Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Species-Upbringing 5e Character Creation

March 10: added Fae Dwarf option, fixed formatting
March 24: Changed Culture to Upbringing to emphasize that it is the conditions of your childhood, not something tied to a particular geographical area. Split between Player Instructions, DM Notes, and reference data, added internal hyperlinks
April 4: Updated options for several backgrounds, added random choice, minor edits and fixes including a few species stat swap adjustments for balance
April 18: Added Unusual Upbringing Table.

This is a fast method of character creation where you 'step into' someone with a unique past and collection of attributes, and then figure out how that person would choose to train themselves. The standard 5e races, and some of the monster races, are split into Species and Upbringings that can be rolled together in any combination. A character's Species gives them only the traits that they were born with, and their Upbringing is the social environment they grew up in, which gives them culturally learned traits.

Most of this page is the information for the various selections. Clicking links will take you to the appropriate heading. Use your browser's Back button (the left arrow on the bottom row of mobile phones) to return you to where you were before.

DMs should read the DM Notes section for a discussion of how to use the system and what options they should consider for their table.

Player Instructions

Your DM will tell you which options are chosen for your group. It is helpful to read steps 1-4 before you start to roll dice and click on things.

Step 1: Roll for Stats

For each stat (Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha), in order, roll 3d6 and write down all three numbers on a note card. There will be eighteen written numbers, three for each stat. Later, the written numbers will be added up for your final score in each stat, but only after some of them are replaced by better ones.

All species, upbringings, and backgrounds will let you roll "stat swaps" to replace low written numbers. For example, Elves have: Str swap d6, Dex swap d8, and Con swap d4. Elf characters will roll a d6, and then replace the lowest written Strength number with the new die roll if the written number is lower. Then they roll a d8 and (probably) replace the lowest written Dex number. The d4 con swap will probably not change things, but it might replace a low number.

Step 2: Roll for Species

Roll a random species on this table. Your DM will tell you whether to use a d12 or a d20. Write the result on the card. You will roll all of the species' stat swaps, except the ones that are the result of a choice, and make replacements on the card. Click on the hyperlink to go to that species' description, and follow the instructions there.

1: Dragonborn
2-3: Dwarf
4-5: Elf
6: Gnome
7-8: Halfling
9: Tiefling
10-13: Human
14: Discreet Hybrid: Roll two species (rerolling any Hybrid result or if the second species is the same) and take the stat swaps from the first species and the abilities from the second. Your appearance is mostly that of the second species, but there may be a few tells to your mixed origin. Roll on the upbringing table of the second species.
15: Hybrid Outcast: Roll two species, apply all of their effects, do not roll an upbringing, and roll a random Background. Choose the highest speed, and choose whichever height and weight you want, or something in between. If one is Small and the other is Medium, you choose the size.
16+: Uncommon (or Setting Specific):

Uncommon Species Table

Your GM will tell you whether to use a d10 or d12:
1: Bugbear
2: Centaur
3: Changeling
4: Goblin
5: Hobgoblin
6: Kobold
7: Lizardfolk
8: Orc
9: Warforged
10: Yuan-ti
11-12: Exotic species: Randomly choose some other "race" in the game. Use all of their abilities, replacing +1 stat boosts with d6 stat swaps and +2 stat boosts with d8 stat swaps. Do not pick any upbringing, and then choose a random Background.

Step 3: Roll for Upbringing

Roll for an upbringing on your species' table, and then look in the upbringing entry. Roll that upbringing's three mental stat swaps listed at the top of the entry, but do not roll any of the ones in the list of abilities that a player will choose later.

Step 4: Roll for Background

Each upbringing entry has its own table of associated backgrounds. Roll for a background on the upbringing table, and roll its stat swaps and make any replacements.

Optional Step 5: Drafting

Your GM may have your table draft characters. If they do, follow the instructions here. If they do not, skip to the next step.

Put your note card in the middle of the table. Tell everyone the species, upbringing and background. Mention the two best stats and what they are, and if any stats are below 10.

In an order chosen by the GM, players take turns picking any one of the character note cards. The GM will usually give the newest player first pick, and then go down to those with the most experience.

Step 6: Choose Class and Finalize

New players: Add up the three numbers on each stat on your card to get the total value. Look at your highest stat, other than Constitution, and the list of classes on page 45 of the Player's Handbook. Choose one of the classes with a Primary Ability matching the high stat. Read that class's description, and then, with that in mind, make the choices that your culture (and possibly the species) calls for. Roll any stat swaps that are the result of these choices. If your group did not draft, then once all the swaps are rolled, if your Primary Ability is 15 or less, decrease some other stat by 1 and increase the primary ability by 1 until it is 16.

Experienced players: Think about which class or classes the stats, species, and upbringing would be good for. If you have the option of choosing and rolling stat swaps, do this now. Then, choose a class and make the other choices.

All Players: Once all choices are made, copy the final stat totals to a character sheet, and copy down all of the abilities in your species, upbringing, background (look in the PHB for details of backgrounds), and class. All characters can speak (but not read or write) Common, even if they did not roll an upbringing. Most characters get a choice of language from their Upbringing, and usually will choose one that matches the traditional language of their species. Write down a reminder of the Cultural Immersion trait that matches your Upbringing. If you don't have one of the ten standard Upbringings, instead write down a Cultural Immersion reminder for your Background. Your GM will tell you when it applies and what it does.

Do anything else your GM says. During this process, think about your character's story and life history. Usually the culturally learned Upbringing abilities were learned in your childhood and the Background describes your early adulthood, but sometimes the narrative will make more sense if the background happened to you before the abilities you gained from the upbringing, or at the same time.

Tables

Use these tables only if you rolled the 'Other' option on something:

Other Upbringing

Your GM will tell you whether to roll a d10, d12, or d20 on this table:
1: Bright Burrows
2: City Spire
3: Fae Forest
4: Feudal Farmland
5: Frontier Freehold
6: Mining Holdfast
7: Mystic Cavern
8: Red Ochre
9: Wandering Wagon
10: Wayside Warren
11+: Unusual:

Unusual Upbringing Table

Roll d10:
1: Animal
2: Child Soldier
3: Fell From Heaven
4-6: Multicultural Integrated: Roll d10 twice on the Other Upbringing table. Do not take any stat swaps, but take all other abilities of both upbringings including all languages. Then roll on the Background table of the second upbringing.
7-8: Multicultural Vagrant: Roll d10 twice on on the Other Upbringing table, and take all effects of both upbringings, but do not roll a Background.
9: Vampire
10: Werewolf

Other Background

1: Acolyte - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
2: Charlatan - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
3: Criminal - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
4: Entertainer - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
5: Folk Hero - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
6: Gladiator - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
7: Guild Artisan - d4 swaps for Con, Wis, Cha
8: Guild Merchant - d4 swaps for Con, Wis, Cha
9: Hermit - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
10: Knight - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Cha
11: Noble - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Cha
12: Outlander - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
13: Pirate - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
14: Sage - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
15: Sailor - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
16: Soldier - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Cha
17: Spy - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
18: Urchin - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Wis
19-20: DM list, or the player creates a custom background, or reroll.

DM Notes

First, read the Player Instructions for an overview and to see how the process works.

The randomization sets a tone of realism and working with what you've got. It is meant for campaigns where the party is a group of random people making their way through the world as they see fit, not one where the party is a chosen set of archetypal heroes who will save the world. It will usually roll up familiar archetypes, but will sometimes make something more random. A party created by using this system should have two or three familiar characters, a couple oddballs, and maybe something really strange.

