Thursday 2 February 2023

Shadelport Background Tables

In an age of squalor and darkness undreamed of, people need awful quick backgrounds. So their character can quickly get in the dungeon and be killed in the first room and make another character fast. Who can devise the most gloomcore background for your tragic ever suffering protagonist?

Villein are commoners, townsmen and serfs or worse with obligations to lords
Guilders are educated, shop keepers and professional craftsmen
Aristocrats are from the inbred and cruel families of the nobility

Villein Early Years Backgrounds
1 Feral child living off scraps found in trash, maybe found by gang or clergy
2 Parents were outlaws living in the wild because of some crime
3 Lived as one of the sewer children of the city, maybe linked to a crime guildor a cult
4 Family were beggars and abandoned you for not being hideous or disabled enough
5 Family lived in city ghetto always after work, scrounging for food and petty crime
6 Family owned by serfs belonging to a cruel estate owner and you escaped
7 Mutant family in a ghetto or shantytown abandoned you as an embarrassment
8 Families of paupers arrived in area and sold you to make money 
9 Mostly absent drunken parents would come home to beat you once a week
10 Found floating in an open sewer and taken to an orphanage sweatshop to earn your keep
11 Taken by child stealers and sold 
12 Family were nice but all died of the plague as they worked with cities dead, human waste and garbage

d12 Villein Later Years Backgrounds
1 Recognised for cleverness and church took an interest in your education
2 Sold into an apprenticeship and put to work as crafters servant 
3 Worked as a travelling labourer and struggled to find home, work or food
4 Mercenary made you a servant to help glean from dead on battlefields
5 Recruited into a secret criminal guild and swore an oath 
6 Educated by older kindly local who hoped you might take over their research or duties, then you found out they were part of a cult with an interest in you so you fled
7 Married young and had to work hard and it was dreadful, your spouse died or ran away or disappeared
8 Spent some time with travelling players, bards, poets and carnival folk
9 Put in prison and possibly got here on a penal ship as convict labour
10 Lived in plague colony but given holy healing, kicked out of colony and beggers guild
11 Pressganged and ended up at sea for years in the islands
12 Employed by murder hobos to hold lanterns and ten-foot poles when they caught you stealing vegetable peel to eat from garbage

d12 Guilders Early Years Backgrounds
1 Put to work in a family sweatshop 
2 Swapped with another child in a different family who were mean
3 Strict religious family beat you daily and banned all fun
4 Families were members of a cult who lived in fear of being discovered
5 Family had to sell you to pay some bills to a better-off family as a servant
6 Adopted as a companion and servant for a chosen child of a well-off family 
7 Family of travelling merchants killed by bandits stranding you here
8 Cruel siblings tormented and framed you raise their own position
9 Raised by house servants and came to love them more than real family
10 Went to a strict school with severe disciple away from family
11 Family had creepy detailed marriage plans for you to cement a trade deal
12 Family was respectable, upright decent but were massacred by some evildoers

d12 Guilders Later Years Backgrounds
1 Became apprenticed and graduated and completed your journeyman trip
2 Went to school and learned lots about drinking and the class system
3 Became assistant clerk in the guildhall and did lots of paperwork and counting
4 Recruited by a professional adventurer to learn the trade of graverobbing and monster hunting
5 Worked in a nice shop until the owner wanted to marry you
6 Worked in a shop but it was targeted by a crime guild and they marked you as a troublemaker
7 Had to flee your good career when you were accused of a scandal
8 Locked into a tedious boring contract for years and longed for escape and freedom
9 Worked for good master who craved your sweetheart so they framed you for crime and you had to flee
10 Worked in a craft hall but discovered they had a secret zombie sweatshop made from workers who died in their factories. They didn't want anyone to know so you had to flee 
Exposed for your rakish antics with disreputable gamblers, fornicators and drug fiends and caste out of polite society
12 Served a master who turned out to be a traitor and a cult leader and others assume you were in on it

d12 Aristocrat Early Years Backgrounds
1 Raised in a tower with a servant to protect you from enemies
2 Family violently massacred by the rival branch at a feast and only you got away
3 Siblings all died from some curse 

4 Sent in a hostage swap peace deal to live with another family 
5 Childhood peers and siblings threw puppies off castle walls and other experiments
6 Mother was murdered and new mom was a real witch
7 Family hide a secret prehuman bloodline and had a crypt with ancestors' alien remains
8 Several family members died brawling with each other or playing martial sports
9 Discovered a relative was secretly performing occult rites
10 Sent to a church for education and upbringing
11 Sent to be raised by a family vassal to make you extra tough with healthy beatings and rough living
12 Kept as a hostage in a cage so important relative could be free, took them a while to free you

d12 Aristocrat Later Years Backgrounds
Had a life of leisure and balls and parties. Everything was planned out for you and a marriage arranged
2 Family violently massacred by the rival branch at a feast and only you got away
You were exposed for your rakish life with disreputable gamblers, fornicators and drug fiends and caste out of polite society
At a fancy orgy and all was great until the otherworldly creatures started to arrive
Had a life of leisure and balls and parties. Everything was planned out for you and a marriage arranged
6 Family home was attacked and everyone was murdered by the current occupants. Somehow they made it legal
7 Had to manage a family business or property and everything went wrong and you were driven away by angry relatives
8 Married off to a pervert or cultist who had some strange designs on your body. Family don't believe you and wants to take you back
9 Spent many years in foreign lands serving family and assisting older relatives. Eventually, the foreign business collapsed and now your surviving family think you are worthless
10 Joined a fraternal order of like-minded noble friends only to find out they were cultists and murderous rakes. For exposing them they now want you dead
11 Backed a power grab for the family and chose wrong side. The other side had mysterious allies who funded the victory. Now an outcaste and hunted by killers
12 Sent for training as an adventurer for coming troubles ahead. Made some good friends and some enemies

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