On a family vineyard with vines as thick as hippogriff legs you work the grapes. The slow, tedious springs and summers on the hard scrabble rocks are exhausting, the harvest a frenzy of activity. Then the fun starts, as does the waiting.
The vintner enjoys all of this time, but the apex of their art is the finished bottle, and sharing it with others. They carry stories in their bottles. Stories of grapes, of skies full of wyvern, of the journey past the bandit camps, of that one time the mage saved their vines, and that other time when the druid thought they were helping.
Every bottle has a story as does every person who sips it. The vintner is not just an expert at crafting wines. They are a marketing specialist and a storyteller. Each barrel, every cork, each wineskin, every jug – another tale to tell is discovered. The vintner may not have intended to travel the lands on quests, but they know whenever they return to their villa and vineyard they’ll have new discoveries to share.
The following rules are a pre-publication example of a Vintner – a background for the current edition of Dungeons & Dragons.
Skill Proficiencies: Nature and one of Deception or Persuasion
Tool Proficiencies: Farming Tools, Winemaking Tools
Equipment: Farming Tools, common clothes, 1 pound of cheese, 3 wine skins, 3 small cups or glasses, 10 gp
Feature: Wine Lets Secrets Out
The vintner has a knack for storytelling and conversation. Through pouring a tasting and chatting they are able to learn a tale from the person’s past. Sometimes these are of an adventure, or a foible, or a mystery that needs to be solved, and at the rarest times these tales are things that were supposed to always remain hidden.
Characteristics: For now, use those from the Guild Artisan or pick & choose your favorites. Whenever my background project sees full publication there will be unique characteristics for all of them.
This map popped into my Facebook feed the day I published the Vintner. It’s included because it is perfect, and actually reminds me of Balboa.
Vintner Design Goals
To more capture the feel of the pseudo-Mid Ages/Renaissance period the Vintner is the grower, the maker, the taster, the seller. Plus, that type of specificity gets anti-5e pretty quick. While the Guild Artisan can capture this background, it forces the artisan into a guild. Many adventurers pride themselves in their independence. The Vintner had to be a solo gig.
The choice of Deception or Persuasion is out of a desire to represent the different angles in marketing that can occur within the flavor business.
When it came to tools versus languages there was a part of me that wanted a language rather than second tool, but that was hampered by two things. First, I generally frown on how D&D handles languages. Second, if I’m bundling growing in and have developed Farmers Tools, let’s use the Farmers Tools.
The feature, which uses a Chinese proverb rather than the Latin In Vino Veritas, is an attempt to capture the flow of story and words as friends and even enemies commune over a bottle(s). As a DM having a player with this feature helps grant so many clues in new ways.
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Custom Backgrounds for 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons
- Remarkable Drudge
- Farmer & Beekeeper
- Caravanserai & Innkeeper
- Lamplighter & street sweeper
- Far Talker
- Clerk & Tax Collector
- Barber, stylist or bloodletter
- Cabbie & ferien
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