Everyone Else: 5e Backgrounds for the "Mundanes" of the Fantasy World
Skill Proficiencies: Performance, Persuasion
Languages: One of your choice
Tool Proficiencies: One musical instrument of your choice
Equipment: A musical instrument of your choice, a set of alluring but common clothing, a love letter from a past paramour, and a pouch with 10 gold pieces
Your past has been filled with temporary amorous liaisons on a pay-for basis or perhaps just in such a way that it boosts your social station. These arrangements don’t necessarily have to revolve actual sex, particularly if you come from a well-to-do part of society. You are likely to have learned skills in many areas, romantic intimacy, musical instruments, conversation and culture. On the other hand, you are just as likely not to have afforded the pursuit of such relative luxuries, particularly if you come from from a less well-to-do background. Regardless of background, the life of a courtesan can be a hard one because it brings one to a position of vulnerability to the whims (and often abuse) of others.
Feature: Criminal Contact
As the Criminal feature of the same name, though this might reflect a past patron of yours who was especially fond of you and may have different connections and social privileges than a criminal contact might have.
Courtesans need to be charming and need to be tough. Charm is how they make sustain their living, whispering sweet nothings in the ears of their lovers. Toughness is needed because of their vulnerable positions. They are often exposed to trauma directly in the environments they live in and vicariously through listening to the woes of their lovers or friends. A savvy sense of culture can also be useful because it makes a courtesan wiser to the ways of the world.
Personality Characteristics (1d8)
1. I have a distinctive laugh I use to endear myself to my clients.
2. I prefer the finer things in life, fine clothing, fine gifts, fine wine, and fine clientele.
3. My public persona is totally different from who I really am inside.
4. No one shall tame me.
5. In times of stress, I mentally distance myself from the situation.
6. Authority figures unsettle me.
7. I always answer questions truthfully, but never volunteer information unless directly asked.
8. I’m always thinking about what other people are thinking.
1. Freedom (Good): No person should dominate another.
2. Survival (Any): I will do the things I must to survive.
3. Professionalism (Lawful): I don’t let my biases distract me from the job at hand.
4. Self-Fulfillment (Chaotic): Personal accomplishment and refinement come first.
5. Revenge (Evil): The world has wronged me, and I shall make those who have wronged me suffer terribly.
6. Loyalty (Neutral): Life is rough, and all we can depend on is each other.
1. Many would think of me as a vile creature of low morals. I will prove them dead wrong.
2. Although I escaped to a better fate, I left some of my friends behind. One day I’ll go back for them.
3. I had to give up an illegitimate child up to an orphanage. This memory is a continual reminder of how I must take control of my fate and choose the terms of how I live my life.
4. I will climb the social ladder and enter cultured society.
5. I consider winning somebody’s heart a personal challenge.
6. There’s somebody out there with high social privilege and some skeletons in their closet. Time to knock ‘em loose.
1. I consider myself the better of all of my peers.
2. My experiences have left my heart stone cold.
3. Although I left my old life behind, there are many who would drag me back to it.
4. I engage in a personal vice a little bit too much.
5. If things go against me, I’m outta here.
6. I quickly become bored of people
Skill Proficiencies: Deception, History
Languages: One of your choice
Tool Proficiencies: One of your choice
In your past, you pursued a varied mix of interests but very few in a professional sense. A single trade or profession has never captured your attention for long. You hem and haw, try a little bit of this and a little bit of that, learning choice bits of lore and skills from all over the place. Simply put, you are a dabbler. Fortunately, this lifestyle may be ideally suited to that of an adventurer, as you have collected enough skills throughout your meanderings to qualify you as a professional in this most dangerous of fields.
Feature: Fake it to Make it
You are skilled at blending in with more skilled craftspeople. When working under the supervision of a skilled master in a skill you are not proficient in, you can act as if you were half as proficient as one normally would be at your level. You can function believably as an apprentice or inept journeyman should you choose to do
1. I constantly mix metaphors and lingo from my past professions.
2. I frequently change the focus of conversations midstream.
3. Trivia is something I consider myself a professional in.
4. I always dress like a professional.
5. I keep a detailed list of future professions and lifestyles I want to try.
6. I always promise myself this will be the profession I settle upon.
7. I get bored easily. And you don’t want to see me bored.
8. When some trade has my interest, the tools of the trade are like a lover. When I lose interest, it can be like the most horrible of breakups.
