This system replaces the background choices available in the Players Handbook (and other sources). To use this system, select a background and a profession within that background. If you feel that no backgrounds or professions suit your character concept, then discuss with the GM how you can modify one to fit your needs. Most of them are broad enough to fit various character concepts.
Table of Contents
How Advanced Backgrounds Work
Professions best represent what your character does between adventures, whether it’s a job to make money, or a title or responsibility they must uphold. Each background has multiple professions, and describes that profession’s place in the world. For example, your character may be a Seafarer, but what do they do at sea? They may be a pauper, scavenging whatever they can find of value from the ocean shores. In this case, you may choose the Seagather. There are no wrong choices.
Once you have selected your profession, you gain access to its Profession Ability. This is an activity that you have practiced time and time again, becoming an expert in this field. Each profession ability requires an hour spent completing the task, and a Medium DC skill check. Once you have attempted a professiona ability, you cannot attempt it again until you complete a long rest.
Profession Dice are the in-game advantages provided to characters by their background profession. Characters can add their Profession Dice to skill or ability checks according to any Talents they have selected.
In addition, a character always adds their Profession Die when rolling for Profession Abilities.
A character’s Profession Die is determined by their rank, and shown in the table below:
|Profession Rank||Profession Dice|
Skill Check Difficulties
When a player is required to make a skill check, the DC is determined by the GM using the following table:
When determining DC, a GM may start with the complexity of the task, then adjust it based on environmental factors. For example, a character may be trying to climb a ladder, a task which would normally not require a skill check. However, the weather is chilly, and he ladder is slick with ice, so the GM decides to set a Medium DC. This DC might be increased again for further complicating factors, such as pursuing enemies or if the ladder is broken.
Note: It is important to remember that rolling a natural 20 on a skill check does not result in an automatic success.
Proficiencies & Equipment
When creating a character, Advanced Backgrounds add skill proficiencies and starting equipment in a similar way to backgrounds.
Once you have selected your background and profession, you may select a skill proficiency, per your background’s selection list. Once you’ve made your choices, apply your starting equipment and proficiency from your background and profession.
Rankings, Holdings, and Progressions
Rankings represent a character’s standing within the world of their profession. Each profession has four ranks, with characters starting at the first rank. Whenever a character meets the progression milestones of a rank within their profession (as discussed with the GM), they may progress to the next rank of that profession.
A Captain and his daring crew or a Duke and his extravagant estate are both examples of a profession’s holdings. Within Advanced Backgrounds, holdings are the assets, resources, or advantages a character gains through their position. Holdings vary between professions, from finding free lodging to acquiring a grand fortress and legions of soldiers, or anything in between. Within each profession are examples of the sorts of holdings a character might achieve as they progress through the professional ranks. Whenever a character advances in rank, they retain their holdings from previous ranks.
Progressions are examples of what may be required for you to advance in rank within your profession. From making a medical breakthrough to being appointed by a monarch, progressions vary depending on the rank and profession they belong to. Progressions make great character goals and can be tied into existing character or party goals. For example, a scribe looking to disprove falsehoods could do so by pursuing the mystery at the heart of the campaign’s overall story.
Progressions and holdings within this chapter are recommendations only. Ultimately it is up to the GM to determine how the characters within the setting progress, and what holdings are necessary to the gameplay. Additionally, the GM may decide to allow a character to progress within their profession due to alternative reasons, such as circumstantial gameplay, setting requirements, or for any other reason. Players should discuss with the GM what sort of holdings a player could expect to receive at each rank and what progression paths may be available to them.
Talents are unique dispositions, experiences, or characteristics your character has picked up due to their time working in their profession. This is represented by allowing characters to add their Profession Die in unique situations that highlight the skills gained through their profession. A character may select a Talent from their corresponding Talent list when they select their profession, and select an additional Talent whenever they rank up within a profession.
Plans never play out as expected, and sometimes professions don’t either. A character may change professions by achieving the progression requirements of the profession rank they wish to change to. When they achieve these requirements they may rank up into the new rank of that profession, choosing a Talent from their new profession list. A character that has ranked up into another proession retains all equipment, Talents, proficiencies, and abilities from their original profession. After all, you can change your future, but not your past.
For example, Alyea is a Militarist Field Marshal. A recent brush with a dark sorcerer has confirmed her faith in her deity, and now she wishes to become an Inquisitor. Alyea’s player discusses with the GM what sort of holdings and progression milestones Alyea must achieve to rank into Inquisitor. Due to her seasoned military experience, the GM decides that once contact has been made with a Chapter Master, Alyea will become an Inquisitor at the rank of Initiate, a rank from which Alyea is likely to advance quickly.
The following backgrounds are provided in alphabetical order.
Academics use their education and knowledge from extensive studies to make a living and achieve their life’s ambitions. Academics are generally held in higher regard than most other backgrounds, as their skills are sought after by the wealthy and powerful. Academics make great researchers, investigators, and versatile problem-solvers.
Skill Proficiencies: Choose one from Arcana, History, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Religion.
Languages: Choose one standard and one exotic.
Equipment: A bottle of black ink, a quill, a letter opener, parchment, and 10 gp.
Antiquarians are fascinated with history and identifying ancient artifacts and texts. They gather rare and lost items to add to their collections. Antiquarians’ skill with identifying the properties of artifacts makes them adept problem solvers, especially when ancient artifacts and languages are involved.
Skill Proficiency: History.
Additional Equipment: A fine brush, a magnifying lens, and a small wooden crate to store relics.
Upon spending an hour observing or examining a subject, and succeeding on a medium-DC Intelligence (History) check, you can uncover the purpose and uses of any object, language, cultural practice, or similar subject. The features of magic items you investigate in this manner are revealed to you without you needing to attune to them.
Rank 1 – Museum Scholar
You work in a museum and have spent your time learning about the intricacies of every cultural artifact there. Under the guidance of the head scholar at the museum, you grew into a respectable scholar in your own right.
- A desk within a library, college or museum, with access to common resources.
- A map or letter detailing the location of a hidden treasure or relic.
Acquire a small collection of antiquities, which fellow antiquarians acknowledge.
Rank 2 – Adept Collector
After spending a considerable amount of time and money, you have started a reasonable collection of antiquities that you wish to one day put on display.
- A small collection of prized antiquities, and a quaint office to display and store them in.
- A hireling scholar who tends to your collection and undertakes research for you.
To progress in this profession, you must build multiple collections dedicated to diverse subjects. Additionally, you must accommodate your collection in a gallery of suitable size and grandeur.
Rank 3 – Senior Professor
You now hold a position of esteem within the world of academia. You have dedicated a large portion of your time and efforts to extracting secrets from each item and sharing these discoveries with others. Students flock from around the world to hear you speak on the subjects of your specialisation.
- An array of prized collections, each holding secrets to lost civilisations, forgotten magics, or legends.
- An extravagant gallery that displays and protects your collections.
- A team of assistants and scholars who attend to the collections, conduct research, and explore the world to find more antiquities.
- A small following within the world of academia, who seek you out to discuss and learn about your collection.
To progress in this profession, you must create a great museum, with extensive collections spanning many subjects, time periods, and cultures within the world. You must document a great finding about a lost subject, magic item, or tradition, and be cited in others’ work regarding the subject.
Rank 4 – Curator
You have become one of the most renowned living antiquarians. Having been referenced in many scholars’ books about your studies, and having authored a few yourself, you are now a consulted expert on several subjects relating to your vast collections. You are the curator of your own museum, with scholars and collectors travelling across the world to visit it.
- A great museum, with collections that draw monarchs and common folk alike, inspiring wonder and awe.
- A dedicated team of antiquarians that manage your collections and museum, scouring the world for relics that would make fine additions to your impressive array.
- A position within a prestigious council of academics, who regard you as an esteemed peer and assist you with your studies.
Archivists are dedicated to the recording and preservation of knowledge. Archivists are often tasked with scouring tomes for errors and falsehoods, because to an archivist there is no greater sin than the recording of lies. Great Archivists often become well respected scholars, holding great power over the future of a kingdom. Regardless, Archivists are often sought out by other Academics, who collaborate with them to complete their own work in related fields.
Skill Proficiency: Investigation.
Additional Equipment: An ink pen, a bottle of ink, a tin of pounce powder.
Upon spending an hour, and succeeding on a medium-DC Intelligence (Investigation) check, you can find a contact within a library, academy, or place of knowledge. This contact begins as friendly to you and will answer questions you have regarding research.
Rank 1 – Scribe’s Assistant
You have become a valued member of a library after learning about the art of collecting and storing written materials. Your years of completing bureaucratic tasks have made you an expert in locating information on specific and obscure subjects.
- A desk within a library, college, or museum, with access to common resources.
- A well-regarded text which is suspected to contain falsehoods, with made-up accounts and references.
To progress in this profession, you must factcheck and document your discovery of errors in a fraudulent, plagiarised, or mistaken tome.
Rank 2 – Scribe
You have been appointed the honoured task of transcribing and recreating texts. You are a builder of libraries, a recorder of history, and an entrusted relayer of knowledge for generations to come. As a Scribe, it is your job to record the knowledge of the world. Scribes often venture out into the world to find and document information first-hand.
- An office with printing materials, binding equipment, and a dedicated hireling assistant who completes minor tasks for you.
- Access to restricted sections of libraries and other places of collective knowledge.
