It’s the pirates life for me, as we sail the seven seas…
I mean, why else would you really be a sailor. You want to be a swashbuckling scallywag, plundering ships, getting treasure and sailing off on your next adventure. And honestly, that’s just going to be fun to play, so why wouldn’t you play that character? Sure, there might be some other options, but being a pirate is going to be a lot of fun. But what if that was in your former life? Remember that your background means that it is the thing that’s influenced your life/personality. You could be a 500 year old elf who had the experience of being a sailor two hundred years ago, just to have the experience, so when you think about it that way, there are other options than just being a pirate.
Mechanically speaking, it gives you some good skills. You have athletics and perception from it. Perception is always a big skill to have in a D&D game, and athletics can come in handy pretty often. It also gives you the ability to find passage on a ship. If you don’t want o pay, you’ll have to work hard on the ship, but you have the skills and you know the lingo.
What sorts of life would you have led with a Sailor background?
I studied in the university for five years before being skilled enough. I graduated at the top of my class as I learned about the various creatures of the land. The school was then asking for someone to go on an expedition to a newly discovered lands, and I volunteered. It was another six months of hard training as I had to be able to pull my weight as more than just a researcher on the ship. The sailing was an adventure in and of itself. I found so many new creatures that I hadn’t seen before deep at sea. A storm hit and we were blown off course and our ship was beached on the shore. It was a new land for me, so I went off exploring. I found some new creatures and a village, but when I tried to make it back to the ship, I became lost yet again. I was able to find some people whom I could communicate with, and they were able to help me find where the ship had been. But that was almost a week later, and the sailors and captain had assumed me dead and gotten the ship off of the beach and left me there. These people don’t have as great ships to get me back but they have tales of others on this land who might. Someday, I might get home.
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
I grew up in a small port town without that much to do. We would fish a little bit, but as a kid, I mainly stayed out of the way of dock workers. Then the war broke out in the kingdom and I and most of those my age were forced to join the royal navy. It wasn’t something that I wanted to do, but it did get me out of the small town. I got to see the larger world and I found a lot of interesting places. There was one town where I met a person who I fell in love with. The war was still going on, so I had to ship out again within a couple of weeks to join where the battles were now. When I came back after the war, they were gone. I asked around, and apparently, they had been taken away by a traveling troupe of gypsies. I took to drinking in the inns to find out anything that I could about this troupe and I’ve found some information and squandered away my money. Now I need to make more money so that I can get them back.
Alignment: Neutral Good
When you grow up in a pirate village on a remote island, you basically have three choices of careers. You either run a business, most likely a tavern, you become a prostitute, or you become a pirate. While the last is a bit more dangerous, it seemed way more fun to me. Now, I’m not what would be called an evil pirate. I don’t do it just for the sake of killing someone or for greed. I have actually started an orphanage on the island, for all the children who lose a family or don’t really have a family. It was something near and dear to my heart. That probably saved my life, and not being the captain of the ship helped too, when our ship actually lost a battle. We were taken into the mainland a long way from the ocean but I always had one goal on my mind. Escape the work camp I was at, and make it back so that I could help those kids again. Step one is done, but with a criminals brand and no money, I need to find a way to get back to the orphans.
Class: Rogue (Swashbuckler)
Alignment: Anywhere on the Neutral spectrum. I’d lean towards Lawful Neutral.
This background has been a bit trickier to come up with a lot of out of the box ideas for. The first one definitely fits the out of the standard trope for a sailor background idea. Really, like I said before, it’s hard not to just want to play the pirate type of character. Even if you’re a barbarian who just wants to smash stuff, you can be a pirate who smashes stuff.
Have you played a pirate before, I mean sailor? And has anyone played in a pirate campaign before? It seems like something that would be fun, but I’ve heard that people have trouble pulling them off.
Less backstories than normal, but some longer ones than normal. I hope that you’ve enjoyed them. There are three more backgrounds left to do after this.
Have you played someone with a sage background? Why did you choose that background and what was your backstory?
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