Those people are assholes*.
What do I care what someone at some company recommends for the backgrounds in my game? Moreover, what do you care? Do they have some power over you? Are they going to take your books away? I didn't make the statement above lightly. What is the impulse that drives you to point that out? Are you here to hang out and have fun or to try to tell people what they should do and how they should do it?
An even better question is what do you even care what I put in my free backgrounds? What mystical force is preventing you from changing or replacing it? Why do you need permission to create and use content? Let me explain, wait, no, there is too much. Let me sum up.
". . . But my character will have advantage when an undead creature tries to make him afraid!!! Even though this is an ability not a single monster released for the game even has yet, the game is now broken and my character is terribly overpowered in spite of the thematic relevance of not being afraid of dead things!!!"
Are we done now? On to Bravo, a background for hired muscle, The first of five more backgrounds this week.
Everyone needs a little help now and then. Sometimes this could be a glare. Sometimes it means just standing around nearby as a show of strength.
Sometimes it means you got to break someones kneecaps. Never can tell.
Skill Proficiency: Strength (Athletics), Charisma (Intimidation)
Proficiency: Gain proficiency with any blunt weapon.
Languages: Pick one.
Equipment: Blunt weapon you have Proficiency in. Chain (10 feet), Common Clothes, Crowbar. Sledge Hammer, Holy Symbol, Potion of Healing. Stylish or Dapper Hat (Wedge shaped, Tri-cornered, or Pointed front/back, pick one). Pet rat or snake.
Specialty: There are many different reasons you might have been an enforcer. Select or roll from the list below. Grant an appropriate contact and ally from the following list.
- Devout. You discouraged the practice of heathen religions and cults for a religious organization.
- Enforcer. You enforced order for a legal entity like a government.
- Connected. You made sure nothing bad happened to such a nice place.
- Internal Investigator. You provided enforcement for oversight of a particular organization, rooting out corruption and subversive influence.
- Teamster. You enforced the rights of the lower class against exploitative employers.
- Mercenary. You acted as a private police force for commercial interests.
- Brigand. You were an entrepreneur for an independent organization with room for growth.
- Free-agent. It's nice to hurt people.
In addition to the contact and ally listed above, you have a mentor who is a specialist in some skill, either physical or mental, who has a positive and reciprocal relationship with you. This could be an old apothecarist or alchemist that heals your wounds (and gave you the healing potion you carry), a blacksmith who provided you with food or shelter, or even an old witch in the wood who turned out not to dislike orphans or runaways.
Most people don't need to be hurt. But there are a certain class of people to you, heathens, degenerate drug addicts or gamblers, deviants, corrupt exploiters, what have you, that just won't listen to reason. That's why you don't use reason. You're not mean. You're not evil. Those are just the facts. If it weren't for you, little girls and innocent people would suffer. You're setting things right.
- I get visions. Sometimes I see things that aren't there. I'm always cautious about what I say or do because of that.
- I am secretly inside just like the people I hurt. That's why I hate them so much.
- I know other people aren't real. I don't worry about the ones I don't like.
- I like physical confrontation! It's not stressful, it's exciting and I feel so alive. Also, I'm usually much better prepared than those I face. I don't like all the talking and waiting beforehand, it stresses me out.
- I SMASH!
- Some things aren't right, and it makes me soo ANGRY! (Note: You need 3-5x the physical space to feel comfortable and often internalize things people say as personal attacks)
- People don't have to agree with me. I'm pretty laid back. Unless of course, you're in my way.
- I try to be the best person I can. I'm known as a good guy. I'm nice to old ladies and super polite and helpful to everyone I meet.
- Purity: Some things are wrong and they must be dealt with (Lawful)
- Sadist: *shrug*, I likes to hurt people. (Evil)
- Masochist: *lip quiver* I hate hurting people, but it is my terrible burden to do so. (also, evil)
- Moral: I make the world a better place (Good)
- Conflict Drive: I love to fight! (Chaotic)
- Competent: I like to be prepared (Unaligned)
- You've named your weapon. It doesn't talk to you exactly, but you know what it wants.
- You often feel like you are a (type of animal) trapped in the body of a human. This is your deepest secret.
- You travel with your lover. They are not a socially-appropriate lover. Sometimes people comment on this. Once.
- You keep the teeth. Not all of them, just one. Subtly. It's not like you're wearing them around your neck.
- You are good friends with a man that is hunting you.
- That's my hat!
- I am sexually excited by violence.
- I don't have the capacity to feel emotion, my loyalties shift like the wind.
- I'm smart enough to see the flaws in what my superiors are saying and this always brings me into conflict with them.
- I don't like myself and I always end up lashing out at the people who care for me to drive them away.
- I bully people because I don't understand that they are suffering when I harass them. That's how I let them know I like them.
Running a B/X game? Give these advantages instead of proficiencies. You can also give these bonuses if running a 5e game using 3d6 for character generation.
- +2 to either Strength or Con, +1 to the other one.
Like these backgrounds I wrote? I collected them in a Pay What You Want .pdf, and affordable hard copy!
Hack & Slash Compendium I at RPGnow for 3.99!
Hack & Slash Compendium I at Lulu in affordable print! (7.99$)
Hack & Slash
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* I do not usually use vulgarities on the blog. The word means precisely what I want to say. I.e. Asshole (Noun): 1. A stupid, mean, or contemptible person. 2. The worst part of a place or thing. Either the person doesn't know they can change their game to what they want it to be (stupid), or they do and just enjoy telling other people that they are wrong (mean). Both are contemptible and the worst part of a thing, i.e. the D&D fandom. At least, in a philosophical sense.
I'm not being mean, I'm being literal and I hope it gives someone, somewhere, insight.