To progress in this profession, you must complete and restore a catalogue of books or scrolls to be added to a library. Your contribution to the library must be deemed a worthy addition by your superiors.
Rank 3 – Chief Librarian
Your dedication to the acquisition and preservation of knowledge has brought you to great heights within the world of academia. You are responsible for the library you serve, from acquiring and copying new texts, to preserving and reviewing existing ones. A Chief Librarian is expected to go to great lengths to fact-check the contents of their library, preferably in person.
- A great library containing texts collected over centuries.
- A team of hirelings who attend the day-to-day running of the library, such as scribes, assistants, and scholars. Additionally, your name is highly regarded within the world of academia.
- Access to the entire library, including forbidden tomes and the knowledge they contain.
To progress in this profession, you must have made an unprecedented contribution to the world of academia. This may be the uncovering of a great truth, or the invention of a new methodology.
Rank 4 – Grand Loremaster
As Grand Loremaster, you are the undisputed regional authority in all matters of scholarly concern. For this reason, you are highly revered by figures of prominence for your knowledge and advice. A system of academics looks to you for guidance on obtaining knowledge and spreading enlightenment.
- You have become head of a regional educational or knowledge-based institute, such as a ministry or college. The institution’s resources are at your command.
- You have authority over all smaller libraries and educational institutions within your region, including access to their resources and hirelings.
- You have access to sources of knowledge that have otherwise been sworn to secrecy by Imperial order, royal decree, or a warlord’s command. These sources of knowledge can include such secrets as forbidden arcane practices, demons’ true names, and schematics for powerful artifacts.
Your skills in healing the sick and injured have given you a vast knowledge of illnesses and remedies based on the latest science. Your calm bedside manner and natural aptitude for concocting medicines make you an effective healer.
Skill Proficiency: Medicine.
Additional Equipment: A bag filled with medicinal herbs, pestle and mortar, bandages, needle and thread, jar of leeches.
Upon spending an hour examining a creature, and succeeding on a medium-DC Wisdom (Medicine) check, you can find the exact cause of the creature’s illness, injury, or death. Additionally, you become aware of how to cure the ailment, if a non magical cure exists. This does not include magical diseases such as the contagion spell or the Weeping Pox.
Rank 1 – Surgeon’s Apprentice
Whether your fascination is for the humanoid body, or the conditions that afflict it, your tireless dedication to medicine has earned you the position of Surgeon’s Apprentice. As an apprentice, you are expected to attend to the patients of your appointed superior with efficiency and effectiveness.
- Lodging near the medical clinic, hospital, or infirmary where you work.
- A copy of the medical codex Cause and Cures.
Complete a variety of surgeries successfully, and be considered proficient by a mentor who has attained the rank of Barber Surgeon.
Rank 2 – Barber Surgeon
Armed with healer’s kits and medical utensils, you are equipped to tend wounds and perform common medical procedures. However, without a medical licence, you can only treat common folk and low-ranking military personnel.
- A crude medical clinic known as a “Chop Shop”, to facilitate the surgeries you perform.
- Up to half a dozen apprentices who follow your commands, assist you where possible, and aspire to become surgeons themselves.
To progress in this profession, you must obtain your medical licence by proving your skill and dedication to a Royal Physician.
Rank 3 – Doctor
You have proven your rank among honoured healers within your region, winning the privilege of a medical licence. You are now permitted to open a medical clinic and treat high society. As a trusted figure, you are invited to rub shoulders with the most prominent of its members.
- A medical clinic, equipped with an infirmary to care for long-term patients with a variety of illnesses.
- A medical licence granted by a Royal Physician, granting you the right to treat individuals of any background.
- A clinic staff of half a dozen Barber Surgeons and a team of apprentices.
- A patient list of influential figures of various backgrounds who employ your practice for their medical needs.
To progress in this profession, you must build your practice into a hospital, with multiple Barber Surgeons and Doctors working alongside you. In addition, you must accomplish a great medical achievement, such as discover a cure to a disease or a breakthrough in medical practices.
Rank 4 – Royal Physician
You have received a monarch’s patronage and been given the title of Royal Physician. Only the most revered and skilled physicians receive such a title, and the honour of building and running a Royal Hospital. As a Royal Physician, you are a gatekeeper for those who wish to become Doctors. Barber Surgeons will wait at your doorstep for days to prove their devotion and, hopefully, attain a licence. Kings and merchant lords will travel across the land to seek your treatment, and pay anything to be healed by you.
- A Royal Hospital, complete with multiple wards dedicated to various specialisations, reserved for the upper class.
- An experienced team of physicians of all ranks, dedicated to running the Royal Hospital and advancing medical practices.
- A client list consisting of Monarchs, powerful merchants, and other important individuals.
Aristocrats are the rulers and wielders of law, and use their position at the top of the social hierarchy to compel others to further their interests. Whether feared or respected, aristocrats make excellent negotiators, diplomats, and schemers.
Skill Proficiency: Choose one from Deception, History, Insight, Performance, Persuasion, or Religion.
Languages: Choose one standard language.
Equipment: A quill and ink, a letter opener, parchment, a piece of fine jewelry that displays your status, and 25 gp.
From notable socialites to distant noble family members and trusted servants, Courtiers represent the members of the aristocracy who are employed or invited by a ruler to make up their court. Courtiers live in close proximity to the ruling class to assist them and be part of their world. However, Courtiers are more often seen as schemers and manipulators than helpful assistants. The life of a Courtier is one of dangerous plots, uneasy political alliances, and the occasional act of betrayal – when it benefits them.
Skill Proficiency: Deception.
Additional Equipment: A medallion or pin displaying the house of your patron, court clothing.
Upon spending an hour speaking to various people at court, and succeeding on a medium-DC Charisma (Deception) check, you can conjure and spread a rumour or piece of gossip within a court or political structure. A subject of your choice, whether it be true or false, becomes a topic of hot conversation within the court or political structure where you planted the rumour.
Rank 1 – Chamber Keeper
You have secured a title as a minor Courtier attending to the needs of the court through menial duties such as fetching wine, or more demanding tasks such as hosting foreign visitors of lesser influence. As a Chamber Keeper you are the unnoticed eyes of the court, making you a valuable informant for court plots.
- A room or lodging provided by your patron within their estate.
- A scandaloussecret relating to a member of your court.
Obtain a minor title from your patron that reflects your station.
Rank 2 – Court Official
You have proven yourself to be a valuable asset to your patron, political allies, and other courtiers. You have been promoted to an official, granting you a minor title and the responsibilities that accompany it. These titles vary, including cofferer, master of the hunt, or any other title befitting your station.
- The authority and resources associated with your minor title. For example, a cofferer would control financial records, and perhaps even bank access.
- Up to half a dozen servant hirelings to assist in your daily responsibilities.
To be granted a greater court title by your patron that reflects your station.
Rank 3 – Court Patrician
With a greater court title, you have become an essential and respected member of the court. You may have been promoted to steward, cupbearer, master of ceremonies, or some other position of considerable influence in the court.
- A greater court title and all the privileges that accompany it. For example, the master of ceremonies would have personal access to their patrons’ family for event-planning purposes.
- A team of servants and lesser Courtiers sworn to you either through authority or intrigue.
- A private suite within your patron’s estate that provides easy access to court and extravagant luxury.
- Informants and spies throughout the court who report intrigue and valuable information to you.
To progress in this profession, you must achieve complete control of your Court, through coercion, deception, or any other means. Additionally, you must attain an honourable title.
Rank 4 – Royal Chamberlain
You have become the most influential member at court. Whether through earnest reputation or political manipulation, you have attained an honourable title of considerable power such as spymaster, regent, or majordomo. Your powerful connections and political alliances make you the unofficial leader at court, arguably with greater power over practical matters than your patron.
- Complete control of the court’s resources, such as finances, hirelings, and establishments.
- Incriminating information relating to each member at court and their possible weaknesses.
- Informants and spies across the region, who feed you intrigue regarding your court and others.
Envoys are the representatives of their governments or monarchs to others abroad. Often sent into faraway parts of the world, their responsibility is to forge new alliances, and maintain existing ones. However, much of an Envoy’s tasks are reactive – responding to a noble’s threats, securing defensive pacts in times of conflict, or bolstering border defences. Envoys go where there is conflict.
Skill Proficiency: Insight.
Additional Equipment: A Royal Seal allowing you to pass through borders with ease, diplomatic garb.
Upon spending an hour, and succeeding on a medium-DC Wisdom (Insight) check, you can find an ally within the aristocracy, guilds, or professional services. This contact begins as friendly to you and will answer questions you have regarding local nobility, politics, and other high society matters.
Rank 1 – Secretary
You have been appointed secretary for a consulate, responsible for the organisation and assistance of the diplomats within. You work in a thankless and stressful position, but your proximity to influential members of society provides you with many connections. You understand the fundamentals of networking and are talented at finding allies in distant lands.
- Free lodging within any consulate you represent or work for.
- A secret encrypted political message you cannot decipher.
Assist in completing a dangerous or urgent diplomatic mission.
Rank 2 – Councilor
You have been entrusted to undertake your first diplomatic missions. Whether stealing a secret, proposing a treaty, or inciting rebellion, you have been sent to the far corners of the world to advance your side’s interests. While not yet entrusted with high-profile diplomatic missions, you are still positioned to meet lesser rulers and influence their future actions.
- A personal assistant to help with organising, who accompanies you on diplomatic journeys.
- Access to equipment and information known to the consulate.
