Backgrounds, Specialities and Free Form

An idea which has been rattling around in my brain for a bit, is to impliment a game mechanic in character creation where when you use a "pre-existing" choice (i.e. the background "Minstrel") you would gain the 4 skills, the trait and the equipment. However, if you choose to pick 4 skills of your own, you do not get a trait nor the equipment package (instead you purchase with the 175 GP option). In the case of Specialities, they would need a tiny modification (i.e. additional gear for each one, or some other small trait similar to those from Background), SO... you could pick an existing Specialty and get the Feat and the perk (or gear) OR chose a Feat and gain no additional perk.
This way, there is a reason to pick (and stick to) a Specialty or Background AND a reason to pick a more "free-form" option. This helps balance character creation by offering incentive to play "well-thought out" character types, that are not just simple math equations... OR... Giving the player more freedom to pick from the "full-range" of choices, at the expense of the perks of a chosen archetype or role.
All this would require is a tad bit of extra wording and the addition of some small "boon" to Specialities. Both creation styles would offer merit to the player and the idea goes some way toward giving a real reason to even choose a Speciality, rather then just picking your own Feats.
I hope I conveyed my idea well. Any thoughts?

The two choices at character creation would be as follows:
Choice #1:
a) Choose a Race and Class (you must take the suggested equipment)
b) Choose a Background (you must take the suggested equipment)
c) Choose a Speciality (needs some small additional boon here)
d) Spend remaining resources (extra GP, choose spells etc.)
Choice #2:
a) Choose a Race and Class (you cannot take the suggested equipment)
b) Choose a 4 skills
c) Choose a feat
d) Spend 175 GP and remaining resources.

(I added this for clerity) 
they had a version of that in 2nd edition you picked a main class, then a kit, then they had backgrounds as well it allowed you to get a character with the flavor you wanted and all you had to do was pick spells and buy equipment
The idea I am posing here is that there be benefit for choosing a pre-existing Background and/or Specialization. So that people who just wish to pick 4 skills, a feat and purchase 175 GP of equipment (maximum flexibilty, least gain) may... and those who go with pre-existing choices (least flexible, most gain), receive small perks for each choice NOT gained by a character who opted to choose 4 Skills and a Feat.
In my opinion it gives a good reason to opt for each method of character creation, and keeps each choice valid and not simply "flavor". 
i see what your trying to do and its an idea that may work with some groups. when i come to creating a character i think of what i want to play and build him around my idea even if he isnt the best option out there
Most of the pre-existing Backgrounds and Specialities are not "ideal" from a pure game-effect stand point. By that I intend to say that most of the Backgrounds and Specialities "one wishes one could make small changes to". In the idea I am proposing, that would NOT be ok.
Background and Specialities are a useful "game-balance" aid, as they limit chosen skills and perks to certain "confines" which may be tightly controlled by the system (or DM). Thus, if the pre-existing choices also offer some additional little perk (like the Trait provided in Background) that those who opted to choose skills (or Feats) freely DO NOT get, you have an incentive to choose a pre-existing option... and in doing so help maintain game balance a bit better.
You still have the option of creating a character and NOT chosing a Background and Speciality, but instead choosing 4 skills, a feat and spending 175 GP. But, the person who went with the "pre-existing choices" gets something a little "extra"... not much... but extra...
its growing on me in one aspect and that is the new player. giving the new player a non game unbalancing boost to help fill in for his lack of experience till he gets better at playing is a fine temp thing. and for me since i have alot of experience i wouldnt mind losing out on that to make what i want
Bingo! That is exactly my theory! And... If your idea happens to line up with a "pre-existing choice"... Even better! This also favors a bit more "roleplaying" as pre-existing choices seem to have more domestic and real world type skill sets then your average optimized D&D character. Thus you have a better chance of a party with a truly diverse skill set.
i like it and i never make characters for power play im a goofball in real life so i like quirky characters one of my favorite ones was a human who was like 45 and he was a fighter but wasnt really good at it and he wanted to strike it rich so i spent all my gold on a donkey i named zeke and some mining gear and the only weapon proficiency i took was mining pick lol i loved zeke and i even got to go into some caves but i died in a cave in because i didnt know about shoreing up walls lol
An idea which has been rattling around in my brain for a bit, is to impliment a game mechanic in character creation where when you use a "pre-existing" choice (i.e. the background "Minstrel") you would gain the 4 skills, the trait and the equipment. However, if you choose to pick 4 skills of your own, you do not get a trait nor the equipment package (instead you purchase with the 175 GP option). In the case of Specialities, they would need a tiny modification (i.e. additional gear for each one, or some other small trait similar to those from Background), SO... you could pick an existing Specialty and get the Feat and the perk (or gear) OR chose a Feat and gain no additional perk.
This way, there is a reason to pick (and stick to) a Specialty or Background AND a reason to pick a more "free-form" option. This helps balance character creation by offering incentive to play "well-thought out" character types, that are not just simple math equations... OR... Giving the player more freedom to pick from the "full-range" of choices, at the expense of the perks of a chosen archetype or role.
All this would require is a tad bit of extra wording and the addition of some small "boon" to Specialities. Both creation styles would offer merit to the player and the idea goes some way toward giving a real reason to even choose a Speciality, rather then just picking your own Feats.
I hope I conveyed my idea well. Any thoughts? 


