Part of what makes each character unique and multi-dimensional is his Background. In this campaign, that background will be encompassed in a trait that describes an aspect of your character’s past.
For some, it explains the type of childhood you had and its impact on you. For others, it will explain your motive for journeying to the town of Sandpoint. All of them are unique, and so I require that no two players choose the same one, unless there is a connection between the two characters’ backstories, (i.e. We are both traveling monster hunters, hoping to find a rare beast to put our small company on the map.)
Below is a list of Background Traits with a description. (These are not links.)
Hearing that Sandpoint had a theater rivaling those found in large cities like Magnimar and Korvosa, you decided to try your luck getting stage time there. After sending a letter to Cyrdak Drokkus requesting an audition and not hearing back, you’ve taken it upon yourself to travel to Sandpoint and meet him in person, trusting your force of will and charming influence will get you what you want. You gain a +1 trait bonus on checks for any one Perform skill. Additionally, choose any one spell of the enchantment school; its save DC increases by +1.
The secrets of an ancient fallen civilization intrigue you, particularly the magical traditions of its highly mystical culture. You’ve studied magic intensely, and hope to increase that knowledge by adding ancient lore. You chose this town as your base because of all the ancient monuments in the region. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (arcana) checks, and Knowledge (arcana) is a class skill for you. If you cast arcane spells, pick three spells on your spell list. You are particularly adept at casting these spells, so they function at +1 caster level when you cast them, and their save DCs (if any) gain a +1 bonus.
Scholar of the Ancients:
Growing up with your nose in books, you’ve had a great interest in past cultures and ancient history. Furthermore, having grown up in Varisia, you know the monuments dotting the landscape belong to an ancient civilization known as Thassilon. From your life of study and dogged research, you’ve pieced together the language and partial history of this once-great empire. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (history) checks, and begin play able to speak and read Thassilonian.
You managed to get in good with a group of Sczarni gang members and consider them your new family. After being run out of the last place your Sczarni family camped, you tracked down a friend of the family in Sandpoint—a ruthless thug named Jubrayl Vhiski at the Fatman’s Feedbag. During your time with the Sczarni, you learned a few tricks of the trade. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (local) checks and Knowledge (local) is always a class skill for you. In addition, you begin play able to speak and read Varisian.
For whatever reason, you were forced to flee your homeland. Chance or fate has brought you to town, and it’s here that your money ran out, leaving you stranded in this small town. You are also being pursued by enemies from your homeland, and that has made you paranoid and quick to react to danger. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Initiative checks.
You have come to town to see about expanding the presence of your chosen faith after receiving visions that told you your faith is needed in the region—what that need is, though, you’re not quite sure. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (religion) checks, and Knowledge (religion) is a class skill for you. If you cast divine spells, pick three spells on your spell list. You are particularly adept at casting these spells, so they function at +1 caster level when you cast them, and their save DCs (if any) gain a +1 bonus.
You grew up in Sandpoint staring off the cliff across the Varisian Gulf. Spending so much time there at Junker’s Edge watching the goblins below as they scrounged through the discarded junk and seeing what they made out of the garbage, you developed an eye for spotting the most useful and valuable discarded items. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Perception and Appraise checks, and a +5 trait bonus on Appraise checks to determine the most valuable item visible in a treasure hoard.
Ever since passing through Sandpoint when you were a child and hearing about the contest at the popular tavern known as the Hagfish, you wanted to take that coin purse as your own and carve your name on the ceiling beam above the bar. Training yourself to choke down indigestible food and drink water a pig would refuse, you’ve built up quite a strong resistance to all things putrid and gross. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Fortitude saves against disease and poison.
Perhaps you came to the Varisian Gulf in search of the Sandpoint Devil, or maybe you followed fisherman’s tales of Old Murdermaw— regardless, you’ve ventured through Varisia to hunt down famous monsters. While they have all eluded you so far, you made it to Sandpoint to research and restock before heading back out into the wilderness. Because of your training, you gain a +1 trait bonus on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls against aberrations and magical beasts.