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Alienist

You work to understand and treat insanity and madness.

You might be called upon to determine why a horrible act was performed or learn the true nature of a madness.

You likely work with the authorities to identify and contain individuals who are dangers to themselves and others. You might approach your work as an agent of law and order, as a researcher into the hazards and ills of the mind, as a healer of wounded souls, or as a confidante hoping to understand. You have probably stumbled at least once upon the unexpected horrors of the Mythos in the course of treating or tracking folks thought by the public to simply be criminals or lunatics.

When you choose this background, discuss with your GM the kinds of maladies, crimes, or monsters you have investigated.

Skill Proficiencies: Choose two from Insight, Investigation, and Medicine

Tool Proficiency: Herbalism kit Language: One of your choice

Equipment: A diploma or letter vouching for your expertise to the authorities, notes on cryptic clues regarding the behavior of cultists or victims of Mythos entities you have studied, manacles, a set of common clothes, an inkpen, a bottle of ink, paper, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp

Feature: Alienist Contacts As an alienist, you have qualifications and contacts to be consulted on a wide variety of strange happenings. You know of or can easily find asylums, sanitariums, hospitals, or temples offering counsel or healing where you can obtain ready treatment for yourself and a few others in any area that has them. The treatment is quickly administered, private, and discounted to at least half price, although it might not be sufficient for significant trauma. Additionally, when you fail to recall or discover information related to unexplained events and Mythos entities, you generally know of a former patient, fellow alienist, or institution with relevant clues, even though their information might be incomplete.

Suggested Characteristics: Alienists’ characteristics are shaped both by how they see their work and what they had to do to get their work done. Their traits often relate to coping with stressful discoveries and interacting with those whom the Mythos drives to dramatic acts. Most alienists rely on tight bonds outside their work to ground them, or else throw themselves entirely into their work, forsaking the outside world to find meaning in eldritch mysteries. Their ideals tend to drive their work forward, even if what they discover along the way threatens those ideals. Alienists’ flaws are usually related to how isolating their work can be.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I take my time to understand a situation thoroughly before jumping to conclusions.
2 I constantly try to diagnose my friends, enemies, and acquaintances.
3 I assume those who wrong me are struggling with their own problems until proven otherwise. I encourage others to do the same.
4 I reflexively avoid making firm declarations. Instead, I speak in possibilities and encourage others to put forth their own interpretation of any situation.
5 I keep meticulous case records of all my adventures. I refer to them often in the hopes of finding patterns.
6 I can’t help but empathize with everyone I meet and try to fix problems I find.
7 I focus so much on others’ problems that I have precious little self-awareness.
8 I take every opening to share my theories about the underlying principles of humanoid psychology.
d6 Ideal
1 Rationality. Superstition and emotion can’t be trusted by themselves. (Lawful)
2 Dignity. I will go to extraordinary lengths to preserve the dignity of those in my care. (Good)
3 Kindness. I alleviate whatever suffering I can. (Good)
4 Discovery. I contribute whatever I can to greater understanding of ourselves and our world. (Any)
5 Safety. Lives in turmoil can hardly be lived. (Lawful)
6 Independent Thought. Traditional views are built on the limited understanding of the past. Openness to new ideas is the only path forward when confronted with truths never before considered. (Chaotic)
d6 Bond
1 No one took my idiosyncratic mentor seriously, but I depended upon their lessons to succeed in the bizarre situations I have faced. I will protect or restore my mentor’s reputation.
2 I would give my life for my fellow investigator who kept me sane as we faced things we weren’t ready for.
3 I help those whose minds are hurting. I will never let those in my charge come to harm or harm others.
4 I cling to a close friend, lover, or relative whose influence keeps me from burying myself in my work.
5 The only way to prevent more madness like that which I have treated is to destroy all evidence of what drove my patients to that state.
6 My faith is an anchor in an increasingly strange world. I would do anything for my community of faith.
d6 Flaw
1 The suffering I have witnessed eats away at me, so I take foolish risks to achieve closure.
2 I can’t bring myself to admit the truth of things that should be impossible with known magic or science, even when I experience them directly.
3 I will do anything to become a world-renowned expert.
4 Once I have a lead, I chase it relentlessly to the detriment of the rest of my life.
5 Any strong expression of faith reminds me of deluded cultists, and I assume priests will eventually exploit the faithful for destructive ends.
6 I believe my theories are always on the right track, and I rarely admit others might have better ideas.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos, © 2018, Petersen Games; Authors: Sandy Petersen, David N. Ross, James Jacobs, Arthur Petersen, Ian Starcher.