From the Greatest Showman, to Newsies, to the nameless town criers belting out “Hear ye, Hear ye” the fiction that inspires our gaming has included symbols of governments, news guilds, carnivals, circuses, and religious orders in the streets are regularly part of the scenery. Some of these people would be dragged into heroic adventures.
Amadin the Barker is one of these. Originally a barker for a travelling carnival, this fey hobgoblin fits within the normal world because of the cover of the carnival. Their exotic lineage belongs among the strongmen who aren’t strong, the acrobatic performers, the owlbear trainers, and the oracles without magic.
Created through a series of polls and prompts on Twitter, Amadin the Barker is discovered to be a Blessed Warrior Paladin of Redemption. They are generally peaceful, able to help their circus make money, prevent serious loss of live, and work to redeem themselves.
Peace. Innocence. Patience. Wisdom.
They swear upon these values. Sure, they are a warrior when needed. Those needs are rare. Amadin’s greatest tool is their booming voice and their desire to help the peoples who took them in when they were a stranger.
Amadin the Barker
|Constitution +3||Fey Hobgoblin, Paladin of Redemption (3)|
|Strength -1||Carnival Barker | Into crochet, not good at it|
|Fine Clothes, rarely a Chain Shirt||Ghesh Province|
|Comfortable, penny pincher||Ashamed, Judgmental|
Amadin is an example of a carnival barker, town crier, or herald. This new Background is part of my ever-percolating project Before We Were Heroes. Unlike the Remarkable Drudge, there is no cantrip or new tool for the Crier.
Skill Proficiencies: History, Persuasion
Tool Proficiencies: None
Languages: Two of your choice
Equipment: A noisy instrument (bell, gong, horn, drum), fine clothes (a Barker should have a costume), common clothes, scroll case, 3 sheets of parchment, quill, jar of ink, 15 gp
Feature: You Will Hear Me
When in a crowd, or during a heated discussion, your words always break through the background noise. When you shout out, or clap, or ring the bell, etc., the attention of the multitudes shifts to the Crier/Herald/Barker who can make an appeal to them. Your pronouncements carry the weight and heft of your organization.
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Barker Design choices
Skills: Persuasion was obvious. That’s where this background had to start. Their whole role in society is to convince people to do things. The other choice came down to Insight or History. Insight made sense because reading a crowd may be necessary, but History fits the idea that the symbol of an area’s governance or a news guild or a traveler would have this level of knowledge. If a campaign is using Culture rather than Language, drop History for Insight.
Tools: One of the spaces I’m exploring is giving various Backgrounds tools that they possess that they aren’t necessarily proficient in – in this case a musical instrument. The Crier may use a gong to gain attention. They don’t need to know how to perform a musical piece.
Languages: With two more slots and the modern cosmopolitan nature of default D&D granting two languages makes sense.
Equipment: The non-proficient instrument is a little note that some Criers need an assist before they gain attention of the masses. Most backgrounds do not include two sets of clothes. In the case of the Crier/Herald they should have fine clothes for official duties and look common when not. For a Barker replace the fine clothing with a costume, if you’d like.
Feature: First off, yes, I modified the Sounder at Heart motto for this one. You Will Hear Me captures the feel of a person standing in the crowd and demanding attention. A character could use this as a distraction, or a rallying cry, or maybe as a way to start a charity drive. As always, the feature fits into social and exploration moments more so than combat.
For personality attributes use Folk Hero, Scholar, Noble, or others that fit. The finished product, whenever it is done will include unique characteristics for all 40 or so Backgrounds.