November 10, 2015

Magitech Backgrounds

Comments from the Finger: You know, backgrounds are hard.

Airship Master 
You once helmed the wheel of an airship which ferried either people or cargo between major cities. Having seen it all from the clouds, you are familiar with all major landmarks and cities without consulting maps. You are equally well-versed in the mechanisms powering airships, and are fascinated by the newest models.

Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, Perception
Tool Proficiencies: Navigator’s kit, vehicles (air)
Equipment: A navigator’s kit, a spyglass, a set of explorer’s clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp.

Feature - Free Ride
One way or another, you can find free fare on an airship if you need it. Whether this means calling in a favor with an associate you once ran deliveries for, or using your knowledge of the nooks and crannies in airships to stowaway for the trip, you can always get into the sky.

Suggested Characteristics
Natural explorers and pioneers, airship masters are rarely comfortable in one place, but are fearless when entering the unknown. After having the freedom of commanding an airship of their own, most airship masters are reluctant to go back to following orders.

d8 Personality Trait
  1. I superstitiously perform a small number of rituals before take-off. 
  2. I flew an airship in the royal navy. After raining death from the sky upon so many others, I learned to abhor violence, except when absolutely necessary. 
  3. I become apprehensive if I'm underground for any length of time.
  4. I can always be found wearing my favorite cloak. 
  5. I regard any place outside of a major city as the middle of nowhere. 
  6. My best trait is my arrogant confidence. 
  7. I am skeptical of anything I can't be shown. I don't take chances on things that aren't certain. 
  8. I collect trinkets from the places I visit.
d6 Ideals
  1. Freedom. I dictate my own destiny. (Chaotic)
  2. Exploration. I live to be the first. (Neutral)
  3. Duty. I travel the world for a greater good. (Good)
  4. Greed. Airships are a very lucrative business. (Neutral)
  5. People. My crew and passengers come above all else (Good)
  6. Survival. I will sacrifice anyone flying with me as long as I can keep flying. (Evil)
d6 Bond
  1. I once saw a dragon made of crystal flying in the northern mountains - I fly in the hopes of seeing this creature again. 
  2. I seek revenge on the bandits who raided my airship and blew it out of the sky. 
  3. My first mate died when I misjudged the winds and piloted the airship into a terrible storm. I refuse to repeat such a mistake. 
  4. I will visit the four corners of the globe, filling in the blank spaces on maps as I go.
  5. Someone close to me arranged a mutiny aboard my airship, stranding me in the desert. I seek my old airship and revenge against the mutineers. 
  6. I yearn to explore far off lands and the unmapped areas of the world from the helm of an airship. 
d6 Flaw
  1. I think I'm an expert at everything, even things I've never tried. 
  2. My restless legs tend to wander me into trouble.
  3. I hold grudges against dozens of people I've met in my travels. 
  4. Whenever I'm in a major city, I tend to gamble my earnings away. 
  5. I have a paralyzing fear of dragons, thanks to a near-death experience in the mountains. 
  6. I would rather leave behind a friend, even all of my friends, rather than be stranded myself. 

Whether or not you were formally trained, mechanical things come second nature to you. When the moving, physical bits of magitech, especially constructs, break down or malfunction, you're called to do the repairs.
     You're familiar with the makes and models of perhaps hundreds of models of magitech gear, and carry with you tools to do most types of mundane repairs. Your skills do not go as far as smithing new parts, nor are you trained in enchanting or imbuing mundane constructs with motion, but you are excellent at keeping things running.

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion
Tool Proficiencies: Tinker’s Tools, one type of artisan’s tools
Equipment: Tinker's tools, a supply of mundane parts (kept with your tools), a bill of sale for a number of tools, welding goggles, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp.

Feature - Trade Ring
Among the streets of the bustling marketplace, you have a small network of vendors from whom you can purchase almost any magitech component, even illegal ones, and often at a marginal discount. This networks consists of a tight-knit group of experts and hobbyists, allied in both common interest and trade. Your merchants would never sell you out; so neither should you.

Suggested Characteristics
Mechanics spend so much time working on machines, their minds often work quite mechanically. Dedicated mechanics find a great deal of enjoyment in experimenting with and constructing small projects as fits their fancy.

