Posts Tagged ‘Background’

Friends, it is time to show off another fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons background I created. This one has been rolling around in my head for awhile, and I thought it was time to share it with the rest of you.

You may know my cursed background (available in the Pay What You Want PDF 15 New Backgrounds on the DMs Guild #ShamelessPlug). In this background, the character suffered a horrible magic curse that haunted them throughout their pre-campaign life. Now I’m happy to show off the blessed background, in which the character has the expectation of greatness thrust upon its shoulders due to some prophetic happening. This background lives in this post and is available as a PDF in the link below and on the Free Game Resources section of this site.

PDF: Blessed

Blessed

Some sign or prophecy has foretold your greatness. The excitement surrounding your soon-to-be-legendary story has spread throughout your home, but you have yet to actually prove you are worthy of your reputation. There are those who accept your prophesied fate as future fact. Others are skeptics, anxious to see you fail as proof that most mystical readings are mumbo jumbo. Some folks might be jealous of you while other desperate people pressure you to be the chosen one they need. You can determine how you became blessed by using the Prophetic Signs table.

Prophetic Signs

d6

Prophetic Sign

1

You were born during a rare astrological or lunar event.

2

Your mother was blessed by an important priest or mage while pregnant with you.

3

A specific birthmark on your skin is a sign of your greatness to come.

4

An ancient scroll, tablet, or other writing foretold your greatness.

5

As a child you miraculously defeated an ancient evil and people took this as a sign of greatness to come.

6

An important person in the community claims to have a dream that showed you are destined for greatness.

Skill Proficiencies: History and Intimidation or Persuasion

Languages: One exotic language and one other language of your choice

Starting Equipment: A set of common clothes, a piece of parchment with the prophecy that pertains to you, a signal whistle, a journal, pen, bottle of ink, and a belt pouch with 5 gp.

Feature: Blessed Guidance

When you are truly stumped and in need of guidance, there is a voice, wind, light, or other force that occasionally guides you. You can ask for this force to aid you when you are at a loss for what to do next and the DM decides if and how this force aids you. It often works in a vague, mysterious way (e.g. speaking in riddles, rustling a key chain on a guard’s belt, etc.) and does not perform any actions for you, but rather provides a hint about some course of action you could take.

Suggested Characteristics

You have an enormous burden of expectation to shoulder. Do you believe in your own greatness or are you worried that the truth is you are just another nobody? In either case, you might strive to prove your doubters (and possibly yourself) wrong by achieving every heroic deed possible. Of course you might be terrified of your fate, running with all haste from what you fear could be true, and simply living your adventuring life as a mercenary who cares only for friends and money.

d8 Personality Traits
1 When others boast, I must top them with my own achievements.
2 This chosen one speaks in the third person.
3 I don’t want to be recognized, so I use a myriad of fake names.
4 I feel out of place and figdety when others don’t fawn all over me.
5 I can’t help but take on a challenge.
6 I don’t take “no” for an answer.
7 I have a personal mantra that I repeat in stressful situations.
8 Nothing I achieve is ever good enough for me.

 

d6 Ideals
1 Strength. Everything accomplishment must be more impressive than my last. (Neutral)
2 Protection. My greatness will be used to protect the defenseless. (Good)
3 Order. I am meant to bring law to the lawless. (Lawful)
4 Tyranny. Only those destined to rule, like me, should have power. (Evil)
5 Freedom. Everyone should be free to live their life. (Chaotic)
6 Community. I do everything I can for the people that believe in me. (Neutral)

 

d6 Bonds
1 I cannot shake the memory of the first time someone called me a fraud.
2 My destiny is intertwined with that of a prophesied evil-doer.
3 I am meant for greatness, but I am prophesied to kill a loved one in order to achieve it.
4 My hometown is the place where I am most revered and most jeered.
5 I have a mentor who always challenged me to rely on myself and not a prophecy to be great.
6 A trinket from home reminds me where I came from and who I am fighting for.

 

d6 Flaws
1 I was born to be better than everyone else and I am.
2 I’ll take money over trust any day.
3 Praise me and I’ll do anything for you.
4 I brag about my greatness just to take others to bed.
5 I do not ask others about themselves or make newcomers feel welcome.
6 I treat my opinions as fact.

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A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.


I sit down with Allison RossiNeal Powell, and Round Table newbie Michael Robbins to discuss the latest Curse of Strahd previews – the Haunted One background and the Death House adventure. This podcast was recorded on February 28, 2016.


