On 5e Backgrounds: Fisherman

Fisherman
The sea is your mother, the sea is your life. You aren't a sailor. You're a fisherman. You have a deep, personal, intimate relationship with the sea

Skill Proficiency:  Intelligence (Nature); Wisdom (Survival);
Tool Proficiency: Water Vehicle
Languages: Pick One
Equipment: Fishing line, Fishing pole, Net, Traveler's clothes, Dapper fishing hat, Tacklebox, Can of worms

Specialty: You can either select or roll for the type of fisherman you are, and the type of fish you catch

  1. Wild Drift Net fishing
  2. Flyfishing
  3. Whaling
  4. Mermaid hunter
  5. Sea monster/Giant squid hunter
  6. Subsistence fisherman
  7. Noodling
  8. Spear hunting

Feature:

Anytime you are near a source of water, you have advantage on survival checks to find food. Also, you can generate 2d10 silver pieces a day in fish to sell. Your knowledge of fishing allows you to blend in and acquire information from fishermen in various different cities and places regardless of any negative biases the population may hold towards you

Suggested Characteristics

Spending more time alone on the sea than with people has changed your nature. You are used to knowing that your survival is in your hands against a force much larger and more powerful then you could ever fathom.

d8 Personality

  1. I don't much like people.
  2. I know that I'm out of control of my life, which really allows me to enjoy dangerous situations. 
  3. I like being outdoors, wearing fashionable hats, and being prepared. I'm a bit of an outdoorsman nut!
  4. I know how to provide for myself. I don't need any support from the crown.
  5. People are disturbed by how much I like fish. I like them. . . a lot. *Creepy Grin*
  6. I love the sea, it's the only place I feel content.
  7. I know the sea is ever active, so I seek to learn to sail in high winds.
  8. You can't tame the sea by just sitting and looking at it.


d6 Ideal

  1. Calm: I am content when I'm in the elements (Unaligned)
  2. Risk: I love the chaos of the sea. (Chaos)
  3. Greed: The sea holds many mysteries I wish to unlock. (Evil)
  4. Competence: I wish to master the sea, as a measure of my skill. (Lawful)
  5. Exploration: To see a new vista is the opportunity of the water. (Good)
  6. Balance: The sea is a measure of the balance of nature (Unaligned/Neutral)

d6 Bond

  1. Once, I saw a mermaid, and now I pine for her.
  2. I met a magic talking fish, who said I should seek him out again someday.
  3. I built my boat myself.
  4. My fishing rod was given to me by my father
  5. I learned to fish from my grandfather who is still quite young and spry. 
  6. I have a partner I fish with.

d6 Flaw

  1. I don't much concern myself with the short term. The sea destroys all things in time. 
  2. I made a bargain for immortality with evil fish people.
  3. I'm addicted to fishing and liable to avoid obligations to go. 
  4. I often smell of dirt, worms, and fish.
  5. I have a pet fish. This is not as convenient as it sounds.
  6. I am secretly a cursed water creature, either a fish poloymorphed into a human or a mermaid given legs, or some other sea creature cursed to walk the land. 


OSR Package
Running a B/X game? Give these advantages instead of proficiency and features. You can alos give these bonuses if running a 5e game using 3d6 for character generation.
  • +1 Dex, +1 Con


Hack & Slash 
FollowGoogle +NewsletterSupportc

On the Forgotten Realms in 5th Edition

If you're running the Lost Mine of Phandelver, and you'd like to know a little bit about the Forgotten Realms, I've been doing some of my own research on what's changed and what you need to know about the area. This might be of interest to people that are looking to integrate their campaigns with material coming out later with a minimum of conflict.

Before I get into that, I'd like to say I've always had a pretty negative opinion of the Forgotten Realms. I've read some of the books and found characters like Elminster Aumar and Drizzt Do'Urden repugnant and put me off the whole idea of running a campaign where there are these super characters running around.

I'm actually impressed. I've never run a campaign world of someone else's before. The campaign materials for the Forgotten Realms are super helpful and really really well put together. There's a useful wiki.

When I start a campaign, there's so much to do. Design a calendar, work up cultures, setting, history, etc. The game materials I've been using have given me the actual things I need. If I didn't have them I would need to do work to create them. The campaign and game materials don't spend any time making things happen that I have to trip over. The map is big, areas that are interesting or historical are marked, and the rest is left as empty for me to fill. If I need to know something, I just look it up. It's pretty nice!

