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    Default New Feat: Born of Two Peoples [General]

    New Feat: Born of Two Peoples [General]

    (Designed for Crossroads: The New World)


    Prerequisites
    Must be taken at first level. Your parents must possess different Cultures, and you must have been raised with regular exposure to both parents’ cultures from an early age.

    Benefit
    You begin play with two Cultures, and speak both parents’ languages at the “Native-Speaker” level of language proficiency. All other languages are acquired normally, as long as you qualify for them and have ranks to invest in your Linguistics skill.

    The DC of a Disguise check to “pass” as a full-blooded member of either of your parents’ ethnic groups decreases by 20 15. Makeup may be helpful to complete the disguise, particularly if your parents had wildly different skin-tones. If hair is an issue, it can usually be hidden by a hat or wig, though certain chemicals can be used to change its color, volume, and curl pattern. Players should note that some cultures (especially slave-owning cultures) have harsh penalties for non-members (especially slaves) who attempt to pass as full members of their group. These punishments can range in severity from disfigurement to summary execution.

    Because of your immersion in dual cultures, you are less likely than others to say or do things which make you look like an outsider, or to unintentionally violate cultural taboos. Once per day, when you fail a Charisma-based check when dealing with a member of either parent’s Culture, you may re-roll the failed check, and take the higher result instead.

    Normal
    While characters may acquire additional Culture(s) with large amounts of time and full immersion/initiation, or gain them through the Refugee Culture background, most characters are limited to possessing only one Culture.
    A character cannot improve their level of proficiency in a given language to the "Native-Speaker" level unless they possess a Culture which has that language as its' Native Language.

    Special
    Unless you are actively attempting to hide or suppress one portion of your heritage, you are easily recognizable by most members of either of your parents’ ethnicities as a person of mixed parentage. Frequently, this is accompanied by a host of assumptions (often quite deeply-rooted) about your allegiance, background, intelligence, personal hygiene, and moral character.

    Mechanically, characters who have had little experience with people of mixed parentage (especially those who have significant sociopolitical clout in small communities) lower their starting attitude towards you by one category.

    Nearly every culture has its own names for people with mixed ancestry, most of which are highly offensive and derogatory. Even “proper” names can be hurled as stinging insults. Owing to the sensitive nature of these names, players and DMs are encouraged to do their own research into them, and decide for themselves whether or not to use them at the gaming table.
    Last edited by SuperDave; 2013-08-19 at 11:05 AM.
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    Default Re: New Feat: Métis [General]

    Well, first and foremost, I'd remove the list of slang terms and just end that paragraph after 'many metis may take offense at being identified as such'. People can do their own research and I don't think it's entirely cool to have all the names up there.

    I think you could just say they gain a +2 bonus to diplomacy checks with either culture, no need to get persuasive involved. If you don't give it a type, it stacks with any other bonuses they may have.

    According to the skill descripton, attempting to disguise yourself as another race imposes a -2 penalty to the check. RAW-wise, I don't think that penalty would apply to those of different cultures, but I suspect we could say it does. Second, there is no set DC for disguise, it's subjective, so there needs to be a little rewording.
    'A charater with this feat takes no penalty when making a disguise check made to "pass" as a full-blooded member of either parent's ethnic group.'
    You can probably remove the sentence about bluff checks and the disguise being purely visual. All mundane disguises are purely visual.

    Having a second ability within the feat is wierd. Just remove the name and it works fine. Also use 'charisma-based' instead of 'social'.

    No need to mention you can't take it multiple times, that's normal for feats. You only need to specify if it CAN be taken multiple times.

    Remove the line about the normal difficulty of the check, as mentioned, there are no set DCs.
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    Default Re: New Feat: Métis [General]

    I'm not personally offended by the list of terms at the end, but I agree they don't really add much, and for a number of reasons it's probably best to remove them.

    Also, you seem to be including a lot of terms which either don't strictly have anything to do with mixed-culture offspring, or conversely involve nuances which you haven't covered here. Quadroon and octaroon had very specific meanings which aren't addressed in your approach. Hybrid isn't a slang term as far as I'm aware; it's more often used in genetics and selective breeding--which raises other sticky issues when applied to humans--and doesn't really embody the cultural aspects you're reaching for.

