Player's Guide--Backgrounds by Starting Culture

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This document discusses how the PHB backgrounds relate to the cultures of Noefra. Custom backgrounds are welcome and the rules for those are presented here as well.

Custom Backgrounds

Customizing your background can be done in several ways. First, you can always trade out any of the following:

  • Any skill for a different skill.
  • Any tool or language proficiency for another tool or language proficiency (including tool for language or vice versa).
  • The background feature for another printed background feature.

None of these changes listed above require permission.

Or, you can create your own from scratch. Follow these rules:

  1. Choose two skills.
  2. Choose two languages or tools (or one language and one tool).
  3. Choose starting equipment
  4. A pouch of gold between 10 and 20 gp.
  5. A flavor item (unique tool, such as shovel, a musical instrument, etc).
  6. 1-2 trinkets
  7. Choose one of the printed background features or talk to the DM to determine a suitable feature.

Background Peculiarities by Starting Region

Not all backgrounds fit as written for all regions. For example, there are no hereditary aristocrats in Byssia. Thus, the Noble background needs modification. Backgrounds not mentioned can be used as written.

Successor States

Sailor (any): The only sailing done is fishing on Lake Co'yin. Piracy is known, but rare. Another variant would be Caravaneer, trading vehicles (water) for vehicles (land) and gaining advantage on haggling checks. Instead of passage on a ship, you gain passage on a trade caravan.

Jungle of Fangs

  • Ophidians from outside the Serpent Dominion should not choose the Noble background, as they are still mostly considered second-class citizens.
  • Sailing is very rare (as there is only one major body of water in the Serpent Dominion and none in any others) but becoming more common with expanded trade with the Ship Folk. Consider using the Caravaneer variant (described above).

Windwalker Confederacy

  • Sailor does not work for this origin. It's an entirely landlocked culture.
  • Acolyte: exchange for Shaman's Apprentice. Change Religion skill to Arcana.

Byssia

  • Acolyte: since very few Byssians worship the Congregation, acolytes are either caretakers of ancestor-worship shrines, shrines to local spirits, or other local facilities.
  • Noble: Instead of being actual nobility, you'd be the offspring of a local village chief or other notable person.
  • Sailors are common here.

Wyrmhold

  • Hobgoblins and orcs should not chose the Noble background unless they take the Knight variant.
  • As with the Windwalker goblin tribes, the sailor background does not work. Use the Caravaneer, described above.