Monster (5e Background)

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Design Note: This background is intended for monstrous races such as the chimera

You are the devourer in the night, the lurker in the hills, the terror of villages. Children check for you under the bed before they go to sleep. The town's warriors arrange hunting parties to slay you, but often do not return. The elders lay out sacrificial offerings to satiate your bloodlust. You are a monstrosity, a lone hunter or living with a small pack. Your favorite food is the livestock of humanoid settlements – or the humanoids themselves!

Skill Proficiencies: Perception, Intimidation

Downtime Activity Proficiencies: Recuperation

Languages: One of your choice.

Equipment: A necklace, hairpin or other accessory made from the bones of your victims


Something compelled you to end this lifestyle of terror and instead take up adventuring. You can work out a reason with the DM, or roll on the table below.

d6 Naturalization
1 I fell in love with a fair maiden or handsome lad.
2 I caught my reflection in the water. What does it mean to be a monster? What else am I capable of?
3 A mystic cast a powerful geas upon me: against my will I must undertake a seemingly neverending quest.
4 I simply had a change of heart that I cannot explain.
5 I am lonely and I seek others of my kind. We are so rare that I need the help of my former prey.
6 I was forced into labor as a beast of burden or war machine. I endured this for years, and it will take me some time to cast off this subservient mindset.

Feature: Hated[edit]

You are rarely accepted in civilized communities, even when in good company. Unless your adventuring party can successfully vouch for you, people will try to drive you away or flee. The local baron may try to capture you, brave scholars may wish to study you. Eventually, through your deeds, you may come to be tolerated. For now, you are a frightening monster, and in smaller communities you can demand a sacrifice or simply chase away the villagers. In towns and cities you can worry the authorities enough that they'll mobilize the militia, perhaps a useful distraction.

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

While you have left your monstrous life behind, old habits die hard and sacrifices are ever so tasty. All monsters come from some sort of heritage, whether the spawn of doting parents, summoned by a mad wizard, created by a madder wizard, or awoken from the earth by a god. Monsters are typically bestial, short-tempered, focused, bloodthirsty, or arrogant. Most care little for the lives of those they have destroyed, but others are truly ashamed for their actions. Monsters have a lot to prove, both to themselves and the world that has labeled them so.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I am jealous of the cultures, craftmanship and gregariousness of humanoid races.
2 I like to scare young children.
3 I must sing or bellow hauntingly before I eat.
4 I become obsessed when I have chosen my prey.
5 Like an onion, I have layers. I’m not just some simple beast.
6 I love riddles and use them to judge others.
7 I delight in contests of strength, but I’m a sore loser.
8 I can make myself comfortable and fall asleep anywhere.
d6 Ideal
1 Dominance. I am the king of beasts! (Any)
2 Savagery. To hunt, to eat, to run, to soar. (Chaotic)
3 Devil Inside. The last screams of my victims are music to my ears. (Evil)
4 Mercy. I wish to change my ways, to become a beacon of hope rather than terror. (Good)
5 Exploration. I want to see the world, regardless of how others see me. (Neutral)
6 Order. There is a correct place for everything, including terrible monsters. (Lawful)
d6 Bond
1 I have my own patch of land that I call home.
2 My pack is my family.
3 I owe someone my life.
4 My best friend is the skull of my first victim.
5 I consider another group of monsters as my allies.
6 There is a large bounty out for my hide after a specific event in my past.
d6 Flaw
1 I hate getting wet.
2 I cannot wash away the stench of rotting meat.
3 I am always ravenous. The farmer won’t miss a cow, right?
4 I can hardly control myself when I smell fresh blood.
5 I hate merrymaking. Especially singing. And dancing.
6 I’m terribly lazy, and depend on my ferocious reputation to get what I want.

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