If you are introducing new people to the game, then you can use this species-upbringing split as the basis for a system that quickly generates random characters. They don't have to learn or choose anything, or think about how to assign stats. They can quickly jump into the action with a random character that will, usually, be well-balanced.

Alternatively, if your group is stuck in standard archetypes and optimized 'net build' characters, then this method can be used to make random characters to shake things up.

If you have a table where some but not all players have a tendency toward optimization, or if you are concerned about game balance and have a table with players of a wide skill range, then you can follow the random character creation with a draft, where the newest or least powergamer players get first pick of the created characters.

If you are lucky enough to have a group of story-based gamers who have a lot of interesting character concepts they've been wanting to play that may be hard to implement in the current system, and who can be trusted not to optimize for power, then everyone can just pick a species and upbringing and then roll up the stats. Go to the Flexible Choice section for more.

Definitions and Notes

'Stat swaps' refers to the unlabeled ones right under the title. 'Abilities' are everything else, even if they call for a stat swap. 'Effects' includes everything in the listing.

Even though all learned skills come from upbringing, languages are still named after species for historical reasons. In the past, linguistic-cultural patterns were more closely tied to species than they are now, and the names of languages have remained.
Sometimes people will learn to read and write a language they do not speak, because they only interact with it via written works. Others will speak languages while being illiterate in them. If a character is from such an upbringing and learns another language, they may choose to fully learn a language they partially know, and then become literate-only or conversational-only in a new language.

Rolling Options

For a core-rules-only game to introduce new players to the basics and keep things simple, roll d12 on the species table. To generate a party with hybrids and unusual species, roll a d20. Choose ahead of time what the 16+ roll will be. By default, it will be a roll on the Uncommon Species table, but you can set a different list appropriate to the setting.

For Other upbringings, have them roll a d10 to keep things simple, a d12 to allow more interesting and unique characters to be formed, or possibly a d20 if you want a big chance of something unusual.

Drafting or Not

The problem with random stat rolls is that some characters can end up significantly weaker than others. Rolling for each stat in order, rather than allowing them to be assigned, mitigates this somewhat, because the high rolls might be in weird combinations, but does not eliminate the problem.

Running a game with players of mixed experience or skill can be difficult. The more skilled players will optimize their characters, leaving the newer players with less powerful characters that can feel unimportant.

Drafting random characters can mitigate these problems somewhat, by canceling them out. The players who are newer or less skilled at optimizing can get first pick of the randomly created characters, (usually) giving them a more powerful one.

If using the draft option, each player, and the GM, follows steps 1 through 4 (rolling stats, species, upbringing, and background and making the mandatory stat swaps). Then, with player input, decide who has the most experience playing the game, and/or who has the most ability and desire to optimize their character to be powerful. Rank the players from least to most optimizing. Encourage power gamers to see picking last as a point of pride.

Starting with the newest and/or least powergamer player, players take turns picking any one of the characters. The GM takes the last one and uses it to build an NPC that hangs out with the party, one that, while (probably) weaker than all the rest, is a useful assistant and a voice of common sense. (The method of a weak NPC guide/assistant is a very helpful way of conveying information about the world in a fun and flavorful way that does not disrupt the narrative.

The downside of drafting is that it adds complexity, and players often become attached to the characters that they are rolling up and might be disappointed if they are taken away.

Flexible Choice Option

Use with caution.This is only meant for players who will not look for powerful combos, either players who don't know the game well enough to optimize, or people you trust to focus on narrative. If you are at all worried that someone will look over all the options and game the system, don't do it. The Species and Upbringings should be mostly balanced, but free choice is not munchkin-proof, and some combinations will be better than others. It would take a lot of work and playtesting to make them all equal and not allow powerful combos, and this would push them further away from their current form. If a player wants a Hybrid or Multicultural character, the two should be rolled at random. If they are playing a Human, they can choose the result on the Broad-Spectrum Ancestry table, but if they choose an Unusual Ancestor, the species should be rolled at random.

In this method, players first look over the list of upbringings. All of them will be somewhat familiar to experienced players, because they have always been a part of the game, but were previously tied to particular races or subraces.

Everyone then chooses a Species, Upbringing, Background, and Class that matches their character concept. Then, they follow the player instructions (rolling stats after they make the choices), but going directly to their choice instead of rolling at random.

If using this method, do not roll the d4 swaps listed for the Backgrounds. Instead, roll a d8 swap in your class's primary ability (listed on page 45 of the PHB, if two are listed you can choose). This cannot increase the score above 20, and if the score is 13 or less, decrease some other stat by 1 and reroll. (Repeat if necessary. If after three rolls, the stat is still 13 or less, set it to 14.)

Leveling and Replacement

Given the diminishing returns on stat swaps, I think it would be okay for players to replace a class level with a new upbringing, if there is a good in-game explanation. Similarly, they might want to learn a 'background' instead of taking a level.

A potential problem with this system is that players might have an incentive to get their character killed in hopes of rolling up a stronger one. This can be controlled by making the new character lower in level than the rest of the party. All replacement characters should be at least a level lower, and stronger characters get a larger penalty. As a quick rule of thumb, look at the average of the stats of the old and new character, and penalize the new character an additional level for each unit difference in average stats.

If the death was not the player's fault and they were playing it well, let them randomly generate two characters and choose one, without any level penalty for more powerful characters. If necessary, the GM can take the other one and assign it a role similar to what the dead character filled.

Cultural Immersion

By default, Cultural Immersion benefits work in every place with people who grew up with a similar upbringing, because it is based on thinking and acting a certain way, not because of a character's history in any particular place. It is assumed that the party is traveling around a lot, interacting briefly with many people. You will have to translate places in your world or the module into the equivalent culture, but it should be pretty obvious. A halfling village or a gnome’s workshop in city would be Bright Burrows, dwarf mining operations are Mountain Holdfast, most farming villages are Feudal Farmland, etc.

In a game where the party is not moving around very much, make adjustments so players don’t feel left out. Match the upbringing the social class or type of people. For example, if your entire campaign takes place in a big city, then a seedy tavern could be counted as Frontier Freehold or even Red Ochre, the kitchen in a palace or restaurant could be Feudal Farmland, and the shopkeepers or entertainers on the streets could be Wandering Wagon.

If your campaign is heavily focused on roleplaying and intrigue, you may want to limit it somewhat, for example to places and NPCs that with a character’s species-upbringing combination.

The species-specific upbringings, like Dragonborn Outcast or Imprinted Servitor, have a corresponding Cultural Immersion. It works with people of the same species, also those with a similar life history or place in society. Unusual upbringings almost never benefit from Cultural Immersion, although Vampires and Werewolves would benefit from it when interacting with a different pack.

People without a standard Upbringing often form close bonds to those of their background, so an Imprinted Servitor or Werewolf Soldier would benefit from Cultural Immersion when interacting with any veteran or military encampment or equipment. The background feature of such characters almost always works.

For story-based groups, you might allow and encourage players tell a story about what kinds of things they did and who they became close to in the character’s past, and make adjustments to their Cultural Immersion based on that.

Game Balance Notes

The randomization and drafting system is mainly designed for a mixed table of veterans and new players, and it is designed so that everyone involved learns something and experiences something new. New players are introduced to the world and the game system through their character. If they care about playing a particular type of character, such as a fighter or wizard, the veterans can point them to whichever of the generated characters would be best for that. If they mainly want to learn about the game, or feel powerful or useful or important, they can just ask the GM which one is best and ask what class it should be. Players with some experience are pushed out of their comfort zone, and encouraged to learn more about the system by playing characters they otherwise would not. Veterans are presented with a (hopefully) fun optimization problem as they use their skills to figure out how to make a weak character as useful as the stronger ones.

