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Originally Posted by endolex
Originally Posted by Argonaut

Level 1 means you are extremely week, completely inexperienced and barely skilled. DnD allows you to create a rich backstory yes but why do you ignore the fact that there is control for this and a GM will veto backstories that break cohesion by allowing you to write in a power fantasy? The last part is comical and is the definition of ludonarrative dissonance as well as being poor reasoning and unrealistic even in a high fantasy setting.


You're extremely weak in *game terms*. Doesn't mean completely inexperienced or barely skilled as a character in the narrative sense.
"Rich backstory" does nowhere have to mean "power fantasy", just that you don't have to be fresh from the dirt farm knowing nothing except dirt farming. That's what I find needlessly constraining. If your background is "Soldier" it's logical that you were in the military, you have killed a few people maybe, did they not give you XP, should you not be higher level then? If you approach backstory + character power in game terms like that and try to absolutely synchronize the two, you can only ever play teenage dirt farmers, period. And I'd really find that unfortunate. smile

I am sorry but you are demonstrably wrong. Even with the greatest degree of min maxing your skills will pale compared to someone five or six levels ahead of you and you wouldn't be able to come close to DC checks for skilled crafting even with a 19 roll. In regard to the backstory you are asking for a feature that already exists, your level. If you are level 1 and have a soldier backstory you didn't fight in many engagements and are not experienced. If you start at level 5 with a soldier backstory you've obviously seen more combat. Please stop holding on to something that is categorically false.


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I am sorry but you are demonstrably wrong. Even with the greatest degree of min maxing your skills will pale compared to someone five or six levels ahead of you and you wouldn't be able to come close to DC checks for skilled crafting even with a 19 roll. In regard to the backstory you are asking for a feature that already exists, your level. If you are level 1 and have a soldier backstory you didn't fight in many engagements and are not experienced. If you start at level 5 with a soldier backstory you've obviously seen more combat. Please stop holding on to something that is categorically false.


You're making comparisons inside the "game terms" logic, comparing a Lv1 character with a Lv6 character.
There's no "demonstrably wrong" here. The PHB doesn't state anywhere that a Lv1 character can only be a barely adolescent of your given race, with no prior life that would translate into XP. The PHB *does* let you chose backgrounds for your character. Said backgrounds usually involve past deeds and experience that, when done in a campaign, would already qualify as adventuring. How do you renconcile that with your strict interpretation of "character power in game terms" absolutely HAS TO EQUAL "character background in narrative"? There's no easy formula to this, and I believe campaigns and new characters at the beginning of campaign get much more interesting if they don't have to be "just starting out" all the time.

You seem to be approaching DnD from a strict game terms point of view and probably believe that narrative has to absolutely follow game terms to the letter. I happen to disagree, I find that approach impractical even, and needlessly restricting, and I've played enough campaigns where you start at Lv 1 without having to be a noob in both personality and accomplishments. I don't think there's some "truth" to be found here, it's, like many things in DnD, a matter of preference.

Last edited by endolex; 19/10/20 12:02 PM.
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Originally Posted by endolex
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I am sorry but you are demonstrably wrong. Even with the greatest degree of min maxing your skills will pale compared to someone five or six levels ahead of you and you wouldn't be able to come close to DC checks for skilled crafting even with a 19 roll. In regard to the backstory you are asking for a feature that already exists, your level. If you are level 1 and have a soldier backstory you didn't fight in many engagements and are not experienced. If you start at level 5 with a soldier backstory you've obviously seen more combat. Please stop holding on to something that is categorically false.


You're making comparisons inside the "game terms" logic, comparing a Lv1 character with a Lv6 character.

No, I am explaining to you how the system works and how it is used to simulate reality with it's own rules.

Originally Posted by endolex
There's no "demonstrably wrong" here.

Curious, I have already demonstrated how your assertion is incorrect. This is what it means to be demonstrably wrong her regardless of wherever you find it appropriate or not.

Originally Posted by endolex
The PHB doesn't state anywhere that a Lv1 character can only be a barely adolescent of your given race, with no prior life that would translate into XP. The PHB *does* let you chose backgrounds for your character. Said backgrounds usually involve past deeds and experience that, when done in a campaign, would already qualify as adventuring. How do you renconcile that with your strict interpretation of "character power in game terms" absolutely HAS TO EQUAL "character background in narrative"? There's no easy formula to this, and I believe campaigns and new characters at the beginning of campaign get much more interesting if they don't have to be "just starting out" all the time.

