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Author Topic: [5e/D&D] Backgrounds - the BIG list of backgrounds!  (Read 347305 times)

RPGPundit

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[5e/D&D] Backgrounds - the BIG list of backgrounds!
« Reply #45 on: September 12, 2014, 02:14:14 AM »
Ongoing excellent stuff here.  Please keep promoting this, guys, so that we keep building on what we've got!
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[5e/D&D] Backgrounds - the BIG list of backgrounds!
« Reply #46 on: September 24, 2014, 12:21:14 AM »
I'm stickying this now, because I don't want it to get lost.

I hope people will keep posting their 5e Backgrounds, and we can end up making a PDF out of this or something!
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Next time around, let's do a wiki or form?
« Reply #47 on: October 07, 2014, 05:13:08 AM »
This collection of backgrounds is truly an excellent initiative. But why do it in a billboard-style thread? It would be so much more useful if we were editing a wiki or filling in a form, thus making the content more easy to search and read. As is now, somebody needs to collect all the content and compile it into something usable. Not exactly 2014?

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[5e/D&D] Backgrounds - the BIG list of backgrounds!
« Reply #48 on: October 07, 2014, 06:31:34 PM »
Quote from: thomax;790683
This collection of backgrounds is truly an excellent initiative. But why do it in a billboard-style thread? It would be so much more useful if we were editing a wiki or filling in a form, thus making the content more easy to search and read. As is now, somebody needs to collect all the content and compile it into something usable. Not exactly 2014?


It's forthcoming.
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Shaman
« Reply #49 on: October 09, 2014, 05:00:03 PM »
I just went with the name Shaman as it fit my campaign/concept.  However, it could easily be renamed as something similar (Witch Doctor, Medicine Man/Woman, etc).

Shaman
You have spent your life in service of an elder shaman (typically a parent, although a tribe elder may have taken you on as an attendant/disciple).  You have learned the sacred rites of your tribe or clan and assisted with common shamanistic services to those in need.  You do not necessarily have any of the powers of a shaman elder (druid, witch, etc), but you are competent in the basic rituals and common healing techniques typically expected of shamans.

You may have left your tribe/clan for any number of reasons.  You might have learned as much as you could as an attendant/disciple and have been sent on a quest/journey to gain more knowledge, experience, and/or power.  Maybe you have been sent to wander amongst other tribes lacking shamans to offer your services.  It’s possible you had to leave your tribe under less desirable circumstances (exile, tribe wiped out, etc).  Regardless of the reason for adventuring away from your tribe, you take with you the skills passed onto you and hope they can aid others, or just yourself, along the way.

Skill Proficiencies:  Medicine, Religion
Tool Proficiencies:  Herbalism kit
Languages:  One of your choice
Equipment:  A trinket (from Trinkets table in chapter 5) given by your elder shaman to use with rituals, a healer’s kit, a set of common clothes, an herbalism kit, and a belt pouch containing 5 gp

Feature:  Retainers
You have the service of three retainers loyal to your tribe (or at the very least, your family if you left under less credible circumstances).  These retainers are typically attendants/assistants that worked alongside you with the elder shaman, but do not have any spell-casting ability.  They can perform common/mundane tasks for you, but will not fight for you, nor follow you into obviously dangerous areas (such as dungeons).  When you travel without the protection of a guarded caravan, they typically wait for the next caravan and meet you at your destination.  When you go exploring (no distinct destination) or to a dangerous area, they often wait at the last known location until you return or send a message of your new location.  They will leave (return home or find nearby relatives) if they are frequently endangered or abused.

Suggested Characteristics
Shamans are not known to be the most civilized of healers, but their skills with herbs and remedies are rarely questioned and often sought out when more practical means are not available (or affordable).  Most shamans can have strong bonds with a tribe or clan and prefer to remain amongst them.  However, many can be found roaming the land in seek of a new tribe, searching ways to become greater shamans, or even looking to be closer to civilization and set up shop just outside of a town/city.  Ideals and bonds typically shape their life, but their personality and flaws often influence their decision to make changes to that lifestyle.

