Urban Guide

Cities can be crowded, hectic settings rife with dangerous people and places. As such, it is often prudent for individuals who are not familiar with cities, or at least ones they don’t know well, to hire an urban guide. Whether it’s simply to help get a package or message from point A to B or whether it’s a weeklong job that involves effectively showing a newcomer all the ins and outs of a town, urban guides are often the ones such people turn to for help when they need someone to navigate the treacherous paths and secrets that some cities present.

Skill Proficiencies: History, Perception

Tool Proficiencies: Forgery Kit

Languages: One of your choice

Equipment: A small collection of maps for the cities you are most familiar with, documents proving your citizenship (legitimate or not) in a particular city, a set of common or traveler’s clothes, and a pouch containing 10 gp.

Feature: Familiar with Cities

Work with the GM to determine which cities you are experienced with. While in these cities, you can (with relative ease) always find landmarks and other specific locations within those cities, which also means that you virtually never get lost while navigating such places.

Additionally, while within a city you are familiar with, you usually know where to find key figures and organization within the city at any given time, though such information might require you to ask around a bit (at the GM’s discretion). Regardless of the amount of effort it might take to get that information, you can almost always succeed in locating such people relatively quickly and accurately so that you can seek out or avoid them as you see fit. You must spend at least a few days exploring a new city in order for you be considered experienced with that city for the purposes of this feature.

Fleshing Things Out

Some questions to consider when determining how this background applies to your character: How long have you been an urban guide? What cities do you tend to frequent?

Do you enjoy your work? Are you selective about your clients? Do you work for yourself or for someone else? How do you feel about that in either case?

You should also consider what caused you to take up the role of an adventurer. Did your exploits as an adventurer lead you into a situation where becoming an urban guide just made sense? Did you find yourself guiding a party through cities often enough to make a living doing it? Or did you start off as an urban guide and that work somehow led you into adventure? If so, how did that come about?

d8 Personality Trait
1 I know where all the best taverns are, and I frequent them whenever I can.
2 I’ll strike up a conversation with anyone I find attractive.
3 I want everything I do to look heroic if someone is watching.
4 As far as I’m concerned, the less that people notice me, the better.
5 Wherever I go, I always have an escape plan.
6 One city is like any other. There’s no reason to get attached to one in particular.
7 I am fascinated by people, and I love to just watch them go about their lives.
8 I will go out of my way to be kind to animals I come across.
d6 Ideal
1 Victimization. Any number of nefarious individuals in a city would be happy to have new marks and fresh meat delivered to them. (Evil)
2 Protection. If I can help people get safely through a dangerous city, I’m happy to help. (Good)
3 Efficiency. People need to get from one place to another quickly to keep things running smoothly, and nothing should hinder that. (Lawful)
4 Liberty. The freedom to move through a city unhindered is everyone’s right. (Chaotic)
5 Impartiality. People might be good or evil, but the city is just the city. The city doesn’t care who you are or what you want. The city treats everyone the same, even if its citizens don’t. (Neutral)
6 Patience. With enough time and practice, anyone can learn to get by in a big city. (Any)
d6 Bond
1 My parents are government officials in my home city and want me to follow in their footsteps.
2 The first place I visit when arriving in a city is the temple of my chosen deity (if one exists).
3 I used to be a part of a violent gang, but I have left that life behind. They have not forgotten me, though.
4 I intend to visit and learn about every city I can before I die.
5 The love of my life skips from city to city seemingly on a whim, so I am always on the lookout for that person.
6 My home city was ravaged by a magical disaster that I narrowly escaped.
d6 Flaw
1 I easily confuse people with each other. Faces all look much the same to me.
2 When the going gets tough, I get drinking. Hard.
3 I actively try to avoid chores and other monotonous work however I can.
4 If I make a mistake, I always blame the circumstances, not myself.
5 I laugh nervously in uncomfortable situations.
6 Whenever I’m around someone I don’t like, I mutter under my breath and can’t help but give them dirty looks.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

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

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