No one said anything about adolescence but you. I think this is something that exists in your mind alone. I have already explained to you that your backstory and whatever life experience you have gained from it is tied and limited to your character level in order to simulate a believable reality. If this was not the case you could start a level 1 character with ridiculous stats and just breeze through everything and the game now doesn't matter. In fact nothing matters, because you can just write into your backstory that in the one battle you fought you discovered the legendary artifact dawnbreaker and where made champion of the god of justice and such and so on. If you consider these low level limitations to not be interesting the solution already exists. Start at a higher level. This is the very nature of the mechanics in game and these limitations exist for a reason. Not liking them is one thing, not agreeing with them is one thing, but trying to present them as something they are not and use arbitrary reasoning that does not take reality into account is false. This is mirrored throughout the game with things such as CR, diminished returns and crafting classes like artificers being locked out of crafting items by level.

Originally Posted by endolex
You seem to be approaching DnD from a strict game terms point of view and probably believe that narrative has to absolutely follow game terms to the letter. I happen to disagree, I find that approach impractical even, and needlessly restricting, and I've played enough campaigns where you start at Lv 1 without having to be a noob in both personality and accomplishments. I don't think there's some "truth" to be found here, it's, like many things in DnD, a matter of preference.

Where did you get that conclusion from? It is not a matter of perspective no matter how you slice it and I have already shown you how that works. IF you would like to actually disprove me then explain how a level 1 fighter and lvl 5 fighter with the same backstory can lead to the level 1 fighter having superior tangible skills. experience and proficiency without the inclusion of metagaming(i.e is a tactical genius with 10 int 10 wisdom and no training or education). You are categorically and demonstrably false. Even in looser setting like GURPS or other OSR low level characters are low level characters and what this means is that they are inexperienced and barely proficiently skilled as is reflected in their mechanics. As I have already said this is done to prevent you from creating a level 1 character that can forge artifacts. Do you simply not understand that the experiences you have are reflected by your level directly? If you write your backstory as having these experiences then your level would have to be adjusted. When you agree to start at a certain level in pen and paper you are making a silent agreement about accepting these limitations.
Please genuinely stop and think about what you are saying. The rule system is there to help you simulate a fair and balanced reality for all people involved with clear cut definitions and restrictions so that even at a cursory glance you can tell what something or someone will be capable of.


Last edited by Argonaut; 19/10/20 12:22 PM.

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Honestly a lot of the NPCs from BG1 had really unique drives and were goofy and precious. I feel like people are being willfully ignorant with these takes.

>Viconia was a renegade shar worshipping Drow. The only reason she even mentions Shar is because it makes her more trustworthy than the assumption of her beliefs.

>Shar'Teel is a ridiculous man hating female fighter

>Xan is a nihilist elf with a special magic sword.

>Tiax RULES

>Minsc is totally a cornball precious character and Edwin too.

I mean what NPCs in BG1 were even written straight? Ajantis, Kivan, and uh Yeslick I guess?

BG2 has even MORE special characters who come with even unique armors and weapons, unique stories, and absolutely huge personalities.

I think alternatively Shadowheart not wanting to be open about her Shar worship honestly isn't that bad and Astarion hiding being a vampire is also entirely understandable. Gale maybe is a little too "larger than life" but that's it. Also the whole thing of Wyll hiding that he made a deal with a demon, like buddy I've seen you catch Eldritch blast! I think people saying "these characters are a little too cornball for Baldur's Gate" maybe spent too much time with custom parties. I feel like they really fit in.

Last edited by Worm; 19/10/20 12:39 PM.
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AD&D/D&D has always promoted PCs as being slightly special, better than the ordinary people around them. There used to be the classic 'Level 0 commoner' who made up the bulk of the world's population. That is what you would be if you were a farm-boy just deciding to leave the fields and become an adventurer. Just like a Level 1 Wizard is not an apprentice but a fully-fledged mage, a Level 1 Fighter is presumed to have some experience of combat. That's why D&D5 uses Proficiencies - they represent your training or past experience. Older editions had class abilities which reflected a similar previous experience.

Improving Stats by level is a recent thing, brought in from 3e. Whilst there were magical ways to improve your stats in previous editions (and optional rules on training them up), you were generally stuck with whatever you rolled at the start of character creation. This led to odd situations where a Level 1 Fighter could be a better warrior than a Level 3 Fighter thanks to the bonuses from very high stats..

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My own take on the NPC companions is that I would prefer them to have interesting backstories and personalities rather than the magically- and demon-led strangeness that they current have.