It's a pretty nice setting after you kill off every super NPC dead, dead, dead.

There's that whole "Fiction of the Forgotten Realms" thing that you can throw right out a window. Once you do that, you've got a pretty awesome setting. They can go anywhere, because I can just look and see what's there! And there is plenty of room to put whatever I want there.

Here are the current cannon facts I've been using about the Phandlever campaign which takes place on the Northern Sword Coast. Spoilers.

Background:
4th edition, per Mike Mearls happens around 5 to 10 years before the start of 5th edition. 4th Edition "Current Year" took place in DR 1479, with the latest current year given in the books as being DR 1486. Mount Hotenow erupted in 1451, and Phandelver mentions it's been 30 years from the eruption. Phandelver probably takes place in 1481. I'm setting my campaign in 1486.

The Eruption of Mount Hotenow is probably the thing that effects the area of Phandelver the most.

  • Neverwinter is a ruin struggling being put back together by a Waterdeep noble
  • Neverwinter is under siege by Zombies and Aboleths and Ashmadai demons and Theyans and the returned Netherese
  • Thundertree a "logging" community that collected fallen timber and shipped it downriver to Neverwinter is a ruin. 
  • Luskan in the north, once a pirate city is now in ruins and run by gangs in a state of total anarchy. 
  • Conyberry has been sacked by barbarians and is nothing but ruins. 
  • Old Owl well and the surroundings has Orcs from the many-arrows tribe scouting hundreds of miles from their territory.
  • Neverwinter wood was unaffected by the mountains eruption and only Druids and Uthgardt Barbarians live there.
  • Helm's Hold (not on the map, but a few miles South-East of Neverwinter) used to hold victims of the spell-plague. I can't imagine it's in good shape.

There's a lot of missing information on how the realms have changed. 4e advanced the timeline 100 years and had a spell-plague that devastated the realms and changed a great many things. R. A. Salvatore and Ed Greenwood made a plan to correct it called the Sundering. Here's a quick summary of many of the changes caused by the Sundering, bringing the realms back to a 2e/3e state that is more popular with fans.


  • Old Gods have returned. Mask, Lathander, and Helm are back. Helm and Lathander only have chosen, not avatars. Mystra, the original one, was apparently hanging out being a bear in a cave. Eleminster died, only not really, and somehow fixed the weave.
  • Those chosen by the gods are all over the place, because the gods are trying to get in positions of leverage before AO rewrites the tablets of fate tying everyone down in a new order.
  • Abeir is leaving. The world of Abeir had merged back with world of Toril during the events of 4e. This is being undone. That means Dragonborn are gone, but I imagine that there are still a few hiding somewhere. Probably also means that other areas are coming back (Maztica).
  • Spellplague ended. Fixed. Victims healed. Plaguelands gone.
  • War time is war! Everyone is kung-fu fighting! The drama between returned Netheril and Sembia is somewhat resolved and the world is still here. 
  • The Underchasm has been filed.
  • Netheril is down. No more motes. No more flying cities. I read that Elminster knocked one of them out of the sky? The shades and Netheril are still around, but no longer a world shattering power.
  • Magic works like it used to.

What this basically means, is you are PRETTY OK using 1/2/3e forgotten realms sources for a lot of things!

Races in the Northern Sword Coast:
  • Shield Dwarves are Mountain Dwarves
  • Sun Elves and Moon Elves are High Elves
  • Wood Elves and Wild Elves are Wood Elves
  • Halflings are Lightfoot halflings (and very rare that far north)
  • Humans are either Illuskan or Tethyrian.
    • Illuskans are tall people with pale skin and light hair. The Illuskans towards the northeastern part of the region have dark hair due to their Netherese ancestry. 
    • Tethyrians are Olive to light skinned with brown or blond hair. They look much like Western Europeans, though their culture is more focused on mercantile ventures than military ones. 
  • Forest Gnomes, Rock Gnomes, Half-Elves, and Half-Orcs are rare but around.
I was uncertain about the status of the Sundering and how many actual dragonborn will remain, so for now I'm disallowing Teiflings and Dragonborn (though Forgotten Realms has a long history of races with extra-planar traits). Also Dragonborn are bulls*&t.

