Dragon #366 Backgrounds

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Um, are we allowed to use these when the full Dragon comes out?
uh, oh

They give bonuses for your character background...some of which are relatively powerful(hit points based on highest stat, free martial weapon and +1 to initiative, lots of 'add 2 skills to skill list' and unnamed bonuses)

The RPGA character guide currently says we are allowed to use it as it isn't a magic item or ritual...
It looks to me like those backgrounds are for the Scales of War adventures. Good question though. They aren't explicitly disallowed by the Player Creation Guide.
Um, are we allowed to use these when the full Dragon comes out?
uh, oh

They give bonuses for your character background...some of which are relatively powerful(hit points based on highest stat, free martial weapon and +1 to initiative, lots of 'add 2 skills to skill list' and unnamed bonuses)

The RPGA character guide currently says we are allowed to use it as it isn't a magic item or ritual...

I saw this last night and knew to expect a post about it from you, Andy.

I agree, hopefully a statement will be issued ASAP regarding that article!
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
The more I think about it, the more I think that these "character backgrounds" are simply an alternative to the regional benefits that characters can receive in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. They're similar types of benefits and serve the same "purpose," so to speak.

I think that the best solution would be to either disallow them for LFR, or allow them as an alternative to gaining a regional benefit.
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
The CCG explicitly allows all Dragon content with the exception of rituals and spells -- that means, in the absence of a change in the rules, that this is allowed.

And I find the backgrounds both interesting and useful, so I hope there is no ruling against their inclusion.
Of course they're "useful," they give you free bonuses! Who wouldn't find them useful?
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
Holy crap... there's a gazillion of them.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
Technically, there's no point in character creation when you choose a background except for the LFR rule that you may take one of 12 specific ones, and those backgrounds are worded as being for people in the Scales of War campaign in the Elsir Vale, so barring wording to the effect that you _can_, I'd imagine you can't.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
Although the backgrounds do complement each other. While the LFR backgrounds tie you to a specific place of origin, the ones in the Dragon #366 provide player character specifics as to how you have developed (grown up). Even on the cover page of the where you download the PDF it says it was written for scales of war, but it can be adapted to any D&D game setting. If I were a judge (which I'm not) I'd say they are allowed.
Even if you can use them, you can't use them until Dragon 366 is 'published' (which should be soon anyway..)
Wow! This totally looks like a resource we can access in LFR without any ruling against it by the circle. Which I doubt they'll do seeing as nothing else has been limited yet and it's not that big of a deal.

I actually like a few of them....time to make more new characters. *sigh*
RPGA Character Creation Guide, page 7.

"Choose one of the following regions for your character; it’s the place where they hail from, might define their personality or looks, and gives them a small game benefit. The regions allowed for Living Forgotten Realms are: Aglarond, Akanûl, Baldur’s Gate, Cormyr, Dalelands, Dragon Coast, East Rift, Impiltur, Luruar, Moonshae Isles, Tymanther, and Waterdeep."

"All other character backgrounds are unavailable for Living Forgotten Realms play."

These Dragon backgrounds are not allowed.
Dragon Magazine: Content appearing in Dragon Magazine that is player resource-friendly (full racial write-ups, classes, paragon paths, epic destinies, powers, and feats) is available for access when the complete issue is available for download (typically at the end of the current month). Content from individual articles is not available for access upon the date of the article’s publication, as the complete issue may make final modifications to the rules in the article.

This is the wording from the RPGA CCG
Specific beats general though. The specific LFR RPGA rule dissallowing other backgrounds takes precedence. Oh, and BTW, the guy you replied after quoted the same document.

It's the same principle that allows LFR players to take items form Dragon (specific rule regarding Access Slots) where normally you can't.

You can't have it both ways just because you want it to apply to one thing and not another. Either specific beats general always or never.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
Dragon Magazine: Content appearing in Dragon Magazine that is player resource-friendly (full racial write-ups, classes, paragon paths, epic destinies, powers, and feats) is available for access when the complete issue is available for download (typically at the end of the current month). Content from individual articles is not available for access upon the date of the article’s publication, as the complete issue may make final modifications to the rules in the article.