There is no reason for one, maybe two, NPCs to be under a magical curse or the unwitting pawn of a Big Bad Beastie, but when they are in the majority it all loses its sparkle and becomes, "meh, you think you have problems, you should talk to X". Have an NPC companion who is dangerous curious, or one who cannot resist gambling. Maybe one who is a runaway child of a great noble house or a wanted criminal. Light touches. 'Interesting' doesn't need to be applied with a trowel.

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Originally Posted by Worm
Honestly a lot of the NPCs from BG1 had really unique drives and were goofy and precious. I feel like people are being willfully ignorant with these takes.
,
Viconia was a renegade shar worshipping Drow.

Viconia was someone that, upon discovering her upbringing was not the norm, immediately fought against it for ethical reasons. She did what she could to fight against her nature and prejudice against her but quickly discovered that the people she was attempting to appease where not perfect when she showed them trust and ended up being
gang raped and buried alive
. In this moment of fury she defaulted to the ways she considered to be degenerate and had an existential crisis while suffering from extreme PTSD while continuing to strive to be better while pushing people away and acting the part of evil drow so people would not attempt to repeat that experience on her. What is goofy or precious about this?

Originally Posted by Worm
Shar'Teel is a ridiculous man hating female fighter

Shar'Teel is implied to have been subject to extreme physical and sexual abuse growing up and that is why she has developed a hatred for men as well as a passion for fighting and a need to prove herself. She is actively trying to gain back the power that was taken away from her as a child. What is goofy of precious about this?

Originally Posted by Worm
Xan is a nihilist elf with a special magic sword.

Xan puts on a pessimistic persona to hide his snide and derogatory viewpoints of people, but fails to keep it completely under control. He makes it apparent that he is anti social and thinks less of everyone around him. How is this goofy or precious?

Originally Posted by Worm
Tiax RULES

Tiax is an insane person with power. I don't remember if it is ever made clear to you why he has become so unhinged but he believes he is chosen by the Evil God cyric and seeks world domination in order to enslave people and subject them to his whims. How is this goofy or precious? This person would be terrifying in real life akin to a psychopath at the top levels of government.

Originally Posted by Worm
Minsc is totally a cornball precious character and Edwin too.

I guess we are just going to ignore Dynaheir and what happens to Minsc with her. I suppose we are also going to ignore the fact that Edwin is a genuine prodigy that believes everyone around him to be inferior but is constantly getting himself into sticky situations because of his arrogance as the reality is that there are people much stronger than him. He is trapped in delusions of grandeur and whenever something doesn't go away he considers it to be bad luck or a conspiracy. How is this goofy or precious?

Originally Posted by Worm
I mean what NPCs in BG1 were even written straight? Ajantis, Kivan, and uh Yeslick I guess?

BG2 has even MORE special characters who come with even unique armors and weapons, unique stories, and absolutely huge personalities.

I think alternatively Shadowheart not wanting to be open about her Shar worship honestly isn't that bad and Astarion hiding being a vampire is also entirely understandable. Gale maybe is a little too "larger than life" but that's it. Also the whole thing of Wyll hiding that he made a deal with a demon, like buddy I've seen you catch Eldritch blast!

Dynaheir, Minsc, Garrick, Imoen, Viconia, Xan, Xar, Montaron. Why only BG1? Why not include BG2 and ToB where most characters do not have same sex romance options?
Please stop cherrypicking what you remember to fit your narrative. Present the evidence in earnest and make your case.

Last edited by Argonaut; 19/10/20 12:51 PM.

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I can't stand Shadowheart, while at the same time having a strong urge to put it in her at the tiefling party. She cock-blocked me hard and now I just don't have the patience to deal with her resting b-face and layers of bulsh.

As far as the OP, it's Minsc not Misc, but yeah I hope we get someone memorable like that in BG3. Right now the other NPCs don't really bother me. Astarion does tend to make me uncomfortable from time to time; questioning my sexuality - at least in game haha. It's just Shadowheart. They made her super hot and so I have to put up with her pretty face for now inspire of her annoying qualities.

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The developers have stated/strongly hinted that Minsc is going to appear in BG3.

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Originally Posted by Argonaut

No, I am explaining to you how the system works and how it is used to simulate reality with it's own rules.

It's your interpretation of how the system works, not some objective truth. You call the DnD ruleset a 'reality simulator', which is not how I view it at all. It's a game system, designed to govern + resolve uncertainty in an interactive narrative, and by no means intended as a physically + mathematically accurate modeling of an entire fictional world. If you go at it that way, you should just as well start asking why NPCs don't have full character sheets and are not subject to the same rules regarding actions, spells, etc. - what's the (meta)physical in-world explanation that distinguishes player characters from monsters and NPCs, what makes them essentially different?

