Nomad (5e Background)

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Gypsy Girls, by Nicolay Bessonov

"Nomad" is a term for a member of any itinerant culture; that is, a cultural group which lacks any geographic claim. Nomad cultures typically spawn from a region or nation undergoing some great hardship, forcing a mass exodus. Due to the nature of their lifestyle, most nomad cultures are temporary, lasting only until they find new lands to settle in. However, some groups are doomed to wander endlessly, forever outsiders, a vagrant culture. Given enough time, nomad cultures will slowly lose their own history as their oral tradition distorts with each generation, and their own culture becomes distinct and independent as they absorb elements of other cultures and write their own myths. Because they are often an offshoot of older traditions, many nomad cultures may have values which seem quaint, antiquated, or archaic, even to contemporary folk of their source culture. Because they are foreigners everywhere they go, nomads are often the target of ignorance and fear, characterized as a culture of thieves, barbarians, devil worshippers, and other such nonsense by the uneducated and xenophobic. Even well-educated folk may express such prejudice toward nomads to achieve their own agendas, such as using them as scapegoats, building nationalist attitudes, finding a new source of slave labor, or justifying unfair taxation and laws. All of this forces nomads to lead a hard life, always travelling, and always faced with ignorance and prejudice wherever they arrive. With each passing generation, their culture becomes more unique, and their chances of ever reaching their destination slowly disappear.

What was it like living on the road? What was your caravan like? Do your people remember where they came from? How long have your people been on the road? How were you raised? Why did you leave the caravan? What do you think of other nomad cultures? What do you think of settled folk? How far have you traveled, and what strange sights have you seen? How did your people sustain themselves? Have you ever faced prejudice or ignorance? Have you ever been forced to do immoral or unethical things just to survive? Does your caravan still exist out there somewhere?

Skill Proficiencies: Performance, Survival

Tool Proficiencies: A musical instrument of your choice

Languages: One exotic language

Equipment: A bedroll, a set of traveler's clothes, a blanket, an ink pen and vial of ink, a journal of your previous travels, a trinket from your travels, and a belt pouch containing 5 gold.

Feature: Family Everywhere[edit]

Living on the road with a performing troupe leaves you with kin in many places, such as various camps, settlements, and travelling shows. All nomads stand in defense of their family, (however loosely defined that may be) and are known to each other through subtle caravan markings, hand signals, and traditional ceremonies. Every nomad family has their own unwritten code of loyalty. Any nomad found violating the tennets of the family will find themselves on the outside looking in; always wanting but never finding shelter or help. As it's said, 'Word travels quickly on roads but lingers in cities.' An ousted nomad never finds haven in or out of towns. Work with your DM to figure out where you have family, who they are, and what your family's values are.

Alternate Feature: Exoticism[edit]

A nomad's life is full and rich with music and tales to mesmerize a crowd. You live for the refinement of a tale, the discovery of a new song, and the applause of the crowd; not to mention all the coin it can bring. Your attire, accent, and traditions stand out and are unique, carrying the air of the mysterious and novel wherever you go. You can easily draw the attention of a crowd, whether you want it or not.

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

d8 Personality Trait
1 I quickly pick up on local accents and begin imitating them almost immediately.
2 I don't take situations seriously and have no sense of responsibility.
3 I spend a lot of my time practicing my instrument, dance, or tale-telling.
4 I often over-exaggerate my past or dance around the subject.
5 I feel more comfortable outside than inside.
6 I deliberately draw attention to myself in social gatherings.
7 I don't take problems seriously and try to downplay danger.
8 I take life way too seriously and have problems relaxing.
d6 Ideal
1 Trust I trust in the family and the mutual benefits we provide together. (Good)
2 Envy I envy people who have the easy life and wish ill fortune on them. (Evil)
3 Diplomatic I know and strive to comply with the laws and customs of the places I visit. (Lawful)
4 Joy I revel in the life of a nomad and the freedom it brings. (Chaotic)
5 Love Love is within and without; music, wine, a lover. Love knows no boundaries. (Any)
6 Distrustful I tend to be wary of anyone who is not a nomad. (Any)
d6 Bond
1 When a family member is in need, I am there.
2 Life is song, a dance, a story, and a play. Letting these things fade is a crime.
3 Wanderlust is in my blood and in my bones. I will not remain in one place for more than a full moon cycle.
4 Being an artful dodger means having to pack up and move in a moment's notice. Ah, the life of a nomad!
5 My instrument is precious to me and a part of me. I protect it at all costs.
6 Letting a love go is unspeakable sadness. Like a drunkard to ale, I will find it again!
d6 Flaw
1 I have a rather strange phobia
2 I can't bring myself to save another who I don't believe would return the favor.
3 I can't be trusted with valuables and will often sell what I don't need.
4 My curiosity often gets the better of me.
5 I more than likely see it as "it's too good to be true" when given a hand out.
6 Sometimes I can't let go of events I have experienced in other cities.

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