d8   Personality Trait
1 - I idolize my elder shaman, doing everything I can to prove their mentorship was not in vain.
2 - I’m driven by a desire to wander the lands, ever seeking ways to be more powerful.
3 - I have these skills to help the afflicted, regardless of friend or stranger.
4 - I have no concerns for niceties nor social etiquettes - either others need my help or they don’t.
5 - I prefer to find ways to make a profit with my skills whenever possible.
6 - I do not care about money or material things, favors are my preferred method of payment.
7 - There are signs all around that try to guide us in the choices we make.
8 - My own tribe turned their back on me.  I expect everyone else to do the same one day.


d6   Ideal
1 - Tradition.  The rituals and laws of my tribe must be preserved even when away from home. (Lawful)
2 - Charity.  If there is someone in need, I will help with no expectation of payment. (Good)
3 - Destiny.  I go where the signs say I am needed most. (Chaotic)
4 - Power.  I will grow in power regardless of the cost. (Evil)
5 - Faith.  I am here to serve the spirits and the universe, whether for better or for worse. (Neutral)
6 - Self-Improvement.  The better I become, the more I can do for others. (Any)


d6   Bond
1 - Everything I do is for the betterment of my tribe/clan.
2 - I live only to serve as my elder wishes.
3 - My skills exist so that I may help those closest to me.
4 - I will become worthy enough to take over for my elder when the time comes.
5 - I owe my life to the spirits that have guided me every step of the way.
6 - I will make sure those responsible for the ruin of my tribe will be removed from power one day.

d6   Flaw
1 - I hold grudges until favors are repaid.
2 - I have very little trust in those that live in cities and towns.
3 - I am not particularly concerned with how I become more powerful.
4 - I don’t actually believe what I instruct others on.
5 - I let the spirits/signs/universe take priority over the reality in front of me.
6 - I expect everyone to try and take advantage of my kindness.

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« Reply #50 on: October 09, 2014, 05:49:15 PM »
Nice one. The feature seems a little odd though, I tend to think of a shaman as standing apart from their people a bit more than that... Something like the Hermit's secret might be better.
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[5e/D&D] Backgrounds - the BIG list of backgrounds!
« Reply #51 on: October 12, 2014, 09:28:33 AM »
Enforcer

You worked, or still work, in the field of enforcing rules - either the laws of society or the secret codes of behavior of an organization. Bounty hunters, city guards, inquisitors, thief-takers, vigilantes, leg-breakers... any of them might belong to this background. Their skills and motivations are strikingly similar, and the most cynical of them often note that legal codes are little more than a dividing line between teams. Discerning infractions requires more careful thought and evidence collection than most realize. If the enforcer is sufficiently feared, there are a lot fewer infractions in the first place.

When you choose this background, work with your DM to establish who your employer was and what kinds of "cases" you handled. Which set of laws concerned you, and which side of those laws did you come down on?

    Skill Proficiencies: Investigation, Intimidation
    Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set, vehicles (land)
    Equipment: Club, a badge or token of office, a broadsheet or contract with a bounty for a target, gaming set, hooded lantern, manacles, traveler's clothes, 5 gp for bribe

Employer
Someone hired you as an enforcer. If you still work for them, maybe they're a continuing source of adventure hooks. Or did you burn bridges escaping your employer's service?

d6    Employer
1    Bounty Hunter's Guild (bounty hunter)
2    Church (inquisitor)
3    Craft Guild (thief-taker or caravan guard)
4    Local Baron or Count (palace guard)
5    Sheriff (constabulary)
6    Thieves' Guild or Criminal Family (leg-breaker)

Feature: Legal System (or "Legal" System)
You have knowledge and contacts in a legal system - not necessarily the same as one that you previously served. For example, a criminal who turned Crown's Evidence might have contacts among the city guard. You have an easier time getting that legal system to hold prisoners for a few days for later questioning, possibly bending regulations to do so. It may be necessary to put some effort into maintaining these relationships, of course. Open violations of the rules of that organization may sour your connections as well, though your knowledge of the system is unchanged.

d8    Personality Trait

1    You can never plan for too many contingencies.
2    Once I'm on a case, I can't think of anything else until it's resolved.
3    I like to sound clever, so I use a lot of big words... incorrectly, as often as not.
4    My manners are abrasive enough that I do not make many friends.
5    I love to quote legal principles in conversation.
6    My first resort in conflict is browbeating my opponents with threats of legal retribution.
7    I am stoic in the face of every kind of hardship.
8    Gallows humor? Bit redundant, wouldn't you say?

