Backgrounds (5A)

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Starfox's 5th Edition Fan Page

Additional backgrounds suited to my version of Greyhawk.

Defender of the Wild

You live in the wilderness, in a tribe or order dedicated to defending your lands from the encroachments of both monsters and civilization.

Skill Proficiencies: Stealth, Survival.

Tool Proficiencies: Pick one of Brewer’s supplies, Carpenter’s tools, Cook’s utensils, Leatherworker’s tools, Woodcarver’s tools, any one musical instrument, or vehicles (water).

Language or Tool: Language of one neighboring people or another tool option as above.

Equipment: Traveler's clothes, skinning knife, hand axe, one set of tools, instrument, or a canoe, fishing rod, pouch with 50 sp.

Signs of the Wild: You recognize the signs people in the wilderness use to mark their territory. You know when you enter the lands of a people or tribe. You can approach such people to parlay without causing a confrontation. You and your companions will generally be allowed to travel through such territories, but you are responsible for the actions of yourself and your companions while there.

Suggested Characteristics

Personality Traits
  1. Silence Too much talk fouls the air!
  2. Loner Only is solitude is there peace.
  3. Honesty I never learned to lie.
  4. Busy There is always something to do, to craft, to practice.
  5. Curious What kinds of lands do the strangers come from?
  6. Furtive I like to see and not be seen.
  1. Independent Don't step on me! (Chaotic)
  2. Caring All life is precious. I kill only to allow life. (Good)
  3. Forthright Deal straight, talk straight, shoot straight. (Lawful)
  4. Xenophobia Strangers are enemies. (Evil)
  5. Untamed The land belongs to no-one. (Chaotic)
  6. Wariness My trust must be earned. (Any)
  1. Clannish My people are my life.
  2. Faithful These lands are my life.
  3. Love I have a sweetheart as important to me as the land.
  4. Refugees I pity those who come to our lands without knowing how to survive.
  5. Stranger I once met a stranger I felt attracted to and want to meet again.
  6. Roaming Don't tie me down!
  7. Self-Sufficient These lands are my larder and armory.
  8. Exuberant Strangers are rare, lets make the most of meeting them!
  1. Closed Mind Nothing good comes from the outside.
  2. Reserved I find it hard to talk to strangers.
  3. Lost No place but home can be home.
  4. Frivolous Anything new is exciting and must be tried!
  5. Trusting No-one ever lied to me, why would these people?
  6. Secretive Every detail about my homeland is a precious secret!


The road is your home. You grew up a transient, never staying long in one place. You may be a Rhenne, a hobo, or a refugee.

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Stealth.

Tool Proficiencies: One musical instrument, gaming set, or set of tools.

Languages: Thieves' Cant. You can speak the underground language used by thieves.

Equipment: Worn traveler's clothes, one set of tools, gaming set, or a musical instrument, tinderbox, pouch with 5 gp.

Hobo Signs: Transients use subtle signs to mark places like homesteads, campsites, and places of employment. These warn of dangers and give hints on how to behave to find favor in a new place.

Suggested Characteristics

Personality Traits
  1. Proud They keep you down, but they can't break you.
  2. Roamer You love the open road!
  3. Fanciful You are full of stories of adventures real and imagined.
  4. Subtle Listen before you speak.
  5. Explorer There are always new lands beyond the horizon.
  6. Clannish You know your own.
  1. Freedom The world is there to be explored! (Chaotic)
  2. Seeker You search for a home at the end of your travels. (Lawful)
  3. Thief It ain't locked when no-one's around. (Evil)
  4. Accepting Accept events as they are to find peace. (Good)
  5. Helpful You travel to find people to help. (Good)
  6. Sightseer There are such amazing things to see! (Any)
  1. Memento You have a memento from the time before your travels.
  2. Pet You have a small pet to pour your kindness on.
  3. Rights Many look down on drifters, but we are people too!
  4. Companions Lands are things you pass by, friends are what you bring along.
  5. Fate Each day brings wondrous new strangeness.
  6. Love of the hour You give your heart freely and fully, then move on.
  1. Callous Why care for people I will likely never meet again?
  2. Sacrilegious The gods care nothing for you, why should you care for them?
  3. Drunkard Drink eases the weary.
  4. Spendthrift Who knows if you will lose all your money tomorrow? Better spend it today!
  5. Rolling Stone I can always run from trouble.
  6. Absent When I have an obligation to support, such as family, I leave what I can and go on my way.

Horse Nomad

The Paynim horse nomads rule much of the north. You were once one of them, but left that world to see even wider pastures.

Skill Proficiencies: Animal Handling, Nature.

Tool Proficiencies: Vehicles (land) and one instrument or set of crafter's tools.

Languages: Ordai.

Equipment: Riding horse, traveler's clothes made of leather, skinning knife, one set of tools or a musical instrument, pouch with 5 gp.

Eye for Horses: You can recognize the capacities of what looks to be a bad horse. This gives you 50% discount when buying horses as you pick the undervalued ones.

Suggested Characteristics

Personality Traits
  1. Proud The horse-lords rule the sky and earth. Others may not understand this, fools all.
  2. Rider Walking on foot out of doors is demeaning. Always ride!
  3. Boastful Life is made up of stories, and stories are meant to be told!
  4. Subtle Outsiders expect your people to be straight-forward, but like the illusionists of your land, you know what to show and what to conceal.
  5. Traditional The laws and traditions of your people transcend time and space.
  6. Generous Honor and glory lies in providing for friends and guests.
  1. Freedom The plain and the sky have no borders—the world is there to be explored! (Chaotic)
  2. Tradition They may be thousands of miles away, but your people and traditions are always in your heart. (Lawful)
  3. Raider Raiding is my riches. Anything others are too weak to keep is mine to take. (Evil)
  4. Gracious There is no limit to the sky! We all have room to live. (Good)
  5. Love You kin, horse, and herd is life—cherish them as you cherish yourself. (Any)
  6. Bounty People and animals are life. Multiply to fill the earth and sky! (Any)
  1. Mount You have lived with this mount for years, sharing everything. You know mounts don't live long, so you cultivate future mount companions even as foals.
  2. Plains People come and go, but the pains and the open sky are eternal. You are most at peace traveling and most at home on open plains.
  3. Saddle You got this saddle as a youth and made all your achievements on it.
  4. Companions Lands are things you pass by, friends are what you bring along.
  5. Old Friend Leaving most of your tribe wasn't so hard, but there is this one person you miss.
  6. Love of the hour You give your heart freely and fully, then move on.
  1. Callous Why care for people I will likely never meet again?
  2. Sacrilegious The gods of settled people are weak and disgusting.
  3. Festive I fight hard, work hard, and party hard.
  4. Spendthrift I see the value of horses, of sheep, and a good wagon. These metal baubles are supposed to be valuable?
  5. Rolling Stone I can always run from trouble.
  6. Absent When I have an obligation to support, such as family, I leave some money and go away.


You suffer some handicap or ailment that has shaped your background. You have had to rely on the help of others until you learned to overcome most of your handicap. You are either eternally grateful to those who helped you grow up, or embittered at those who would not help you as much as you needed.

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Perception.

Tool Proficiencies: Vehicles (land) and one instrument or set of crafter's tools.

Equipment: The aids or prosthetics listed to overcome your infirmity, traveler's clothes, one set of tools or a musical instrument, pouch with 15 gp.

Infirmity: You have a handicap that restricts your abilities in some way, but you have learnt to use prosthetics and skill to overcome most of your disability, allowing you to be an adventurer. Some infirmities even give you minor magical abilities. Select one or more of the following impairments. The listed penalties assume you are using a simple prosthetic (such as a peg leg) when possible.


Suggested Characteristics

Personality Traits
  1. Self-Sufficient You have overcome your limits on your own, and now you stand on your own.
  2. Proud You have had to build yourself up to the strong person you are today!
  3. Energetic You worked hard to get where you are, and now hard work is a habit to you.
  4. Friendly You grew up relying on others, and found that most people are reliable.
  5. Generous You relied on others, now you help others in turn.
  6. Independent Time to get over the past and move on.
  1. Hard Work You got to where you are through hard work, and you are not stopping now. (Lawful)
  2. Independence In the end, it was you who overcome your limits. (Chaotic)
  3. Vengeance They pushed and used you, but now you have become strong. Now it it their turn to fear! (Evil)
  4. Paying Forward You have received so much kindness, you want to give some back. (Good)
  5. Perfection You have overcome your handicap, but that is just the beginning of your skills! (Any)
  6. Ambition They told you you couldn't be an adventurer! They were wrong. You will be the greatest hero ever! (Any)
  1. Prosthetic There is a device you use to stretch your limits, an item that means freedom to you.
  2. Caretaker Someone took care of you when you couldn't do so yourself. Now you will take care of them.
  3. Hero There is a person you aspire to emulate, your personal hero.
  4. Companions You can only truly relax and show weakness to your closest companions.
  5. Home You are searching for a home—old or new.
  6. Admirer You grew up as the hero of someone younger, someone still where you used to be.
  1. Sly People who see you take you for a weakling or even imbecile, and you exploit that as you can.
  2. Shy You know you should speak up, but old habits die hard.
  3. Fatalistic The universe does not make sense. You suffered for no good reason. That could happen again.
  4. Hedonist You must enjoy all the things you missed and now can have!
  5. Homebody Before, you could not travel. Now you can, but staying in place is a habit hard to break.
  6. Disdainful You got all you have by hard work. So should everybody! Weakness is no excuse!
  7. Suspicious You have been maligned enough not to trust strangers.
  8. Vengeful Now it is their turn to suffer!


There is a strong abolitionist movement in Greyhawk, but slaves and former slaves still exist throughout the south and most of all in the Lordship of the Isles. Various humanoids also keep slaves, especially in the Empire of Iuz. You were such a slave. You were either born into slavery or have only vague memories of a time before you were captured. You may wear both physical and metal scars of abuse and likely harbor extreme resentment against slavers everywhere.

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics and either Insight or Survival.

Tools You have proficiency with one set of tools or a musical instrument.

Languages: Pick one language appropriate to either your background or to your former owners.

Equipment: A set of manacles, a memento of a loved one or enemy, a set of poor clothes, a sash holding 100 sp.

Underground Railway There are secret havens for escaped slaves in and around regions where slavery exist. As a former slave and exemplar of the abolitionist movement, you are greeted as a hero in such places. You know how to find these places even when they are hidden. You will be offered simple room and board and told all the latest rumors, but you may also be asked to help out.

Suggested Characteristics

Personality Traits
  1. Caring The masters care nothing, we must care for our own.
  2. Meek Speak softly and hide your weapons.
  3. Pride They can take everything, but they cannot break your pride.
  4. Stoic The best way to cope with a cruel fate is to accept and make the best of it.
  5. Superstitious You have no real control of your life, but there are forces all around you that do.
  6. Slimy The masters may be a terror, but also a source of power.
  1. Abolitionism No-one deserves to be a slave! (Good)
  2. Ethics The only way to fight evil is within each of us. (Good)
  3. Requital They enslaved us, now it is our turn! (Evil)
  4. Toady Masters always need someone to hold the whip. (Evil)
  5. Anarchy Break the system! (Chaotic)
  6. Revolutionary All hierarchies are evil! (Chaotic)
  7. Belonging I can be a part of society. (Lawful)
  8. Escape I will run as far as I have to. (Any)
  9. Nihilism Nothing matters. (Any)
  10. Fatalism Don't plan, the future cannot be predicted. (Any)
  1. Fetish You have a lucky item. Perhaps it holds a spirit of power!
  2. Comrades You love and trust those you have shared hardship with.
  3. Love You had love in your life, but had to abandon it to escape.
  4. Solidarity You feel for the enslaved and oppressed everywhere.
  5. Necessities Day-to-day necessities are so natural in your new life, but you remember when this was not so
  6. Wealth Everyone seems to be enslaved to the concept of gold. To be truly free, you need to be rich!
  7. Music Music made you free and gave you hope.
  8. Faith God or spirit, something gave you strength, and you are still devoted.
  1. Addiction You used drugs or alcohol to survive harsh work and conditions, and the pull is still there
  2. Vengeance You can never forgive those who said they owned you!
  3. Scars Your body shows the scars of your old life. You hide them at all costs.
  4. Shame No-one must know you were a slave!
  5. Handicap Some part of your body was destroyed, such as an eye, fingers, ear, or nose. You have learnt to compensate, but it still impedes you on occasion.
  6. Pain You have learnt to live with the pain, but it still ails you and keeps you on edge.
  7. Dreams You still wake up screaming now and then.
  8. Rage When the rage takes you, you strike out without control.


You grew up among people who doted on you because you have a touch of the supernatural.

Skill Proficiencies: Deceit, Persuasion.

Tool Proficiencies: One musical instrument, gaming set, or vehicles (land).

Languages: Choose one of Aklo, Celestial, Draconic, Infernal, Primordial, Shadowtongue, or Sylvan.

Equipment: Fine clothes, one set gaming set or musical instrument, alms bowl, silver holy symbol, small idol (artwork worth 10 gp), hidden purse with 25 gp.

Sign of the Supernatural: You suffer some kind of handicap, which is seen as being touched by the supernatural. You gain both advantages and disadvantages from this sign.

Signs of the Supernatural (5A)

Suggested Characteristics

Personality Traits
  1. Proud Your gift makes you exalted.
  2. Shy People always forced themselves on you.
  3. Mysterious The less you say, the more profound you sound.
  4. Idol You love being the center of attention.
  5. Brave You are the champion!
  6. Insular You rely on those closest to you.
  1. Piety Respect the supernatural order. (Lawful)
  2. Mystic You search for your own truth. (Chaotic)
  3. Cult Leader I use the fools who come to me. (Evil)
  4. Benevolent With great power comes great responsibility. (Good)
  5. Independent Lets not do the cult thing again! (Any)
  6. Enlightenment Why was i touched? (Any)
  1. Memento You never knew your parents, but you have this item to remind you.
  2. Faith Your beliefs give you strength.
  3. Community Many wonderful people share your beliefs.
  4. Companions Those closest to you treat you as a person, not an idol.
  5. The World There is so much to see.
  6. Prophecy You have an important task to do.
  1. Blasé You are weary of the world.
  2. Apatheist Been there, gods are nothing special.
  3. Lazy You always had people do all chores for you.
  4. Ivory Tower The world is alien and dangerous.
  5. Psychofant You tell people what they want to hear.
  6. Lonely Living as an idol means living alone.


You are a naval raider from the Thillonrian Peninsula in the utter north-east of the Flanaess. Originally a farmer, huntsman, or herder, you joined a group of raiders and went south in search of a better future as a raider, mercenary, or merchant.

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Survival

Tool Proficiencies: Vehicles (water) and one of carpenter’s, navigator's, smith's, weaver’s, or woodcarver tools,

Languages: Cold Tounge or Diembri.

Equipment: A fur cloak, a set of fine clothes, 25gp.

Reputation: As long as you maintain the swaggering style of a viking, people will keep their distance from you and are very polite when you approach them. This allows you to get away with minor misdemeanors. Push too hard, you will be seen as a reaver and the military may intervene.

Suggested Characteristics

Personality Traits
  1. Cold-lover I could never stand the heat, a warm hall feels stuffy to me.
  2. Loner Having many people around is confining—neighbors should be heard, but not seen.
  3. Story-lover I love the stories told on long winter nights!
  4. Sea-lover The open sea is where I fell most at home!
  5. Fire-maker Fire and flame is the mark of man and keeps evil at bay!
  6. Sauna-aficionado The first thing to do in a new place is to build a bath-house!
  7. Elegant A clean body in bright clothes makes a hero!
  8. Poet You express yourself in verse at important times.
  9. Silent The wise man listens much and says little.
  10. Stoic Whatever comes i will endure it.
  1. Curiosity What lies beyond the horizon? (Chaotic)
  2. Free Nothing holds me back! (Chaotic)
  3. Opportunistic Seize fortune by the throat and pin it! (Chaotic)
  4. Lawspeaker Land is built by law! (Lawful)
  5. Honesty Talk straight and keep your word! (Lawful)
  6. Homemaker Work hard and build a good life! (Good))
  7. Raider Defeat them and take what is theirs! (Evil)
  8. Clannish Clan and family is all! (Neutral)
  9. Competitive Test yourself against everything and everyone! (Any)
  10. Pride One day, there will be a saga about my deeds! (Any)
  1. Weapon This weapon is my tie to my home and family.
  2. Comrades My war-band is my life!
  3. Drink The drunk speak the truth—don't trust anyone you have not seen drunk.
  4. Poetry There is a poem that speaks to me—I feel it is my destiny.
  5. Ambition I have sworn an oath to accomplish something, and i will!
  6. Strangers Everyone I meet is a potential friend or foe!
  1. Drink Those who say wine is stronger than mead are wimps!
  2. Belligerent Violence is the most straight-forward resolution!
  3. Ruthless Don't stand in my way!
  4. Duelist Victory one-on-one is glorious!
  5. Superstitious Beware! Signs, signs everywhere!
  6. Doomed I know how I will die, and when the day comes i will embrace it!

War Orphan

You grew up in an orphanage for children of war, usually a lawful religious institution. Brought up under strict discipline, you either adjusted to this (lawful), rebelled (chaotic), or just stayed out of trouble (neither).

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Religion

Armor and Weapon Proficiencies: Any one armor or shield proficiency you fulfill the prerequisites for. If you already know all armor proficiencies, you instead gain proficiency with smith's tools.

Tool Proficiencies: Any one type of crafting tools or vehicles (land)

Languages: None

Equipment: A wooden holy symbol, a memento of a friend, parent, or mentor, a warm blanket, a wooden bowl and spoon, a set of common clothes, and a pouch containing 5 gp.

Order's Respect Your manners indicate your background to those of militant orders everywhere. You can find room, board, and companionship with lawful militant and religious institutions across the land.

Suggested Characteristics

Personality Traits
  1. Orderly You keep your kit in order and is always ready to depart.
  2. Devout You may love or hate your orphanage, but you revere its patron deity.
  3. Outgoing Having grown up in an insular society, any new people or situation attracts your attention.
  4. Introvert Growing up with no-one close to you, you have learned to keep your inner life to yourself. One day you may find that perfect person to open up to, but not yet.
  5. Slovenly You'd rather be punished than overwork your kit. As long as it holds together, it is good enough.
  6. Loyal You are ready to face any danger directly as long as you have your friends with you.
  7. Orderly Spit and polish makes you presentable.
  8. Energetic Doing things quickly and well earns respect.
  1. Order The greater good requires some sacrifice. You are willing to go that extra mile. (Lawful)
  2. Conformity Hide in the herd and avoid trouble. (Neutral)
  3. Discipline Strong leaders with disciplined followers can achieve anything! (Lawful)
  4. Rebellious You grew up in hell. Freedom above all! (Chaotic)
  5. Care You care deeply for your group, and group cares for those around you. (Good)
  6. Power Those with power rule, those without obey. (Evil)
  7. Excellence Perfection is the highest ideal! (Any)
  8. Advancement Society is a hierarchy, and its good to be at the top. (Any)
  1. Mentor There was an adult at the orphanage that helped you find your way.
  2. Community I was lost, and the community took me in and gave me purpose.
  3. Friend I had a close friend growing up. We were separated, and I search for them.
  4. Camaraderie Nothing is better than friends!
  5. War Enemy I live to fight the old enemy.
  6. Peace I know the horrors of large-scale war, and will go to any length to keep the peace.
  1. Bully The strong push the weak around.
  2. Uniform I was brought up in uniform, and preserve that look through thick and thin, changing only as I advance in rank.
  3. Confusion I understood the clear rules of the orphanage, but the world and its randomness confuses me.
  4. Resentment The world and the establishment can never make up for what they made you suffer.
  5. Sexophobia In the orphanage there was only one gender. You feel insecure around the other gender, never having learnt how to deal with them.
  6. Machismo The way to earn respect is by displaying strength and hiding weakness.