Backgrounds are the sum of what goes on behind the scenes for a character. A character has a life off camera with friends, family, and hobbies. These aspects of a character are defined within backgrounds. Backgrounds help a character organize their knowledge, training, and personal relation ships with non-player characters. These are broken down into Contacts, Influence, Knowledge, Training, and starting equipment. When a character begins play they get to start with one contact, one knowledge, two trainings and starting equipment. As a character plays within the game they may do things when not adventuring that can advance their characters goals such as make money, train in new skills, learn new languages, and even make new contacts. All of these events take time and or money to finish.
A character can make money if they choose. This can be done in many ways but usually will be done with a job a character can do such as carpentry. Each background has a salary that can be made. This is the basic amount of money that a character can make within one weeks worth of work. This includes all expenses that it takes to make the money from that background. Living expense are not included and a character with expensive living requirements may not be able to live on their normal salary.
Contacts are other non player characters within the game world.
You have studied a body of knowledge. When checking a creature's knowledge they may be able to answer a question within their field of study by reducing the difficulty die by one. Any area of thinking can be a knowledge and as such this list is not complete but is a basic list of known areas of knowledge: Animals, Arcana, Commerce, Elements, Engineering, Dungeoneering, Geography, History, Local, Nobility, Plants, Religion, Warfare, and Weather. Languages are also an area of knowledge and each language known other than your native tongue counts as one knowledge.
This is the training a creature will get for having this background. They may reduce the difficulty die of any trained check for each level in a specific training. Each background has a list of skills a character may train in. At first level a character may select two of these skills to train in. At each level after the first a character may select a new skill to train in or increase the level of a skill already known. A skill may not be trained past the level of grand master or training 4 times.
Training levels are as follows.
- Skilled - Taking a skill gives makes you skilled and reduces all checks by 1 difficulty die.
- Expert - Taking two levels in a skill makes you an expert and reduces all checks by 2 difficulty die.
- Master - Taking three levels in a skill makes you a master and reduces all checks by 3 difficulty die.
- Grand master - Taking four levels in a skill makes you a grand master and reduces all checks by 4 difficulty die.
This is equipment to help define the background more and give role playing options for the creature. Gold is also giving for them to purchase more important items. This is only gained at first level.
- 50 gold, you very little to begin your new life with.
- 100 gold, you have a average savings.
- 150 gold, you have scraped for every coin.
- 200 gold, your savings has been bolstered by a wealthy family.
An Alchemist studies mixtures and concoctions to create magical potions and salves. Contact: A mid level alchemist of minor influence.
Skills: Craft (Alchemy), Spellcraft.
Obligation: Maintain a modest alchemical lab and or train apprentices.
An Apprentice has a mentor in the arcane arts and as such has learned the most basic skills of magic.
- Contact: A mid level wizard with average influence.
- Knowledge: Arcana, History.
- Language: Draconic.
- Trained: Reading and Writing (Draconic), Investigation.
- Equipment: Backpack, candle, ink, 5 parchment, pen, scroll case, scholar’s outfit, 50 gold.
A Barbarian has lived his life in the wild with a tribe either settled or on the move. Either way civilized life is far removed and a sheltered life has been lead.
- Contact: A clan of 10 low level barbarians with no influence.
- Knowledge: Animals.
- Trained: Athletics, Handle animals, Survival.
- Equipment: Bedroll, flint and steel, sack, 5 trail rations, waterskin, peasant’s outfit, 100 gold.
A Bounty Hunter makes a living by capturing fugitives or other wanted creatures.
Contact: A low level official with renown influence.
Training: Diplomacy, Survival.
A Cutpurse has led a life of crime picking pockets and doing petty theft.
- Contact: A group of 10 low level thieves with average influence.
- Knowledge: Local.
- Trained: Deception, Sleight of hand.
- Equipment: Belt with pouches, caltrops, crowbar, dice, sack, peasant’s outfit, 100 gold.
A Hunter uses skills to live off of the wild.
Contact: A group of 5 low level hunters with average influence.
Knowledge: Animals, Weather.
Training: Athletics, Handle Animal, Survival.
A Merchant sales a product in a market for profit.
Contact: A group of 5 low level merchants with moderate influence.
Skills: Diplomacy, Merchantry.
A Noble has known wealth and power most of his life.
- Contact: A low level noble family member with average influence.
- Knowledge: Nobility.
- Trained: Persuasion, Reading and Writing.
- Equipment: Mirror, sealing wax, signet ring, noble’s outfit, 200 gold.
A peasant is the lowest caste in society and as such they have little wealth or power.
- Contact: A group of 10 low level peasants with no influence.
- Knowledge: Local.
- Trained: Craft (Any), Handle animal, Survival.
- Equipment: Sack, peasant’s outfit, 100 gold.
An priest has learned the ways of his faith and has been instructed by a priest in the ways of their immortal. To select the Acolyte background a creature must have faith in a specific immortal.
- Contacts: .
- Knowledge: Religion.
- Training: Alertness, Healing, Persuasion.
- Equipment: Belt with pouches, candle, healers kit, holy symbol, monk’s outfit, 150 gold.
A soldier has learned the ways of warfare. Trained in combat they have learned to kill.
Contacts: A group of 10 low level soldiers with average influence.
Training: Athletics, Healing, Survival.
A squire has learned the ways of warfare from a Knight. Trained in combat they have learned to kill.
- Contact: A mid level Knight with average influence.
- Knowledge: Warefare.
- Trained: Athletics, Handle Animal, Survival.
- Equipment: Backpack, bed roll, hemp rope 25’, spade, waterskin, traveler’s outfit, 100 gold.
A thief leads a life of crime and has many contacts and skills to help in his larceny.
Contacts: A group of 5 low level thieves with moderate influence.
Training: Disable Device, Stealth.