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192 votes
Accepted

Is it OK for me to give my players' characters punitive backstories when they don't provide their own?

You should cut that out. You've basically answered the question yourself in describing the situation to us: You have a requirement that characters have a backstory. If they don't bring a backstory, ...
doppelgreener's user avatar
114 votes
Accepted

Players Develop Backstories Too Much

I want to preface my answer by saying that I understand where your impulse is coming from, that I respect it at least in part, and that I share that impulse. But with that preface, I must in good ...
Novak's user avatar
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58 votes
Accepted

Food Scraps, what are they and do they go bad?

Since there are no rules related to 'scraps', this is entirely a roleplaying element with no real mechanical benefit. However, if you want something moderately mechanical, I'd suggest that instead of ...
Darth Pseudonym's user avatar
50 votes
Accepted

Creating a character, is Noble a class or a background?

The word "class" is being used in two different senses here. Noble, as a social class stratum in a Feudal/Medieval setting, is a different use of the term than "Class" for a PC such as Druid, Fighter,...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
48 votes
Accepted

Is giving my character amnesia about its backstory a bad idea?

If you don't work with your DM on your back story ... ... anything you do with your background and backstory can create difficulty at the table, since a PC needs to fit into the game world. If you ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
47 votes
Accepted

What are some canon noble houses in 5e?

D&D 5e is a set of rules and bits and pieces of lore ideas, but it has no setting. There are no maps of the “D&D 5e world”, no noble houses — nothing except the bits of background on the races....
SevenSidedDie's user avatar
46 votes

How can I develop my character's background when I know nothing of the game's lore and want to avoid spoilers?

It's time to talk to your DM. You clearly have ideas about the general shape of your backstory, but you need to know some things that "everyone in the setting knows" and you need names, places and ...
John Dallman's user avatar
  • 17.4k
45 votes

Is it OK for me to give my players' characters punitive backstories when they don't provide their own?

"No backstory" is often better than "amnesia backstory". There are many different players, and they are all different, but a category of players tend to prefer having their character fleshed by the ...
Anne Aunyme's user avatar
  • 21.4k
43 votes

How do I get other players to ask about my backstory?

First, you can't make people care about your backstory if they aren't interested in that sort of thing. I know it is frustrating, but in RPGs, there are so many different things people want out of ...
J. A. Streich's user avatar
39 votes
Accepted

Who gets to write how character backgrounds tie into the game?

This is fundamentally a question of playstyle In differing styles players have jurisdiction over differing amounts and kinds of fictional material. In some styles, it would be completely ...
Please stop being evil's user avatar
37 votes
Accepted

Can the urchin's pet mouse survive combat?

Yes. This is one of those classic "already-been-solved" problems: Mice in the wild face existential threats every day. They've already figured out their best strategy: find very safe places ...
nitsua60's user avatar
  • 102k
36 votes
Accepted

How can I add details to my character mid-campaign?

Most DMs I know would love it if their players came up with more story details for their characters or the world, so it's definitely not bad etiquette. Just tell the DM about it in whatever is the ...
Erik's user avatar
  • 81.6k
35 votes
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How is being hunted by a tyrant a flaw?

The intention of that flaw is to provide a plot hook for YOU, the DM! You now have the opportunity to pursue the party with the agents of the said tyrant, and disrupt their plans at inopportune ...
Ladifas's user avatar
  • 8,989
35 votes

Players Develop Backstories Too Much

It really sounds to me like your players are developing their backstories quite appropriately, at least per the recommendations in the 5e Player’s Handbook. Chapter 4: Personality and Background ...
KRyan's user avatar
  • 354k
35 votes

What is the scope of the Charlatan background?

Why not? I'm not sure I see a real problem here. Your player has developed a backstory and suggested that the Charlatan fits within it. There is nothing wrong with any of that! The problems are ...
NotArch's user avatar
  • 126k
33 votes

What is the scope of the Charlatan background?