Quote
IF you would like to actually disprove me then explain how a level 1 fighter and lvl 5 fighter with the same backstory can lead to the level 1 fighter having superior tangible skills. experience and proficiency


You keep comparing character levels, missing my point entirely that it's easily possible to restrict actions from a gameplay point of view, without having to restrict the character's background based on that. Yes, of course that requires somewhat mature players that don't impulsively need to invent "chosen one" backstories with countless great and universe-saving deeds in their pocket (although even that could be managed, provided player, party and DM can agree on how to approach it).
Backstories are *always* subject to DM scrutiny, so I don't even see the risk here that you seem to be seeing. And countless games do this: you start out "weak" in game terms, but your background says otherwise, it's just more fun to progress and 'earn' abilities by what you did in-game, which should however not restrict who your character is as a person entering the adventure, previous life and possible trauma all included without boosting them all the way to Lv 8-12 because of it.

There's simply no reason, neither in the PHB nor in any other objective fashion to decide "we're playing Lv1 characters, so your characters can't be older than xyz years". And yes, bringing adolescence into it logically follows that, because if you're arguing a character that is Lv1 can't have experienced anything useful from a narrative point of view, they have to be very young (or very sheltered) in most cases.

Quote
Do you simply not understand that the experiences you have are reflected by your level directly?

I understand your sentiment, but I don't agree that this reflection can ever be as accurate as you obviouly would like it to be, nor that such accuracy should even be attempted. Because again, it's not a simulator (to me). Around a game table, yes, there needs to be consensus about what is believable - fortunately I've been in enough rounds with what obviously would be anathema to you: a party with characters ranging from 16-year-old "just starting out" noobs to grizzled 40-ish mercenary veterans, with quite different ages and experiences, but decidedly not reflected in-game by vastly different character levels - because that would feel much more "wrong" to us (not to mention terribly difficult to balance encounters against). It's perfectly manageable when you're playing with somewhat mature players, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

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My latest D&D 5e character is a wizened old crone. Yep, she was a wizened old crone at Level 1 as well. The party includes a teenage halfling urchin who is the same level as me, as well as several PCs whose ages are not given or remarked upon. We all have different backstories; I like creating backstories so mine are usually quite detailed and interesting (at least, to me).

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Originally Posted by endolex
Originally Posted by Argonaut

No, I am explaining to you how the system works and how it is used to simulate reality with it's own rules.


It's your interpretation of how the system works, not some objective truth. You call the DnD ruleset a 'reality simulator', which is not how I view it at all. It's a game system, designed to govern + resolve uncertainty in an interactive narrative, and by no means intended as a physically + mathematically accurate modeling of an entire fictional world. If you go at it that way, you should just as well start asking why NPCs don't have full character sheets and are not subject to the same rules regarding actions, spells, etc. - what's the (meta)physical in-world explanation that distinguishes player characters from monsters and NPCs, what makes them essentially different?

Congratulations you took an incredibly roundabout word salad way of describing a reality simulator. Reality simulator doesn't mean our reality FYI. NPCs do not have full character sheet because they are negligible and the ones that aren't do have full character sheets. What makes them different are their races, culture and biology. I don't think you understand how pen and paper systems work.

Originally Posted by endolex
Quote
IF you would like to actually disprove me then explain how a level 1 fighter and lvl 5 fighter with the same backstory can lead to the level 1 fighter having superior tangible skills. experience and proficiency


You keep comparing character levels, missing my point entirely that it's easily possible to restrict actions from a gameplay point of view, without having to restrict the character's background based on that. Yes, of course that requires somewhat mature players that don't impulsively need to invent "chosen one" backstories with countless great and universe-saving deeds in their pocket (although even that could be managed, provided player, party and DM can agree on how to approach it).
Backstories are *always* subject to DM scrutiny, so I don't even see the risk here that you seem to be seeing. And countless games do this: you start out "weak" in game terms, but your background says otherwise, it's just more fun to progress and 'earn' abilities by what you did in-game, which should however not restrict who your character is as a person entering the adventure, previous life and possible trauma all included without boosting them all the way to Lv 8-12 because of it.

Again you are taking a very roundabout way to tell me I am wrong while then describing exactly what I said. You also fail to demonstrate your point with tangible evidence or a concrete example. It's entirely possible to restrict actions from a gameplay point of view? Yes. Levels are part of gameplay. Experience is a part of gameplay.

