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

Philosopher

Philosophers are people who spend their time contemplating and studying the nature of knowledge, reality, and existence.

As one of these thinkers, you have spent long hours putting serious thought into such heady subjects, and in the process, you have gained deep insights into people, the world around you, the planes beyond, and other more abstract concepts that most people may not ever even bother to contemplate.

Skill Proficiencies: Insight and your choice of either Religion or History

Languages: Two of your choice

Equipment: A notebook, a pen and ink, three sheets of parchment, a book written by another philosopher, a set of common clothes, and a pouch containing 10 gp.

Feature: Valued Thinker

As a student of reality and the very nature of existence, you know the value of the big questions and how important it is for someone to pursue the relevant answers. While there aren’t many who are willing to employ a philosopher to contemplate the world in exchange for money, you do often find that you are welcomed in places that put importance on education, learning, and deep thought. When you encounter institutions and cultures that place high value on the thoughtful, insightful, academic pursuit of learning about the self, knowledge, and existence, you are typically accepted with relatively open arms, provided you have not given the people in those enclaves reason to be distrustful or otherwise wary of you. This, of course, may require you to demonstrate your insights to someone of known esteem within the relevant group, but once you successfully do so, you are typically afforded greater access, leeway, and support than one might otherwise normally expect. The exact methods which these groups may use to test you is up to the GM, as is the degree and manner in which they treat you favorably if you successfully prove your credentials.

Fleshing Things Out

Some questions to consider when determining how this background applies to your character: What is your character’s personal philosophy? Has this changed over time? Where do you find the best insights? During certain activities? Certain times of day? Or do your insights come from some unknown source that you are also trying to understand? What are you willing to do in order to achieve further enlightenment?

You should also consider what caused you to take up the role of an adventurer. Did your work as a philosopher cause you to question or investigate some mystery which ultimately launched you onto the path of an adventure? Or did you start off as an adventurer, and your strange quests led you to seriously contemplate the nature of things?

d8 Personality Trait
1 I’m always game for a lively debate.
2 Never go adventuring on an empty stomach.
3 I prefer to lead whenever possible.
4 I feel obligated to let everyone know about my philosophical ideas.
5 One learns the most about reality by experiencing as much as they can.
6 Dreams are worth fighting and sometimes dying for.
7 I have no interest in asking for help with anything.
8 Sarcasm is the soul of wit, as far as I’m concerned.
d6 Ideal
1 Relativism. There are no absolutes; every point of view has its own truth. (Chaotic)
2 Absolutism. There is a single truth to reality, and it can be studied and understood. (Lawful)
3 Tyranny. Might makes right. (Evil)
4 Utilitarianism. The best action is the one that maximizes well-being and minimizes suffering. (Neutral)
5 Neutrality. All opinions and options should be equally considered, be they irrational or reasonable, harsh or benign, malicious or benevolent. (Neutral)
6 Altruism. The welfare of others is more important than self-interest. (Good)
d6 Bond
1 The school I attended gave me the educational foundation for my studies.
2 The truth I have experienced is a burden, but one I bear proudly.
3 My teacher was very wise and I owe much of who I am now to that person.
4 I was instructed not to return home until I learned the answer to a specific riddle.
5 If I can find the ancient texts I seek, I can prove that what I’ve learned is correct.
6 It is through the test of battle that I truly come to know myself and the world around me.
d6 Flaw
1 I whistle when I get nervous.
2 Strong drink is my weakness.
3 Everything is more interesting with a wager involved, even when I don’t have the money.
4 I never make a good first impression.
5 Table manners are not my strong suit.
6 I complain about most things; even good turns must have some hidden downside.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

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