Noble Knight pick of the episode – Ravenloft



DMs Guild pick of the episode – Recipe Crafting for Consumables

 

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If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my other podcasts, Bonus Action and Gamer to Gamer, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

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.

Romulus is the founder of The Rome… he was also raised by wolves. Mowgli is the hero of often film-adapted The Jungle Book and he too was raised by animals. Mila is the main character of Karen Hesse’s The Music of Dolphins and the book’s titular animal raised her.

Loads of fictional characters were brought up by big cats, chimps, bears, and more. Why not PCs? It is with that in mind that I present the raised by animals background below! I’m just on a background kick.

Raised by Animals

When you were a child you were raised by beasts in the elements. The exact type of beast is up to you, but most often characters with this background were raised by large mammals like wolves, big cats, bears, and dolphins. Instead of ignoring or devouring you, these beasts took you in as one of their own and protected you. They taught you to hunt and thrive in the uncivilized world. Even with your beast family looking out for you, survival was still a daily struggle.

How did you come to live with these animals? Were you abandoned by your parents in nature to be claimed by your new kin? Did you wander off and get lost one day? Did your caravan or vessel have an accident which left you stranded and alone? The choice is yours, but somehow you left the civilized world as a child and came to live with your new family.

At some point you were brought back into civilization either by choice or by force. You’re learning what it means to be part of civilization and to have easy access to the things you fought for each day like food, water, and shelter. How has that changed your world completely?

Skills: Animal Handling and Survival

Tool Proficiencies: Herbalism kit and either wood carver’s tools or mason’s tools

Equipment: A piece of fur, tooth, or other memento from one of your beast parents, a set of common clothes, a small knife, and a belt pouch with 5 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!

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.

It’s time for another Halloweeny background! Last week saw the lycanthrope background for PCs who were once afflicted with the curse but have had it cured. Next up – dead! As in your PC was once no longer with us, but is back!

I’ve written a couple of posts on this blog about the way death is handled in Dungeons and Dragons. I presented a few rules modules to make PC death more of a consequence than a few thousand gold pieces and I also presented some ideas about how spells like raise dead and resurrection might affect the world of your game. Now it’s time for me to present it as a background for PCs. And why not? Having been dead can make a truly compelling story. Just ask Wesley in The Princess Bride.

Though he was only mostly dead.

What’s even more interesting is that spells like true resurrection can turn your PC into a time traveler. Some PCs could have been dead for a century or longer only to be brought back by powerful magic. Imagine how the world will have changed in that time! Friends of long-lived races might remember the PC, but shorter-lived ones have passed on. Kings may have been overthrown, entire cities built or leveled by dragons, new technologies, new magic – the list keeps going. How would all these revelations affect a character?

Then of course there’s the question of how the time while dead was spent. In a pleasant heavenly plane the PC is upset to have left behind a la Buffy? With the terrible fires or the Nine Hells or the demons of the Abyss torturing the PC? Maybe that time was spent as an undead like a ghost or vampire before the PC was raised. Surely the time spent as an undead being would have some sort of impact on the PC’s second (or third or fourth or ninth) life.

Of course there’s always the possibility that the PC could not remember anything from the period of death. Just absolute nothingness like a deep, dreamless sleep. That affect a PC’s faith in the gods or enhance the PC’s fear of the inevitable.

With these thoughts and questions in mind I present to you the dead background for fifth edition dungeons and dragons.

Dead

You have died and come back. This experience has changed you and helps define who you are today. The specifics of your death are up to you, but the following questions and suggestions will help you determine those.

How did you die? It probably wasn’t of old age. Spells like raise dead can bring back those who die before old age takes them, but after old age there is almost no magic which can bring a person back from the dead. Was it combat? An accident? A disease?

How long were you dead? Spells like true resurrection allow a PC to return from death after 200 years. How has the world changed politically, technologically, and culturally since your death? What remains of your family, friends, and personal life?

What was your period of death like? Did you spend time in the glory of eternal battle is Ysgard? Were you enjoying the heavenly paradise of Elysium? Were you being tortured in the Nine Hells or Abyss? Do you simply remember nothing from that time?

Maybe you didn’t completely pass on, but lived life as an undead, wayward soul such as a ghost or vampire. Why did you become such a being? What acts did you commit that you now regret? Who will think of you as a monster because of the time you spent as an undead?

