Adventures in Random Roleplay – Part 2 – Secrets, Promises, and… Robotic Bird Calls?

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All right dice fondlers, last time on ARR! we put together six characters with random Race/Class/Background combinations. This week, we push in further, and establish each of our characters’ Backgrounds. You’ll notice I’m staying as far away from the mechanical aspect of the classes as I can. As I stated in the first article, I’m looking to make randomized CHARACTERS to give us interesting new perspectives to play from. In the Class week, we’ll actually make these characters mechanically viable.

For right now though, it’s time to learn about the history of these oddballs. Each of the character backgrounds in the Player’s Handbook have multiple charts for a minimum of four components to each. Personality Traits, Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws. Some Backgrounds also have an extra table concerning the background’s criminal or trade specialty.

Let’s begin.

Secrets And Their Keepers

First up is our Halfling Warlock. Our initial randomization told us they are a Hermit as well. With such an ominous backstory for this character and the naming conventions of Halflings, let’s call him Merric Gallowstree.

  • As a Hermit, Merric has skill Proficiency in both Religion and Medicine, and tool Proficiency in their Herbalism kit.
  • Merric knows an extra Language of our choice (As a Halfling, they already know both Halfling and Common).
  • As a Warlock, they will have an otherworldly patron to appease, so we’re going to assume that the additional language will tie into their Patron when we pick it during his Class setup, so we’ll pass on that for now.
  • Merric also have a scroll case stuffed full of notes, a winter blanket, a set of common clothes, a Herbalism kit, and 5 gold pieces.
  • Now, we roll for why our Halfling has entered a life of seclusion and find out that they were the caretaker of an ancient ruin or relic. This ties in well to the Background’s Discovery feature which states that they have discovered something; ruins, relics, a great truth about the universe, or blackmail material about their enemies.
  • Next, their defining Personality Trait is that they’ve been isolated for so long that they rarely speak, preferring gestures and the occasional grunts. Their most cherished Ideal is that inquiry and curiosity are the pillars of progress. Their Bond is that they entered seclusion to hide from the ones who might be hunting for them. This sets up a looming plot hook: they must someday confront their pursuers.
  • And finally, their Flaw is that they let their need to win arguments overshadow friendships and harmony.

We now know Merric as a quiet, stubborn loner who took to the wilds in pursuit of knowledge while making powerful enemies. What things did Merric find that have driven him to making bargains for power with extraplanar creatures?

The Song of Forgotten Wars

Secondly, a Warforged Ranger who has a Background as an Entertainer. Our information on Warforged tells us that they have practical names describing their function. We’ll go with Warbler, as an outdoorsy Ranger with an Entertainer Background makes me think of nothing if not bird songs.

  • As an Entertainer, Warbler has Proficiency in Acrobatics, Performance, a Disguise kit, and a choice of instrument. Warbler carries this instrument, the favor of an admirer, a costume, and a belt pouch containing 15 gold pieces.
  • However, after rolling a d10 to pick Warbler’s entertainment routine, we get an 8, meaning that Warbler is actually known as a singer. Sometimes the dice are good to us.
  • Since we know Warbler has an instrument, we’ll pick a flute, as it works well with the bird song theme.
  • Warbler has the By Popular Demand feature, meaning that as an entertainer, Warbler can typically receive free food and lodging of a modest or comfortable nature in exchange for a performance.
  • The Personality Trait is that nobody stays angry with Warbler for long, as Warbler can defuse any amount of tension. Warbler’s chief Ideal is the upholding of tradition through the songs and stories of the past.
  • Warbler’s Bond is that they idolize a hero of the old tales and measure their deeds against that person.
  • Finally, Warbler’s Flaw is that despite best efforts, he is still unreliable to his friends. This gives a slightly tragic cast to Warbler as a being built for war trying to spread joy and music (but thus far, he hasn’t been the best of friends).

A Grove of Stone and Steel

Finally for this week, we have a Tiefling Druid, a fairly uncommon combination. With their Background being that of a street urchin, we have quite the conflicted character on our hands. Since we already have a male character in Merric, let’s make this character female. With all this altruism and the habit of of Tieflings to name themselves after causes or ideals they find themselves drawn to, let’s call her Charity.

  • Now, being an urchin, Charity has Proficiency in Sleight of Hand, Stealth, disguise kits, and thieves’ tools.
  • She also has a small knife, a map of the city she grew up in, a pet mouse, a token to remember her parents by, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch with 10 gold pieces.
  • Charity’s Background feature, City Secrets, allows her to travel between any two points in a city in half the time it would normally take, as long as she’s not in combat.
  • Her Personality Trait is that she hides scraps of food and trinkets away in her pockets.
  • Her Ideal is one of community, to take care of each other because no one else will do it for them.
  • Her Bond is that she owes a debt that she can never repay to someone who took pity on her.
  • Finally, her Flaw is that if she will never fully trust anyone other than herself.

We now know that while Charity may not trust others explicitly, she believes in taking care of the disadvantaged, quite possibly as a way of paying back someone now long gone.

That covers our first pack of disparate strangers. Up next week will be our Fighter, Paladin, and Monk. Come back as we continue to build our strange little game module and remember:





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Written by: Jason A. Clark

Writer, Salesman, Cartographer of The Weird Realms In My Head

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