Languages Spoken in the Northern Sword Coast:

  • Common, which is pidgin Chondathan
  • Chondathan, the most common language in the west
  • Illuskan, The speech of the northern barbarians and native peoples
  • Daraktan is orc speech
  • Elven
  • Shantan is the norther shield dwarf dialect of dwarven
  • Bothii is a language spoken by the Uthgardt Barbarian Tribes
These other languages also are around but more more rare. 
  • Kurit is the dialect of the arctic dwarves who live north of the spine of the world
  • Uluik is the language of the ten towns and the hunters north of the spine
  • The north central glacial barbarians speak Reghedjic
  • Ghukliak is the language of goblins
  • Jotunhaug is a dialect of hill and mountain giant
  • Sylvan is the language of the fey
  • Yipyak is the language of kobolds and dragon servitors
  • Gnim is the gnomish language of research and acedemia
  • Ruathlek is a secret illusionist script.
These are ancient languages
  • Aragrakh, The ancient forgotten language of dragons
  • Primordia, The ancient language of Abier
  • Imaskari, Long dead human script
  • Hamarfae, Long dead elven script
The most common gods worshiped in the north are listed below:

Auril: Winter, Neutral Evil, Nature / Tempest
Deneir: Writing, Neutral Good, Life
Moradin: Dwarf / Creation, Lawful Good, Knowledge
Eldath: Peace, Neutral Good, Life / Nature
Lurue: Talking Beasts, Chaotic Good, Nature
Mielikki: Forests, Neutral Good, Nature
Milil: Poetry / Song, Neutral Good, Light
Mystra: Magic, Neutral Good, Knowledge
Oghma: Knowledge, Neutral, Knowledge
Shar: Darkness / Loss, Neutral Evil, Death / Trickery
Tempus: War, Neutral, War
Talos: Storms, Chaotic Evil, Tempest
Silvanus: Wild Nature, Neutral, Nature
Shiallia: Fertility, Neutral Good, Nature
Uthgar: Totem Spirits, Varies, Varies
Tymora: Luck, Chaotic Good, Trickery






On 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons versus Pathfinder

This fight is not nearly as entertaining as the actual case!
Which one should you play? What is going to be more fun for you at the table? Which starter set should you buy?

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Two enter, one shall leave!!

"Sanctuary is the best cleric spell. . . .

The [5th edition Dungeons & Dragons] win button: 
1) find cleric
2) find chokepoint
3) cast sanctuary 
4) stay in chokepoint using dodge
5) burn down mobs from range
6) loot, repeat

The ogre had to make a DC 13 Wis save to even attack me (and ogres have a penalty to Wis saves), and EVEN THEN he had to hit AC 18 with disadvantage to damage me, and EVEN THEN I can keep myself healed up with healing word, which is a bonus action spell.

Someone in my group put the ogre's to hit chance in this situation at 10.1%." - Daniel Davis

This elephant is both prone and non-hostile
Is this how to run the spell?

What does the text say?
Moving Around Other Creatures"You can move through a nonhostile creature's space. . . . Whether a creature is a friend or an enemy, you can't willingly end your move in its space." Page 191, 5th Edition Players Handbook.
Sanctuary "You ward a creature within range against attack. Until the spell ends, any creature who targets the warded creature with an attack or a harmful spell must first make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature must choose a new target or lose the attack or spell. This spell doesn't protect the warded creature from area effects, such as the explosion o f a fireball. If the warded creature makes an attack or casts a spellthat affects an enemy creature, this spell ends."
So is the Cleric taking the dodge action hostile? Does he prevent creatures from moving through his space?

Let's look up where 5th edition defines hostile.

It doesn't.

It's slightly more complicated than that. Does hostile mean your allies, as some abilities seem to imply? Others like Charisma abilities seem designed to work on non-hostile creatures, meaning those who aren't part of your party but aren't attacking you. The word hostile is used dozens of times in the book. Some examples:

"It’s rare for a gnome to be hostile or malicious unless he or she has suffered a grievous injury." -- Page37 
"Your rage lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you are knocked unconscious or if your turn ends and you haven’t attacked a hostile creature since your last turn or taken damage since then." -- Page 48 
"As an action, you present your holy symbol, and any magical darkness within 30 feet of you is dispelled. Additionally, each hostile creature within 30 feet of you must make a Constitution saving throw." Page 61 
"If the beast dies, you can obtain another one by spending 8 hours magically bonding with another beast that isn't hostile to you, either the same type of beast as before or a different one." -- Page 93 
"In general terms, an NPC’s attitude toward you is described as friendly, indifferent, or hostile. Friendly NPCs are predisposed to help you, and hostile ones are inclined to get in your way. It’s easier to get what you want from a friendly NPC, of course." -- Page 185 
"Low furniture, rubble, undergrowth, steep stairs, snow, and shallow bogs are examples of difficult terrain. The space of another creature, whether hostile or not, also counts as difficult terrain." -- Page 190

You know who decides what hostile means in each of those cases? 

