On 5th Edition Backgrounds: Calligrapher

Another Patreon Request!

You had a history of making copies of books the hard way.

Skill Proficiency: You are proficient in Intelligence (History)
Tool Proficiency: You have proficiency with Calligrapher's Supplies and Cartographer's Tools.
Languages: Pick one additional language
Equipment: Book, Case, map or scroll x5, Chalk x10, Common Clothes, Ink x 2, Ink Pen, magnifying glass. Paper x50, pouch


You can scribe scrolls into spellbooks in one-half the usual time.

Suggested Characteristics

Usually quiet and reserved, Calligraphers and scribes are actually very difficult jobs. It is a technical profession, and the differences between a copyist, scribe, and sofer are more than trivial.

d8 Personality

  1. You would have stayed forever, if the temple hadn't been burnt to the ground. Doing anything other than your work is anxiety inducing.
  2. Tired of writing about it, now you live for adventure!
  3. Actually, you are quite wise and constantly have to correct everyone.
  4. You have your own ideas, and changing texts as a copyist is what got you in trouble in the first place.
  5. It was a boring job and you were bored in it, and you're bored by most things. Everyone should be thankful you have such a vested interest in making things exciting.
  6. Everyone is dumb, better to keep your mouth closed and not prove it to anyone.
  7. You need to find new sources of knowledge instead of copying the old ones.
  8. You like the taste of paper. That doesn't mean your strange. The voices mean that you are strange.

d6 Ideal

  1. Preservation: Knowledge must be recovered and preserved at all costs. (Lawful)
  2. Edification: People can be helped by knowledge and it's your job to help them. (Good)
  3. Greed: Secrets lie in hidden works, and they are yours for the taking. (Chaotic)
  4. Nihilism: Knowledge should be consumed and then destroyed. (Evil)
  5. Discovery: Secrets of ancient gods and power lie on texts. (Neutral)
  6. Exploration: Have your own experiences to be worthy of writing about them. (Chaotic)

d6 Bond
  1. You have a sister that wants to kill you.
  2. You wish to prove yourself to a paramore.
  3. Your faithful pet companion is your truest friend.
  4. You seek revenge against those who have been burning your works.
  5. You have a secret word that must be spread to your unknowing followers.
  6. You have a large tome, which there is only one copy of, and being magical, it requires certain reagents in order to copy it successfully without destroying it. 

d6 Flaw
  1. You are so much better than all the people around you.
  2. Educated, erudite, and beautiful? It's only narcissism if it's not true.
  3. You c-c-can't help but s-s-st-st-stutter.
  4. Magic-immune Leprosy
  5. Now we would say you are "on-spectrum", then, you just smell bad and have trouble with people liking you.
  6. WHO TOUCHED MY THINGS? You're not paranoid if people are actually out to get you.

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.
  • +1 Intelligence 

Hack & Slash 
FollowGoogle +NewsletterSupportDonate to end Cancer (5 Star Rating) (77$ donated so far!)


  1. Thanks!
    (one nitpick, though ... possibly because I am a calligrapher myself, and probably have a couple flaws from your table: under the OSR package section there is only "text" and nothing else...).

  2. I've been really enjoying your 5e backgrounds, and this one is particularly nice not because I have any deftness with the pen but because I've been working on a Calligrapher player class, maybe it would be of interest to those interested: justanotherdungeon.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-pen-is-mightier-draft-calligrapher.html

  3. Imagine a calligrapher turned forger. Or a bardic fighting man.

    It's too bad this background is absolutely useless for a magic user or cleric, who never have to write anything.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...