Even with a more powerful character, new players may need a story boost to encourage them to take part and not get controlled by the veterans. If so, the GM can give them some kind of power or position or authority in the world, so they have decision-making power and the others are their advisors. For example, the new player could be playing some noble or government official that got caught up in something, and everyone else is someone that they or their court hired to help them out. This means that they are the party leader making decisions, and everyone else is advising them (and possibly also advancing some other agenda as well). This also gives an in-game reason for the veterans to teach the new players about the world and the game, so the GM does not have to: "Ok, let me explain what a Beholder is and why you really don't want to fight one."

I tried to keep things as familiar as possible, while making adjustments for the new system. A few of the subraces, particularly the dwarf and halfling ones, have one or two fewer abilities than before, but this is balanced out by a stat boost that they did not get before, and some other abilities or options. It has not been extensively playtested, but I have a good feel for balance, and have worked to generate a reasonable variation while saving people from unplayable characters.

A party created this way may have one or two characters that are unusually powerful, but overall it will probably be weaker than a normal optimized party. The GM should compensate by giving the NPC an appropriate class (which might be based on party needs rather than what that character would be best at) and have it be as helpful as possible, but designing encounters and assigning experience as though it did not exist. Basically, a weird party with the weak NPC henchperson is treated as a normal party with no help.

Edge Cases

If you roll Dragonborn as a Human's Unusual Ancestor, you must choose Draconic Ancestry as one of the three abilities before choosing any of the other Dragonborn abilities.

If you are a Kobold and have one of the unusual upbringings that gives the features of an extra class level, then if you choose Shenanigans you must pick a third class. If you were a Child Soldier, you must meet the prerequisites for multiclassing in all three classes.

Math Appendix

The standard method of generating stats is 4d6 drop lowest, which is the same as a swap d6 in my system. Each of these swaps adds 1.7 to the stat.

1) Two d4 swaps is 0.3 worse on average than a d6, but lowers the probability of very low scores.
2) Adding an extra d4 after a d6 swap increases the average by 0.5
3) Given 1 and 2, Three d6 swaps is the same as 2d4, 2d4 and d6+d4
4) Given 3, handing out swaps of: d6 d6 d6 2d4 2d4 d6+d4 is the same stat boost as the default system.
5) If d6 and 2d4 is replaced with d6+d4 and d4, then it is a +0.5 and a -0.5, which balances.
6) I can get the same average power level by giving each species and upbringing two d6 swaps and a d4 swap, and making all the background swaps a d4.

Every species has a swap for all three physical stats, every upbringing has a swap for all three mental stats, and every background has a d4 swap for Con and each stat associated with the skills it provides. My method is somewhat weaker in that the scores are random rather than chosen, but stronger in that there is a lower probability of very bad scores.

After going through the process, you will have accumulated enough swaps to match the average power of a '4d6, drop lowest' roll, although they will be assigned in a way that ties them to abilities and flavor.

All species and upbringing modifiers to stats are handled via these stat swaps. Replacing a d6 stat swap with a d8, or adding an additional d6 swap, gives a +1 to the average roll. Adding an additional d8 swap gives a +2 to the average.

Species List

Use the PHB for the full description of abilities. Often I only list a title. I am trying to keep all species about the same power, by shuffling abilities between the species and upbringing as necessary, but there will be some unavoidable variation.

Dragonborn

Str swap d6
Dex swap d4
Con swap d6

Size. Dragonborn are taller and heavier than humans, standing well over 6 feet tall and averaging almost 250 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

*Draconic Ancestry
*Breath Weapon
*Damage Resistance

Dragonborn Upbringing Table:
1-2: Dragonborn Outcast: Str swap d8, Wis swap d6, Int swap d4, Cha swap d8, Speak, read, and write Common and Draconic, roll a random Background.
3: Frontier Freehold
4: Mining Holdfast
5: Red Ochre
6: Other

Dwarf

Old tales speak of dwarves being born from stone, and living in communal enclaves of seven 'men'. If you would like to be such a character, you may choose to be a Fae Dwarf instead of a regular dwarf.

Str swap d8
Dex swap d4
Con swap d8

Size. Dwarves stand between 4 and 5 feet tall and average about 120 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.

*Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
*Dwarven Constitution: Con swap d6
*Stoutness: Your speed is not reduced by wearing armor

Dwarf Upbringing Table:
1-2: Frontier Freehold (hill dwarf)
3-4: Mining Holdfast (mountain dwarf)
5: Mystic Cavern (duergar)
6: Other

Fae Dwarf

Str swap d6
Dex swap d4
Con swap d8

Size: Fae dwarves stand between 4 and 5 feet tall and average about 120 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 ft

*Resilience. You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage.

*Seven Genders: Fae dwarves are one of seven genders, listed below. The appropriate pronoun for a dwarf of indeterminate gender is 'thon', and the proper pronoun for a known dwarf is their gender name, but they usually present as male they are rarely offended by the use of male pronouns.

Fae Dwarves reproduce with a ritual in which a dwarf of each of the seven genders works together to create a statue of a dwarf from rock, gems, and/or metal while singing and playing sacred hymns. The ritual takes all seven dwarves working for eight hours a day, for at least a year and a day, although usually it takes several years, as the ritual is combined with mining and crafting and maintaining the household. When the ritual is complete, the dwarf god Moradin takes a dwarf soul from a jeweled vault in heaven, combines it with knowledge and memories from all seven parents, and places it in the statue. The new dwarf comes alive fully adult, and soon thereafter leaves the house to make thons way in the world. No matter what their life experiences, a family with all seven genders will have all the skills needed to run a household and reproduce.

Single fae dwarves, like those of most species, are usually working to acquire the resources and connections to form a household. They seek a suitable homestead with access to appropriate minerals, and when they claim it, they invite suitable partners to join them. Sometimes a large mine or fortress will support multiple households working together, but usually families must seek new homesteads. As with other races, there is a strong 'incest' taboo, because reproducing with someone whose lineage is too similar risks causing mental problems.

Almost all fae dwarves are biologically male, and can reproduce in the biological way, although this is considered dishonorable and a mark of failure. Such offspring are either halflings or 'standard' dwarves, depending on the mother's species. Fae dwarves claim that the dwarves familiar to most people are the descendants of dwarves born in this way. Fae dwarves sometimes try to recruit partners from 'standard' dwarves, although this is difficult because such dwarves do not have any ancestral memories of the reproduction ritual and must be taught it by a fae dwarf of the gender they are to perform.

The ancestral memories of fae dwarves are somewhere between personal memories and family stories. Dwarves that do not wish to draw attention to how different they are will often discuss these memories as though they were things they learned from their elders, as in "I remember my tink's doc telling me about this." The fae dwarven mind, like all others, has a limited capacity, which means that with each generation, many memories lose details or are forgotten entirely. Every time a dwarf has life experiences of their own, some ancestral memories fade away. Memories from the most recent generations are prioritized, with older memories slipping into something that resembles a hazy myth. Relatively few dwarves still have memories of creation or of the earliest generations, and those often disagree with each other.

