Backgrounds

Backgrounds

The specific backgrounds of a character are as varied and different as the characters themselves, but all fall into one of the following categories. A character’s background determines which skills, if any, they have an affinity for. A character may choose their Background at any time, but it may not be changed once chosen.

Villager

Your formative years were spent in a rural environment. You may have picked up the basics of several physical activities and occupations. There would have been little to no access to formal education. Any access to weapons would have focused on hunting rather than combat.

Townsfolk

Your formative years were spent in a simple urban environment. While there were opportunities for learning some physical skills, there was also access to academic education. Access to weapons would have been limited to street fighting or the local militia.

Cityfolk

Your formative years were spent in a complex urban environment. Specialised education would be available as would a more shady education. Weapon training would be limited to street fighting.

Military Brat

Your formative years were spent in or around defender barracks. Crafts and occupational skills would be hard to come by, but weapons training and particular specialised academic skills could be found.

Apprentice

While your early childhood was spent with your family, you were apprenticed to a guild at a very early age. You may have had a single mentor, or several, travelling between guild houses, you ended up performing mostly menial but quite specialised tasks.

Guild Orphan

Your formative years were spent in a particular temple, college or tower. Academic skills and specialised education would be almost mandatory or at least expected.

Minor Nobility

Your formative years were spent with a silver spoon or similar in your mouth. Access to a tutor for formal skills, perhaps even a fencing master. However you have very limited knowledge of more practical occupational skills.

Nomad

Your formative years were spent travelling. With no set home, education and training that can be taught will on the move is easier than any that might require staying in one place. Skills that emphasise survival are stereotypical.

Using Background Skills

Background skills can be used for a variety of non-combat skills on a game where player thinks they might be relevant with agreement of the GM.

Example: A Patrol goes to Port Pilchard to fight some Sea Goblins and board a ship to attack the Goblin pirates. In the process, Broko has to sail a boat to a pirate cove. As a Nomad, he’s bought the Sailing skill and can perform the task without issue.

Buying Background and Stereotypical Skills

Background skills cost 5 CP each to purchase. A character may purchase up to 4 Background skills between Rank 2-10 which their background has access to. A character may purchase an additional background skill every 10 Ranks, starting at Rank 10, 20, 30 and so on.

Points spent on Background Skills may be offset against the cost of Stereotypical Skills. Stereotypical skills are also determined by a character’s Background and are discounted by the points a character has spent on Background skills before purchasing the Stereotypical skill.

A character may also purchase Background skills that are not part of their Background for 5 CP, providing they are allowed to purchase a Background Skill. These cannot be offset against Stereotypical Skills.

Example: Carabas is the grandson of a Marquis, but has become a Seeker. He want to be able to Swim, Gamble, Ride, Scribe and know maths. This is too many skills to start at rank 2.0, so in the end he just has Scribe and Accounting. He buys r/w runes (A Stereotypical Skill for Minor Nobility) which is absorbed by his background skills, and a pair of miracles. Later on, he finally gets around to buying willpower. This costs 9 points and is offset by the last of his stereotype points.

Example: Crowfoot is a Nomad. At rank 2.0 he picks up 4 background skills, Swimming, Riding, Animal Farming, Tanning. He offsets some of this with stereotypical skills. At Rank 20 he can learn another background skill. He picks Cooking for 5 points. At Rank 22 he learns dagger mastery, which he gets a 5 point discount on.

Example: Ivan is from a mining village in the mountains. He decides to take the background skills of Mining and swimming at a cost of 10 points during character creation. He also buys some stereotypical skills. Strength (25 points) and Toughness (12 points) along with one-handed hammer and armour skills. As his stereotypical skills cost more than his background skills, he doesn’t spend any extra points.

Example: Ketch is a rank 40ish Justice priest who never chose a background. He meets some other characters that makes him interested in Carpentry. He can spend 5 points learning Carpentry now, and then if he spends points on a stereotypical skill afterwards, if will be discounted. He cannot claim to have had Carpentry skill all along, just that he had a Townsfolk background.