I think it is a great idea.  Particularly in regards to backgrounds.

Specialties require many levels to complete.  I think a better method for encouraging specialties would be a small bonus after collecting all 4 feats in the specialty.  Nothing too overpowered but just a nice additional ability to have fun with.  The small future bonus might be an incentive to take specialties But not so powerful that many people would prefer to create a different combination.
No.

The person who went prefab gets the 'bonus' of not having to sift through a dozen books for a couple hours.  That's it.
No.

The person who went prefab gets the 'bonus' of not having to sift through a dozen books for a couple hours.  That's it.

This. DDN has to grow beyond the tendency to marginalize certain playstyles.  Penalizing people for having badwrongfun isn't going to unite the fanbase.
An idea which has been rattling around in my brain for a bit, is to impliment a game mechanic in character creation where when you use a "pre-existing" choice (i.e. the background "Minstrel") you would gain the 4 skills, the trait and the equipment. However, if you choose to pick 4 skills of your own, you do not get a trait nor the equipment package (instead you purchase with the 175 GP option). In the case of Specialities, they would need a tiny modification (i.e. additional gear for each one, or some other small trait similar to those from Background), SO... you could pick an existing Specialty and get the Feat and the perk (or gear) OR chose a Feat and gain no additional perk.
This way, there is a reason to pick (and stick to) a Specialty or Background AND a reason to pick a more "free-form" option. This helps balance character creation by offering incentive to play "well-thought out" character types, that are not just simple math equations... OR... Giving the player more freedom to pick from the "full-range" of choices, at the expense of the perks of a chosen archetype or role.
All this would require is a tad bit of extra wording and the addition of some small "boon" to Specialities. Both creation styles would offer merit to the player and the idea goes some way toward giving a real reason to even choose a Speciality, rather then just picking your own Feats.
I hope I conveyed my idea well. Any thoughts? 


I think it is a great idea.  Particularly in regards to backgrounds.

Specialties require many levels to complete.  I think a better method for encouraging specialties would be a small bonus after collecting all 4 feats in the specialty.  Nothing too overpowered but just a nice additional ability to have fun with.  The small future bonus might be an incentive to take specialties But not so powerful that many people would prefer to create a different combination.



I like this idea for Specialities, but why not offer it up front under the idea that the Specialities feat set is to be followed. Small benefit for less flexibility. Helps balance things...
No.

The person who went prefab gets the 'bonus' of not having to sift through a dozen books for a couple hours.  That's it.


I would rather reward people for taking a special combination (with a couple less ideal feats) than to reward them for min/maxing the best feats and ignoring less desirable feats.
No.

The person who went prefab gets the 'bonus' of not having to sift through a dozen books for a couple hours.  That's it.


I would rather reward people for taking a special combination (with a couple less ideal feats) than to reward them for min/maxing the best feats and ignoring less desirable feats.