You. You do. 

That's Pathfinder versus Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. In Pathfinder, you'd find where it defined hostile, or failing that, ask for clarification of the meaning in the rule forums. In 5th edition, they don't bother to define it, because you with the other adults at your table can come to an agreement and consensus about what the word hostile means when it is used. Not defining all these corner-cases ("What happens if I use sanctuary to block a chokepoint?") is the design aesthetic of 5th edition. It's a deliberate design choice.

So as to "should I play 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons or should I play Pathfinder", the only real question you have to ask yourself is do you want to play in a game where you can appeal to an external authority for a ruling or one that expects you and your friends to be the final authority on how the rules work?

Any meaning, implied or otherwise in that statement is left as an exercise of the reader.

Hack & Slash 
FollowGoogle +NewsletterSupport

On 5e Backgrounds: Smuggler

Smuggler
Sometimes people need things that aren't easy to get. You're the guy to make that happen, and if you make a little money on the side, who's the wiser?

Skill Proficiency: Dexterity (Slight of Hand); Charisma (Deception)
Tool Proficiency: Any land vehicle
Languages: Pick any three
Equipment: Traveler's Clothes, Weapon, light armor, Spyglass, Steel Mirror, Hand Crossbow, any one vehicle.

Specialty:  You may choose to specialize in smuggling a certain type of good. Roll or select from the following list.

  1. Religious materials.
  2. Drugs.
  3. Medicine (legal drugs).
  4. Endangered or Rare Animal Materials.
  5. Artifacts.
  6. Stolen Goods or Art
  7. Live Animals
  8. People

Feature:

You know at least one contact in every city who you can contact when 3 days away by horse. You also choose to have one personal intimate relationship with someone in each city, though you must roll for their reaction on the following list when you contact them if you choose to do so. 1-4 hostile, 5 unhappy with you, 6 glad to see you.


Suggested Characteristics

There are lots of reasons why goods need smuggling and some of them are very good ones. Perhaps the governement is corrupt and destroying indigenous populations. Perhaps the laws are draconian and you believe in freedom.

Maybe it's just that the money is so good.

d8 Personality

  1. I always shoot first.
  2. Trusting people may not be much of a way to live, but it's a good way to not die.
  3. I get off on sneaking things right under peoples noses.
  4. I deserve more than I'm getting, so I make a little money on the side. It doesn't hurt anyone.
  5. I'm a totally normal, low key dude. I just also happen to move hundreds of thousands of gold pieces worth of goods through here every month. It's a living.
  6. Everything else in life is boring. The only excitement I get is from this type of work.
  7. If I'm going to do something, why not do something that impresses the ladies/boys?
  8. I'm driven to do this for the cause!

d6 Ideal

  1. Freedom: I like giving the law the middle finger. (Chaos)
  2. Cultural Relativism: This belongs in a MUSEUM! (Law)
  3. Humanitarian: I smuggle in food and medicine to reduce the suffering of these people. (Good)
  4. Greed: All I care about is a profit. I don't want any part in your rebellion. (Evil/Unaligned)
  5. Selflessness: I don't care if I get caught. Getting these goods through is what's important. (Good)
  6. Moral Relativism: All I did your honor, was take a plant from one place, to a different place, over an invisible line. (Unaligned)

d6 Bond

  1. My vehicle is very special. I won it in a card game.
  2. I am certainly not developing feelings for the person who hired me.
  3. The origin of my name is a secret, and I don't want to tell anyone that I was named after the dog. 
  4. Someone taught me everything I know and he isn't quite as spry as he used to be.
  5. I have a friend who's a bit of a buffoon, but he's always there for me.
  6. I'm partners with some unusual muscle.

d6 Flaw

  1. You have warrants out for your arrest in every major area.
  2. You don't own your land vehicle, it belongs to someone else.
  3. You owe a lot of money to a prominent crime family.
  4. There's more than one person that wants revenge against you for killing someone they care about.
  5. People constantly make inappropriate advances against you. It's not your fault and you have nothing to do with it.
  6. You have an odious personal habit. (smoking, dipping, picking nose, etc.)


