kits, deception Swimmer sena'ka, ophidian, old imperial
    Mountain Tribal barbegazi, jazuu, ihmisi, orc, goroesi hardy, self-sufficient, martial CON/WIS Survival, medium armor OR martial weapons [Mountain-walk/td]
    [td]goblin, ihmisi, orc, jazuu
    Night's Child half-elf, human, ihmisi devout, sea-farer, crafty (wood) WIS/STR vehicles (water), Survival, woodcarver's tools Wood-bond OR Swimmer ihmisi, primordial, sylvan
    Plains Tribal barbegazi, half-elf, hobgoblin, ihmisi herder, hardy, self-sufficient CON/WIS Nature, Survival Animal Friend ihmisi, goblin
    Primal Any Nature, perceptive, self-sufficient WIS/DEX Nature, Survival Primal Initiate primordial, sylvan
    Scholarly Any Arcane, intellectual, inventive INT/CHA 1 social skill, arcana Arcane Initiate yonwach, old imperial, draconic
    Undermountain dwarf, halfling human, goroesi traditional, stubborn, crafty (metal/stone) WIS/CON 2 tools, athletics Scion of the Forge God dwarven, old imperial
    Wallbuilder dwarf, gwerin, half-elf, halfling, human, ihmisi devout, collaborative, crafty WIS/Any other Religion, 1 tool Consensus Builder yonwach, old imperial, dwarven



    Spoiler: Cultural Traits
    Show

    Consensus Builder. The wall-builders have a long history of working closely together and valuing consensus. When you take the Help action to assist with an Intelligence or Charisma check, you can add your relevant modifier (if positive) to the result as well.

    Serpent’s Grace. A cultural legacy of dancing has left you more nimble than most. When you are required to make a Dexterity saving throw, you can choose to do so at advantage. Once you use this trait, you cannot use it again until you finish a long or short rest.

    Mountain-walk. You grew up in and around the mountains. You’ve learned to travel easily while watching for danger. While traveling in mountains, you and your party can maintain a fast pace without penalty and you have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) and Wisdom (Perception) checks.

    Wood-Bond. You grew up surrounded by the deep-wood. You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) and can hide when only lightly obscured while in wooded areas.

    Swimmer. You grew up on the water and are comfortable moving in it. You gain a swim speed of 20 ft.

    Scion of the Forge God. Your culture places priority on knowledge and skill at crafting. You start with the formula to one common magical item (of a type you have the necessary proficiency to craft), and you gain access to the formula to an uncommon magical item at level 7. When you craft either one of these items, it only takes half the normal amount of time.

    Haggler. Your culture prizes thrift and bargaining. Your upkeep costs are reduced by 50% and the amount you receive when you sell goods or treasure is increased by 10%. You also start with an additional 10 gp.

    Animal Friend. Growing up with animals of all sorts, you learned special tricks to handle them. You have advantage on Wisdom (Animal Handling) checks. You can cast animal friendship once per day using this trait and regain the ability to do so once you finish a long rest. Wisdom is your spellcasting modifier for this spell. You can also cast speak with animals as a ritual.

    Arcane Initiate. Your childhood was spent among the learned and among seekers of arcane secrets. You’ve picked up a few tricks. You learn two cantrips and one first-level spell of your choice from the wizard spell list. You can cast the first-level spell once per day with this trait and regain the ability to do so once you finish a long rest.

    Divine Initiate. Your childhood was spent among the highly devout, around the priests and scholars. You’ve picked up a few tricks. You learn two cantrips and one first-level spell of your choice from the cleric spell list. You can cast the first-level spell once per day with this trait and regain the ability to do so once you finish a long rest.

    Primal Initiate. You dwelt among those who worship the kami. You’ve picked up a few tricks. You learn two cantrips and one first-level spell of your choice from the druid spell list. You can cast the first-level spell once per day with this trait and regain the ability to do so once you finish a long rest.


    Changelog: Replaced city names with "any" in cultures that are associated with cities rather than lineages. Added goroesi where they belong (mountain tribal/undermountain)
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-02-25 at 10:40 AM.
    Dawn of Hope: a 5e setting. http://wiki.admiralbenbo.org
    PhoenixPhyre's Extended Homebrew Signature
    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 693 MM, Volo's, and now MToF monsters: Updated!

