Dragonshore Buccaneer (5e Background)

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Dragonshore Buccaneer[edit]

The island of Dragonshore, home primarily to the Dragonshore Dwarves, is host to a powerful navy well equipped to hunt these unlikely mariners' most fearsome prey: the mighty Dragons. Their ships prowl many seas, and many are those who have joined them in their endless hunt, for reasons all their own. You were one of them, forging a life for yourself aboard their great ironclad ships or in the fortress city of Hammerdeep, their maritime capital. You are familiar with the sea, though less so than one who has sailed a ship powered by wind or oars, as the ships of Dragonshore are safeguarded against the rigours of common ocean travel by their thick armor and Dwarven engines. You plied your hand at many things in the company of the elder dragonslayers, from trade to piracy and, of course, the hunting of Dragons and their lesser kin.

Most sailors of Dragonshore are Dwarves, born and raised on their home island, but able bodied outsiders are always welcome within their ranks. Were you ropped in when you came of age, or did you join for glory, or even for revenge? What position did you end up serving on their grand vessels - engine stoker, ballista opperator, spotter, navigator, or something else entirely? It is not common for anyone to leave the great Dragonshore navy, but it happens from time to time, when the trials become too great, or the plunder too lacking. Did you leave on good terms, because of injury or a desire for change, or did you make off with more than your share of loot?

Skill Proficiencies: Persuasion, and either Athletics or Acrobatics

Tool Proficiencies: Your choice of Cook's utensils, Cartographer's tools, or Smith's tools

Languages: Dwarvish (if you know Dwarvish from your race or subrace, gain proficiency in navigator's tools instead.)

Entertainment You know how to distract yourself and others on long ocean voyages. You gain Proficiency in one gaming set and one instument of your choice.

Equipment: Spyglass, drinking horn made from the horn of a lesser drake (or other dragon-related token), gold-ish dubloon on a string (bearing the insignia of one of the Dragonshore clans), a set of common clothes inlaid with various gold decorations (of a total value of 5 gp), and a small drake-scale pouch containing 15 gp.


Although this background can be used by any race and any class, it was mainly designed to fit with the Dragonshore Dwarf subrace. As a result, it may come out as over-specific in some circumstances, and may not be suitable for all games. The exact nature and location of the island of Dragonshore is fully malleable, though its history is recounted in the story section of the wiki.

Dragonshore Clans[edit]

Long ago, when the Dwarves hunted the seven dragons of Dragonshore, they formed the seven clans that survive to this day, each claiming the honor of slaying one of the great beasts of the island. Belonging to one clan or the other is more a mark of character than anything else, as all Dragonshore mariners come to each other's aid.

d6 Specialization
1 Clan of the Burning Fire
2 Clan of the Breaking Bow
3 Clan of the Howling Wolf
4 Clan of the Cawing Crow
5 Clan of the Flying Spear
6 Clan of the Crashing Wave
7 Clan of the Broken Sword
8 Clan of the Dying Snake

Clan of the Burning Fire[edit]

The rambunctious members of this clan are glory seekers to a fault, always putting themselves in danger for the sake of a thrill, of even simply to impress. In combat, they seek out the largest, meanest targets, and are hard believers in the saying The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Their vessels tend to be equipped with close range weapons, such as flamethrowers and grappling hooks, and their boarding parties, if chaotic and disorganized, are trully to be feared in their furror. They hold claim to the demise of the youngest Dragon of Dragonshore, Bravig the Reckless. Their symbol is a dragon breathing flame.

Clan of the Breaking Bow[edit]

Slow and steady wins the race, as these sailors know. Though their ships are slow, they are also the most well-armored and well-armed of the fleet, their mighty cannons capable of raining fire from a great distance. They tend to meander in their home waters, on guard for potential threats and ready to respond should battle call. Until then, they are perfectly at home napping through the hours of the day, letting others get on with the buisiness of running the fleet. They once felled Zavret the Indolent by collapsing a cave on him while he slept. Their symbol is a cracked shield.

Clan of the Howling Wolf[edit]

The stereotype of the jolly privateer, these sailors ply the coast in search of food and drink to feed their grand feasts. They pillage when necessary, though most are quite willing to supply them with sustenance, as their presence is a strong deterent for piracy of any kind. Anybody found hogging their coastline and taking their potential spoils will be subject to a visit from the fleet's swiftest vessels, often with angry and drunk dwarves aboard. Though they may seem jolly and easygoing when stuffing themselves with meat and mead, they are vicious and agressive fighters when the mood takes them. They mainly use grappling hooks in order to board and capture ennemy ships and take their supplies for their own. They assured the demise of Tughoth the Glutonous by poisoning her food reserve. Their symbol is, unsurprisingly, the head of a howling wolf.

Clan of the Cawing Crow[edit]

The smallest of the clans, they are also the most active. They are always seeking to find an edge with wich to rise above their compatriots, and tend to order others around even when not in charge. They are prepared to do anything for the sake of advancement, often pushing the limits of their vessels and tactics to their breaking point. They are tollerated by the other clans because of their heritage, but most would not mind being rid of them, as their experiments often end in failure, sometimes catastrophically, and their presence is a drain on the fleet's resources. This is somewhat offset, however, by the fact that their successful prototypes often end up bettering the fleet as a whole, leaving them, if more powerfull than before, still below their compatriots, to their great ire. They once put an end, without too much difficulty, to the smallest dragon of Dragonshore, Vaygue the Cunning. Their symbol is a crow's head, mouth open.