    Likewise, bastard involves issues of parentage, and is far more likely to be used within the context of a single culture. Creole is not only a specific historical term, but also a linguistic term--a language derived from a pidgin which has developed a community of native speakers. Ladino, apart from its earlier Spanish colonial use, is the currently recognized name for an extant language, spoken today in the western Mediterranean.

    --And so on. Many of these terms open up several cans of worms apiece, and simply listing a glossary doesn't add much to the feat description, so I'd strongly recommend you remove them.

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    Default Re: New Feat: Métis [General]

    I don't really like the diplomacy modifier. It's a weird thing and not necessarily representative of anything real. I don't automatically get a long better with other hispanics.

    I'm actually thinking we can move diplomacy modifiers to language to represent something more realistic. Basically give a player a +2 modifier when they share a Native language with the person they're speaking to. That would feel more natural to me. Mechanically it's still the same I guess, but it feels better.

    I do really like the Insightful Poise ability though, and I feel like that, the additional native language, and access to culture locked classes are probably quite a bit of a bonus for a feat already.


    Edit: And the whole disguising thing is a little awkward IMO...
    Last edited by zabbarot; 2013-08-13 at 09:04 AM.

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    Default Re: New Feat: Métis [General]

    Why not call this Mixed Ancestry or Multicultural or something else? Metis is quite specific to Canada, indeed to one specific mixed ancestry culture in Canada. Such a specific tie doesn't really translate well to a generic concept.

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    Default Re: New Feat: Métis [General]

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    I'm not personally offended by the list of terms at the end, but I agree they don't really add much, and for a number of reasons it's probably best to remove them.

    *snip*

    --And so on. Many of these terms open up several cans of worms apiece, and simply listing a glossary doesn't add much to the feat description, so I'd strongly recommend you remove them.
    I was aware that a lot of the names are offensive, and I did wonder if I should include them, but I thought that they would help drive home the point that, historically-speaking, being a person of mixed-race was not considered a blessing. Everywhere you look in history, people of mixed parentage have been forced into unpleasant, uncomfortable situations because of an aspect of their bodies which is entirely beyond their control. Players who want to play a métis should be prepared to face a some very unfair treatment.

    But ultimately, since I really don't want to offend anyone, I have removed the list of alternate names for métis. I only meant to save players a little research, but given the delicate nature of the subject, it's probably best to let them do it themselves, and only if they really want to.

    Quote Originally Posted by zabbarot View Post
    I don't really like the diplomacy modifier. It's a weird thing and not necessarily representative of anything real. I don't automatically get a long better with other hispanics.
    Well, I figured that if Half-Elves get a Diplomacy bonus, then it would be appropriate for métis as well, but I suppose it's not really very accurate. Consider it stricken.

    I think I like your suggestion to move this bonus to Linguistics instead. That way métis's players don't feel singled out for special treatment, but they still benefit from the bonus (because they get bonuses that apply to both parents' Cultures).

    Quote Originally Posted by zabbarot View Post
    I do really like the Insightful Poise ability though, and I feel like that, the additional native language, and access to culture locked classes are probably quite a bit of a bonus for a feat already.
    Yeah, these are probably all the abilities they're gonna get. I don't think they need any more.

    Quote Originally Posted by zabbarot View Post
    Edit: And the whole disguising thing is a little awkward IMO...
    I thought that it would be necessary to mention, especially for player-characters of mixed European/African ancestry (which were pretty common in Colonial America, which is the setting that this feat is designed for, after all), but I suppose that the implications of cross-ethnicity Disguise checks are probably going to be obvious to all involved. Assuming they want to include them at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Why not call this Mixed Ancestry or Multicultural or something else? Metis is quite specific to Canada, indeed to one specific mixed ancestry culture in Canada. Such a specific tie doesn't really translate well to a generic concept.
    Well, it's designed for a setting that will include what we now know as Canada, and there will be quite a few Frenchmen there (though not as many as in our own timeline), so using the French name for them made sense. Originally, I included a list of names for métis in other languages, but almost all of them could potentially be considered offensive, so I removed them.

