December 9, 2014

5E Group Background - Secret Society

The World Builder Blog did a nice article on Group Backgrounds for 5E. Basically these are backgrounds with the assumption that the player characters are all from the same background instead of the usual individual ones. This allows for player character group to have some initial ties, giving a more coherent reason of why they are together.
The initial article gave some basics for the Group Backgrounds, but I thought it would be neat to expand them into regular backgrounds. These could also work as regular Backgrounds for individuals.

Group Background: Secret Society

Your party is made up of characters who work for an organization with inner workings which remain a secret to the public. Your society might be spies for a government, a cabal of assassins, a band of hidden protectors of nature, a team of vigilantes, a group trying to divine the secrets of the world, an organization bent on world domination, or something else. Whatever the case, you have a secret mission to carry out. This secret bonds you and your party together in trust.

Skill Proficiencies: Deception, choose one of the following (Persuasion, Stealth)  
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit, forgery kit
Equipment: A set of fine clothes, two sets of common clothes, a disguise kit,  a belt pouch continuing 15gp

Feature: Information Network
You are part of a network that relays secret information on a regular basis. You are able to pass along and gain information easily. Once a day you can send out information or request information on a topic and sometime thereafter (as determined by your DM) a response will come back to you through your network. 

Suggested Characteristics:
Being a member of a secret society means always living a lie. Who can you trust? Who can trust you? Fortunately, you have a core group of people you know you can trust, but beyond them the world is uncertain.

Personality Trait:
1. I do not have many possessions. I may have to pick and move on a moment’s notice.
2. I don’t like looking people in the eye. This tends to make them nervous around me.
3. I enjoy discussing politics.
4. I am afraid of giving too much away so I talk as little as possible.
5. It’s very hard for me to trust anyone I haven’t known for a long time. I assume everyone is lying to me.
6. I am more of a follower than a leader. Maybe that explains why I was so willing to join this society.
7. I like to think I’m a sexual charmer.
8. I am as outgoing and friendly as possible. Everyone trusts a friendly face.

1. Revolutionary. Things need to change. I haven’t thought much about what the world will be like after the change, but that can wait for later. (Neutral)
2. Idealist. Only through change can the world be made better. (Good)
3. Anarchic. Down with those in authority! Change the status-quo! We will prevail and change the world! (Chaotic)
4. Trust. I have reliance on the society. To question it would introduce doubt and lead to failure. (Lawful)
5. Rebel. I like being outside the established societal order, whatever that might be. If we win by accomplishing our goals and become the new society, I’ll rebel against that. (Evil)
6. Diligent. I believe in our mission. (Any)

1. I once had an intimate relationship with a leader of the society. It didn’t work out but I still have feelings for them.
2. My older brother, who was also part of the society, was taken in for “questioning” by the local authorities and has been missing ever since. I will find him one day…or at least uncover what happened to him.
3. I’ve used so many aliases, it’s starting to get confusing as to which one I’m supposed to be using when.
4. There is one new recruit that may be too young for this sort of thing. I’ll have to keep an eye on them and make sure they stay safe.
5. I used to do a lot of heaving drinking to help me get through everything. I realized I had a problem and stopped completely. However, some days it’s hard not to go back to drinking.
6. I am building a hidden stash of money and items in case it ever all goes bad.

1. I was once accused of selling out the group for money. It was later proved it was someone else instead. Now no one completely trusts me any longer.
2. Members of my family have been asking a lot of probing questions about my activities of late. Soon I may have to choose between my family and my society.
3. I have the local authorities out looking for me.
4. I suspect another member of the society, one outside on my immediate circle, of betrayal. However, the person is highly placed within the society so openly accusing them without proof will get me killed…but the longer I wait the more harm they can cause.
5. I am being blackmailed. Someone knows of my membership in this society and is threatening to reveal it.
6. My father is a high ranking member of the authorities that are actively hunting us.

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