d6    Ideal
1    Hidebound. If you can't adhere to our laws and traditions, you must suffer the consequences. (Lawful)
2    "Efficient." There's a point, far out there when the structures fail you, and the rules aren't weapons anymore, they're shackles letting the bad guy get ahead. (Chaotic)
3    Mercy. Mercy and severity are a sacred balance. (Good)
4    Power. When all you have is the law, everyone looks like a criminal. Everyone is guilty of something.(Evil)
5    Justice. The rules apply equally to all, from the highest to the lowest. (Lawful)
6    Loyalty. With my help, the people I serve will rise above all other competitors. (Any)

d6    Bond
1    I carry a tome of laws and precedents to remind me of my duty.
2    Need for an intellectual challenge draws me on.
3    A criminal escaped me once, and I have hunted that one across the years.
4    The law - and I - exist to protect the weak from the strong.
5    I do terrible things so that others do not have to.
6    I accused a powerful person of a crime, and I've been dodging assassins ever since.

d6    Flaw
1    I obey any legitimate authority, even when they might be wrong.
2    When I don't have a puzzle to occupy my thoughts, my boredom turns dangerous.
3    I took the expedient path, and now I'm constantly trying to cover it up... but the web of lies is fragile.
4    I've seen the worst that my city or my race has to offer - only the bottle keeps the demons at bay.
5    Damsels, gentlemen, or other romantic interests in distress cloud my judgment.
6    I never forgive, nor forget.

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Revv

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« Reply #52 on: October 13, 2014, 08:05:06 PM »
Quote from: LibraryLass;791139
Nice one. The feature seems a little odd though, I tend to think of a shaman as standing apart from their people a bit more than that... Something like the Hermit's secret might be better.


Yeah, I chose that particular feature specific for the campaign we're playing.  I pictured shamans in this tribe always having those "helpers" chanting/dancing as part of performing their rituals (plus, this specific shaman story-wise was son of tribe chief, so leaned toward a tribal version of noble retainers).

But as always, backgrounds are flexible/customizable to fit the campaign/character.  So I can definitely see a more hermit-like shaman/witch doctor/etc being more common.

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[5e/D&D] Backgrounds - the BIG list of backgrounds!
« Reply #53 on: October 14, 2014, 12:31:45 PM »
Apparently I never got around to posting this... so:

Background: Acolyte of the Ancestors
You have been brought up to revere your ancestors, and have learned the rites to honor them. Your practices are heavily influenced by local culture and connected to your family. While clerics may be animist acolytes, it is by no means necessary – warriors and craftsmen alike look to bring honor to their family and appease their ancestors.
  Your place of origin, race, and culture will have a big impact on the trappings of your belief. Many cultures blend ancestor worship with other faiths.

Skill Proficiencies: Religion
Languages: One of your choice
Equipment: A holy symbol, a prayer book or prayer wheel, 5 sticks of incense, vestments, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp.

Definition: Ancestral Spirit
Ancestral spirits are special forms of undead that are not necessarily evil. They arise when slumbering spirits are disturbed by some event or action.

Feature: Dutiful Descendant
It is your duty to serve your ancestors, and keep them content. You have great prestige among your people, and can expect generosity from other followers of the ancestors. While traditions vary, you can perform helpful rites to maintain altars and temples to various ancestors.

Feature: Intercessor
Intelligent ancestor spirits will afford you respect, and may seek you out to make demands. You can also perform rituals to call on ancestral spirits and communicate with them. This only works if the ancestral spirit has been roused, for some reason, and is somewhere in the area.
If you have the Channel Divinity class feature, you may Call to Slumber. This functions only on ancestral spirits, and placates them. Treat this like Turn Undead. However, success causes ancestral spirits return to their graves or altars and resume their eternal slumber.
If an ancestral spirit would be destroyed, you can decide whether it immediately falls, inert, or unwaveringly returns to its resting place. Note that even ‘destroyed’ ancestral spirits can be roused again, later.
If you do not have Channel Divinity, you get one use, only usable for Call to Slumber.
When casting animate dead you can, instead, call on the ancestors. The targets must either have been interred as honored ancestors, or if you know who the targets are and their history. You then charge the ancestors with some task of interest to them, generally protecting the area or attacking some invading force. You do not, however, control these undead. For the duration of the spell, they seek to perform their task and return to rest. Hopefully.
This form of animation is not considered evil, and the dead summoned are not innately evil (though can still be turned and affected by regular anti-undead effects).