Roll d8 for gender (see the Dwarf entry for descriptions of Stoutness and Darkvision):
1: Chop - Str swap d6, proficiency with battleaxe, handaxe, carpenter's tools, woodcarver's tools, and horn. Stoutness.
2: Tink - Dex swap d6, proficiency with dagger, rapier, hand crossbow, tinker's tools, jeweler's tools, and flute. Darkvision 60 ft.
3: Forge - Con swap d6, proficiency with light hammer, warhammer, smith's tools, and drum. Stoutness.
4: Delve - Con swap d6, proficiency with war pick, mason's tools, potter's tools, and bagpipes. Stoutness and Darkvision 60 ft.
5: Calc - Int swap d6, proficiency with light crossbow, heavy crossbow, alchemist's supplies, cartographer's tools, glassblower's tools, navigator's tools, and dulcimer. Darkvision 60 ft.
6: Doc - Wis swap d6, proficiency with dart, blowgun, brewer's supplies, cook's utensils, herbalism kit, poisoner's kit, and lute. Stoutness.
7: Glam - Cha swap d6, proficiency with warhammer, handaxe, cobbler's tools, leatherworker's tools, weaver's tools, and lyre. Darkvision 60 ft.
8: Multigendered - Roll twice on this table. For each gender you roll that you haven't already rolled, take all of its abilities and your Dexterity score decreases by 2, to a minimum of 3. When forming a family, you can choose to fill any gender role you've rolled.

You can decide if the upbringing, background, and class of your Fae Dwarf character comes from the skills inherited from thons parents, or if they come from the experiences thon had in the world after leaving home.

Fae Dwarf Upbringing Table
1: Bright Burrows
2: Frontier Freehold
3: Wandering Wagon
4: Other

Elf

Str swap d6
Dex swap d8
Con swap d4

Size. Elves range from under 5 to over 6 feet tall and have slender builds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

*Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
*Elven Dexterity: Dex swap d6
*Fey Ancestry. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can't put you to sleep.
*Trance.

Elf Upbringing Table:
1-2: City Spire (high elf)
3-4: Fae Forest (wood elf)
5: Mystic Cavern (drow)
6: Other

Gnome

Str swap d4
Dex swap d6
Con swap d8

Size. Gnomes are between 3 and 4 feet tall and weigh around 40 pounds. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.

*Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
*Gnome Cunning. You have advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saves against magic.

Gnome Upbringing Table:
1-2: Bright Burrows (rock gnome)
3: City Spire
4-5: Fae Forest (forest gnome)
6: Other

Halfling

Str swap d4
Dex swap d8
Con swap d6

Size. Halflings average about 3 feet tall and weigh about 40 pounds. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.

*Halfling dexterity: dex swap d6
*Lucky. When you roll a 1 on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can reroll the die. You must use the new result, even if it is a 1.

Halfling Upbringing Table:
1-2: Bright Burrows (lightfoot)
3-4: Frontier Freehold (stout)
5: Feudal Farmland
6: Other

Human

Str swap - special, see below
Dex swap - special, see below
Con swap - special, see below

Size. Humans vary widely in height and build, from barely 5 feet to well over 6 feet tall. Regardless of your position in that range, your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Broad-Spectrum Ancestry: Roll d12
1: Unusual Ancestor: Roll d4 for the stat swaps. Roll a random species (rerolling Human and Hybrids). Choose three abilities total from its ability list and the Human ability list.
2-4: Half-Elf: Roll d4 for the stat swaps. Choose four abilities total from the Elf and Human ability lists.
5-6: Half-Orc: Roll d4 for the stat swaps. Choose four abilities total from the Orc and Human ability lists. Roll on the Orc Upbringing Table.
7-12: Mostly Human: Roll d6 for the stat swaps, and take the human abilities. Roll both of the stat swaps after rolling the background swaps.

*Ability Increase 1. Stat swap d6 in your highest ability (Randomize if there is a tie.)
*Ability Increase 2. Stat swap d6 in your second highest ability
*Flexible. Gain proficiency in a skill of your choice

Human Upbringing Table:
1-2: Feudal Farmland (base human)
3-4: Wandering Wagon (variant human or half-elf)
5-6: Other

Tiefling

Str swap d6
Dex swap d6
Con swap d4

Size. Tieflings are about the same size and build as humans. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

*Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
*Hellish Resistance. You have resistance to fire damage.
*Infernal Legacy. You know the Thaumaturgy cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the Hellish Rebuke spell once per long rest as a 2nd-level spell. Once you reach 5th level, you can also cast the Darkness spell once per long rest.
(If you have Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, you can randomize the legacy.)

Tiefling Upbringing Chart:
1-2: Tiefling Outcast: Int swap d8, Wis swap d4, Cha swap d6+d8, speak, read, and write Common and Infernal, roll a random Background.
3: Mystic Cavern
4: Wandering Wagon
5: Wayside Warren
6: Other

Uncommon Species

Bugbear

Str swap d8
Dex swap d6
Con swap d4

Size. Bugbears are between 6 and 8 feet tall and weigh between 250 and 350 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

*Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
*Long-Limbed. When you make a melee attack on your turn, your reach for it is 5 feet greater than normal.
*Powerful Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.

Bugbear Upbringing Chart:
1: Fae Forest
2: Mining Holdfast
3-4: Red Ochre
5: Wayside Warren
6: Other

Centaur

Str swap d8
Dex swap d4
Con swap d6

Size. Centaurs stand between 6 and 7 feet tall, with their equine bodies reaching about 4 feet at the withers. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 40 feet.

*Fey. Your creature type is fey, rather than humanoid.
*Equine Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push or drag. In addition, any climb that requires hands and feet is especially difficult for you because of your equine legs. When you make such a climb, each foot of movement costs you 4 extra feet, instead of the normal 1 extra foot.

Centaur Upbringing Chart:
1-2: Traditional Centaur Upbringing: Str swap d6, Int swap d4, Wis swap d8, Cha swap d6, speak, read, and write Common and Sylvan, choose a background from the Wandering Wagon Background Table, gain the following abilities:
*Charge. If you move at least 30 feet straight toward a target and then hit it with a melee weapon attack on the same turn, you can immediately follow that attack with a bonus action, making one attack against the target with your hooves.
*Hooves. You have learned to use your hooves as natural melee weapons, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with them, you deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.
*Survivor. You have proficiency in one of the following skills: Animal Handling, Medicine, Nature, or Survival.
3: Fae Forest
4: Red Ochre
5: Wandering Wagon
6: Other

Changeling

Str swap d6
Dex swap d6
Con swap d4

Size. In their natural forms, changelings average between 5 to 6 feet in height, with a slender build. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

*Stat swap d6 of your choice

*Change Appearance. As an action, you can change your appearance and your voice. You determine the specifics of the changes, including your coloration, hair length, and sex. You can also adjust your height and weight, but not so much that your size changes. You can make yourself appear as a member of another species, though none of your game statistics change.
You can't duplicate the appearance of a creature you've never seen, and you must adopt a form that has the same basic arrangement of limbs that you have. Your clothing and equipment aren't changed by this trait.
You stay in the new form until you use an action to revert to your true form or until you die.

