On 5e Backgrounds: Torturer

You enact the political agendas of the courts. People come and take their punishments. Sometimes they are released, sometimes they are killed. Such is your life. You know how to amputate limbs without pain and how to cause tremendous pain without damage and what the best ways to kill someone both painlessly and full of pain.

Skill Proficiency: Wisdom (Medicine); Charisma (Intimidation)
Tool Proficiency: Torture's Tools (Proficiency bonus on any rolls to torture subjects), Long-sword
Languages: One bonus langauge
Equipment: Mercurial Long-sword (does +1 damage), Traveler's Clothes, Torturer and executioners garb. Crowbar, Needles, Torture kit, Vials of Antiseptic and Anesthetic, Silk Rope (50 feet), Suede bag with 25 gold. Leaf of a plant with razor sharp edges.


If you have the opportunity to torture someone, you gain advantage on intimidation rolls. You can also hire your services out along the road as a torturer or executioner, earning 1d6 + 2 gold a day, along with the enmity of the population.

Suggested Characteristics

You take life, amputate limbs, and cause pain. The rightness or wrongness of it is always in the minds of men. You've seen and heard every pleading lie and horrific truth. Your job is a job that must be done. If it were not you, it would be someone else.

d8 Personality

  1. I feel the pain I cause others intently and it brings me to tears. But without practicing my craft I fall into despair.
  2. I know everyone carries sin in their hearts and I use their bodies to free them of it.
  3. I have an eidetic memory, though I get lost inside it sometime.
  4. I am a sadist and derive euphoria from hurting people, though I am smart enough to keep this secret.
  5. I know the knowledge I possess about the body gives me the duty to fulfill. I don't enjoy my job but it is necessary.
  6. I love women and often have difficulty choosing between them, though I always seek their company.
  7. I love people, but I love drugs more.
  8. I've lived most of my life in a tower and understand very little of how things work in the wider world.

d6 Ideal

  1. Sadism: I love causing pain and suffering. (Evil)
  2. Masochism: I suffer for every person I hurt and I love suffering. (Unaligned)
  3. Order: For law to flourish, pain must purify sin. (Lawful)
  4. Apathy: Right and wrong are just matters of perspective (Chaos)
  5. Freedom: I seek to free myself from the bonds of my guild. (Chaos)
  6. Duty: I do what I have to, because I must. (Lawful)

d6 Bond

  1. You bear a holy artifact and may be the messiah of a religion.
  2. You fell in love with one of your charges and were banished from your guild.
  3. You travel with a companion who is your age or younger who may or may not be your mother or grandmother.
  4. Your sister is a witch and she wants to kill you.
  5. You are secretly the heir to the throne.
  6. Your sword is one of a kind with a unique name.

d6 Flaw

  1. I always like to present things so that they appear favorable for me, even if it involves lying, which I never do.
  2. There is a trail of jilted women left in your wake.
  3. You once angered a magical ogre who seeks you for revenge.
  4. You carry an artifact that you are unaware is anything other than a trinket that many different factions seek.
  5. You know who is worthy and who is not of judgement and it is your job to enforce that judgement.
  6. You carry a mark that identifies you as a torturer even when you don't wear the garb and people react appropriately.

OSR Package
Running a B/X game? Give these advantages instead of proficiency and features. You can also give these bonuses if running a 5e game using 3d6 for character generation.
  • Gain +1 Wisdom and a sword that does +1 damage.

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$)

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  1. Replies
    1. Obviously the credit goes to Gene Wolfe.

  2. I'm going to have to come up with something to replace the Advantage bonus but otherwise, I'm loving these and will be making them available to my players.

    1. I think the advantages are thematically appropriate and rare enough that they are viable. Fear from undead and intimidation while torturing are rare.

  3. I'm really enjoying these. Thanks for cranking them out. :)

  4. Also,"You kind-of ate your girlfriends brain, well not really.. but she might be you and you might be her, try not to worry about it."


    "You grew up in a space ship, you thought it was an iron tower but ITS A SPACE SHIP, THE PLANET IS EARTH, EARTH IN THE FUTURE."


    "You are probably Jesus, don't forget to kick-start the sun on your way out."

  5. These are great -- hope you make more.


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