Complete your own diplomatic mission successfully.
Rank 3 – Ambassador
Your promotion places you on solid footing within the political landscape. You have met many powerful figures throughout the world and can secure a formal audience with them, at their convenience. Many wish to meet you, and are interested in becoming a part of your vast network of allies. After all, you know exactly the right person for any given job.
- A team of Envoys to assist you at your consulate.
- Provisions and resources sent to you by your home region to assist in diplomatic missions.
- An encryption codex, used to decipher encoded messages sent to and from your home region.
Negotiate an important treaty between nations, or uncover a great espionage conspiracy within your province.
Rank 4 – Grand Chancellor
You have single-handedly led negotiations that have reshaped the geopolitical landscape. Wars have been declared and ended based on your efforts. You have travelled the world and made lasting relationships with the truly powerful. While you are not a monarch, monarchs look to you for guidance. There is no doubt that you are the true ruler of kingdoms.
- Access to restricted and classified documents.
- You represent your monarch or other absolute authority in external relations. You have access to any resources your monarch will provide you, and broad authority to use them.
Nobles are the blue-blooded rulers of any society, granted authority by birthright. Some are traditional feudal nobles, while others belong to ascendant merchant families. Regardless, nobles represent the highest level of authority within a social structure.
Skill Proficiency: Persuasion.
Additional Equipment: A signet ring engraved with your family crest, fine clothes.
Position of Privilege
Upon spending an hour speaking in your defense, and succeeding on a medium-DC Charisma (Persuasion) check, you can exert your noble privilege to avoid the consequences of lawbreaking such as trespassing, theft, possession of contraband, unarmed assault, and other misdemeanors. You can also use this ability to reduce the consequences of more serious crimes that can’t be ignored entirely.
Rank 1 – Dishevelled Noble
After some decline, your family name is barely spoken anymore. Perhaps the family lost everything in a war, or gambling debts claimed your once-proud noble estate. Despite your noble blood, you are a poor noble with little power or influence in the world. The only thing left is your title, which has gotten you out of trouble on more than one occasion.
- A ruined estate.
- A noble title that carries little influence anymore.
To be granted a barony, or holdings worthy of the title, by a Count or higher-ranking noble. Additionally, you must restore your family household to a reputable state.
Rank 2 – Lord Baron
You have been titled Lord Baron of an estate. Your barony is small, but you have high hopes for it. You have started to attend noble soirees, and can see your reputation within the aristocracy rise. You are the local authority within your barony, however you delegate much of it to administrators. With patience and good relations, a county could be yours.
- A barony estate, including resources and hirelings.
- A baron’s title, granting you authority and affirming your social status among other individuals of your region.
To progress in this profession, you must be made a Count by a Duke or Monarch. You must construct a noble estate befitting a Count.
Rank 3 – Count
Your reputation has risen to prominence. You walk the halls of powerful estates and hear passers-by whisper your name. You control an entire county, with multiple baronies under your influence. You are expected to represent them at court upon summons, and must navigate the political landscape of the aristocracy. While you wield considerable power, you find two-faced advisories and political masterminds wherever you turn.
- A county estate, which includes resources and hirelings.
- A count’s title, granting you authority and affirming your social status among other individuals of your region.
To progress in this profession, you must be made a Duke by a Monarch. You must construct a noble estate befitting a Duke.
Rank 4 – Duke
You have been appointed as a direct vassal of your Monarch, whether a king, queen, or emperor. You are invited to the greatest balls and soirees across the land, and feasts are held in your honour. With your family name restored to glory, you hold considerable influence throughout your region and the entire world. However, with such heights comes a great distance to fall. Political enemies will go to great lengths to tarnish your name and steal your titles.
- A Duke’s estate, which includes resources and hirelings.
- A Duke’s title, granting you authority and social status among other individuals of your region.
The Clergy represents those who devote their lives to working within religious institutions. The Clergy are respected members within the social hierarchy in regions where their religion is prominent. Clergymen make effective orators, acolytes, and religious crusaders.
Skill Proficiencies: Choose one from History, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Persuasion, Religion.
Languages: Choose one standard and one of: Abyssal, Celestial, or Infernal.
Equipment: A holy symbol, a prayer book or divine text, vestments, and 15 gp.
You are a servant of an organised branch of religious enforcers who hunt down heretics and blasphemers within your own faith, and cultists of sinister powers. Divine justice does not discriminate, and you have mercilessly punished crimes both mundane and supernatural – a task that comes with little glory.
Skill Proficiency: Intimidation.
Additional Equipment: A set of manacles, a copy of the text Sins of the Heretic, a leather strap.
Upon spending an hour, and succeeding on a medium-DC Charisma (Intimidation) check, you can find an informant and extract information. The informant will divulge information regarding the location of local cults, witch covens, and other enemies of the Divine.
Rank 1 – Initiate
You were taken in by the church and, after showing attributes befitting of an Inquisitor, you were trained in their ways. Gruelling mental and physical training took up your time from dawn to dusk whenever you were not completing chores.
- Free lodging at the inquisitorial chapter house, temple, or any other religious institutions that you currently serve.
- You have knowledge of someone from your childhood who has since become affiliated with a witch coven, religious cult, or other enemy of the faith.
Be promoted to the rank of Inquisitor by a Chapter Master.
Rank 2 – Inquisitor
You have been appointed to the role of Inquisitor, charged with enforcing divine justice by hunting down cultists, spellcasters who have violated magical laws, and other threats. Many institutions recognise your Inquisitorial authority, and temples of the faith that you serve will grant you sanctuary, food, and useful information.
- Access to information and equipment provided by the Order, in addition to information obtained by temples of the faith.
Be promoted to Chapter Master by a Grand Theologist Inquisitor.
Rank 3 – Chapter Master
You have risen through the ranks and now oversee an Inquisitorial Chapter. Initiates and Inquisitors alike answer to you, and seek your advice in matters of executing divine justice, as well as rooting out corruption within the ranks of the faith you serve. You are still active in the field, often leading factions of Inquisitors in bringing cultist organisations and powerful spellcasters to heel.
- Access to the restricted section of the chapter library, which contains all known weaknesses of supernatural entities.
- Free lodging at any religious institution or temple of the faith that you serve.
- Your religious institution invests you with the authority to declare people of high standing as enemies of the faith, if you have irrefutable evidence of their crimes.
Being appointed to Grand Theologist Inquisitor by the head of your Order and a panel of ranking clergy.
Rank 4 – Grand Theologist Inquisitor
You have cultivated a reputation as a devout and accomplished Inquisitor, following the teachings of the divine, executing divine justice, and seeking divine enlightenment. You hold significant influence within and outside your Order, and Chapter Masters seek your counsel on matters of the faith and the Order’s mission.
- Access to a council of Chapter Masters and other ranked clergy with whom you discuss matters of your Order.
- You have the authority to dismiss and appoint chapter members to positions of power, both within the Inquisition and temples of the faith.
- You have the ability to denounce those who you know (or suspect) to be enemies of the faith, dispatching Inquisitor factions to investigate and restore order.
Religions need devout orators to bring new members into the fold, or reinforce the faith of the faltering. Preachers can inspire the righteous, protect the weak, or incite dread in the unfaithful by speaking clearly and passionately about the faith they serve. These rhetoricians of the divine are not dissuaded by material wealth or hidden lore; instead, they seek good repute and new converts to their deity. Preachers recruit adherents to their religion through personal devotion and overt exhibitions of piety, charity, and charisma.
Skill Proficiency: Persuasion.
Additional Equipment: Flyers displaying propaganda, a box to stand on.
Upon spending an hour speaking publicly, and succeeding on a medium-DC Charisma (Persuasion) check, you can influence the thoughts and opinions of locals. This could be used to heighten the common people’s fear of magic, or bring comfort and peace of mind to those who share the same faith.
Rank 1 – Crier
You have always had a natural aptitude for the spoken word, compelling others to listen and partake in your views by speaking loudly and clearly about the deity you serve. You are often seen on busy street corners and in town squares, preaching to passers-by.
- Free lodging at your local temple of the faith or religious institution.
- Knowledge of a member of the ranked clergy using unlicensed magic to perform a miracle, or committing some other transgression.
You have a small congregation of followers who come to hear your sermons each day.
Rank 2 – Truth Speaker
You have cultivated a reputation in your local town or city as a persuasive and charismatic orator, able to inspire the righteous and decry the evil. Common folk and nobility alike often stop to hear you speak, moved by your unique conviction to consider joining your religion.
- You advise a group of criers in your province on religious matters and outline the agenda for each homily.
You progress after having converted a significant number of people to your religion.
Rank 3 – Enlightened Evangelist
You have gained considerable reputation in the province where you preach, regularly recruiting new converts to your faith. Your overt exhibitions of devotion and charity combined with a natural charisma make you a well-liked figure among the common people, though the more cynical uninitiated may regard you as a heretic or a charlatan.
- A temple of the faith grants you a letter of religious immunity from Inquisitors, verifying that you are not a heretic.
- You have a following of disciples who accompany you on your travels to new unenlightened provinces, further glorifying your deity and you as their disciple.
A member of your congregation observes you performing a miracle, drawing new converts to the faith.
Rank 4 – Exalted Savior
You have established your reputation as a captivating rhetorician, and people are naturally drawn to you, sometimes seemingly against their will. You may even begin to perceive yourself as a messianic figure, showing the will of your deity through conspicuous demonstrations of personal devotion and charity toward the poor. For those with spellcasting abilities, magic that is woven into such demonstrations is particularly compelling.
