Ruleset: Backgrounds

 

Acolyte


You have spent your life in the service of a temple to a specific god or pantheon of gods. You act as an intermediary between the realm of the holy and the mortal world, performing sacred rites and offering sacrifices in order to conduct worshipers into the presence of the divine.

Choose one of the religions detailed in the Civilizations section or create your own religion to preach for, and work with your DM to detail the nature of your religious service.

Were you a lesser functionary in a temple, raised from childhood to assist the priests in the sacred rites? Or were you a high priest who suddenly experienced a call to serve your god in a different way? Perhaps you were the leader of a small cult outside of any established temple structure.

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Religion
Languages: Two of your choice
Equipment: A holy symbol (a gift to you when you entered the priesthood), a prayer book or prayer wheel, 5 sticks of incense, vestments, a set of common clothes, and a wallet containing 3,000 Jin.

 

Spiritual Guidance

As an acolyte you command the respect of those who share your faith, and you can perform the religious ceremonies of your religion. This can calm or impress those that are a part of your religion or have an interest in it and can always find a place to stay with those that practice it.

 

Lifestyle: Exemplary Performance

You know all of the rites and rituals of your chosen religion and can do religious performances no matter your location. When taking the Religious Service Downtime activity you gain advantage on your check.

 

Aristocrat


You understand wealth, power, and privilege. This background represents a person in a powerful position with a powerful name which may include nobility. You might be a pampered aristocrat unfamiliar with work or discomfort, a former merchant just elevating themselves to fortunes, or a disinherited scoundrel with a disproportionate sense of entitlement.

Work with your DM to come up with an appropriate position of power and determine how much authority that title carries. A title doesn’t stand on its own—it’s connected to an entire family, and whatever title you hold, you will pass it down to your own children. Not only do you need to determine your title, but you should also work with the DM to describe your family and their influence on you.

Due to the nature of adventuring while living in a powerful city, you may be starting with significantly fewer funds than this background may suggest. Work with your DM to determine a reason for your lack of funds.

Skill Proficiencies: History, Persuasion
Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set
Languages: One of your choice
Equipment: A set of fine clothes, a signet ring, a scroll of pedigree, and a wallet containing 6,000 J

 

Retainers

You have the service of three retainers loyal to your family. These retainers can be attendants or messengers, and one might be a majordomo. Your retainers are commoners who can perform mundane tasks for you, but they do not fight for you, will not follow you outside of the city, and will leave if they are frequently endangered or abused.

 

Lifestyle: Grand Estate


You may immediately purchase any residence type as a starting character. This means you will not need to pay for the weekly cost of this residence. You do still need to pay the taxes of your neighbourhood.

 

Charlatan


You have always had a way with people. You know what makes them tick, you can tease out their hearts’ desires after a few minutes of conversation, and with a few leading questions you can read them like they were children’s books. It’s a useful talent, and one that you’re perfectly willing to use for your advantage.

You know what people want and you deliver, or rather, you promise to deliver. Common sense should steer people away from things that sound too good to be true, but common sense seems to be in short supply when you’re around. The bottle of pink-colored liquid will surely cure that unseemly rash, this ointment—nothing more than a bit of fat with a sprinkle of silver dust—can restore youth and vigor, and there’s a bridge in the city thatjust happens to be for sale. These marvels sound implausible, but you make them sound like the real deal.

Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Sleight of Hand
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit, forgery kit
Equipment: A set of fine clothes, a disguise kit, tools of the con of your choice (ten stoppered bottles filled with colored liquid, a set of weighted dice, a deck of marked cards, or a signet ring of an imaginary duke), and a wallet containing 3,000 Jin.

 

False Identity

You have created a second identity that includes documentation, established acquaintances, and disguises that allow you to assume that persona. Additionally, you can forge documents including official papers and personal letters, as long as you have seen an example of the kind of document or the handwriting you are trying to copy.

 

Lifestyle: Let’s Gamble

Conning people is always a gamble and sometimes your bets payout or go bust. When using the Gambling Downtime activity, you can reroll one failed save on the resolution phase of the gamble.

 

Criminal


You are an experienced criminal with a history of breaking the law. You have spent a lot of time among other criminals and still have contacts within the criminal underworld. You’re far closer than most people to the world of murder, theft, and violence that pervades the underbelly of civilization, and you have survived up to this point by flouting the rules and regulations of society.

Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Stealth
Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set, thieves’ tools
Equipment: A crowbar, a set of dark common clothes including a hood, and a wallet containing 3,000 Jin.

 

d8 Specialty
1 Blackmailer
2 Burglar
3 Enforcer
4 Fence
5 Bandit
6 Hired Killer
7 Pickpocket
8 Smuggler

Criminal Specialty

There are many kinds of criminals, and within a thieves’ guild or similar criminal organization, individual members have particular specialties. Even criminals who operate outside of such organizations have strong preferences for certain kinds of crimes over others. Choose the role you played in your criminal life, or roll on the table.

