A common means of making a living in rural areas is to tend a flock or herd of sheep or other animals and live off the resources and goods which the animals provide. Those who care for and watch over such a herd, ensuring its overall well being and safety from predators, are commonly known as shepherds, and they can typically be found anywhere such animals thrive. Shepherds must know their animals and how to care for them, but they must also be vigilant against the myriad dangers which lurk, waiting to prey on the flock.

Skill Proficiencies: Animal Handling, Perception

Tool Proficiencies: Your choice of one musical instrument and either Leatherworker’s Tools or Weaver’s Tools

Equipment: A simple staff, a musical instrument, an animal harness or lead, a set of traveler’s clothes, and a pouch containing 5 gp.

Feature: Watchful Eye

You are used to watching over your flock while it rests, always vigilant to keep it safe from predators, even while you are resting yourself. During a long rest, you can keep watch without penalty while sleeping for up to four hours. You may choose to sleep or keep watch for longer than this, of course, but you cannot do both at the same time for more than 4 hours per long rest.

Fleshing Things Out

Some questions to consider when determining how this background applies to your character: What sort of animals did you tend to? Did you enjoy that lifestyle? Did you yearn for more, or did you prefer the simplicity of it all? Do you come from a long line of shepherds or was this just the least bad option for you? How far from home did you travel while shepherding? If you had the chance to go back to that life, would you? What did your animals mean to you?

You should also consider what caused you to take up the role of an adventurer. The life of a shepherd is not typically one of adventure, so did adventure pull you in while you were watching the animals? Did you willingly jump at the chance to escape a life of drudgery? Or maybe you stumbled upon something important while the sheep were grazing, and now you must set out on a quest as a result.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I avoid big cities if I can help it.
2 I trust animals more than I trust people.
3 I look for the good in every situation.
4 I like nothing more than swapping stories.
5 Dancing helps me clear my head.
6 I don’t understand why everyone is always in such a hurry.
7 I like to be helpful and useful whenever possible.
8 I’m always humming or whistling whatever tune is stuck in my head at that moment.
d6 Ideal
1 Protection. Protect the flock from predators, literally and figuratively. (Good)
2 Leadership. The sheep will follow the shepherd all the way to the slaughter. (Evil)
3 Consistency. A flock is often confused by needless change. (Lawful)
4 Innovation. There’s always a better way, you just have to keep trying until you find it… but never stop trying. (Chaotic)
5 Practicality. The best way to be a shepherd is simply to do whatever works best in any given situation. (Neutral)
6 Utilization. A flock without a shepherd is a waste of potential. (Any)
d6 Bond
1 I follow in the footsteps of my ancestors.
2 Never again will I lose my flock to predators. Once was enough.
3 No matter how far I ranged, I always missed my first home.
4 I don’t care about glory, but I don’t want to be forgotten.
5 It’s easier to hide my secret when I don’t have to be around people.
6 Home is where you make it.
d6 Flaw
1 I can’t help but point out mistakes others make when I notice them.
2 I am painfully shy around people I find attractive.
3 I shout when I get excited, even at inopportune times.
4 I have a tendency to try to hog all of the attention.
5 I’ve never met a challenge I wouldn’t accept.
6 I automatically assume everyone I meet is much less clever than I am.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

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

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