- A dozen or more faithful disciples that observe and convey your teachings, and thousands of followers loyal to you.
- A divine mandate bestowed by your deity or seraph that elevates you above the laws of humanity.
Priests lead the common people in the teachings of their deities. They are the figureheads and leaders in the temples and shrines where they preach, providing guidance, atonement, and hope for the downtrodden. Priests often hold positions of considerable influence within their communities, and are treated with reverence among common folk and nobility alike.
Skill Proficiency: Religion.
Additional Equipment: 5 sticks of incense and an alms box, religious medallion stamped with the divine word.
Upon spending an hour proving your knowledge of the divine, and succeeding on a medium- DC Intelligence (Religion) check, you can find a contact within the local clergy. This contact begins as friendly to you and will answer questions you have regarding religion, the clergy’s agenda, and local religious matters.
Rank 1 – Acolyte
You were taken in by a modest parish, where you assist in religious services and ceremonial duties such as lighting altar candles and distributing prayer books to the congregation. The priest also educates you in religious scripture and doctrine.
- You have knowledge of a senior clergy member whose teachings undermine the faith, preying on the wayward for personal gain.
- Free lodging at your local temple of the faith.
You are recommended for priesthood by a senior clergy member who has overseen your study of divine texts. You will be given a religious task that you must complete.
Rank 2 – Priest
You oversee a local parish with a substantial following, where you perform rites, sermonise on the teachings of your deity, and provide spiritual guidance to followers whose faith has waned. You use your modest influence to inspire the virtuous, uplift the downtrodden, or incite fear.
- You have a modest parish that you oversee, including humble lodgings, and regularly receive locals for confession.
- You have knowledge of a wealthy noble who possesses a first edition book of scripture that the church greatly desires.
You must either expose the senior clergy member exploiting the faith for personal gain, or acquire the first edition book of scripture.
Rank 3 – Bishop
In recognition of your service to the faith, you have risen to the title of Bishop, taking up residence in your own diocese in a major city. You oversee a number of senior clergy who seek your counsel and spiritual guidance in all aspects of the divine. Bishops are elected from senior priests in their Order and retain the title for as long as they remain true to the doctrine.
- You are the steward of the largest temple of your faith in your region, and receive well-appointed lodgings nearby.
- You oversee your own diocese in a major city, speaking on behalf of the faith and supervising the clergy there.
You become Cardinal in the event that a Cardinal passes away or retires, and the head of your faith appoints you in their stead due to your outstanding commitment to the faith.
Rank 4 – Cardinal
As a Cardinal, you answer directly to the head of your faith. You oversee the diocese within your province, to root out corruption and heresy from on high. Cardinals are appointed by the head of their faith, and as such have their ear in all matters of spiritual and political adjudication.
- A number of dioceses that you oversee within your province.
- Free lodging at any parish or diocese that recognizes your appointment, and any institution under the control of the faith.
Common Folk are, unsurprisingly, the most common station in life. These are the masses of people who are not distinguished by noble blood, inherited wealth, or a special calling that sets them apart.
Varying as much as the professions with which they occupy themselves, common folk are typically identified by the work they do.
Often finding themselves pawns in the machinations of those who consider themselves their betters, commoners generally look after one another in tight circles of trust. Commoners are a great background for most professions and character concepts that do not fall within another background.
Skill Proficiencies: Choose one from Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Nature, Perception.
Languages: Choose one standard language.
Tool Proficiencies: One tool or instrument proficiency.
Equipment: Common clothes, a tool kit or instrument of your choice, a small drawstring pouch, and 10 gp.
You hail from a small settlement like many others, populated mainly by subsistence farmers and local craftsmen. Common villagers look out for their own, typically because few would be willing to represent them. While lesser nobility regard you with disdain, fellow commoners recognise you as one of their own, and are generous with their hospitality, provided there is enough to go around. They may request a few hours of light labor in exchange for short stays, if the host is a landholder. Commoners are also willing to share information with their peers that they would withhold from people of higher stations.
Skill Proficiency: Insight.
Additional Equipment: An iron pot, a shovel, a tinderbox.
Upon spending an hour speaking to other commoners, and completing a medium-DC Wisdom (Insight) check, you can learn of rumours, political intrigue, or other gossip related to a subject of your choice. This includes jobs and information people tend to hide from the authorities.
Rank 1 – Peasant
Born to a landless farmer and his wife, you found work as a laborer on the estate of a local lord tilling fields, tending to animals, or milling grain for a meagre salary. While the work was punishing, it made you physically strong, capable of working for extended hours without fatigue.
- A shack or hovel which you call home. A deed to a heavily indebted farmstead which has been seized until its debts are cleared. You may have acquired this deed through inheritance, gambling winnings, or some other means.
Clear the debt on your deed and restore your farmstead to operating condition.
Rank 2 – Land Owner
You oversee a modest farm that produces various crops and small goods that you sell to local businesses and at markets for a modest profit. You have cultivated your reputation as an honest distributor among your customers, and a fair boss to the hired hands who help you manage your land.
- A small farmstead, including livestock, crops, and stores suitable to the location.
- Half a dozen unskilled hirelings who live and work on your farm.
Become a respected and influential member of your local village.
Rank 3 – Council Member
You have been elected to a seat on the local council, assuming a public role in the governance of your village. You and your fellow council members discuss matters of trade, infrastructure, keeping the peace, and placating the local lords. You receive complaints and resolve disputes among locals, reaching an amicable resolution where possible.
- A skilled, professional hireling assistant. They may be a lawyer, accountant, or other expert who helps you manage your affairs.
- Resources allocated by the Mayor for you to complete your duties as a council member.
To be elected or appointed Mayor by a lord, council, electorate, or other means.
Rank 4 – Mayor
You have become the Mayor of your village, either by election or appointment. Charged as a custodian of the peace, you preside over council meetings and represent your local province at ceremonial events and in dealings with the regional government.
- You have the resources of your village council at your disposal.
- A team of skilled hirelings trained in professional services who assist you in your endeavours to run your holdings.
- Resources granted to you by your Monarch, such as gold, military support, and other useful assets, to maintain order within the settlement.
Entertainers thrive in the spotlight, relishing applause and delighting in the fanciful. Entertainers are expert performers able to enthrall, inspire, and delight their audiences with a range of artistic displays. Their poetry captivates, speaking to the depth of human emotion in portraying sadness, love, or joy. Their music likewise enlivens or stirs sorrow. Their dance steps are nimble and cheering, and their humor is often tailored to their audience, whether low-born or noble.
Skill Proficiency: Performance.
Additional Equipment: An instrument of your choice, colourful performer’s clothes, and a tuning fork.
Upon spending an hour performing and speaking to locals, and completing a medium-DC Charisma (Performance) check, you can find a contact among the local community leaders, such as village elders, tavern owners, and other wellrespected common folk. This contact begins as friendly to you and will answer questions you have regarding life within the town, local news, and public opinion.
Rank 1 – Stage Hand
Whether you have grown up surrounded by musicians or ran off to join a band of traveling performers, you have become invaluable to a more experienced performer. You pitch in wherever needed, whether as a page turner for musicians, mopping the cages of exotic animals, or helping set up camp for the night. Occasionally, they even allow you to join the performance.
- Lodging with an entertainers’ troupe, which includes food in exchange for regular performances or carrying out menial tasks.
- An anonymous letter from a loyal admirer and fan who is desperate to meet you.
The troupe leader asks you to fill in for an unreliable performer, and offers you a permanent position in the troupe, owing to your musical or other talents.
Rank 2 – Performer
You have made a name for yourself as a travelling performer, whether by yourself or as part of a troupe of other entertainers. You are easily identifiable by your colorful attire and striking appearance. Your performances stir the hearts of those who hear you.
- Access to a troupe’s performing equipment and supplies, including instruments, concoctions, and other resources.
- Free lodging and food at any establishment you perform in.
A travelling noble or court official observes your performance, and days later you receive a letter of invitation to perform at a court or estate.
Rank 3 – Troupe Leader
You are the leader of a troupe of traveling performers, and are responsible for securing performances in towns, cities, and noble estates. You have mastered the various components of artistic performance: poetry, dance, music, and comedy. Proprietors of establishments that you perform in compensate you and your troupe with free lodgings and food.
- A following of loyal fans, including several influential individuals.
- A troupe of skilled performers who are adept in a variety of forms of entertainment.
You have been offered a large sum of money by a wealthy fan to perform for them on a semiregular basis.
Rank 4 – Court Troubadour
You have secured a permanent position as an entertainer in a prestigious estate or court, performing for the delight of high nobility. You are considered a virtuoso in your chosen art.
- Permanent lodgings at the noble estate or court where you are employed.
- A scandalous secret about the lord of the manor or a prominent courtier, which you have irrefutable evidence of.
Merchants are the lifeblood of trade, and can be found anywhere from hawking goods in local marketplaces, to having established their own stores selling artisan wares. Merchants typically belong to a Merchant’s Guild, and pay a yearly sum to register for protection by local law enforcement, though this varies by province. Merchants buy, sell, and trade wares of all sorts, knowing not just the price of everything but how to haggle that price up or down at will.
Skill Proficiency: Investigation.
Additional Equipment: An abacus, a quill and ink pot, an empty inventory record, fine clothes.
