Sunday, March 29, 2015

Humans

Designer's Notes

Backgrounds are the human equivalent of the nonhuman races' skills, powers, and ability bonuses. Unlike the backgrounds in 5th edition D&D, the backgrounds in Into the Dark are intended to more accurately reflect actual ancient and medieval societies. 

In addition, these backgrounds are more indicative of the social class and environment in which a character was raised, rather than his initial occupation before becoming an adventurer. As such, most of the backgrounds can be combined with most of the adventuring classes without making too awkward of a fit; there are some exceptions, though, such as the fact that the Scholar background makes a poor fit with the fighter or thief classes, and a better fit with the cleric and magic-user classes. 

Some backgrounds are explicitly prohibited or required with respect to the training packages associated with the adventuring classes (which will be explored in future posts); the Cavalier training package, for example, requires that a human character have the Noble background, and the Barbarian training package forbids the Scholar background. Other restrictions based on the social realities of the campaign setting are left to the referee's discretion.

The backgrounds are intended as a quick, one-word way of summarizing a character's past; they provide a little bit of back-story, and a short list of background skills, without a whole lot of fuss or decision points.

The birth rank score, which is determined by background, is an indication of a character's social level or standing in society. Birth rank will be explored a bit more in a future post; it relates to a character's family history, family and personal honor, and inheritance.

Human

Size:                             medium (5’-6’)
Movement:                  12”
Ability Bonus:             varies by background
Race Powers:               none
Race Skills:                  varies by background
Birth Rank:                  varies by background
Native Language:         varies by culture

Background

Every human has a background, which determines his ability bonus, race skills, and birth rank.

Background represents a human character’s upbringing and education. In general, a male is trained in the occupation of his father and a female in the occupation of her mother. Most exceptions occur due to the custom of fostering, in which a boy or girl is sent to another family to work as a servant or apprentice, and to learn skills relevant to his or her intended profession or station in society.

The ability score bonus gives a character a +1 bonus to one ability score, but each background permits a player to choose from two abilities when assigning the bonus. No ability score may be raised above 18 as a result of this bonus.

Background Table

#
Background
Ability Bonus
Background Skills
Birth Rank
1
Craftsman
D or I
appraisal
craft
teamster
1d4+6
2
Fisherman
C or D
fishing
rowing or sailing
weather sense
1d6+4
3
Forester
D or W
direction sense
outdoor survival
tracking
1d6+4
4
Herdsman
C or W
animal husbandry
musical instrument
weather sense
1d6+4
5
Merchant
C or I
appraisal
merchant
scribe or teamster
1d6+4
6
Mountaineer
C or S
climbing
tracking
weather sense
1d6+4
7
Noble
Ch or S
courtesy
riding
scholarship or tracking
1d4+12
8
Nomad
C or D
animal husbandry
riding
tracking
1d6+4
9
Pauper
Ch or D
appraisal
begging
bluffing
1d2+2
10
Peasant
C or W
farming
teamster
tracking
1d4+6
11
Scholar
I or W
divinity, juristry, or medicine
scholarship
scribe
1d4+6
12
Seaman
C or S
rowing or sailing
swimming
weather sense
1d6+4

Culture

Every human has a particular culture, which determines his native language, religion, name, and available backgrounds. The details of human cultures depend on the particular campaign, as determined by the referee.