These are neither races, classes, paragon paths, epic destinies, powers nor feats. And the guy just before you already quoted the text saying no other character background (but the regional backgrounds) are allowed in LFR.

Case closed.
RPGA Character Creation Guide, page 7.



These Dragon backgrounds are not allowed.

Sweet. Nice catch.
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
RPGA Character Creation Guide, page 7.



These Dragon backgrounds are not allowed.

Nice find. I hadn't even noticed that in the CCG.

Of course, that still leaves them as open options for future RPGA campaigns.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

RPGA Character Creation Guide, page 7.

These Dragon backgrounds are not allowed.

Just some points:
That doesn't say the Dragon backgrounds aren't allowed, it is saying the Forgotten Realms character backgrounds aren't allowed unless they're one of the twelve(what you're saying makes sense without seeing the Forgotten Realms book, but 3.0 had lots of regional backgrounds, presumably it does as well). You can read into it that the Dragon backgrounds aren't allowed, but that's the kind of literal reading which says you can't use a magical bracer with a non-magical shield(yes, there are people who think that) - this will be semantic, but I'm reasonably sure that the Forgotten Realm backgrounds will be explicitly labeled character backgrounds.

Material is either Player or DM-resource. That's clearly Player resource. It isn't for monsters. Dragon magazine clearly also says All except rituals and magic items. Not Races, Feats, Powers, etc...they're specific with Adventurer's Vault, they should be similar with Dragon Magazine if that's true.

If the text is what eliminates backgrounds from Dragon, the rules should be more explicit that the player resource options listed are the only options that can be allowed - something which the use of the word 'All but' goes against.
If the text is what eliminates backgrounds from Dragon, the rules should be more explicit that the player resource options listed are the only options that can be allowed - something which the use of the word 'All but' goes against.

The text under the "Special Access Rules" header on page 7 of the CCG seems pretty clear.

Other character backgrounds are not allowed unless otherwise made available through RPGA Rewards cards.

How could it be more explicit?

Allen.
Just some points:
That doesn't say the Dragon backgrounds aren't allowed, it is saying the Forgotten Realms character backgrounds aren't allowed unless they're one of the twelve(what you're saying makes sense without seeing the Forgotten Realms book, but 3.0 had lots of regional backgrounds, presumably it does as well). You can read into it that the Dragon backgrounds aren't allowed, but that's the kind of literal reading which says you can't use a magical bracer with a non-magical shield(yes, there are people who think that) - this will be semantic, but I'm reasonably sure that the Forgotten Realm backgrounds will be explicitly labeled character backgrounds.

Material is either Player or DM-resource. That's clearly Player resource. It isn't for monsters. Dragon magazine clearly also says All except rituals and magic items. Not Races, Feats, Powers, etc...they're specific with Adventurer's Vault, they should be similar with Dragon Magazine if that's true.

If the text is what eliminates backgrounds from Dragon, the rules should be more explicit that the player resource options listed are the only options that can be allowed - something which the use of the word 'All but' goes against.

The CCG grants that all Dragon content except magic items and rituals is legal for RPGA campaigns. You're right about that. I could even cite the fact that the FRPG listing says all but backgrounds and spellscars further illustrates this point.

Backgrounds in Dragon are RPGA legal.

HOWEVER the LFR appendix makes it very clear that for Living Forgotten Realms *specifically* only the 12 regional backgrounds are permitted, and all others are explicitly denied. It doesn't state that all others from the FRPG are disallowed. It simply states all.

So, in general, backgrounds not from the FRPG are allowed in RPGA campaigns.

Specifically LFR only allows the 12 listed.

[EDIT]
And of course future versions of the CCG may well prohibit backgrounds from other sources as well, but as per 1.6 this is what we've got.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

The text under the "Special Access Rules" header on page 7 of the CCG seems pretty clear.

Other character backgrounds are not allowed unless otherwise made available through RPGA Rewards cards.

How could it be more explicit?

I've been reading the section very carefully.