Background Skills

Skill Villager Townsfolk Cityfolk Military Brat Apprentice Guild Orphan Minor Nobility Nomad
Accounting No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Animal Husbandry Yes No No No No No Yes Yes
Barding No No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Blacksmithing Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No
Brewing Yes Yes Yes No No No No Yes
Carpentry Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No No
Climbing Yes No No Yes No No No Yes
Cooking Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes
Crop Farming Yes No No No No No Yes No
Gambling No No Yes Yes No No Yes No
Lock Picking No No Yes Yes No No Yes No
Masonry No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Mining Yes No No No No Yes No No
Pick-pocketing No No Yes Yes No No Yes No
Pottery Yes Yes No No No No No Yes
Riding Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Rowing Yes Yes No No Yes No No Yes
Sailing Yes Yes No No No No Yes Yes
Scribing No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Service No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Squiring No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Swimming Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tailoring No Yes Yes No No Yes No No
Tanning Yes Yes No No No No No Yes
Transport Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes

Accounting

A character with the Accounting skill is skilled with numbers, able to perform complex mathematics as well as participate in trade. Characters with the Accounting skill will often also purchase the Evaluate skill.

Example: Judge Felicity has the Accounting skill. On a patrol, she acquires the books from a Trader Joe trading post, and can understand the complicated and questionably legal tax evasion scheme it is exploting.

Animal husbandry

A character with the Animal Husbandry skill can handle domesticated animals, including cows, sheep, oxen and horses.

Example: A patrol is sent to deal with some cattle rustling goblins. Because Runt has the Animal Husbandry skill, she can guide the stolen cows to safety without risk of being run over.

Barding

A character with the Barding skill is proficient in performance arts, such as singing, dancing or performing with instruments.

Example: A patrol need to sneak past a checkpoint. Whilst Gaheris uses his abilities to sneak past some guards, Nate uses his Barding skill to distract the guards with bawdy drinking songs.

Blacksmithing

A character with the Blacksmithing skill is proficient in the making, and maintenance of mundane metal objects such as horseshoes, keys and gates. It does not cover the making of weapons or armour (The Make Weapon or Armour skills should be purchased for this)

Example: Smithy is investigating a dungeon and finds a gate that’s been rusted closed blocking the patrol’s path. Using his Blacksmithing skills, he manages to get the hinges working again.

Brewing

A character with the Brewing skill can make fermented beverages out of a variety of plant matter.

Example: Grogmaster Epifanio has been sent to jail for trying to learn forbidden magic. He uses his Brewing skill to make grog to bribe the guards with.

Carpentry

A character with the Carpentry skill is proficient in the making of mundane wooden objects such as furniture, houses and so on. It does not cover the making of bows (The Make Missile Weapon skill should be purchased for this).

Example: A patrol have to cross a rickety bridge on their travels. Using his Carpentry skill, Lucius makes the bridge stable enough to cross at speed.

Climbing

A character with the Climbing skill is able to climb vertical surfaces, though may require equipment depending on the surface type.

Example: Brightleaf is out hunting with her bow. She uses her Climbing skill to climb a tree for a better shot. Later she finds a sheer cliff, and using her Climbing skill and some rope she brought, is able to help Nate to the top as well as herself.

Cooking

A character with the Cooking skill can prepare complex meals using a variety of ingredients. This includes items such as pies, cake and jellies.

Example: Master Reena wants to make a good impression on a local noble to encourage them to sponsor a branch of the Temple of Might. Using her Cooking skill, she sends an excellent cake with her request.

Crop Farming

A character with the Crop Farming skill understands the art of crop rotation, weeding, planting and the cycle of the seasons to a sufficient degree to live off of suitable arable land indefinitely.

Example: Darius Goldwood wants to encourage the growth of the Great Golden Wood to gain favour with his god. Using his Crop Farming skill, he prepares the land he lives on to encourage forest growth.

Gambling

A character with the Gambling skill has an inherent understanding of risk and reading people when acting in games of chance.

Example: Snipe has nearly died in an unfortunate accident involving a Balance Ceremony. She manages to win her soul back intact in a game of cards with a Balance Avatar using her Gambling skill.

Lock Picking

A character with the Lock Picking skill is capable of picking or otherwise circumventing mundane locking mechanisms.

Example: A patrol find a locked treasure chest on a pirate ship. Using his Lock Picking skill, Syrdan manages to retrieve the delicate contents without damaging them.

Masonry

A character with the Masonry skill can make items out of stone. This includes sculpture such as statues as well as larger items such as walls.

Example: Rubble has been asked to fortify a location. Using his Masonry skill he makes a wall out of a pile of rubble he found.

Mining

A character with the Mining skill is aware of both the locations likely to contain useful metals, and proficient in tunnelling techniques to reach them.

Example: The Defenders are beseiging a Hassani stronghold. To bring down the wall, Singe is ordered to use his Mining skill to get underneath it and set fires.

