On 5e Backgrounds: Carney

You live and travel with a circus or carnival. Running away to join the carnival is the last refuge of the most desperate. Today, even the desperate consider it a poor option.

Skill Proficiency: Pick any one
Languages: Pick any 2, plus Kizzarny
Equipment: Common Clothes, Traveler's Clothes, Costume Clothes, Ball Bearings, Bell, Book, Candle, Flask, Hooded lantern, 10 foo pole, Sack, Iron Spikes

Specialty: There are many different jobs that workers can do for a circus or carnival. Each of the following contains a random effect, that should only be allowed if the specialty is randomly determined.

  1. Strongman (+1 Strength)
  2. Master of Ceremonies (+1 Charisma)
  3. Animal Trainer (Proficiency in Handle Animal)
  4. Jointee/Jointy (Runs the games: Proficiency in Slight of Hand)
  5. Mentalist (Choose 1 Wizard Cantrip)
  6. Monkey Boy/Girl (-1 Charisma, especially hirsute)
  7. Novelty Act (giant wrestler, midget, "hillbilly," hairy beast, grotesque or deformed person, or a trained animal - Yes, actually a talking dog/elephant/bear, choose appropriate modifiers with your DM) 
  8. Posing Show (Proficiency in performance)


After years in the carnival you've developed a variety of contacts of dubious morality. In each town or village, you can roll on the following table to gain a contact.

  1. Fence
  2. Apothecarist/Druggist/Pharmacist
  3. Thieve's guild member
  4. Corrupt Bureaucrat 

Suggested Characteristics

You didn't run away to join the carnival because things were going well. You're willing to take risks and have little to lose

d8 Personality

  1. Drug users, criminals and immigrants are the only people worth getting to know, they are honest not fake.
  2. Any work I can avoid doing is good work.
  3. It's not that I need the money, I just like taking advantage of people.
  4. I like to make people laugh.
  5. I'm only gathering information because I eventually plan to write a book.
  6. As long as I can stay on the road, I don't have to worry about getting all caught up in anything.
  7. I know not to break Kaefabe, I just don't trust anyone enough to ever break it. Everyone's a con.
  8. Easy come, easy go.

d6 Ideal

  1. Exploitation: The only good person is a mark.(Evil)
  2. Freedom: The open road is the only road for me.(Chaotic)
  3. Family: The carnival is my family. (Lawful)
  4. Competence: Never be the mark. (Unaligned): 
  5. Enigmatic:: There's a special magic to traveling the land and bringing wonder to folk. (Good)
  6. Experience: I'm going to finally see the elephant!(Unaligned)

d6 Bond

  1. You have a brother that is looking for you.
  2. You have more than one life-partner, and they don't know about each other, nor the lover you travel with.
  3. I travel with a small coterie of lifetime companions.
  4. I bring news to various small towns and villages.
  5. I perform with my brothers and sisters, all of whom share a certain special trait (dwarfism, etc.)
  6. I love the animals I train, and would do anything for them, including steal them from the circus.

d6 Flaw

  1. If I have an opportunity to take money, even from a friend or companion, I can't pass it up.
  2. I ripped off the people I traveled with, and they are out and after me. 
  3. I don't really like being obligated, as soon as someone cares for me, it'll be time to be moving on
  4. I got out of town in a possum belly (cab underneath a wagon) and the person I slept with to let me ride there has developed an unhealthy attachment.
  5. I committed one crime too many and am a wanted man
  6. Due to an error, one of my fellow workers died, and now anytime anyone depends on me I freeze up. 

OSR Package
Running a B/X game? Give these advantages instead of proficiency and features. You can alos give these bonuses if running a 5e game using 3d6 for character generation.
  • +1 to any statistic

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1 comment:

  1. Ooooooooo! Look at all those benefits you get from this one! I'm telling!

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