    I thought about calling the feat "Half-Breed" or "Half-Blood", but that just ran into similar problems with potentially being offensive. Granted, that is what most people would have called them, back before the concept of political correctness was invented, but it just didn't feel right. Besides, "Half-Breed" and "Half-Blood" only refer to one's genetic makeup, while Métis (with a capital 'M') refers to an officially recognized group of Canadian Aboriginal Peoples, whose culture is a mixture of both French and Native traditions. To me, that name signified more than just mixed ancestry, but a full blending of two cultures into a new and unique tradition.

    But perhaps you're right. Does anyone else think that "Mixed Ancestry" or "Multicultural" would be better names for this feat? The latter sounds very 20th-century, but the former could be good.
    Last edited by SuperDave; 2013-08-13 at 10:01 AM.
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    Default Re: New Feat: Métis [General]

    Mixed Ancestry is probably a better name. I had honestly never heard Métis before now. When I first suggested cultures in the main thread I imagined a similar feat but I was thinking of calling it Creole (probably because I spent too much time living in New Orleans)

    Edit: and about half-elves, there is a reason I never play them.
    Last edited by zabbarot; 2013-08-13 at 09:50 AM.

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    Default Re: New Feat: Métis [General]

    Quote Originally Posted by zabbarot View Post
    Mixed Ancestry is probably a better name. I had honestly never heard Métis before now. When I first suggested cultures in the main thread I imagined a similar feat but I was thinking of calling it Creole (probably because I spent too much time living in New Orleans)

    Edit: and about half-elves, there is a reason I never play them.
    "Creole" is also a good suggestion. I'll add that to the list of possible names for the feat.

    I was just about to add that +2 bonus you suggested to the "Native-Speaker" level of proficiency, when I ran across a slight snag: once you become a "Native-Speaker", you no longer need to make Linguistics checks to communicate with people who speak your language (otherwise, you'd need to make a check every time you open your mouth), so a +2 bonus won't make any difference to Native-Speakers. Maybe the fact that métis/Creoles/persons-of-mixed-ancestry start play free from having to make checks in both parent's languages is enough of a bonus already?
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    Default Re: New Feat: Métis [General]

    Originally Posted by SuperDave
    Everywhere you look in history, people of mixed parentage have been forced into unpleasant, uncomfortable situations because of an aspect of their bodies which is entirely beyond their control. Players who want to play a métis should be prepared to face a some very unfair treatment.
    Well, these are complex and sticky issues, both in-game and around the table, and probably far beyond the scope of any one feat. Your point in the second sentence is certainly taken, but outside of your specific campaign setting--and how you personally would run the societies there--it's very much up to a prospective DM's individual style. I would run that aspect to the hilt, but others might not want to, for any number of reasons.

    So, rather than shoehorning an extremely involved, potentially sensitive issue into a feat description, I would suggest addressing this in a much more detailed way somewhere in the main setting notes. It really involves much broader cultural issues which the DM would want to make the players aware of up front, so it should be raised very early on in the introduction to the campaign setting, rather than relegated to the later paragraphs of a feat description.

    Going a little beyond this, I would suggest that maybe this isn't quite feat material; maybe the métis should be treated as a distinct culture or subculture, something similar to how the Crinti (a stable race of half-drow) are treated in the Forgotten Realms. It seems a little odd to ask a player to spend a feat slot on an entire racial background.

    Originally Posted by SuperDave
    Does anyone else think that "Mixed Ancestry" or "Multicultural" would be better names for this feat? The latter sounds very 20th-century, but the former could be good.
    To answer the specific question...no, not really. "Multicultural" is already a feat from Song and Silence, p. 40, although it's weak even by 3.0 standards. Also, using terms with strong 20th-century connotations tends to be a bit discordant at best...and moreover, "multicultural" implies several cultures, not just two.

