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 Post subject: Customizing a Background
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:24 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:40 pm
Posts: 93
Location: Melbourne, Australia
So I just want to clarify the section on Customizing a Background.

I like the fact that you are able to customise backgrounds. I think it gives players the ability to create the background that they really want to have. But I wanted to clarify a few things.

The Campaign Sourcebook says -
"You may want to modify a background, so it better fits your character concept. You may replace your background feature with another, replace a skill, replace a tool/weapon proficiency, or replace literacy with an additional language."

To be clear, does this mean you can -
Replace your Background Feature with another (Background Feature)
Replace a Skill (with another Skill)
Replace a Tool/Weapon Proficiency (with another Tool/Weapon Preficiency)
Replace Literacy with an Additional Language

And not that you can replace one of these with a different sort of thing. In other words, you cannot replace a Skill with a Tool/Weapon proficiency or a Language. That is what I want to clarify. That it is only a like for like replacement.

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John Deague

Hattar Tantoros di Caligo Dark-kin Templar of Cadic
Ruggiero val'Assante Val Noble
Ershan Yagmir Human Nomad
Turbulus Normaven Gnome Vagabond
Sibin val’Vasik Val Wilder


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 Post subject: Re: Customizing a Background
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:45 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 1976
Location: Portland OR
You have to stay within each “category” as I understand it. For example: You can’t drop a skill and pick up another background feature. You can’t trade in your proficiency with a weapon to take proficiency with the skill Perception.

PS-That said: we’re getting down into the nitty gritty of a character. As a GM I never audit a character sheet, unless some player really forces me to by making outrageous claims. I encourage everyone to scrupulously follow the rules ... but if somehow you accidentally become literate through the loss of proficiency in gambling tools (cards/dice) I’ll probably never notice it as a GM (or care much if I do).

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Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


Last edited by val Holryn on Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Customizing a Background
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:43 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:41 pm
Posts: 361
Location: Australia
To further muddy the waters the campaign guide says to customize the background as per the SRD which states

Customizing a Background
You might want to tweak some of the features of a background so it better fits your character or the campaign setting. To customize a background, you can replace one feature with any other one, choose any two skills, and choose a total of two tool proficiencies or languages from the sample backgrounds

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Taffy / Dean

Melbourne - Australia

Marco val'Sheem - Master Sword Sage
Gwe - Berokene Sailor & KNight of the 12 Oaks
Henrique Gatti- Dark-kin Archeologist

Tos'Koreth - Disciple of Jeggal Sag
Vuran - Tultipet Body Guard

The Axeman (LRC)


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 Post subject: Re: Customizing a Background
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:40 pm
Posts: 93
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Yeah. That does muddy the waters.

One part of my thinking says that since there is a statement on this in the Campaign Sourcebook, that would override what is written in the 5E SRD because it is specific to the Arcanis Campaign.

The SRD statement seems to equate Tool Proficiencies with Languages. The Arcanis Campaign Sourcebook has included some Weapon Proficiencies as Background choices (Bodyguard,Veteran) which no PHB 5E Backgrounds did. And the Campaign Sourcebook seems to equate these Weapong Proficiencies with Tool Proficiencies. These are good ones to swap out in a Background, because any Fighter type character will have Simple and Martial proficiencies already. Maybe this is the reason that the Arcanis Campaign Sourcebook made its statement different to the one in the SRD - because the options available have slightly changed.

The way I look at it (which is just IMHO), whether from SRD or Campaign Sourcebook, Features are Features and can only be traded as Features. Skills are Skills and can only be traded as Skills. Then the other bits (Tool Proficiencies/Weapon Proficiencies and Languages/Literacy) are where I am not sure. Would it be legal to trade a Language for a Weapon Proficiency? It would take some pretty fancy rationalisation in the explanation of the Background. I’d stick to Language for Language/Literacy and Tool/Weapon proficiency for Tool/Weapon proficiency. And even then I’d leave the Weapon proficiencies to Veteran/Bodyguard and so on rather than give a character one when he has the Former Slave Background (for example).

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John Deague

Hattar Tantoros di Caligo Dark-kin Templar of Cadic
Ruggiero val'Assante Val Noble
Ershan Yagmir Human Nomad
Turbulus Normaven Gnome Vagabond
Sibin val’Vasik Val Wilder


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 Post subject: Re: Customizing a Background
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:04 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 1976
Location: Portland OR
Generally I think more specific documents true more general ones. I would go off of the Campaign Book rather than the SRD. Again, that said, its not like the other way is "mysteriously adding +2" to your attacks rolls and save DCs...

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Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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