Gaslamp, Steampunk and Weird West NPCs for D&D 5th Edition on Daemons & Deathrays~
Doctor Necrotic over on Daemons & Deathrays has notes on Steampunk/Weird West/Gaslamp NPCs for D&D 5th:
Factory Stacks and Sixgun Shootists – Gaslamp & Weird West Backgrounds for D&D 5th Edition
Not all who dwell in dark gaslamp lit towns and cities are called by the darkness. Some take more heroic and honorable pursuits. Of course, these people are just as susceptible to the darkness as the more “accursed” among them. Noble deeds can be tainted and benevolent action can devolve into a fanatical crusade. But in proper moderation and reflection, these heroes can be true champions of not only their ideals but for others as well. A harsh society is made all the more overwhelming by the presence of dark forces. In fighting them, even the most pure of hearts can fall to their wickedness. Those who are careful prove to be the truest exemplars of righteousness and courage, but few rise up to the occasion. Like countless others who are forced to take a stand, these mere everyday people must overcome extreme odds for not only victory, but survival as well.
Author’s Note: I tried to write as much as possible for this one! After all, my last background post was a fair bit skimpier. With that, I went a bit more overboard by giving you 4 new backgrounds and 2 variant backgrounds! All of them fit a general 19th century inspired fantasy/horror/adventure theme! Also, be on the look out for my next post! It’s a tie in to a certain blog carnival theme for this month!!
Variant Soldier: Marshal
You are a lawman, appointed by an official order to watch over and ensure the peace of a settlement. In cooperation with the local government, stability and protection are your main priorities. Whether you’re just a struggling sheriff or a representative of federal law, you uphold your principles to the best of your ability. For if you fail, the wastelands may consume the very people you aim to keep safe. That’s what I’ve been telling myself for years.
Skill Proficiency: Replace Athletics with Investigation
Tool Proficiency: You can swap out one of the proficiencies to take an Artisan tool that can be used for making posters.
Equipment: Insignia is represented by a badge or emblem detailing position, trophy is replaced with supplies for wanted posters
Feature: Frontier Justice
People recognize you as a figure of authority and power. Many respect that, others fear it, some even resent it. Fellow officers will recognize you and react accordingly, depending on how you have handled your job in the past. You can use your ability to gain access to places otherwise locked off, to utilize resources and to interrogate civilians. If trusted, you can be called upon to be part of an investigation. The privileges of this position should be used lightly, as built up resentment can turn the very town you protect against you.
You may swap out any references to military for law enforcement related references.
For a civilization to function, governance comes first! We set the rules, we create boundaries, we do what is necessary for the public’s good. Some criticize that we sometimes forgo the public interest for furthering of our own agenda, pish posh I say! We’re one of the few powers that keep sanity in tact, unlike those overpaid and useless constables. We should replace those oafs with our expert soldiers, then some real progress will begin…
Skill Proficiency: Deception, Persuasion
Tool Proficiency: Forgery Kit
Languages: One Non-Exotic Language of choice
Equipment: Expensive Suit, Suitcase, Written Speeches, Important Government Documents, Official’s Badge, Office Key, Forgery Kit, 15 gp
Feature: Rallying Speeches
You have the ability to engage a crowd and win them over towards you. Upon giving a speech for up to a few hours, there is a likely chance you can change the mood of any crowd that is listening one step towards friendly.
- A jolly acting official means a happier people.
- As the rightful ruler, attention should be on me. As the representative of this land, it’s only fair that I represent its greatness.
- Despite seeming worn out and fatigued, I think it helps add to a wise and tough persona that a politician should have.
- I’m blunt with others, to the point of being offensive at times.
- It’s best to hide things from others, using double speak and innuendo at times, in an effort to keep some away from the truth.
- Being a crowd-pleaser always works to your advantage, they usually don’t notice the pandering.
- An intellectual leader is a proper leader. After all, how can you lead without proper education?
- I don’t try to be too serious, even on the job. Too many rulers are too strict and stiff. They have no room to joke and have fun with others.
