Picking herbs from a backyard garden, a hot house, or a forest outside of town the herbalist collects natural items that aid and harm. An herbalist can heal, poison, invigorate. They know the powers of plants and fungi to change how humanoids and beasts experience the world.
You are a naturalist. You use the art and science of foods and other natural goods to change the way people experience the world. Maybe your favorite tisane helps awaken the weary, or heal the hurt, or cure a disease, or puts people to sleep. A poultice could stop blood flow, or cool the overheating.
There’s power in the natural world and your various recipes. Clerics count on gods. Druids channel the magic of nature. An herbalist knows that life interacts with itself in interesting ways. There’s a magic to that, it’s just not ‘magic.’
Skill Proficiencies: Nature, Survival
Tool Proficiencies: Herbalist Kit
Equipment: Sickle, 2 candles, Scroll case with 5 pieces parchment or a notebook, common clothes, component pouch, herbalism kit, 2 vials (1 w/ either antitoxin or healing potion)
Feature: A Dash of This; a Dollop of That
Using a short rest, you can always find the various fungus, plants, and whatnot needed to make antitoxin, healing potions, poison, or coffee-like substances. Your recipes manifest as salves, poultices, potions, pills, or any other way to deliver the ingredients. Any of your recipes take just a Bonus Action to use as they are more potent than typical.
The personality traits, ideals, bonds of flaws of the Acolyte, Folk Hero, Hermit, Outlander, and Sage all make sense to borrow from during the playtest of this Background. When published all Backgrounds will have unique character traits.
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Herbalist Design Goals
Again, this design exists because the Guild Artisan puts most Backgrounds that are related to Tools into a Guild. That’s fine for some stories, but it ignores so many others.
A rural or farm community Herbalist is common in the lore upon which D&D is based. These can become Druids, Rangers, Clerics, Sorcerers, Wizards, and Warlocks most commonly. There’s also a fit with certain Barbarians, Monks, and Paladins. Frankly, a Rogue (Assassin) and Paladin (Devotion, Ancients), and even a Fighter (Eldritch Knight). Because frankly every background should have a story with every core class.
There was also a desire to have access to Druidic, my least favorite D&D language, at a Background level. A couple Backgrounds grant access to Thieves Cant, and it makes sense to have at least one grant Druidic. Shortly, there will be a post about a new take on Druidic that expands it to cover at least one more class and a couple more Backgrounds soon.
Nynaeve al’Meara from the Wheel of Time is a foundational character for this Background.