Why does either group need a reward over the other?  Can't both be on equal footing?
Penalizing... No... Just a choice, flexibility vs a minor benefit. By the way the system currently works, there is NO reason to choose a Speciality. None. Just choose Feats at the levels you gain them and do away with Specialities altogether... But that loses some "flavor"... So give a reason to make each choice. If you want to choose the best skills possible (which is not how ANY being gains a skill set out in ANY true environment) and the best Feats at each level GREAT... That is the Perk you choose... Additional flexibility. However if you wanted to play an "Archer for the City Guard" (Archer being an imaginary Speciality and Soldier the background) you might gain the trait like a Soldiers. Each character gains something... Albiet a perfectly chosen (even if dubious) collection of skills and abilities to become the greatest (insert personal title here) that ever lived or a well crafted "archetype of fantasy"...

But... When people offer such emotional responses as "NO"... I am out...

Peace...
The CharOp minmaxers are going to pick the best ultrasynergy combos and never miss any "minor bonus", while the by-the-book purists are going to be smugly content they're doing it the way God & Gary intended.

The idea only really serves to marginalize the middle ground (aka the vast majority of potiential players), such as someone who may have an idea of a pirate or smuggler or something who only needs three feats from some specialty and some other stray thing to make the concept fit, but is being less-than-subtly nudged into playing Stock Rogue via swag denial.
This is a Concept Tax and nothing else.

By the way the system currently works, there is NO reason to choose a Speciality. None.

Ten minute character creation, if it even takes that long.


Penalizing... No... Just a choice, flexibility vs a minor benefit. By the way the system currently works, there is NO reason to choose a Speciality. None. Just choose Feats at the levels you gain them and do away with Specialities altogether... But that loses some "flavor"... So give a reason to make each choice. If you want to choose the best skills possible (which is not how ANY being gains a skill set out in ANY true environment) and the best Feats at each level GREAT... That is the Perk you choose... Additional flexibility. However if you wanted to play an "Archer for the City Guard" (Archer being an imaginary Speciality and Soldier the background) you might gain the trait like a Soldiers. Each character gains something... Albiet a perfectly chosen (even if dubious) collection of skills and abilities to become the greatest (insert personal title here) that ever lived or a well crafted "archetype of fantasy"...

But... When people offer such emotional responses as "NO"... I am out...

Peace...

There are two reasons to choose a Specialty.  One, convenience.  Two, Specialties will likely be standard in a more basic form of the rules, making them required for that more basic ruleset.

Flexibility vs. minor benefit is a choice you seem to want to force on other players.  While that's cool don't go criticizing people who have a negative, even emotional reaction, to you wanting to force a choice on other players.

Updated the original post for clarity...

I made my point. I do not think it maginalizes anyone. But I do not wish to be "baited" into this futher... It is not a unique idea, I have seen it in several game systems and always liked how it worked, as it gives the game designers another option with which to "believibly" maintain balance. Most people I know who want "FULL" choice control over character creation (myself included to some degree) plan to "stack" numbers... Not that it is always the case... but at least 99.9% ;)
Anyway... I seem to always push peoples "ON" button... So I am "OFF"
(for real this time) 
Two, Specialties will likely be standard in a more basic form of the rules, making them required for that more basic ruleset.

Plus, the running theme of DDN is coalescing around the idea of the Basic-Standard-Advanced spectrum being defined by how many sliders and dials can be messed with.  Punishing someone for peeking under the hood runs counter to this ideal.

Penalizing... No... Just a choice, flexibility vs a minor benefit. By the way the system currently works, there is NO reason to choose a Speciality. None. Just choose Feats at the levels you gain them and do away with Specialities altogether... But that loses some "flavor"... So give a reason to make each choice. If you want to choose the best skills possible (which is not how ANY being gains a skill set out in ANY true environment) and the best Feats at each level GREAT... That is the Perk you choose... Additional flexibility. However if you wanted to play an "Archer for the City Guard" (Archer being an imaginary Speciality and Soldier the background) you might gain the trait like a Soldiers. Each character gains something... Albiet a perfectly chosen (even if dubious) collection of skills and abilities to become the greatest (insert personal title here) that ever lived or a well crafted "archetype of fantasy"...