Changeling Upbringing Table:
1: City Spire
2: Feudal Farmland
3-4: Wandering Wagon
5-6: Other

Goblin

Str swap d6
Dex swap d8
Con swap d8

Size. Goblins are between 3 and 4 feet tall and weigh between 40 and 80 pounds. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

*Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
*Goblin Dexterity: Dex swap d6

Goblin Upbringing Chart:
1: Fae Forest
2: Red Ochre
3-4: Wayside Warren
5-6: Other

Hobgoblin

Str swap d6
Dex swap d4
Con swap d8

Size. Hobgoblins are between 5 and 6 feet tall and weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet

*Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
*Hobgoblin Constitution: Con swap d6

Hobgoblin Upbringing Chart:
1-2: Mining Holdfast
3: Feudal Farmland
4: Other

Kobold

Str swap d4
Dex swap d6
Con swap d6

Size. Kobolds are between 2 and 3 feet tall and weigh between 25 and 35 pounds. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

*Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

*You may choose to either gain a Dex swap d8 or Shenanigans:
Shenanigans: Gain all of the following abilities:
*Dragon Obedience: You have disadvantage on Insight checks when interacting with a dragon, and on all saving throws against effects generated by dragons.
*Puny Stature: Your Strength score is reduced by 4, to a minimum of 3.
*Sunlight Sensitivity. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of the attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.
*Wild Mind: After making all choices for your character and gaining your class level, gain all of the features of the first level in a different class, except hit points, as though you were multiclassing into that class. (You must still meet the multiclassing prerequisites, and thereafter you can advance in either class.) You are still a level 1 character for the purposes of experience and encounter calculations and proficiency bonus.

Kobold Upbringing Chart:
1: Bright Burrows (Civilized Bahamut-worshiping tribe)
2: Mystic Cavern
3: Red Ochre
4-5: Wayside Warren
6: Other

Lizardfolk

Str swap d6
Dex swap d4
Con swap d8

Size. Lizardfolk are a little bulkier and taller than humans, and their colorful frills make them appear even larger. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet, and you have a swimming speed of 30 feet.

*Hold Breath. You can hold your breath for up to 15 minutes at a time.
*Natural Armor. You have tough, scaly skin. When you aren't wearing armor, your AC is 13 + your Dexterity modifier. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield's benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.

Lizardfolk Upbringing Chart:
1: Red Ochre
2: Mining Holdfast
3-4: Wayside Warren
5-6: Other

Orc

Str swap d8
Dex swap d4
Con swap d6

Size. Orcs are usually over 6 feet tall and weigh between 230 and 280 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

*Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
*Orcish Strength: Str swap d6
*Powerful Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.

Orc Upbringing Table:
1: Frontier Freehold
2-3: Red Ochre
4: Other

Warforged

Str swap d6
Dex swap d4
Con swap d6

Size. Warforged are constructed in many sizes, matching the variety of human builds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

*Constructed Resilience. You were created to have remarkable fortitude, represented by the following benefits:
You have advantage on saving throws against being poisoned, and you have resistance to poison damage.
You don't need to eat, drink, or breathe.
You are immune to disease.
You don't need to sleep, and magic can't put you to sleep.

*Sentry's Rest. When you take a long rest, you must spend at least six hours in an inactive, motionless state, rather than sleeping. In this state, you appear inert, but it doesn't render you unconscious, and you can see and hear as normal.

*Integrated Protection. Your body has built-in defensive layers, which can be enhanced with armor.
You gain a +1 bonus to Armor Class.
You can don only armor with which you have proficiency. To don armor, you must incorporate it into your body over the course of 1 hour, during which you must remain in contact with the armor. To doff armor, you must spend 1 hour removing it. You can rest while donning or doffing armor in this way.
While you live, your armor can't be removed from your body against your will.

Warforged Upbringing Table:
1-2: Imprinted Servitor: Con swap d8, Int swap d6, Wis swap d6, Cha swap d4, Stat swap d6 of your choice, gain one skill proficiency and one tool proficiency of your choice, and speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice. Roll a random Background, which usually represents how you made your way in the world after you escaped from or were discarded by those who created you.
3: Bright Burrows. You may choose to be Small and gain a Dex swap d6.
4: City Spire
5: Mining Holdfast
6: Other

Yuan-Ti

Str swap d4
Dex swap d6
Con swap d6

Size. Yuan-ti match humans in average size and weight. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

*Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
*Magic Resistance. You have advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
*Poison Immunity. You are immune to poison damage and the poisoned condition.

Yuan-Ti Upbringing Table:
1: City Spire
2: Mining Holdfast
3-4: Mystic Cavern
5: Feudal Farmland
6: Other

Upringing List

When you pick an upbringing, in addition to each upbringing's unique benefits, you gain the following for that upbringing:

Cultural Immersion.

*You have advantage on Intimidation, Performance, and Persuasion checks when interacting with people who share your upbringing, and on Insight checks on someone like you who is not trying to deceive you. (Deception and Insight cancel out; they know how to lie better, but you know how to see though them.)
*You have advantage on all Wisdom and Intelligence checks on facts or products associated with your upbringing, including Handle Animal checks for animals like the ones you grew up with.
*You have advantage on all checks related to downtime activities performed in areas with many people who share your upbringing.
*When you are not in areas with many people who share your upbringing, you must make a History, Insight, or Persuasion check to take advantage of your Background feature, instead of it happening automatically. The DC for this check is 10 to 15, based on the cultural distance as determined by the GM.

Bright Burrows

You grew up in a well-ordered community that was more prosperous and/or advanced than the world around it. Individuals were protected by law and community, but allowed and encouraged to follow their passions. Traditionally this upbringing was associated with halflings and gnomes.

Speak, read, and write Common and one other language that uses either the Common or Dwarvish script. Read and write Dwarvish.

Alignment. Tends toward lawful good, although individuals can be of any alignment.

Int swap d6
Wis swap d4
Cha swap d6

Attic Rummaging. Roll d8. You begin the game with the additional equipment indicated (Packs are described on PHB pg 151 and the Trinket table is on PHB pg 160). This equipment is light and well-made, and possibly imbued with some minor magic, so that you can carry it in addition to your normal starting equipment without any encumbrance, even if you are Small:
1: Burglar's Pack and a random trinket
2: Diplomat's Pack
3: Dungeoneer's Pack and a random trinket
4: Entertainer's Pack
5: Explorer's Pack and a random trinket
6: Priest's Pack
7: Scholar's Pack
8: A random uncommon item (Table F, DMG pg 146). You begin the game attuned to it, even if it does not normally require attunement. It has three random minor detrimental properties (DMG pg 220), each of which can be removed by spending 150 gp or completing a small quest. You may not end attunement while any detrimental properties remain.

Cleverness. Choose Int swap d8 or Cha swap d6

Hobbies

Repeat two times: Choose from 1-6, or roll d8 (rerolling any abilities you already have):

1: Artificer's Lore. Whenever you make an Intelligence (History) check related to magical, alchemical, or technological items, you can add twice your proficiency bonus instead of any other proficiency bonus that may apply.
2: Climbing. You start the game with a Climber's Kit (PHB pg 151). When using a climber's kit, you have a climbing speed of 10 ft. Additionally, if you are Small, you may use Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks to climb.
3: Dancing. You can move through the space of any creature by making an Acrobatics check, opposed by its Insight check. You have advantage on this check if it is of a size larger than yours. Additionally, you can attempt to hide even when you are only obscured by a creature of at least your height and weight by making a Performance check. You have advantage on this check if the creature is of a size larger than yours.
4: Personal Obsession. With the DM's permission, choose an area of study similar in scope to Artificer's Lore above. Whenever you make an Intelligence check related to facts about your personal obsession, you can add twice your proficiency bonus instead of any other proficiency bonus that may apply.
5: Rock throwing. You are proficient with darts, and you may treat rocks as though they were darts, except they do bludgeoning rather than piercing damage. Additionally, you may have up to three special rocks. You start the game with one special rock, and once per long rest, you can find another one. When throwing a special rock, you gain the benefits of the sharpshooter feat (phb pg 170) for that rock, and it counts as a magic weapon for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction. Special rocks do not lose their power after they are used, although you may have to roll an investigate check to find it.
6: Tinkering. You have proficiency with tinker's tools, and own a set of them. Using those tools, you can spend 1 hour and 10 gp worth of materials to construct a Tiny clockwork device (AC 5, 1 hp). You can have up to three such devices active at a time. When you create a device, choose one effect of the Prestidigitation cantrip for it to replicate, or create a similar effect with GM approval. Using any device is an action.
7: Roll d8 twice on the Fae Forest Ways of Nature table.
8: Roll d6 twice on this table.

