Sunday, December 14, 2014

Unusual Backgrounds: the Silent Protagonist

 Unusual Backgrounds: The Silent (RPG) Protagonist

Silent Protagonist
Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Persuasion
Languages: Taciturn Telepathy (see below)
Tool Proficiencies: One of Choice
Outfit: Set of commoner’s clothing, a bandana, a mop, a map of the local area, a memento of a lost loved one, a small knife, and a pouch with 10 gp

You are the epitome of the strong and silent type of hero. You seldom if ever speak, yet everybody seems to get the messages that you convey via simple expression and gesture.  It may be some sort of animal magnetism or perhaps it’s just the sense that you have a great destiny ahead of you.  Although you have great potential, this destiny is not set in stone.  Unlike the Folk Hero, you are relatively unknown, and unlike the Chosen One, your destiny has not been foretold or delivered to you in a dream.  Still, this only leaves you more room to defy fate and choose your own path.

Suggested Characteristics
The silent protagonist tends to come from humble beginnings only to rise up to great things later on. Silent protagonists tend to gravitate towards martial occupations, yet most are not so unbalanced that they are unthinking brutes.  Although frequently impulsive in the protection of friends and innocents, the silent protagonist can often show inexplicable ingenuity, even genre savviness.  In fact, consistency of character is not entirely an emphasized quality with silent protagonists.  Rather, their behavior tends to reflect some influence from those they interact with or even an invisible hand of god that seems to guide them.

Feature: Designated Hero
Although it’s not something that ever seems to be brought up in conversation or even in the conscious mind, people are comfortable with you around, even if it would otherwise be strange.  As long as their doors are unlocked and they would normally be disposed to treat you in an indifferent or more friendly manner, most people won’t bat an eye if you go into their houses and start up conversations with them or even ask them personal questions. You may even enter private property and root around in unlocked drawers, chests, and other containers to find a total of not more than 25 gp in goods in any one location. This Feature does not apply to places or items that are locked, warded, patrolled by private guards, or otherwise protected by some form of security. Nor does it apply when a person has something to hide or would otherwise be prone to act in an unfriendly or hostile manner toward you.

Personality Characteristics (1d8)
1.       <I can’t get enough of a hobby, such as fishing.>
2.       <Trademark phrase>
3.       <Stoic demeanor, except in deeply emotional times when façade breaks>
4.       <I keep a personal journal.>
5.       <I just want to be normal.>/<I just want to be somebody special.>
6.       <I’m constantly compared to a rival.>
7.       <I think weird monsters are really cool.>
8.       <I admire a personal hero.>

Ideals (1d6)
1.       Achievement (Neutral)                         <I will reach 100% completion.>
2.       Chronic Heroism (Good)                       <I will help anybody in need.>
3.       Murderhoboism (Chaotic or Evil)      <Kill everything and take its shit.>
4.       Glory hound (Chaotic)                           <It’s all about ME!>
5.       Strategy (Any)                                           <Brain over brawn.>
6.       Honor (Lawful)                                          <The rules must be obeyed.>

A hero with the Chronic Heroism Ideal will say Yes 11 times out of 10.

Bond (1d6)
1.       <Gotta figure out this one secret!>
2.       <Gotta save the prince/princess!>
3.       <Gotta kill this one enemy!>
4.       <Gotta get this one treasure!>
5.       <Gotta find a lost friend!>
6.       <Gotta unlock my true power!>

Flaws (1d6)
1.       <I eat too much, yet I hunger for more.>
2.       <I’ve lost all memory of my past.>
3.       <I bottle in all my feelings.>
4.       <I try to skip past any quest-giver exposition.>
5.       <I can’t turn down a quest.>

New Language: Taciturn Telepathy (Exotic)
This is not so much a language in and of itself but a “meta-language”, an augmentation to any existing spoken languages you know. You are able to convey complex messages and especially emotions through simple gesture, facial expression, sweat drops, and long pauses to any creature you could normally speak with. Handy on the occasion you need to speak without being heard. How Taciturn Telepathy actually works is up for debate; it may merely reflect an extreme aptitude of nonverbal communication. On the other hand, many sages believe it actually reflects a latent telepathic ability of some sort, especially when put together with the “Designated Hero” ability above.  As purely a substitute for normal speech, Taciturn Telepathy has neither a written form nor an alphabet. 
In this short snippet, this Hyrulian Silent Protagonist can recite his entire, heart-wrenching backstory over several lifetimes.

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