Squire (5e Background)

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This background has been protected as an example for the 5e Background Design Guide. Please discuss any changes you would like to make on the discussion page.  --Kydo (talk) 13:11, 6 September 2016 (MDT)


A squire (Source)

You were the shield-bearer for a knight, and in training to become a knight yourself. You carried out various tasks for your liege, such as saddling his horse, carrying weapons and armor, or holding his flag in battle. As a page-boy or girl you had already received an education that may have included horse-riding, hunting, hawking, combat, music and board games. At the age of 15 you were sworn in as a squire, accompanied your liege on his duties, and received further training in the chivalric code, mounted combat and the history of royalty and nobles.

You should decide on some details of your liege, particularly his or her name and personality. What were his virtues; was he honourable, brave, or kind? What were his failings; was he cruel, or lazy, or arrogant? Did he give you a chance to prove yourself in combat? Was he lenient with you, or did he give you an excessive workload? Were you satisfied with your duties, or did you become disillusioned with the life of a knight?

How did your life as a squire end? You may have been dubbed into knighthood; your liege may have been killed or murdered; or did you abandon your duties?

Skill Proficiencies: Animal Handling, Athletics

Tool Proficiencies: Dragonchess set, one type of musical instrument

Equipment: a set of livery clothes, a pot of metal polish, a set of traveller's clothes, a belt pouch with 10 gp

Feature: Arma Patrina

Despite all your training, you did not qualify for knighthood. Perhaps you never proved yourself, or grew too old, or could not afford the expenses of knighthood. However, your upbringing is still recognized by the courts of your nation: you are called "arma patrina". You are allowed to wear your livery clothes, carry a shield displaying your escutcheon, and bear arms exclusive to knights (typically a lance).

In addition, you have courtly savoir faire and know the conventions of life at a castle: graceful greetings, dining etiquette, rules of tournaments, where to find the blacksmith, and so forth.

Alternate Feature: Quest

You completed your training and received your accolade of knighthood. However, either by your own will, or by that of the sovereign, you have not been awarded land. As a result, you are unlanded nobility, with no estate to speak of, making you a Knight- (or Dame-) Errant. In order to be awarded your estate, you must complete a grand quest. This quest may be any number of things, such as finding an ancient holy relic, slaying a powerful monster, leading forces to victory in a war, winning the heart of a nobleman's heir... Work out what the quest is with your DM. Determine just how long it should take to accomplish. The longer the quest, the greater the reward should be. This reward of land is made in the place of other typical material rewards, and should be of approximately equal worth to what would have been earned otherwise. Knights-Errant do not normally stop doing what they do. Once one quest is completed, it is typically followed up by yet another glorious mission, sometimes even to the surprise of the Knight.

Suggested Characteristics

d8 Personality Trait
1 I am excited – perhaps naively – by castles, tournaments, and other romanticized aspects of knightly culture.
2 I am quick to befriend a horse or other noble mount.
3 I relish hard work, long marches and swordplay.
4 I regale my friends with apocryphal tales about famous knights and members of the royalty.
5 I know many tips about swordplay and am glad to spread them, sometimes to the annoyance of my warrior friends.
6 I am narrow-minded about things that happen outside my nation; I refuse to believe when my nation does something wrong.
7 I am gracious in defeat and humble in victory.
8 I seek to honor myself with glorious battles, or at least dream about doing so.
d6 Ideal
1 Chivalry. I respect the knightly code of conduct of bravery, honesty, generosity, and defending the weak. (Good)
2 Fealty. I remain true to oaths I pledge to my superiors, and I expect others to do the same. (Lawful)
3 War. Armies must be pitched against each other, infidels must be crushed without mercy. The larger the conflict, the more glory, and I must be at the forefront. (Evil)
4 Power. Being a squire was just a stepping stone. One day I shall be a lord. (Any)
5 Freedom. I was little more than a servant. No-one should endure a subservient position. (Chaotic)
6 Nation. I am proud of my nation, its achievements and its militant orders. (Any)
d6 Bond
1 I am still in a close relationship with my master/mistress, although he/she is not what they once were.
2 My liege retired from his quest to recover a holy relic – I will find it and prove my worth!
3 The castle I grew up in is ruined and forgotten, but I sometimes return to reflect on my past.
4 I will take revenge on the blackguard that slew my liege.
5 I want a bard or playwright to chronicle my adventures.
6 I am in love with a lord or lady but courtly rules prevent us from eloping.
d6 Flaw
1 I'm acutely aware of the social standing of my foes: overestimating my combat prowess against peasants but pulling my blows against nobles.
2 I won't carry anything for anyone else ever again.
3 I don't feel right unless I'm hauling four or more different weapons, and I'm eager to tell my comrades what they should be wielding.
4 If anyone insults my nation or my liege, I will not contain my rage.
5 I hide when a battle arrives and seek shelter like a coward. Maybe that is why I am not a knight.
6 I easily fall for any attractive prince or princess that I see, regardless of any rules or tradition.
(one vote)

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