But... When people offer such emotional responses as "NO"... I am out...

Peace...

There are two reasons to choose a Specialty.  One, convenience.  Two, Specialties will likely be standard in a more basic form of the rules, making them required for that more basic ruleset.

Flexibility vs. minor benefit is a choice you seem to want to force on other players.  While that's cool don't go criticizing people who have a negative, even emotional reaction, to you wanting to force a choice on other players.


You do realize the irony of the last portion of your post right? Criticism goes both ways friend... ;)
You do realize the irony of the last portion of your post right? Criticism goes both ways friend... ;)

Swag-denial means you can make the character you seem to want, but Chakravant gets punished.

No swag denial means you still get to make the character you want, and Chakravant does too.

No.

The person who went prefab gets the 'bonus' of not having to sift through a dozen books for a couple hours.  That's it.



+1.

No playstyle or preference should have a mechanical advantage over any other. If you don't want to choose your feats a la carte, don't. But don't try to punish me for doing so.  
Penalizing... No... Just a choice, flexibility vs a minor benefit. By the way the system currently works, there is NO reason to choose a Speciality. None. Just choose Feats at the levels you gain them and do away with Specialities altogether... But that loses some "flavor"... So give a reason to make each choice. If you want to choose the best skills possible (which is not how ANY being gains a skill set out in ANY true environment) and the best Feats at each level GREAT... That is the Perk you choose... Additional flexibility. However if you wanted to play an "Archer for the City Guard" (Archer being an imaginary Speciality and Soldier the background) you might gain the trait like a Soldiers. Each character gains something... Albiet a perfectly chosen (even if dubious) collection of skills and abilities to become the greatest (insert personal title here) that ever lived or a well crafted "archetype of fantasy"...

But... When people offer such emotional responses as "NO"... I am out...

Peace...

There are two reasons to choose a Specialty.  One, convenience.  Two, Specialties will likely be standard in a more basic form of the rules, making them required for that more basic ruleset.

Flexibility vs. minor benefit is a choice you seem to want to force on other players.  While that's cool don't go criticizing people who have a negative, even emotional reaction, to you wanting to force a choice on other players.


You do realize the irony of the last portion of your post right? Criticism goes both ways friend... ;)

Just because you don't think it marginalizes a group doesn't mean others will agree with you.  While I like choice, I don't like forcing it on people.  I like giving people the ability to choos choice if they want, with no penalties should they embrace choice.

So I suppose I do not see the irony, no.  I have little issue with criticizing people who wish to level mandates, even if those mandates are comprised of "You must choose between A or B.".  It is one reason I advocate for a classless module and the eventual inclusion of every class from every previous edition in DDN.
By reacting emotionally to my post... then telling me my emotional reaction is wrong, you instantly place yourself as above me and my opinions. That is not very polite and you could have approched it another way...

But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet ; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams... Yates

Peace friends...
By reacting emotionally to my post... then telling me my emotional reaction is wrong, you instantly place yourself as above me and my opinions. That is not very polite and you could have approched it another way...

But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet ; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams... Yates

Peace friends...

I never said reacting emotionally was wrong.  I said your criticism was unfounded.  Please feel free to react emotionally.  Please feel free to disagree.  Please understand you do your side of a disagreement a disservice when you threaten to leave a thread because someone else responded emotionally.
I have to agree emphatically with the detractors on this one.  Creating original character concepts and deviating from the rote flavor presented in the book is how I play D&D.  Anything that disincentivizes that is pure poison to my playstyle, and and instant indication that the game is not meant for me.

Specialties and Backgrounds exist to: a) provide easy packages of abilities for those who don't want to pick feats and skills individually, and b) potentially provide a framework or inspiration for those who don't want to use such packages.