Upon spending an hour examining a subject, and succeeding on a medium-DC Intelligence (Investigation) check, you can accurately appraise the value of a particular item or good such as art, or a natural resource. If you do so within a settlement, you can also find the most profitable location to sell the item or goods.
Rank 1 – Clerk
You work as a bookkeeper for a local merchant. You keep records of sales and the purchase of new inventory, balance the merchant’s ledger, and make sure they are maintaining a modest profit margin. You aspire to become the proprietor of your own store selling rare and desirable items.
- A small back room in a shop, which serves as an office and doubles as your sleeping quarters.
- A leather-bound ledger book containing the accounting methods of your mentor and teacher.
Acquire a loan, or save up funds, and find a suitable shop or storefront to start your own business.
Rank 2 – Merchant
You have struck out on your own to seek your fortune, opening your own shop in the marketplace. You begin to cultivate a reputation as a keen appraiser, providing fair prices to customers both buying and selling. You balance the books yourself, taking care to ensure that you do not fall into debt through risky investments.
- A quaint store or shop front, in which you sell your specialised goods.
- A clerk who maintains your store and runs it on a day-to-day basis in your absence.
Own and maintain multiple successful businesses simultaneously.
Rank 3 – Magnate
You have become a business mogul, opening a chain of successful stores. You are wise or exceptionally lucky in your investments, and your risks have proven profitable, while maintaining an amicable relationship with both customers and fellow Merchants. Your fortune is more secure now that it comes from several different kinds of businesses.
- A series of successful businesses spanning multiple industries, and a network of suppliers. A senior position in the regional Merchants Guild, including networks and guild benefits.
- Teams of skilled and unskilled hirelings who work to keep the day-to-day operations of your businesses running smoothly.
Defeat your largest competitor by driving them out of business, buying them out, or merging your businesses.
Rank 4 – Guild Chancellor
You have been appointed Guild Chancellor of your Merchant’s Guild. You oversee the membership of new merchants, approve regulation prices and supply, and provide protection for caravans, goods, and stockpiles for guild members under your chancellorship.
- A Trade Certificate signed by your Monarch, granting you an exclusive right to sell certain specialist goods in your area.
- No other business within may trade in this commodity without your consent.
- Complete control of the regional Merchant Guild you originally joined.
- A trade empire containing many businesses and subsidiaries, each serving your interests.
Criminals serve and thrive off the seedy underbelly of society. While many people run afoul of the law, this background is for people who make their livelihoods entirely outside the law. Rarely respected or honoured within society, Criminals often hide their true profession from others.
Skill Proficiencies: Choose one from Acrobatics, Athletics, Deception, Intimidation, Sleight of Hand, Stealth.
Languages: Thieves’ Cant.
Tool Proficiencies: Thieves’ tools.
Equipment: Thieves’ tools, fake currency in a drawstring pouch to deter pickpockets, a set of dark common clothes including a hood, and 15 gp.
Charlatans can be seen in most markets separating fools from their hard-earned coin, and there is no shortage of fools. Some choose instead to exploit the upper class, claiming that the ignorance of spoilt children is far more lucrative, if a little riskier. Ranging from the lowliest of hustlers selling miracle cure-alls to the most audacious con artists, all charlatans have a knack for fooling those unfortunate enough to cross their paths.
Skill Proficiency: Deception.
Additional Equipment: A lockbox with a secret compartment, a forged Merchant’s Guild membership certificate, imitation fine clothes.
Upon spending an hour writing and talking to the right people, and succeeding on a medium-DC Charisma (Deception) check, you can create yourself a new identity with fake identification.
Rank 1 – Peddler
You are used to lying through your teeth, telling people whatever they want to hear in order to separate them from their money. It keeps you fed and one step ahead of the law, but you’ll need a way to run bigger scams if you want to make real money.
- A stash of counterfeit items that you sell and scam people with.
- A secluded stoop that you use as a shelter against the elements near your place of “business”.
You are recruited by a gang of Hustlers, or create your own group, to participate in more organized and larger-scale scams.
Rank 2 – Hustler
You have started to work in a group as a face man, expanding your “clientele” with more lucrative cons, such as passing off coloured glass as gemstones, or bleeding wealthy marks dry with long cons.
- A group of miscreants that assist your cons, with whom you split the spoils of your larceny.
You must acquire or create plans for a large-scale con and procure the necessary elements.
Rank 3 – Con Artist
You have become more daring in your approach, orchestrating swindles that require planning, resources, and teamwork in pursuit of a big payday. You may set your gang about duplicating famous paintings to be sold in foreign cities, for example, or forging property title deeds in order to sell a building you do not own.
- A team of charismatic swindlers and skilled forgers who can recreate items at your request with great accuracy and detail.
- An unmarked warehouse in a disreputable part of town, where you can store and create forged items and oversee your operations.Progression:Successfully executing a grand con that draws the outrage of a great noble household, religious faction, or other powerful institution. It also makes you famous among other criminals.
Rank 4 – Mastermind
You have become something of a legend within the underground. Up-and-coming swindlers approach you to learn at your feet. Whether you pass on your skills or fleece your new flock is up to you.
- Many detailed plans of cons you have devised or procured.
- A network of talented individuals who work at your behest, aiding you in orchestrating your ploys.
Some crooks lie to get what they want. Some steal it when its owner isn’t looking. Then there are those who walk up to a target and explain the deal: give me what I want or bad things will happen to you. Call it “protection” or call it extortion, it is perhaps the most straightforward form of crime, favoured by the violent and the ruthless.
Most Cutthroats start out working in a preestablished gang, collecting fees and extracting payments on behalf of a boss. A small gang might be responsible for shaking down a handful of businesses, while the most powerful of crime lords may influence prominent cities or regions.
Skill Proficiency: Intimidation.
Additional Equipment: A kidskin bag of loaded dice, a snuff box, a pocket watch that runs five minutes fast.
Upon spending an hour asking around, and succeeding on a medium-DC Charisma (Intimidation) check, you can prove your credibility and find a contact in a local gang, Thieves’ Guild, or underground network. This contact begins as friendly to you and will assist you with matters related to their criminal endeavours.
Rank 1 – Tough
Working the impoverished regions of town, you’re a criminal who will mug those who walk down the wrong alley at night, or extort unwary travelers for safe passage along a road.
- A hideout where you can seek shelter from the elements, and from local law enforcement.
Acquire a building to use as a centre of operations for your illicit activities, and a handful of other criminals willing to follow your lead.
Rank 2 – Crew Leader
Being the leader of your ragtag team comes with some nice perks. Shop owners shower you with gifts and praise in order to remain on your good side during your weekly rounds. Some will even go out of their way to source rare and valuable items that you require, if they believe doing so will earn your favor.
- A group of thugs that you command, overseeing their various ploys.
- Knowledge of back alleys and slipways that allow you and your group to escape unpursued by local law enforcement.
- A rundown establishment that you and your fellow henchmen operate out of.
Your group of thugs has progressed in size to exert control over an entire village or district within a city. A sizable collection of shop owners that you can regularly exploit for “protection”.
Rank 3 – Gang Boss
You are now a big fish in a small pond, often butting heads with rival gangs. Your presence is not quite strong enough to force your competition out of your territory. Whether you make a bid for control or they do, one thing is for certain: there will be blood in the streets.
- Multiple warehouses and business fronts to launder and store your spoils until a suitable buyer can be located.
- A network of contacts that you use to acquire and sell illicit goods.
You must overthrow a rival crime lord, or claim the territory of all surrounding rival gangs.
Rank 4 – Crime Lord
You sit at the top of the criminal pyramid of your city or region. While there are still gangs that you don’t directly control, they know to stay well clear of your territory.
- An expansive territory that you control, overseeing the criminal businesses within the city and taking a cut of their profits in exchange for protection.
- A number of personal secrets and incriminating evidence about high-ranking nobles, clergy, or business magnates.
- A corrupt, influential state official who does your bidding and provides you with confidential information.
Burglars break into and steal from houses, storefronts, and warehouses, primarily operating out of major cities and ports. While thieving is a risky pursuit, the hardest part can be finding a buyer for rare and valuable items. The more unique the good, the more likely its original owner will want it returned, cutting your profit margin considerably.
Goods and valuables generally need to be sold through a fence: someone who will purchase your stolen goods, sell them to unknowing customers, and take a cut of your profits.
Skill Proficiency: Perception.
Additional Equipment: a grappling hook and rope, kidskin gloves, glass cutter, a vial of flour.
Upon spending an hour observing it, and successfully completing a medium-DC Wisdom (Perception) check, you can map the general layout of a building. This includes the guard routes and rotation times, building entrances and exits, and the potential locations of valuables.
Rank 1 – Snatcher
Breaking into homes in the lower end of town is generally your trade. Authorities only worry about civilians with the power to cause a stir; everyone else is on their own. Locks in this end of town are easy to pick, if there is a lock at all. For the same reason, though, there is less to steal.
- A safehouse in the poor district, used to store stolen goods and serving as emergency lodgings.
- You have blueprints of a grand estate including secret entrances and passageways.
You rob a well-to-do store in a reputable district, gaining notoriety and a big payday.
Rank 2 – Burglar Specialist
Working in a team, while risky, allows for heists that would be beyond the reach of any one burglar, no matter how skilled. Increasingly, when someone has an ambitious crime planned and needs to assemble a team of “the best,” they reach out to you.
- A team of specialist thieves who operate under your instruction to execute more ambitious heists.
