Character Backgrounds

A Background is a set of prior experiences that have given the character certain advantages. Unlike a Profession, which reflects the character’s current role, Backgrounds define the character’s history by revealing experiences that he/she gained earlier in life.

Backgrounds are optional. They are chosen during character creation and paid for using skill points. Characters may have no more than two Backgrounds, and no Background may be taken more than once, unless stated in the description.

In addition to providing in-game benefits, Backgrounds help round out a character’s backstory. For example, a character who is a Priest/Clergyman today might once have come from the wrong side of the tracks. Perhaps that character was once a Cat Burglar, but later reformed. While he might be ashamed of this former life, it certainly comes in handy when he needs to sneak past a bunch of cultists.

Background Skill Point Cost Requirements Benefits
Adventurer 6 Select one as a bonus feat: Blind Fighting, Endurance, Toughness, Track, or Weapon Proficiency
Author 6 Receive a royalty equal to half starting money every evenly numbered level
Cat Burglar 6 Criminal professions only +2 to Climb, Hide, Jump, Listen, and Move Silently
Crime Scene Investigator 8 Detectives and Police only DC to get a “hunch” is 15; select two as class skills: Forensics, Gather Information, Knowledge (Psychology), Knowledge (Streetwise), Search, Sense Motive, Spot; +2 bonus to the two selected class skills
Cult Survivor 3 -3 penalty to anyone using Sense Motive against the character; +2 to Innuendo; -4 to Maximum Sanity
Doctorate 10 (8 for Professors and Doctors) INT > 15; Age > 25-Int Modifier 2 additional class skills; max ranks in one specific knowledge skill = max ranks + character level
Drifter 2 +2 to CON checks and FORT saves vs. starvation / thirst / heat / cold
Free Spirit 4 Cannot have the Skeptic background Take Psychic Sensitive as a bonus feat; -1 to Bluff and Intimidate
Gifted Scientist 10 +1 to all science-based Knowledge skills
Hacker 10 Add character level to Computer Use skill check when breaking into a system; reduce the time to use a system (hours become minutes; minutes become rounds; etc.)
Iron Integrity 5 +3 to Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information checks vs. anyone familiar with your reputation (temporarily lost if caught in a deception)
Librarian 4 Can attempt a character level check to find a reliable contact with information you seek
Militia 5 Take Weapon Proficiency as a bonus feat
Missionary 8 Priests and Clergy only Receive a stipend equal to half of your starting money every even level (must be spent on furthering the faith)
Nobility 10 Receive a stipend equal to your starting money every odd level
Pilot 5 Can fly any aircraft as though you had 1 rank in Pilot for that craft
Private Investigator 4 DC to get a “hunch” is 15
Professional Student 4 5% chance per level to know a professor on a first name basis, and 10% chance per level of being known by another student; +2 bonus or -2 penalty (determined by the Keeper) on all CHA-based skill checks
Raider 6 (4 for Archaeologists and Criminals) Character level check to find a buyer for a particular item
Religious Scholar 8 (5 for Priests and Clergy) Add character level to any Knowledge check regarding the character’s religion, and half your level (rounded up) to any Knowledge check regarding a related religion
Salesman 5 Once per day, you get a bonus equal to half your level (rounded up) to any Charisma-based skill check
Scam Artist 6 +2 to Appraise, Forgery, Performance, and Sense Motive
Skeptic 5 Cannot take the Free Spirit background Reduce all sanity loss by 1 point
Stage Magician 5 +3 bonus to Hypnosis and Sleight of Hand
Student 3 +2 bonus to any 4 related skills
Thug 3 Intimidate is a class skill; gain +2 to Intimidate checks
Tribal 5 2 bonus to Diplomacy checks against another tribal character (4 if the same tribe); can seek assistance from the tribe
Vigilante 6 +2 to Sense Motive vs. any criminal you’ve studied; can track a target if the Wilderness Lore DC is less than 20

Character Backgrounds

Arkham, the Legend-Haunted City Stephen