Born of Darkness (5e Background)

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Born of Darkness[edit]

  • Disclaimer: I understand that not all background features are supposed to be mechanical, so it is up to your DM's discretion to decide whether or not these features are legal. If these features have too much of a mechanical effect for your DM's taste, you can instead choose this background as your race. If so, your skin will literally be black as a silhouette, your eyes are empty voids, and you get to pick 3 features instead of one, along with the Eyes of Shadow Feature. As a final addition, you can choose this as your race and your background. If you do, you get 4 features instead of one, along with the Eyes of Shadow Feature. See below.

The first memory you have is the cold, sweet feeling of darkness surrounding you. You've lived ever since you remember in the shadows, because that's where you thrive. You often sulk in the dark, watching others, not necessarily to prey on them, (though this sometimes is the case,) but because you pity their way of life. How can they stand the light when the darkness is so much more comforting? You've learned how to survive on your own by hunting in the darkness. Since everything looks the same in the Darkness, you've developed a habit of marking places you've been, both to find your way back, and for others that cross there to know it's your territory. Occasionally you'd wander into the world of light to steal or just to watch those who live there, and because it sometimes get's boring on your own, but you never get lonely. You find the way of life in the light fascinating in a disgusted sort of way. Living in the shadow, you have learned never to grow attached to something. You try to take only what you need with you and you never stay in the same place for long. Eventually, curious enough about what the light-dwellers could possibly like about the light, you decide to venture out into the light yourself, where you begin your adventure.

When creating a character with the Born of Darkness background, consider how you ended up in the darkness. Were you resurrected by dark magic without any memories? Were you created by an evil sorcerer with the purpose of using you, it's creation, to rule the world? Work out your origins with your DM. People born of darkness have naturally darker skin to blend in with the darkness, and their eyes seem to be empty voids. This often times disturb people when they first see you.

Skill Proficiencies: Stealth and one other between Survival, Nature, or Intimidation

Tool Proficiencies: (Determined in Features)

Languages: Deep Speech, Undercommon

Equipment: Dark cloak, black boots, thin, black gloves, waterskin, five day's rations, bedroll, sack, pouch containing 5 Gold coins. (You don't start with torches or flint and steel because you don't like the light of fire. Also, if your starting equipment for your class would stack with the starting equipment for the Born of Darkness background, then you only get one set.)


You're time in the darkness forced you to fight to survive, and you learned one of these skills along the way. If none of these apply to your character, work out with your DM what will.

d6 Specialization
1 Stalker You're always on the hunt, and you specialize on hunting your prey. Even when you're not hunting, you tend to watch people when they aren't looking, or occasionally follow random people without them knowing. You can't help yourself.
2 Collector You are never satisfied. There is always the urge to get have more, and so you are always on the hunt for something, whether it be your next job, quest, adventure, victim, or item. You can't get this desire out of your mind until you have it in your possession, but soon after you are desiring something else. You have an ever growing collection of random necessities, and each have a value only to you that only you would understand.
3 Marker You're habit of leaving tracks and marking places you've been is obsessive. You can't go anywhere new without leaving a piece of you behind, something special that is proof you've been there. Nothing enough to let you be tracked, of course, but enough to show your visit.
4 Wanderer You have the intense urge to visit new places and mark new towns on your ever growing map. You often wander your way into someplace you shouldn't be, yet you always are able to get out. You also never get lost. You know where you're going simply by knowing where you've been.
5 Shadow Even after entering the light, you still cling to the darkness. You feel it calling to you. You only spend so long in the light, but you prefer the shadow and the darkness, and you thrive in solitude. You prefer to watch the social life of those around you than join in it. At night, while others sleep, you spend every second you can with the darkness you have missed for so long.
6 Darkness Incarnate Your aura of black around you and the empty void in your eyes is terrifying to look at. People are often scared of you when they first see you, but it doesn't bother you. You never cared about what others thought about you, anyway.

The specialization you chose above will determine the feature you get for this background.

Stalker Feature[edit]

You have advantage on Stealth checks made while you are in dim or dark lighting. You also gain proficiency in the Disguise kit.

Collector Feature[edit]

You start with a bag of holding in your equipment, which can hold an infinite number of your collections. The bag can't, however, be used to store living creatures or weapons, only treasures you find during your quests to add to your hoard. No single item in the bag can weigh more than 5 pounds or take up more space than a 5 by 5 foot cube. You're bag is magical in a sense that whatever happens outside the bag doesn't affect the inside, so if the bag is tilted upside down, the items that are inside stay where they are. If a creature purposefully makes an attack on the bag of hoarding, the AC is 10 + your Dexterity modifier. If the attack hits, then the items inside the bag will empty into the spaces around you and the bag of holding will be a regular bag until it is repaired with magical means.