Originally Posted by endolex
[There's simply no reason, neither in the PHB nor in any other objective fashion to decide "we're playing Lv1 characters, so your characters can't be older than xyz years". And yes, bringing adolescence into it logically follows that, because if you're arguing a character that is Lv1 can't have experienced anything useful from a narrative point of view, they have to be very young (or very sheltered) in most cases.

This is a point that exists in your head and a leap you are making on your own. I didn't say you don't have skills I said that your skills are not noteworthy if you are low level and you cannot write this into your backstory as this would be metagaming and not fun. I am 30 years old and a father of two children and work in a highly demanding field. Do not try to diminish my person because your argument is falling flat.

Think of it this way. Have you never met someone in middle age that works a run of the mill job and has no noteworthy skills despite many years of life experience, a veritable "average-joe".

Originally Posted by endolex
Quote
Do you simply not understand that the experiences you have are reflected by your level directly?

I understand your sentiment, but I don't agree that this reflection can ever be as accurate as you obviouly would like it to be, nor that such accuracy should even be attempted. Because again, it's not a simulator (to me). Around a game table, yes, there needs to be consensus about what is believable - fortunately I've been in enough rounds with what obviously would be anathema to you: a party with characters ranging from 16-year-old "just starting out" noobs to grizzled 40-ish mercenary veterans, with quite different ages and experiences, but decidedly not reflected in-game by vastly different character levels - because that would feel much more "wrong" to us (not to mention terribly difficult to balance encounters against). It's perfectly manageable when you're playing with somewhat mature players, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

simulation
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noun
imitation of a situation or process.
"simulation of blood flowing through arteries and veins"
the action of pretending; deception.
"clever simulation that's good enough to trick you"
the production of a computer model of something, especially for the purpose of study.
"the method was tested by computer simulation"

Please. You agreeing with something or not does not alter reality. I don't consider that anathema at all as long as they didn't try to pass their low level characters off as having artisan level combat, crafting or social skills. Again, you are creating a problem in your own head and arguing against it as if it was my point. I am going to spell it out for you.

Low level + Backstory = Used to scale your actual tangible power and skillset. It does not prevent you from having diverse skills or experiences but you cannot be a level 1 character that is a veteran of many wars and a champion of the army as a level one because that is not how the system works. In your backstory you are this great epic warrior but in actual combat you are barely more competent than a farmer. This is not a matter of your perception or opinion it is an objective fact and how the system balance was created. This does not affect your age either. It directly affects the numerical values of your skills.

Originally Posted by Sadurian
My latest D&D 5e character is a wizened old crone. Yep, she was a wizened old crone at Level 1 as well. The party includes a teenage halfling urchin who is the same level as me, as well as several PCs whose ages are not given or remarked upon. We all have different backstories; I like creating backstories so mine are usually quite detailed and interesting (at least, to me).

And does your lvl 1 wizened old crone have access to level 5 spells? Can your teenage halfling urchin bypass a DC35 stealth or lockpicking check on anything but a natural 20? Does the teenage halfing urchin have vast underworld connections and a mountain of favors owed to him by criminal barons? How high is your wizened old hags DC checks? Tell me what is your Wisdom value and the urchins Dexterity value?

These characters still fall under the exact rules and guidelines I am talking about. A wizened old crone is not the same as starting a level 1 character and in your backstory you have read thousands of spelltomes and incribed thousands of scrolls or you are the headmaster of the academy of magic.

Last edited by Argonaut; 19/10/20 01:36 PM.

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Originally Posted by Argonaut
Low level + Backstory = Used to scale your actual tangible power and skillset. It does not prevent you from having diverse skills or experiences but you cannot be a level 1 character that is a veteran of many wars and a champion of the army as a level one because that is not how the system works. In your backstory you are this great epic warrior but in actual combat you are barely more competent than a farmer. This is not a matter of your perception or opinion it is an objective fact and how the system balance was created. This does not affect your age either. It directly affects the numerical values of your skills.

Not true. Your backstory can be anything you like. Of course you can be a veteran warrior, many characters start their Fighters off in just such a way.

You are confusing XP and game experience with the character backstory. One is a mechanism used within the game, the other is story-telling technique to explaining why your character is where he or she is now. Just because a PC is not high level, does not mean that the campaign, group, rules and GM cannot recognise that they are highly experienced.

To quote about age:
AGE
The age entry notes the age when a member of the race is considered an adult, as well as the race’s expected lifespan. This information can help you decide how old your character is at the start of the game. You can choose any age for your character, which could provide an explanation for some of your ability scores. For example, if you play a young or very old character, your age could explain a particularly low Strength or Constitution score, while advanced age could account for a high Intelligence or Wisdom.

To quote from the section on Backgrounds:
Your character’s background reveals where you came from, how you became an adventurer, and your place in the world. Your fighter might have been a courageous knight or a grizzled soldier. Your wizard could have been a sage or an artisan. Your rogue might have gotten by as a guild thief or commanded audiences as a jester.

Those pieces of advice on creating your character strongly suggest that you can start a character as someone who has seen a bit of life before becoming an adventurer. A 'grizzled fighter' is not some fresh-faced newcomer, and neither is a sage a newly apprenticed wizard.

Last edited by Sadurian; 19/10/20 01:34 PM.
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Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by Argonaut
Low level + Backstory = Used to scale your actual tangible power and skillset. It does not prevent you from having diverse skills or experiences but you cannot be a level 1 character that is a veteran of many wars and a champion of the army as a level one because that is not how the system works. In your backstory you are this great epic warrior but in actual combat you are barely more competent than a farmer. This is not a matter of your perception or opinion it is an objective fact and how the system balance was created. This does not affect your age either. It directly affects the numerical values of your skills.

Not true. Your backstory can be anything you like. Of course you can be a veteran warrior, many characters start their Fighters off in just such a way.

You are confusing XP and game experience with the character backstory. One is a mechanism used within the game, the other is story-telling technique to explaining why your character is where he or she is now. Just because a PC is not high level, does not mean that the campaign, group, rules and GM cannot recognise that they are highly experienced.

You can be a veteran warrior but why did you ignore the rest of what I said? You cannot be the champion of the army in your backstory as a level 1. Include the whole thing, do not cherry pick to suit your argument.

Originally Posted by Sadurian
To quote about age:
AGE
The age entry notes the age when a member of the race is considered an adult, as well as the race’s expected lifespan. This information can help you decide how old your character is at the start of the game. You can choose any age for your character, which could provide an explanation for some of your ability scores. For example, if you play a young or very old character, your age could explain a particularly low Strength or Constitution score, while advanced age could account for a high Intelligence or Wisdom.

Please point me to where I said otherwise.

Originally Posted by Sadurian
To quote from the section on Backgrounds:
Your character’s background reveals where you came from, how you became an adventurer, and your place in the world. Your fighter might have been a courageous knight or a grizzled soldier. Your wizard could have been a sage or an artisan. Your rogue might have gotten by as a guild thief or commanded audiences as a jester.

Still cannot be a champion. Still cannot be the headmaster of the academy of magic. Please note that the section of backgrounds is written to include starting at any level, not just level one. Moot point.

Originally Posted by Sadurian
Those pieces of advice on creating your character strongly suggest that you can start a character as someone who has seen a bit of life before becoming an adventurer. A 'grizzled fighter' is not some fresh-faced newcomer, and neither is a sage a newly apprenticed wizard.

Again, please direct me to where I said otherwise. Please point me to the point in the PHB where the background description states it is not talking about starting a character at any level

Last edited by Argonaut; 19/10/20 01:40 PM.

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Originally Posted by Argonaut
And does your lvl 1 wizened old crone have access to level 5 spells? Can your teenage halfling urchin bypass a DC35 stealth or lockpicking check on anything but a natural 20? Does the teenage halfing urchin have vast underworld connections and a mountain of favors owed to him by criminal barons? How high is your wizened old hags DC checks? Tell me what is your Wisdom value and the urchins Dexterity value?

These characters still fall under the exact rules and guidelines I am talking about. A wizened old crone is not the same as starting a level 1 character and in your backstory you have read thousands of spelltomes and incribed thousands of scrolls or you are the headmaster of the academy of magic.

I'm not even sure that you know where you are going with this now.

Those examples you use do not, in any way shape or form, restrict a backstory. You could be the head of a wizard cabal and still be Level 1. That doesn't mean you have to be able to cast Wish. Being an experience rogue does not mean that you can open locks of a certain DC. Mechanics do not equal backstory.

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Originally Posted by Argonaut
Again, please direct me to where I said otherwise.

Originally Posted by Argonaut
I have already explained to you that your backstory and whatever life experience you have gained from it is tied and limited to your character level in order to simulate a believable reality.


And others.

Originally Posted by Argonaut
Please point me to the point in the PHB where the background description states it is not talking about starting a character at any level

The assumption of the starting section is that the character starts at Level 1. Only later does the game talk about starting at higher levels. No, it does not explicitly state that the piece on choosing a background is only to be used for characters of a particular starting level, but then it doesn't need to. It is pretty obvious that the advice is there for starting players and starting characters, and the default assumption is starting at Level 1.