The first paragraph clearly states that the section establishes which additional rules are permitted and not permitted. It explicitly states that material mentioned earlier (specifically, the material on the table on page 2) is all permitted. The twelve FRPG backgrounds are permitted additional material; other FRPG backgrounds are not permitted.

That section does not trump any rules permitted from the table on page 2.
I've been reading the section very carefully.

The first paragraph clearly states that the section establishes which additional rules are permitted and not permitted. It explicitly states that material mentioned earlier (specifically, the material on the table on page 2) is all permitted. The twelve FRPG backgrounds are permitted additional material; other FRPG backgrounds are not permitted.

That section does not trump any rules permitted from the table on page 2.

Well, if we go with that interpretation, I'd have to ask where in the CCG or PHB does it tell you to pick a character background that includes any sort of mechanical benefit.

Since the CCG states we use the PHB, and the PHB only talks about making up a background for roleplay purposes, I'd still have a hard time allowing a background with mechanical benefit.

The LFR guidelines explicitly grant you the option, but then limit that option to the 12 being offered.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

I've been reading the section very carefully.

The first paragraph clearly states that the section establishes which additional rules are permitted and not permitted. It explicitly states that material mentioned earlier (specifically, the material on the table on page 2) is all permitted. The twelve FRPG backgrounds are permitted additional material; other FRPG backgrounds are not permitted.

That section does not trump any rules permitted from the table on page 2.

I think "Other character backgrounds are not allowed" is pretty clear and that's the way I'll rule when I judge unless told otherwise by a senior GM.

Allen.
The text under the "Special Access Rules" header on page 7 of the CCG seems pretty clear.

Other character backgrounds are not allowed unless otherwise made available through RPGA Rewards cards.

How could it be more explicit?

Allen.

As I noted, they're not actually character backgrounds.

They're simply backgrounds. That might seem kind of semantic, but the RAI seems explicitly referring to the Forgotten Realms character backgrounds, not backgrounds in general. It seems obvious that there will be more than 12 possible FR character backgrounds and that text is telling us which of the 12 to use.

And it is easy to be more explicit - don't use the word 'all' when referring to material from the Dragon. Or put something into the article stating that it isn't for use with Living Forgotten Realms. It isn't a ritual, it isn't a magic item. If they're not allowed, something else needs to be said. It shouldn't be up to a DM deciding that some material is or is not allowed.

Yes, I don't think they're legal from an intent point of view. But it isn't clear and it should be.
I think "Other character backgrounds are not allowed" is pretty clear and that's the way I'll rule when I judge unless told otherwise by a senior GM.

I understand your perspective, but I would encourage you to read it in context with the preceding paragraph. The rule you quote (and points following) are subordinate to, and follow from, that paragraph. IMO that paragraph contradicts your conclusion.

In any case, happy gaming
Well, if we go with that interpretation, I'd have to ask where in the CCG or PHB does it tell you to pick a character background that includes any sort of mechanical benefit.

Since the CCG states we use the PHB, and the PHB only talks about making up a background for roleplay purposes, I'd still have a hard time allowing a background with mechanical benefit.

I'm going to ask your first question -- the place in the CCG that allows backgrounds is the section on Player resources. It explicitly states that all rules from Dragon are permitted, with the exceptions of rituals and spells.
I'm going to ask your first question -- the place in the CCG that allows backgrounds is the section on Player resources. It explicitly states that all rules from Dragon are permitted, with the exceptions of rituals and spells.

That still doesn't tell me where a character background (other than a roleplay option) is a legal character option.

The dragon article doesn't add a time to choose them as part of creation, they're just there.

On the other hand, the LFR appendix specifically tells you to choose a background as part of character creation, and then limits you to the 12 listed.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

I'm going to ask your first question -- the place in the CCG that allows backgrounds is the section on Player resources. It explicitly states that all rules from Dragon are permitted, with the exceptions of rituals and spells.