Bright Burrows Background Table:
1: Acolyte - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
2: Entertainer - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
3: Folk Hero - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
4: Guild Artisan - d4 swaps for Con, Wis, Cha
5: Sage - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
6: Spy - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
7-8: Other

City Spire

You grew up in an advanced or wealthy metropolis, with palaces, universities, and often a bustling port. A place of art and learning and wonder and intrigue, bound to the flows of politics and commerce, rather than the cycles of nature. You received a formal liberal arts education in a structured environment, often one that taught the basics of magic. Traditionally only high elves enjoyed this upbringing.

Alignment. Tends toward neutral, although individuals can be of any alignment.

Speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice. Read and write Elvish.

Int swap d8
Wis swap d4
Cha swap d6

Well Educated. You gain proficiency in a skill of your choice. Then repeat four times: You gain proficiency with a weapon or tool of your choice, or speak, read, and write another language of your choice.

Choose one:
*Cantrip. You know one cantrip of your choice from the Wizard spell list. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for it.
*Cosmopolitan. Choose another upbringing. Gain the Cultural Immersion benefits for it.
*Hobby. Choose a hobby on the Bright Burrows Hobbies table.

City Spire Background Table:
1: Charlatan - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
2: Criminal - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
3: Entertainer - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
4: Guild Artisan - d4 swaps for Con, Wis, Cha
5: Noble - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Cha
6: Sage - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
7: Sailor - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
8: Spy - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
9: Urchin - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Wis
10-12: Other

Fae Forest

You grew up in a magical environment that had been shaped to serve you, usually a forest but not always. The plants and animals were the friends of your people, and they know how to use the earth and stones and weather to their advantage. Visible infrastructure was rare, for the land itself provides what they need. Traditionally this upbringing was associated with wood elves and forest gnomes.

Alignment. Tends toward neutral good, although individuals can be of any alignment.

Speak, read, and write Elvish and Sylvan. Speak Common and one other language of your choice.

Int swap d6
Wis swap d6
Cha swap d4

Natural Observer. Choose Int swap d8, or Wis swap d6 and proficiency in the Perception skill

Ways of Nature

Repeat three times: Choose from 1-8, or roll d10 (rerolling any abilities you already have):
1. Fleet of Foot. Your base walking speed increases by 5 feet.
2. Forest Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the shortsword, and shortbow or longbow.
3. Mask of the Wild. You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.
4. Natural Illusionist. You know the Minor Illusion cantrip. Choose Int, Wis, or Cha to be your spellcasting modifier for it.
5. Speak with Small Beasts. Through sound and gestures, you may communicate simple ideas with Small or smaller beasts.
6. Stone Camouflage. You have advantage on Dexterity (stealth) checks to hide in rocky terrain.
7. Superior Darkvision: If you already have darkvision, it now has a range of 120 feet. If you don't, you gain 60 ft darkvision.
8. Timberwalk. Ability checks made to track you are at disadvantage and you can move through difficult terrain made of non-magical plants and overgrowth without expending extra movement.
9. Child of the Woods. You know the Druidcraft Cantrip. At 3rd level, you can cast the Entangle spell once per long rest. At 5th level, you can cast Spike Growth spell once per long rest. These spells don't require the material components normally required. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
10. Roll d8 twice on this table.

Fae Forest Background Table:
1: Acolyte - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
2: Entertainer - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
3: Folk Hero - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
4: Hermit - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
5: Outlander - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
6: Sage - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
7: Spy - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
8-10: Other

Feudal Farmland

You grew up surrounded by fields of grain, guarded by castles of stone, with people united by a strong upbringing of church and community. You were brought up learning the value of simple honest work, and fixing your weaknesses, rather than idle hobbies or fancy tricks. Your homeland is attuned to the cycles of the weather and land, but focusing on tended crops rather than wild plants. Intensive cultivation leads to large populations and large armies, allowing the landowners to become wealthy and powerful. Traditionally this upbringing was associated with humans.

Alignment. Any. This upbringing has many variations, and its attitude to the world is heavily influenced by the doctrines of its god(s) and the character of its leader.

Speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice.

Int swap d6
Wis swap d6
Cha swap d4

Well-rounded. After rolling the background swaps, stat swap d6 in each of your four lowest abilities.

Feudal Farmland Background Table:
1: Acolyte - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
2: Folk Hero - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
3: Knight - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Cha
4: Noble - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Cha
5: Sailor - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
6: Soldier - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Cha
7-10: Other

Frontier Freehold

You grew up among independent backwoods farmers, prospectors, hunters and trappers on the fringe of civilization. You are accustomed to scratching a living from land that is often hostile and unforgiving, taking care of yourself and your family. People from this upbringing tend to be clannish and fiercely independent, resisting any kind of outside authority. Traditionally this upbringing was associated with hill dwarves and stout halflings.

Alignment. Tends toward chaotic neutral, although individuals can be of any alignment.

Speak, read and write Common and one other language of your choice.

Int swap d4
Wis swap d8
Cha swap d6

Frontier Toughness. Choose one: Con swap d6, or your hit point maximum increases by 1 per level.

Hardscrabble

Repeat two times: Choose from 1-7, or roll d8 (rerolling any abilities you already have).
1: Brave. You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
2: Hunter. You gain proficiency with the light or heavy crossbow, and chef's tools. Roll d6 on the Red Ochre Primal table.
3: Lumberjack. You gain proficiency with battleaxe, handaxe, carpenter's tools, and woodcarver's tools.
4: Moonshiner. You have proficiency with brewer's supplies. Either take Dancing from the Bright Burrows Hobbies table, or roll d6 on the Wayside Warren Survival Strategy table.
5: Prospector. You gain proficiency with light hammer, warhammer, war pick, and mason's or smith's tools.
6: Resilience. You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage.
7: Trapper. When you use a Hunting Trap (PHB pg 152), the DCs of the Dexterity saving throw and Strength checks to escape, as well as any Perception checks to notice a hidden trap, are increased by your proficiency bonus. Roll d8 on the Fae Forest Ways of Nature table.
8: Interesting Past: Roll an extra background on the Frontier Freehold Background Table. Do not roll any of the stat swaps, but take all other benefits of the background. You get all of its starting equipment except the money. When you roll for your normal background, reroll if it is the same one.

Frontier Freehold Background Table:
1: Criminal - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
2: Folk Hero - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
3: Hermit - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
4: Outlander - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
5: Pirate - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
6: Soldier - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Cha
7-8: Other

Mining Holdfast

You grew up in a society organized around the mine and the forge and the chisel, working iron and stone to their will. You are accustomed to organized hierarchies, rules, standards, tradition, honor, and regimentation. Traditionally this upbringing was associated with mountain dwarves and hobgoblins.

Alignment. Tends toward lawful neutral, although individuals can be of any alignment.

Speak, read, and write Common, Dwarvish, and one other language that uses the Dwarvish script, often Goblin.