The background system is supposed assist character creation, not control it. If you read through chapter 4 "Personality and Background", you should observe that the guidance given is very ...
Thomas Markov's user avatar
32 votes

Can a DM deny your background if it's from a book?

Yes -- your DM can deny your background if she thinks it's going to make the game less fun. In the case of evil characters, there are strong reasons to think your background might make the game less ...
Dan B's user avatar
  • 90.4k
32 votes
Accepted

Can a character take on additional backgrounds, or at least their benefits?

Not according to the rules. Chapters 1 and 4 of the Player's Handbook always refer to "your character's background" in the singular. It also says that it's something determined during character ...
Derek Stucki's user avatar
  • 27.8k
32 votes
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I am a new player in a group. Another player's character has spent their childhood in a brothel and it is bothering me. What can I do?

Being born in a brothel isn't a big issue. It's a popular edgy background as it means no family ties. It even has a trope name. and isn't something that normally causes massive issues. People do it ...
Nepene Nep's user avatar
  • 19.1k
31 votes
Accepted

How do I get player characters who have non-adventurer backstories to go on adventures?

You aren't playing the same game. It sounds like you and your players are virtually playing different games, or at least very different styles. As with so many other questions, the answer is talk ...
TimothyAWiseman's user avatar
30 votes

Is giving my character amnesia about its backstory a bad idea?

"Who does that?" Uh... practically everyone? Amnesia and the search for who you used to be is a very common background for a heroic character in literature, movies, and games. It's literally the main ...
Darth Pseudonym's user avatar
29 votes

Can I apply Expertise to a skill proficiency granted by background or racial?

The rogue's expertise reads Expertise At 1st level, choose two of your skill proficiencies, or one of your skill proficiencies and your proficiency with Thieves' Tools. Your proficiency bonus is ...
PnP's user avatar
  • 2,744
29 votes

If you choose to roll for starting gold for your class, do you get starting equipment from your background as well?

You don't get any starting equipment at all - just the gold The "Starting Equipment" section at the start of Chapter 5: Equipment states (PHB, p. 143): When you create your character, you ...
LordHieros's user avatar
  • 3,016
28 votes
Accepted

Is there some sort of official assassin background?

The Criminal background represents all kinds of criminals, including assassins. There are many kinds of criminals, and within a thieves’ guild or similar criminal organization, individual ...
Miniman's user avatar
  • 145k
28 votes

Does Charlatan give access to other backgrounds' features?

No. Being able to pretend you are someone else does not make you someone else, nor does it grant you any of the talents or expertise it would take a real version of that persona a lifetime to accrue. ...
Bloodcinder's user avatar
  • 30.2k
27 votes
Accepted

Tiefling - Explanation on the "Virtue" name "Carrion" as suggested in the 5e PHB

OK so let's be honest - these "Virtue Names" are basically like choosing Smurf names, and tieflings are way more emo than Smurfs. So listed "Virtues" include normal positive things we'd normally ...
mxyzplk's user avatar
  • 176k
26 votes

Is it OK for me to give my players' characters punitive backstories when they don't provide their own?

It does not break the rules, but it is a terrible implementation of an otherwise good practice This is a three part answer that depends on what I perceive as a common practice, my observations of ...
Novak's user avatar
  • 45.1k
26 votes
Accepted

What is the scope of the Charlatan background?

Read the "Customizing a Background" rule. This is not listed as an optional rule; in a sense, it is closer to the core rules of 5e than feats are (which are optional) and multiclassing. ...
Yakk's user avatar
  • 16k
24 votes
Accepted

Does/Should the Gladiator background grant proficiency in the weapon it gives?

Proficiency seems like it should be included The Entertainer Background (PHB, 130) give you proficiency in one type of musical instrument AND gives you said musical instrument. The Gladiator variant (...
NotArch's user avatar
  • 126k

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