This document discusses how the PHB backgrounds relate to the cultures of Noefra. Custom backgrounds are welcome and the rules for those are presented here as well.

Custom Backgrounds

Customizing your background can be done in several ways. First, you can always trade out any of the following:

  • Any skill for a different skill.
  • Any tool or language proficiency for another tool or language proficiency (including tool for language or vice versa).
  • The background feature for another printed background feature.

Or, you can create your own from scratch. Follow these rules:

  • Choose two skills.
  • Choose two languages or tools (or one language and one tool).
  • Choose starting equipment
    • A pouch of gold between 10 and 20 gp.
    • A flavor item (unique tool, such as shovel, a musical instrument, etc).
    • 1-2 trinkets
  • Choose one of the printed background features or talk to the DM to determine a suitable feature.

 Background Peculiarities by Starting Region

Not all backgrounds fit as written for all regions. For example, there are no human (or halfling) hereditary aristocrats in the Council Lands. Thus, the Noble background needs modification. Backgrounds not mentioned can be used as written.

The Council Lands

  • Common races: Human, Halfling, Elf (both), Half-elf, Dwarf (any).
  • Rare races: Tiefling, Aasimar, Half-orc.
  • Noble (modified for Humans and Halflings only): Instead of being part of a hereditary aristocracy, you are the child who was brought up by a high-ranking member of one of the powerful Guilds. Choose one of the following guilds or use the Knight variant as written.
    • Commerce: Merchants and traders. Recovering from disgrace, this guild is trying to re-acquire the power and prestige it once held.
    • Agriculture: Land barons. Common among halflings. Noted for cultural and religious conservatism, this is the closest to the feudal noble as you can get from this culture.
    • Forestry: Wood products and furs. Organized more like Scottish clans than a normal Guild. Families often feud with other families.
    • Mining: Metal, stone, and manufacturing. Humans and halflings tend to be on the manufacturing side, as dwarves dominate the extraction side.
  • Noble (Wood-elf): You are from one of the semi-nomadic tribes that loosely pays allegiance to the Council. Consider trading Persuasion for Survival or Nature.
  • Sailor (any): The only sailing done is fishing on Lake Co'yin. Piracy is known, but rare. Another variant would be Caravaneer, trading vehicles (water) for vehicles (land) and gaining advantage on haggling checks. Instead of passage on a ship, you gain passage on a trade caravan. 

 The Stone Throne

  • Common races: Human, Half-elf, Yuan-ti Pureblood.
  • Rare races: Dwarf, Tiefling.
  • Yuan-ti Purebloods should not choose the Noble background, as they are still mostly considered second-class citizens.
  • Sailing is very rare (as there is only one major body of water in the Southern District and none in any others). Consider using the Caravaneer variant (described above).

Windwalker Goblins

  • Race: Hobgoblin
  • Sailor does not work for this origin. It's an entirely landlocked culture.
  • Acolyte: exchange for Shaman's Apprentice. Change Religion skill to Arcana.

Byss

  • Common races: Human, Wood Elf, Half-elf, Genasi
  • Rare races: Dragon-born, Aasimar
  • Acolyte: since very few Byssians worship the Congregation, acolytes are either caretakers of ancestor-worship shrines, shrines to local spirits, or other local facilities.

The Remnant Dynasty

  • Common races: Dragonborn, Half-orc, Hobgoblin
  • Rare races: Human, wood-elf, half-elf
  • Hobgoblins and Half-orcs should not chose the Noble background unless they take the Knight variant.
  • As with the Windwalker goblin tribes, the sailor background does not work. Use the Caravaneer, described above.