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Backgrounds, Favored Feats, and Bonus feats explained

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Postby cthughua » Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:43 pm

In my games that are human-only I use different backgrounds for different cultures. I do not let all humans choose their favored feats either.

For example on Monday nights I run a sci-fi horror game using the following human backgrounds:

Backgrounds
All characters in The Dark of Space are humans, however humanity is a varied species and where one was born and raised imparts certain qualities into their being. By choosing one of these backgrounds you are deciding where and how your character spent most of their formative years. Characters of any background can be of any ethnicity and appearance that they choose.

Lunar
The Moon was the first colony of Earth; Lunars have a rich history of service to the Earth and most of the System's shipyards are located there. Lunars are an industrious and proud people. Gravity on the Moon has been artificially increased but it is still less than that of Earth, because of this the average height of a Lunar is around six foot six though their weight is average, this gives many of them a somewhat gaunt appearance.
Ability Adjustments: None.
Bonus Feats: Challenge (any one for the Skill Focus chosen), Skill Focus (any)
Bonus Skill: The character gains one bonus known skill at 1st level and one bonus skill rank in that skill each level thereafter.
Favored Feats: Master Plan, Skill Mastery

Martian
Independent and freethinking are often words used to refer to the men and women of Mars, though some Terrans use more colorful language to describe them. Humans who call Mars their home are a hard, resolute, and sometimes stubborn bunch. Physically they do not differ from the humans of Earth.
Ability Adjustments: None.
Bonus Feats: Firearms Training, Iron Will
Bonus Skill: The character gains one bonus known skill at 1st level and one bonus skill rank in that skill each level thereafter.
Favored Feats: Diehard, Tough

Spacer
Those who are born and have adapted to life in a zero-g environment are known as Spacers. They make up the bulk of the miners and prospectors living in the "The Belt" and often to scrape by with very little supplies; because of this they are resourceful and crafty. Spacers have been genetically engineered to be smaller, use less oxygen, water, and food. As a result all Spacers are completely bald, but any women Spacers wear synthetic wigs.
Ability Adjustments: None.
Bonus Feats: Conservation, Zero-G Training
Bonus Skill: The character gains one bonus known skill at 1st level and one bonus skill rank each level thereafter.
Favored Feats: Jack-of-all-Trades, Seize Initiative

Terran
The cosmopolitan people of Earth are most well known for being difficult to classify. Two traits exemplify the humans of Earth however; access to vast amounts of information and their ability to hold grudges.
Ability Adjustments: None.
Bonus Feat: Any one general feat, favored feat, or from the list available for the character's starting role.
Bonus Skill: The character gains one bonus known skill at 1st level and one bonus skill rank each level thereafter.
Favored Feats: Favored Opponent, Well Informed

Character Option: Players have the option of exchanging their character's normal allotment of two favored feats for one favored power. When using this power the character is considered to be an Adept equal to one half their total character level rounded down.
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Postby jaerdaph » Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:29 pm

Excellent stuff - thanks for sharing!

cthughua wrote:In my games that are human-only I use different backgrounds for different cultures.


I think that is the true power of backgrounds that makes them far more useful in character creation than the standard D&D/d20 Modern "you get one extra feat and skill for being human."
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Postby cthughua » Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:37 pm

Definately!

Oh I forgot, the Spacer background gets some non-standard bonus feats. For the curious I have presented them below.

Conservation (General)
You consume about half the food, water, and air as normal for your race, and produce half as much waste. Your total height and weight is 75% of what is considered average for your species. This feat represents a physical variation of some sort, either through deliberate tinkering (genetic engineering) or mutation. You must have Narrator approval to take this feat (except for Spacers, which get it for free).

Zero-G Training (General)
Your body and mind have become accustomed to functioning without gravity. You do not suffer the normal -4 penalty to all checks while in a zero gravity environment.
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Postby ValhallaGH » Sat Mar 17, 2007 5:37 am

barsoomcore wrote:Question: given that a player can adjust ability scores up and down at will when creating their character, what point do ability score adjustments for background serve?

