Over the past couple of weeks I’ve started working towards a bundle of dozens of backgrounds for use in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. The basic version of these would be to fill out the space of time before you became a hero — so toss that Folk Hero in the trash.
The goal is to keep the core of these with the 2 skills and 2 language/tools of the base system, while having handful that may go beyond the base ruleset. Each would have a description, the gained skill set, equipment, the feature (maybe an alternate) as well as the including the personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws.
Backgrounds, when fully explored, give power to the social and exploration pillars of play. With them we discover that point of time “Before We Were Heroes.” There will also be need for at least one more language and a few more tools.
My goal, is to put this forward as a product on the DMs Guild, eventually. If my dreams come to fruition that I would partner with an experienced editor. I have an artist and designer in mind at this point. Depending on the editor, I may need a cultural consultant or two.
The list grows daily. At this point a few have full descriptions and associated personalities, while others are a title with the skills associated with the Background. Here is a list, in order of inspiration, that is far from complete.
- The Gambler
- Lantan Mechanik
- Tea Master
- Tax Collector
- Talking Drummer
- Brute Squad
Eventually these will be organized — likely by urban and rural. A few more magical and mystical backgrounds will be added. Those will likely include tropes that can only exist in a world of fantasy.
For now, my focus is on what the heroes of our times did, before they became legends.