Metal Worker (5e Background)

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Metal Worker

By ilison

You grew up with a hammer in your hand and fire at your back. Having grown up with the business of metalcraft as a constant, you are very learned in the ways of metal mining, smelting, casting, forging, and finishing, even if you are not necessarily personally practiced in those various crafts. With swarf under your heels, and clinker under your nails, you have endured the heat and choking smoke of metal shops for years. Your hands are calloused, and your body has adapted to be quite sturdy to accommodate the labor. Your body holds a record of every lesson hard learned, in the form of scars from various burns and scaldings, infections from metal slivers, cuts from scrap, friction burns from grinding wheels, and more. Metalworkers are tough, hard people, as if they are stone made flesh, and hold an important place in society somewhat outside of the traditional social hierarchy, because all of civilization depends on their artistry.

Discuss the circumstances of your experience with your DM. Were you an apprentice to a blacksmith, or did you teach yourself the ways of the forge? What types of weapons are your specialty? Why did you choose the gritty path of metalwork? What was your role in the forge - apprentice, designer, forger, salesperson, or some other role? Who was you mentor? Were you interned in a local shop, or perhaps you sought guidance from dwarvish masters themselves?

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Insight

Tool Proficiencies: Smith's tools

Languages: Dwarvish or one other standard language of those who taught you

Equipment: A set of smith's tools, a sledge hammer, a merchant's scale, a set of common clothes, a work apron, a pair of elbow-length leather gloves, an eye patch, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp



d8 Specialization
1 Weaponsmith. A type of smith who specializes in the craft of weapons. These metalworkers typically work in bronze, iron, or steel, though very early weaponsmiths worked in copper. Specialists include arrowsmiths, who craft arrowheads, and bladesmiths, who craft fine-edged tools.
2 Armorer. A type of smith who specializes in the crafting of metal armor components, including rivets, buckles, studs, grommets, lames, chainmail, and even plate components.
3 Metalsmith. Blacksmiths work ferrous metals, whitesmiths work tin or pewter, brassfounders work brass, coppersmiths work in copper, finesmiths work gold and silver. All of these craftsmen produce practical goods from their respective material expertise, from tools, to furniture, to ornaments, to jewelry.
4 Minter. A metalsmith in the direct employ of a sovereign state, authorized in the minting of currency in the form of coinage.
5 Metallurgist. A metal-chemist who specializes in mixing base-metals and other chemicals to produce alloys, and treating metals to produce different grades of the same material with unique properties.
6 Smelter. Works in a smelt shop, operating a smelting furnace. You take raw ores, crush them into powder, and heat them with mixed chemical agents such as flux, until the metals inside melt, allowing the metal to be separated from its gangue. This raw metal is then cast into a preform called an ingot, billot, or bar.
7 Founder. Works in a foundry, pouring metal positives from molds. Most castings are raw shapes which are then forged into something useful by a smith, like iron bars, but some goods are made directly as a casting, such as cast-iron cookware, anchors, ballast, or anvils.
8 Machinist. A metalworker supremely skilled in the technical labor of metal finishing in practical applications, typically in the creation and maintenance of machines.

Feature: Knowledge of the Trade

You can start and keep a roaring fire with ease, and can arrange materials to concentrate the heat in a fire, as if it were a forge. You know and recognize all manner of metalworking tools, and can recognize when an area has been used as part of a metalworking operation. You can identify geological features created by mining, such as yellow boy, slag heaps, tailings, and spoil tips. You can also assess the quality of a metal object from its color, feel, weight, and (if you worked with steel or brass) sound, and you can use this knowledge to identify frauds and assess value. You know how to care for metals such as to protect them from corroding as easily from normal use. You have advantage on any skill checks relating to crafting an item that relates to the specialization you chose.

Suggested Characteristics

Metal workers are very personable, but also must be firm. They must deal with lots of people trying to pull a fast one on them and therefore tend to be a bit gritty. It takes a while to warm up to them, but once won over, metal workers are loyal friends for life.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I make light of violence and death.
2 Sometimes I pretend to be uneducated to avoid uninteresting conversation.
3 I have a crude sense of humor.
4 I’m always trying to find the best deal possible, even for the smallest of trinkets.
5 I grew up lonely and isolated, so people skills aren't really my thing.
6 Sarcasm and insults are my true weapons of choice.
7 I'm never too far from a tavern or a good time.
8 I am always ready to fight.
d6 Ideal
1 Fairness. I never offer overpriced goods to people who can’t afford to lose a few coins. (Lawful)
2 Generosity. My talents were given to me so that I could use them to benefit the world. (Good)
3 Authority. I do as I wish- who's going to stop me? (chaotic)
4 Greed. I’m only in it for the money. (Evil)
5 People. I’m committed to my comrades, not to ideals. (Neutral)
6 Aspiration. I work hard to be the best there is at my craft. (Any)
d6 Bond
1 The workshop where I learned my trade is the most important place in the world to me.
2 I created a great work for someone, and then found them unworthy to receive it. I’m still looking for someone worthy.
3 One day I will return to my forge and prove that I am the greatest artisan of them all.
4 I strive to pay back my metal working mentor for forging me into the person I am today.
5 Someone stole one of my most prized creations. One day, I will make them pay.
6 My weapons were once used for evil purposes. Never again will someone take advantage of me.
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’m quick to assume that someone is trying to cheat me.
4 I’m horribly jealous of anyone who can outshine my handiwork. Everywhere I go, I’m surrounded by rivals.
5 No one must ever learn that I once ripped off a noble family for my own gain.
6 I’ m never satisfied with what I have— I always want more.

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