Microlite5E Backgrounds

This is spun out from the main Microlite5E page.


Every character has a background, which describes where they come from. It gives three benefits:

  • Characters are proficient in a skill that is the name of their background, so Urchins are good at sneaking and pickpocketing and telling lies, and Pirates are good at predicting the weather, manning a ship and intimidating landlubbers.
  • Backgrounds can be elaborated upon during play to provide a number of Story Benefits, outlined below
  • Each background comes with some starting equipment

Example Backgrounds

Rat Catcher: Story Benefits could include a knack for finding your way through sewers, a squeaking cant you share with the rats, or friendly faces among those sleeping rough. Equipment: A hand cart, rat traps, rat poison, a sewer map with a suspicious mark, a sack, a set of vagabond’s clothes and a belt pouch containing 2 GP.

Pilgrim: Story Benefits could include friendly faces of your faith who are happy to support your journey, a cant in the form of coded references to your holy book in its liturgical tongue or a quest opportunity as word travels of a weeping statue. Equipment: Heavy boots, winter camping gear, a holy book, a set of traveller’s clothes and a belt pouch containing 4 GP.

Rabblerouser: Story Benefits could include the friendly faces of the secret society you belong to, the shared resources of a printing press or safehouse, allies in strategic positions in the movement, or a knack for whipping a crowd into action. Equipment: A book of theory, a fistful of pamphlets, a soapbox, forged letters of passage, a set of labourer’s clothes and a belt pouch containing 10 GP.

Demimondaine: Story Benefits could include the friendly faces of the drug addicts, artists and immigrants who attend your book club, a knack for creating artworks that reveal an unexpected truth, or the palaver of actors and travellers. Equipment: An art kit, ..?

Story Benefits

Backgrounds can also provide a number of other benefits. Some examples:

Friendly Faces: People who share your community – or, in some cases, admire you for some other reason – look kindly on you, will shelter you, do you small favours and be able to put you in touch with others of your kind.

Cant: You share a secret way of communicating, whether that’s a liturgical language, a regional dialect, a code or cipher or professional jargon.

Shared Resources: Your community has at its disposal specialised, rare or expensive equipment, magic or other resources that you can take advantage of – perhaps for a small cost.

Allies: A few people owe you their loyalty, though they won’t put their neck on the line.

Secret: Your background leads you to know something unknown to others.

Quest Opportunities: A Sailor might get free passage on a boat headed for uncharted waters; a Scholar may know the perilous location of a book with exactly the information that they need; a Criminal may be dragged into a gang war.

Knack: Some trick or ability you have that others do not, by dint of your background. Examples include:

  • Weathereye
  • Lip Reading
  • Keen Mimic
  • Eidetic Memory
  • Direction Sense
  • Escape Justice
  • City Shortcuts
  • Track Down Information
  • Bush Tucker and Self-Sufficiency

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