There is no argument about what is written on page 2 of the RPGA character creation guide. All content from Dragon Magazine except for magic items and rituals/formulas is "allowed content." However, the Living Forgotten Realms campaign-specific rules have the additional section:

"Special Access Rules
Follow the rules in the RPGA Character Creation Guide to determine what is allowed as a player resource. Remember, RPGA Rewards cards can give you access to options normally not allowed in Living Forgotten Realms. In addition to the content listed in the main document, the following rules are also considered allowed for Living Forgotten Realms:

The 12 character backgrounds listed above. Other character backgrounds are not allowed unless otherwise made available through RPGA Rewards cards."

This makes it crystal clear that for the Living Forgotten Realms campaign, only the 12 character backgrounds listed [above] are legal, and all other backgrounds are not. The content in question is explicitly presented as character backgrounds, therefore, it is not allowed.
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
There is no argument about what is written on page 2 of the RPGA character creation guide. All content from Dragon Magazine except for magic items and rituals/formulas is "allowed content." However, the Living Forgotten Realms campaign-specific rules have the additional section:

"Special Access Rules
Follow the rules in the RPGA Character Creation Guide to determine what is allowed as a player resource. Remember, RPGA Rewards cards can give you access to options normally not allowed in Living Forgotten Realms. In addition to the content listed in the main document, the following rules are also considered allowed for Living Forgotten Realms:

The 12 character backgrounds listed above. Other character backgrounds are not allowed unless otherwise made available through RPGA Rewards cards."

This makes it crystal clear that for the Living Forgotten Realms campaign, only the 12 character backgrounds listed [above] are legal, and all other backgrounds are not. The content in question is explicitly presented as character backgrounds, therefore, it is not allowed.

*nods* Exactly what I said. General RPGA rules allow backgrounds, LFR allows 12 specific backgrounds only.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

I'm not sure why this bothers me so much, but let me quote from the CCG:

In addition to the content listed in the main document, the following rules are also considered allowed for Living Forgotten Realms: The 12 character backgrounds listed above. Other character backgrounds are not allowed unless otherwise made available through RPGA Rewards cards.

"Other character backgrounds" means backgrounds not specified earlier. Two types of backgrounds are specified earlier:
  • 12 backgrounds are explicitly allowed
  • all backgrounds from "content listed in the main document" are implicitly allowed


The document's meaning is not ambiguous -- only confusing.
In addition to the content listed in the main document, the following rules are also considered allowed for Living Forgotten Realms:

The 12 character backgrounds listed above. Other character backgrounds are not allowed unless otherwise made available through RPGA Rewards cards."

This makes it crystal clear that for the Living Forgotten Realms campaign, only the 12 character backgrounds listed [above] are legal, and all other backgrounds are not. The content in question is explicitly presented as character backgrounds, therefore, it is not allowed.

I bolded the word also for a reason. The CCG basically says: "main document and also 12 backgrounds -- other backgrounds are not allowed."

"Other backgrounds" means those not listed earlier -- not those listed only in the immediately-preceding clause.
I bolded the word also for a reason. The CCG basically says: "main document and also 12 backgrounds -- other backgrounds are not allowed."

"Other backgrounds" means those not listed earlier -- not those listed only in the immediately-preceding clause.

We're getting into grammar and sentence structure here, but...

The word "also" refers to additional rules, not additional backgrounds.

the following rules are also considered allowed for Living Forgotten Realms:

This means that in addition to the rules stated in the RPGA CCG, there are additional rules that players who participate in the LFR campaign must observe. One of those rules is that characters are further limited to one of the 12 backgrounds listed in a certain location.

To drive the nail into the coffin once more, let me use another example to illustrate why your logic is not correct:

You must observe the following two rules:

1. Mommy says you can do anything except for x.
2. Daddy says you can not do do anything except for y.

Guess what? That means you can only do y. If you have to listen to both mommy and daddy, you can't do something that mommy said you couldn't do, just because daddy said you could - you can only do something that both mommy and daddy said you could do.
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
Guess what? That means you can only do y. If you have to listen to both mommy and daddy, you can't do something that mommy said you couldn't do, just because daddy said you could - you can only do something that both mommy and daddy said you could do.

Don't get snarky.

Your analogy is flawed. In this case, Daddy said in a single sentence that you can do A and you can do B. In the next sentence, he said you can do nothing else. Mommy hasn't said a word here.