- A contact working inside an establishment which you plan on robbing, who provides you information on the routine of the occupants, the location of valuable items, and escape routes.
Membership in an established Thieves’ Guild in a major city or town.
Rank 3 – Heist Master
Your skill as both a burglar and a leader has grown considerably over time. Whether by virtue of your own confidence or a message from the divine, you believe that you are capable of executing a major heist, with the right preparation and henchmen of course. Will it be a priceless painting you have been tasked with acquiring for a prospective buyer? A slovenly prince whose private affairs you seek to meddle in, having acquired his signet ring?
- You hold a senior position in the Thieves’ Guild, instructing junior members in lockpicking, housebreaking, and evading law enforcers.
- You uncover evidence of an attempted assassination on the life of a noble whose estate you robbed.
You orchestrate a large-scale heist to rob the estate of a local noble.
Rank 4 – Prince of Thieves
You have squirreled away enough gold to live comfortably for the rest of your life. However, you now steal to satiate a greater motivation through the exchange of private information, blackmail, and the acquisition of rare and powerful artifacts. After all, knowledge is power, and you’ve risen to a level where power is mandatory.
- Your own estate with a household of staff, acquiring and selling rare and valuable items through your own circle of thieves, fences, and buyers.
Militarists either work within a formal military structure, or fight for pay on an individual basis. Militarists are often respected or feared, depending on the nature of their organisation. High-ranking Militarists are often paid handsomely, as their skills can decide battles or even wars. Lower-level Militarists make great warriors, mercenaries, and guards.
It is not unheard of for militaristic individuals to accompany adventurers on dangerous missions. These tasks are said to keep the mind sharp and skills honed, especially in times of relative peace.
Skill Proficiency: Choose one from Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, Survival.
Tool Proficiency: One type of gaming set.
Equipment: A gaming set you are proficient with, an insignia detailing your rank within a military organization, and 10 gp.
Profession: Free Sword
Free Swords are commonly referred to as mercenaries, taking jobs that the local forces can’t handle. Mercenaries may be the only hope of villages looking for defenders against raiders, overextended sheriffs chasing powerful fugitives, and small merchants traveling Etharis’s dangerous byroads. Larger mercenary companies win wars on behalf of cities and kings. They fight for coin above all else, exacting little honor from the contracts they accept.
Skill Proficiency: Intimidation.
Additional Equipment: Moleskin gloves, grappling net, a hip flask of hard liquor.
Upon spending an hour loitering within a town, and succeeding on a medium DC-Charisma (intimidation) check, your intimidating presence draws offers of employment to you. As long as you are not trying to conceal your presence, jobs befitting a Free Sword Mercenary will find you. You can find mercenary and adventuring jobs only available to Free Sword licence-holders. These jobs typically pay more than a standard contract of their type. Free Sword guilds take a 5% cut as a guild fee.
Rank 1 – Hireling
You have been trained in combat by a group of mercenaries with a Free Sword licence. After many tedious years of combat drills and shooting at straw targets, you are close to receiving your very own license.
- Lodging at any Free Sword’s guild house and use of Free Sword’s training grounds and facilities.
- The contract for a dangerous bounty that your mentor died trying to complete.
Complete a contract with a guild member who has a Free Sword licence.
Rank 2 – Sellsword
After proving your competence and trustworthiness, you have become a guildlicensed Sellsword. You start to receive specific requests for jobs as your reputation grows.
- A Free Sword licence, which allows you to accept your own contracts as a mercenary and collect the rewards.
- Access to hirelings belonging to the Free Swords guild, who you can contract for a small fee.
Lead a team successfully through several highstakes encounters during mercenary contracts.
Rank 3 – Sword Commander
You have proven your combat prowess and command of battlefield tactics. Special requests for your services are becoming more frequent, often from people or groups of higher social status. The mercenary companions who accompany you on your jobs have matured into disciplined soldiers who trust you as their commander.
- Your own private room in a guild house and a retainer who can either take care of business for you at the guild house or accompany you on your travels.
- Command authority over lower ranks and the power to employ them for jobs.
- Access to restricted jobs that depend on sensitive information or extraordinary risk.
Successfully complete a restricted job for a highprofile client.
Rank 4 – Battlelord
You have been elected by the members of your Free Swords guild to lead them forward to greater power and acclaim. What type of commander are you going to be? Will you lead by example and rush into the fray during combat, or retire the sword and pick up the pen?
- Command of the Free Sword’s guild and its members, including managing contracts, and overseeing the training of hirelings.
- A guild chapterhouse, which includes housing for you and your lieutenants as well as an extensive armoury for guild members.
Public officers of the law in cities and large settlements, Guards protect the populace from the dangers both inside and outside the walls. If it looks like guards spend their time loitering and playing cards, its because most of the time the mere presence of a guard is enough to make petty criminals move along.
Guards occupy a variety of stations, ranging from lowly bar bouncers to royal men-at-arms who protect the royal family and their most prized possessions.
Skill Proficiency: Perception.
Additional Equipment: Manacles, pipe and tobacco box, a badge of office.
Upon spending an hour asking around, and succeeding on a medium-DC Wisdom (Perception) check, you can find a contact within the local constabulary or guard hierarchy. This contact begins as friendly to you and will answer questions you have regarding local wanted criminals, law enforcement, and ongoing or previous investigations.
Rank 1 – Town Militia
You have joined the local town militia out of necessity or desire. Either way, your duties have included many sleepless nights on watch, and many tedious days spent idly standing guard.
- A bunk bed to sleep in at your stationed guardhouse.
- Sensitive information relating to an unsolved murder that you have not told anyone about.
Solve a crime or uncover a major smuggling route.
Rank 2 – Captain of the Watch
Your dedication to your city has not gone unnoticed, and you have been promoted to Captain of the Watch. You now lead a small detail of guards who follow your orders.
- Access to the keys to the city gates.
- A group of militia guards to train and organize as you see fit.
Catch a renowned criminal before they can escape the city, or another act worthy of a promotion.
Rank 3 – Palace Guard
You have shown initiative and critical thinking under strain in leading your guard detail, and have been suitably promoted to the rank of Palace Guard. Your loyalty is highly valued, and your discretion is even more so. Your focus has shifted from keeping the peace to protecting the most important places and people in the city.
- Free lodging on the grounds of the palace or other place of work.
- Unquestioned access to restricted areas of the city.
- Permission to view the casefiles of ongoing investigations and past crimes. You can also access documents detailing guard routes and rosters.
Save a VIP from an assasination attempt, rescue a kidnapped princess, or anything of equal import to be promoted.
Rank 4 – Lord Commander
You now command the entire law enforcement system of your area, with accompanying fortresses and militia. You stand as the final authority for most executive and judicial problems in your region, making you the physical embodiment of the law. When the leaders of your city need protection or want a crime investigated, they go through you.
- Command of the entire guard hierarchy within your area, with the authority to conscript new militia and impose martial law within a region or town.
- Command of a fortress within a major town or city, granting you access to weapons, defensive siege equipment, and squadrons of guards under your command.
- You report directly to the highest officials, and have the ear of the monarch on matters of the city’s defences.
Getting into the army isn’t the hard part, staying alive is. Every nation and culture has their own notions about what makes a good soldier, and who they look to to fill their ranks.
As a soldier, you don’t just know fighting – you know war. Being a soldier involves much more than individual combat prowess. Winning a battle depends on discipline, teamwork, tactics, and a great deal of marching and logistical work that the epics rarely mention.
Skill Proficiency: Athletics.
Additional Equipment: A trophy from your first battle, a letter from your family or a loved one, standard issue soldier’s garb, service medallion signifying rank.
Upon spending an hour, and succeeding on a medium-DC Strength (Athletics) check, you can run training drills and gain an accurate estimate of the drilled humanoids’ combat capabilities, as well as any equipment or fortifications they use. You determine the most suitable strategy to improve their capabilities in the short term as well as the best way to train them for the long term.
Rank 1 – Foot Soldier
Many Foot Soldiers are conscripts. Others fight for the honour of their king and country, and still others for the steady paycheck. Regardless of your reason for joining the military, the food was usually warm and the tents kept you dry during the long nights. Your time in the military has taught you the value of the regimented early mornings and working yourself to exhaustion.
- A tent to sleep in and free food when in an encampment of your military.
- A letter from a fallen enemy messenger that you either killed or found.
Distinguish yourself. Bring vital information about an enemy encampment or movement that will help win a battle or prevent a defeat. Or perform exceptionally well in battle, turning the tide or capturing an enemy banner.
Rank 2 – Sergeant
Your superiors have promoted you to the rank of Sergeant. This brings new challenges in training and commanding the new conscripts who have been assigned to you. How do you train them – on training grounds or in the wilds of Borea? Or do you let them fend for themselves?
- Command over a small unit of Foot Soldiers.
- A valet who attends to your personal needs in the field and relays important messages when required.
Maintain your troops’ discipline through multiple skirmishes.
Rank 3 – Lieutenant
Several Sergeants have been placed under your command so that you can coordinate their movements in and out of battle. You maintain an air of command about you, and instill confidence in those you command. You have also proven adept with battle tactics, knowing how to read an encounter and when to deploy reserves.
- Command over a brigade of soldiers.
- A command tent that serves as your headquarters for battlefield operations.
Decisively win an even battle or win a battle against the odds.
