Most everyone believes in something. Perhaps it is a deity, or a philosophy, or a motto, or a cause, or even just simple, meaningless existence. In your case, whatever it is that you believe in has consumed your life. You are what most people would call an extremist, and you don’t necessarily disagree with that assessment, though you might. Whatever the object of your devotion, you are well and truly a fanatic about it. It is one of the, if not the single, most important thing in your life, and you may even believe that it should be the most important thing in everyone else’s life, too.

Skill Proficiencies: Intimidation, Persuasion

Tool Proficiencies: Your choice of one musical instrument or one set of artisan’s tools

Languages: One of your choice

Equipment: A small token related to the focus of your fanaticism, a set of essays or a treatise about your beliefs, a set of common clothes, a small knife, and a pouch containing 10 gp.


Feature: Unquestioned Fervorbbb

Not everyone may know much or even anything about the object of your fanatical belief, but to those who do share your beliefs to any degree, you are obviously a stellar example of commitment to the cause. You can reliably seek shelter and at least minor aid from those who support the same cause as you. Other fanatical followers are also likely to come to your aid in more substantial ways if you request it. If your cause is a religious one, you can seek aid from temples and similar establishments devoted to your beliefs. Likewise, regardless of the type of cause you loyally adhere to with such fervor, you know what sort of places one might look to find fellow adherents, whether the casual type or those as fanatical in their belief as you.

Fleshing Things Out

Some questions to consider when determining how this background applies to your character: What is the object of your fanaticism? What happened to cause such devotion to it? What lengths will you go to in order to see your cause triumph, and how has that shaped the way you approach things? Do you believe your cause is righteous? If so, why?

If not, why not? Either way, do you care? Why do you believe so strongly? Have your beliefs been challenged in the past? If so, how do you typically respond to such challenges?

Does your extremism cause problems for you, and if true, how so? How do you react to those problems? How has your fanaticism shaped your identity and your behavior?

You should also consider what caused you to take up the role of an adventurer. Did your fanaticism lead you to the adventurer’s life? Or was it something that happened on one of your adventures that led you to such zealotry? Has your devotion pushed you toward a quest to further your cause?

d8 Personality Trait
1 Never. Clean. Enough.
2 I double check everything.
3 Respect is earned.
4 I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty.
5 I’m no leader.
6 I don’t even get out of bed without a plan.
7 Vice is such a strong word for such an enjoyable thing.
8 I’m the only one who really understands how the world works.
d6 Ideal
1 Ruthlessness. I destroy anything or anyone in my way. (Evil)
2 Righteousness. Mine is the truly righteous path. (Good)
3 Preservation. The status quo must be maintained by any means necessary. (Lawful)
4 Change. I am an agent of change wherever possible. (Chaotic)
5 Certainty. Morality and ethics are unimportant. My mission is all that matters. (Neutral)
6 Dedication. I will not be led astray. (Any)
d6 Bond
1 I am compelled to defend a particular place or person.
2 I want nothing so much as my parents’ or superiors’ approval.
3 Honestly? I first joined the cause just to find a mate. My fervor came later.
4 My beliefs push me to seek a special place or thing.
5 It is my duty to spread my beliefs.
6 I work hard every day to conceal my true heritage.
d6 Flaw
1 I get a sick thrill out of getting hurt.
2 I am vain to a fault.
3 I’d rather someone else do the heavy lifting.
4 I tend to panic if I get lost.
5 I’m terrible at making decisions.
6 I can’t possibly ignore a challenge.

Variant Fanatic: Reformed Zealot

People change, so they say. Maybe your opinions changed with age or experience, or perhaps the core of the people who shared your beliefs went down a path you didn’t agree with.

In any case, it’s entirely possible that you were once a fanatic, but no more, now making you a reformed zealot instead.

Whatever the reason for your change of heart, you’ve seen the error of your ways, and you have learned a great deal from your experience as a one-time fanatic. If you choose the Reformed Zealot variant of the Fanatic background, this background gives you proficiency in the Insight skill instead of Persuasion.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

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

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