Analogies notwithstanding, I have written professionally for 20 years. In my professional opinion, you are parsing the document incorrectly. I also teach, and in my class you would lose points for such an interpretation; you would also lose points in my colleagues' classes.

To be fair, I think there is a good chance that RPGA intended what you have concluded. Nevertheless, that is not what they said.

You are free to reject my interpretation at your leisure -- it will not make you correct.

Regards.
Just some points:
That doesn't say the Dragon backgrounds aren't allowed, it is saying the Forgotten Realms character backgrounds aren't allowed unless they're one of the twelve(what you're saying makes sense without seeing the Forgotten Realms book, but 3.0 had lots of regional backgrounds, presumably it does as well).

Well, we are talking about Living Forgotten Realms. No one is saying that they can't be used in other RPGA campaigns. The specific rule only disallows them for LFR.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
Point 1: RPGA CCG for LFR v1.6 states, explicitly, that "All other character backgrounds are unavailable for Living Forgotten Realms play."

Point 2: The article in question, Characters of War, states: "As a launching pad for those backstories, we offer the following character backgrounds."

Therefore, and sorry to say this, but those character backgrounds are not LFR legal.

So, until and unless an update to the LFR section allows them, AFTER the full release of Dragon 366, and unless the article itself adds a statement that it is LFR legal, these character backgrounds wouldn't be legal in LFR.
Being new to RPGA I'm now wondering tho if I can use the backgrounds offered in Dragon #366 just for thier role playing purposes, and not for the mechanix of them. Like making a Dwarf from the East Rift, who is also a Warsmith. Only strip them of the "Benifits" but just use the story part of it. Is this against the RPGA rules?
In addition to the content listed in the main document, the following rules are also considered allowed for Living Forgotten Realms: The 12 character backgrounds listed above. Other character backgrounds are not allowed unless otherwise made available through RPGA Rewards cards.

I am bemused.

If you ignore the words before the comma, one would conclude these backgrounds are not LFR-legal. But why would you discard that part of the document?

Anyway, I give up. Good luck, all.
The twelve FRPG backgrounds are permitted additional material; other FRPG backgrounds are not permitted.

That section does not trump any rules permitted from the table on page 2.

Sure it does. The rule against other backgrounds does not specify the FRPG only. It simply says that no other backgrounds are allowed.

Couple that with the fact that at the start of the section it tells you to select one of the listed 12 areas, it's pretty obvious we are only restricted to the 12 backgrounds listed.

It's only ambiguous if you want try to subvert it in an effort to allow somethign that is explicitly disallowed.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
Being new to RPGA I'm now wondering tho if I can use the backgrounds offered in Dragon #366 just for thier role playing purposes, and not for the mechanix of them. Like making a Dwarf from the East Rift, who is also a Warsmith. Only strip them of the "Benifits" but just use the story part of it. Is this against the RPGA rules?

You can roleplay your character however you want (except being evil or worshiping an evil deity, that isn't allowed). If you want your PC to be a war smith as an RP hook, there's nothing stopping you. (or any other bits of background fluff in the article) But you are correct that you cannot use the mechanical benefits.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
It's only ambiguous if you want try to subvert it in an effort to allow somethign that is explicitly disallowed.

OK, maybe I don't give up.

First, your implication of deliberate subversion is insulting and incorrect. That someone disagrees with you does not justify such a tone.

The wording we have been discussing isn't ambiguous, but it is confusing. Now many don't agree, but I do this for a living -- the meaning of the words in the "Special Access Rules" section are not really debatable, no matter how much you may want to debate them.

However, Dragon9's post prompted me to spot an earlier line that does indeed prove his interpretation of the rules is correct. About halfway down the left column of page 7 is the following sentence:

All other character backgrounds are unavailable for Living Forgotten Realms play.

You guys are right about the rules, and I'm wrong. The sentence above is more arguably unambiguous, and probably wins the point.

Regards.
the meaning of the words in the "Special Access Rules" section are not really debatable, no matter how much you may want to debate them.

I never debated the efficacy of the rules on page 2.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf