Backgrounds (5A)

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Additional backgrounds suited to my version of Greyhawk.

Each background always has two skill proficencies, two other proficencies, one special ability, and a set of starting equipment. The only thing that is truly fixed about a background is the special ability that background has. Everything else can be changed within these parameters, as long as the DM agrees.


You grew up in a magically advanced environment. This can be in an area where magic is common, or it can be in a major arcane guild or university. You lived surrounded by magic as an everyday occurrence, and thus you lack the superstitions that most people experience have towards the supernatural.

Source: En5ider #18.

Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, Investigation.

Languages: Two of your choice.

Equipment: A set of fine clothes, a vial of black ink, a quill, traveling journal, dagger, copy of your favorite book, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp

Arcane Network Commoners and nobility alike expect you to master magical lore and might seek you out as a middleman. Whether you possess arcane talents or not, you have professional cachet among arcane spellcasters. You know how to behave around magicians and can request favors, such as advice on magical problems, research concerning magic items and relics, and translation of sigils or runes. If you ask an extensive favor, however, you must repay it in a reasonable time or risk alienating your peers.

Suggested Characteristics Growing up in an Arcane Dominion formed many of your attitudes towards magic and spellcasters, as well as your opinions regarding people without magical ability. If you possessed arcane talent, you enjoyed the good life as one of your nation’s most valued citizens. Thanks to your upbringing, you find magic familiar and even comforting, and pity those who fear magic or refuse to benefit from its use.

Personality Traits
  1. I belong to the most advanced society in the world, and so I must represent my people in the best possible light.
  2. I feel comfortable around magic, and I feel anxious anywhere magic is unwelcome.
  3. I travel and explore the world to avoid becoming complacent.
  4. I yearn for novel experiences and travel to avoid boredom.
  5. I like to show off my knowledge.
  6. Strangers asking me for help is annoying.
  1. Knowledge. The acquisition of knowledge is the noblest pursuit. (Lawful)
  2. Discovery. I will do anything to uncover magical secrets. (Chaotic)
  3. Mastery. I must become the most powerful arcanist in the world. (Any)
  4. Destiny. Doom threatens this world, and only magic can save us! (Good)
  5. There is no such things as evil magic, only magic used wrong (Evil)
  6. My ambition is to create some new magic, such as a new magic item or spell (Neutral)
  1. Magic itself is the most important thing!
  2. I have a particular spell I wish to study and master
  3. I carry on a mail correspondence with my peers at home
  4. Books are portals to knowledge!
  5. I wish to study the native magics of this foreign land
  6. Spells? Got to catch them all!
  7. My family must recover the lost arcane secrets of our ancestors before our enemies do.
  8. My memories have been lost to me, and something tells me my life depends on getting them back.
  1. I don’t make mistakes, even when I do.
  2. I never met a book I could resist reading.
  3. Magic has its price, and I’m willing to pay it— or let someone else pay.
  4. I look down on those who lack understanding of magic.
  5. I betrayed my master for knowledge, and I must atone for what I’ve done.
  6. Thanks to a youthful indiscretion, I fell under an ancient curse and now must find a way to remove it.

Artifact Carrier

You have an artifact. This is an almost indestructible item linked to you because of your backstory. The reason you have this item is up to you and your DM to work out together.

This background requires that the campaign uses magic item prices like 5A Magic Item prices.

Source: Original.

Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, History.

Languages: Two of your choice.

Equipment: An artifact (see below), a set of traveler’s clothes, a dagger, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp.

Artifact You possess an artifact somehow linked to your destiny, usually bestowed by your ancestry or a great power such as royalty or a divine agent. This artifact comes in the form of a specific item of equipment, usually a weapon, staff, shield, or set of armor. It is never a consumable. It is a minor artifact and can only be destroyed in special dramatic ways. You can sacrifice wealth and magic items to power your artifact.

This item has the magical abilities of one or several items whose total worth cannot exceed the price of a magic item created by a character one level above your level. It starts as an item with a worth appropriate to your starting level. You can sacrifice wealth and magic items to your artifact, adding the full value of such sacrifices to the value of your item, up to the highest value allowed for your level. Magic items sacrificed this way add their full value, not the half value would get if the item was sold. You get to choose the abilities of the item, with GM approval. The item can combine the effects of several magic items into one by simply adding the cost of each individual item together. Only one of the combined items can require attunement. If the item has several abilities that confers the same or very similar effect, only the best such ability applies. An item can only have one enhancement bonus and a weapon can only add one type of damage.

If you and the DM agree, your artifact can be a major artifact with a role in the plot of the campaign. This allows the DM to add powers to your item, powers that might only work under certain circumstances and might even be detrimental in certain circumstances. The DM can add any powers of choice, with a recommended budget equal to what you have invested is reasonable.

Artifact Origin (1d6) How did you acquire your artifact? Invent your own, or roll or choose from the table below.

  1. A gift from a mysterious stranger.
  2. A gift from a god, temple, or holy person.
  3. Found on the site of a historical event, such as a battle.
  4. Found in a graveyard.
  5. Inherited from your immediate family.
  6. An unexpected inheritance from ancient ancestors.
  7. A gift from a lord, king, or queen.
  8. You don not remember, it was just suddenly there.

Suggested Characteristics How did you acquire your artifact and how has it it inspired your goals and the means you use to achieve them?

Personality Traits (d6)
  1. I carry a great secret, that needs to be kept.
  2. I am bewildered, I have this power, but I do not know why.
  3. I try to live my life normally and not let it be all about my artifact.
  4. I enjoy the attention I get from being selected to wear the artifact.
  5. I don't like how the artifact gets more attention than I do.
  6. I want to discover all my artifact's history and powers.
Ideals (1d6)
  1. Power. I must explore and use my artifact's power! (Any)
  2. Exploration. I must learn all I can about this power I hold. (Any)
  3. Exceptionalism. I have been selected, and deserve all things good. (Evil)
  4. Rebel. My fate have already been set in motion, and I hate it! (Chaotic)
  5. Responsibility. With great artifacts comes great responsibility! (Good)
  6. Duty. I was bestowed with this artifact for a great purpose! (Lawful)
Bonds (d6)
  1. Nothing comes between me and my artifact!
  2. I long to meet and get to know whoever gave me my artifact.
  3. I want to know how to destroy my artifact, just in case.
  4. Friends helped me, and I will remain friends with them forever.
  5. New places give new insights.
  6. Wherever i go, I know I will return home one day.
Flaws (d6)
  1. I talk to my artifact, it is the best listener there is.
  2. I cannot resist using my artifact to its fullest extent.
  3. I avoid other powerful magic items, they make my artifact jealous.
  4. Showing off my artifact should make everyone realize I am great!
  5. My focus on my artifact makes me ignore other material objects.
  6. I have been selected by fate. As long as I carry my artifact I am invincible.


You understand the value of allegiance above all else. You grew up in an area splintered into dozens of factions, each one vying for power and wealth. You learned to watch for hidden daggers and poisoned food at an early age, and your first lessons taught you how to read people and manipulate them for your faction's benefit. Perhaps you belonged to a lesser faction—one forced to serve a larger and more infamous one. Or you could have belonged to one of the great houses, living a life surrounded by both luxury and the constant threat of betrayal. Regardless, you understand the complexities and allure of courtly intrigue.

Source: En5ider #18.

Skill Proficiencies. Deception, Persuasion

Tool Proficiencies. Forgery kit, poisoner’s kit

Equipment. A steel mirror, a signet ring (with hidden compartment), a set of traveler’s clothes, a dagger, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp

The Black Market When you enter a town or city, you only need a few conversations with locals to find the best dealers in illegal goods and services. Whether you want to buy poisons, hire an assassin, or purchase classified information, you can uncover whom to talk to, where to go, and how best to approach them.

Suggested Characteristics A character who lived his life among the feuding factions may prove slow to trust and difficult to decipher. When they speak, they seem incapable of giving a straightforward answer. Although these folk appreciate the value of allies and friends, they understand the dangers of lowering one’s defenses. They guard their words and actions, even around friends.