 

Criminal Contact

You have a reliable and trustworthy contact who acts as your liaison to a network of other criminals. You know how to get messages to and from your contact, even over great distances; specifically, you know the local messengers, corrupt caravan masters, and seedy sailors who can deliver messages for you.

 

Lifestyle: Life of Crime

Having been a criminal for most of your life, you have grown accustomed to many of the complications that can occur while on criminal activity. When using the Crime Downtime activity, you can reroll one failed save on the resolution phase of the crime.

 

Entertainer


You thrive in front of an audience. You know how to entrance them, entertain them, and even inspire them. Your poetics can stir the hearts of those who hear you, awakening grief or joy, laughter or anger. Your music raises their spirits or captures their sorrow. Your dance steps captivate, your humor cuts to the quick. Whatever techniques you use, your art is your life.

Skill Proficiencies: Acrobatics, Performance
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit, one type of musical instrument
Equipment: A musical instrument (one of your choice), the favor of an admirer (love letter, lock of hair, or trinket), a costume, and a wallet containing 3,000 Jin.

 

d8 Routine
1 Actor
2 Dancer
3 Jester
4 Tumbler
5 Instrumentalist
6 Poet
7 Singer
8 Storyteller

Entertainer Routines

A good entertainer is versatile, spicing up every performance with a variety of different routines. Choose one to three routines or roll on the table below to define your expertise as an entertainer.

 

By Popular Demand

You can always find a place to perform, usually in an inn or tavern but possibly with a circus, at a theater, or even in a noble’s court. Your performance makes you something of a local figure. When strangers recognize you in a town where you have performed, they typically take a liking to you.

 

Lifestyle: Busking for Bucks

The role of an entertainer is often spontaneous and exciting. When performing the Work Downtime activity, you can reduce the resources cost to one day but also reduce the monetary gain range to 100J to 1,000J. In addition, at character creation you are already at Tier 1 training level in either the Acrobat Expert Training or Acting Expert Training with 60 days of training.

 

Guild Artisan


You are a member of an artisan’s guild, skilled in a particular field and closely associated with other artisans. You are a well-established part of the mercantile world, freed by talent and wealth from the constraints of a feudal social order. You learned your skills as an apprentice to a master artisan, under the sponsorship of your guild, until you became a master in your own right.

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion
Tool Proficiency: One type of artisan’s tools
Equipment: A set of artisan’s tools (your choice), A set of fine clothes, and a wallet containing 3,000 Jin.

 

Guild Business

Work with your DM to determine the nature of your craft. You can select your craft from the table below or roll randomly.

d20 Craft
1 Alchemists and apothecaries
2 Armorers, locksmiths, and finesmiths
3 Brewers, distillers, and vintners
4 Calligraphers, scribes, and scriveners
5 Carpenters, roofers, and plasterers
6 Cartographers, surveyors, and chart-makers
7 Cobblers and shoemakers
8 Cooks and bakers
9 Glassblowers and glaziers
10 Jewelers and gemcutters
11 Leatherworkers, skinners, and tanners
12 Masons and stonecutters
13 Painters, limners, and sign-makers
14 Potters and tile-makers
15 Shipwrights and sailmakers
16 Smiths and metal-forgers
17 Tinkers, pewterers, and casters
18 Wagon-makers and wheelwrights
19 Weavers and dyers
20 Woodcarvers, coopers, and bowyers

 

Guild Membership

As an established and respected member of a guild, you can rely on certain benefits that membership provides. Your fellow guild members will provide you with lodging and food if necessary. In some cities and towns, a guildhall offers a central place to meet other members of your profession, which can be a good place to meet potential patrons, allies, or hirelings.

Guilds often wield tremendous political power. If you are accused of a crime, your guild will support you if a good case can be made for your innocence or the crime is justifiable. You can also gain access to powerful political figures through the guild, if you are a member in good standing. Such connections might require the donation of money or magic items to the guild’s coffers.

You must pay dues of 5,000 Jin per month to the guild. If you miss payments, you must make up back dues to remain in the guild’s good graces.

 

Lifestyle: Artisan Craft

As a professional, it is rather simple to maintain a line of work as long as you remain connected to the guild. When performing the Work Downtime activity, you can make an artisan’s tool check and your pay range changes to 2,000J to 7,000J.

 

Merchant


You are a member of a guild of traders, caravan masters, or shopkeepers. You don’t craft items yourself but earn a living by buying and selling the works of others (or the raw materials artisans need to practice their craft). Your guild might be a large merchant consortium (or family) with interests across the region. Perhaps you transported goods from one place to another, by ship, wagon, or caravan, or bought them from traveling traders and sold them in your own little shop. In some ways, the traveling merchant’s life lends itself to adventure.

