Monday, July 18, 2011

Random Background Generation Charts for 4E D&D

Random Background Generation Charts for 4E D&D. This is by no means an exhaustive listing of all possible professions and backgrounds that a character could have in a fantasy role-playing game. This is more to help players give their character a bit more depth, to have an idea of where they came from, and maybe even help the DM flesh out the game world a bit more.

Many of these backgrounds give characters benefits above and beyond the boons generally offered by WotC's published "backgrounds" in the character builder. The charts skew towards a minimal bonus, but big bonuses are possible. The bonuses are meant to be used with an old-school style character generation method; that is, rolling for your stats instead of using a standard array. My preferred method is 4d6, dropping the lowest die, and adding the remaining 3 together, down the line. This will generally not give you a character with attributes that match 4E's standard array. However, between the possibilities on this background generation chart and my upcoming random bogey chart for chargen should offer enough little bonuses to make the game a bit more interesting, in spite of having lower average ability scores.

I'm also open to adding more possibilities to these charts, and including more boons for different backgrounds. If you have any ideas, feel free to drop them in the comments below!

Roll 2d10 and add the numbers
2-3 roll on Wealthy Chart
4-5 roll on Works with Words, Potions n Such Chart
6-8 roll on Smithy Chart
9-11 roll on Farmers and Outdoorsmen Chart
12-14 roll on Labourers Chart
15-16 roll on Craftsmen Chart
17-18 roll on Merchants Chart
19 roll on Adventurers 1 Chart
20 roll on Adventurers 2 Chart

Wealthy Chart (roll 1d10) Starting Gold value is instead of standard 100 gp
1 Minor Lord. Starting Gold: 200
2 Bag of gold fell out of the sky. Starting Gold: 250
3 Married into wealth and suddenly widow(er)ed. Starting Gold: 300
4 Literally struck gold on a claim of land and sold it off to be mined. Starting Gold: 400
5 Politically powerful, entrenched family wants to send their "black sheep" on his merry way. Starting Gold: 500
6 Incredibly successful merchant. Starting Gold: 750
7 Long-lost wealthy relative left everything to you! Starting Gold: 1000
8 The town wizard died and left everything in his tower to you. Starting Gold: 1500 (access to potions, alchemical items, and minor magic items at DM discretion)
9 You are a bastard child of the king, and you've been paid off to keep quiet about it. Starting Gold: 2000
10 Royalty, but with a few older brothers first in line for the throne. Starting Gold: 5000

Works with Words, Potions, n Such Chart (roll 1d12), any items and skills in parentheses after background are in addition to starting gold and class skills. All characters with one of these backgrounds begin with 200 instead of 100 gp.
1 Scribe (+2 History)
2 Sage (gain training in one of the following: History, Religion, Arcana)
3 Minstrel (gain training in either Perception or Bluff)
4 Interpreter (You may take 1 additional language, +2 Perception)
5 Herald
6 Clerk
7 Bookbinder
8 Barrister (+2 History, +2 Bluff, +2 Perception)
9 Astrologer (3 1st-level ritual scrolls, +2 Arcana)
10 Architect (gain training Dungeoneering)
11 Herbalist (3 potions of healing)
12 Apothecary (alchemy kit and 3 alchemical items levels 1-5)

Smithy Chart (roll d10) items in parentheses after background are in addition to starting gold
1 Nailsmith
2 Goldsmith
3 Gemcutter (+1 Magic Orb)
4 Engraver
5 Coppersmith
6 Brazier
7 Bladesmith (Masterwork Longsword)
8 Blacksmith
9 Arrowsmith (20 +1 arrows)
10 Armorer (Masterwork Armor of choice)

Farmers and Outdoorsmen Chart (roll d10) (starts with normal gp)
1 Farmer
2 Fisherman
3 Shepherd
4 Swineherd
5 Butcher
6 Groom
7 Trapper (gain training in Nature)
8 Gardener (gain training in Nature)
9 Forester (gain training in Nature)
10 Hunter (gain training in Nature)

Labourers Chart (roll d6) (starts with normal gp) (all characters of this background gain +2 to Strength or Constitution)
1 Teamster
2 Waterleader
3 Quarrier
4 Porter
5 Ploughman
6 Miner

Craftsmen Chart (roll d12) all Craftsmen start with 150 gp and possible item in parentheses.
1 Tanner
2 Weaver
3 Tinker
4 Tailor
5 Mason
6 Hatter
7 Glassblower
8 Bowyer/Fletcher (Masterwork Bow)
9 Embroiderer
10 Clockmaker (Pocketwatch)
11 Carpenter
12 Brewer

Merchant Chart (roll d12) all Merchants start with 200 gp and possible item in parentheses.
1 Poulterer
2 Mercer
3 Ironmonger
4 Haberdasher
5 Grocer
6 Fishmonger
7 Draper
8 Hosteler
9 Knife-grinder (Masterwork Dagger)
10 Cobbler
11 Barber
12 Baker

Adventurers 1 Chart (roll d10) Starts with 100 gp and an appropriate magical item of level 1-5 (work with your DM!)
1 Pirate
2 Smuggler
3 Explorer
4 Mariner
5 Outlaw
6 Rider
7 Scout
8 Soldier
9 Thug
10 Acbrobat

Adventurers 2 Chart (roll d10) Starts with 200 gp and an appropriate magical item of level 1-10 (work with your DM!)
1 Assassin
2 Weapon Master
3 Sharpshooter
4 Peasant Hero
5 Spy
6 Swashbuckler
7 Mystic
8 Amazon
9 Shaman
10 Gladiator

1 comment:

  1. I like this a lot. I'll probably swipe stuff here and there to fill in the gaps in the background generation tables I'm currently using. Thanks!