Pick-pocketing

A character with the Pick-pocketing skill is proficient in using misdirection and sleight of hand to steal from other people, or conceal items on their person without being noticed.

Example: Tinker is being targeted by the Darkblades for assassination. One gets up close and offers to shake her hand in preparation to slit her throat, but using her Pickpocketing skill, Tinker removes the hidden knife before it can be used.

Pottery

A character with the Pottery skill is proficient in the crafting of ceramic objects.

Example: A patrol have found a partially completed golem in a pyramid. Using her Pottery skill, Nemesis makes a replacement ugly face for the golem.

Riding

A character with the Riding skill is proficient in the use of mounts for transport, be they oxen, horses or more exotic creatures.

Example: Nab has tamed a Griffon. Using his Riding skill, he could ride this creature, but chooses not to.

Rowing

A character with the Rowing skill can use oars to propel a watercraft.

Example: A large sea monster has started to move inland at speed. Harlock uses his Rowing skills to keep up and ferry his patrol on top of it.

Sailing

A character with the Sailing skill is proficient in the use of sailing and the winds for travel. This usually, but not always, means a ship.

Example: Archibald owns a houseboat, but is generally lazy. He uses his Sailing skill to move it most of the time.

Scribing

A character with the Scribing skill is skilled in the writing of letters and documentation. Characters with the Scribing skill may also know Read/Write runes skills.

Example: Judge Jury has arrested some bandits on a patrol. He uses his Scribing skill to make sure they are convicted despite being sponsored for high priced defence representation by the Brethren.

Service

A character with the Service skill is proficient in both the physical acts and mores needed to serve nobility, but also blending in as part of the domestic servant cohort.

Example: Judge Jeeves is visiting a local Lord. He uses his Service skill to fit in with the staff and make a pleasant impression.

Squiring

A character with the Squiring skill is proficient in the donning and doffing of armour for others, as well as it’s general maintenance.

Example: Gerrard uses his Squiring skill to clean and oil his armour after a patrol. Whilst in a haunted house, he also uses it to fix some animated suits of armour, and make allies of them.

Swimming

A character with the Swimming skill can move through water without a risk of drowning. Attempting to do this whilst wearing armour may require additional skills (Strength, Dexterity or Maeneuver in Armour).

Example: A patrol come across a river they need to cross. Eorith uses her Swimming skill to swim across, despite a significant current.

Tailoring

A character with the Tailoring skill knows how to make both cloth and clothes out of suitable fibres. It also covers the making of rope.

Example: A patrol find a torn tapestry on a patrol documenting early Hassani history. Using the Tailoring skill Axel can repair it to a readable state.

Tanning

A character with the Tanning skill knows how to make leather and leather goods out of animal hides such as bags, saddles or hats. It does not cover the making of leather armour (The Make Armour skill should be purchased for this.)

Example: Smyrna has killed a troll and taken it’s hide. She uses the Tanning skill to make it’s head into a terrifying display piece.

Transport

A character with Transport is proficient in the use of wheeled or otherwise powered land based transport. It also covers the logistics of moving people and items over long distances.

Example: Overcaptain Helyanwë is in the far north with the Barbarians when she gets word of an Orc invasion on the Kingdom. Using her Transport skill she takes a sledge and a pack of dogs back to the nearest Defender outpost and using her Transport skill organises Defenders and supplies rushed up to the outpost to meet the threat.

Stereotypical Skills

Skill Villager Townsfolk Cityfolk Military Brat Apprentice Guild Orphan Minor Nobility Nomad
1H Weapon skill No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2H Weapon skill No No No Yes No No No No
Staff skill Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Club skill Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
Dagger skill Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
Throwing Weapon skill Yes Yes No Yes No No No No
Shield skill No No No Yes No No Yes No
Bow skill Yes No No Yes No No Yes Yes
Fist skill Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
Armour skills No No No Yes No No Yes No
Strength Yes No No Yes No No No Yes
Toughness Yes No No Yes No No No Yes
Willpower No Yes Yes No No No Yes No
Read/Write runes No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes No
Skinning Yes No No No No No No Yes
Recognise Creature/Tracks/Smell Yes No No No No No No Yes
Evaluate No Yes Yes No No No No Yes
Prayer/Meditate Yes No No No Yes Yes No No
Medical Skills No No No Yes Yes Yes No No
Dexterity No Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes
Work with Cabal/Conclave Yes No No No Yes Yes No No