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

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

    Some cultures have lineages that dont exist in your table

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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

    Quote Originally Posted by KyleG View Post
    Some cultures have lineages that dont exist in your table
    Ah yes, I forgot to explain. Those are city-bound cultures, not lineage bound ones. Ie there isn't a preferred lineage, just a preferred place of origin. I should edit those to say "any" instead.
    Dawn of Hope: a 5e setting. http://wiki.admiralbenbo.org
    PhoenixPhyre's Extended Homebrew Signature
    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 693 MM, Volo's, and now MToF monsters: Updated!

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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

    Thinking about the gwerin (high elves). So many of their "stock" traits were cultural (and part of the base elf) that splitting them out left them rather...sad.

    Gwerin have the following differences from other elves in my setting:
    1. Gwerin are strongly associated with wizardry and arcane magic in general. Their direct ancestors developed it, and they've been breeding for arcane power (directly or indirectly) ever since. In fact, this was the point of departure (thousands of years ago) between the gwerin and the ihmisi--the first imhisi were culled from aelvar (as the parent race was called) society because they couldn't/wouldn't/didn't want to learn arcana. This split the race into gwerin and ihmisi and directly led to the ihmisi creating druidic magic and using it to drop a moon on the aelvar empire that rejected them.

    2. Gwerin used to be the longest-lived humanoid race by a lot, living to over 1000 years. This changed about 250 years ago, dropping them down to 200 years (still the most, but not nearly by as much). They still don't show visible age very much (maturing at normal rates but having a prolonged "adulthood" until they're a few years from (natural) death).

    3. Gwerin are not associated with the fey at all. The origin of the aelvar race is with the lucians, who became the inhabitants of the astral plane.

    4. Gwerin are not reincarnated at least as far as anyone else knows. None of the Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes lore is in play.

    Since I'm speaking strictly biologically here, giving them a cantrip/spell doesn't work...unless they're racially all sorcerers. Which is possible. But they're associated much more with INT than with CHA, and INT-based spell-casting is learned, not innate, so...

    Trance/meditation (and associated lack of need to sleep as most understand it) works IMO--it ties into #3 and gives them an otherworldly edge. So Superior Trance (downgraded to Trance for the other aelvar descended races) is in. But rather...ribbon-y.

    So what about something like:
    Innate Spellcasting. Generations of breeding for arcane mastery has granted the gwerin an innate sensitivity to magic. You can cast detect magic without needing components. You can use this a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, regaining expended uses when you finish a long rest. Starting at 5th level, you can cast dispel magic once with this trait, regaining the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

    Both of these are entirely innate spellcasting, representing less spellcasting than just a heightened natural ability to sense and cancel magic.
    Dawn of Hope: a 5e setting. http://wiki.admiralbenbo.org
    PhoenixPhyre's Extended Homebrew Signature
    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 693 MM, Volo's, and now MToF monsters: Updated!

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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

    My homebrew setting is so far beyond separating cultures from genetics: the different races are wholly alien to each other to the point where the idea of them sharing a common culture is silly. Examples:
    • Dwarves' "beer" is a symbiotic yeast that forms a critical role in their reproductive cycle. They're an all-male species whose young grow in fungal cysts beneath their holdfasts. Their beer brewing and stone working is instinctive and necessary. There can't be a tribe of dwarves that doesn't brew beer because they wouldn't last a single generation. There couldn't be a tribe of dwarves that doesn't dig their civilizations into mountains because the necessary conditions for the cysts to form wouldn't exist in another environment.
    • Goblinoids are a single eusocial species, with each of the goblinoid "races" actually being a distinct caste ("caste" in the biological sense, as in workers, soldiers, drones) within the warren. They are intelligent and free-willed, but the pheromones that direct their behavior are powerful motivators that would make significant deviation from the duties of the caste extremely unusual. For example, goblins derive almost sexual pleasure from theft because they're "worker bees" gathering resources for their warren. A goblin can learn not to steal, but they will always want to.
    • Orcs were created by interbreeding humans and goblinoids (by the naturally amoral elves, see below) and a skull/pelvis mismatch prevents natural childbirth, necessitating surgical removal of infants from the womb. Because of the goblinoid DNA, a "litter" of 6-12 infants forms in the womb, but the orc fetuses will begin to strangle each other during the second trimester, a battle which continues all the way up to birth, so when the mother cuts herself open when her labor pains begin, she finds a single infant (or rarely twins, hands still at each others' throats) and the remains of its siblings. This is not a biology that will tolerate weakness, culture be damned. If you don't have a str and con bonus, you don't even make it out of the womb alive.
    • Elves are the most closely related to humans, but they evolved as solitary apex predators rather than cooperative social animals. As such they have none of the social instincts humans enjoy like guilt and empathy: they are an entire species of sociopaths. "Good" elves exist, but goodness is a learned/taught behavior developed for practical purposes. They can decide to be good, but their instincts do not give them the tools which would make it easy.


