TLDR: Taking the lineage and heritage-templates from the playtest-material of Project Black Flag and port them over to ICRPG. Flex those homebrew muscles!
I live under a rock sometimes so Kobold Press and what they do has been kind of a new discovery for me. I have stopped playing 5E for some time now, so having 5E-compatible products wasn’t really exciting for me. Project Black Flag wanting to be a streamlined, tidied-up version of 5E with the intent of making it backwards compatible with already published 5E-products sounds really interesting to me though. But that’s not what I want to talk about. If you’re interested in the cool stuff that Kobold Press does, you can google them, subscribe to their newsletter or join their discord.
I am here to talk about something that I found in the playtest material for Project Black Flag, that I find really interesting: lineage and heritage. Lineage being your “race” (which is a word we can really do without) and heritage being your cultural upbringing. Lineage and heritage are connected with each other in the way, that certain lineages can choose from typical heritages associated with them.
The cool thing about heritage though is that they are not hardcoded into lineages and that you can mix and match lineage and heritage if you want to put more emphasis on the character concept you have.
If you want to be a “classical” wood elf, you can choose elf as your lineage and the “grove heritage traits” as your heritage.
But what if you want to play a dwarf who has been raised by cloud elves? Easy! You pick dwarf as your lineage and the “cloud heritage traits” as your heritage.
Since the playtest material of Project Black Flag explains what elements make up a lineage or a heritage, we can have a closer look at the “template” for lineages/heritages to see what we would need to port lineages and heritages over to ICRPG.
Lineage Template Project Black Flag: Age, Size, Speed, 1-4 Abilities
Heritage Template Project Black Flag Alignment, 2-4 Abilities, Languages
I feel that age, size and speed do not play an important role in ICRPG so I would simply discard them. That leaves us with 1-4 abilities that do not give any attribute bonus but rather concern proficiencies or special skills (I feel proficiencies can be replaced by tags that make certain tasks EASY). It’s important, I feel, to not tie lineage (or: bioform, if you’d like) to attribute bonus.
I don’t think orcs are strong simply by being orcs. They are strong because they put in training (which is not biological but social/cultural). If you want to play really buff elves, you should be able to do so without predetermined attribute bonuses that make certain lineages stronger, smarter, more dextrous by default.
As for the above heritage template: I feel that alignment and languages also don’t tend to play a role in most ICRPG-games (if they do for you, keep them). That leaves us with 2-4 abilities which give you resistance against certain types of damage, make you more proficient in certain skills or make you able to cast certain cantrips.
If one wanted to port lineages and heritages over to ICRPG we would be left with the following template:
ICRPG Lineages: 1-4 Abilities (proficiencies via TAGs, special skills)
ICRPG Heritages: 2-4 Abilities (proficiencies via TAGs, damage resistance, cantrips)
A dwarf raised by cloud elves could therefore look like this:
You call this poisonous?: all checks against poison are EASY.
Stout Folk: when you RECOVER, you gain CON +2 HP
Cloud Heritage Traits
Arcanophile: checks concerning arcane magic are EASY
Magically Adept: Learn a cantrip connected to your hometown.
What do you think? Is this over-engineering and adding stuff to a game that is fine as it is or does this sound like an exciting opportunity to flex your homebrew-muscles? As always, feedback is appreciated. Take care y’all!