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion
Tool Proficiencies: Navigator’s tools, Vehicle (Land)
Languages: One of your choice
Equipment: A set of navigator’s tools and a wheeled cart, A set of fine clothes, scribe's tools (quill, ink, sealing wax, stamp for wax), and a wallet containing 4,000 Jin.

 

d20 Craft
1 Alchemists and apothecaries
2 Armorers, locksmiths, and finesmiths
3 Brewers, distillers, and vintners
4 Calligraphers, scribes, and scriveners
5 Carpenters, roofers, and plasterers
6 Cartographers, surveyors, and chart-makers
7 Cobblers and shoemakers
8 Cooks and bakers
9 Glassblowers and glaziers
10 Jewelers and gemcutters
11 Leatherworkers, skinners, and tanners
12 Masons and stonecutters
13 Painters, limners, and sign-makers
14 Potters and tile-makers
15 Shipwrights and sailmakers
16 Smiths and metal-forgers
17 Tinkers, pewterers, and casters
18 Wagon-makers and wheelwrights
19 Weavers and dyers
20 Woodcarvers, coopers, and bowyers

Mercantile Specialization

Work with your DM to determine the nature of your ware specialization. You can select your craft from the table below or roll randomly.

 

Networking

Due to business relationships with a variety of different businesspeople, the merchant can draw on these connections to obtain discounts on goods and services and acquire knowledge of local events and personages.

 

Lifestyle: Cutting Charm

You’ve learned to be exceptionally convincing to others and can make fast friends easily. When taking the Carousing Downtime activity you gain advantage on all Carousing checks amongst the middle-class. In addition, at character creation you are already at Tier 1 training level in either the Counsel Expert Training or Speaking Expert Training with 60 days of training.

 

Outlander


You grew up in the wilds, far from civilization and the comforts of town and technology. You’ve witnessed the migration of herds larger than forests, survived weather more extreme than any city-dweller could comprehend, and enjoyed the solitude of being the only thinking creature for miles in any direction. The wilds are in your blood, whether you were a nomad, an explorer, a recluse, a hunter-gatherer, or even a marauder. Even in places where you don’t know the specific features of the terrain, you know the ways of the wild.

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Survival
Tool Proficiencies: One type of musical instrument
Languages: One of your choice
Equipment: A staff, a hunting trap, a trophy from an animal you killed, a set of traveler’s clothes, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp.

 

d10 Origin
1 Forester
2 Trapper
3 Homesteader
4 Bounty hunter
5 Exile or outcast
6 Bounty hunter
7 Pilgrim
8 Tribal nomad
9 Hunter-gatherer
10 Tribal marauder

Origin

You’ve been to strange places and seen things that others cannot begin to fathom. Consider some of the distant lands you have visited, and how they impacted you. You can roll on the following table to determine your occupation during your time in the wild, or choose one that best fits your character.

 

Wanderer

You have an excellent memory for maps and geography, and you can always recall the general layout of terrain, settlements, and other features around you. In addition, you can find food and fresh water for yourself and up to five other people each day, provided that the land offers berries, small game, water, and so forth.

 

Lifestyle: Game Hunter

Hunting in the wilds is often dangerous work – but also very well paid. When performing the Work Downtime activity, you can make a Wisdom (Survival) check instead and your pay range changes to 0J to 8,000J. In addition, at character creation you are already at Tier 1 training level in either the Terrain Expert Training or Trailblazer Expert Training with 60 days of training.

 

Sage


You spent years learning the lore of the multiverse. You scoured manuscripts, studied scrolls, and listened to the greatest experts on the subjects that interest you. Your efforts have made you a master in your fields of study.

Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, History
Languages: Two of your choice
Equipment: A bottle of black ink, a quill, a small knife, a letter from a dead colleague posing a question you have not yet been able to answer, a set of com m on clothes, and a wallet containing 2,000 Jin.

 

d8 Specialty
1 Alchemist
2 Astronomer
3 Discredited
Academic
4 Librarian
5 Professor
6 Researcher
7 Apprentice
8 Scribe

Academic Specialty

To determine the nature of your scholarly training, roll a d8 or choose from the options in the table.

 

Researcher

When you attempt to learn or recall a piece of lore, if you do not know that information, you often know where and from whom you can obtain it. Usually, this information comes from a library, scriptorium, university, or a sage or other learned person or creature. Your DM might rule that the knowledge you seek is secreted away in an almost inaccessible place, or that it simply cannot be found. Unearthing the deepest secrets of the multiverse can require an adventure or even a whole campaign.

 

Lifestyle: Fast Research

You are exceptionally fast at research. When performing the Research Downtime activity you perform it in only three days, the base cost value reduces to 2,000 Jin, and the bonus cost reduces to 1,000 Jin. In addition, at character creation you are already at Tier 1 training level in the Archivist Expert Training.

