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The second step in the origin creation process is choosing your character’s culture. This is the culture they were raised in, or that of their parents, and does not need to be related to their heritage; a character’s culture can be used to represent their past as a refugee, adoption into a new family, or being raised outside of their heritage for any other reason. The culture you choose provides your character with a number of proficiencies and traits that they would have learned through living amongst that culture, or that members of that culture are often trained in. 

For each heritage option presented, there are a handful of suggested cultural options. When building your character’s origin, you can choose only one culture to gain traits from. Each culture listed in this chapter includes a description of what sort of life a character from that culture would experience—this description can range from the morals and traditions instilled in them to how they found themselves a part of that culture to begin with. The following sections appear in the description for most cultures.


Cultural Traits

Each culture contains a range of traits. You gain all of the traits associated with your chosen culture, unless the text says otherwise.


This section details the languages that a character can read, speak, write, and sign, provided there is no disability or condition that prevents them from doing so. When given a choice of language, consider choosing one from the Languages sidebar that further brings your character to life—this decision could be impacted by their family, previous occupations, or even a special interest.

The narrator may include additional languages based on the game’s setting, but the following languages are a default part of Level Up: Abyssal, Aquan, Auran, Celestial, Common, Deep Speech, Draconic, Dwarvish, Elvish, Giant, Gnoll, Gnomish, Goblin, Halfling, Ignan, Infernal, Orc, Primordial, Sylvan, Terran, Undercommon.

Signing. You must have at least one hand free to communicate by sign, and the creature you are communicating with must be able to see you. When attempting to make subtle signs, to remain unnoticed you must succeed on a Sleight of Hand check against the passive Perception scores of observers.

Narrator Note: Some cultures do not place the same emphasis on differentiated genders as other cultures might. Gender differentiation in various languages can be limited, and outsiders can experience culture shock at the gender equality and ambiguity in societies new to them. Most of these cultures draw from the same pool of names regardless of gender with some pronunciations of each name occasionally belying a subtle, often unintentional gendered inflection. People raised in such a culture find it important not to get too upset with minor mispronunciations, and in fact many accommodate foreigners by stating the most appropriate pronouns in the guests’ language and asking for their pronouns in return.