One of the players in the playtest I'm running chose the Commoner background, but decided to to swap out profession for perform because it fit her character concept.  Now I very much doubt that the Commoner trait will even come up in the game, let alone prove useful; but if I'd told the player that her character would lose the trait if she merely exchanged one RP-skil for another RP-skill, it would still feel like an unjust and unnecessary tax.

D&D should encourage creativity, not discourage it.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

I am not sure... Why I am still posting... Forums just are not very much fun anymore. I never intended to "force" anything on anyone. I had an idea that I was not sure I had made clear enough. My language was never forceful (until un-needed force was applied) and I never wanted a big back and forth "thing" (which is why I wanted to leave the thread before it got bad). I simply had an idea... It is just not much fun to post anything anymore if so much negativity follows. I am sorry I disturbed your evening.

It is not the critism that makes forums no fun... It is how it is delivered... Few people even try to be polite anymore.

souldoubt... Thank you for a much more friendly (and informative) disagreement. 
np... one of the problems with online communication is that the cues and clues of face-to-face (or even voice) communication can get lost, which often leads to a kind of hostility feedback loop, even if no hostility was initially intended.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

No.

The person who went prefab gets the 'bonus' of not having to sift through a dozen books for a couple hours.  That's it.



+1.

No playstyle or preference should have a mechanical advantage over any other. If you don't want to choose your feats a la carte, don't. But don't try to punish me for doing so.  


If you go to McDonalds you could order a hamburger, fries, and soft drink individually or you could order them as a combo pack.  Do you complain to McDonald's that the combo pack should cost as much as the individual pieces?
 Why do they punish people for picking a la carte?

The problem with your statement "no playstyle or preference should have a mechanical advantage over any other" is that min/maxing the best feats a la carte already has a mechanical advantage.

I agree completely.  Make backgrounds and specialties equivalent to a la carte.  Give them some minor quirky bonus.  His suggestion to give the equipment for free by taking a background is so minor that in less than a level it wouldn't even matter.
 
If there is no mechanical difference between picking backgrounds or specialties, why make them at all? I don't want them wasting pages for no reason.  Every noobie has a somewhat experienced player to help them.  A section of prefabs could be used and minor changes made.  Don't put a slot on the character sheet for backgrounds and specialties either.  It is a waste of space with no meaning.

Without some mechanical difference for having them, they are absolutely meaningless.  Their true meaning is "I am new to D&D or I don't want to custom make a character so I went with a pre-selected grouping of skills or feats to save time"
If you go to McDonalds you could order a hamburger, fries, and soft drink individually or you could order them as a combo pack.  Do you complain to McDonald's that the combo pack should cost as much as the individual pieces?
 Why do they punish people for picking a la carte?

It's in a fast food place's best interest to get people through the line as quickly as possible.  "#14, small" is a much faster process than "um...Angus Mushroom & Swiss, uh... fries, and uh... a coke." 
There's no need to incentivize a ten-minute build in D&D, beyond the natural incentive of the build taking ten minutes instead of a weekend.

The problem with your statement "no playstyle or preference should have a mechanical advantage over any other" is that min/maxing the best feats a la carte already has a mechanical advantage.

Go read that part about marginalizing the middle again.

His suggestion to give the equipment for free by taking a background is so minor that in less than a level it wouldn't even matter.

Aren't the equip lists zero-sum (or close) anyway?
 
If there is no mechanical difference between picking backgrounds or specialties, why make them at all?

Ten Minute Builds.
Plus, there's always the option of a DM declaring "prefab only, guys".
And the playtest packet already "disincentivizes" players who want to make up their own background.  "What???  I only get 175gp to spend on gear, but if I took this background package and that class package I get over 200gp worth?!?"