OSR Package
Running a B/X game? Give these advantages instead of proficiency and features. You can alos give these bonuses if running a 5e game using 3d6 for character generation.
  • +1 Dex, +1 Cha


Hack & Slash 
FollowGoogle +NewsletterSupport

On 5e Backgrounds: Feral

Feral
You were abandoned as a child, and raised by wild animals. You were a teenager before being exposed to your own kind. Even today you have trouble existing in the civilized world.

Skill Proficiency: Strength (Athletics), Dexterity (Acrobatics); Wisdom (Animal Handling) Wisdom (Perception) Wisdom (Survival);

Tool Proficiency: None may be had - if your class gives you any, you lose them.

Languages: Can only have 1, and speak that poorly. You have the ability to emphatically communicate with the type of animal that raised you.

Equipment: Common clothes, torn; Pouch, Rope, Animal fetish. Bucket. You may not take starting money from your class.

Specialty: Select from the following list or determine which animal you were raised by randomly.

  1. Bears
  2. Sharks
  3. Wolves
  4. Eagles
  5. Panthers
  6. Deer
  7. Meekrats
  8. Giant insects
  9. Apes
  10. Undead
  11. Unicorns
  12. Dragons/Wyrms (The non-speaking kind)
  13. Sharks riding bears

Feature:

You can communicate with any animal of the type that raised you. This allows you to find out anything it knows. You also have the ability to call upon these animals for help or assistance, in addition to being able to treat the group of animals that raised you as trusted allies who will help you (though they will not throw their lives away needlessly).

Suggested Characteristics

You grew up in the wild. The wild you understand. You can't speak well. You feel anxious around people. You will never be a part of their world and you will never be able to go back. Where do you fit in?

d4 Personality

  1. I am very angry!
  2. I no like people. *glare*
  3. I am shy and do not trust.
  4. I am very much like family I come from. (Take on personality of animal)

d6 Ideal

  1. Freedom: I no want to be studied! (Chaos)
  2. Conservationist: I want to protect my family! (Unaligned)
  3. Violent: I like to hurt people to feel better. (Evil)
  4. Safety: I avoid civilization. (Lawful)
  5. Naturalist: I want to be a ambassador between my cultures. (Good)
  6. Hedonist: Hungry. Mating. Sleepy. (Unaligned)

d6 Bond

  1. I carry one of the young from my tribe.
  2. I carry the emblem of my animal people. It is their history. (a necklace/fetish/etc.)
  3. I have a mentor that cared for me and taught me everthing I know about the civilized world.
  4. A beautiful lady found me and now I love her, even though I know I'm not right for her. . . (Me, tarzan, you Jane)
  5. I carry something given to me by my human mother.
  6. I am quite famous.

d6 Flaw

  1. I only know 18 words.
  2. I am mute and unable to speak
  3. My tribe family is being hunted to extinction, and I don't care about anything else. 
  4. Someone has my tribe family held hostage and I must do what they say.
  5. I was maimed in some physical or debilitating way in my youth. (Work out the effects with your dungeon master. Examples are a limp that reduces speed by 5 feet, or blindness in one eye giving disadvantage on ranged attacks).
  6. I have odious personal habits that make me forever stand out in civilazation and offend those I meet. (Defecating in public/covered in lice and parasites, etc.)

OSR Package
Running a B/X game? Give these advantages instead of proficiency and features. You can also give these bonuses if running a 5e game using 3d6 for character generation.
  • +1 to any two of Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, -1 Charisma


Hack & Slash 
FollowGoogle +NewsletterSupport

On 5e Backgrounds: Musician

If you're enjoying these free backgrounds, they will be collected in the first Hack & Slash collection, available in pay what you want .pdf/low-priced print at the end of August. If you are a Patreon of my blog when that happens you'll get at least 2 bonus backgrounds in a special version of the release at free .pdf/ at-cost print. The collection and blog posts this year exist because of my Patreon campaign.