Rank 4 – Field Marshal
Your recent promotion to Field Marshal has been foreseen by many and scorned by few. You command whole armies at a time. Whether you are an artist with your masterful maneuvering of battlelines, or utterly brutal in your encounters, none can deny your efficiency in war.
- Command over the region’s military.
- A seat at any council meetings relevant to military matters of the kingdom.
- Residence in a manor close to the training grounds in the capital city.
Outlanders are people who live their lives away from civilization. Some have chosen a life of isolation, while others have been exiled from society. Outlanders are renowned for hardiness and self-sufficiency, but distrusted by most civilized people.
Skill Proficiencies: Choose one from Animal Handling, Athletics, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Stealth, Survival.
Tool Proficiencies: Herbalism Kit
Languages: Choose one standard.
Equipment: Common clothes, tinder box, several torches, waterskin, a hatchet, a herbalism kit, and 5 gp.
Profession: Beast Hunter
Hunters make their living by trapping, hunting, and killing vicious beasts. Some provide meat and furs for settlements, or for trade. The strongest may become a community’s best defense against wandering monsters. Beast hunters have a natural aptitude for tracking all manner of beasts, quickly noticing signs that an animal has passed by, down to an exact time and direction of travel.
Skill Proficiency: Survival.
Additional Equipment: a net, a hunting trap, 30 feet of rope, one vial of pheromones or a pouch of bait.
Upon spending an hour examining your surroundings, and succeeding on a medium- DC Wisdom (Survival) check, you can track the movements of creatures that have passed through the area. You can ascertain the exact time and direction a creature went, if you are familiar with the type of creature.
Rank 1 – Tracker
You have shadowed an accomplished hunter to learn their methods of setting traps, stalking prey, and following tracks. When you aren’t out hunting with your mentor, you busy yourself setting snares, practicing with a bow and arrow, and learning about the creatures you hunt.
- You know where to find a Beast Hunters’ Lodge that you can use in the wilderness to rest and escape danger.
- You have a lead as to the location of the lair of a powerful and dangerous creature.
Prove to your mentor that you are competent to hunt on your own and teach the new and inexperienced.
Rank 2 – Trapper
You have developed your hunting skills to the point where you can make a living from them, beyond just feeding yourself day to day. You are adept in setting traps, and have an eye for where to ready your snares to maximise your chances of an easy kill. You seek out game trails where there is evidence of recent activity, and almost always return to find a creature snared in your trap.
- Up to a handful of apprentices who wish to learn the trade.
- Use of equipment from a Beast Hunters’ Lodge to hunt any beast you accept a contract to kill. You must have access to a Beast Hunters’ Lodge.
Complete a contract to kill a particularly rare and dangerous beast for a community or an influential individual. You must determine the creature’s species, track it, and slay it.
Rank 3 – Hunter
You are the one to call in the surrounding area if farmers are being slain by beasts, or if mages require a specific magical component.
- A team of experienced hunters who assist you in large hunts and handle smaller jobs you assign to them.
- Access to the Beast Hunters’ Lodge’s library, which contains all known weaknesses of beasts and monsters.
Slay a legendary beast. The event must draw the awe of influential individuals across the land.
Rank 4 – Mythical Beast Hunter
Your skills as a hunter are known to be unparalleled in the lands. Monarchs and nobles request your aid to remove the most difficult of monsters from their lands. Merchants contract you to capture the most vicious of mythical creatures, and druids ask for your assistance to relocate dangerous but endangered fantastical creatures.
- Control of the guild of Beast Hunters, including the resources and personnel the guild controls.
- Fame and high repute across the land as a figure of legend.
- A mighty weapon or artifact handed down to you by the guild, a satisfied customer, or an admirer. An audience with any ruler at their convenience to discuss matters of beast hunting in their domain.
There is still land in Cambria where no humanoid has lived before, and Pioneers are the hardy folk who set out to tame that land for the first time. You’ve learned to hunt the forest game, cultivate crops of wild flora and collect water from natural streams where fish swim abundant. You have weathered punishing storms, migrations, and harsh winters. You and yours have adapted to the environment. Everything you own is built with your own two hands, and your aptitude in working with natural materials has provided you with shelter, tools, and clothing.
Skill Proficiency: Nature.
Additional Equipment: A shovel, a hammer and nails, a saw, spare leather, a needle and thread.
Handyman by Necessity
Upon spending an hour in the outdoors, and succeeding on a medium-DC Intelligence (Nature) check, find the necessary materials (provided there are any nearby) to mend any mundane item.
Rank 1 – Hermit
You have had to rely on your aptitude for working with natural resources to fend for yourself in the wilds of Cambria. You have a crude shelter and a basic knowledge of foraging wild flora, but you have yet to truly make your way on the frontier.
- Knowledge of a rare animal or plant that, if domesticated, could be farmed for great gain.
Build a house, or similar building, and the beginnings of a farm .
Rank 2 – Secluded Cultivator
You have constructed a sturdy dwelling and started to make the land support you. While your fences are rudimentary and your tools crude, you have begun to produce more than you need to survive. Others may follow you, seeing the opportunity this land offers.
- A small herd or a field of crops.
- A small family or group of farmhands who help tend your homestead.
Gather a small community around your homestead.
Rank 3 – Homestead Proprietor
You have established your own homestead, and maintain a year-round reserve of crops, salted meat and animal pelts to sustain you and your people through the winter months. People have gathered around you with specialized skills, such as carpenters, blacksmiths, and doctors. The beginning of a village has grown up around you.
- Small self-sufficient, village-sized community that takes care of the daily requirements of your ranch or plantation.
- A track/road that leads to the nearest town for traveling merchants to buy and sell wares.
- A sizable plantation or ranch of your chosen commodity, bringing in a significant profit each harvest.
Acquire a rare or magical animal or plant to be farmed.
Rank 4 – Governor
Your steading is renowned for production of its unique commodity. You are held in high regard in the surrounding provinces, and known throughout the lands as a foremost producer of your chosen commodity. As the first and most influential settler in the area, it was natural to make your authority official. In your frontier town, you are the head of the local government, with all the powers and responsibilities that entails.
- Your position as a local authority is your entry into the society of notable merchants, nobles, and royalty. Powerful people approach you to buy what you offer and deal with your town.
- A caravansary that houses incoming and outgoing merchant caravans from across the land.
- A large house for you and your family, suitable for receiving important visitors.
- A small but disciplined militia to protect your homestead and its surroundings.
- A political alliance with a neighbouring state that supports your independence.
Explorers pursue an isolated lifestyle traversing the wilds, driven by wonderlust or the orders of a distant patron. For an Explorer, there is no greater pursuit than to discover the lost, forgotten, and unseen reaches of the world. They may travel unaccompanied or with companions, establishing large encampments in remote areas that others would deem uninhabitable. Explorers are often employed by rulers who wish to know more about the world.
Skill Proficiency: Survival.
Additional Equipment: a compass, mapmaking tools including a quill, ink, parchment, calipers, and a ruler.
Upon spending an hour searching, and succeeding on a medium-DC Wisdom (Survival) check, you can determine the direction and approximate location of the nearest humanoid settlement. This includes people who might not be accommodating such as bandits, druids, and hostile cultures. The inhabitants of the location are initially friendly to you and your allies, and they will let you seek shelter and trade among them.
Rank 1 – Wanderer
As a child, you were gripped by an insatiable wanderlust that caused you to range further from home in pursuit of new adventures, exploring the wilds of neighboring forests and setting rudimentary traps to catch small game. Now you know more about the region than perhaps anyone else.
- A hidden stash within the wilds of your choice, containing rations, medical supplies, fresh water, and weapons.
- A letter from an old friend describing an anomaly within the wilds of your choice.
Discover an anomaly and document its location.
Rank 2 – Pathfinder
Merchants and travellers, learning of you by reputation, hire you as a guide through dangerous and remote terrain. You may also be recruited by military entities to advise on which remote routes will enable them to travel quickly and undetected in enemy territory.
- Detailed knowledge of your chosen wilderness, including locations of interest and danger.
- A contract with a local guild or faction to guide members through the area.
Establish a new road or trade route between known settlements or landmarks that is safe to travel.
Rank 3 – Royal Surveyor
You are commissioned by the office of a ruler or provincial leader to chart regions unknown to them. Your expertise in navigating the wilds and uncovering their secrets has made you highly sought-after.
- Resources provided to you by your clients, to assist in your exploration.
- An assistant cartographer, scribe, or other related profession.
Maps and charts that have been procured by your assistant, detailing hidden routes.
Complete an exploration mission of great notoriety, commissioned by a Monarch or other regional leader.
Rank 4 – Master of the Horizon
Whether under the banner of a nation or for your own glory, you lead an exploration company into the unknown. You understand the hidden secrets of the natural world, and have discovered ways to venture into parallel planes of existence. With an entire company of explorers behind you, your adventure will be awe-inspiring.
- If your campaign permits it, you know of gateways to other planes of existence.
- An ancient map leading to a lost landmark of great importance. It may contain wealth, power, or knowledge.
- An exploration company of skilled and unskilled hirelings, including labourers, soldiers, academics, carpenters, and many other professions.
- A port or encampment at a strategic location that acts as a frontier post from which you launch exploration missions.
Seafarers make their living by sailing or gathering from the sea. Seafarers often start as poor and disrespected members of society. However, at higher ranks, they gain considerable holdings. The sea has much to give, but it can quickly take everything away as well.
Skill Proficiencies: Choose one from Athletics, Perception, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, Survival.