Int swap d6
Wis swap d6
Cha swap d4

Armor Training. You have proficiency with light and medium armor.

Choose Worker or Military:

*Worker:
Artisan Knowledge. You have proficiency with the artisan's tools of your choice. Whenever you make an Intelligence (History) check related to the origin or properties of something created with those tools, you are considered proficient in the History skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus. For example, if you gained proficiency with mason's tools, this applies to stonework, and if you gained proficiency with jeweler's tools, it applies to jewelry.
Resilience. You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage.
Strength of the Worker. Str swap d6
Worker Weapon Proficiency. You have proficiency with the light hammer, sickle, war pick, and warhammer.

*Military:
Martial Training. You are proficient with two martial weapons of your choice.
Saving Face. You are careful not to show weakness in front of your allies, for fear of losing status. If you miss with an attack roll or fail an ability check or a saving throw, you can gain a bonus to the roll equal to the number of allies you can see within 30 feet of you (maximum bonus of +5). Once you use this trait, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
Tactical Training. Int swap d6. Also, whenever you make an Intelligence (History) check related to military tactics or heraldry, you are considered proficient in the History skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.

Mining Holdfast Background Table:
1: Acolyte - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
2: Gladiator - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
3: Guild Artisan - d4 swaps for Con, Wis, Cha
4: Noble - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Cha
5: Soldier - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Cha
6: Spy - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
7-8: Other

Mystic Cavern

You grew up in a society that learned to draw power from places and things that others shun. It is often based on an ecosystem where the primary producers draw energy not from light, but from emanations of elemental magic. You have absorbed some of this power, though diet and training and exposure. Many of your people are proud and grim, considering themselves superior to those without their special power. Traditionally this upbringing was associated with drow, yuan-ti, and duergar.

Alignment. Tends toward lawful evil, although individuals can be of any alignment.

Speak, read, and write Common, Undercommon, and one other language of your choice.

Int swap d6
Wis swap d4
Cha swap d6

Cavern Weapons Training: Proficiency with rapiers, shortswords, and hand crossbows.

Superior Darkvision: If you have darkvision, it now has a range of 120 feet. If you don't, you gain 60 ft darkvision.

Sunlight Sensitivity. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of the attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.

Innate Magic. Choose Int, Wis, or Cha, and gain a d6 swap in the chosen stat. It is your spellcasting ability for these spells. Then choose one of:
*Lightbender. You know the Dancing Lights cantrip. At 3rd level, you can cast the Faerie Fire spell once per long rest. At 5th level, you can cast the Darkness spell once per long rest.
*Fleshbender. You have advantage on saving throws against illusions and against being charmed or paralyzed. At 3rd level, you can cast the Enlarge/Reduce spell on yourself once per long rest, using only the spell's Enlarge option. At 5th level, you can cast the Invisibility spell on yourself once per long rest.
*Venombender. You know the Poison Spray cantrip. You can cast Animal Friendship an unlimited number of times, but you can target only snakes with it. At 3rd level, you can also cast Suggestion once per long rest.

Mystic Cavern Background Table:
1: Acolyte - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
2: Criminal - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
3: Hermit - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
4: Knight - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Cha
5: Outlander - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
6: Sage - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
7: Urchin - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Wis
8-10: Other

Red Ochre

You grew up in a band of foragers hunting and gathering in an untamed environment. Your people are primeval hunters and savage warriors, tied to the wild spirits of the land. They learned that they must place the survival of themselves and their tribe first, and often have little consideration for outsiders, especially those who threaten to push them off their land. Traditionally this upbringing was associated with orcs, half-orcs, and bugbears.

Alignment. Tends toward chaotic evil, although individuals can be of any alignment.

Speak Common and any two other languages.

Int swap d4
Wis swap d6
Cha swap d6

Hunter's Body. Choose Dex swap d6 or Con swap d6

Primal

Repeat three times: Choose from 1-6, or roll d10 (rerolling any abilities you already have):
1. Aggressive. As a bonus action, you can move up to your speed toward an enemy of your choice that you can see or hear. You must end this move closer to the enemy than you started.
2. Menacing. You gain proficiency in the Intimidation skill.
3. Primal Intuition. You gain proficiency in one of the following skills of your choice: Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Nature, Perception, and Survival.
4. Relentless Endurance. When you are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, you can drop to 1 hit point instead. You can't use this feature again until you finish a long rest.
5. Savage Attacks. When you score a critical hit with a melee weapon attack, you can roll one of the weapon's damage dice one additional time and add it to the extra damage of the critical hit.
6. Sneaky. You gain proficiency in the Stealth skill.
7. Surprise Attack. If you surprise a creature and hit it with an attack on your first turn in combat, the attack deals an extra 2d6 damage to it. You can use this trait only once per combat.
8. Roll d8 on the Frontier Freehold Hardscrabble table.
9. Roll d6 on the Wayside Warren Survival Strategy table.
10. Roll d6 on this table, and roll d8 on the Fae Forest Ways of Nature table.

Red Ochre Background Table:
1: Gladiator - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
2-3: Outlander - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
4: Pirate - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
5-6: Soldier - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Cha
7-8: Other

Wandering Wagon

You grew up as a nomad, wandering from place to place. Your life was freedom, fresh air, and the open road or sea or sky, knowing no law or master but one's own virtue. You and your people are often viewed with suspicion by settled provincial folk, so you developed unusual skills or became good at making friends. Traditionally this upbringing was associated with humans and half-elves.

Alignment. Tends toward chaotic good, although individuals can be of any alignment.

Speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice.

Int swap d4
Wis swap d6
Cha swap d6

Choose Diplomat, Training, or Well Traveled:
*Diplomat. Cha swap d8. Gain proficiency with two of the following skills of your choice: Deception, Insight, Intimidation, and Persuasion. Also, speak, read, and write one additional language of your choice.
*Training. Gain a feat of your choice.
*Well Traveled. Roll d6 on the Bright Burrows Hobbies table, d8 on the Fae Forest Ways of Nature table, d8 on the Frontier Freehold Hardscrabble table, and d6 on the Red Ochre Primal table.

Wandering Wagon Background Table:
1: Charlatan - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
2: Criminal - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
3: Entertainer - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
4-6: Guild Merchant - d4 swaps for Con, Wis, Cha
7: Folk Hero - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
8: Sailor - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
9: Spy - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
10: Other

Wayside Warren

You grew up among people who were downtrodden and dispossessed, forced to scratch a living at the edges of the world. You have learned to collect what you can from a harsh environment or from the scraps of another civilization. Often your people form a pack or gang that has their back and supports them against the uncaring world, but individuals are always alert to opportunities to gain personal power within the gang. Traditionally this upbringing was associated with goblins, kobolds, and lizardfolk.

Alignment. Tends toward neutral evil, although individuals can be of any alignment.

Speak, read, and write one language of your choice. Speak Common.

Int swap d4
Wis swap d6
Cha swap d6

Packrat Poverty. After collecting the equipment from your background and class, replace the money with 3 copper pieces. Roll a random trinket (PHB pg 160) for each 3 gp you lost in this way.

Scavenger. As part of a short rest, you can harvest bone and hide from a slain beast, construct, dragon, monstrosity, or plant creature of size Small or larger, or other similar materials from your environment. You use these materials to create one of the following items, or more in the case of harvesting from larger creatures or richer environments: a shield, any simple melee weapon, sling, net, or blowgun, 1d20 darts or pieces of ammunition, a holy symbol or spellcasting focus, or, with GM permission, an appropriate item of adventuring gear costing 1 gp or less, such as a bag of caltrops, a sack, a waterskin, or a torch. To use this trait, you need appropriate artisan's tools, such as leatherworker's tools.

