21 October, 2011

Random Backgrounds

Unlike many of my tables, I'll try to make this one more general so it can be used over and over. This means it will require a lot more spur-of-the-moment icing from the DM (or player, depending on how it's used.) With that in mind, I may keep working to expand it a bit, probably in the style of Zak's multi-part tables in Vornheim. One thing about the table: the emphasis is on prior, so some glaring occupational holes exist where a background would necessitate a more profound effect on the character's current lifestyle. Also, if a background is more common in your milieu, have it occupy more spots in the table. Remember when doing so that it signifies a background which is both commonly held, and commonly left behind (thus the 'prior'.)

Prior Character Background

  1. Disgraced Noble
  2. Military
  3. Sailor
  4. Travelling Merchant
  5. Shopkeeper
  6. Caravan Guard
  7. Servant
  8. Bandit
  9. Farmer
  10. Farmer
  11. Farmer
  12. Builder
  13. Clergy
  14. Fisherman
  15. Woodsman
  16. Beggar
  17. Entertainer
  18. Laborer
  19. Laborer
  20. Courier
  21. Miner
  22. Husbandman
  23. Disgraced Scholar
  24. Criminal
  25. Criminal
  26. Criminal
  27. Student
  28. Civil Servant
  29. Scribe
  30. Professional Crowdgoer
  31. Town Guard
  32. Tanner
  33. Miller
  34. Military
  35. Courtesan
  36. Bon Vivant
What did I miss? Remember that entries like 'builder' can mean anything from carpenter to mason to boatwright. Also, I've avoided professions like blacksmith and jeweler, since they would have a more profound effect on the character's current life and abilities. Some things, like 'scholar' or 'wizard' probably wouldn't have much turnover.

-Edited to add some suggestions from comments. Town Guard could mean any police-like or security-related job. Civil Servant would include such jobs as the much-storied rat catcher. A Disgraced Scholar could be any teacher, scientist, historian, etc. A Husbandman could be any animal-related job, such as stableboy. A Shopkeeper is anyone employed in a storefront: butcher, baker, candlestick maker, barber, chemist, etc. A tinker, for example, could either be a Shopkeeper or a Travelling Merchant.
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