Can we possibly get two backgrounds?


Ancestries & Backgrounds

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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First off, let me say for the record that I really like the background system. I love how your background not only gives some history to your character, but also grants you stat boosts and abilities!

That said, I'm a little worried about players not getting to use the "default" backgrounds. The playtest adventure includes backgrounds specific to the adventure, and I presume that upcoming Adventure Paths will do the same. I really like that. It's great to tie characters into the story!

However, if you only have one background to pick, and you need to pick one of the specific backgrounds for the adventure you're playing, then you'll never get to pick any of the other backgrounds. That seems like a big missed opportunity.

With the old trait system, you had two to pick, so one could be from your own character's background and the other could be setting you up for the campaign you're playing. You can't really do that with the new system.

Thoughts?


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Totally agree. One background is OK, two would be better, three would be great. Combinations of background elements are far more interesting than just one. You could be a nomad, or an orphaned nomad acolyte. One is throw away detail, the other is a series of details which tell a story.

It's not like it would be hard to do it without changing the game balance either. Right now all backgrounds give a stat boost, feat and lore skill. You could easily divide that into two or three different types of backgrounds and have players pick one of each at character creation.


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Actually, I think if you can choose 2 or 3 backgrounds as long as you only get one ability score increase I think giving extra lore and a skill feat is fine. Lore is good for just providing character background. And the feats that are given...we just need to make sure they're not parituclarly powerful...actually that could be tricky. Maybe we just allow you to choose any one of the ability score boosts and any one of the feats.

Essentially you're just making custom backgrounds.

Which actually sounds like something you could build some generic rules for, a make your own background generator.


You can do that very easily by making one background the main one and the other one/two secondary. I suggest only getting the Lore from the other backgrounds so you're not getting vastly more powerful than the game is intended. More lore for your character is not a big deal,but more stats and feats? That's way way too much.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

I would be fine with a system like, "Choose one background as your primary background, and another as your secondary background. You gain all of the bonuses from your primary background, as well as any Lore skills granted by your secondary background. If both backgrounds include ability score boosts, you can choose one of the ability scores granted by either background to boost in addition to your free boost. You do not gain any additional benefits from your secondary background."


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How about divorcing background from mechanics, and have everyone write the background they like, pick the stats that fit the character, and chose an appropriate lore and skill feat? Or that would be too much player empowerment?


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Dekalinder wrote:
How about divorcing background from mechanics, and have everyone write the background they like, pick the stats that fit the character, and chose an appropriate lore and skill feat? Or that would be too much player empowerment?

That's essentially what I was suggesting.

I think the only thing that might need curating is what feats are available. And that would be as simple as making a list of feats that is felt to be appropriate as background feats from the list of feats.

It might be as simple as anything that doesn't have a level requirement on it, but I don't know all of the feats well enough to say if there is something that wouldn't be appropriate as a background feat.

I mean, is Fleet acceptable as a background feat?

I could see an argument where your background is that your an relay runner or sprinter, so gaining a speed bonus would be appropriate in my opinion. But I don't know if it's balanced or not.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Let's see: A background is supposed to give you two ability score boosts, one skill feat, and training in one Lore skill.

I would propose that the latter two items must be chosen from those that your selected background options give you access to. On the other hand, each background option limits one of your ability score boosts to one of two ability scores, so eventually you would be unable to pick two ability score boosts that meet the restrictions of your selected background options.

So, if you pick a single background, the result is the same as the present rules.

If you pick two backgrounds, things get a little more complicated. Let's say you select Blacksmith and Warrior as your two backgrounds. In that case, one of your ability score boosts must to Strength or Intelligence, and the other must be to Strength or Intelligence. If you opt to boost Strength, your other ability score boost is a free choice because Strength meets the restrictions of both backgrounds. You then choose to take either the Specialty Crafting skill feat for blacksmithing or the Quick Repair skill feat and training in either the Smithing Lore or the Warfare Lore skill.

There is probably no good reason to pick more than two backgrounds unless further changes are made to the background system.


David knott 242 wrote:

Let's see: A background is supposed to give you two ability score boosts, one skill feat, and training in one Lore skill.