Self sufficient. You have proficiency with cook's utensils, leatherworker's tools, and cobbler's tools, and own all three of them.

Survival Strategy

Choose one from 1-3 and one from 4-6, or roll d6 twice:
1. Designated Distraction. As an action on your turn, you can distract nearby foes. Until the end of your next turn, your allies gain advantage on attack rolls against enemies within 10 feet of you that can see you. Once you use this trait, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
2. Nimble Escape. You can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of your turns.
3. Survivor's Lore. You gain proficiency with two of the following skills of your choice: Animal Handling, Nature, Perception, Stealth, and Survival.
4. Bite. You have learned to use your teeth as a natural weapon, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with your bite, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier if you are Medium, or 1d4 + your Dexterity modifier if you are Small. Also, in battle, you can throw yourself into a vicious feeding frenzy. As a bonus action, you can make a special attack with your bite. If the attack hits, it deals its normal damage, and you gain temporary hit points (minimum of 1) equal to your Constitution modifier, and you can't use this trait again until you finish a short or long rest.
5. Fury of the Small. When you damage a creature with an attack or a spell and the creature's size is larger than yours, you can cause the attack or spell to deal extra damage to the creature. The extra damage equals your level. Once you use this trait, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
6. Pack Tactics. You have advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of your allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.

Wayside Warren Background Table:
1: Charlatan - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
2: Criminal - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
3: Folk Hero - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
4: Gladiator - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha
5: Hermit - d4 swaps for Con, Int, Wis
6-7: Outlander - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
8: Pirate - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
9-10: Urchin - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Wis
11-12: Other

Unusual Upbringings

Animal

You were an animal for most of your life. You decide if you were turned into one when you were a baby, or if you were born an animal before something gave you sapience and the ability to transform into a member of your species. In some ways you still are an animal, and integrating into the society around you can be somewhat difficult.

Alignment. Any, although usually non-lawful.

Speak Common and one language of your choice.

Int swap d4
Wis swap d6
Cha swap d6

Transformation. Choose a beast of challenge rating 0. You can, once per short rest, transform into that animal as though using the druid's Wild Shape ability (PHB pg 66). You can stay in the animal form as long as you want.

Choose Pet or Wild:
*Pet. You were once a pampered pet and now you are a uncannily attractive member of your species. Gain a Cha swao d8 and proficiency in the Persuasion skill.
*Wild. You were once a wild animal. Gain a Wis swap d6, and proficiency in the Perception and Survival skills.

Roll a random Background.

Child Soldier

You grew up knowing nothing but training for battle or special operations, in an isolated barracks or camp. You decide if you escaped or were discharged at some point to make your own way in the world, or if you are currently still loyal to the organization and on a mission for it.

Alignment. Any. Decide about who trained you, why, what the training was like, and how that shaped you.

Speak Common and one language of your choice.

Int swap d4
Wis swap d4
Cha swap d4

Early Training. Your first level will be in the Fighter class. After making all choices for your character and the first level of Fighter, choose a different class and gain all of the features of its first level, except hit points, as though you were multiclassing into that class. You must meet the normal multi-classing prerequisites, and if you don't, reduce some stat by one and increase either your Strength or Dexterity score by one, repeating until it is 13. You are still a level 1 character for the purposes of experience and encounter calculations and proficiency bonus.

If you left, roll a random Background. If not, roll d4:
1: Outlander - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Wis
2-3: Soldier - d4 swaps for Str, Con, Cha
4: Spy - d4 swaps for Dex, Con, Cha

Fell From Heaven

You were found in a crater surrounded by shards of strange magical material. You have the body of a young adult, but no memories of your life before except brief flashes and strange dreams. Since then you've made your way through the world as best you could, and have recently begin to manifest innate magical powers.

Alignment. Tends toward lawful good, although individuals can be of any alignment.

Speak, read and write Celestial. Speak Common and one language of your choice.

Int swap d4
Wis swap d4
Cha swap d6

Heavenly Power. After making all choices for your character and gaining your class level, gain all of the features of the first level of bard, paladin, sorcerer, or warlock, except hit points, as though you were multiclassing into that class. This does not require you to meet any ability score prerequisites, and does not count as your current class, but if you do meet the multiclassing prerequisites, you can later advance in the chosen class as a normal multiclassed character. You are still a level 1 character for the purposes of experience and encounter calculations and proficiency bonus.

Roll a random Background.

Vampire

At an early age, you were bitten by a vampire, or possibly transformed by some form of dark magic, and have lived on the fringes of society since then. You are weaker than most vampires, but still alive and (mostly) in control of your urges.

Alignment. Tends toward lawful evil, although individuals can be of any alignment.

Speak, read, and write Common and one language of your choice.

Int swap d6
Wis swap d4
Cha swap d4

Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. If you already have darkvision, its range increases by 60 feet.

Sunlight Sensitivity. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of the attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.

Vampiric Bite. Your fanged bite is a natural weapon, which counts as a simple melee weapon with which you are proficient. You add your Constitution modifier to the attack and damage rolls when you attack with your bite. Your bite deals 1d4 piercing damage on a hit. While you are missing half or more of your hit points, you have advantage on attack rolls you make with this bite. When you use your bite and hit a creature that isn’t a Construct or an Undead, you can empower yourself in one of the following ways of your choice:
*Regain hit points equal to the damage dealt by the bite
*Gain a bonus to the next ability check or attack roll you make; the bonus equals the damage dealt by the bite
You can empower yourself with your bite a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Vampiric Power. Choose one:
*Mobility. Your speed increases by 5 feet, and you have a climbing speed equal to your walking speed. In addition, at 3rd level, you can move up, down, and across vertical surfaces and upside down along ceilings, while leaving your hands free.
*Compulsion. Roll a d6 Charisma swap. You know the Friends cantrip. At 3rd level, you can cast the Charm Person spell once per long rest. At 5th level, you can cast the Suggestion spell once per long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Roll a random Background.

Werewolf

At an early age, you were bitten by a werewolf (or some other kind of lycanthrope), and have lived on the fringes of society since then. You have (perhaps very recently) learned to control your shifting, and do not shift involuntarily, although this has come at a cost: you are not as powerful as many others of your kind.

Alignment. Tends toward chaotic neutral, although individuals can be of any alignment.

Speak Common and one language of your choice.

Int swap d4
Wis swap d6
Cha swap d6

Choose two proficiencies from among: Perception, Athletics, Intimidation, Acrobatics, and Survival.

Shifting. As a bonus action, you can assume a more bestial appearance. This transformation lasts for 1 minute, until you die, or until you revert to your normal appearance as a bonus action. When you shift, you gain temporary hit points equal to your level + your Constitution modifier (minimum of 1 temporary hit point). You also gain benefits that depend on your aspect, described below. Once you shift, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.

Aspect. Choose one:
*Beasthide: Whenever you shift, you gain 1d6 additional temporary hit points, and while shifted, you have a +1 bonus to your AC.
*Longtooth: While shifted, you can use your elongated fangs to make an unarmed strike as a bonus action. If you hit with your fangs, you can deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.
*Swiftstride: While shifted, your walking speed increases by 10 feet. Additionally, you can move up to 10 feet as a reaction when an enemy ends its turn within 5 feet of you. This movement doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks.

Roll a random Background.

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