5e SRD >Backgrounds >P.B. Publishing >


You are recognized as a trained executioner. The duty of ending lives at the end of due process falls to you. Your methods may vary by preference or the laws and customs of your people, and your affiliation with the justice system of your people is likely to be defined by the setting where you typically serve your role. Regardless of the particulars, you are skilled in the art of bringing the lives of the condemned to a swift (or not) end.

Skill Proficiencies: Intimidation, Medicine

Tool Proficiencies: Poisoner’s Kit

Languages: One of your choice

Equipment: A set of common clothes, an apron, a hood or mask, 50 feet of hemp rope, a large knife, and a pouch containing 10 gp.

Feature: Grim Notoriety

You are known to your people as an executioner, and as such, most people who recognize you give you a wide berth, though whether out of fear, respect, or disgust will depend on the person and the nature of your interaction with them.

Most people who recognize you will go out of their way to cease dealing with you as quickly as possible. Perhaps they fear what you might do to them, or perhaps they are afraid of wasting your time, or they could even find your work so repulsive that they don’t want to be seen with you.

Regardless of the situation, when this feature is in effect (at the GM’s discretion), people interacting with you can be expected to try to end their interaction with you as quickly as possible. Depending on the situation and how this takes shape, this may or may not be to your benefit.

Additionally, you typically have no problem finding employment as an executioner in places which have need of one.

Fleshing Things Out

Some questions to consider when determining how this background applies to your character: How long have you been an executioner? How did you end up in this job? Do you enjoy what you do? Do you plan to continue being an executioner? Do you have a preferred or otherwise most common method of execution? What is your relationship to the local justice system which brings the condemned to you?

You should also consider what caused you to take up the role of an adventurer. How did your profession as an executioner lead you to a life of adventure? Did one of the condemned inform you about something which led you on a quest? Are you trying to escape your blood-stained past? Or did your exploits as an adventurer somehow lead you onto the executioner’s path?

d8 Personality Trait
1 I make jokes to make my job seem less grim.
2 I tend to be brutally honest.
3 No matter how I treat the living, I handle the dead with respect.
4 Material wealth means little to me.
5 I wish I had entered a different profession.
6 World-weary? You could say that.
7 My job is a sacred duty.
8 My job is an art and a cra ft. I take pride in doing it well.
d6 Ideal
1 Justice. I am but a cog in the machine that is justice. (Lawful)
2 Safety. The evil must die so that the good may live safely. (Good)
3 Enjoyment. You’re going to pay me for this? Really? (Evil)
4 Blameless. I am neither judge nor jury. The blood is on their hands. (Neutral)
5 Release. I will set them free from persecution. (Chaotic)
6 Inevitability. Everyone has to die sometime. (Any)
d6 Bond
1 I remember the face of everyone I have executed.
2 I come from a long line of executioners.
3 There is another executioner who is my bitter rival.
4 I like that my reputation usually precedes me.
5 Taking this role was the sentence for a crime of my own.
6 I know I executed the wrong person, and I intend to make it right somehow.
d6 Flaw
1 I tend to cut corners.
2 I don’t have a good sense of the value of others’ lives.
3 I feel intense guilt for every life I take, even the justified ones.
4 I hurt myself to remember that I’m still alive.
5 I am plagued by nightmares about the restless dead.
6 I have a hard time getting close to anyone, for fear of losing them.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

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