I mean, if you list a background as having +1 Strength/-1 Dexterity, can't I just decrease Strength by one, increase Dexterity by one, and still have my six points to put wherever I like?

Actually, yes. The stat adjustments from backgrounds, generally, don't affect character creation. The exception is the maximum and minimum starting ability scores for characters of a given background.

There have been a few suggested houserules, including a scaling cost for high ability scores, to make backgrounds more important. Personally, I'm happy that background is mostly cosmetic; it makes it easier to have my character work as envisioned irregardless of background.

I hope that was helpful. Good gaming. :)
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Postby memoriam » Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:04 am

if you follow the "rules" for making new backgrounds and give the race 3 bonus skills they do not get any bonus feats, right?

the way I see it if you get an extra feat for not getting any bonus feats then you could reverse it for skills.
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Postby ValhallaGH » Tue Apr 10, 2007 4:02 am

memoriam wrote:if you follow the "rules" for making new backgrounds and give the race 3 bonus skills they do not get any bonus feats, right?

Nope.

Backgrounds give Bonus feats: one of player's choice or two of narrator's choice, and Bonus skills: one of player's choice or two of Narrator's choice or one bonus feat of the Narrator's choice.

If you were going to replace all bonus feats with bonus skills (a weak trade in my view) you're left with a question. Who picks the skills?

If the player picks the skills then the background would give one of the player's choice and one of the Narrator's choice.
If the Narrator picks the skills then the background would give three of the Narrator's choice.
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Postby memoriam » Tue Apr 10, 2007 4:14 am

ValhallaGH wrote:If the Narrator picks the skills then the background would give three of the Narrator's choice.


this is what I was thinking. when converting Iron Kingdoms over to True20 some of the human backgrounds are more in keeping with the setting and are balanced with the other backgrounds if done this way.

well thats how i see it.
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Re: Streamlined view of True20 Background Design

Postby True20Chick » Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:37 am

There've been a few questions about bonus feats and favored feats, so... Bump! :D
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Re: Backgrounds, Favored Feats, and Bonus feats explained

Postby True20Chick » Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:02 am

There have been a lot of questions about favored feats, backgrounds, and bonus feats lately, so I'm editing the title of this thread and bumping it.

I've PMed one of the mods to sticky this. Questions about favored feats and the like are pretty common, so having this visible might help some.

Thanks!

:D
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Re: Backgrounds, Favored Feats, and Bonus feats explained

Postby fireinthedust » Thu May 19, 2011 6:22 am

I'm having a serious issue with understanding the backgrounds, specifically the number of feats and skills given in the examples vs. the number we're supposed to use when making up our own.

On p.16 it says either one (player's choice) or two (Narrator's choice) bonus feats from a background; however, every single example in the book (elf, dwarf, etc.) has three or sometimes more bonus feats! This is not including the favoured feats that can be taken later on.

Please help me understand this. Are we supposed to select two bonus feats from the three provided by the background, or is the assumption that official backgrounds are "more balanced" than anything homebrew?
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Re: Backgrounds, Favored Feats, and Bonus feats explained

Postby True20Chick » Thu May 19, 2011 6:30 am

True20Chick wrote:Bonus Feats
Bonus feats can only be General feats or Favored Feats for the background
*2 bonus feats, determined by the Narrator. They cannot be changed.
--OR--
*1 bonus feat of the player's choice
--PLUS--
*1 more bonus feat IF the background gets no bonus skills


They don't get any bonus skills, so they get an extra bonus feat.
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Re: Backgrounds, Favored Feats, and Bonus feats explained

Postby fireinthedust » Thu May 19, 2011 3:43 pm

ah, good. Yes, a poster elsewhere just told me.

Really driving me nuts, that one.
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Re: Backgrounds, Favored Feats, and Bonus feats explained

Postby TheOOB » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:37 am

Personally, I prefer to use a bonus feat instead of extra skills, but make the feat skill focus or talented.
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