    They all have culture, but their culture is informed by their biology. Some tribes of dwarves pray for sons when their hormones cause them to wait for one, and believe that when their son arrives days later, crawling up from the depths, their prayer has been answered. That's culture, but a culture that wouldn't exist without their biology. Dwarves have no notion of gender at all: why would they? Goblinoids, by contrast, have four "genders" which are rigid and rooted in deep and very real biological differences. Orcs have no instincts which compel them to cut their wombs open as labor begins: this must be taught, and so it is an element of their culture. But it's a wholly necessary element of their culture, for birth wouldn't be possible without it. The manner in which this surgery occurs may vary greatly from tribe to tribe: in many the mother cuts the infant from her abdomen herself as a rite of passage. In others perhaps the father makes the incision, or a midwife, or someone else. But the cutting must occur. But no tribe could survive without some form of this ritual.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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

    That's exactly the direction I don't want to go. Because I find mono cultures boring. And mono racial cultures boring.

    An orc from here and an orc from there share similarities due to "genetics", but have cultures that reflect who they're around. An orc raised in the Jungle of Fangs and one raised in the forests of the north will have radically different outlooks and priorities, in general.

    Both will have increased physical stature (relative to most humans), both will have the innate tendency to quick tempers (the mostly faded legacy of their ancestor and his demon problem). But they'll think differently. More as members of their nation or tribe then as orcs.

    Edit: plus, I don't have any expectation that players will be able to suitably play something alien. So the truly alien races can't be playable.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-02-27 at 08:03 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Edit: plus, I don't have any expectation that players will be able to suitably play something alien. So the truly alien races can't be playable.
    How often does pregnancy and childbirth really impact a campaign? What percentage of PCs in your games have been pregnant? Things like "dwarves don't understand sex or gender" make for fun little side bits, but doesn't change much about they way they handle danger and camaraderie. Elves as sociopaths might be more of an issue for some players, but plenty of PCs are effectively sociopaths anyway, so in many cases this changes very little (and lizardfolk already have this trait in vanilla D&D). I'll grant that the way I handle goblinoids make them poor choices for PCs, but then again they're poor choices for PCs in many games anyway.

    None of these races are as alien as Thri Kreen, yet those manage to be a favorite PC race, I would argue not in spite of their alien nature, but because of it.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    How often does pregnancy and childbirth really impact a campaign? What percentage of PCs in your games have been pregnant? Things like "dwarves don't understand sex or gender" make for fun little side bits, but doesn't change much about they way they handle danger and camaraderie. Elves as sociopaths might be more of an issue for some players, but plenty of PCs are effectively sociopaths anyway, so in many cases this changes very little (and lizardfolk already have this trait in vanilla D&D). I'll grant that the way I handle goblinoids make them poor choices for PCs, but then again they're poor choices for PCs in many games anyway.

    None of these races are as alien as Thri Kreen, yet those manage to be a favorite PC race, I would argue not in spite of their alien nature, but because of it.
    That was an aside. I really don't like racially stereotyping psychology. The "one-hat-per-race" thing, to me, is unpleasant. I look around and see people. A wide panoply of cultures, all backed by the same basic biology. And all my fantasy people should be people. That helps them feel real (to me). Note that none of my playable races have that enforced psychology. Not even lizardmen. Goblins come the closest (having a shared tribal memory which is also their long-term memory, without which they're basically human intelligence cats, minus the whole object permanence thing), which is why they're not playable. And even there there are exceptions.

    And those sorts of "surface" (where adventuring is concerned) differences feel like they're just stapled on. When you have a race whose fundamental biology is that different, having anything like human psychology is the result of forcing things into a pre-determined mold. I don't see how a "fungus" dwarf and a normal human would have much, if anything in common psychologically or sociologically. And that makes them ill-fitting for a party. Maybe I'm just not seeing it, but yeah.

    Another goal of mine is to have things that are recognizably "D&D" despite very different lore. So "alien" is off the table.
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Orc in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

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

    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.
    Last edited by Catullus64; 2021-03-03 at 01:23 PM.
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    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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