Backgrounds for the Doomed – Dark Sci-Fi backgrounds for 5E

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Across the wastelands and into the mega-cities, all sorts of people dwell in truly dark places.  Many fall to corruption, whether from inside of or outside of its “protective” walls.  Many adventurous folk are not merely content with a mediocre life as a drone or even the life of a delivery courier.  While the latter explores the world outside, they are still tethered to a track, lest they quickly find themselves in over their head.  The rest who make their way across the strange and bleak world?  Thrill seekers, mercenaries, civilians on a vital but deadly mission, absolute maniacs!  But, haven’t adventurers always been this way?

Author’s Note: Yes, I know my RPG Blog Carnival is done.  But, I’m still quite inspired!  With that, here’s a couple of new backgrounds and how to incorporate them into a more average fantasy setting… and not so average settings.  Dark Sun, Ravenloft and other darker worlds might make for good fits.

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MAY BLOG CARNIVAL – Spiritualist Sorcerer and Exorcist Background

Image result for Pathfinder spiritualist

One might wonder, what is the power of a spiritualist?  It’s very much laid out in their name, someone who works with the spirits of the deceased.  Such sorcerers are fabled for calming angry spirits who lacked desire to move on to the after life.  In some instances, they have found ways to harness the spirits, whether out of mutual pact or magical extortion.

For most of your life, you have felt a connection with spirits.  Over time, you tried to develop talents to reach out to the realms beyond.  While not a bloodline in its own right, you have been touched by the nether realms, planar domains where souls travel upon death.  Harnessing your talent, you are more than capable of communing with spirits either through seance or through a known spell.

However, conjuring and working with spirits is often taboo, and is such practiced in secret.  While some may hear of you and seek you out for counsel when dealing with the dead, others might see you as a second rate necromancer.  Some orders have even formed within various religious organizations as exorcists, while others revel in individual freedom when dealing with the shadows beyond our world.

Author’s Notes:  I’m back with Blog Carnival content once more!  This time, I thought I’d dabble into the Occult theme by making a Spiritualist based circle for the Sorcerer.  While other classes also felt like good picks, this felt like the quickest match for me.  So, let’s speak with the dearly departed as we explore the Nether World with the Spiritualist.  And as a bonus, have a background on exorcism. 

You may find more on the May 2017 Blog Carnival here!  Alternatively, you may be interested in the Sage Variant: Occultist background that I made last year.  This would better fit a medium who contacts spirits through seances and the like, should you favor a more gothic flavor over a high fantasy one!

Also, this is the first pass for this sub-class, it will be due for revision in subsequent weeks.  This first draft is experimental and possibly volatile.

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Roguish Archetype – The Practical Joker

“Batter Up!”

A bane among their compatriots and a blessing all the same.  The Practical Joker is a master of mischief and mayhem.  Perhaps they’re creators of comedy, perhaps their sheer power of annoyance is a weapon all its own.  Either way, it’s not likely they’ll be trusted by many people and for good reason.

This isn’t to say these cheery pranksters are forces for antagonism.  On the other hand, many are quart jesters or comical folk in general.  Many travel around, hoping to bring amusement… usually at someone’s expense.  Assuming they have a sense of humor, they’re often in on the joke.  However, some practical jokers take their craft too far.  They become malicious, seeing downright sadistic acts as comical.  These people become feared as villains in their own right.

Author’s Note: The Muscle Wizard didn’t turn out how I had hoped.  It was a one shot joke based on a one shot joke anyway, so no harm done.  Also, this sub-class is built around the idea of manipulating enemies and making light of a situation.  This archetype is not intended for more serious games.  Likewise, this archetype shouldn’t be used as an excuse to troll your fellow players.  That’s a reason why Kender tend to be banned at a lot of tables.  Also, better late than never, right?

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