- Tyrant – Those who don’t submit to their overseers will be rightfully brutalized, if not worse… I rule over this place, be grateful you haven’t been executed at the capital building as an example! (Evil)
- Bureaucrat – We need to extend our reach and keep control of what we can, even at the expense of rights and liberties. Why? Because sometimes we need to do what we can to get the job down and keep the unlawful at bay. (Lawful)
- Libertarian – Perhaps restraints are a bit too tight here, so why not loosen them up a but? As long as we keep the people smart and resourceful, why should we butt in too much? (Chaotic)
- Egalitarian – I sought this position to make a change. I want to aid people however I can and ensure policies that will bring this land into a better age for all. (Good)
- Optimizer – It’s best if laws and sanctions are done in the name of efficiency. By streamlining and making improvements, all will benefit in the end. The clunky and old methods are replaced by the vastly superior. (Neutral)
- Realist – We can’t always accomplish the goals we set out for in life, being in office only proves this. We need to make compromises and find ways to make some goals viable, while realizing others aren’t. (Any)
- I treat the people I watch over like family, even the criminals. We’re all in this mess, together.
- Politics is just another business and my subjects are numbers. If I’m not calculating and flexible, I could lose too much in the end.
- I must prove myself to those who have doubted in my leadership abilities.
- Are those who struggle to follow my laws really criminals or just those pushed to desperation?
- My networks help to keep an eye on those I fear, if only to keep my mind at ease.
- I take no solace in representing all of these people, I do this job as a glorious burden.
- By being better than the previous ruler, the masses will love me!
- Sometimes I wonder if I’m the better person after all the horrible things I must approve/disapprove and the people I potentially ruin.
- My sadistic enjoyment of torturing political prisoners, traitors and other unsavory types knows no bounds.
- Anything outside of my personal viewpoint is labeled as seditious material. It is promptly banned and/or destroyed!
- I have a habit of creating/showcasing gruesome displays of power as a means of keeping the people in check and intimating my enemies.
- I’ve mismanaged taxes and money from the people on more than one occasion. Whether or not I have been caught is another story.
- I enjoy employing rhetoric and emotional reasoning in my speeches to rally up an easily manipulated lowest common denominator to my side.
- My lack of trust towards members of the government as well as civilians makes me very paranoid and anxious.
Woe to the lowly worker, forced to work in dirt and grime to ensure everyone else lives a relatively clean life. Such hard labor is a thankless job, except for the gratitude you might have for completely a lengthy and complicated task. Most of the time, it’s autonomous. We’re just cogs in the machine. Surely, there’s something more for me in this world? My knowledge of bashing parts together can be useful for something, right?
Skill Proficiency: Athletics, Perception or Performance
Tool Proficiency: Artisan’s Tools or Navigator’s Tools, Vehicle (Land or Sea)
Equipment: Sturdy Worker’s Garb, Comfortable Clothes, Job Relevant Artisan’s Tools, Punch Card, 10 GP
Feature: The Workers United
You can identify other working class people within various industries, relating to their struggles and hardships. Out of solidarity, many of these people willing to help you in some small way. This could be helping to find you work, a place to stay or some other deed.
- I do my best to put up with whatever I’m given. By remaining stoic, nothing will bother me, but I might miss the small joys of life too.
- If I can’t accomplish goals I set for myself, I’ll feel disappointed and angry with myself.
- My sense of humor and interactions tend to be rather crude. This isn’t limited to offensive remarks and whistling calls in parts of town.
- I’ve seen plenty of coworkers die on the job, so violence and death don’t phase me too much.
- I always seek out the best deal, but that’s from living in a survival mode of sorts.
- I may look gruff and grizzled, but I’m a very kind and gentle person.
- I want nothing more than a change of pace in my life, even if I risk the stability of my work place.
- I like motivating others any way I can. Since I work in a stark place, it’s one of the only ways to keep up productivity while keeping up morale.
- Perseverance. I know there’s no reward for all of this, but that doesn’t mean I can’t work for something better. (Neutral)
- Improvement. There are always ways to make a work place better and it’s only right to devote some free time to find them. (Good)
- Vindictive. Our struggle will be known through revolts of fire and blood. We must strike the bourgeoisie at their greedy hearts! I wait for the day to attack. (Evil)
- Mischief. Outright rampages are wrong, but slight manipulations and sabotage with no evidence is a good way to shake things up. (Chaotic)
- Civil Disobedience. I’ll find ways around the redundant and soul crushing tasks I’m forced to do, whether it’s streamlining through my own methods or simply avoiding the task at hand. (Chaotic)
- Orderly. I find ways to do things in ways that save time and increase productivity. I’m hoping that superiors will notice all of the improvements I help to make. (Lawful)
- Mocking the higher ups as the clowns they are helps to keep me sane.
- There isn’t much joy in the world, especially not in this grey and polluted prison that I’m confined to in the name of survival.
- I’m sick of work, I’m sick of money, I’m sick of it all. If I could help it, I’d live in the wild… but I’d probably die from not knowing what to do.
