New Background – Retired Adventurer
UPDATE: The partial background found in this article is a preview. It is fully available as a Pay What You Want product on the DMs Guild in a pretty PDF with art and 14 other ready to roll backgrounds.
You have to start over. You’re past your prime. Years of retirement have made you soft. You’re a has-been. These words sound harsh but they’re the theme of many Hollywood blockbusters. A former badass rediscovers an adventurous trade long-forgotten. The old boxer trains for one last fight against a young buck. The former special ops father suits up to save his kidnapped daughter. Stella gets her groove back. This is a familiar trope and now it’s coming to your D&D game.
I know it might seem strange to play a former adventurer who has come out of retirement, but why not? Yes, this background works for characters starting at levels higher than 1st, but I contend that it works for 1st level characters as well. Age, a cushy lifestyle, an accident, or something supernatural (like the breaking of a pact between warlock and patron) could take many of the skills of a retired adventurer. Something, be it boredom, bankruptcy, revenge, or a noble quest, pushes these adventurers back out the door and on the road.
To that end I’ve created the Retired Adventurer background for fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons. Take a look below and let me know what you think in the comments. Scroll down to grab the PDF of this background.
You have lived a life of adventure already and retired to something quieter. You thought you were done and to that end may have given away all your old gear and spent all your treasure. Little did you know something would pull you back into your old career. If you choose this background you have some exciting questions to answer.
Since you had an adventuring career for a significant time, you should determine what that part of your past looked like. What adventures have you already had? How much time did you spend adventuring before retirement? Who was your most-hated enemy? Who did you adventure with? Why did you hang it up?
Something happened that made you lose your edge and finally honed adventuring skills. Has age or luxurious retirement made you soft? Did a physical or magical accident take some abilities from you? Did a supernatural force steal your mojo?
You have decided to walk the road of adventure once again. Why? Was it because you ran out of gold and want to earn some more the only way you know how? Did you become restless in retirement and are now seeking the thrill of battle? Are you out to prove you can still live up to your legend? Are you out for vengeance? A noble quest? To tie up one final lose end you didn’t realize until now was undone? Whatever the reason, you’re back on the road and ready to dive into another dungeon.
Skills: History, Insight
Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set
Languages: One of your choice
Equipment: An old map to a secret dungeon you never got around to visiting, a set of common clothes, a set of bone dice or a deck of cards, and a purse containing 25 gp.
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October 1, 2015 @ 8:47 am
Fantastic idea! Syncs up especially good for experienced gamers just getting back into D&D with novice gamers in the group.
October 1, 2015 @ 8:49 am
Oooo! I didn’t event think about that. You’re so right! Thanks for the kind words.
October 1, 2015 @ 10:44 am
This is excellent! It makes me think of the legendary retired adventurer, Billy, from Adventure Time.
I do find it interesting that the base assumption in D&D is that no matter what you’ve done, your story growth is more important than any background growth. It’s definitely more narrative than realistic, but in a game like this I think it is a perfect fit.
October 1, 2015 @ 12:20 pm
Adventure Time!!! What a compliment.
Yeah I think that mechanic makes the game more interesting.
October 1, 2015 @ 4:54 pm
On a somewhat related note… what the hell is Pendleton Ward going to do at WotC??
October 2, 2015 @ 12:21 am
Can’t wait to find out!!!!
October 1, 2015 @ 5:31 pm
This is a great idea! I can’t believe this wasn’t already a thing! Definitely going to use this at some point.
October 2, 2015 @ 12:21 am
Thanks for the high compliment, Ix!
Vegas Lancaster (@vegaslancaster)
October 1, 2015 @ 8:05 pm
A cool background, AND an out-of-character use of an NFL meme!
October 2, 2015 @ 12:20 am
It’s how I unusually roll!