Town Apothecary (5e Background)

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Town Apothecary[edit]

It's a simple life cutting herbs, grinding clippings into salves, and mixing potions. At some point your service to your town village came to an end, however, and you went off in search of adventure. Perhaps you were seeking to expand your horizons and become the best apothecary you could be, maybe you want to find a rare herb... or you just got bored. Whatever your reasons, you've taken up a life on the road, and your time spent in the field collecting herbs, as well as the hours you spent in your lab, might just give you an edge in the world of exploration and adventuring.

Skill Proficiencies: Medicine, Nature

Tool Proficiencies: Herbalism Kit and Brewer's Supplies (or Cook's Utensils)

Languages: None

Equipment: A herbalism kit, field apron (equivalent of traveller's clothes), a journal containing notes on curative salves and medicinal potions, a pouch containing 10 gold pieces.


Your services as an apothecary likely focused on a single aspect of the career.

d6 Specialization
1 Sickness (Poultices)
2 Herbal Enhancement (Salves)
3 Spiritual Guidance (Teas)
4 Arcane Reagents (Potions)
5 Midwife/Child Birthing (Salves)
6 Mental Anguish (Teas/Potions)

Green Thumb[edit]

Mother Nature provides a great many gifts to her children if only they know where to look. When you see a plant, you may spend 1 minute examining it, determining if it has potentially beneficial properties, potentially harmful properties, or if the plant is benign and otherwise mundane.

Additionally, if you find any particularly useful herbs or plants, you may spend 10 minutes taking notes on it, recording its appearance, scent, taste, the location in which you found it, and the apparent requirements for the herb's growth.

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

While you may not fit any of these characteristics exactly, they're a good place to start!

d8 Personality Trait
1 I just want to be gardening...
2 I am enamored by all of the unique sights, sounds, scents, and sensations of the world around me!
3 Plants don't talk much, and neither do I.
4 Speaking regularly to houseplants improves their health and growth. Maybe the same works with people?
5 Like tea with honey, I am sweet and earthy and like to make you feel at home. (Interpret "earthy" however you see fit)
6 Like a cure for a fever, I am bitter, I sting, and I am likely to leave a bad taste in your mouth.
7 Like a nightshade plant, I am deceptively innocent seeming and sweet, but take from me and you will suffer.
8 I'm sort of like a potato. Kind of bland, not the prettiest, but I am robust, adaptable, and even if you don't admit it, you love me.
d6 Ideal
1 Nature. We take from the world around us daily, it is how we live. One day, we will have to return what we have taken. (Neutral)
2 Care. If simply grinding leaves and roots into a poultice can help others so much, how much could I do for others if I tried? (Good)
3 Decay. My herbs grow best when I mix carrion into the soil. Death fuels life, and I'm keen to perpetuate that cycle. (Chaotic)
4 Patience. To ensure a proper yield of herbs, one must resist the desire to harvest at first signs of growth. People are much the same. (Lawful)
5 Knowledge. In all things from herbalism to life itself, nothing grows without the knowledge to cultivate that growth. (Any)
6 Pruning. If you do not prune undesirable growth from your herbs, they will wilt and die. It seems that mankind needs a proper cleanse... (Evil)
d6 Bond
1 I was teaching a child in my hometown to take on the role of apothecary.
2 I met a Fey when I was lost and starving in the forest. That fey taught me all I know of natural remedies and living off of paltry herbs.
3 I've never been able to relate to people, but my gardens, I understand perfectly and love dearly.
4 The forests of the world are very dear to me.
5 I am forever in debt to the person who trained me to be an apothecary.
6 Nature is beautiful, and I hope I can learn more about it during my travels.
d6 Flaw
1 If a plant could be useful, I will always take it with me, no matter how foul it smells.
2 I grow angry if people step on strange or useful plants.
3 I am addicted to my own wares.
4 I will never be satisfied until I can make a certain potion.
5 I'm absolutely convinced that my remedies are the "correct" way to treat one's affectations, regardless of what others say.
6 I'm not great at distinguishing between helpful and harmful plants in the wild. They're always labeled at the shop!

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