Prodigy (5e Background)

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This content deviates from 5e standards. Its use could dramatically alter campaigns, take extreme care. DesignDisclaimer.png
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This content intends to provide a different experience, or goes beyond the scope of the anticipated subjects and situations, than the 5e rules were intended to handle. Some portions of the content below may not be what you expect from traditional game content. When implementing this content, DMs and Players should read over all the information carefully, and consider the following specific notes of interest:
This background gives you expertise in a skill instead of two proficiencies to better simulate a prodigy.

Prodigy[edit]

As a child, you were knowledgeable on a certain subject, leading to extremely high expectations from parents and tutors. You most likely are still of a young age, at a time when you should be in idyllic ignorance. But you know things far beyond your prime in your subject of expertise, as much or even more than those who have studied it for lifetimes probably. What is it you are a prodigy in? Are you properly recognized for it, or do people talk down on you instead? Do people alienate you as a result, whether elevating you on a pedestal or singling you out as an outlier?

As prodigies grow older, they cease to have the same command of awe as they did in youth. People don't find it so impressive when you are a middle-aged chess genius as much as when you were ten. If you are an older prodigy, how has this affected your life? Has your skill atrophied or are you still confined in its practice? Did you make something of the skill, progressing to a career in it? Or perhaps you have taken up a more normal life style with the other common people?

Skill Proficiencies: You can choose one skill with which to gain proficiency. When you use this skill, you can add your proficiency bonus twice instead of once.

Languages: You know 1 additional language of your choice.

Equipment: An inkwell and quill, books of handwritten notes, a certification of prodigious skill, fine clothes and a pouch containing 15 gp.

Feature: Open Opportunity[edit]

Your prodigious skill opens up doors in some small, some big ways. People in the field who recognize your expertise are willing to open positions for you in their institutions without as much scrutiny as some layman off the street. This does not extend into hospitality or sharing of resources, as this is opportunity of only a professional nature.

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

Parents and tutors constantly pressure you to do your best—you may feel that that pressure helps you succeed, or you may resent their lofty expectations.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I have an idiosyncratic method of writing notes that no-one can decipher.
2 I have a tendency to space out.
3 I avoid talking about my family.
4 In my area of expertise, I'm a genius. In all other areas, I'm a total dunce.
5 I'm constantly experimenting.
6 I never write down notes—instead, I keep them in my head.
7 I've been forced to stay inside studying all my life, so I find others' life stories fascinating.
8 When I'm thinking hard, I start humming under my breath.
d6 Ideal
1 Knowledge. I seek knowledge wherever I can. (Neutral)
2 Independence. I don't care what others want; I want to live my life how I want. (Chaotic)
3 Worth. Others place their faith in me. I must prove I'm worthy of that faith. (Lawful)
4 Greed. Others place their faith in me. I take advantage of that faith. (Evil)
5 Aid. I use my vast knowledge to help those in need. (Good)
6 Ambition. I must be the best at what I do. (Any)
d6 Bond
1 My family pushes me to do my best, and I'm thankful for that.
2 My family pressures me to surpass myself. I'll never meet their expectations.
3 My tutor taught me everything I know. I owe them a lot.
4 My tutor takes credit for my vast knowledge, but they barely did anything.
5 I caught the eye of an expert in my area of expertise. With their belief in me, I can do anything.
6 I caught the eye of an expert in my area of expertise. They want me to be their protégé, but there's nothing I'd hate more.
d6 Flaw
1 I'm already under pressure so much pressure, any more and I break.
2 I've grown to resent my area of expertise.
3 I always assume I'm the smartest in the room.
4 It doesn't matter if I blow an opportunity—my family/tutor will find me another one.
5 I often space out when in deep thought, sometimes to the point that I'm not paying attention.
6 I've never been able to meet my family's/tutor's lofty expectation, so I don't believe I can meet any expectations.

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