1. Discovery (Any) There is always so much more to learn right around the corner.
2. Pragmatism (Neutral) I can’t afford to be choosy in my jobs. I’ll do whatever pays.
3. Change (Chaotic) I’m constantly reinventing myself. No time to get fettered down by obligation or personal ties.
4. Entitlement (Evil) By right, I should have whatever I want.
5. Duty (Good) Who needs help, whatever help they need, wherever they are, I’ll be there to supply it.
6. Loyalty (Lawful) I’ll do what I must to fulfill the debts I owe.
1. I’d almost die if I had to endure another day of boredom.
2. Someday I will find my place in this world.
3. There’s a hermit on some far off mountain I could learn a thing or two from.
4. I enjoy meeting interesting new people.
5. I’m writing a book based on my experiences. My memoirs will become famous the world over!
6. Best way to deal with trouble is to move on to greener pastures.
1. I procrastinate on hard tasks.
2. I become furious at the first sign of adversity.
3. I consider most professionals unrepentant boors.
4. I put all my heart and soul into my work, but then I end up burning out my interest on it.
5. I rely on others to bail me out of trouble.
6. My expectations never quite line up with reality.
Skills: Deception, Insight
Tool Proficiencies: Two gaming sets of choice
Equipment: Two gaming sets of choice (one of which may be marked, loaded or otherwise rigged in your favor- giving you advantage in gaming checks), a bottle of wine, a set of flashy traveler’s clothing, and a pouch with 1d12+5 gp
You have a background of living on the edge. Not ever holding any regular jobs, you’ve resorted to betting your fortunes on the rolls of a dice. But yet as a professional gambler, you’ve learned not to rely merely on luck. Part of your game is judging the odds, knowing when to hold, knowing when to fold. That’s what separates you from the amateurs.
Feature: Card Counting
With a lifetime thus far of pushing your luck, you know when the odds are in your favor. Barring intentional obfuscation, you’re generally able to puzzle out and exploit any common advantage in your favor in a game of chance. You’re also familiar with all of the normal traps the house or other gamblers may use to trick or swindle you.
Suggested Characteristics A gambler should be prepared to roll with the punches. The gambler needs a spirt of perseverance in the face of personal gains and losses. A keen eye can help one estimate the odds of success, but at heart the gambler will always be a victim of the fickle whimsies of luck.
Personality Traits (1d8)
1. I find joy in the uncertainty of life.
2. I always try to stack the deck in my favor.
3. I never cheat- bend the rules maybe, but never break them.
4. I’m constantly moving. Staying in one place makes me jittery.
5. I speak loudly and make wild gestures when I talk.
6. I’m a jaded cynic. It takes a lot to get my attention.
7. I try to size up everybody around me.
8. I am quick to anger but also quick to forgive.
1. Sloth (Chaotic or Evil) Work an honest job? Never!
2. Courage (Any) I never back down from a good game!
3. Honesty (Good or Lawful) I am loathe to lie, cheat, or steal.
4. Kindness (Good) Whatever I earn, I tend to give it all away.
5. Domination (Evil) Someday, I’ll own this town.
6. Security (Any) If I win this one hand, I’ll be set for life!
1. I adventure for the same reasons I gamble: for the thrills!
2. I accrued a big debt, and I gotta find somethin’ to pay it off.
3. I know there are plenty of neat trinkets out there. I hear there are magical dice and cards, and even an airship casino!
4. I know somebody special who never got to complete their bucket list. Since I know they’re with me in spirit, I’ll make sure it gets finished.
5. I want to meet all the big shots out there. Someday I’ll be one too!
6. It’s not about havin’ the money that’s important to me. It’s giving it away. Playin’ the game is all I’m good at, so that’s what I do.
1. I bet everything out of compulsion. I can’t help myself.
2. I tend to fritter away everything I earn on booze and other fleeting pleasures.
3. I swear enough to make a drunken sailor blush daintily.
4. Some people call me flighty; I call them boring.
5. I’m dead inside. Only the most dangerous things will relieve my boredom.
6. I can never resist an attractive smile.