d6 Personality Trait
  1. I compulsively use long words and jargon, even when inappropriate.
  2. I am constantly covered in oily splotches and grease. I do not know the definition of formal-wear.
  3. I never leave home without at least one complete toolkit.
  4. When I start working on a machine, I whistle the same (incredibly annoying) tune.
  5. When I buy something, I take it apart to understand how it works and try to put it back together.
  6. I love a good riddle, but I'm rubbish at understanding jokes.
  7. I'm fascinated by ancient machines and traps. I copy these designs into my notebook.
  8. I always have a good anecdote about my dwarven uncle (even if I'm not a dwarf.)
d6 Ideal
  1. Innovation. Elegant solutions are a thing of beauty (Lawful)
  2. Workmanship. A man's worth can be judged by his skill (Neutral)
  3. Experimentation. I believe in discovery for discovery's sake. (Neutral)
  4. Progress. The way forward lies through advancing technology. (Good)
  5. Greed. I’m only in it for the money. (Evil)
  6. Aspiration. I work hard to be the best there is at my craft. (Any)
d6 Bond
  1. I am constantly working on a mechanical pet project. It's ambitious, and maybe a little crazy, but I'm constantly shopping around for the parts to make it work.
  2. Getting a robotic limb installed would be pretty cool.
  3. I possess the diagram of an ancient device, devised by a civilization long past, and I seek to discover its purpose. 
  4. I want to accrue enough wealth that I can open my own machine shop. 
  5. I owe a great debt to a wealthy noble family due to an accident involving a construct I repaired.
  6. I seek immortality by means of a new construct body. 
d6 Flaw
  1. Frustration over a broken machine or a tough to solve problem tends to provoke my explosive temper.
  2. I have trouble breaking information down to make it understandable for other people.
  3. When I design a new nonlethal trap, I tend to try it out on my companions. 
  4. A bad experience has left me with a crippling fear of very small constructs. 
  5. I am paranoid of constructs rising up and taking over the world. 
  6. I horde broken and/or damaged magitech components in the hopes that they'll one day be useful. 

You have spent a number of years teaching in the highest levels of academia. Whether you were teaching the science of engineering lightning rails, the art of crafting spells, or just teaching gym class, you lived a comfortable, and likely intellectual, life.
     You can speak at length on your chosen subject, but you may lack common sense in other areas.

Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, History
Languages: Two of your choice
Equipment: A bottle of black ink, a quill, a small knife, a letter from a dead colleague posing a question you have not yet been able to answer, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp.

Why I left the University
  1. I haven't; I'm on sabbatical, researching in the field. 
  2. I haven't; classes have been suspended following a disaster at the University that left part of the campus in ruin.
  3. I resigned following a deep personal tragedy. 
  4. I resigned in disgrace over a scandal with a student. 
  5. I was fired when a rival stole my research and claimed it for himself. 
  6. I was forced into retirement due to old age.
Feature - Collegiate Connection
You have at least one professional connection within the University. Whether this individual was formerly your student, a fellow professor, or the headmaster himself, he or she can provide insight and information into the University, along with a safe place to retire for up to a month, provided that you concede to handling much of their menial paperwork.

Suggested Characteristics
Professors are defined by their scholar pursuits and their connection with the University. This position is lofty, granting resources to aid in research, but is also isolating. Processors are likely to be erudite, with a number of strange quirks.

d6 Personality Trait
  1. I know the name of every famous wizard, king, and engineer of the last hundred years. 
  2. I am aloof, and spend much of my time with my face buried in a good book.
  3. I constantly misplace my small personal possessions. My friends never dare lend me things.
  4. I can't see my hand in front of me without my spectacles.
  5. Don't even ask about borrowing my books or scrolls. They're mine.
  6. No matter where I end up, the first place I locate is the library.
  7. I am horribly, horribly awkward in social situations.
  8. Forbidden knowledge mesmerizes me.
d6 Ideal
  1. Knowledge. The path to a better world comes through learning the truth in all things. (Neutral)
  2. Excellence. I seek perfection in all things. (Lawful)
  3. Education. Noone should be barred from pursuits of the mind. (Good)
  4. Power. The University’s influence is power. (Evil)
  5. Rediscovery. Recovering forgotten knowledge is a noble pursuit. (Neutral)
  6. Success. Sometimes getting to the top requires stepping on a few people. (Evil)

d6 Bond
  1. I seek an ancient scroll that might illuminate a secret that has perplexed me for decades. 
  2. I seek to make discoveries so profound, I am rocketed to position of headmaster at the University. 
  3. One of my siblings has left a blight on my otherwise unblemished family name. I seek to sort out the truth in this matter. 
  4. Someone had been publishing books and papers under my name, directly undermining my research. I must find this person and restore the integrity of my research. 
  5. I've compiled a list of places and things, which I've only read about, to see in the real world.
  6. I have a pet theory that I intend to try out in the real world. 
d6 Flaw
  1. I am often so engrossed in thought that I don't hear what others are saying around me. 
  2. I am often condescending to less-educated people, which includes practically everyone.
  3. I'm convinced of the superiority of my chosen subject, compared to other subjects within the same field. 
  4. I am quite careless with money, and am often in debt. 
  5. I have a number of nervous compulsions and tics, which come out in times of stress.
  6. I have a habit, (I'm insistent it's not an addiction) to a smoking herb.


  1. Hey nice, we're about to start a pseudo-steampunk-ish campaign and were talking about needing some of this kind of info.

    1. Oh man, are you going to enjoy the next magitech update (coming on the 21st.) I've basically created a book to help players and DMs start campaigns in exactly that type of world.

  2. I am enjoying your content greatly. I am seriously considering making this my first patreon.

    Quick proof check: Professor/Ideal/1: "path to s better" I assume that's supposed to be an 'a.' Looks like the error is in the PDF as well.

    1. Thanks for thinking about supporting us! Also, nice catch on that typo. I'll have it fixed ASAP

  3. Is the mechanic background supposed to not come with clothes?