You are trained as a healer and a medical practitioner who makes a living by treating and/or studying diseases, maladies, and injuries. Most doctors typically intend to heal such conditions, though there are some who are more concerned with research and study than actually helping people.

Whatever your priorities, your background is characterized by the medical knowledge you picked up as you plied your trade as a doctor.

Skill Proficiencies: Medicine, Nature

Tool Proficiencies: Herbalism Kit

Languages: One of your choice

Equipment: A healing kit, a small knife or scalpel, a notebook and pencils, a set of common clothes, and a pouch containing 5 gp.


Feature: Housecalls

As a doctor, you are likely to find many opportunities to ply your trade as you go about your adventures. In particular, as you journey, you are likely to come upon populated villages, towns, cities, encampments, or even isolated hermitages.

These congregations are almost always in need of a doctor’s attention, especially the isolated or overpopulated ones.

People get sick and hurt; it is inevitable. So with no shortage of aches, pains, maladies, illnesses, and injuries, there is virtually always a demand for the services of a doctor wherever people dwell. If people are aware that you are an experienced doctor, they may try to convince you to help them. This convincing may simply involve mundane persuasion or coercion, but it may also come in the form of offered payments. Payments, of course, could mean money, special items, information, or any number of other useful/ valuable (or not) things. In certain places, some might even attempt to commandeer your services with varying degrees of guilt and/or force, so it may not always be a good idea to advertise your profession.

Fleshing Things Out

Some questions to consider when determining how this background applies to your character: What sort of patients and subjects are you most used to dealing with? How do you feel about them? Do you enjoy your work? What are you ultimately trying to accomplish as a doctor?

You should also consider what caused you to take up the role of an adventurer. Did you become an adventurer because of something that happened to you as a doctor? Did one of your patients or their malady cause you to go out on a quest for information or rare medicines? Or did you perhaps take up the profession of doctor once you were already an adventurer and circumstances simply worked out where you had to learn the ways of a doctor out of necessity along the way?

d8 Personality Trait
1 I am polite to everyone I meet, especially my enemies.
2 I prefer to save violence as a last resort.
3 I have a flair for the dramatic.
4 Laughter is the best medicine, and I am a doctor.
5 I expect everyone to respect what I do.
6 I am fastidiously clean.
7 I don’t tend to follow my own advice.
8 All of my work only delays the inevitable.
d6 Ideal
1 Aid. I use my skills to help everyone I can. (Good)
2 Suffering. There is so much to learn by studying those who suffer. (Evil)
3 Health. I strive to remedy illness and injury; health is the goal. (Any)
4 Understanding. I don’t care who is sick or hurt, I only care how they are sick or hurt. (Neutral)
5 Evolution. Illnesses are constantly evolving, and so must I if I want to keep up. (Chaotic)
6 Recording. Tradition and established research are important to preserve so that we don’t lose the accumulated knowledge of those who came before. (Lawful)
d6 Bond
1 One of my patients died inexplicably, and I must find out why.
2 My people are afflicted with a rare disease, and I must find the cure.
3 I am the pride of my family.
4 One of my patients was the child of a local noble, and my failure to help that child has attracted that noble’s ire.
5 My sister died in childbirth. I became a doctor because of people like her.
6 I am more comfortable studying medicine than I am with actual people.
d6 Flaw
1 My bedside manner is terrible.
2 I use a lot of big words, but they don’t usually mean what I think they mean.
3 I’m always looking for a shortcut, even when it might be more trouble than it’s worth.
4 I tend to say the first thing that comes to mind, for better or worse.
5 I secretly feel that I’m more of a charlatan than a legitimate healer, so I am jealous of successful healers when I encounter them.
6 I tend to lecture people about proper health, even when they don’t want to hear it.

Variant Doctor: Faith Healer

Not all doctors choose to seek the path of health through an understanding of nature. There are those who instead look to faith in a higher power to help heal the sick and injured.

While they still practice practical medicine in many cases, the basis of their knowledge revolves around religious faith rather than observable nature. If you choose the Faith Healer variant of the Doctor background, this background gives you proficiency in the Religion skill instead of Nature.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

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

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