Last edited by Sadurian; 19/10/20 01:47 PM.
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Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by Argonaut
And does your lvl 1 wizened old crone have access to level 5 spells? Can your teenage halfling urchin bypass a DC35 stealth or lockpicking check on anything but a natural 20? Does the teenage halfing urchin have vast underworld connections and a mountain of favors owed to him by criminal barons? How high is your wizened old hags DC checks? Tell me what is your Wisdom value and the urchins Dexterity value?

These characters still fall under the exact rules and guidelines I am talking about. A wizened old crone is not the same as starting a level 1 character and in your backstory you have read thousands of spelltomes and incribed thousands of scrolls or you are the headmaster of the academy of magic.

I'm not even sure that you know where you are going with this now.

Those examples you use do not, in any way shape or form, restrict a backstory. You could be the head of a wizard cabal and still be Level 1. That doesn't mean you have to be able to cast Wish. Being an experience rogue does not mean that you can open locks of a certain DC. Mechanics do not equal backstory.

You are ignoring the obvious dissonance this causes. I didn't say a cabal of wizards I said the academy of magic. The headmaster is a level 1 character with level one powers? Are the teachers as well? This system exists to prevent situations like this and increase the efficacy of the simulation.


Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by Argonaut
Again, please direct me to where I said otherwise.

Originally Posted by Argonaut
I have already explained to you that your backstory and whatever life experience you have gained from it is tied and limited to your character level in order to simulate a believable reality.


And others.

I said nothing about age, only life experiences. You cannot have experienced being a master magician as a wizened old hag starting at level 1. You cannot have the life experience of being the champion of an army as a level 1 grizzled veteran. See the example above as to why even ignoring the mechanical limitations.

Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by Argonaut
Please point me to the point in the PHB where the background description states it is not talking about starting a character at any level

The assumption of the starting section is that the character starts at Level 1. Only later does the game talk about starting at higher levels. No, it does not explicitly state that the piece on choosing a background is only to be used for characters of a particular starting level, but then it doesn't need to. It is pretty obvious that the advice is there for starting players and starting characters, and the default assumption is starting at Level 1.

Please point me to the section in the PHB where this is stated. I know you cannot because there is no such thing as this description is there to include starting at various points. Starting at level 1 is not even a common practice in tabletop DnD and 5 minutes with google will provide you with countless discussions on the subject.
Here are a few examples.
https://www.dungeonsolvers.com/2019/08/19/what-level-should-you-start-your-dd-5e-campaign-at/
https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/6a4mn4/whats_level_should_i_start_my_players_at/

Last edited by Argonaut; 19/10/20 02:02 PM.

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Originally Posted by Argonaut

Congratulations you took an incredibly roundabout word salad way of describing a reality simulator. Reality simulator doesn't mean our reality FYI. NPCs do not have full character sheet because they are negligible and the ones that aren't do have full character sheets. What makes them different are their races, culture and biology. I don't think you understand how pen and paper systems work.


It's you who keeps bringing up Pen&Paper as a "reality simulator" (don't worry, I'm fully aware of the world being fictional) - but any serious simulation (and you take this one *very* serious, it seems) should be consistent and make sense as a whole. "NPCs are negligible" doesn't make sense as an agrument without the world the simulation is supposed to portray making that distinction as well, and therefore having an in-world explanation for the lack of complexity of most NPCs.

Originally Posted by Argonaut
It's entirely possible to restrict actions from a gameplay point of view? Yes. Levels are part of gameplay. Experience is a part of gameplay.


And yet, background doesn't 100% figure into experience, there's no defined system for that, otherwise you'd have every player list what their character did before the campaign started, and that would have to be translated by an exact formula into XP or milestones, resulting in their appropriate character level (or the other way around: take character level and limit by some exact formula to what is possible for a character of that level to have accomplished before the campaign started - again, heavily subjective (and therefore subject to DM decision) anyway.

Originally Posted by Argonaut

I didn't say you don't have skills I said that your skills are not noteworthy if you are low level

Yes, and your only interpretation of 'noteworthy' seems to be by game terms metric. Something that is quantifiable on the character sheet. But guess what, someone with a Persuasion bonus of +6 at Lv1 is deemed *very* persuasive, while someone with that bonus at Lv 20 would be mediocre at best. It's all relative, and doesn't serve to describe strength + weaknesses of a character in general, narrative terms. Trying to translate char sheet progression into narrative and vice versa in a 100% way is what you apparently like to do, and that's fine - just don't expect everyone else to follow your dogma on this.