That said, I like the idea of a small boost to add flavor to a specialty, though I see specialties and backgrounds potentially getting way out of hand, i.e. splatbook after splatbook of new ones, or tweaked old ones to give a different feel.  Maybe it just needs to be a DM thing; the DMG could give suggestions for making your own specialties and backgrounds, and you make what you want for your campaign.  This may be the best use of these ideas; rather than simply saying "no" to a character concept, you could give some incentive for a player to make a slightly different character which would better fit your world/campaign.  For instance, you want knights to be extremely rare in your campaign, because they all have to come from nobility in your world, and you don't want any PCs to have that kind of background.  A player, however, wants to play that type of character, so you create a background for something you call a warder (stealing from Robert Jordan), give it the appropriate skills, a trait that will be on par or slightly outdo that of the knight, a warder's sword and cloak, and create a specialty to reflect the combat training all warders receive with a feat you designed at its culmination, one that is slightly more powerful than existing feats but unobtainable without that specialty.
By reacting emotionally to my post... then telling me my emotional reaction is wrong, you instantly place yourself as above me and my opinions. That is not very polite and you could have approched it another way...


If your opinion is that one group or another should be enshrined with official premier status simply due to personal preferences, then your opinion is awful and should be placed below.

Telling you that your idea is bad is not a personal attack.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
This! Thank you "kezzek". This is exactly what I am saying. In fact, I am not sure I could have put it better. A lot of RPG systems create "imaginary bloat", that is to say "bloat that serves no real purpose...". The current version of Specialities is "imaginary bloat". Just let us pick Feats (which you have done, since "optional rules" never end up being "optional") or have the choice amount to something more then just "removing choice" from Feats. The space in the rule book could be put to better use.
I really like the idea of the "4 choice character creation"... choose a race, a class (yes D&D is CLASS BASED!), a background and a speciality. But, in order for that system to be worth being represented in the final product, there should be some advantage over simply choosing from raw resources (i.e. Skills, Feats). It is odd that adding Suggested Equipment to the Specialities, as an example, created such ire as I have not seen much ire about "Suggested Equipment" thus far on the boards.
"kezzek's" analogy to the McDonalds combo meal was GREAT! The idea of getting a "group" of things with more "value" then purchasing them serperately, is one of the more prevalent concepts in any "resource driven system" (which D&D most certainly is).
You can also look at other systems inside D&D that offer similar trades; the current "Suggested Equipment" system (can allow you to gain FAR more then 175 GP worth of stuff), the ways ability scores can be generated (by rolling you can end up with many more total ability "points" then if you point buy). Again, oddly, I do not hear much in the way of complaint about either system.
I (as a 33 year RPG vet) have found D&D Next's "4 Choice Character Creation" a lot of fun! Trying to fit my character concepts into the existing, presented material became a blast as well as a bit more "realistic", as each character would end up with a few little things that were not the "best" choice... but made for a more "rich" and believable character.
Funny thing is... I wish there to be a reason to BOTH have a flexible choice in character creation (by spending base resources Skills, Feats, Gold, etc.) and a "combo meal" system offering very little flexibility but a high level of "thematic consistancy". I simply believe there should be a reason to choose either option at character creation. I myself would generally choose to spend raw resources and the fact that the person next to me may choose a "combo meal" and recieve something extra (like a bit more gear or some tiny Perk) does not bother me, as I got to custom choose all of my stuff.
The "combo meal" idea works for me. No, I do not resent fast food places that offer them (though I have not been to one in 10 years). In fact (when i did), I was generally thankful the combo meals existed. If one had everything I was after... I got a good deal (same thing buying a car), if not... the loss was minor enough to not deter my need for choice at the time. In RPG's, complete freedom of choice DOES lead to character optimizing (at least makes it MUCH easier)... but that option needs to exist. But offering some tiny net gain for those who wish to help the game designers (and DM's) keep things balanced and more "thematically under control" or newbies who need more guidance (and all the help they can get) needs to exist as well. Remember this idea of "tiny net gain" already exist, in places, in D&D Next...

A more "polite" way to go about critiquing a post would be "...Tilden, I see some merit to your ideas but I must disagree for these reasons. Maybe if you thought about things this way... or refined your idea I may agree more. Here are some suggestions to that may help..."

or...

"... Tilden, respectfully... freedom of choice is far too important to me and my creative process to agree with your ideas here. Though in some circumstances, I may see the point for such ideas... I would rather such choices be left to the DM or players..."

