This variant attempts to do away with the problematic tropes of traditional, fantasy races. Instead, "innate" characteristics that were determined by your race are now determined by your folk and background:
A folk is a group of peoples united by a common culture. Yet within that culture many exceptions and variations exists. Like a D&D race, a single folk contains multitudes: subcultures, kingdoms, factions, clans, tribes, courts or religious groups.
More important is your background. In this variant your background now determines your initial ability score increase. It also bestows a number of proficiencies and utility features that typically replace the utility
skill feats, such as the Actor feat. This makes backgrounds receptacles of many of the
ribbon or utility features or feats, allowing your to make more strategic choices for your characters, while still customising them.
When creating your character, replace step 1 with choosing a background and a folk for your character. An example background and folk are given below:
Folk: Common Folk
The most numerous peoples of the world, the men and women of the cities and rural areas. They till the fields, collect taxes, and wage wars upon one another. To the other folk this seems mundane, boring, even pointless. But none can deny the common folk have spread across the land, while older folk start to fade away.
- Common folk reach adulthood in their late teens and live less than a century.
- Common folk tend toward no particular alignment. The best and the worst are found among them.
- Common folk vary widely in height and build, from barely 5 feet to well over 6 feet tall. Regardless of your position in that range, your size is Medium.
- Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
- You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice and you can increase one of your ability scores by 1.
You thrive in front of an audience. You know how to entrance them, entertain them, and even inspire them. Your poetics can stir the hearts of those who hear you, awakening grief or joy, laughter or anger. Your music raises their spirits or captures their sorrow. Your dance steps captivate, your humor cuts to the quick. Whatever techniques you use, your art is your life.
- Ability Score Adjustment.
- You Charisma increases by 2, and your Dexterity increases by 1.
- Skill Proficiencies.
- You gain proficiency with the Performance skill.
- A musical instrument (one of your choice), the favor of an admirer (love letter, lock of hair, or trinket), a costume, and a pouch containing 15 gp.
- You have a talent for a particular kind of entertainment. Choose one of the three specialities presented below or one from another source.
You are an actor in a troupe. Skilled at mimicry and improvisation, you gain the following benefits:
- Disguise Expertise.
- You gain proficiency with a disguise kit. You add double your proficiency bonus to checks you make with it.
- You can mimic the speech of another person or the sounds made by other creatures. You must have heard the person speaking, or heard the creature make the sound, for at least 1 minute. A successful Wisdom (Insight) check contested by your Charisma (Deception) check allows a listener to determine that the effect is faked.
You are a travelling minstrel. a mischievous troubadour or street player. Your skill with your chosen instrument gives you the following benefits:
- Instrument Expertise.
- You gain proficiency with one type of musical instrument. You add double your proficiency bonus to checks you make with it.
- Distracting Melody.
- While playing a musical instrument you are proficient with, you can try to distract one humanoid you can see who can see and hear you. Make a Charisma (Performance) check contested by the humanoid’s Wisdom (Insight) check. If your check succeeds, you grab the humanoid’s attention enough that it makes Wisdom (Perception) and Intelligence (Investigation) checks with disadvantage until you stop performing.
You have been gifted with a talented singing voice and make your living, perhaps by singing bawdy rhymes in taverns or sad ballads in noble courts. You gain the following benefits:
- Singing Expertise.
- When singing you add double your proficiency bonus to checks you make with the Performance skill.
- A Song For Every Occasion.
- Once you hear a song you never forget it, and can recall and sing it from memory.
- Minstrel Lore.
- Ancient lore is often passed down through song, and you know more songs than anyone else you know. When making an Intelligence (Religion) or Intelligence (History) check you can instead chose spend 10 minutes singing an appropriate song you recall from your extensive repertoire of rhymes and ballads. When you finish you can make a Performance check instead. You can only do this once per short rest.