Backgrounds (Shard Ne'Vaal Supplement)

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The background is a handy roleplaying element. It helps the DM and player make potential hooks and interest in a character beyond a simple cookie-cutter hero. Originally, in 4th edition's player's handbook, it was solely a means of flavor, with a few generic questions. Thank goodness that they changed that in the second player's handbook, on page 178.

Backgrounds in Shard Ne'Vaal are primarily to help your character blend in with the world, and decide what you know, so that you aren't some alien thing without a grain of sense in the world despite having lived here. Thus, they are varied across the world to allow you to better customize your origin.

Official Backgrounds[edit]

These are the ones made in official 4e content. Their benefits apply as usual. This is not a definitive list. Your DM may allow you to use ones not included here, within reason of how they fit into your campaign.

Birth Type[edit]

The following backgrounds are all based off your upbringing and coming into the world. It is a happening beyond your control which has affected you throughout your entire life.

Parentage Backgrounds[edit]

All the following are part of the parentage series, which is like your inheritance. They are technically part From Dragon Magazine #383

  • Ill-Omened - You were born with a bad sign. A crow cawed with your first cry maybe, and this has marked you all your life.
  • Orphan - You were left with nothing as your original birth parents abandoned you either willingly or not.
  • Impoverished - You grew up with little to nothing but enough to have kept you going all this time.

Birth Backgrounds[edit]

The following backgrounds are from Player's Handbook 2 as part of the birth series, based on your initial coming to the world.

  • Among Another Race
  • Omen - Whether for better or worse, you were marked when you came into the world. It could be a blessing or a cursed mark on you.
  • Cursed - Your birth came with ominous pretext and this has made you known as somewhat of a horror.
  • Prophecy - Your coming was decided prior, with a strange story of your life and goal ingrained in your fate.


These backgrounds are miscellaneous and not categorized in a subgroup but are all nonetheless related to birth.

  • Created - You resemble some around you but your birth came about from an unnatural mind instead of normal circumstance.
  • Calamity - You were marked with bringing about disaster with your coming.
  • Awakened - Despite your initial, unremarkable birth, you developed amazing prowess and awareness for the world around you. You were a late bloomer with a seed planted in you from before.
  • Found In The Wild - You were found in the wilderness at a young age that you cannot remember your life before this one

Occupation Type[edit]

Sometimes what you do defines you more than where you are from.

  • Thug - You bully others to make a living.
  • Hired Killer - For you, blood on the hands is honest work as long as it was at the behest of a client.
  • Hunter - You make a living hunting and living off the land and its bounty.
  • Bounty Hunter - You make a living off scum and poor souls who are wanted, hunting them like beasts.
  • Guerrilla - You fight for an oppressed people against a bigger power.
  • Thief - You make your living quietly and stealthily, avoiding violence and using your stealth.
  • Survivor - You experienced a great hardship which you pushed through, and you have become a new person as a result of it.
  • Captive - You were taken against your own will and subjugated as prisoner to another.
  • Tomb Robber - The dead do not need their goods any longer. You find these valuable troves to survive.

Shard Ne'Vaal Specific Backgrounds[edit]

Shard Ne'Vaal Navigation
Shard Ne'Vaal Campaign Settingv
Shardnevaal logo.png Players' Handbook Races, Languages, Classes, Backgrounds, Themes, Magic, Psionics, Religion, Literature, Legends and Lore
Shard Ne'Vaal Crash Course History, Geography, Climate, and the World, Bestiary, Flora, Factions, Calendar and Holidays, Cosmology and the Planes, Politics and Law
Dungeon Master's Guide About, Items of Legend, Campaign Ideas, Consumables, Sample Places, NPCS, Variant Rules
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