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Nerdarchy > Dungeons & Dragons  > Character Stories  > Expanding 5E D&D Background Characteristics — Folk Hero
MTG fabled hero 5E D&D folk hero

Expanding 5E D&D Background Characteristics — Folk Hero

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Salutations, nerds! Today I’m revisiting the Folk Hero background for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons to expand on the list of suggested characteristics. 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. Let’s dive right in!

Fluff like 5E D&D background characteristics is the game too

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

  1. I make it a point to remember the names of the people I interact with more than once.
  2. I’m not above flattering an enemy to get their guard down, but I’m probably going to punch it afterward.
  3. If I’m confident I’m going to win I tend to get theatrical about it.
  4. I don’t always have the best notion of how serious a situation is. Sometimes I make light when I shouldn’t.
  5. I’m used to speaking up so people can hear me. Sometimes I’m louder than I mean to be.
  6. People will judge your words but they seldom have bad things to say about your silence.
  7. You might call me a superstitious person.
  8. I’m a morning person. My companions aren’t always a fan of this.

d6 — Ideal

  1. Community. Everything I do is for my home town and the people in it. (Neutral)
  2. Peace. The best way to win a fight is not to get into one if you can avoid it. (Good)
  3. Survival. The rest doesn’t matter if you and those you love are dead. (Neutral)
  4. Protection. Stand between others and harm, especially when they cannot do it themselves. (Lawful)
  5. Kindness. Try being nice first. You can always be mean after, but you can’t be nice once you’ve been mean. (Good)
  6. Reputation. Bold moves make for a bigger story. A reputation can serve me better than a sword. (Neutral)

d6 — Bond

  1. There’s a ballad written about me and I request it at every tavern.
  2. There’s a villain I’ve bested but been unable to end, one I’ve met on the field several times.
  3. My best friend got hurt in the event that made me a hero. I’m trying to find a healer good enough to fix their lingering injury.
  4. My dog is waiting for me back home.
  5. An elder taught me many skills. I still feel like I owe their surviving family.
  6. I have an older sibling who went off to war and never came back. I’m hoping to find out what happened to them.

d6 — Flaw

  1. I more skim things than read them properly and it can lead to interesting interpretations.
  2. I judge people based on how well I think they’d survive in the country. Loudly.
  3. I am extremely uncomfortable in one on one conversations with people outside of my age group.
  4. If I don’t know you and you’re talking to me it’s obviously because you want my autograph, right?
  5. I’m pretty sure people who know a lot of ten gold piece words are just using them to try to make me feel stupid on purpose.
  6. I have one of those faces that gets me into a lot of bar fights.

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. Let us know in the comments, connecting with us on Facebook or tweeting us @Nerdarchy. Feel free to comment or tweet me @Pyrosynthesis too and of course, stay nerdy!

*Featured image — The Fabled Hero from the Magic: The Gathering Theros expansion hits the board destined for so much more and can certainly be regarded as their deck’s champion. A 5E D&D player could get a lot of mileage from the MTG multiverse. Theros is one of the MTG settings officially represented in 5E D&D, which we’ve explored quite a lot not to mention the free Plane Shift supplements. [Art by
Aaron Miller]

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Robin Miller

Speculative fiction writer and part-time Dungeon Master Robin Miller lives in southern Ohio where they keep mostly nocturnal hours and enjoys life’s quiet moments. They have a deep love for occult things, antiques, herbalism, big floppy hats and the wonders of the small world (such as insects and arachnids), and they are happy to be owned by the beloved ghost of a black cat. Their fiction, such as The Chronicles of Drasule and the Nimbus Mysteries, can be found on Amazon.

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