Tool Proficiencies: Navigator’s tools, vehicles (water)
Languages: Choose one standard and one exotic.
Equipment: Common clothes, a belaying pin, thread and a blunt needle, a bucket of tar, and 10 gp.
Free from the gruelling class structures of the mainland, Sailors learn not to fear the laws of society, only the harsh temper of a storm and the stern discipline of a Boatswain. Sailors find talking to other seafarers second-nature, and are often able to secure passage for themselves and their companions in exchange for their skills. For all sailors know, a man of the sea is a friend indeed.
Skill Proficiency: Perception.
Additional Equipment: Sturdy clothes, a large sack, dice, a liquor flask.
Upon spending an hour in a port, and succeeding on a medium-DC Wisdom (Perception) check, you can find a ship that you believe will provide free passage to a location of your choice, provided any ships are traveling to that location.
Rank 1 – Deck Hand
You work on a sailing ship, performing menial labor such as tending the lines and tarring the deck. While your responsibilities are small, you may display a knack for a particular specialisation onboard the ship. You are at home on the waves, among your fellow sailors, regardless of the nature and business of the ship.
- Free lodging on your boat.
- Knowledge of a potential mutiny.
Be promoted to Boatswain by a Captain.
Rank 2 – Boatswain
A Captain has chosen you as the Boatswain, responsible for the organisation and wellbeing of the crew, as well as ensuring their loyalty to the captain. You have also become a capable seafarer, knowing the ins and outs of running a ship with clockwork precision.
- Command over the deckhands on the ship when not under the orders of a higher rank.
- An officer’s quarters which doubles as your cabin and living space.
Be promoted to Ship Captain or become Captain of your own ship by other means.
Rank 3 – Ship Captain
You are the undisputed master aboard your own ship. Your crew follow your every command (or suffer the consequences), and look to you for a vision of the future. You now face such challenges as potential mutinies, provisions and payments for the sailors, and the delicate art of navigating dangerous seas.
- Your own ship, or else have been entrusted with command of one, as in the case of a military ship provided by a nation.
- Command of a loyal crew that see to the operation and maintenance of your ship.
- If there is nobody above you in the chain of command, you have complete control of your ship, but you also have to pay for the upkeep.
- Even if the ship belongs to an admiralty or business interest, on board the ship you are the one in charge.
Be promoted to Admiral by a higher authority, or by obtaining a fleet of your own.
Rank 4 – Fleet Admiral
You command a fleet of ships, whose captains are your subordinates and carry out your orders. The sailors sing shanties of your glory and you are known from port to harbour across the world. Your fleet contains an array of ships built for many different purposes, which you can assign as you see fit. You personally command the flagship of your fleet. What the future holds for you and the men sailing with you, is shaped by you and your command.
- A fleet of ships that follow your every command.
- Command of multiple loyal crews that see to the operation and maintenance of your fleet.
- You are known in other lands for the tales of your victories and expertise.
- Free lodging on any ship you are in command of, and any port or shipyard you are docked at.
Profession: Dock Worker
Docks represent the hubs that drive commerce, travel, and exchange of culture. In every one are teams of hardy workers who load goods and supplies onto and off of the ships. From lowly Clerks, who check off goods to and from warehouses, to the mighty Sealord bureaucrats, they keep the machinery of the docks moving.
Skill Proficiency: Investigation
Additional Equipment: A leather strap, 30 feet of rope, a pulley, a box of snuff, a clipboard and quill.
Upon spending an hour asking around, and succeeding on a medium-DC Intelligence (Investigation) check, you know the comings and goings of ships, wagons and merchandise at the trade hub you are exploring. You can similarly discern where different types of goods are stored in any warehouse, including the contraband.
Rank 1 – Stock Clerk
Long days of tedious work await you as you check off goods as they are loaded and unloaded from ships to and from warehouses. Many Stock Clerks don’t last long as they are often blamed for broken or missing inventory. In your time you have learned a lot about the comings and goings throughout a dock, what types of ships and barrels typically come from where, and what their purpose is. You have learned who to ask the right questions, who holds the real power, and where to find a good time.
- Lodging near the port or trade station you work at.
- You know where the contraband is hidden and how to get in.
Be promoted to Customs Inspector by a dock worker of a higher station.
Rank 2 – Customs Inspector
Your days of hard labour are behind you, as you are now charged with inspecting cargo for contraband, collecting tariffs, and filling ledgers of incoming and outgoing vessels. Corruption is rife at any port, and you are exposed to the shady deals, illegal goods, and criminal activities that take place there. It’s up to you whether you use your authority to enforce the law or just make sure you get a cut of the action.
- A list of your fellow Customs Inspectors known for accepting bribes and forging ledger entries, and who bribed them.
- A letter or clue revealing the smuggling operations of a criminal organisation.
- Authority over low ranking dockworkers and port guards.
Expose a large quantity of contraband or a criminal organisation.
Rank 3 – Harbour Master
Your keen eye and efficient work in customs has earned you the rank of Harbour Master. You now preside over the dock of a harbour town or city. You set the local laws and regulations, governing the flow of trade and passage within your jurisdiction. All who wish to conduct business without hassle make sure they are on good terms with you, as nothing moves without your approval.
- Comfortable accommodation within the port town or city of your station.
- Authority of all resources, funding, and personnel of the harbour you manage.
- The authority to grant commodity licences, allowing the import or harvesting of the commodity in the local area.
Be promoted by a Monarch or state leader.
Rank 4 – Sealord
Residing in the capital city of your region, you dictate the laws, taxes, and flow of sea commerce across the region. As a Sealord, you are the undisputed authority in your region when it comes to all subjects related to the harbour.
- Luxurious lodging near the mercantile district of the capital city where you oversee the operations of the region.
- Control over docking fees and other charges associated with trading posts and ports across the region.
- A seat at any council meetings pertaining to trade or the sea in the kingdom.
Profession: Sea Gatherer
The seas of Cambria are dangerous and forbidding. From mighty sea monsters to treacherous weather, most avoid the oceans at all costs.
However, those that are skilled enough, or desperate enough, find a living harvesting what they can from the sea. Most Sea Gatherers represent the poorest of the poor. However, they make up for this lack of wealth with a savvy sense for survival, and Sea Gatherers who survive often become renowned heroes, known for fighting monsters of the deep and exploring sunken ruins of old. All know that an elderly Sea Gatherer must be a mighty figure indeed.
Skill Proficiency: Survival.
Additional Equipment: A bag filled with water weeds, a shellfish trap, a shucking knife, a pouch of bait, a straw sunhat.
Knowledge of the Seas
Upon spending an hour walking the shore, and succeeding on a medium-DC Wisdom (Survival) check, you can find the best locations to hunt and catch sea treasures in the nearby region. This can range from simple fishing to dangerous monster hunting or diving for wrecks and ruins.
Rank 1 – Dredge
You spend your days scavenging the ocean with nets and shellfish traps, hoping to make a living. You may be struggling with poverty, and scrounging by the coast is the only way you can survive. Perhaps you were born into a tradition of fishing, and have begun with humble origins. Regardless of your background, you hope to hone your skills and make something of yourself.
- A small fishing boat.
- Knowledge of the best fishing spots in the area.
Acquire a trawling boat and a commodity licence from a Harbour Master.
Rank 2 – Trawler
Your life begins as a master of waves, as you battle the ocean to attain its most prized treasures. A sturdier ship allows you to venture further and recover more (and more valuable) treasures from the sea. From whale oil to black pearls, you descend upon the seas with a fierce determination and a steely resolve.
- A single-masted trawling boat with a few assistants to crew it.
- A rumour of a great sunken treasure and the identity of who currently holds the map to it.
Complete a contract to kill a particularly rare and dangerous nautical monster or find a sunken treasure. The contract must be completed for a wizard, merchant prince, or similarly influential individual.
Rank 3 – Trawl Master
With a crew at your back, you have become renowned as one of the fiercest Trawlers alive. No catch is too dangerous, or prize too well-guarded beneath the waves. You are hired by powerful mages, wealthy merchants, and kings to retrieve exotic treasures from the ocean – a task you perform with great prowess.
- A deep-sea trawling boat, equipped to spend months at sea.
- A team of expert trawlers and divers to assist you in adventures and maintain your boat.
- The audience of wizards and merchant princes who wish to hire you.
Slay a major sea monster or find a sunken treasure that becomes legend. The event must draw the awe of influential individuals across the land.
Rank 4 – Nautical Legend
Bards sing of the sea monsters you face and the storms you tame. It is said that even the Primordials of the tempest cannot deter you from your prize. All know that if there is a sunken ruin that needs plundering or an ancient sea creature that needs slaying, there is no one better suited for the task than you.
- Control of a coastal island awarded to you by a Monarch in recognition of your feats. The island houses a fortress, guild house, or similar structure where nautical legends gather.
- Repute across the land as a figure of legend.
- A mighty weapon or artifact provided by a client or retrieved from sunken treasure.
- An audience with any Monarch or head of state, at their convenience, to discuss matters of salvage and treasure hunting within the realm.
All of these choices should pair well with your background form entries and they should inform one another. Avoid getting hung up on the names of the ranks for professions – they’re only there as guidelines. Your specific rank or title will depend on your faction/culture/specific profession, etc., and we can reflavour things to suit the character you wish to build.
The intent behind the system is to give each character deeper roots into the world and provide a sense of progression which ties into your background choices.