Suggested Characteristics
The followers of ancestors have a sense of long tradition, watched over by the rows of the dead. Sometimes stern and unforgiving, the ancestors are deeply committed to the safety and continuation of their descendants.

d8 Personality Trait
1   Live a life they will tell stories about.
2   The dead really know how to party! Woo!
3   I’ve argued with three generations of my ancestors, this is nothing.
4   Break bread with new friends, and honor them.
5   The places of the dead must never be desecrated.
6   Home is so very far away.
7   Nothing I do is good enough for the voices. So many voices.
8   You are watched and judged by all who came before.

d6 Ideal
1   Tradition. Perform the rites and honor the ancestors. (Lawful)
2   Obligation. I must do everything I can to fulfill my duties. (Lawful)
3   Uncaring. Everyone is a future dead person. (Evil)
4   Charity. Life is short, share with those who suffer. (Good)
5   Live and Let Live. Everyone has ancestors. (Neutral)
6   Example. Make the ancestors proud of who and what you are. (Any)


d6 Bond
1   My family means everything.
2   Clean the altar, replace the candles. Venerate the dead, always.
3   The hall of ancestors has many children; keep their number from growing.
4   The unwilling dead are victims; lay them to rest and honor them.
5   A relic of my ancestors was lost, and I must return it.
6   I celebrate my ancestors. Stress on the celebrate part.

d6 Flaw
1   If you aren’t kin, I frankly don’t care.
2   I am desperate to bring honor to my ancestors. Their eyes are on me. In the darkness.
3   Nothing I do is good enough.
4   I am uncompromising.
5   I am the best, and I will tell everyone! EVERYONE!
6   Dishonor my family, and I will water the ground with you.
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« Reply #54 on: October 21, 2014, 04:36:09 PM »
Quote from: Broken-Serenity;780529
Anyone got a background that could be used with barbarian as a way of running a war vet/last survivor who suffers ptsd(possibly tied to certain environments or situations) as a reason for his rage? or should i just roleplay it out instead?


Before 5e came out, we were playing Pathfinder and converted to 5e once we got the stuff for it.  My Pathfinder character was (and still is...she still lives!) a barbarian who has been through some stuff...enough to give her some rabid PTSD like you are describing.

Her PTSD has, granted, been brought on more through roleplay than generic backgrounds, but here's how I worked her up for 5e:

Barbarians are tribals to begin with - uncivilized, so I borrowed from backgrounds like Nomad, etc.,  They are also warriors by nature, so, like others in this thread have mentioned, the Soldier background came in handy as well.

One trick for doing the PTSD tie-in is to look at things in the character's backstory which would 'trigger' the PTSD/rages and work from there.  

Like mine had an instance where she was running (literally) at encumbrance max, carrying nearly the whole party on her back, under her arms, in a bag of holding, etc., from a Kobold lair, getting her right foot chewed off right at the finish line.  The lair was underground, they used burning oil and guerrilla tactics - we never actually got to kill one.

Another instance had the party dashing through a cave under a temple and baaaaarely making it to a portal before it all collapsed and buried half of the party in rubble, etc.,

Looking at these two events in particular, the DM and I identified four PTSD triggers - kobolds, fire, portals, and confined spaces.

For the Kobolds, we listed these as 'UN-Favored enemies" and assigned a percentile die to seeing if she would enter into a rage involuntarily around them, the percentage scale increasing with the number of Kobolds around her.  Alignment didn't matter.  When in the involuntary rage, any rolls like perception, etc., that would require even 'battlefield' focus are done at an extreme disadvantage (adding more than the single disadvantage die depending on the situation, taking the lowest of all of them).  This involuntary rage isn't time-limited, but situation-limited.

Fire is treated in kind of the same way, anything more than a few torches have the chance to trigger.  Think Frankenstein's monster.

Portals is just a roleplay thing...fear of the unknown destination.