This way, we can keep the boards "civil". We can offer disagreement in a polite way and in doing so, we can encourage the flow of ideas more. Instead of "bullying" through threat of troll... Not saying anyone here is trying to be a "troll"... Just that with a bit of personal "moderation", we can lessen the "shadow" trolls cast on forums ;) 
By reacting emotionally to my post... then telling me my emotional reaction is wrong, you instantly place yourself as above me and my opinions. That is not very polite and you could have approched it another way...


If your opinion is that one group or another should be enshrined with official premier status simply due to personal preferences, then your opinion is awful and should be placed below.

Telling you that your idea is bad is not a personal attack.



Seriously friend... There are polite ways of going about things and there is just being abrasive because you can be. So now you are telling me that advocating "civil behavior" (which I must say is not represented in your response quoted above) is a bad thing? Seriously?! You can not like an idea and disagree in a respectful manner. This reponse above is a personal attack "then your idea is AWFUL and should be placed BELOW." That is simply inflamitory... unfriendly... and disrespectful...
It's in a fast food place's best interest to get people through the line as quickly as possible.  "#14, small" is a much faster process than "um...Angus Mushroom & Swiss, uh... fries, and uh... a coke." 


That does not address the issue of price.  If they have a $3 Hamburger, $1 french fries, and $1 soft drink, they could sell a combo for $5 and still call it a combo.  The speed would be the same whether it is a $5 combo or a $4.50 combo.  The issue with a fast food restaurant is maximizing profit.  Obviously, selling $4.50 combo meals must give them greater profit than selling $5 combos.  So if combos were $5, everyone would be ordering a la carte because they think that the combo is less valuable than $5.

My point is that the specialties and backgrounds are less valuable than a la carte.  Combos should give some benefit to incentivize me to take them.  Otherwise don't put them on the menu and put a box for them on the character sheet.  They are meaningless.

Go read that part about marginalizing the middle again.


Sorry can't find it.  Don't know what you are talking about.  Giving a minor benefit to specialties or backgrounds is about equalizing them with a la carte selections. 

Aren't the equip lists zero-sum (or close) anyway?

 I think the point would be that a background gets the background equipment for free.  Players using a la carte would pay for what they choose.  Backgrounds would therefore provide a small 1st level monetary benefit.
 
Ten Minute Builds.  Plus, there's always the option of a DM declaring "prefab only, guys".


As a DM, I hate the constant struggle with players if I were to say, "prefab only."  I would get nothing but whining.  If backgrounds offered a minor advantage some players might take them and some wouldn't.  The choice would be more equal.

In the current system, no one takes the specialties or the backgrounds in my groups.  There is no reason that they should.  They want to read through the possible feats and skills to see if they missed any fun or more interesting choice to build their characters with.
My point is that the specialties and backgrounds are less valuable than a la carte.  Combos should give some benefit to incentivize me to take them.  Otherwise don't put them on the menu and put a box for them on the character sheet.  They are meaningless.


The value is the player's time.  A combo takes much less time to select than the discrete parts.  That's the value.  now, if you have the "free" time to spend customizing a Background or Specialty then you don't value time sufficiently to make a combo worthwhile.  That's why it's called "free" time.

But there's no need for Wizards to encourage people to use combos beyond the time-value.  Time-value is plenty.

In the current system, no one takes the specialties or the backgrounds in my groups. There is no reason that they should.  They want to read through the possible feats and skills to see if they missed any fun or more interesting choice to build their characters with.


Which indicates they don't place a high premium on their time.  But other people do and for them, the pre-fab Backgrounds and Specialties are ideal. 
By reacting emotionally to my post... then telling me my emotional reaction is wrong, you instantly place yourself as above me and my opinions. That is not very polite and you could have approched it another way...


If your opinion is that one group or another should be enshrined with official premier status simply due to personal preferences, then your opinion is awful and should be placed below.

Telling you that your idea is bad is not a personal attack.



Seriously friend... There are polite ways of going about things and there is just being abrasive because you can be. So now you are telling me that advocating "civil behavior" (which I must say is not represented in your response quoted above) is a bad thing? Seriously?! You can not like an idea and disagree in a respectful manner. This reponse above is a personal attack "then your idea is AWFUL and should be placed BELOW." That is simply inflamitory... unfriendly... and disrespectful...