Finally someone brought you back. Who was it? Why? Maybe it was to face an old enemy who has now returned. Maybe it was a loved one who searched for a long time and spent all their resources to bring you back. Maybe you were called back for some valuable piece of information only you knew. How did this person bring you back? Maybe with one of the spells that first spring to mind, but what about a spell like reincarnate, which could bring your spirit back in the body of another humanoid race? Or maybe it was some other magic which has a more sinister secret.

Skills: History, Intimidation

Languages: Two of your choice

Equipment: 50 feet of rope, a bit of dirt from your grave kept in a sacred vial, a set of common clothes, two rare coins with which you were buried, and a belt pouch with 5 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!

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.

Tis the season for witches, skeletons, jack-o’-lanterns, and things that go bump in the night. It’s a great time for gamers. Our active imaginations have us thinking of scary surprises for our gaming groups. I bet more than a few Dungeon Masters out there are designing a dastardly quests centered around a cemeteries, cabins in the woods, and haunted mansions. Wolves will howl, vampires will feast, and demiliches will devour souls.

But why should monsters get all the fun? Why does the Dungeon Master always get to control the baddest mofos in the land? To help players celebrate the season I developed some deliciously evil backgrounds for less-than-savory PCs. First up is the lycanthrope background which assumes a character was once afflicted with the disease and has since been cured. More of these player options to come as we approach the witching holiday!

Lycanthrope

You were afflicted with lycanthropy, a disease which caused you to become a shapeshifting monster such as a werewolf or wererat. The disease probably drove you to commit violent acts you may never have even contemplated in real life and though you are cured, you must still live with the consequences of those actions. Perhaps it is making up for those actions which causes you to adventure or a determination that what happened to you should never happen to anyone else ever again. Or perhaps your motivations are darker and you seek to again hold the power this supernatural disease brought to you.

Not all lycanthropes are inherently evil. There is a small chance you were one of the very rare werebears or weretigers. If you make this choice, your actions as a lycanthrope were probably not sadistic and murderous. Maybe some of the deeds you accomplished as a lycanthrope were heroically motivated. Still, your lycanthropy has been cured and you’ve begun a new life as an adventurer, perhaps because you feared you still might hurt those you love in your animal or hybrid form or because society wouldn’t accept you as a lycanthrope no matter how virtuous your actions.

You decide (or roll for) the type of lycanthropy with which you were afflicted, the length of time you had the disease, the acts you committed and the person who cured you of it. You can choose or roll on the table below to determine your type of lycanthropy. There are rarer types of lycanthropy in some worlds, such as weresharks and werespiders. If you’re interested in playing a character who was once such a lycanthrope, ask your DM if such options are available.

d20 Type of Lycanthrope
1 – 10 Werewolf
11 – 15 Wererat
16 – 18 Wereboar
19 Weretiger
20 Werebear

Skills: Intimidation, Survival

Languages: Two of your choice

Equipment: An iron pot, a set of common clothes, a small knife, a tooth, claw, or tusk from your old animal form, and belt pouch containing 10 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!

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.

When I started this blog almost two years ago, I only knew a handful of people my age who were parents, and those folks were fairly new. Now I have many peers proud to call themselves Mom or Dad (or in the case of my brother, who carries on the family tradition, Papa). These friends, some old, some new, are amazing people and heroes in their own right. The life-changing and work-intense experience of parenting is now part of who they are as much or more than any career or heritage. It is through watching these people I realized parent could serve as a fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons background.

2015-08-21 18.29.17

My awesome nephew Roland.

I’d like to make a disclaimer that the descriptions, traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws below are not representative of any single parent or set of parents. You’re all wonderful.

Without further adieu checkout the background below.

Parent

You have spent years as a primary caretaker of a child or children. You might be their biological parent, adoptive parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, family friend, older sibling, or cousin. Somehow you ended up with the responsibility and you have been raising and mentoring them in the ways of the world. The frustrations, celebrations, long hours, and happiness of raising a child are all things you know well.

The age of your children and who looks after them while you adventure is up to you. You might have a score of little ones you adopted and a spouse or partner who looks after them. All your children might be grown and can look after themselves while you adventure. Your temple, a neighbor, or the local thieves’ guild could watch over your children while you adventure. Maybe the unthinkable has happened and you lost your children or they were kidnapped or taken from you in some way. The unique relationships with your children are all yours to determine.

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion

Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set

Languages: One of your choice

Equipment: A drawing, objects, or craft project your children made for you, an iron pot, a set of bone dice or a deck of cards, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 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!