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Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5e $9.99 $4.99
Publisher: Arcanist Press
by Ben R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2021 17:37:05

Hard to find something to say about this product that hasn't already been said. It is well written, well considered, and very easy to integrate into the existing 5e rule structure in a way that doesn't throw away the baby with the bathwater. As much as I appreciate the idea behind WotC's new direction of "choose whatever ASIs, languages, proficiencies, and feats you want", for new players just starting out that's super daunting. And if you look at the PHB races, a lot of the distinctive qualities of the races come from those elements. Taking away all cultural elements from the fantasy races is not the answer - so much of what makes a classic dwarf a dwarf is cultural after all, for example.

The Ancestry & Culture system allows players to still play to those cultures. What we need is not featureless generic races who lack any flavour at all - but the ability to play different flavours. The Volo's Guide to Monsters orc shouldn't be replaced by the Eberron orc - they should be allowed to exist side-by-side and understood to represent orcs from different backgrounds and cultures. Ancestry & Culture presents an easy framework where this can be done. Imagine a suite of races in a future PHB featuring just the physical, inheritable traits of the races - what this release calls ancestries and what WotC is solely focusing on going foward. But then! Each camaign setting book presenting add-on options representing the cultural traits of those races in that setting: Forgotten Realms orcs are desperate raiders, Eberron orcs are Greenpeace fanatics, with a suite of traits for each. The Ancestry & Culture model makes this easily doable and allows for more diversity of character types without erasing traditional lore or throwing new players into a deep end of having to know every option in the game before they can make a character.

The base product offered here only has entries for the 5e races in the OGL, but once you've read it, it's very easy to apply the philosophy to any pre-Tasha's Cauldron of Everything style race.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5e
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