Clan of the Flying Spear[edit]

Beligerous and warlike, these warriors seek a good fight above all else. By far the most agressive of the clans, they sail in search of new foes to fight, giving not much thought to the plunder they gather. Even more than the threat of greedy pirates, the prospect of a fleet that will attack you wether or not you have money puts fear in the hearts of many, and they are a constant stain on Dragonshore's reputation. This is offset by their combat prowess, as their battle-tested ships and sailors are the best in the whole fleet, and their temperament leaves them unlikely to shy away from any conflict their compatriots would have them assist in. They slayed Azmagon the Despoiler in open combat, a feat unique among the Clans. Their symbol is a throwing axe in flight.

Clan of the Crashing Wave[edit]

Unlike their brothers in the Flying Spears, these privateers do not strike out blindly at their ennemies. Their aproach is much more organized, seeking the foes with the greatest riches to plunder. They are the worst kind of pirates, ganging up on ships plying the main trade routes and dispersing when a real threat appears. They are the richest of the Clans, and their ships are always filled with gold. Despite this, they use it solely for adornment, spending very little of it, and sharing even less with the fleet at large. The other Clans got around this problem by periodicaly commandeering one of their vessels whenever they need a little pocket change. They once stole the entire hoard of Valamar the Collector, causing her to chase them into a mortal trap. Their symbol is a crashing wave, odly enough.

Clan of the Broken Sword[edit]

By far the most peaceful of the Clans, these sailors believe in the superiority of a well placed word over a well aimed arrow. They are traders and diplomats, maintaining a healthy connection with outsiders and their kinsmen alike. They believe themselves above the other clans and, unlike the Cawing Crows, actually have the authority to claim this. Though they are not the leaders of Dragonshore, they act as it's liaison with outsiders, and as such their opinion is counted above that of others, even though they are often not the wisest. They claim the honor of felling the elder dragon of Dragonshore, Anghammarad the Ancient, by goading him into their well planed ambush. Their symbol is a sword fractured at the midpoint.

Clan of the Dying Snake[edit]

Though not officially one of the Great Clans, this subfaction has grown over time to become a force comparable to its bigger cousins. In the spirit of the first dragonslayers, they focus their efforts on the felling of drakes and other reptilian fiends. Their focused devotion to their cause has earned them the respect of the Clans, who supply them with anything they require for their endless hunt. This roaving fleet ventures far from Dragonshore in search of prey, often returning with many spoils, and many wounds. What makes them all the more unique among their compatriots is the fact that their leader, Quyrobos the Penitent, is a Dragon himself, who has seen the destruction that his race has wrought, and chose to ally with those who hunt them. Their flagship, the Leviathan, is the largest ship in the fleet, and is home to as many weapons and defences as they could cram onto it, as well as being a mobile roost for their airborn Admiral. Their symbol is a writhing serpent, run through with a spear.

Feature: Dragonshore Assistance[edit]

Though the great fleet is unlikely to divert its massive ships in order to transport you or your allies, they are more than willing to provide assistance in the form of various supplies, the type of which would depend on the specific clan you have you have encountered. They could also potentially be convinced to aid you in a sufficiently profitable endeavor, though it would need to be a very serious cause for them to commit even one vessel. A dragonshore dwarf will be recognized on sight, but any outsider having been part of the fleet will only be identified by his dubloon token, inscribed with the mark of his clan. Should it be lost, it would take a lot of convincing to get the mariners to believe you were once one of them without some outside aid.

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

The sailors of Dragonshore are a varied bunch, but their hardiness and bravery is shared throughout their ranks.

d6 Personality Trait
1 I am rather boisterous, taking pleasure in recounting my many adventures at sea.
2 I took a liking to the ease of life in the fleet when battle was not afoot, and must adapt to a life without it.
3 When battle loomed, I was the first on the deck, screaming defiance at our monstrous foes.
4 The pay was good, and I made sure I got every penny I was owed.
5 There was always work to do aboard the Ironclad, but often not enough people to do it. I am used to doing my part, and more.
6 After my long, seasick years in the fleet, I developed an intense dislike of the ocean. Even the sight of it is enough to make me puke.
d6 Ideal
1 The Hunt. The great fleet moves too slowly for you, so you set off on your own to chase glory and claim a great dragon for your own. (Chaotic)
2 Plunder. When the money stoped comming in, you jumped ship in search of greater spoils elsewhere. How you aquire them matters not. (Evil)
3 Revenge. Your home was ravaged by dragonfire and the fleet, arriving too late, found you in the ruins. Now, you leave the safety of the Ironclads to hunt down the one who wronged you long ago. (Lawful)
4 Freedom. You did not join the fleet by choice, you were captured and recruited by a vessel short on staff. Now that you've made your escape, wether you harbor resentment or not is up to you. (Neutral)
5 Redemption. Your mistake cost the fleet the victory. You were not killed, but were instead banished until such a time as you can prove your worth once again. (Lawful)
6 Protection. You have seen the fleet fail once too often. Though their ideals are well founded, they are not able to help everyone. You will succeed where they have failed, and act as a guardian for those they cannot protect. (Good)
d4 Bond
1 My home was razed by dragons. I was raised by the fleet.
2 I have dishonored my clan, and must return with a dragon trophy to atone.
3 I still have a friend, somewhere in the fleet, I know not where.
4 I left behind a small fortune in back pay, and I want it back.
d3 Flaw
1 I am used to the exesses and luxuries of the vessel I served on, and expect the same quality to follow me wherever I go.
2 I was never in it to hunt dragons, but the thought of their riches in my hands was intoxicating, and I still tend to take whatever I can get my hands on.
3 I have a tendency to put myself in danger simply for the thrill of it.

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