Battlesmith (5e Background)

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This background has been protected as an example for the 5e Background Design Guide. Please discuss any changes you would like to make on the discussion page.  --Kydo (talk) 13:05, 6 September 2016 (MDT)


Battlesmiths are the undisputed masters of traditional Dwarven martial arts. They originated as simple well-equipped berzerkers to counter the savage assaults of Orcish raiders and warbands. As time went on though, Battlesmith-driven victories raised their status to something of the Dwarven equivalent to a knight, socially. As Dwarven craftsmanship improved, battlesmiths became a class of people, each one of them a living symbol of Dwarven warfare.

Many early battlesmiths were more than just great warriors. Some became kings, carving out new holdings for the Dwarven race from the ruins of enemy land. Others became legendary tactitians, conquering armies with little more than terrified peasants and livestock. Some were great craftsmen, and created fascinating Dwarven weapons, such as the urgrosh. Given this history, many battlesmiths model their beliefs and careers off the lives of these ancient heroes.

The true power behind the battlesmith is more than brute strength or literal combat prowess, though most have both. Battlesmiths wage war on the minds of their enemies as much as their bodies. They aim to make the enemy believe they have already lost before a battle has even begun. Early battlesmiths blundered into this tactic when they discovered that simply killing the right orc can turn an army of thousands into a stampede of fleeing cowards. Making an enemy think they've lost more blood than they have can cause them to pass out from shock alone. As they became more refined, so too did their techniques.

Today, battlesmith is mostly an inherited title, though it is possible to rise into their ranks through impressive military service. Those born into the title carry a heavy burden as they are expected to take on the responsibilities of their name. Battlesmiths are often the champion of a noble clan, leading the clan's military force, organizing defense of their land, or taking on special tasks presented only to them.

Although almost all battlesmiths are dwarves, a few of other races have learned their ways- mostly elves who fought in ancient wars against orcish armies alongside battlesmiths. Humans have proven to be impressive battlesmiths, but most dwarves find their loyalties too difficult to discern or too fickle to maintain, and so humans have greater difficulty proving their worth. There are no records of any half orc battlesmiths, and you would be hard pressed to convince anyone that there should be- the title evolved out of a way of killing orcs after all!

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Intimidation

Tool Proficiencies: Your choice of Smith's, Mason's, or Brewer's Tools.

Other Proficiencies:Prestige

Equipment: A metal flask, a set of common or fine clothes, a whetstone, a flask of oil, a letter from your patron, a badge showing your patron's crest, a hammer, 5ft of chain, and a small pouch containing 4gp.

Feature: Champion

You are or were, the champion of a patron, (likely a noble dwarven clan) and a known battlesmith. Your patron may come to you with demands or requests; enemies of your patron may try to buy, manipulate, or kill you; and you will likely have made some enemies of your own during your career. The life of a battlesmith can be busy, hectic, and complicated, even long after retirement or expulsion. Work with your DM to flesh out your patron, their enemies, and your personal enemies if you have any.

Suggested Characteristics

Battlesmiths are warrriors first, with a lifestyle revolving around combat. For all of the advantages of this lifestyle, there are many drawbacks, and time can take a heavy toll on the minds and spirits of battlesmiths.

d8 Personality Trait
1 My status as a battlesmith has brought me only bloodshed and sorrow.
2 I am always ready to fight.
3 I am unforgiving or intolerant.
4 I envy the easier lives of commoners.
5 I revere the lives and deaths of even my most cruel and fearsome enemies.
6 I make light of violence and death.
7 I'm never too far from a bottle of alcohol.
8 I speak very little- if even at all.
d6 Ideal
1 Responsibility. My power is a gift not to be taken lightly, and I should avoid seeking out unnecessary conflict. (lawful)
2 Duty. My purpose is the continued peace and safety of my people. (good)
3 Authority. I do as I wish- who's going to stop me? (chaotic)
4 Power. All who oppose me must be crushed under my boot! (evil)
5 Function. This is what I was made to do. (neutral)
6 Purification. I must stamp out evil wherever it may dwell. (good)
d6 Bond
1 A battlesmith saved me or someone close to me, and I strive towards filling their enormous footsteps.
2 My patron clan is everything to me, and I will do whatever I can do to glorify their name.
3 Countless battles have not shaken the faith I have in my allies.
4 I became a battlesmith to defend my home and people from a great evil.
5 My patron has sent me on one final task before I retire. It must be done at all costs.
6 I am in love with either another battlesmith or a hated enemy.
d6 Flaw
1 I find any reason to fight, often attacking enemies when other solutions could have been met.
2 I care more about my weapon, armor, or other possession, than I do about my friends.
3 I have crossed a foreign military force and they have hunted me ever since.
4 I am unwaveringly loyal to my patron, even if my orders conflict with my personal beliefs.
5 I have offended my patron clan, nation, or fellow battlesmiths, and have been stripped of my title.
6 I am actually a terrible coward, willing to do anything to gain glory or power without fighting, and will shy away from a fight if the battle goes sour.

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