Expanding 5E D&D Background Characteristics — Entertainer
Salutations, nerds! Following the unassailable law of alphabetical order I’m writing about more suggested characteristics for the entertainer background in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. From small time pickpockets to hired muscle hopefully you find something here that works for you. When you look at the background options in the 5E D&D Player’s Handbook there are a number of background characteristics suggested for you to help define a character and spark your imagination for roleplaying and in this series I’m creating some additional personality traits, ideals, bonds and flaws for you to play with on the off chance you’ve burned through all of those and are interested in some new ones.
From the 5E D&D Basic Rules: Fleshing out your character’s personality — the array of traits, mannerisms, habits, beliefs, and flaws that give a person a unique identity — will help you bring him or her to life as you play the game. Four categories of characteristics are presented here: personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws. Beyond those categories, think about your character’s favorite words or phrases, tics and habitual gestures, vices and pet peeves, and whatever else you can imagine.
Technically inspiration in 5E D&D is presented as a rule Dungeon Masters can use as a reward for players who remain true to their characteristics. Even though these characteristics don’t include mechanical benefits along the same lines as most class features these components of characters are still a part of the game with implications during play.
“If you’ve got a copy of Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden you’ll find a whole bunch of character hooks and secrets in the introduction to inspire your characters’ motivation. Likewise resources like the Heroic Chronical in Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount and This Is Your Life sections in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything can really help develop fun and intriguing ideas for motivation of your adventurers.“— 5 Sources of Motivation for 5E D&D Adventurers
d8 — Personality Traits
- I still get stage fright and when I’m performing I often do so with my eyes closed.
- Mead is a crucial part of every performance.
- I can often be found fiddling with my gear during down time (plucking strings, doing a three ball cascade, etc).
- I often think what’s popular with the layfolk is low brow and very surface level and I’ll be glad to tell you why I think so at length.
- I often find myself having to stop and make notes lest I forget the idea I just had.
- At some point in a conversation of any substance or length I will ask, “What if…” followed by something ridiculous.
- I am incredibly protective of my works in progress and will get into an actual fight to keep them from prying eyes.
- I love to hear when other people are being creative and want to know all about it.
d6 — Ideal
- Subversion. There’s nothing I like better than taking the wind out of someone more powerful than me. (Chaotic)
- Glory. I’m going to make the group I’m with look good and if I make my enemies look bad in the process, well, that’s the storyteller’s privilege. (Neutral)
- Artistry. Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s good and I’m not willing to compromise for the coin. (Lawful)
- Levity. The world can be a harsh place and giving people something lighter to hang onto even for a few minutes can make it easier to bear. (Good)
- Morality. There’s a lesson to be learned from any good tale. Work should have meaning. It should teach you something. (Lawful)
- Regularity. There’s beauty in the mundane and I intend to bring it out. (Any)
d6 — Bond
- There’s another performer I run into once in a while who I have great chemistry with on and off stage.
- I share a birthmark or some other trait with a hero from an old song and have been cast to play them often.
- I was cast in a successful production of an old tale in the city once and my troupe mates and I all share a tattoo to commemorate the occasion.
- I have an old friend who always competed with me for room on the stage. We pushed each other to do better.
- I was a particular noble’s private minstrel for a few years and to this day I’m not sure why I was dismissed from their service.
- I prefer to write my own material. I maintain contact with the subject of one of my stories.
d6 — Flaw
- I am overfond of drink and don’t see this as a problem.
- I’m in debt up to my eyeballs in several larger cities.
- My work is sensational and I’m vocal in my criticism of anyone I feel doesn’t quite reach the bar I’ve set.
- When I start on about my favorite saga it’s hard to get me to stop. I have no sense for when people have gotten tired of it.
- I have the papers for real estate in a place I’ve never been to, but once I find it I promise I own a house there. Got it at a bargain, too.
- I’m not tuning you out, I can read and talk at the same time. What was that last thing again?
For me, at least the suggested features in the book are always incredibly inspiring so hopefully you found something in all of this that’s inspired you as well. Feel free to comment or tweet me @Pyrosynthesis and of course, stay nerdy!
*Featured image — Entertainer is one of the background options for characters found in the 5E D&D Player’s Handbook. [Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast]