Once, you were a member of a military organization, probably a soldier in an army somewhere, though your role may or may not have involved actual combat. In any case, somewhere along the line, you found a reason to leave the service of the cause for which you were enlisted. Perhaps you had a conscientious objection to the war, or perhaps you were simply afraid to dying in battle, or maybe you had another compelling reason, but in any case, you set aside your commitment to serve and walked away from your post. The army you left may or may not be actively looking for you, and how you feel about your decision to desert is entirely up to you.

Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Stealth

Tool Proficiencies: Disguise Kit

Languages: One of your choice

Equipment: A uniform from the group you deserted, a knife, a mess kit, and a pouch containing 10 gp.

Feature: Deserter’s Attention

You were involved with the military long enough to pick up some inside knowledge about the way such organizations function. In particular, you learned where the holes in such organizations are, as you studied and used at least one of these gaps to escape from service yourself. You have at least a general knowledge of how most conventional militaries operate, but you have much deeper knowledge of their various inefficiencies and shortfalls. For example, you know where and when gaps in sentry coverage at an army camp are likely to occur, you have a good idea as to which individuals in the ranks might be willing to accept a bribe, and you can possibly determine which parts of a supply train are likely to go missing without anyone noticing.

Fleshing Things Out

Some questions to consider when determining how this background applies to your character: Whose service did you walk away from? Why did you desert in the first place?

What has kept you from going back? Is the army you left hunting you? If so, who is looking for you and what would they do if they found you? How do you feel about your decision? Was it just in your nature to flee from such a situation, or did you have some other motivation for leaving?

You should also consider what caused you to take up the role of an adventurer. Did becoming an adventurer drive you to desert? Or did the motivation to adventure come after you left your service? What does adventuring give you that service in the military did not? Does your quest have anything to do with your past life in the military?

d8 Personality Trait
1 I avoid violence whenever possible.
2 I blame myself if things go wrong.
3 Discretion is the better part of valor.
4 I always have a joke ready to go in any situation.
5 What’s the point of living if you aren’t enjoying it?
6 Money is meant to be kept and spent as sparingly as possible.
7 I have a story for every occasion.
8 I like to watch the clouds and find shapes in them.
d6 Ideal
1 Devotion. I’ll give my all for a cause I actually believe in. (Good)
2 Law. Even in war, there are rules. I can’t condone breaking them. (Lawful)
3 Selfishness. Let some other poor sods throw their lives away in my place. (Evil)
4 Variety. Serving under one banner forever just isn’t for me. (Chaotic)
5 Cynicism. I’ve never seen a cause worth dying for. (Neutral)
6 Survival. I don’t want to die! (Any)
d6 Bond
1 I just wanted to get home to my family.
2 I still keep in touch with at least one of my old comrades.
3 I want to live long enough to have children.
4 I still remember those who died during the fighting.
5 I hid something important before I left, and I intend to go back for it someday
6 I am being hunted down for my desertion.
d6 Flaw
1 When the going gets tough, I get going… away from the tough things.
2 I automatically assume the worst about people.
3 I indulge in a particular drug to deal with the guilt.
4 I lie about my personal history even when I don’t need to.
5 I pick unnecessary fights.
6 I’m loud at inopportune times.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Big Book of Backgrounds Copyright 2019, P.B. Publishing, Phil Beckwith, and Cody Faulk.

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