The big one, though, is claustrophobia.  She's fine in a tavern with the windows open where she can see outside, but put her in a dungeon or windowless room and you better pack a shield just in case she wants to show you that 'friendly fire' is far from friendly.  For this part of her background, she was given the "getmethehellouttahere" talent, where strength increased by five while wisdom and intelligence decreased by the same and the involuntary rage scale was used again, with the percentage increasing by distance from the entrance, time in the space, and (most importantly) size of the space.  Again this is situational, not time limited.

And there you go - a barbarian with PTSD.  Normal rages still apply - barbarians are an often angry people - but these PTSD rages could help add to the character/party flavor.  Your DM might even allow for XP bonuses or something for emerging unscathed.

Granted, my example is for an existing character, but you could do the same with a new character, looking at the existing backgrounds and cherry-picking (like I mentioned earlier) and then writing up your character's basic backstory based off of those and determining the triggers needed for your 'PTSD package'.

All of which, undoubtedly, needs DM approval of course, but if your DM is like mine, he/she will relish the thought of having such a 'damaged' psyche to torment, adding challenge to otherwise 'mundane' encounters and explorations.

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« Reply #56 on: November 11, 2014, 07:45:27 PM »
Two more backgrounds, primarily with Ravenloft as the campaign setting in mind, but they may be useful elsewhere:

EXECUTIONER
You had been tasked with the duty of carrying out death sentences, corporal punishments and possibly also torture. The methods may depend on your home area and its customs - whether axe, sword, noose, pyre or guillotine - but it is a dirty work that doesn't make you popular.
While the cliché is that of the hulking headsman with the great axe (and a cliché with some truth to it), the dingy reputation and the easy access to objectionable items like hands of murderers or mandragora have led to the birth of more than one rogue, arcane trickster or warlock coming from this background.

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Intimidation
Tool Proficiencies: Poisoner's kit
Languages: any language of your choice

Equipment: hempen rope (50') already knotted to a noose, a sharpened 10' pole (to display heads on), a sack (chopped-off head optional), common clothes including a black hood and a butcher's frock, the farewell letter of an infamous criminal (or wrongly accused convict) and a belt pouch containing 8gp

Background Feature: Scharfrichter's Stare
Both commoners and criminals are afraid of your reputation. Neither will report if you overstep the legal lines a bit (such as by not paying your food, or bruising a captive), and both kinds will be more likely to spill the beans just to get rid of you (or in the case of criminals, to keep you from scraping the beans out of them with a red-hot hook).
Those who have some standing in the community will not be so easily impressed by some dingy executioner, but maybe their servants will speak freely to you if you block their way in the right dark alley...

Personality:
1. When going gets weird and bloody, I remain calm and stoic.
2. I like to act tough and hardboiled when I feel that I've got the advantage, or that I need to secure it.
3. I do a lot of bad puns and quips in the face of death and the macabre.
4. I'm not a person of many words - I get by with a nod, a headshake or a single word as often as possible.
5. I am deferential to authority more than rulings - those chosen through merit, tradition, or birth understand the intent of the law even if the letter must be bent a bit.
6. Once a bad seed, always a bad seed - I am harshly judgmental of those who have erred even once.

Ideal:
1. Justice: Right or wrong, the law. (Lawful)
2. Redemption: No matter how wicked, anyone must be given a chance to repent before meeting their creator. (Good)
3. Community: My community cannot hold unless its people are kept safe from threats in their midst (Any)
4. Pragmatism: When some petty law get into the way of my job, it should wait out of sight in the antechamber while I take care of what needs to be done. (Chaotic)
5. Power: Life, Death, Dignity - I crave the moments when they step up the wooden stairs and all these things are at my fingertips. (Evil)
6. Truth: Before any justice can be meted out, it is important to draw out the truth no matter how. (Lawful)

Bond:
1. I've been forced to put my one true love to the sword, and have been grieving for her ever since.
2. There is this one criminal who could jailbreak before meeting his conviction. I will find him and give him what is his due.
3. No one is above the law - no one but this smug rascal who could get off scotsfree with that letter of the Cardinal. I will find her and make sure there is no loophole this time.
4. I have put a man to the sword only to learn later that he has been innocent. I will make up to his family best as I can.
5. I've led some very vile scum to the gallows, despite their powerful friends. Now I am on the run from them and their assassins.
6. While making my rounds in the dungeons, I have run into a man in an iron mask who doesn't appear on any records. I will need to find out his secret, and bust him out if he is innocent.

