Afflicted (5e Background)

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This background has been protected as an example for the 5e Background Design Guide. Please discuss any changes you would like to make on the discussion page.  --Kydo (talk) 13:11, 6 September 2016 (MDT)
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Diseased by InsaneAndroid

Since early in life, possibly from birth, you have been subject to a highly visible abnormal condition. Your condition is chronic and, in the absence of powerful magic or advanced medical technology, incurable, though not detrimental to your ability to function. The main impact of your condition is cosmetic, though it may also be uncomfortable, affect your diet, alter your mannerisms, or shorten your lifespan in the long run. People are generally ignorant of the plight of their fellow man, and even in highly advanced enlightened societies, they will swiftly judge one another based on little more than looks alone. As a result, anyone who stands out as being weird in any way is likely to be the target of fear, suspicion, rumors, superstition, abuse, and other expressions of plain ignorance. People suffering through such circumstances find themselves living a life that is not their own, foisted upon them by fate and misfortune, trying to choose their own direction as others try to decide things for them.

Skill Proficiencies: Intimidation and Persuasion.

Tool Proficiencies: One tool of any sort.

Languages: any one language

Equipment: A medical device (A mask, crutch, brace, etc.) you use to maintain some comfort, a set of common clothes, a bag, a blank notebook, and a belt pouch containing 5gp.


What is it which makes you so hideous?

d6 Specialization
1 Disease. You are afflicted by a chronic disease which cannot be cured. (Real world example is Leprosy.)
2 Deformity. You are permanently disfigured, due to a birth defect. (Think Elephant Man)
3 Dysfunction. You have some neurological problem which prevents you from thinking, remembering, understanding, communicating, or coordinating yourself normally. (In ancient times, people thought these things meant you were possessed.)
4 Disfigurement. An accident has left you horribly scarred. (Note, this does not mean dismembered; it is cosmetic, like the Phantom of the Opera.)
5 Distortion. A magical effect has substantially altered you in a frightening way. (Such as having a warthog's head, or no shadow.)
6 Modification. You have some sort of substantial body modification which is significantly outside of normal, even for people with modifications, and dramatically alters your appearance. (Full body tattoos, facial brandings, etc.)

Feature: Pity

People feel your pain. Even if they have never been through anything like what happened to you, they can somehow empathize. People will take pity on you, opting to reduce your suffering if they can, or at least choosing not to inflict any more suffering upon you. This can range from a farmer letting you spend the night in his barn, to a jailer who is cruel to everyone else, but simply neglectful of you.

Alternate Feature: Fear

Your condition is so severe it dehumanizes you. People have difficulties identifying your gender or race. Some may mistake you for a monster. Children run, babies cry, and people slam doors in your face. On the other hand, you are the master of clearing a room. Nobody knows what's wrong with you, but most people are too afraid to find out! A menacing look or an impossible threat could come across as believable from you, and people might just go along with it because they'd rather not see what happens if you actually spit in the well.

Suggested Characteristics

d8 Personality Trait
1 I am unyieldingly genuine, and laugh, cry, or scream without restraint.
2 I act as though there is nothing different about me, even when it affects my life.
3 I take advantage of others' pity to shirk my responsibilities.
4 I can't even look at my own reflection.
5 I came to terms with this a long time ago.
6 I am a permanent optimist, and can find the silver lining to any storm cloud.
7 I never smile- not really anyways, and anyone who pays attention can see the sadness in my false smiles.
8 My condition makes it difficult to communicate, and people have troubles understanding me.
d6 Ideal
1 Betterment. Some day, I will make life better for everyone like me. (Good)
2 Practicality. If I can make my situation useful, I will. (Neutral)
3 Retribution. I believe the cause of my affliction can be traced to a specific source- and it shall feel my vengeance! (Evil)
4 Coexistence. One cannot legislate love or repect, but one can enforce tolerance. (Lawful)
5 Ambivalence. I don't look like you, but I'm just like you. (Neutral)
6 Whatever. Who cares? Nothing will hold me back! (Chaotic)
d6 Bond
1 I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
2 I believe there is a way to make me normal, and I am on a quest to find it.
3 Growing up, there was only one person who could see past my affliction to the real me. I would do anything for them.
4 I keep hold of some small object which acts as a reminder of life before my affliction.
5 All I want is to find somewhere I belong.
6 I have a diary or journal which I record my experiences in every time I rest.
d6 Flaw
1 While most would think I am brave, those who know me worry that I may be suicidally so.
2 I am just as judgmental and prejudiced as everyone else- perhaps more so.
3 Years of mistreatment have left me misanthropic and cruel.
4 My affliction matches a description in some prophecy- and anyone who knows about it wants me dead when they find out.
5 My affliction has left me cowardly and over cautious.
6 I don't understand why people fear or pity me.

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