The Tinker — A 5th edition D&D Background

The clattering of tin as they come over the hill; a belly laugh as the tinker learns of some gossip from mother; the circle of enraptured youth as a tale that is at most half-true is told; the fussing over a minor repair for a family that has no goods to offer in service.

In fantasy the Tinker is a trope that captures a travelling fixer who knows news, rumor, and myth. Their wealth rides a donkey or canoe with them and every community on their circuit is home and an unknowable set of peoples. Now, you too can play a Tinker.

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Maybe you grew up in a family of smiths, or were raised by bards, or maybe you were kind of good at a lot of arts, but not really good at one in particular. Whatever your past you decided to leave the ‘civilized’ world and help those families on the frontier. When things break you fix them.

When communities break you share that information with others who need to hear it. You carry as much information as you do tin. Your donkey is your only friend on the trails throughout the wilds. Everyone you meet trusts you, even the bandits, brigands and raiders. They need your services too.

Skill Proficiencies: Performance, Insight
Tool Proficiencies: Tinker’s Tools, Vehicle (Land or Water)
Languages: None
Equipment: Donkey/Mule/Pony (if water vehicles chosen a canoe, rowboat or skiff is appropriate), Tinker’s Kit, 1 Pound Each Tin, Copper, Iron, Pack Saddle, 3 Pots, Traveler’s Clothes, Pouch with 5 Gold

Feature: I Can Fix It

Facing a mundane device that is broken you are able to fix it, even if you don’t have the proper supplies and parts. This repair may only last a few minutes or a few hours, though it is enough for the device to last through it’s next use. You may wind up using a copper coin, or a bit of string, or a knife during this repair. This feature can be used to fix ammunition, traps, broken wheels, or other adventuring equipment. The repair is not permanent.

Tinker Design Goals

Throughout the literature that inspires Dungeons & Dragons are tales of itinerant workers who travel the barely civilized wildernesses drifting between villages. Primarily they are fixers, using bits of tin, copper, iron, leather, etc to repair farming tools or kitchen utensils in the homesteads too far from smithys.

The fiction also has these tinkers as storytellers. They aren’t bards, as their magic is just the magic of carrying tales of other households, villages, and empires to people who long for information, but don’t want to live in places where information is common. The Tinker tells their tales around a fire or a meal, informing the group through storytelling. At their next stop they will share what they’ve learned. Every encounter is a bit of knowledge to share in an attempt to connect the frontier lands despite weather and monsters that keep those connections broken.

For these reasons the Tinker has Performance and Insight. Consideration was made for History. That would seem to indicate an intellectual rather than a tale-teller. Insight made sense because of the way the literature has the Tinker connect to the families year after year.

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Custom Backgrounds for 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons

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