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I am 30 years old and a father of two children and work in a highly demanding field. Do not try to diminish my person because your argument is falling flat.

Oh, are we really going there? laugh Also, accusing me of something you yourself brought into it, and all in the same sentence? Should I maybe quote your own signature to yourself now?

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simulation
/sɪmjuːˈleɪʃ(ə)n/
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noun
imitation of a situation or process.
"simulation of blood flowing through arteries and veins"
the action of pretending; deception.
"clever simulation that's good enough to trick you"
the production of a computer model of something, especially for the purpose of study.
"the method was tested by computer simulation"


I don't know about you, but DnD never managed to trick me into believing it was real, nor that it was a particularly well-crafted representation or computer model that could deliver accurate predictions of how things could work in a fantasy setting. None of those definitions work for me here, so: Nope, DnD ain't a simulation for me. It's a game system designed especially for player convenience - well, let's say with the *goal* of player convenience.

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Please. You agreeing with something or not does not alter reality. I don't consider that anathema at all as long as they didn't try to pass their low level characters off as having artisan level combat, crafting or social skills. Again, you are creating a problem in your own head and arguing against it as if it was my point. I am going to spell it out for you.

I don't debate the existence of objective reality, it's just you who takes a lot of your own convictions and misrepresent them as objective reality to which everyone else has to subscribe - or be "wrong". If this works well for you, by all means, stick to it. Just maybe accept that other people can easily seem to ignore said objective reality and have fun doing that. Take the example of the poster above me - wizened old crone at Lv1. I don't see a problem with that, not even with said crone saying she knows a lot about herbs, nature, remedies etc. - in game terms, level-adjusted via proficiency bonus to what a Lv1 character can do obviously, but in narrative, still damn knowledgeable about this stuff. It doesn't bother me, and I find it more enriching than any notion of narrative-gameterm-consistency.

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but you cannot be a level 1 character that is a veteran of many wars and a champion of the army as a level one because that is not how the system works. / In your backstory you are this great epic warrior but in actual combat you are barely more competent than a farmer.

You can make even that extreme example work if you really want to, and quite easily: said champion was betrayed, severely wounded / cursed or otherwise incapacitated, and now is barely back in action, having to basically re-learn a lot while in constant pain that limits what he can do (represented by character level, comparable to a level drain of older editions. Also due to the betrayal and general shunning of his person, his renown is now barely worth more than the normal soldier background, he can pull a few strings, call in some remaining favours, but that's it.

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You use of a lot of 'you cannot'. This may be the case in game that you are running, but you should understand that not everyone thinks the same as you do.

Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by Argonaut
The assumption of the starting section is that the character starts at Level 1. Only later does the game talk about starting at higher levels. No, it does not explicitly state that the piece on choosing a background is only to be used for characters of a particular starting level, but then it doesn't need to. It is pretty obvious that the advice is there for starting players and starting characters, and the default assumption is starting at Level 1.

Please point me to the section in the PHB where this is stated, otherwise it is just your opinion. This is the 5th edition of a system that has existed for decades, it should not be so difficult to find evidence if this is the case

Seriously? You want absolute proof that the introductory section of the book where it guides you through creating you first character, explaining what a character sheet is and what the various heading are, is aimed at starting players? Or that the default assumption is that they start at level 1? You have gone beyond any kind of reasoned argument here.

No, there is not large-type heading stating that Chapter 1 of the Player's Basic Rules is designed to help new players create a character. There is, however, a very strong suggestion backed up by the language used, the way that everything is carefully explained, the fact that it is introducing readers to the game, and the fact that it is standard practice. Yes, D&D5e is the 5th edition. I have played all the others and all the other editions had similar introductory chapters which spoon-fed you through character creation. All were aimed at new players. All assumed starting a character at Level 1 for new players.


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Originally Posted by Argonaut
Starting at level 1 is not even a common practice in tabletop DnD and 5 minutes with google will provide you with countless discussions on the subject.
Here are a few examples.
https://www.dungeonsolvers.com/2019/08/19/what-level-should-you-start-your-dd-5e-campaign-at/
https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/6a4mn4/whats_level_should_i_start_my_players_at/

Yeah, that's not going to cut the mustard.

Discussions on optionally starting campaigns at higher level do not mean either that starting at Level 1 is not common practice, nor that the Introductory chapter of the Player's Guide is not aimed at starting players. I have seen plenty of discussion about doing away with alignment, that doesn't mean that Alignment-less games are common or that the basic rules don't assume that Alignment is used.

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