Smuggler, Variant (5e Background)

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You have spent your life hiding in the darkness, making shady deals behind closed doors. What led you to engage in a life of crime? Do you crave the thrill of lawbreaking, or did you enter the profession to pay off a debt, risking your hide on behalf of a less than honorable noble? A smuggler is an individual trained in the art of acquisition, a professional thug who can deliver anything, for a price. Smugglers tend to be more bold criminals than most, preferring bribery or distraction over subterfuge and stealth. But the real question is why did you stop? Were you apprehended? Have a change of heart? Was your method no longer viable? For whatever reason, you have left your old life in favor of a life of adventure.

Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Sleight of Hand, or Stealth (choose 2)

Tool Proficiencies: Forgery kit and Vehicles(either land or water, choose one)

Languages: One of your choice

Equipment: One set of hooded common clothes, backpack with hidden compartment, forgery kit, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp

Smuggled Item Specialty[edit]

A smuggler is no good without illicit goods to transport! Roll on the table below or work with your DM to define another category of controlled substances your character tends to acquire.

d6 Smuggled Items
1 Addictive Substances
2 Alchemical Ingredients/ Potions
3 Exotic Creatures
4 Discounted Wares (Tax Dodger)
5 Weaponry
6 Antiquities

Method of Smuggling[edit]

d4 Method of Smuggling
1 Hidden compartments in barrel
2 Loose footboard on ship
3 Secret tunnels
4 Portal

Feature: Careful Selection[edit]

Some close brushes with the law have taught you that not every city guard can be bribed, and some people are simply too keen to miss minute discrepancies. This feature allows you to study a person and gain insight into whether or not they would accept a bribe, or to pick up on whether they are exceptionally more perceptive than you. It does not reveal how expensive a bribe may be for a given situation, however.

Alternate Feature: Trained Eye[edit]

Extensive practice at concealing items has given you an uncanny ability to tell when someone is hiding something. Whether someone is telling a half-truth or actively hiding a dagger in their belt, you can always tell when there is more to a person than meets the eye.

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

Smugglers are a highly charismatic and highly diverse bunch. They cover a wide variety of personalities, ranging from the boisterous street hawker with a "special selection" to the burly sailor who brazenly sells his wares after bribing the guards to look away. Your traits should reflect the tactics you see yourself using.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I am extremely sociable, especially over a mug of ale.
2 I always keep my wares close to me, you never know who might stumble across them otherwise.
3 The only way to hide is in broad daylight. I don't bother with skulking around.
4 I'm a terrible gossip.
5 Being seen with any unsavory figures is a sure way to undermine my work. I only associate with my business partners behind locked doors.
6 Deflecting questions has become second nature to me, so I rarely answer straight.
7 I have dozens of identities and live in constant fear of answering to the wrong name.
8 I act irrationally confident in the face of danger, nobody suspects anything when you seem like you know what you're doing.
d6 Ideal
1 Morals I only smuggle things to improve the lives of the common folk. (Good)
2 Ruthless I will rise to the top of the heap by any means necessary. (Evil)
3 Friendship My associates are dear to me, and I want them to rise with me when I hit it big. (Any)
4 Dauntless No border crossing or bribe is too difficult- that's just the coward's way of saying exciting! (Chaotic)
5 Greater Good I work for a greater cause, and ply my trade only in service to it. (Lawful)
6 Unperturbed I only want to make a living for myself, and smuggling is just an edge I can use to do so. (Neutral)
d6 Bond
1 A corrupt guard put me out of business back when I was running an honest business, I aim to show him a thing or two about recovery.
2 I never wanted to be a criminal, but it puts bread on my family's table.
3 A bloodthirsty pirate clan stole a shipment from me and killed a dear friend of mine. I will end them with extreme prejudice.
4 Someone I cared about discovered my profession and has publicly denounced me, and I am caught between protecting my reputation and restoring our relationship.
5 My love interest is someone who once stole from right under my nose- but they have no idea who I am or how much I admire them for their accomplishment.
6 My business partners are closer to me than my family.
d6 Flaw
1 "Trust nobody, not even yourself." I am plagued by paranoia.
2 I'm so charismatic that sometimes I woo myself. Who am I, Narcissus?
3 Money is my greatest motivator. I'll do almost anything given enough of it, even if I'll regret it later.
4 I would betray anyone to save my own skin.
5 I detach myself from the results of my actions in order to sleep better at night.
6 Someone who knows me well might call me "two-faced" but those who don't have no idea what hit 'em.

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