Musician
You like to play music! Not necessarily sing-a and a dance-a. But you know how to play. You're good, really good. But you're much more than just highly skilled with a musical instrument.

Perhaps you are already quite famous. Or maybe your rise to stardom is just beginning.

Skill Proficiency: Wisdom (Insight); Charisma (Performance)
Tool Proficiency: Proficiency with any two instruments
Languages: Pick 1 bonus language
Equipment: Three instruments, One masterwork instrument. Traveler's clothes, Costume clothes. Backpack, Bedroll, 3 carafes of wine, 10 sheets Paper, inkpot and pen, Collapsible music stand.

Specialty: What type of instrument do you play? Pick or Roll
  1. Guitar
  2. Harpsicord
  3. Singer
  4. One man band (Harmonica, base drum on back, symbols, horn, etc.)
  5. Celestial Harp
  6. Didgeridoo
  7. Glass Armonica
  8. Dulcimer
  9. Gong
  10. Theremin
  11. Pyrophone Organ (fire organ)
  12. Lute
Feature:

You are highly skilled at playing your instrument, doubling your proficiency bonus when you make a performance check where you play your musical instrument.

In addition, anyone who sees you play knows they are in the presence of someone special. You have fans who have heard your work, and you may be quite popular. You have at least one contact who coordinates your fan club, and another contact who acts as your agent. In addition, you can find a small handful of fans in any village or city who have heard of you and are excited to meet you.

Suggested Characteristics

You spend a lot of time practicing your musical instrument and this means you spend a lot of time thinking. You may be slow or very smart, but you understand people and their motivations regardless. You secretly relish an opportunity to play your instrument around people who haven't heard you, because you like the attention. Now that you've accomplished your goal of mastering an instrument, you aren't quite sure what your plans are, which has a large part to do with why you suddenly find yourself on an adventure.

d8 Personality

  1. I am a rock god!!!! WHOOO!!!
  2. I like to call my instrument. . . the panty/bloomer/boxer-brief dropper.
  3. I don't like to talk much, I let my music do my talking for me.
  4. I may be what you call good at my instrument, but I'm a long way from true mastery.
  5. I am very, very. . . high right now. 
  6. I'm good at playing, but I need more life experience before I can write songs that really touch people.
  7. It's probably a good idea for us to leave now before they find our trashed room and the mayor figures out where his daughters/sons spent the night.
  8. No, no, I'll teach you. We need someone to play drums. 

d6 Ideal

  1. Humor: You know what a bassist uses for birth control? His personality! (Unaligned)
  2. Mastery: I want to be the best. (Lawful)
  3. Rebellion: Music is the way to change hearts and minds. (Chaotic)
  4. Love: It speaks to the soul. (Good)
  5. Manipulation: Music and it's ability to affect people is power. (Evil)
  6. Greed: I will be the most famous musician ever! (Unaligned/Evil)

d6 Bond

  1. My instrument is very special
  2. I'm actually married and I'm just 'on tour'. 
  3. I have a small unusual pet that is into my jam.
  4. I travel with two or three of my bandmates.
  5. I just want to perform at the {name of large theater} and then I know I will have made it!
  6. I just want to get back to my roots and away from all the fame and attention.


d6 Flaw

  1. Drugs, man, drugs.
  2. The old lady man, she won't get off my back.
  3. My band members are thieves and won't stop taking stuff. 
  4. I'm a star, man. If you don't understand that, you don't understand anything. I can do whatever I want and no one can stop me.
  5. WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY GAVE ME RED CHERRIES!!! I WANTED 1 BLACK CHERRY FOR EVERY 2 RED ONES! They are all FIRED! I'll never play this stinking backwater again! *Smashes guitar* *Storms out*
  6. I'm mute except when I sing.

"Musician's either die young or grow old slowly."

OSR Package
Running a B/X game? Give these advantages instead of proficiency and features. You can alos give these bonuses if running a 5e game using 3d6 for character generation.
  • +1 Dexterity or Charisma

Hack & Slash 
FollowGoogle +NewsletterSupport

On 5e Backgrounds: Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier
You once lived a life that is now gone. Through sorcery, magic, or chance everyone you once knew is dead and you live in a long distant time.