    If you want to change the name, I would suggest something like "Born Of Two Peoples" or the like, although I don't have quite the objections to métis that Ashtagon does. That's the one name that really fits, since it is specific to the time and cultures you're working with.

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    Default Re: New Feat: Métis [General]

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    "Creole" is also a good suggestion. I'll add that to the list of possible names for the feat.

    I was just about to add that +2 bonus you suggested to the "Native-Speaker" level of proficiency, when I ran across a slight snag: once you become a "Native-Speaker", you no longer need to make Linguistics checks to communicate with people who speak your language (otherwise, you'd need to make a check every time you open your mouth), so a +2 bonus won't make any difference to Native-Speakers. Maybe the fact that métis/Creoles/persons-of-mixed-ancestry start play free from having to make checks in both parent's languages is enough of a bonus already?
    The +2 bonus for sharing a native language was meant to be a bonus to Diplomacy. It might even make sense to give a bonus to diplomacy for being fluent* in the person's native language.

    Also "Born of Two Peoples" has a nice ring to it.

    Edit: *fluent meaning the Fluent level of mastery you have.
    Last edited by zabbarot; 2013-08-13 at 10:14 AM.

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    Default Re: New Feat: Métis [General]

    Originally Posted by SuperDave
    "Creole" is also a good suggestion. I'll add that to the list of possible names for the feat.
    This is one that I would squint at--partly because it references a specific culture with modern connotations, and again because this is a separate term used in linguistics research.

    Originally Posted by zabbarot
    Also "Born of Two Peoples" has a nice ring to it.
    Thanks.


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    Default Re: New Feat: Métis [General]

    Quote Originally Posted by zabbarot View Post
    The +2 bonus for sharing a native language was meant to be a bonus to Diplomacy. It might even make sense to give a bonus to diplomacy for being fluent* in the person's native language.

    Edit: *fluent meaning the Fluent level of mastery you have.
    Alright, I've gone and added your suggestion to the Linguistics thread. Lemme know what you think.

    "Born of Two Peoples" does have a nice ring to it as a name for the feat, but what would you call someone who possesses it? So far, I'm leaning towards Creole, which has so many meanings and associations with so many different peoples and languages that no one group can possibly lay claim to it. Most people would probably assume it means "Cajun", but that still might be better than "Métis", which few have heard of and even fewer know how to pronounce.

    Edit: I decided, ultimately, that it's better to use the politically-correct terms in the feat description itself, and let the players/DMs do the research themselves.
    Last edited by SuperDave; 2013-08-13 at 03:25 PM.
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    Default Re: New Feat: Born of Two Peoples [General]

    Originally Posted by SuperDave
    "Born of Two Peoples" does have a nice ring to it....
    Thanks, and I'm flattered you renamed the feat with my suggestion.

    Originally Posted by SuperDave
    ...but what would you call someone who possesses it?
    Well, "Twinborn" could be one possibility...although Brandon Sanderson used the same term in The Alloy of Law, albeit with a completely different meaning.

    Or, since you have a good handle on colonial terminology, perhaps a French or Native American portmanteau, involving the crossing of borders or barriers?

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    Default Re: New Feat: Born of Two Peoples [General]

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Thanks, and I'm flattered you renamed the feat with my suggestion.
    You're welcome! It was a good suggestion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Well, "Twinborn" could be one possibility...although Brandon Sanderson used the same term in The Alloy of Law, albeit with a completely different meaning.

    Or, since you have a good handle on colonial terminology, perhaps a French or Native American portmanteau, involving the crossing of borders or barriers?
    That seems like something that would require a LOT of research. It's been surprisingly difficult to find out what Native Americans called people of mixed parentage. Maybe it just wasn't such a big deal for them as it was for Europeans?

    In the end, I decided to just use the neutral term "people of mixed heritage" in the thread, and allow DMs and players to do whatever research they want to do on their own.
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    Default Re: New Feat: Born of Two Peoples [General]

    for cultures you may wish to apply a bonus towards sense motive for people of the same culture for fairly obvious reasons

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