Seriously, friend, you have responded to everyone who disagrees with you by complaining that they're being mean.  Attacking your opinions is not the same thing as attacking you.  And your opinion is awful.  What you are proposing is to institutionalize a mechancial preference for playstyles, not merely implying but rather directly stating that there is a "better" way to play the game.  Sorry, no, you don't get to do that.  Your approach epitomizes the most destructive tendencies that have plagued D&D throughout its history, and it has no place in Next and should not be encouraged in any form.

If you seriously believe that I'm not being respectful by saying this, then you are grossly misinterpreting what I am saying.  If you seriously believe that "No." is an emotional response, then you don't actually understand what civil discourse means.  Civil discourse does not mean that everyone agrees.  It does not mean that everyone's opinion is equally valid.  It does not mean that ideas cannot be analyzed and then rejected.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
My point is that the specialties and backgrounds are less valuable than a la carte.  Combos should give some benefit to incentivize me to take them.  Otherwise don't put them on the menu and put a box for them on the character sheet.  They are meaningless.


The value is the player's time.  A combo takes much less time to select than the discrete parts.  That's the value.  now, if you have the "free" time to spend customizing a Background or Specialty then you don't value time sufficiently to make a combo worthwhile.  That's why it's called "free" time.

But there's no need for Wizards to encourage people to use combos beyond the time-value.  Time-value is plenty.

In the current system, no one takes the specialties or the backgrounds in my groups. There is no reason that they should.  They want to read through the possible feats and skills to see if they missed any fun or more interesting choice to build their characters with.


Which indicates they don't place a high premium on their time.  But other people do and for them, the pre-fab Backgrounds and Specialties are ideal. 


In my opnion, pre-fab backgrounds and specialties are a waste of space, both in rulebooks and on the character sheet.  They are a great idea if they contain some mechanical benefit.   

Perhaps a very short list of suggested feat groupings would be better for that purpose.  A list of skill grouping as well.  No more than 1/2 page for those lists and no need to put a place on the character sheet for something that is meaningless.  Players can stick it in a character description if they want.  Keep it from cluttering the meaningful stats that need to be consulted.

I also disagree with the OP.


 


I'm not a big fan of a bonus for preselected feat packages.


 


 


I am not averse to synergy bonuses which give anyone a bonus for picking (all of) feat A, feat B and feat C together - whether these are the first three feats you pick or the third, seventh and ninth feats.

And you certainly could create the specialties with these in mind:  The dual wielding speciality might have dual wielding, two weapon defense and some other not-yet-existing two weapon feat  as the level 1, 3, and 6 feats - and thus you get the benefit at level 6.   And thus there is some extra benefit that shows up on the character sheet as "two-weapon master:  blah, blah, blah".

Essentially  - it is a buy three, get one free deal, rather than a combo pack.

But the benefit is available to anyone who takes those three feats.


(And yes, this is a form of system mastery - which has a deserved bad rep. But it is not hard system mastery as decisions made early in your career do not jeopardize your later options the way they could in 3.x.)



Carl

Which indicates they don't place a high premium on their time.  But other people do and for them, the pre-fab Backgrounds and Specialties are ideal. 


In my opnion, pre-fab backgrounds and specialties are a waste of space, both in rulebooks and on the character sheet.  They are a great idea if they contain some mechanical benefit.


As I said, they are only a waste to you and your friends, because you don't value time.  Other people do.  You didn't respond to what I wrote.  You just quoted it and said exectly what you said before.
 
Keep it from cluttering the meaningful stats that need to be consulted.


No.  It's useful to people who find it useful.  I think you can manage to skip a few pages for the people who like pre-fab without getting a hernia.  

Really is there any accommodation people are willing to make for people with differeng playstyles?  At all?
Go read that part about marginalizing the middle again.


Sorry can't find it.  Don't know what you are talking about.  Giving a minor benefit to specialties or backgrounds is about equalizing them with a la carte selections.


#16

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