Fallen Hero (5e Background)

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Fallen Hero[edit]

[1] by [Florian Devos aka Grosnez]

After years of heroic deeds, risking life and limb for all that is good in the world... something has changed you. Be it a tragic event, great betrayal, corruption by the darker powers, or abandonment in a time of great need. You now have seen the light in the darkness and even if you still hold your old virtues they are now warped and perverted from their once pure intentions; that is if you haven't abandoned them altogether. You are zealous and unmoving in the path you now walk, be it for the sake of vengeance, duty, or appeasing a new master; so if you hesitated to strike down that which is good in the world before, you do so no longer. Maybe you pity those who cannot comprehend your change of heart; after all, the truth is always hard to accept. So what caused this change of heart? Who led you astray? Why are you so driven in your newfound conviction? Can you serve those who do not share your vision or are they just a means to an end?

Skill Proficiencies: Intimidation, Survival

Tool Proficiencies: Disguise Kit

Languages: Any one of your choice that is related to your revelation

Equipment: A set of traveler's clothes including a hood, a trinket from your Tragic Fate, and a pouch containing 25 gp.

Tragic Fate[edit]

What happened to you? What tragedies or choices have paved this path for you? Was it inevitable?

(Optional: Talk with your DM to determine the story behind your tragedy, or you can choose to roll on the table below to determine how you had become a Fallen Hero.)
d10 Tragic Fate
1 I always dreamed of being a hero, but if I must become the villain to save this world so be it.
2 My lord has succumbed to temptations of the darkness, despite this I am sworn to their service.
3 I made a deal with a powerful, dark entity (vampire, demon lord, devil, god, etc.) to save someone I love in exchange for serving under them.
4 My life is tied to that of great evil, by choosing to live I am now responsible for the atrocities it commits.
5 I found salvation in the very evil I sought to banish, I now realize how misguided I was.
6 In my time of need my god did not answer, how can such a god be called good if they care not for their most devout followers?
7 When I was at the mercy of a dark artifact, instead of saving me... the ones I called friends thought it best to end me. So I killed them all, if that makes me evil I have no regrets.
8 I have saved so many lives in my life, yet I am called evil for the ones I took to save them.
9 Despite fighting the darkness all my life I was saved from death by a dark entity (vampire, demon lord, devil, god, etc.) which has reshaped how I see the world.
10 The whispers of a dark entity have placed doubts in my mind. "Why would the gods curse you with mortality? How cruel must they be..."

Feature: A Tragic Fate[edit]

Your story is known by many, commoners and nobles alike; whether spread by a bards solemn song, a storytellers grim tale, or as a result of your actions. Upon discovering these tales are true many may fear you, but also sympathize with your plight. Even if you are heartless, they might not be. They may even feel inclined to look past even the worst crimes and depravities, knowing they may not be of your own choosing. At the very least they may be willing to hear you out when questionable situations do arise.

Alternate Feature: Reborn in Darkness[edit]

When darkness fell upon you, rather than finding death or torment you found salvation. Despite any hesitation to accept this Dark Gift you eventually came to devote yourself to the darkness that spawned it. You are not it's master, merely a vassal, a whisper in the dark. Work with your Dungeon Master to come up with how this takes form: How did it change you? Why is it important to you or anyone else? What's its story? It is advised that you work with the DM to determine if this takes the form of a forbidden item, knowledge, marking, mutation, or mutilation. Though you may want the DM to invent these details as part of the campaign, learning about it naturally and allowing for character development and growth.

The Dungeon Master is free to use your Dark Gift in a variety of ways. Whether sending the player on quests to learn more of its history or completing various tasks in order to sustain, evolve, or empower the Dark Gift. In addition, the DM determines the extent of your Dark Gift, it's history, importance, and rivals who may seek it for themselves. For instance, if it's an object it might be a cursed magic item, a deformity that evolves over time, or an ability that is only revealed once the proper conditions or tasks have been completed.

The DM cannot disclose any details of your Dark Gift to any of the other players, it's up to you to decide whether to tell their companions about the Dark Gift or attempt to keep it hidden. Depending on the present company you might want to keep your Dark Gift and it's nature a secret as all power comes at a price, if not paid by you it's paid by others. You may use the table below to determine the nature of the Dark Gift. (Inspired by Inheritor background)

d8 Dark Gift
1 See Trinkets (Chapter 5. pg 159 PHB)
2 A Cursed Weapon, Armor, Jewelry, etc.
3 Forbidden Knowledge (Examples: ToA Nanny Pu'pu's resurrection ritual)
4 A Dark Artifact (Examples: Eye or Hand of Vecna, Book of Vile Darkness)
5 Forbidden Magic (Examples: Casting of any Necromancy Spell outside of their class)
6 Tattoo, Scar, or Body Marking
7 Mutation / Mutilation (Examples: Sibriex Mutation, CoStrahd Death Options, Libris Mortis pg. 27, Fiend Folio pg. 207, Lords of Madness pg. 216 Graft Flesh, etc.)
8 See Gothic Trinkets (CoStrahd Character Options)

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

Your past does not define who you are but rather guide what you will become. Though not to a Fallen Hero, they typically think of their past as defining who they are. Latching onto an idea, value, or concept to give them a sense of self. So they commonly fall into the grey as a virtuous villain or a dark hero; with both benevolent and damning qualities they tread the line between what it means to be good or evil.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I fear no evil, for I have become it.
2 The truth has been bestowed upon me, I will bestow it upon others.
3 I am the dark whisper that drives kings mad, I am rightfully feared.
4 My past speaks for itself, so I do not speak of it.
5 There is no joy in what I have become, though I press on.
6 I will never falter in my duty, no matter what I must do.
7 My fate is grim, thus I am inclined to save others from theirs.
8 Given my past, no one can blame me for my lack of faith.
d6 Ideal
1 Honor. I may fall, but my Honor is eternal. (Lawful)
2 Loyalty. Even if it meant walking through hell or laying siege to the heavens, my loyalty once given will never be rescinded. (Lawful)
3 Freedom. Let the truth set you free, I have. (Chaotic)
4 Redemption. The sins of my past haunt me, and in turn I will haunt the sinners. (Good)
5 Faith. Only in darkness can you see the light. (Evil)
6 Order. Through knowledge, I find power. Through power, I gain strength. Through strength, I create order. Through order, there is finally peace. (Lawful)
d6 Bond
1 I am heartless and I am cold. Yet, it does not mean I do not care.
2 There is no sacrifice I will not make to uphold my honor.
3 Even if I must become a monster, I am doing it for those I seek to protect.
4 My loyalty to my master is without question, so I will never question my master.
5 I will find redemption, even if it costs me everything.
6 It was by the dark powers that I found salvation. I will never forget this.
d6 Flaw
1 I was once hero, yet how far I've fallen. I can trust no one, not even myself.
2 I serve the darkness with all it entails despite knowing the risks.
3 I serve my master without question, even if it means committing evil.
4 I take pride in my honor, even if it leads me to an early grave I will not falter.
5 Absolute loyalty is the only true virtue, anything less deserves death.
6 I fail to comprehend why others cannot understand that my actions no matter how vile are in the end the only way to save them.

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