Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Unusual Backgrounds: The Resurrectionist

Unusual Background: The Resurrectionist (sometimes derisively called the Igor/Igorina)

An archetypical "Igor"

Skill Proficiencies: Medicine, Stealth
Tool Proficiencies: Alchemist’s supplies (Artisan’s kit), Thief’s Tools
Equipment: A shovel, a crowbar, a small knife, a set of well-worn and dirty but sturdy common clothes specially made for your… “unique” physique, a large leather sack, 2 special preservative-filled jars for holding body parts (1 of which carries some sort of lumpy organ in it that you’ve forgotten the nature of), pouch with 5 gp

You are a highly needed but sadly unappreciated henchperson to a (mad, kooky, evil, or just misunderstood) scientist or wizard.  Your skills are highly specialized: the stealthy intrusion into graveyards, crypts, mortuaries, and even slaughterhouses.  Not only are you skilled in the stealthy art of swiping the body parts held therein, but you also somehow have a good enough knowledge of body parts that you can often glean the best ones.  Yet despite your skill (or maybe because of them), you are almost certainly marked by deformities (physical or moral), whether caused by your own freakish genetic makeup, corruption from your evil acts, or simply from on-the-job hazards. (Henchpeople of this sort have a very poor union.)

A player character with this background is likely to be a “freelancer” or otherwise have no current master. (This is unless another player character is a Mad Genius or the whole group has a Mad Genius as a patron.)   The Dungeon Master should work with the player to decide upon the character’s relationships with her past employers.

Feature: I Smell Dead People                  
No matter where you are, you seem to have a nose for finding graveyards and other sites for retrieving needed medical supplies.   You are so adept at it, that you don’t suffer any mundane sicknesses a normal person might contract in your occupation when doing routine, mundane tasks.  However, special or supernatural diseases, all poisons, and all creature abilities affect your normally.

Personality trait (d8)
1.       I love to take things apart and see what makes them “tick.” Take this heart for instance.
2.       I always draft a contract before working a new job, or do anything really.
3.       Other people think I’m hideous, but I’m really beautiful on the inside.
4.       I tell stories of abuse at the hands of my former masters.
5.       I love being a guinea pig!
6.       On the job, I don’t mind a mess.  Everywhere else, I’m a neat freak.
7.       I have high aspirations. Someday I’ll build a golem of my own.
8.       I always let the people I’m with know how much better my previous master was.  You see, if my master were here…

Ideal (d6)
1.       Curiosity              I always want to know what’s inside the next tomb, the next body. (Any)
2.       Diligence              I will do my job the right way, as my customer specifies and nothing less. (Lawful)
3.       Greed   The fools don’t realize how lucrative the meat market is. You know, why am I waiting’ for the stiffs to off themselves naturally when I could make them myself! (Evil)
4.       Mischief               I wonder what will happen if I switch that normal brain with this one that says “Abby Normal.” Who’s Abby Normal? Well, I guess we’ll figure that out later, won’t we? (Chaotic)
5.       Restitution          I always leave behind payment for the parts I take from my donors. (Good-ish)
6.       Rivalry   I’m the king of my trade! Nobody can beat me! (Neutral)

Burke and Hare, two of the most (in)famous resurrectionists and proof that not all corruption need be physical

Bond (d6)
1.       I miss my master.  I will find a surrogate someday.  Hey how about that group of total strangers over there!
2.       I come in, do my job, and then punch out.  Fulfilling the contract is all that matters.
3.       I can’t stand to see my graveyards become tainted by the undead.
4.       I watch out for my fellow outcast kindred spirits.
5.       My creations are the main thing I truly care about.
6.       I work only for my own benefit.

Flaw (d6)
1.       I never bathe, even for events of formality and polite company.
2.       Previous mistreatment has left me with a chip on my shoulder.
3.       I obey orders without questioning them as much as I should.
4.       I enjoy a creepy laugh a little bit too much.
5.       I have a secret: I’m hoarding body parts and keeping them for myself.
6.       Sometimes I take a little bit too much of a sadistic glee in cleaving apart

Some links for inspiration:
 Burke and Hare, two of the worst kind of resurrectionists
 Igors (Discworld)
Historical information on body snatching and resurrectionists: General Information
Some specific history in the U.K.

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