5e SRD >Backgrounds >Petersen Games >

Visionary

You have always had an unusual way of looking at the world. Your keen sensitivity allows you to notice and sometimes even understand things from beyond the world others see. Your dreams veer toward symbolism you only begin to grasp. The dreams are alarmingly alien yet also tantalizingly close to teaching you about your place in the cosmos. In working to interpret your impressions, you have spent significant time devoted to writing, art, or music. As a result, you have created work unique enough to earn you at least a minor degree of recognition. This recognition might be an earnest curiosity at your vivid work, or it might merely be morbid fascination at your apparent mental illness.

When dark powers of the Mythos stir, you are plagued by nightmares and unexplained impulses. If you do not or cannot confine these feelings and visions to your work, they drive you to odd behavior. This behavior likely gives you a reputation for eccentricity or even madness. You might have been tempted to work with cultists of the Great Old Ones or Outer Gods in the hopes of gaining greater understanding, but your instincts also warn you that they represent grave danger as well.

Work with your GM to determine what unusual things you have sensed and the public reaction to your art.

Skill Proficiencies: Choose two from Perception, Performance, and Yog-Sothothery

Tool Proficiency: Choose two from a type of artisan’s tools or a type of musical instrument to support your Visionary Work (see below)

Equipment: One set of artisan’s tools or a musical instrument with which to create your visionary art, a piece of disturbing art you don’t remember creating, a letter or other text containing increasingly ominous rumors or legends reminiscent of that art, an ink pen, a bottle of ink, 10 sheets of paper, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 5 gp

Visionary Work

Roll once or twice below or choose a medium for the kind of work you create to interpret your visions.

d12 Medium of Work
1 Essays, poetry, or stories
2 Painting
3 Pottery or clay sculpture
4 Masonry or stone sculpture
5 Ink sketching
6 Metalworking or common metal sculpture
7 Weaving
8 Woodcarving
9 Dance
10 Instrumental music
11 Song
12 Jewelry or rare metal sculpture

Feature: Eldritch Sensitivity

Your visionary art is a manifestation of your keen sensitivity for unearthly phenomena. You automatically recognize when art or words you perceive were motivated by contact with the Mythos. Your dreams turn dark and ominous when Mythos forces are active, giving you vague clues that will bring you closer to those forces if you follow them. You also get a strange feeling when you perceive evidence of close contact with a Mythos monster or Elder Influence upon any creature or object, even if you don’t consciously recognize that evidence for what it is. This feeling doesn’t indicate what the evidence is or what the manner of contact was.

Additionally, you can create a piece of art based on your dreams or sense of Mythos contact to help you make sense of them. Creating the piece of art typically takes at least 8 hours (GM’s discretion), and you cannot do so again until you complete a long rest. With 1 day of downtime, you can offer the art for sale to your established contacts. Unless the Mythos force or monster that inspired your dream or sensation is exceptionally obscure, at least one recognizes its traces in your art enough to tell you general information about the subject or to point you to a library or expert that can do so. In addition, if you spend a long rest meditating on the art, you can retry an Intelligence (Investigation) or Wisdom (Yog-Sothothery) check you failed to understand clues marked by your Eldritch Sensitivity. You can’t use this feature to retry an ability check again for 10 days.

Suggested Characteristics: Visionaries often have traits that minimize the discomfort caused by their sensitivity. Their ideals tend to be distant things related to their art or visceral anchors that they depend on to avoid losing themselves in their visions. Their bonds are often strangely bound up in what they sense. Visionaries’ flaws tend to be defined by either fear or feelings of being overwhelmed.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I stop and appreciate any bit of beauty or wonder I find.
2 What others consider bland or boring, my keen senses find overflowing with subtle flourishes and nuances.
3 I wax poetic about any new experience, good or bad.
4 I journal daily to help make sense of my feelings and experiences.
5 Another visionary’s example inspires me and gives me faith in my own senses. I refer to that visionary’s works as often as possible.
6 I look for hidden or coincidental patterns everywhere and speculate idly about their potential meanings.
7 My meditations make clear that divine powers and their servants are highly suspect.
8 I have an intense sense of morbid curiosity.
d6 Ideal
1 Imagination. Creativity and free thought are the only ways to exceed our mundane limits. (Chaotic)
2 Belonging. We all need to feel understood by someone else. (Neutral)
3 Beauty. Since hideousness seems to loom just out of sight wherever I look, I create or protect beauty wherever I can. (Good)
4 Invention. I will give the world works it has never known before. (Chaotic)
5 Aspiration. My visions call me toward a greater purpose, and nothing will keep me from it. (Any)
6 Truth. I can’t abide hiding myself or my experiences. (Lawful)
d6 Bond
1 A relative, nurse, or other caregiver remains close to me after they helped me find my way despite my tendency to get overwhelmed or find trouble.
2 I feel an instant connection to anyone else struggling to understand their place in the universe.
3 Art is a rare source of meaning and solace in a confusing universe. I protect and support art and artists whenever I can.
4 I have a secret friendship with a Mythos entity, and I cherish its perspective even though it sometimes convinces me to do things I’m ashamed of.
5 I would do anything for the one friend who trusted and believed me when nobody else would.
6 I have visions of a godlike entity threatening the world as I know it. It might be impossible to stop, but I believe I can at least delay it.
d6 Flaw
1 I would do anything to avoid having another sanitystraining dream or vision.
2 Keeping the truth hidden eats me up inside. I can’t keep a secret for long.
3 I have been too often condemned or dismissed for my queer ways. I struggle to trust or interact openly with anyone not also an outsider.
4 My senses are easily overwhelmed. I buy specific food, drink, and accommodations even if I must spend more than I can comfortably afford to get them.
5 Seeing my nightmares come to life is too much for me. I can’t think when faced with unnatural monsters, unless cooler heads help me control myself.
6 I can never let go of any chance to learn more about my visions or similar strangeness, no matter what the revelation might cost.