Seems like the easy solution is to just make each background give you 1 ability boost and either a skill feat or training in one lore skill. Then you pick any two backgrounds you want with the caveat that if two backgrounds grant the same bonus they don't stack and so you only get that bonus once.


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It does feel a little odd that "being a mindquake survivor" dictates more of who you are than "I was a blacksmith for 20 years".

Like one was a thing your character chose to pursue and the other was a thing that happened to you.


Claxon wrote:
Dekalinder wrote:
How about divorcing background from mechanics, and have everyone write the background they like, pick the stats that fit the character, and chose an appropriate lore and skill feat? Or that would be too much player empowerment?

That's essentially what I was suggesting.

I think the only thing that might need curating is what feats are available. And that would be as simple as making a list of feats that is felt to be appropriate as background feats from the list of feats.

It might be as simple as anything that doesn't have a level requirement on it, but I don't know all of the feats well enough to say if there is something that wouldn't be appropriate as a background feat.

I mean, is Fleet acceptable as a background feat?

I could see an argument where your background is that your an relay runner or sprinter, so gaining a speed bonus would be appropriate in my opinion. But I don't know if it's balanced or not.

Fleet is a general feat (the errata says the "skill" tag should be removed from it), backgrounds only give skill feats. It's also listed explicitly as a general feat in table 5-1 on page 160.


Corradh wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Dekalinder wrote:
How about divorcing background from mechanics, and have everyone write the background they like, pick the stats that fit the character, and chose an appropriate lore and skill feat? Or that would be too much player empowerment?

That's essentially what I was suggesting.

I think the only thing that might need curating is what feats are available. And that would be as simple as making a list of feats that is felt to be appropriate as background feats from the list of feats.

It might be as simple as anything that doesn't have a level requirement on it, but I don't know all of the feats well enough to say if there is something that wouldn't be appropriate as a background feat.

I mean, is Fleet acceptable as a background feat?

I could see an argument where your background is that your an relay runner or sprinter, so gaining a speed bonus would be appropriate in my opinion. But I don't know if it's balanced or not.

Fleet is a general feat (the errata says the "skill" tag should be removed from it), backgrounds only give skill feats. It's also listed explicitly as a general feat in table 5-1 on page 160.

Yeah....I think only skill feats are too restrictive.

Like I said, a character whose background is as a runner probably out to be able to have it.


If someone wants to have more than 1 backgrounds, it should be fairly easy to do, just say you have those, but only one of them counts for mechanic purposes.

Otherwise, you may wish to either combine those different backgrounds into a single one, or even create an entirely new custom background, following the pre-existing backgrounds as your template, with your DM's permission and input.

Lore-wise, I, as well, personally, don't see much of an issue with taking two or three different Lore skills, either, at once. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that all backgrounds should have 3 Lore Skills each by default.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Claxon wrote:
Corradh wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Dekalinder wrote:
How about divorcing background from mechanics, and have everyone write the background they like, pick the stats that fit the character, and chose an appropriate lore and skill feat? Or that would be too much player empowerment?

That's essentially what I was suggesting.

I think the only thing that might need curating is what feats are available. And that would be as simple as making a list of feats that is felt to be appropriate as background feats from the list of feats.

It might be as simple as anything that doesn't have a level requirement on it, but I don't know all of the feats well enough to say if there is something that wouldn't be appropriate as a background feat.

I mean, is Fleet acceptable as a background feat?

I could see an argument where your background is that your an relay runner or sprinter, so gaining a speed bonus would be appropriate in my opinion. But I don't know if it's balanced or not.

Fleet is a general feat (the errata says the "skill" tag should be removed from it), backgrounds only give skill feats. It's also listed explicitly as a general feat in table 5-1 on page 160.

Yeah....I think only skill feats are too restrictive.

Like I said, a character whose background is as a runner probably out to be able to have it.

The *current* backgrounds only give skill feats. That doesn't necessarily mean, however, that Paizo couldn't publish some new backgrounds down the road that grant different bonuses.

I think it's pretty likely that backgrounds will always include two ability boosts, but I think there is design space for swapping out the lore skill/skill feat for some other interesting options that make sense for the background.