Flaw:
1. I have taken a significant bribe, and a certain crimelord knows it and can prove it.
2. I obey any legitimate authority, even when they might be wrong.
3. The bottle is the only thing that keeps the spectres of my former victims at bay.
4. I have sold hands of murderers and similar items of my handiwork to evil magic-users, or possibly even the darker powers behind them.
5. I display my gallows humour even to the point where it makes others uncomfortable - and beyond.
6. I take a memento of everyone I execute, and display it proudly.

MORTICIAN
You could have been a simple laborer for a local priest in some backwater village in Barovia, or you could be an undertaker running his own business in a city in a more developed domain. No matter where you exactly come from, your business boils down to putting the death beneath the earth.
The labour of an undertaker becomes the background of many a class, whether a hardy fighter, a cleric of death or an arcane warlock dealing with the forces that seek out the dead. For some strange reason, there are quite a few rangers with vulture companions among morticians.

Skill Proficiencies: Intimidation, Religion
Tool Proficiencies: land vehicles, carpenter's tools

Equipment: a hearse (as cart) and a black mule, a shovel or spade (stats as a club), fine clothes including a black top hat, carpenter's tools, a roll of measuring tape, a holy symbol (or 5 wreaths of garlic), raw material for three coffins and a pouch of extracted gold teeth worth 5gp

Feature: Rest for the Wicked
Whether through academic study or sheer experience, you know enough about bodies to do basic examination to automatically find out how long they have been dead and the cause of their death.
You also know the traditional banes of the undead that need to be added at their burial to keep them from rising. Any knowledge of the undead beyond that is beyond you, unless you have the necessary skills.
In addition, you can make bodies presentable and preserve them, even without access to disguise kits/herbalism kits or proficiency in either.

Personality:
1. I am full of tales of funny deaths, people buried alive and similarly macabre anecdotes of my work that make others feel queasy.
2. I speak in few words and move quietly.
3. Whenever anyone announces very brave or very foolhardy plans that make them likely to become my next customer, I bust out my tape and get their measurements to work on my next coffin.
4. In the midst of blood, gore and similar reminders of mortality, I like to bust out my picnic cloth, have a meal and offer a bite to anyone else.
5. I am full of ghoulish glee and gallows humour even and especially in the face of doom and gloom.
6. I am horribly, horribly awkward in social situations.

Ideal:
1. Relief: My primary duty is to give the due rest to the death, and to alleviate the pain on those who have survived them. (Good)
2. Wealth: Whenever there are the dead to bury - and advantage to be taken of them - I will be there. (Evil)
3. Faith: I give the dead and the living what is due to them by the will of the divine powers. (Lawful)
4. Equality:  I have buried beggars and lords alike and guess what? In death we are all the same. So, no reason for anyone to act high and mighty in life either. (Chaotic)
5. Hedonism: Seeing untimely dead all day leaves you with nothing but the desire to make the best of any day left to you. (Any)
6. Tradition: The ancient traditions about life, death and everything inbetween must be preserved and upheld. (Lawful)

Bond:
1. One of my former customers has become a restless undead due to my insufficient precautions. I will need to track him down and grant him his much-desired rest.
2. I owe my life to the priest who took me for an undertaker when my parents died.
3. I will do anything to protect the church where I served.
4. I have sold hands of murderers and similar items of my handiwork to evil magic-users, or possibly even the darker powers behind them.
5. A corrupt noble once forced me to dress up the body of the victim of his crime such that the crime wouldn't be obvious. He may have gotten away with it, but I have not forgotten.
6. I've met the love of my life only when she was already dead and to be buried. The locket of her picture goes with me everywhere I go.

Flaw:
1. I need the bottle every evening to cope with my job.
2. I am terribly insensitive towards the feelings of others.
3. Having seen mortality every day, any promise of immortality - no matter how phony - will draw me in no matter what.
4. I am terribly superstitious.
5. I'm a pale, nocturnal creature that makes others around them uneasy.
6. I suffer from necrophilic urges, and try to keep them at bay.
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Skyrock

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« Reply #57 on: November 28, 2014, 10:03:47 AM »
Cool news: This thread is now hit #2 on Google for the search "backgrounds d&d 5". (Hit #1 is an actual excerpt from the D&D Next playtest.)

