Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Random Background Aid

     So I was thinking of a way to spice up backgrounds for new characters, and maybe something to use in games now and then. After thinking awhile on it, I decided the information would go on index cards and the "randomiser" would be a deck of cards. So I worked up an initial list with the idea that two through ten was only nine cards, that it did not matter what suite you had. Face cards would be cooler in their effect and jokers got you two draws instead of one.
     I like to write up stuff like this, as opposed to going straight to a computer, I am more comfortable rearranging things on a page than on a screen. This list is for my upcoming DCC game, so some of the wording relates to that. Example is the ability scores agility, personality, and luck. For future versions of this I can just write up new index cards and set up a list for that. Let's start with what I have.
Random Background Aid
2. Crappy starting items! If the character goes to swing a starting weapon, or make a souffle and rolls a one on the die, it shatters magnificently.
3. Tragedy in the family! Maybe a fire wiped out the family farm, or Grandma went crazy and took a hatchet to most of the family. Whatever it was, it was tragic.
4. Repulsed! The character is disgusted by another character or major npc of the locale the group is in.
5. Allergy, minor. The character has an allergy to something. Mostly they might get a little sniffly or possibly sneeze at the wrong time. Who knows?
6. Phobia, minor. There is something that disturbs this character, just not to the extent of totally freaking out.
7. Contacts, legitimate. This character has contacts in the locale that may be able to help. The head of the town guard could be your cousin!
8. Contact, shady. The character knows some people who maybe do bad things, who's to say?
9. Attracted! Their is another character or local npc that this person likes a lot. Maybe they cannot form complete sentences in this person's presence, who can tell?
Jack of Spades- Allergy, Major. You have one heck of an allergy and when it is around, you have a tough time doing anything. Good Luck!
Jack of Hearts- Feat of Personality. You get a chance to pull off something amazing in the charismatic personality department. Maybe talk your way past some guards, or get someone to hand over their keys!
Jack of Clubs- Phobia, major. Something freaks the beejeezus out of your character, and hopefully the climax of the adventure does not involve it! Hopefully it is not snakes, I mean, why does it have to be snakes?
Jack of Diamonds- Feat of Wisdom. Maybe you can ask for a common sense roll, or a get out of stupid free card? Something involving you innate inner voice.
Queen of Spades- Wanted! Either the character looks like a wrongdoer or he has done something bad in his past that has gotten him on the wrong side of the law. Happy dodging the town guard!
Queen of Hearts- Unknown Benefactor. Someone out there has your character's best interests at heart. They are willing to pull strings (or maybe kill) for you. Just be careful what you ask for.
Queen of Clubs- Heirloom! Originally I wrote this as an artifact, but decided at the last minute to change it. It could be a single use item or something special the character can carry with them forever. Hopefully it is not cursed, just saying.
Queen of Diamonds- Unknown Lineage. The poor character doesn't know where he is originally from, or maybe he is adopted. Maybe he is the orphaned son of wizards who died trying to... nah, that is too cheesy.
King of Spades- Feat of Agility. You get to moonwalk your way through a battle, or parkour yourself up and over a wall. You'll look superfly doing it, too!
King of Hearts- Feat of Stamina. Someone tries to poison you? Shrug it off with no worries. Critical fumble looks like it is going to mess you up, fuggedaboutit.
King of Clubs- Feat of Strength. Need a door opened or a hole punched through something? Then your the person for the job!
King of Diamonds- Feat of Intelligence. Suddenly become the smartest person in  the room, if only for an instant.
Ace of Spades- Double your starting money. Pretty self explanatory, you got lucky with your money.
Ace of Hearts- Feat of Luck. Looks like you're going down in flames? Need to make a luck roll or you're toast? Be the envy of everyone at the table and throw this card down!
Ace of Clubs- Better than average starting equipment. You got the fancy bag of night soil, silly gong farmer. If a fumble says your weapon breaks, it doesn't, or maybe you just drop it. On your foot. Really hard.
Ace of Diamonds- Lucky! For this game, you get a +1 to all of your rolls. You sly dawg, you.

     In reference to the Feats of, they are a one time use thing.So choose carefully. Alright, tell me what you all think about this? It is definitely a work in progress. Later guys!


  1. It looks like some of these apply at character creation time and some apply during play. You might consider splitting them to make that clearer. In a D&D 3.5 campaign I ran once, I had a set of plot spice cards. At the start of each game, each player drew one out of a hat. At the appropriate time, they could play one to spice things up a little. They were all sorts of strange things, ranging from "kill the next monster and gain a level" to "you feel hungry all day". If you used that plot spice card as a natural part of that day's game, you got some arbitrary award. Some cards allowed you to make up any new card and throw it in the pile for the next time.

  2. Hey Todd, thanks for the feedback, I'll see what else I can come up with. Later folks!