This is an interesting background to look at. Generally, as a player, I’d steer clear of it, unless you wrap your head around a strong concept of why your character isn’t a hermit anymore? The most common way that people use this background that I see is by having a druid or some other nature loving class, have their nature being threatened, then they can come in to a village to get help. That is a good trope in a lot of ways because it gives the dungeon master a nice hook to sink into it for that character and that story. It also is a good concept for a druid build that can naturally be a little bit more stand-off to the real world, and it gives the option of playing a fish out of water.
What else can you do with a Hermit? You have an herbalism kit and you get proficiency with both medicine and religion. That in a lot of ways opens up a bunch of different options that I’ll explore below. But having medicine and religion allows you to go away from as nature focused a character, though most often that will be the direction that people lean. Here are some interesting background ideas that I have for a hermit.
I’ve lived a long time, I’ve seen many things. My life was violence, then tranquility, then learning, then fear, I have seen it all. Now I have taken my seat, a place of rest, high above the lands where I can look down. They call me the wise one, though I have just lived more and am not truly wise. Those who seek my advice and knowledge must journey to see me, and I see them long before they get to me. From my vantage point I have watched the world change, and not for the better, I’ve looked into the horizon and seen a coming storm. My time to move has come again, but my body is loath to take up it’s old forms again. I have rested long enough though, when the time comes, I will be ready, so I make my way down the mountain to seek those who can join me in stopping the oncoming storm.
Alignment: Lawful or True Neutral
On the walls of my hovel hang trophies of a different time. A time where I was not a simple hunter away in the forest, a time where violence tried to consume me whole. I keep them on the walls to remind me of the rage that can consume me, but I do not want to pick them up again. I’ve lived a long while on my own, and life has been peaceful, but now my blood is boiling again. The rage that I have sought to keep in check is spilling out again. My peaceful little world is not something that I can sustain any more, and I do not want to taint it with blood. I pick up my axe from the wall, and I know it is time as it feels right in my hands. I will take my axe, but I will not use it as an all consuming violence, I will instead use it to do what I can to help others. I am the oncoming storm, I pray that I will not break.
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Comments: I really find this concept interesting, playing a character who is fighting against their own nature violence and trying to keep that in balance. Having them go off the deepend and then backing down in a future fight because they are worried it will happen again, that would be an interesting character. There’s also an Incredible Hulk like aspect to it.
I have listened for a long time. I’ve listened to nature, to the voices of the gods on the winds, in the rain, and through the animals. I sought to learn everything that I could from them and to hear the words that they may speak. It was not easy being patient, but that is what I was called to do. Before, when I was at the temple, I was too impetuous and too ready to act and act without thinking, so I was sent out to find patience. I did not find patience at first, I was ready to leave within a day and say that I had found patience. But as I sat and waited, I saw how the trees and grass grew with a focused deliberation, how animals, even though they frolic, did not waste any energy or movement. I finally found patience in year three, but I was not ready to leave, so I stayed, it has been four more years now, and I do not want to leave. But through the winds, the rains, the trees, the animals, the gods have spoken to me. They have told me of a hidden knowledge, more that I must learn that they cannot teach me. So I must return to the temple, and from there I can go seek this knowledge.
Alignment: Lawful Good/Neutral
I’ve heard voices in my head for a long time. They talk to me and eventually I was able to understand them. I was young, and what they were saying sounded tempting. They offered power, fame, money, but I didn’t consider the cost. I got those things, but only for a short period of time as what the voices had me do quickly got the attention of those who were stronger than me and able to stop me. I had no choice but to run, the voices weren’t pleased, and they stopped talking to me. I stayed hidden away in hopes that they wouldn’t talk to me again and for a long time they didn’t. My powers stopped as well, but recently they started talking to me again, and I learned that there was something scarier than them out in the world. I had to make a new deal with them, but my powers are back and I guess it’s my job to help save the world or at least warn the world.
Alignment: Lawful Evil/Chaotic Neutral
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!