Let's keep them rolling in!
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« Reply #58 on: November 29, 2014, 04:54:10 PM »
Background: Shaman [Medicine Man, Witchdoctor]
You live your life as a mediator, diviner, storyteller, healer, and psychopomp. Among your people you serve as a carrier of traditions and conduit of archaic wisdom.

Skill Proficiencies: Medicine, Survival
Weapon Proficiency: Blowgun
Tool Proficiencies: Herbalism Kit, Poisoner’s Kit,
Equipment: Antitoxin (vial), Herbalism kit,  Poisoner's kit, rustic clothing, natural ritualistic items, and a belt pouch containing 5 gp

Feature: Commune with Spirits
If confronted by a natural spirit, you can attempt to force the situation - treat this as a turn undead attempt. If successful, you have made a great display of respect and tradition, and the target is inclined to avoid attacking the group, or leave combat if it has begun.
Communing only gives an opening. An intelligent spirit may give a chance to talk, a friendly spirit will be more helpful, and a hostile spirit may rethink a violent act.
If the attempt would destroy creatures of a given CR, then instead the spirit is definitely helpful or flees.
If you do not have the Channel Divinity class feature, you gain one Channel Divinity, only usable for Commune with Spirits.
A natural spirit is any intelligent animal, animate plant, fey, or elemental that dwells naturally in the world.

Suggested Characteristics:
Shamanistic practices are usually learned in order to preserve social order and benefit individuals in your society. Many are part of druidic traditions, but all are steeped in reverence of the social order. In relation to more organized religions shamans are often viewed as lesser or barbaric practitioners of spiritual activity.

d8 Personality Trait
1 - I am slow to trust people that are not members of my social group.
2 - I am deeply reverent of nature at the expense of people and cities
3 - The natural world is a terrible and brutal place, and so am I.
4 - I have faced oppression for my beliefs, and I am reticent to express them.
5 - Tradition is the backbone of any society, and following it gives much benefit.
6 - I believe that the spirits are in control of our fate and we only act out the part.
7 - The spirits have taught me to be tolerant and understanding of all creatures.
8 - Mortal life is less real and important than the world of the spirits.

d6 Ideal
1 - Tradition. I honor the ways of my ancestors. (Lawful)
2 - Wild. Nature abhors a wall. (Chaotic)
3 - Nature. The natural world is more important than all the constructs of civilization. (Neutral)
4 - Savagery. Be like a predator - sudden, deadly, and hungering. (Evil)
5 - Balance. The natural world seeks balance in all things. (Neutral)
6 - Greater Good. It is my duty to use my abilities to help people and assist the ailing.

d6 Bond
1 - I must always protect my homeland and my people.
2 - Protection of the spirits and the natural order is paramount.
3 - I sold my soul for greater deeds and power. I hope to do great deeds and win it back.
4 - My life is my devotion to my people and their traditions.
5 - I have been searching my whole life for the answer to a certain question.
6 - I have been entrusted with a powerful secret, and I must not let it fall into the wrong hands.

d6 Flaw
1 - I find it hard to take worldly matters seriously.
2 - I only value the needs of my tribe and I do not care for other civilizations.
3 - The spirits often interfere with my life and request things of me.
4 - I am in awe of natural spirits and am afraid to act against them.
5 - I am flighty and prone to distraction
6 - I am deeply mistrustful of members of other faiths.




What do you think? I thought that the blowgun proficiency was minimally beneficial, and the feature was slightly strong, but overall it is not overpowering.

Attribution goes to William Timmons and his Animist Acolyte background, which provided me with inspiration and the Feature.

Skyrock

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« Reply #59 on: November 29, 2014, 05:30:02 PM »
3 proficiencies is too much. I would drop the herbalism kit as it overlaps with Medicine anyway.

I'd also tone the background feature down to the ability to speak to nature spirits, and their general willingness to help or at least avoid attacking the shaman. Individual groups can then decide if they want to make a roll, leave it to role-playing or in extreme cases attack the shaman outright anyway (like when they catch him looting their tomb of an opposing shamanistic faith).
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