Personality Traits
  1. I don’t like leaving my back exposed in public places.
  2. Until I know someone, I watch them for signs of betrayal.
  3. I try to uncover the secrets of both friends and enemies. Such information always proves invaluable.
  4. I’m constantly searching for an angle or leverage over everyone I meet.
  1. Rank. Never forget your place, and make certain your inferiors remember theirs. (Lawful)
  2. Faction. Nothing is more important than my faction. I would die for them, and I would kill for them. (Any)
  3. Clues. Never enter a fight or negotiation without proper information, and always have an escape plan. (Neutral)
  4. Vengeance. If you hurt my friends or faction, your parents will wish you were never born. (Evil)
  5. Challenge. I know the game and can play with the best! (Chaotic)
  6. Compromise. The intrigue is killing us all! (Good)
  1. I escaped an arranged marriage, so now two furious families and one determined betrothed hunt for me.
  2. I’ve lived my life serving others. Now I seek the freedom to make my own choices.
  3. I will return my faction to its rightful position of power, and punish those who forced our downfall.
  4. I must atone for the crimes I committed in my faction's name.
  1. Lying comes naturally to me. I struggle to tell the truth, even when I want to.
  2. When someone slights me, I always repay the favor.
  3. I failed my faction in every possible way, and now they seek my destruction.
  4. I don’t mind using my allies as bait, with or without their approval.


You defy expectations to such a degree that you were banished to an asylum or hidden in the attic. You grew up in a closed world, but your dreams reached out. Somehow you developed abilities that let you escape this world and find friends among adventurers, all odd and exceptional, if not as odd as you are.

Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, Deception.

Tool Proficiencies: Pick one tool, gaming set, or musical instrument.

Language: Aklo, Celestial, Draconic, Infernal, Primordial, Shadow Tongue, or Sylvan.

Equipment: Worn common clothes, bell, blanket, candle, manacles, 10 gp secreted in your clothes.

Strange Signs There is something that sets you apart from others, and this is the reason you are seen as crazed. Select one Strange Sign.

Suggested Characteristics

Personality Traits
  1. Silence Speaking only brings pain!
  2. Loner You are comfortable with yourself.
  3. Direct You speak your thoughts.
  4. Obscure Your inner self is secret, what you show is a facade.
  5. Curious What makes people and things tick?
  6. Furtive I like to see and not be seen.
  1. Caring You have seen hardship and wish to spare others. (Good)
  2. Whimsical We live in a fun-house! (Chaotic)
  3. Murderous There is only one way to show them, death! (Evil)
  4. Regimented First, wash the right hand. Then, wash the left hand. Then.... (Lawful)
  5. Weariness Its all so taxing. (Any)
  6. Insight The universe is a riddle to be solved! (Any)
  1. Memento You cling to an object from your former life.
  2. Vision You have a vision you want to make real.
  3. Kindness I cling to kindness and show it in return.
  4. Locks Locks lock up reality.
  5. Stranger I once met a stranger I felt attracted to and want to meet again.
  6. Caretaker I select one person to care for me.
  1. Closed Mind Nothing good comes from the outside.
  2. Reserved I find it hard to talk to strangers
  3. Locked Up To be locked up is to be safe.
  4. Frivolous Anything new is exciting and must be tried!
  5. Trusting Anyone who gives you a kind word must be kind.
  6. Secretive Every detail about me is a precious secret!

Defender of the Wild

You grew up 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: Choose between Sylvan or the language of a neighboring people.

Equipment: Traveler's clothes, skinning knife, hand axe, fishing rod, pouch with 50 sp. Your choice of a musical instrument, artisan's tool kit, or a canoe.

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 in 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 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 artisan's 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. You can use an Wisdom (Insight) check to find such information on the outskirts of a settlement or establishment.

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. Esteem 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.

Elven Paragon

Notepad.png This is a work in progress.

The elven paragon needs some weakness to balance their advantageous ability.

This background is only available to elves. Certain elves express the ideals of elven culture more strongly than others. Known as paragons, these elves are highly regarded in elven culture, but little known among outsiders.

Prerequisite: Elven race.

Skill Proficiencies: Acrobatics, Perform.

Instrument Proficiencies: You are proficient with one musical instrument and one set of artisan's tools.

Equipment: Fine clothes in elven style, a musical instrument, a tinderbox, a waterskin, pouch with 5 gp.

Elven Gift: You have a gift from your elven nature. Chose or randomly generate a gift from this list.

  1. Beast Friend. You have lived your life in harmony with animals and creatures of all kinds. You have advantage on Wisdom (Animal Handling) checks made to placate beasts.
  2. Farseer. Your eyes are far beyond the ken of other races, even most elves. You never have disadvantage on vision-based Perception checks due to distance, and your first attack roll each round made at long range does not have disadvantage from distance.
  3. Historical. You have met historical figures of other races, and you learned and studied with them. You have advantage on Intelligence (History) checks.
  4. One with the Bow. You do not suffer disadvantage on ranged weapon attacks because you are within 5 feet of a hostile creature.
  5. One with the Sword. While wielding a sword and hit by a melee attack, you can use your reaction to try to parry that attack. Your Armor Class against that one melee attack becomes 10 + your attack bonus with your sword. This might cause the attack to miss.
  6. Plantshaping. Your connection with nature allows you to coax living plants into useful shapes. You can touch a living plant for one minute to draw material from it to create a simple functional wooden item with no moving parts that weighs no more than 5 pounds. The plant is unharmed by the process. You can’t use this feature again until you finish a long or short rest. Your Wisdom (woodcarver's tools) check determines the quality of items you create. Creating complex items costing 1 gp or more requires Crafting, but you can ignore the cost of raw materials by spending twice the usual amount of time.
  7. Premonitions You are attuned to the tangle of fate and able to predict future events. This does not apply to immediate events, it concerns fate and destiny. At certain times you make prophetic utterances (provided by the DM) that foreshadow future events that may take years or even centuries to come to realization.
  8. Reliable Skill. With centuries to study, learn, and train, elves achieve mastery over skills that humans can only dream of. You have mastery of one skill, musical instrument, or artisan's tool you are proficient in. Whenever you make an ability check using a mastered skill and roll a 9 or lower, change the roll to a 10.
  9. Spellwise. Your society’s long reliance on magic informed your upbringing. You know one cantrip of your choice. You use this cantrip with Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma, selected when you gain the ability.
  10. Unearthly Beauty. Your beauty is akin to the supernatural beauty of celestials or fey, manifesting your inner nature. You have advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks against creatures who do not have an alignment opposed to yours on either the law-chaos or good-evil axis.

Suggested Characteristics

Personality Traits
  1. Serene You don't show unnecessary emotion.
  2. Musical You express yourself in song and poetry.
  3. Direct You express yourself in action more than words.
  4. Aloft Unless you have something to say, you remain quiet.
  5. Elated Your constant optimism is contagious.
  6. Generous Honor lies in providing for friends and guests.
  1. Benevolence You genuinely care for others, tough you know that its dangerous to make them dependent on you. (Good)
  2. Gracious You are polite and caring of those you meet. (Good)
  3. Freedom The world should be free for all creatures to enjoy! (Chaotic)
  4. Pride You have to maintain your freedom and independence! (Chaotic)
  5. Cavalier You know in your heart that you and your people are superior. (Evil)
  6. Loyalty You reward loyalty with loyalty on a personal level. (Any)
  1. Ring You have a ring that represents who you are. This could be a gift or an heirloom.
  2. Land You are colored by your homeland, and judge things by how they differ from that.
  3. Companion You have a bond with another creature and follow them through the world.
  4. Doom There is a decisive event in your future. You have a general idea, but no specifics.
  5. Love You are questing to become worthy of the one you love.
  6. Love of the hour You give your heart freely and fully, then move on.
  1. Haughty Other races are just boorish.
  2. Absent-minded You tend to forget everyday events.
  3. Engrossed When performing, crafting, or meditating, you lose focus on the world and suffer disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks.
  4. Eternal You have seen many of the short-lived races come and go. You find it hard to take them seriously.
  5. Abiding When things change fast and dramatically, you find it hard to keep up.
  6. Spoiled Other elves have always provided for you. You find it hard to provide for yourself.


You come from a legendary realm or another world entirely, a place filled with magic or technology unknown to the outer world. You grew up around creatures out of this world, lived in a city of glass and steel, and used artifacts that most people consider impossible. Whether you abandoned your homeland by choice or necessity, you may never find your way back.

Source: En5ider #18.

Skill Proficiencies. Arcana, History

Tool Proficiencies. Tinker's tools or one type of exotic musical instrument

Languages. The language of your home, or an uncommon language of your choice

Equipment. Tinker's tools or an exotic musical instrument, a small heirloom of unusual materials, a picture of unusual detail, a set of outlandish traveler’s clothes. You have no local money, but each part of your starting equipment is worth 10 gp or more if you find an interested buyer.

Stranger in a Strange Land Your origin grants you celebrity status. You attract the curiosity of commoners, nobles, sages, and fools alike, but not all of this attention is benevolent. When you seek audience with an individual of note, such as a famous wizard or local noble, you can mention your place of origin to entice their interest and earn an invitation. Often, they may offer advice and knowledge in trade for stories about your homeland. If you need a larger favor, your host may demand something exceptional in return, such as technological or magical secrets from your home.

Suggested Characteristics A citizen from a Lost Civilization feels misplaced and disconnected from the outer world. Because they grew up in such a different setting, their distinctiveness goes beyond strange clothing and a foreign accent. When interacting with locals, their unfamiliarity with customs, traditions, and superstitions often confuses or angers people.

Personality Traits
  1. Everything I discover in this new world fascinates or horrifies me.
  2. I won’t let my ignorance hinder my curiosity, even if it upsets someone.
  3. No matter how hard I try to fit in, I alienate everyone around me.
  4. I enjoy collecting trinkets and tokens everywhere I travel.
  1. Knowledge. I want to learn this world’s secrets to take back home. (Neutral)
  2. Secrets. My people unleashed a horror that consumed my realm; I will not allow my new home to suffer that fate. (Good)
  3. Destiny. I hear the chorus of alien gods. Their voices tell me who must live and who must die. (Any)
  4. Generosity. I possess skills unknown to this world. Honor and duty require me to share these talents. (Good)
  1. I will find a way back home, even if it takes a lifetime and costs a fortune.
  2. My people intend to conquer the outer world. I can’t let them succeed.
  3. I must discover who abducted me from my realm and why.
  4. I have a forbidden secret. I must understand it before its owners find me.
  1. My inexperience with local customs and traditions often gets me into trouble.
  2. When stressed, I speak in cryptic metaphors that no one understands.
  3. I feel superior to everyone around me, but I hold them blameless for their ignorance.
  4. This land is not my home, and it will never be my home, no matter how long I remain stuck here.

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 others 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! (Chaotic)
  2. Tradition Even thousands of miles away, your 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! There is room for all! (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. Plains People come and go, but the plains and the open sky are eternal. You are most at peace traveling and most at home on open plains.
  2. Saddle You got this saddle as a youth and made all your achievements on it.
  3. Companions Lands are things you pass by, friends are what you bring along.
  4. Old Friend Leaving most of your tribe wasn't so hard, but there is this one person you miss.
  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. Love on the Wind You give your heart freely and fully, then move on.


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 might be 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 musical instrument or set of 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 Infirmity. 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 good.
  5. Reliable You relied on others, now you help others in turn.
  6. Carefree 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 you became strong. Now it it their turn to suffer! (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 symbolizes freedom!
  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 take you for a weakling or 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!


You grew up a citizen of the greatest polity in the land, a realm that served as an example of civilization and stability in a dark, lawless world. Unfortunately, your homeland faces many enemies both within and without—enemies that seek the destruction of everything your nation represents. You have dedicated your life to one of the many orders protecting your land. Your order boasts agents, allies, and stalwarts across the world, even in the world’s darkest, most dangerous corners.

This background can have a dark twist. All patriots think their polity is the best, but not all of them are right.

Source: En5ider #16.

Skill Proficiencies: Intimidation, History

Tool Proficiencies: Artisan’s tools (armorer’s kit), vehicles (land)

Equipment: An insignia of your order, a tabard with your order’s symbol, a set of traveler’s clothes, a letter of introduction signed by your superior, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp.

Friend of the Order Your order maintains a network of spies, agents, and supporters. Your polity has friends, even in places dominated by enemies. When necessary, you know how to locate safe havens in otherwise dangerous places, and you know which individuals to contact for information, shelter, food, and sanctuary.

Suggested Characteristics The citizens of this land understand the need for perpetual vigilance, especially in the face of so many enemies. You understand the importance of loyalty to your order, to your land, and to your beliefs; beliefs for which you would sacrifice everything you own.

Personality Traits
  1. Xenopobia. I have trouble trusting outsiders.
  2. Confidence. The world is beyond the help of normal men—but I am no normal man!
  3. Zealotry. I see the corrupting touch of evil everywhere I look.
  4. Responsibility I seek to bring justice to those who deserve it.
  1. Loyalty. I stand beside my companions and allies, regardless the cost. (Lawful)
  2. Honor. I defend the honor of my order and my land, for without honor we are nothing. (Good)
  3. Protection. I promise to safeguard those who cannot defend themselves. (Good)
  4. Vengeance. Those who do wrong deserve whatever retribution I deliver unto them. (Evil)
  1. Righteousness When I see an evil act, I feel compelled to intervene.
  2. Pride My polity means everything to me, and I’ll die before I dishonor it.
  3. Sacrifice I serve my polity above all, regardless of my own needs and desires.
  4. Devotion I owe my life to the priest who saved me, and I have pledged my soul in service of his order.
  1. Honesty I cannot lie; falsehood is the first step towards damnation, even when it is for a noble cause.
  2. Shame I hold myself responsible for the misdeeds of my friends and allies.
  3. Gullible I give my trust and loyalty too easily.
  4. Atonement I must atone for the sins and failures of the past


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 artisan's 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 become 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. Lucky Charm You have lucky item.
  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 slaves to gold. To be truly free, you need to be rich!
  7. Music Music brings 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. Disfigured Some part of your body was destroyed, such as an eye, finger, 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.


From the moment of your birth, the Savage Land wanted you dead. Monsters and beasts lurked at the village’s edge, eager to devour you like a delicious meat snack. The land conjured up blizzards, floods, drought, and tempests to flatten, drown, and otherwise destroy you and your folk. For all its murderous intent, however, you give thanks to your homeland. As the harshest place in the world, it taught you to survive. It forced you to grow strong. You learned the value of helping others and enduring together, even if it meant sharing the last of your food.

Source: En5ider #18.

Skill Proficiencies. Nature, Survival

Tool Proficiencies. One set of artisan’s tools

Languages. One of your choice

Equipment. A knife, a talisman or token of strength from your home, tinderbox, a set of traveler’s clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp

Hunter’s Instinct When you travel in the wilderness, you sense when someone—or something—has caught your trail or scent. Although you lack the details, you instinctively recognize when your pursuers are within an hour or less of your position and from which direction they approach.

Suggested Characteristics The people of the Savage Land retain a mystical link to their homeland, even when they travel beyond its borders. Infused with a love of danger, they often show bravery and fierce determination no matter the odds. At the same time, they understand that—sooner rather than later—the spirit of the homeland may hunt and kill them.

Personality Traits
  1. I do not seek death, but I do not flee its embrace.
  2. I dislike spending time in civilization; it weakens me and dampens my instincts.
  3. Possessions and wealth are temptations luring you to an unmarked grave.
  4. Life tastes sweetest when something tries to kill me.
  1. Might. Only the strongest deserve to live. (Evil)
  2. Wanderlust. I go where I want to, when I want to. (Chaotic)
  3. The Land. The spirit of the land guides my actions, even as it tests me. (Neutral)
  4. Hunter. When I see my prey, it’s as good as dead. (Neutral)
  1. My family—by choice or by blood—are all I have left. I will not fail them.
  2. The thrill of danger is more addictive than any civilized vice.
  3. My clan banished me, and now I must earn my way back.
  4. I collect songs, stories, and folklore to bring back to my people.
  1. I live every day as if it were my last, and to hell with the consequences!
  2. My kindness to strangers makes me an easy mark.
  3. My entire village perished thanks to my cowardice.
  4. I dislike trusting gods or their priests.

Thrall of Evil

You grew up in the bloodthirsty regime of a tyrannical overlord. Trapped in a hellish domain, your family existed without hope or faith. Although you escaped, by night you suffer nightmares of torture and imprisonment. When you awaken, you realize those weren’t nightmares, but rather memories of your suffering.

Skill Proficiencies. Stealth, Survival

Tool Proficiencies. One type of artisan’s tools

Languages. One of your choice

Equipment. A quarterstaff, a set of common clothes, a homemade talisman to ward off evil, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp

Social Invisibility You perfected the art of avoiding notice and never drawing attention. When someone first meets you, they later struggle to recall your appearance, your voice, or anything significant about you. Likewise, you blend into a crowd, making it difficult for pursuers to identify you.

Suggested Characteristics Those who escape the Regime of the Dark Overlord often fall into two personality types: those strengthened by their experiences, and those forever scarred by them. Either way, individuals from this regime understand how brutal, dangerous, and unforgiving the world can be. They understand how to endure, when to hide, and how to fight when cornered. A survivor often carries a perpetually haunted look in their eyes.

Suggested Characteristics

  1. I hate being the center of attention, and I don’t like to be noticed.
  2. Nothing fazes me. Once you’ve survived my homeland, everything else seems quaint by comparison.
  3. Everywhere I go, I scope out the nearest escape routes.
  4. I abandoned everyone I ever loved. I will never do so again.
  1. Survival. If you stop fighting, then you’ve let the villains win. (Neutral)
  2. People. I’ll protect my friends, but I don’t believe in causes. (Neutral)
  3. Rebellion. We must liberate the enslaved and overthrow their masters. (Good)
  4. Strength. Strength and power are everything. Without strength, you are helpless to protect yourself. With it, you can dominate those around you. (Evil)
  1. Nothing would ever convince me to abandon my allies.
  2. I swore to those who helped me escape I would return and save them.
  3. I swear to destroy the overlord and free my land.
  4. I have seen how true evil corrupts a kingdom. I will not allow it to spread here.
  1. I am both a pessimist and a fatalist.
  2. I do what I’m told out of habit.
  3. Hurting people to get what I want doesn’t bother me.
  4. When bloodshed begins, my first instinct is to hide.


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 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 force themselves on you.
  3. Mysterious The less you say, the more profound you seem.
  4. Idol You love being the center of attention.
  5. Brave You are the champion!
  6. Insular You rely on those closest to you.
  7. Fugitive You are on the run from cultists.
  8. Firebrand People must be roused!
  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. Responsible With great power comes great responsibility. (Good)
  5. Coven Lets do the cult thing! (Chaotic)
  6. Independent Lets not do the cult thing again! (Neutral)
  7. Curiosity The world is a riddle! (Any)
  8. Enlightenment Why was i touched? (Any)
  1. Memento You never knew your parents, but you have an 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 strange and alien.
  5. Psychophant 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 an explorer, raider, mercenary, or merchant—not knowing which of these paths will be yours.

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. Bather 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 Proficiency: 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 one type of vehicles

Languages: None.

Equipment: A wooden holy symbol, a memento of the time before the war, 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. Proper 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 work for your group, allowing the group to care for those around. (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.