5e SRD >Backgrounds >

Military Society

You hail from a military society, which is one in which all aspects of society are configured to maximize military proficiency. Everybody is expected to know how to fight, including women and children, and they are all expected to serve the standing army in one manner or another. Those who are able-bodied are expected to serve as soldiers while those who are too old, too young, or somehow disabled are expected to take up other activities to support the army, such as work on the supply line, or cook for the soldiers. The military society may be as small as a city-state or as large as a kingdom, and despite its level of militarization it is civilized.

It might have cities that boast a large population, temples, and great feats of architecture.

Your exit from such a society might have been because of something you did to anger your higher-ups. Perhaps your unit was sent to fight a battle that you knew would be hopeless, so you deserted. Maybe you made an enemy who moved up through the ranks faster than you and then began using their power to harass you. Maybe you became separated from your unit, were presumed killed, and decided not to go back. Maybe the society called for a war that you were deeply and passionately against. Another possibility is that you are still a valued member of the society, but you have been sent to act in the interests of that society. Perhaps you are trying to track down a traitor who is of critical interest to the state, such as a General. Maybe your job is simply to go to an enemy land and spy in preparation for a coming war.

As a fighter from this society, you are naturally and constantly examining tactics on the battlefield, and looking for ways in which other systems of any society can be made to better serve the military—even small things, like the way food is distributed, to the defensive values of any given building, even if its function is not a military one. This can come in useful as an adventurer, but occasionally your friends find your ingle-minded obsession with it a bit irritating.

Proficiencies

Skills Acrobatics, Athletics
Tools: Cartographer’s tools, smith’s tools
Equipment: bastard sword, short sword, scale mail, a chain, 2 pouches, and five days of rations.

Feature: Intimidating Reputation

Warrior societies are known for their fierceness, and often have distinctive armor that strikes fear into the hearts of their enemies. When you leave your homelands, people recognize you immediately, giving you an advantage against them. When you encounter potential enemies that are no more than one size category larger than you, and not part of the society you belong to, you receive advantage on all Intimidation checks when you are wearing that armor.

Suggested Characteristics

You are, first and foremost, a soldier, as were everyone you knew when you were growing up. Your parents, grandparents, neighbors, brothers, sisters, and cousins all knew how to plan tactically, how to handle themselves in a fight, and how to work together toward the common goal of defeating an enemy. Because of this, you tend to form stronger bonds with your allies than most, even when you aren’t among your own people. You know that to be successful in battle, you have to care deeply for the person you are fighting next to, and you have to be willing to sacrifice your lives for the greater battle.

For many who are not part of the culture, the idea that you are warmer and friendlier, yet are still able to take the lives of others so easily, seems like a contradiction, and maybe it is, but that is one of the traits of your people.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I follow my orders. The chain of command is more important than my personal feelings.
2 I support my fellow soldiers to the end! They’ll only fall in battle if I fall with them.
3 People fear me for what I am, and I have no qualms using that to my advantage.
4 I fight as well as the rest, but I tire of the constant warfare. There must be a better way.
5 I exude confidence in everything I do. If I’m not sure about something, I fake it.
6 I do my duty, but at heart I am a philosopher. People come to me when they are unsure or need advice.
7 I bring books with me on campaign. While the others are sleeping, I’m reading by candlelight.
8 I’m the most fit soldier in any unit. Everybody wants to be more like me.
d6 Ideal
1

Authority: Authority is the key to discipline, and discipline is the key to success. Together, we are victorious!

2 Autonomy: I follow the orders given to me, but I enjoy working on my own and taking charge.
3 Citizenship: It is vital for all citizens to support our armies. We are the best in the world, and we will never be conquered.
4 Determination: Sometimes the only thing standing between you and the grave is the determination to win.
5 Love: You must love your fellow man just as you love your wife or your children. We are all brothers and sisters.
6 Reputation: You cannot control who you were born to, but the one thing you truly earn in this life is your reputation. It should be protected from foolish actions, and from frauds who would destroy it for their own benefit.
d6 Bond
1 I would do anything for my fellow soldiers. All they need to do is ask me a favor and I will be there for them.
2 One of the elders of my city took me under his wing and taught me the importance of thinking for myself while performing my duties. It is a lesson I will never forget.
3 I often fear that I have left behind a wake of children I know nothing about.
4 When in conquered lands, I like to walk among the people and speak with them, so they know that we are not there to harm them. Many would leap to my defense if asked.
5 My very first commander turned traitor, killed a few of his subordinates, and fled. I hope I meet him again so I can show him the “chain of command.”
6 I wander this world in search of higher meaning. Some think I have lost my mind, but I know there is more to life than blood and steel.
d6 Flaw
1 I look around and all I see is death and dying.
2 I don’t think about those whose lives I ended. There’s nothing to gain from that.
3 I am seriously considering putting a knife through my commander’s skull.
4 I have left an ally vulnerable in battle because I did not like him.
5 When met with resistance, I find it easier to fall back than it is to deal with the possibility of being killed.
6 I have no tolerance for those who fail to keep their bodies in peak condition.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Battlemasters & Berserkers © 2021, Legendary Games; Author Darrin Drader.

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