Some Epic Backgrounds

This all started after reading a webcomic which I would link to except it currently is hosting a really aggressive browser hijacker.  The punchline is that one of the players in a  group proposed a character concept I would normally have rejected as being far too twinkish for play.  But that got me thinking – how *would* I support a fallen god in play?  And that in turn lead to these 5e backgrounds:


 

The Ascendent

You were not always as you are today. Once, you were something greater. Something you cannot remember fully, but which still haunts your dreams. You were mighty and glorious, but you were struck down. Perhaps tricked. Perhaps betrayed.

Whoever your enemies were, they no doubt think you destroyed, but some piece of you has lingered on. It has forged this mortal form and set your feet upon the path to restore yourself and to strike down those who laid you low.

But first, you must find out who they are, and by extension, who you are.

Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, Insight

Languages: Speak one from the following list: Abyssal, Celestial, Draconic, Infernal, Primordial

Equipment: a small metal disc containing a symbol your sure has meaning, Travel Clothes, 7 gp

Feature: Lost Legacy

You have forgotten almost everything about your former state, but sometimes snippets of memory will come through, though it is not always helpful. This may take the form of dreams, or of certain places and things seeming familiar to you.

If you ever find your name, you may replace this background with The Fallen background, keeping the same skill and language proficiencies you already selected, and not gaining any new equipment.

Suggested Characteristics

The Ascendant have equal reasons for arrogance and humility. The knowledge of former greatness is tempered by the sense of what was lost. More, they have reason to be secretive about their nature – at best, it is easily interrupted as madness. At worst, you may tip your hand to your unknown enemies.

The Adventuring Ascendant

The ascendant has every incentive to adventure. The secret of the ascendent’s past are not something to be casually discovered, but rather are to be sought out, hoping for memories or destiny to provide a path to ascendance.

Players

Play an Ascendant if:

  • You want your story to be epic from day one
  •  You want to have a big mystery to pursue
  •  You like the idea of not being sure who you are

DM

When your player chooses ascendant, you’ll want to:

  • Figure out who or what they were, at least in broad strokes. God? Arch Lich? Demon? Elemental Prince? Great Old One? You can either collaborate with the player on this, or keep it secret, as suits your tables.
  • Figure out who their enemies were and put them on the shelf to slowly reveal over the course of play.
  • Identify a few people who knew the ascendant in their original form but are not necessarily enemies.
  • Consider time. Did the character fall recently or sometime long ago?

The Fallen

They struck you odeon, but you will rise again. You remember what you once were. You remember those who struck you down. They think you are gone, but you outsmarted them all. You have survived, and while this mortal shell holds only a sliver of your lost power and understanding, it offers a path to regain what you have lost. And perhaps to eke out some revenge.

Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, Insight

Languages: Speak one from the following list: Abyssal, Celestial, Draconic, Infernal, Primordial

Equipment: a burnt reminder of what you once were, Travel Clothes, 6 gp

Feature: A Name to Conjure With

Your name is known in the circles of the great. When you meet with beings of great power (demons, devils, elemental princes, great dragons and so on) then they will recognize your name, and will be willing to treat with you respectfully (insofar as their nature allows). Your name carries no more weight than that, so while it may open a door or create an opportunity for conversation, it’s still on you to make it work.

Suggested Characteristics

Unlike the Ascendant, the fallen remembers who they were and something of their former circumstances (though details remain hazy). This tends to swing them more towards arrogance and no small amount of “Fools, I will destroy you all!” though it is still possible for the character to be introspective, or even conflicted about their history.

The Adventuring Fallen

Well, of course you’re going to adventure. How else will you do this?

Players

Play a Fallen if:

  • You want your story to be epic from day one
  • You want to be driven with a purpose
  • You like the idea of being exceptionally special

DM

When your player chooses ascendant, you’ll want to:

  • Figure out who or what they were, at least in broad strokes. God? Arch Lich? Demon? Elemental Prince? Great Old One? You should collaborate with the player on this.
  • Figure out who their enemies were and put them on the shelf to slowly reveal over the course of play.
  • Identify a few people who knew the ascendant in their original form but are not necessarily enemies.
  • Is the character the only remnant of their original form? Would they know?

SIDEBAR: Warlocks

There is absolutely no reason a Warlock’s patron could not be themself (or rather, the remnant of themself).  Mechanically, it doesn’t change anything, it just defines the relationship in a particular way. 


Character Description

I am using a lazier model for PIBF. At some point, these will be d20 each, but for now

Use these Mad Libs Style: “I am a PERSONALITY, IDEALS BONDS who FLAWS”

Personality

  1. Swaggering
  2. Standoffish
  3. Serene
  4. Meticulous
  5. Restrained
  6. Outgoing

Ideals

  1. Arrogant
  2. Introspective
  3. Brave
  4. Calculating
  5. Generous
  6. Paranoid

Bonds

  1. Warrior
  2. Scholar
  3. Student
  4. Keeper of the Faith
  5. Criminal
  6. Politician
  7. Leader
  8. Follower

Flaws

  1. Refuses to ask for help when needed.
  2. Sticks their nose in other people’s business.
  3. Won’t change their mind once it’s made up.
  4. Takes care of themselves first.
  5. Is always looking for a way to get rich quick.
  6. Spends money like water

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