Skill Proficiency: Dexterity (Acrobatics); Intelligence (History);
Tool Proficiency: Select any two tools
Languages: Select any one old or ancient language
Equipment: Costume Clothes (any archaic people/uniform), Any weapon, Any light armor, Hunting trap. Torches, Steel mirror.

Specialty: There are lots of reasons you could be pulled out of time. Roll randomly, or choose one from the following list.

  1. You were turned into stone, and recently revivified with a stone to flesh spell.
  2. You were imprisoned by a powerful wizard and the enchantment was recently broken.
  3. You were adrift, unconscious, in the astral plane for many years and were rescued by a band of githyanki pirates who were going to sell you until they crashed in a battle with a blue dragon. You escaped alive.
  4. Sleeping curse. Wouldn't you know it?
  5. Frozen in the ice.
  6. Entered a portal and it transported you through time. 
  7. You're actually a dimensional traveler and are trapped here. This dimension is like yours but different.
  8. Sent through time by a chronomancer. It was for a reason, though when you arrived you had no recollection of what that was. 
  9. You weren't magically transported. You spent the whole time in prison.
  10. You were abducted by aliens.


Feature:

A group or person found you, and you recognize the spirit of your time in them. They are your friend and have provided you with support. You may travel with them or work for them. There is one person in particular who you trust, even if the people around them are suspect.

There is also a strong possibility you are not the only one to be out of time. Perhaps a companion or an old enemy who knows secrets long forgotten by those people in the modern age.

Suggested Characteristics

You don't understand a lot of unfamiliar things. Perhaps races, language, and customs are all strange. But you are no stranger to human nature. People are always the same. Being from the past doesn't make you stupid. You also carry the burden of everyone you ever knew being gone or drastically changed from when you knew them. It is very likely you may have amnesia of one kind or another.

d8 Personality


  1. I am this way because I volunteered. The reasons I did so are just as true today as they were then!
  2. I hate everything the way it is now. By leaving I've disgraced or lost everything that was important to me. 
  3. Everything is so different here, you have no frame of reference for anything. Your home culture was radically different from what you experience.
  4. Everything in your day was golden and you love to tell people about it!
  5. I'm young enough that I'm loving being in the future.
  6. I'm just a normal guy thrust into an extraordinary experience.
  7. Why is this happening to me!
  8. I have no idea what the future or my life holds, but I will meet it with a level head.


d6 Ideal

  1. Duty: My goal has not changed. (Lawful)
  2. Honor: I struggle to do what is right, no matter the time. (Good)
  3. Loss: Everything is different, so it doesn't matter what I do! I'm truly free. (Chaos)
  4. Revenge: All that matters is making whoever did this to me pay. (Evil)
  5. Discovery: I will figure out how the three seashells work! (Unaligned)
  6. Escape: I just want to extract myself from whatever I've gotten into and live the rest of my life in peace. (Unaligned)
d6 Bond

  1. You just really want to get your old stuff back.
  2. You hung out with some marginalized group because you blended in. It wouldn't be right if anything happened to them.
  3. You have an enemy that you still seek to destroy. (Meet Jack Deth . He's a Cop From The Future Trapped in the Present, and he's chasing a 23rd century menace in 1985.)
  4. You were experimented on by aliens. Either they, or a robot servant of theirs is your friend.
  5. Something that existed in the past exists now, and it is your focus. Either you must protect it or serve it. Perhaps it is a creature, a god, or just the symbol or earthly representation of such a thing.
  6. You founded an order and discover the current incarnation of such an order to have drifted so far from it's original purpose, that it nearly serves what it was founded to combat.

d6 Flaw

  1. What no one knows is that I traveled through time intentionally, because I was a screw-up where I was from.
  2. The future is so radically different that you are suffering from one or several mental illnesses (Anxiety, Depression, etc.)
  3. You frequently misunderstand what people say.
  4. Whatever happened to send you through time was a punishment. If anyone knew what you did, they would say you got off easy.
  5. You are overcome by apathy and don't have anything to care for in this new and strange world. (Note: This requires the DM to have some activity or force that drives you towards other characters that you go along with in spite of your apathy.)
  6. A different government is in power then when you left. You were a hero for the vanquished rulers.

OSR Package
Running a B/X game? Give these advantages instead of proficiency and features. You can also give these bonuses if running a 5e game using 3d6 for character generation.
  • +1 Wisdom


Hack & Slash 
FollowGoogle +NewsletterSupport
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...