- The close company of my coworkers has provided a familial bond for when I can’t go home… and I rarely get the chance to spend time with my actual family.
- I blow some steam by looking for hobbies in the areas around my workplace.
- I have to keep myself in tip top shape, lest I risk under performing and losing my job.
- My misery has lead to bad habits, such as alcoholism or gambling.
- I’m prejudiced against anyone more wealthy than I am.
- I shift blame to others when I mess up, claiming little responsibility.
- I always smell like the awful stuff I worked with, I just can’t wash it off!
- Suppressed aggression makes me itch for a fight
- Feelings of insignificance and hopelessness have started a spiral into depression.
No Name Drifter
I’ve marched all over this damn world. Why I’ve done it? I can’t really say, I guess I just wanna comb the land and see what it has to offer. I’m no soldier, no hero, no embodiment of an ideal. I guess I just go where I’m needed or defend myself trying. Some people can’t handle my indifference towards them, but I can’t really fault myself for not wanting to get too deep into someone’s life or politics.
Skill Proficiency: Acrobatics, Stealth
Tool Proficiency: A Gaming Set, Gunsmith’s Tools.
Equipment: Comfortable Clothing, Gunsmith’s Tools, Explorer’s Kit, Bullet Pouch, 12 GP
Feature: Mysterious Stranger
You’re an enigma, that intrigues and scares people. You look like you’re the part for a job, but it seems next to impossible to gather your story… not that you’re willing to tell. People might see you as a potential mercenary or a potential threat, due to your seemingly non existent affiliations with anything or anyone. How you deal with this is your own decision.
- I go countless days without bathing or properly cleaning myself, often because I’m so used to travel.
- If I’m stationary for too long, I get uncomfortable.
- Being sarcastic and witty is my defense mechanism.
- No one really knows what I want or what I’m feeling, I’m an enigma. I prefer to shift focus away from myself, if I can help it.
- I’ve seen crime families, warfare, some of the most vicious bounties in existence. I fear no one.
- Since I tend to hold no one dear, I’m very close to my supplies and especially my weapons. They’re an extension of myself.
- I need to prep myself and make sure everything’s locked and loaded, lest enemies jump me.
- I used to be a top shootist, mowing people down by the bunches. Gov. Agent, Lawman, Merc, Bounty Hunter… doesn’t matter. I’m tired of killing if I can help it.
- Mercenary. I do what I can for an honest dollar. Protect this, shoot this, whatever. I can’t be too attached to what I do. I use my talents, I get paid. (Any)
- Psychopath. I won’t deny that I genuinely enjoy the violence I do, it’s why I do it! My body count is quite the record and I’m proud of it. (Evil)
- Vigilante. The law’s no good, can’t help out the people at all. Too many authoritarian lawmen and bureaucratic politicians feeding them. You gotta take justice into your own hands! (Chaotic)
- Lone Marshal. You are indeed a voice of justice and order, you’re just as rehearsed in law as others in the field too. However, you have no true home and take your justice on the roads. Unlike your sheriff peers, you keep your associations discreet. (Lawful)
- Traveling Helper. You’re no caped crusader or man of the law, you just care about helping out anyone you can. You stand by those in need and help take down those who cause trouble, never staying for a reward. (Good)
- Distant Observer. You drift along like something caught in the wind. You’re not a hired gun, but you’re not unwilling to take a job. You just want to explore the world and pick up a thing or two. (Neutral)
- I only do what I do as a means of supporting myself. I was taught at a young age that the world won’t help you, so you need to be self-sufficient.
- In the end, I’m traveling to find somewhere to eventually settle down in, perhaps find someone else I can spend time with.
- A great wandering hero inspired me ages ago.
- I left almost everything behind long ago, I miss it sometimes.
- It’s hard for me to open up towards others, but the few friends I do have mean everything to me.
- Practice is the sole reason the wastelands haven’t claimed me.
- My morals tend to be easily changed by cash.
- I honestly don’t care who I hurt or kill most of the time.
- I might betray my allies if it means I get ahead.
- I wander to keep my mind off of nasty vices, but I end up indulging them somehow.
- I’m really good at making enemies, they’re probably out to get me.
- I’m haunted by the kills of my past, perhaps literally.
Sage Variant: The Occultist
For better or worse, I am your guide into the realms of the supernatural. Without a proper conduit between our world and theirs, you risk becoming lost… whether in another world or to potentially dark influences. So please, place trust in me as I take you beyond that which you are accustomed to.
