Dungeons & Dragons Background – Slave

by wolvercote66


I’ll be running 5th edition for the first time in a little over a week, so it’s been crash course time lately.  One feature of the new system that intrigues me are Backgrounds.  I’m keenly interested in seeing how my players incorporate them into the game as well as how I’m going to keep track of them being used.  Here is one I’ve created. As always, feel free to offer suggestions/tweaks and criticisms.

You were sold into or perhaps raised in bondage.  Did you escape from slavery or earn your freedom through charity or other methods? Your life has been one of hard labor and little joy but the bonds that claim your body never claimed your spirit . You are well acquainted with suffering and hardship so you are more than ready for whatever travails your new profession can bring.
Skill Proficiency: Wisdom (Insight), Wisdom (Survival)
Languages: Pick any 1                                                                                Tool Proficiencies: Artisan’s tool-set (Pick one that reflects your life as a slave.)                                 Equipment: Traveler’s clothes, Quarterstaff, backpack


Blend In: You are marked with a brand that denotes you are/were property. Hard labor does not worry you in the least. You bear any burden of hardship with silent stoicism.  Other slaves will provide you reliable information on the nearby area and the locations of safe hiding places, sources of food and water and how to avoid the local authorities.

Suggested Characteristics

Former slaves tend to be uncomfortable around authority figures for fear that they will be dragged back to their former lives. Loyal to their friends without fail and more comfortable when unnoticed, slaves prefer to speak little of their former status and past unless pressed.

d8 Personality

  1. You don’t make eye-contact with anyone of higher social standing than you. You are shy.
  2. You are painfully naïve about many basic things in life. You are simple.
  3. You only speak when spoken to. You are submissive.
  4. I will make anyone of the race/people/family of my owner suffer whenever I can. You are vengeful.
  5. I was set free by my master for he saw greatness in me. I am aspirational.
  6. I have lost my family, my people and my purpose. I am burdened with grief.
  7. You are slow to trust and will die before you are ever put in bondage again.
  8. I seek power over others. I wish to be feared and respected.

d6 Ideal

  1. Freedom: I will live life to the fullest now after experiencing nothing but hunger and want. (Chaos)
  2. Wrath: I am without pity or empathy. I have been made numb to suffering. (Evil)
  3. Sympathetic: I cannot bear to witness the suffering of innocents. (Good)
  4. Jaded: The world is a hard, unfeeling place. Only the strong or the lucky survive. (Neutral)
  5. Justice: Slavery is a grievous injustice that I will not tolerate. (Lawful)
  6. Family: There is no bond greater than blood. (Any)

d6 Bond

  1. I have a family somewhere that is still enslaved.
  2. If I can only collect enough gold, I’ll be able to pay off my debts and be a free man (woman).
  3. I yearn for my homeland but can never return.
  4. I am forever indebted to the person that freed me and hope to repay that someday.
  5. I’ve lost my entire family and am just looking for a place I belong.
  6. My independence is the most important thing in my world.

d6 Flaw

  1. I am filled with hatred for the race/people that enslaved me, to a violent extreme.
  2. I’m hopelessly addicted to alcohol and seek it out on a daily basis.
  3. I tend to trust no one in authority.
  4. I am without empathy for others that are suffering.
  5. There are times when I forget what I’m supposed to be doing and will wander off.
  6. I’m selfish. After going without for so long, I want everything I can get.