Marker Feature[edit]

You can cast Illusory Script for free, but only to mark trees or other landmarks. You can have up to 3 active Illusory Script's cast this way. This number increases by 1 at levels 5, 7, 10, 13, 15, 17, and 20. Illusory Script's cast this way in a location that is on a map in your possession appear on the map as a marker. These spells disperse by the first cast when you cast one more above how many you can cast at your current level, and whenever your hit points drop to zero. The other rules for this spell apply (you can choose other creatures to be able to see the Illusion and creatures with true sight can read it). Creatures who can't see the spell just appears the surface as it normally would appear. As an addition to this feature, you gain proficiency with Cartographer’s Tools.

Wanderer Feature[edit]

You start with a magical map in your equipment that increases in size the more you fill it out so you can never run out of room. You can also magically fold it up to a 1 foot by 1 foot square as thick as a sheet of cardboard, no matter how much you fill out the map. You can also recall voices and shapes almost perfectly, so you can sketch out faces and places you've visited on spare paper. Names of places you've visited magically appear on the map as you draw them out, including the names of territory you've wandered to and named that you claimed as your own. As an addition to this feature, you gain proficiency with Cartographer’s Tools.

Shadow Feature[edit]

You no longer need to sleep. Instead, at night you wander and/or explore, or just watch those you travel with in sleeping or whatever else they may be doing. It never occurs to you that doing so can be considered strange. During long rests, you can read, sharpen swords, draw maps, or do other small activity while others rest.

Darkness Incarnate Feature[edit]

You have what some may consider a gift, and what others may consider a curse. On first glance, good creatures tend to be frightened of you, or distrustful of you. On the other hand, evil creatures are drawn to you, and are easier to persuade for help or for other means. If you don't already have proficiency in intimidation, gain proficiency, and if you already have proficiency, gain expertise (double your proficiency bonus). Additionally, as an action, you may attempt to frighten up to one good or neutral creature you can see within 30 feet that is looking at you. You can likewise attempt to charm up to one evil creature you can see within 30 feet that is looking at you. You have advantage on this action if you are trying to frighten a good or neutral creature that you attacked last round. You likewise have disadvantage on this action if you are trying to charm an evil creature that you attacked last round. You also have disadvantage on either of these actions if the creature you are trying to affect does not share a language with you. Either way, the creature you are trying to affect has to make a wisdom saving throw, and the dc for the creature to beat is 8 + your intimidation modifier or they are put under the effects of your spell until the spell ends. The duration for both of these spells lasts for 1 minute. The charm spell will end quicker, however, if the evil creature is attacked before the spell ends. The number of creatures you can target with this feature increases by one at levels 3, 7, 13, 17, and 20. You can use this feature only once per short or long rest.

Alternate Feature: Darkness Acolyte[edit]

  • Disclaimer: You may choose this feature if you don't want any of the features above. This doesn't stack with a feature tied to your specialization.

You worship the Darkness as your God, and you can summon Darkness itself into the material plane. As an action, you may cast the Darkness spell for free. Only you are able to see through this Darkness. You may only use this feature once per long rest.

Eyes of Shadow[edit]

As an additional feature the the one above, you gain this one as well. You're eyes have naturally adapted to seeing in the dark. You have Dark vision up to 30 feet.

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

Your origins of Darkness don't necessarily define you as a dark person. Darkness can just be where you feel most comfortable.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I avoid social activity as much as possible. I prefer the quiet life away from the action.
2 I want to prove to others that I'm not as dark on the inside as I am on the outside.
3 I don't care what others think of me, and I find their fear amusing.
4 My dark sense of humor makes me think stalking someone is a practical joke.
5 I love the thrill of exploration and discovering new dark areas in the world.
6 Darkness, like much else, doesn't phase me.
7 If someone else has something I want, their body will often be found in an alleyway somewhere.
8 I don't make attachments. My "friends" are simply people I am using for my own benefit.
d6 Ideal
1 Dark Heart. I find joy in the death of others, especially the moment where the Darkness enters their eyes. (Evil)
2 Justice. I'm here to cleanse the world of the Darkness that shouldn't be here. (Lawful)
3 Virtue. My purpose is to overcome my darkness, and to end the Darkness everywhere else. (Good)
4 Sociopath. Rules don't bind me. I do what I want and then slip back into the shadows. (Chaotic)
5 Optimist. I'm just here to see what else this world has to offer other than darkness. (Neutral)
6 Honor. I do what seems honorable in the given situation, not just what will please the Darkness. (Any)
d6 Bond
1 The world must know of the beauty of the Darkness.
2 I can't let myself succumb to the Darkness within me.
3 I want to explore every dark corner of this earth.
4 I want to know how I ended up in the Darkness.
5 I want to find the source of all Darkness.
6 I won't rest until the world is full of Darkness.
d8 Flaw
1 I secretly envy friendships the Light-Dwellers have.
2 I don't understand why people fear me.
3 I absolutely can't stand the light.
4 Sometimes the Darkness within me overpowers my senses, and I become subject to it's will.
5 Once I set my eyes on something, it drives me insane until it's mine.
6 Life can lack meaning without allowing yourself to care for others.
7 I can't go anywhere until I've left my mark on where I've been.
8 I go insane if I go too long without doing something the Darkness would be proud of.

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