Backgrounds

Unhinged
You’re not crazy. Really. You’re just…different. You see the world through eyes that seem to bring it into a different kind of focus for you than for everyone else. Maybe you’ve always been this way, or maybe a traumatic event when you were a young person changed you. Either way, everyone seems to think you’re just a bit…off.
Regardless, you’ve never felt particularly at home anywhere you’ve been, so travelling was a natural path for you. Between the uprooted nature of your life and your interest (or perhaps obsession) in things that are beyond the norm, falling into a life of adventuring is one of the more logical things you’ve ever done.
Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Survival.
Equipment: Roll 3x on the trinkets table. You are drawn to oddities and brick-a-brack that others would simply discard.
Specialty: Roll randomly or simply choose one type of mental disturbance which applies to you: Depression, Anxiety, Mood Swings, Anger, Hearing Voices, Delusions.
FEATURE: AVERTED GAZES

Your personality and actions often unnerve those around you. Common folk prefer to stray from you if possible and choose to ignore your presence, hoping to avoid your attention. Though this often stings, you find that people pay less attention to what you are doing, unintentionally allowing you to move about more freely. Many even let you get away with things for which others would be punished, believing your mental state is to blame.

Possessed
You used to be something else, but that entity no longer matters. Somehow or another your mortal life ended at some point in the recent past and you found yourself possessed by something alien. You’ve existed long enough that the two have merged and become one, and on that day your new life began.
It is likely that the immortal entity which possesses you did not do this idly. Perhaps it had an ideal or philosophy it wanted to spread to the realm, as is the case with many extraplanar beings. Perhaps it has a specific mission in mind that brought it to the world. Perhaps it was simply tired of its previous home or circumstance and needed to escape. Either way, you obviously had no place in your former life and departed. Plus, the more distance you can put between yourself and the people who used to know “you,” the easier it is to avoid awkward reunions. Taking to the road seemed like the best option, so off you went.
Skill Proficiencies: Choose Two related to your possessor: Religion, Arcana, Nature,
Equipment: You possess and retain proficiency with one tool kit related to the profession of your previous life. Additionally, you have one formerly magical but now mundane trinket or item related to how you possessed this mortal form in the first place.
Specialty: Roll randomly or select what type of entity possessed you: Devil, Angel, Ghost/Spirit, Elemental/Chaos, Aberration/Far Realm, Feral Animal Spirit
Language: Choose one relative to your possessor (Abyssal, Celestial, Primordial, Infernal, etc.)
FEATURE: KNOWLEDGE OF ANOTHER

The mind of your possessor sometimes provides you with flashes of insight, memories, and knowledge. The exact nature of these flashes depend on the nature of your possessor. A ghost may lend you memories of its former life while a fiend may know dark secrets and
black magic.

The Dungeon Master is free to use this knowledge as a story hook, sending you on quests to learn more about your possessor’s history or true nature, or confronting you with foes who want to claim its knowledge for themselves or prevent you from learning what it knows.

Haunted One
You are haunted by something so terrible that you dare not speak of it. You’ve tried to bury it and flee from it, to no avail. This thing that haunts you can’t be slain with a sword or banished with a spell. It might come to you as a shadow on the wall, a bloodcurdling nightmare, a memory that refuses to die, or a demonic whisper in the dark. The burden has taken its toll, isolating you from others and making you question your sanity. You must find a way to overcome it before it destroys you.

Skill Proficiencies: Choose two from among Arcana, Investigation, Religion, and Survival
Languages: Choose one exotic language (Abyssal, Celestial, Deep Speech, Draconic, Infernal, Primordial, Sylvan, or Undercommon)
Equipment: A monster hunter’s pack (see the sidebar), a set of common clothes, and one trinket of special significance (choose one or roll on the Gothic Trinkets table after this background)
Feature: Heart of Darkness
Those who look into your eyes can see that you have faced unimaginable horror and that you are no stranger to darkness. Though they might fear you, commoners will extend you every courtesy and do their utmost to help you. Unless you have shown yourself to be a danger to them, they will even take up arms to fight alongside you, should you find yourself facing an enemy alone.
Harrowing Event
Prior to becoming an adventurer, your path in life was defined by one dark moment, one fateful decision, or one tragedy. Now you feel a darkness threatening to consume you, and you fear there may be no hope of escape.

Choose a harrowing event that haunts you, or roll one
on the Harrowing Events table.
Suggested Characteristics
You have learned to live with the terror that haunts you.
You are a survivor, who can be very protective of those
who bring light into your darkened life.
Personality Traits
d8 Personality Trait
1 I don’t run from evil. Evil runs from me.
2 I like to read and memorize poetry. It keeps me calm
and brings me fleeting moments of happiness.
3 I spend money freely and live life to the fullest,
knowing that tomorrow I might die.
4 I live for the thrill of the hunt.
5 I don’t talk about the thing that torments me. I’d
rather not burden others with my curse.
6 I expect danger around every corner.
7 I refuse to become a victim, and I will not allow others
to be victimized.
8 I put no trust in divine beings.
Ideals
d6 Ideal
1 I try to help those in need, no matter what the
personal cost. (Good)
2 I’ll stop the spirits that haunt me or die trying. (Any)
3 I kill monsters to make the world a safer place, and to
exorcise my own demons. (Good)
4 I have a dark calling that puts me above the law.
(Chaotic)
5 I like to know my enemy’s capabilities and weaknesses
before rushing into battle. (Lawful)
6 I’m a monster that destroys other monsters, and
anything else that gets in my way. (Evil)

Harrowing Event
d10 Event
1 A monster that slaughtered dozens of innocent people
spared your life, and you don’t know why.
2 You were born under a dark star. You can feel it
watching you, coldly and distantly. Sometimes it
beckons you in the dead of night.
3 An apparition that has haunted your family for
generations now haunts you. You don’t know what it
wants, and it won’t leave you alone.
4 Your family has a history of practicing the dark arts.
You dabbled once and felt something horrible clutch
at your soul, whereupon you fled in terror.
5 An oni took your sibling one cold, dark night, and you
were unable to stop it.
6 You were cursed with lycanthropy and later cured. You
are now haunted by the innocents you slaughtered.
7 A hag kidnapped and raised you. You escaped, but
the hag still has a magical hold over you and fills your
mind with evil thoughts.
8 You opened an eldritch tome and saw things unfit for
a sane mind. You burned the book, but its words and
images are burned into your psyche.
9 A fiend possessed you as a child. You were locked
away but escaped. The fiend is still inside you, but
now you try to keep it locked away.
10 You did terrible things to avenge the murder of
someone you loved. You became a monster, and it
haunts your waking dreams.

Bonds
d6 Bond
1 I keep my thoughts and discoveries in a journal. My
journal is my legacy.
2 I would sacrifice my life and my soul to protect the
innocent.
3 My torment drove away the person I love. I strive to
win back the love I’ve lost.
4 A terrible guilt consumes me. I hope that I can find
redemption through my actions.
5 There’s evil in me, I can feel it. It must never be set
free.
6 I have a child to protect. I must make the world a safer
place for him (or her).
Flaws
d6 Flaw
1 I have certain rituals that I must follow every day. I can
never break them.
2 I assume the worst in people.
3 I feel no compassion for the dead. They’re the lucky
ones.
4 I have an addiction.
5 I am a purveyor of doom and gloom who lives in a
world without hope.
6 I talk to spirits that no one else can see.

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