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Nerdarchy > Dungeons & Dragons  > Character Stories  > Expanding 5E D&D Background Characteristics — Hermit
MTG hermit druid 5E D&D hermit background

Expanding 5E D&D Background Characteristics — Hermit

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Salutations, nerds! I’m rolling on over to yet another background and focusing on the Hermit background in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. The background options in the 5E D&D Player’s Handbook offer suggested characteristics to help define a character and spark your imagination for roleplaying. Seclusion, contemplation and keeping away from the rest of the world in what is at the very least isolation represents the formative part of life for these 5E D&D characters. As with every background there’s a lot to chew on here so let’s get started.

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 talk out loud to myself when I’m thinking very hard about something and don’t always realize I’m doing it.
  2. I’m used to having all the time in the world and so I always take my time.
  3. I always have a book with me and I have interesting ideas about when it is an appropriate time to read.
  4. Whenever I encounter a colloquialism I don’t know I waste no time bluntly asking what it means.
  5. In my solitude I’ve come up with ways to explain many things to myself and sometimes I forget other people aren’t familiar with them.
  6. The wider world has a great many exciting things in it and I greet them each with much enthusiasm.
  7. I want to touch everything. Like it’s not real until I’ve put hands on it.
  8. Languages I can’t read are a personal affront to be remedied as soon as possible.

d6 — Ideal

  1. Individuality. There are no one size fits all rules for other people, you have to learn each one. (Chaotic)
  2. Action. There’s little purpose in standing around talking. Do something, make things happen. (Chaotic)
  3. Unity. In coming together we learn what we would never have learned on our own. (Good)
  4. Balance. Lean too far one way or the other and you cease to have clarity. (Neutral)
  5. Humor. Puncturing the tension, even in the darkest of times, is what keeps people sane and happy. (Good)
  6. Precision. The instructions are there for a reason. Follow them to the letter. (Lawful)

d6 — Bond

  1. I’ve studied the works of a great scholar in depth and hope to meet them one day.
  2. For years my only companion has been a small furry pet. I took it with me when I returned to civilization.
  3. A kind stranger brought me from my solitude and I’ve lost track of them. I hope to find them again.
  4. I was sequestered with my master in a sprawling underground laboratory. My master sealed it off when they threw me out.
  5. I once read about a magical artifact of legend. I want to find it so I can study it.
  6. I’m traveling to find the pen pal who suddenly stopped writing me.

d6 — Flaw

  1. Other people are often incredibly overwhelming for me.
  2. I’m used to things being where I left them and if someone moves them I don’t know how to handle it.
  3. I’ve never had to share before and it shows.
  4. No one has ever taught me how to regulate my temper.
  5. I openly stare at people.
  6. I find other people’s setbacks genuinely amusing and have a hard time not laughing at them.

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 — Hermit is one of the background options for characters found in the 5E D&D Player’s Handbook. When it came time to choose a featured image for the Folk Hero a lack of illustration in the PHB led to the other WotC property — Magic: The Gathering. There’s more than 20,000 cards, each with wonderful fantasy art. This one is the Hermit Druid from the Tempest Remastered expansion. A 5E D&D player could get a lot of mileage from the MTG multiverse. For example 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 Heather Hudson]

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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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