 

Sailor


You sailed on a seagoing vessel for years. In that time, you faced down mighty storms, monsters of the deep, and those who wanted to sink your craft to the bottomless depths. Your first love is the distant line of the horizon, but the time has come to try your hand
at something new.

Discuss the nature of the ship you previously sailed with your Dungeon Master. Was it a merchant ship, a naval vessel, or a pirate ship? How famous (or infamous) is it? Is it widely traveled? Is it still sailing, or is it missing and presumed lost with all hands?

What were your duties on board — boatswain, captain, navigator, cook, or some other position? Who were the captain and first mate? Did you leave your ship on good terms with your fellows, or on the run?

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Perception
Tool Proficiencies: Navigator’s tools, vehicles (water)
Equipment: A belaying pin (club), 50 feet of silk rope, a set of common clothes, and a wallet containing 3,000 Jin.

 

Ship’s Passage

When you need to, you can secure free passage on a sailing ship for yourself and your adventuring companions. You might sail on the ship you served on, or another ship you have good relations with (perhaps one captained by a former crewmate). Because you’re calling in a favor, you can’t be certain of a schedule or route that will meet your every need. Your Dungeon Master will determine how long it takes to get where you need to go. In return for your free passage, you and your companions are expected to assist the crew during the voyage.

 

Lifestyle: Seafarer

Life at sea can be a hardship, but with fishing being such a lucrative field there is always work available. When performing the Work Downtime activity, you can make a Wisdom (Survival) check instead and your pay range changes to 0J to 8,000J. In addition, at character creation you are already at Tier 1 training level in either the Athlete Expert Training or Scout Expert Training with 60 days of training.

 

Soldier


War has been your life for as long as you care to remember. You trained as a youth, studied the use of weapons and armor, learned basic survival techniques, including how to stay alive on the battlefield. You might have been part of a standing national army or a mercenary company, or perhaps a member of a local militia who rose to prominence during a recent war.

When you choose this background, work with your DM to determine which military organization you were a part of, how far through its ranks you progressed, and what kind of experiences you had during your military career. Was it a standing army, a town guard, or a village militia? Or it might have been a noble’s or merchant’s private army, or a mercenary company.

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Intimidation
Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set, vehicles (land)
Equipment: An insignia of rank, a trophy taken from a fallen enemy (a dagger, broken blade, or piece of a banner), a set of bone dice or deck of cards, a set of common clothes, and a wallet containing 3,000 Jin.

 

d6 Specialty
1 Officer
2 Scout
3 Infantry
4 Healer
5 Quartermaster
6 Support Staff

Soldier Specialty

During your time as a soldier, you had a specific role to play in your unit or army. Roll a d8 or choose from the options in the table to determine your role.

 

Officer Rank

You have an officer rank from your career as a guard. Guards loyal to your former organization still recognize your authority and influence, and they defer to you if they are of a lower rank. You can invoke your rank to exert influence over other guards and requisition simple equipment for temporary use. You can also usually gain access to friendly guard encampments and fortresses where your rank is recognized.

 

Lifestyle: Guard Trainer

Your experience with a military or guard has put you in a position where you can pass on some of your expertise. When performing the Work Downtime activity, you can make a Strength (Athletics) and your pay range changes to 2,000J to 6,000J. In addition, at character creation you are already at Tier 1 training level in either the Bouncer Expert Training or Detective Expert Training with 60 days of training.

 

Urchin


You grew up on the streets alone, orphaned, and poor. You had no one to watch over you or to provide for you, so you learned to provide for yourself. You fought fiercely over food and kept a constant watch out for other desperate souls who might steal from you. You slept on rooftops and in alleyways, exposed to the elements, and endured sickness without the advantage of medicine or a place to recuperate. You’ve survived despite all odds, and did so through cunning, strength, speed, or some combination of each.

You begin your adventuring career with enough money to live modestly but securely for at least ten days. How did you come by that money? What allowed you to break free ofyour desperate circumstances and embark on a better life?

Skill Proficiencies: Sleight of Hand, Stealth
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit, thieves’ tools
Equipment: A small knife, a map of the city you grew up in, a pet mouse, a token to remember your parents by, a set of common clothes, and a wallet containing 2,000 Jin.

 

City Secrets

You know the secret patterns and flow to cities and can find passages through the urban sprawl that others would miss. When you are not in combat, you (and companions you lead) can travel between any two locations in the city twice as fast as your speed would normally allow.

 

Lifestyle: Know the Streets

Having grown up in a life of poverty you are well suited to empathizing with the downtrodden. When taking the Carousing Downtime activity you gain advantage on all Carousing checks amongst the lower-class. In addition, at character creation you are already at Tier 1 training level in either the Hide Expert Training or Scout Expert Training with 60 days of training.

Ruleset: Backgrounds

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