UPDATE: The partial background found in this article is a preview. It is fully available as a Pay What You Want product on the DMs Guild in a pretty PDF with art and 14 other ready to roll backgrounds.

Of all the backgrounds in the Player’s Handbook, the most interesting to me is Folk Hero. When I first wrote the Farmer background, a lot of people were saying it was just like Folk Hero, but I insist these two backgrounds are very different. A Farmer starts out as just that – a person working a field and/or tending to livestock. A Folk Hero already has a winning reputation and has committed some heroic deeds to earn that status. I mean, it’s right in the name! So that got me thinking that there should be unknown farmers who rose to fame only after leaving home and beginning and adventuring career, like Luke Skywalker or Eragon. Thus the Farmer background was born.

Awwww… look at the little not-yet-famous guy!

Lately I’ve been thinking about the Folk Hero again. What if an adventurer had a level of fame before his or her career began, but he or she didn’t actually earn it? What if, instead, this fame was inherited? What interesting pressures, advantages, quirks, morals, and obstacles could that instill in a person?

With those questions in mind, I set about designing the Legendary Lineage background. Got a PC with famous adventurer parents? A heroic grandma? Then this is the background for you. It also works if you’re designing a Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton PC. Check it out below!

Legendary Lineage

You have heroes in your family background and the story of your ancestors is known far and wide. Perhaps your parents were a famous adventuring duo, or a grandparent hunted and killed many great evils. Maybe your heroic bloodline has many heroes within it going back as far as any can remember. Whatever the case, the deeds of those who came before you are great and the public’s expectation of your accomplishments is even greater. The weight of your family name affects all you do.

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, History

Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set, vehicles (land)

Equipment: A set of traveler’s clothes, a wood figure made in the likeness of an ancestor, a signet ring, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

  1. joelastowski says:

    Why do I feel like you’ve found an excuse to design Kim Kardashian & Paris Hilton PCs in other systems as well?

    My favorite approach to the folk hero was that they were locally famous for something else… like the Hot Dog Eating Champion, or the Farm with the Biggest Pig, Spelling Bee Champ, or even Quarterback of Our Winning Local Football Team. It still fits with your possibly mis-matched expectations idea, because the quarterback might not be any good fighting monsters, but locals will still have the same recognition of her and offer her lodging for the chance to put up a little sign that says “Juanita Elway slept here.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kardiac says:

    I feel like the “gaming set” tool proficiency is unnecessary, especially since the background doesn’t provide a gaming set in the equipment section. Otherwise, I think it’s pretty solid.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lumberjack says:

    There needs to be another table for the Kardashian / Hiltons of the realm.
    1d6 –
    1: I tried to break the magic seer stones with my giant greasy ass
    2: You know me from my “leaked” sex lithographs
    3: I flash my lack of undergarments whenever I step from a carriage
    4: My famous relative had a witch cast a spell to make them look young forever but the witch froze their face in some type of horrible stretched drum rictus when they didn’t pay up
    5: I keep being caught with magic white dust that makes time speed up but is illegal in every province in the kingdom
    6: Despite an obvious lack of talent I keep insisting I’m as good as the best bards and forcing people to listen to me sing

    Liked by 1 person

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