191

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, you write a “sadistic” backstory that “affects them badly” and “mock” them with it, and a player has confronted you that they feel bullied. (This is all your own ...


110

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 conscience push back against the frame of the question: Consider Reining In Your Urge To Discourage I respect and share your impulse, here. I really do. ...


63

The Player's Handbook and Basic Rules state you just take the skill of your choice in place of the duplicate proficiency (Basic Rules, p. 38; PHB, p. 126): If a character would gain the same proficiency from two different sources, he or she can choose a different proficiency of the same kind (skill or tool) instead.


50

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, Ranger, Wizard, etc, that has a progression from level 1 - 20 with game mechanical benefits. Answer: Noble is a background for D&D 5e, not a PC class. ...


47

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 work with your DM on your back story .... ... and the two of you together come up with amnesia as part of why your character is adventuring / questing, then it'...


46

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. There is no canon setting. There are canonical details for some settings that you can use with D&D 5e, but they are separate and not the default setting ...


46

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 dates that don't conflict with the setting's plots, or the DM's own ideas for their campaign. It may well be that the DM will use your backstory to help develop ...


44

"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 adventure they play with the others, and not written in advance in their backstory. Games like Dungeon World are addressed to them. If you let them the ...


41

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 the game, and not everyone cares about the backstory. Heck, some don't even care about the story. If they are just looking for a dungeon crawl or murder hobo ...


39

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 inappropriate for you to determine any aspect of the PC's brother's character. In others, it would be completely inappropriate for the player to decide that his character ...


37

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 to hide, and scurry among them when necessary. I don't see why this would be any different in a D&D-verse. The urchin's mouse--during fabled background ...


36

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 normal method you reach out to them, and say you had this idea about a character detail and ask what they think. Unless they already had something elaborate ...


35

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 moments. While personality traits are clearly directly linked to personality, ideals, bonds, and flaws are a little more nebulous, and can be linked to outside ...


34

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 refers to players detailing much about their character’s relationships with other (non-player) characters: Bonds represent a character’s connection to people [...] ...


32

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 fun. D&D is built around having one adventuring party, meaning that all the player characters are in the same place doing the same thing at the same time. ...


31

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 to them, but the specific question you need to answer as a group is "What style of game are we playing?" and potentially related "What system should we use?" It ...


30

"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 plot conceit of Knights of the Old Republic, Planescape Torment, The Bourne Identity, and Dark City, among many others, and it shows up all the time in ...


29

Short answer; don't. Based on what you've said it's not that his character is a problem, just that his theoretical goal is untenable. Make it clear to him exactly what sort of trouble he'd be in for if he decides to have his character pursue that vendetta. Let him know it would be impossible (or almost impossible, depending on your GM style) to fulfill and ...


29

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 doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen proficiencies. At 6th level, you can choose two more of your proficiencies (in skills or with ...


28

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 members have particular specialties. Even criminals who operate outside of such organizations have strong preferences for certain kinds of crimes over others. ...


28

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. An actor can pretend to be a lawyer. Even if they fake their credentials and make it into court, it doesn't mean they will actually be able to prosecute a ...


26

I think it has to do with this bit of background: You previously pursued a simple profession among the peasantry, perhaps as a farmer, miner, servant, shepherd, woodcutter, or gravedigger. Several of the defining events indicate that he may have expertise with said shovel as a weapon or as a tool of his trade (farming/mining/grave digging). Ultimately ...


25

Yes. Proficiency isn't tied to anything except your character level (i.e if you multiclass for example Rogue 3 / Cleric 2, your character level is 5, which means your proficiency bonus is +3). Your proficiency bonus increases everything you're proficient in, full stop. This applies to attacks with weapons you're proficient with, saving throws you're ...


25

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 player psychology, and how your approach gets in the way. First, a common practice (which I employ with success, but which is in no way original to me) is to ...


25

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 creation, not afterwards. You could anyways, but... As a DM, you're welcome to change the rules to fit your game, but there's a reason why the rules are the way ...


24

If none of the backgrounds in the Player's Handbook (p. 124-141), or the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide (p. 145-154) seem to fit you, discuss with your Dungeon Master(DM) a custom background. Once you determine why none of them fit, your DM may be able to show you how one does fit, or help you create a custom background as explained on page 289 of the ...


24

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 think of as virtues, but also things we wouldn't necessarily pick for a brainstormed list of virtues IRL, like torment, weary, creed, and despair. And, as you ...


24

Work with your GM The key thing is to work with your GM to determine how you should be linked to certain things and how much you and your character should know. This can be an ongoing conversation and your background can change and grow in depth as the story develops. If you like you can think of those additions to your background story as akin to a ...


23

The question is a bit broad and rather subjective, but I think it's a good one, nonetheless. There are as many answers as shamans, though: it depends on the person and their circumstances as much as on their totem. Here, let me present a few examples I'd consider stereotypical (though YMMV, wildly, of course.) First of all, imo, practically any shaman can ...


23

No. I will agree with Bloodcinder's answer, but from a more mechanical point of view. First, as a DM, I would simply not allow it because it makes the Background way more useful than every other. It's a shenanigan trying to abuse a possible flaw in the rules - and most DMs simply won't even care if the rules are actually flawed or not, they have the power to ...


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