Treasure Hunter

There is hidden treasure out there in the world, and you’re just the one to find it. Whether you work in someone else’s employ or if you work independently, your calling is to seek out noteworthy treasure in the world and acquire it: perhaps legally, perhaps not. That is up to you. You may focus on particular types or kinds of treasure, showing something of a preference or specialty as you build your collection, or you might just be interested in selling what you find to the highest bidder to raise money for your own purposes.

Regardless of your preferences and motivations, you seek to find hidden treasures, and you use all of the tools at your disposal to research and locate them, identify them, and ultimately take possession of them.

Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, History

Tool Proficiencies: Thieves’ Tools

Languages: One of your choice

Equipment: A grappling hook and 50 feet of silk rope, a crowbar, a set of traveler’s clothes, and a pouch containing 10 gp.


Feature: Leads

In your career as a treasure hunter, you have developed a network of individuals, or perhaps even part of an organization, which provides you with leads to treasures which you might potentially hunt. You may be able to contact these people for information about a particular treasure you seek, but more typically, they will periodically pass along information about new treasures to seek which you may not have been aware of previously.

Additionally, these contacts can often help put you in touch with people who would be interested in acquiring the treasures you find, assuming your goal is not to keep them or use them for some other purpose. If you find particularly interesting treasures, your contacts can usually help you locate someone to take them off your hands.

The player and GM should work together to determine who these contacts are and how they typically communicate with the treasure hunter.

Fleshing Things Out

Some questions to consider when determining how this background applies to your character: How did you get started as a treasure hunter? Did you have someone introduce you to this lifestyle? Do you have a particular type of treasure that you prefer to pursue? What do you do with the treasures once you find them? Do you work for someone else? Are you willing to steal (or worse) to get your hands on your quarry? Are you willing to share what you find? What is your primary motivation for doing all this?

Chances are that your adventuring role and your treasure hunter role overlap quite a bit, as both professions share many natural synergies. If for some reason they don’t in your case, be sure to explore how your treasure hunting background is distinct from the reasons you are an adventurer.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I can’t resist a good mystery.
2 If you can’t do it with style, it’s not worth doing.
3 I don’t like to leave anything unfinished.
4 I always try to be friendly.
5 I have been described as boorish on more than one occasion.
6 I am extremely impatient.
7 I don’t like to do anything without a plan in place.
8 No risk, no reward.
d6 Ideal
1 Acquisition. I will simply take whatever I want. (Evil)
2 Collection. I want to collect every noteworthy treasure I hear about. (Any)
3 Preservation. I want to keep these artifacts from falling into the wrong hands. (Good)
4 Ownership. It’s not enough that I find these items. I insist that they go to their rightful owners, which might include me. (Lawful)
5 Liberation. Possession and ownership are illusions. (Chaotic)
6 Expertise. I want to be the best at what I do. (Neutral)
d6 Bond
1 The entire focus of my career is to learn everything I can about one particular artifact.
2 One of my parents was a treasure hunter who taught me everything I know.
3 One more big score, then I can retire.
4 I work for an organization who seeks unique treasures for a particular purpose.
5 My partner was killed during one of our expeditions, and I’ve never forgiven myself for it.
6 I made a promise to someone I love that I would find the ultimate treasure.
d6 Flaw
1 Kleptomania? Me? Well…
2 I constantly embellish my own accomplishments.
3 I have no idea how to keep a secret.
4 Once I start hunting for an object, I pursue it obsessively.
5 I spend money like water.
6 I tend to complain about everything.

Variant Treasure Hunter: Bagman

While it is true you are a treasure hunter, your particular expertise is more geared toward the taking aspect of the hunt rather than the finding. While you are still skilled in recognizing objects of magical importance and the like, by choice or by happenstance, you tend to devote more of your time toward actually physically acquiring those objects than you do toward studying the histories of them. If you choose the Bagman variant of the Treasure Hunter background, you may choose to forego proficiency in History and instead replace it with proficiency in Sleight of Hand.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

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

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