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Claxon wrote:
Corradh wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Dekalinder wrote:
How about divorcing background from mechanics, and have everyone write the background they like, pick the stats that fit the character, and chose an appropriate lore and skill feat? Or that would be too much player empowerment?

That's essentially what I was suggesting.

I think the only thing that might need curating is what feats are available. And that would be as simple as making a list of feats that is felt to be appropriate as background feats from the list of feats.

It might be as simple as anything that doesn't have a level requirement on it, but I don't know all of the feats well enough to say if there is something that wouldn't be appropriate as a background feat.

I mean, is Fleet acceptable as a background feat?

I could see an argument where your background is that your an relay runner or sprinter, so gaining a speed bonus would be appropriate in my opinion. But I don't know if it's balanced or not.

Fleet is a general feat (the errata says the "skill" tag should be removed from it), backgrounds only give skill feats. It's also listed explicitly as a general feat in table 5-1 on page 160.

Yeah....I think only skill feats are too restrictive.

Like I said, a character whose background is as a runner probably out to be able to have it.

I can't say I'm terribly enthused by most of the background-provided skill feats either.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I vote for going the other direction and removing backgrounds. I think they are incredibly basic and boring and provide very little other than two ability boosts.


Seannoss wrote:
I vote for going the other direction and removing backgrounds. I think they are incredibly basic and boring and provide very little other than two ability boosts.

I believe I can say with a high level of certainty that wont happen.

They want a mechanic to create a background for characters, and this is their method.

And it ties into the "ABCs of character creation".

Even though people take a lot of issues with both Ancestry and Background.


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Claxon wrote:
I believe I can say with a high level of certainty that wont happen.

While that may be their aim, backgrounds as they stand right now are just adding a needless layer of complication. They have great fluff to them, but there's no substance here. Lore is just wasting space on character sheets, and the actual process of picking a background involves flipping back and forth between the feats chapter and the backgrounds chapter because the only meaningful benefit they give is their skill feat.

I like the idea of backgrounds, but in their current implementation they're an unnecessary middleman and the system would be simplified and improved by replacing them with a 1st level skill feat.


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Tamago wrote:


That said, I'm a little worried about players not getting to use the "default" backgrounds. The playtest adventure includes backgrounds specific to the adventure, and I presume that upcoming Adventure Paths will do the same. I really like that. It's great to tie characters into the story!

However, if you only have one background to pick, and you need to pick one of the specific backgrounds for the adventure you're playing, then you'll never get to pick any of the other backgrounds. That seems like a big missed opportunity.

With the old trait system, you had two to pick, so one could be from your own character's background and the other could be setting you up for the campaign you're playing. You can't really do that with the new system.

Thoughts?

We ran into this exact thing with our playtest run. Most of us just kind of grumbled about it but one guy refused to change his background to one of the adventure ones. GM didn't want to make an issue of it so just let him keep his first choice

(and if you are wondering about the character - Big Chief Yerkle; Goblin (Noble BG) Sorcerer (Imperial Bloodline). Complete with puffy silk shirt and a monocle.)


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Proposed multiple backgrounds houserule (incorporating many of the ideas above) - pick up to 3 backgrounds - you must choose at least one element from each background. you may only choose each element once.

elements being ability boost, lore skill, skill feat.

Makes each background relevant on some level, maybe too versatile - as at this point just freely assigning the elements may be simpler.

I'm not sure adding more lore skills is a good plan - I think more broadly applicable lore skills would be better.

Overloading on skill feats straight out of the gate is also probably not a great idea.


I recommend 1 background like those in the rulebook (with stats and all that) and 1 campaign trait that gives you story hooks and a minor lore skill. But, I would have the campaign traits be something you just get as part of APs that are not really a part of the core system.

So, no campaign traits in homebrew campaigns unless the gm just makes something up for his campaign to help hook the pcs into the story.

They shouldnt get any major mechanical juju. It should be all flavor.


What I am looking at doing is giving out two backgrounds, but they only get a single ability boost form each and it has to be from one of the two listed abilities. They'll net an extra lore and skill feat and add a bit more baked in depth to their character.

We get some fun combinations like Criminal Laborer, or Criminal Street Urchin, or Entertainer Acrobat, or Aminal Whisperer Farmhand etc.

It could reinforce an aspect of their background or tell a story.

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