Skill Proficiency: Replace History with Religion
Tool Proficiency: Instead gain One Gaming Set or Herbalism Kit.
Languages: Instead, gain One Language.
Equipment: Writing supplies, a cherished item given by a dead friend slain by the occult, a set of common clothes, one piece of paranormal paraphernalia (crystal ball, tarot deck, a sinister artifact)
Feature: Esoteric Knowledge
You know places you can venture to in order to learn more about the occult. In addition, these secretive places can provide adequate shelter, provided your allies can remain incognito. Furthermore, people will seek you out for your somewhat extensive knowledge of the strange and bizarre.
It’s unlikely you have students like the scholar, so much as you’re an active scholar of the supernatural, yourself! As such, modify the following characteristics from the background as you see fit.
Science is only limited by those who refuse to be creative, those who are bound by petty morals, those who let society do their thinking for them! I am a creator that is not inhibited by such a constraining and stifling mindset. Let me show you all that science truly has to offer!
Skill Proficiency. Insight, Investigation,
Tool Proficiency. Tinker’s Tools, Advanced Science Kit*
Feature: FOR SCIENCE!
You prefer to commune with other scientists, discussing ideas and showcasing your incredible work. As such, you have a network of people where you can hide as well as share innovations. In fact, some may be willing to sell or buy technological items.
- There’s nothing I love more than cracking mysteries, which is what science is!
- I’m not too awkward to deal with others, others are too awkward to deal with me!
- Superstition will only end if I spread my wealth of knowledge to all willing to listen.
- I hate ignorant dolts who refuse to learn!
- If faced with a monster of incomprehensible origin and it wants to eat me, I’m more concerned with seeing what I can learn from it.
- I get very fidgety and nervous when I’m unable to get to my projects and experiments for a long time!
- I’m so wrapped up in my work that I don’t talk much. However, when I do, I emphasize a verbose prose and a proper grammatical structure.
- As long as I’m around those who are accepting of me and my tasks, I don’t care if they’re slow to understand what I do.
- Villain of Science. You treat the world as your test subjects and use your creations to destroy those who stand in your way. You shall conquer a world of savages with your SUPER SCIENCE! (Evil)
- Completely Mad. Why do you do the things you do? Why, for the sake of seeing what happens, of course! (Chaotic)
- Careful Tinkerer. Science has boundaries we must respect. However, I slowly tread them, never going too far or too fast. If I do, I ponder how to make proper preparations first. (Lawful)
- Helper. With my innovations and reasoning, I can help make a better world for all. Less disease, poverty, pollution, you name it! (Good)
- Hoarder. Why should I share my creations with the world? They’ll misuse them, they’ll abuse them! Few would understand them or me anyway. (Neutral)
- Scholar. I embark on experiments so I can learn. I want to know how and why. I want to know what we can learn from the end results, the beginning, the alternate timeline I can’t access from a drastic choice somewhere along the procedure! (Any)
- Since I attended University, I’ve been inspired to not only learn more but teach about the benefits of science.
- I come from a long line of alchemists, scholars, physicians and other active pursuers of scientific knowledge.
- I can’t let any of my data fall into the hands of rivals, it would ruin everything!
- I left behind those who proved too ignorant to understand me. It was a hard choice, but one for the better.
- As smart as I am, I’m not exactly the best at other attributes and would never travel the world alone.
- I used to have a family fortune, but experiments don’t fund themselves… and I don’t trust grants!
- Ia Ia Cthulhu Fhtagn! (If I see a being superior to us, I’ll rightfully support it!)
- Inferior minds deserve chastisement… or even obliteration.
- Some of my work has been used for awful means, causing immense guilt.
- My ego will not be defeated by an air head!
- I value scientific innovation over the supernatural any day.
- I’m mentally advanced, I’m socially and emotionally oblivious.
NEW ITEM – Advanced Science Kit – 50 GP, 5 lbs: This kit helps proficient users with a greater understanding of science. From test tubes and beakers to all sorts of minor gadgets centered around gathering knowledge, this is essential for anyone who wants to know about SCIENCE! Since this is a fantasy game and not realistic, while a proficient user has this tool, they add a proficiency bonus to all Intelligence checks to made to recall anything related to science, scientific inquiry, research into scientific pursuits or the like.
Art Credits: Dunwall Wallpaper – nordlicht/Arkane Studios, Election Day Slaughter – AEG, Boss Tweed – Thomas Nast, Film Still – Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Vox Populi concept – Irrational Games, Man with No Name – huy_truong, seance table – unknown, Steampunk Pinocchio – Fabricio Moraes
Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.