Modern Backgrounds

 Posted by on July 26, 2012  Filed as: Steal this Background  Add comments  Topic(s):
Jul 262012

There are 809 Backgrounds on the Wizards of the Coast Compendium. That’s a lot of options. Depending on the setting your using, any may be appropriate. Here’s a small list of those that will most easily translate into a campaign with modern options.

Athlete (MP2),  Beggar (MP2), Brains (Dragon 381), Burglar (381), Circus Performer (MP2), Civic Reformer (393), Cult Survivor (ItU), Cultist (BoVD), Curious Archeologist (371), Cutpurse (381), Disgraced Noble (BoVD), Enlisted Soldier (EbPG), Geography [Any] (PH2), Grave Digger (380), Grifter (381), Heretic (DP), Instructor’s Child (374), Missionary Life (DP), Muscle (381), Occupation [Any] (Various), Reformed Villain (387), Scholarship Student (374), Society [Any] (PH2), Surgeon (380), Theologist (390), Vile Scholar (BoVD)

While I don’t want to replicate current options, these 809 options aren’t quite enough. We need a delivery system for our two new skills, and backgrounds are a better sacrifice to most players than a feat. The following backgrounds are specifically designed for Modern characters to gain the Mechanics or Science skill.

Airman by John Kroll


Type: Occupation

Setting : Modern

You served in your nations airforce or as a commercial pilot, learning the ins and outs of several kinds of planes. You came to know the sky well, and can read it for signs of a storm and heavy winds.

Associated Skills: Mechanics, Nature




Type: Occupation

Setting : Modern Your a skilled member of trade that requires training, but doesn’t generally require advanced education. You might in construction, an electrician or a mechanic.

Associated Skills: Athletics, Mechanics



Type: Occupation

Setting : Modern

Years of schooling and real world experience has given you real knowledge of modern medicine. You know how to treat the wounded, analyse illness and prescribe modern pharmaceuticals.

Associated Skills: Heal, Science



Type: Occupation

Setting : Modern

You’re a skilled academic researcher, in one of many fields, though you’ve learned a bit of everything. You’ve learned to analyse your environment, observe the details and direct this information into conclusions about the world.

Associated Skills: Perception, Science


BMW Motorcycle Stuntman by Magius Design


Type: Occupation

Setting : Modern

You’re a trained professional in the world of stage and screen. You can take a hit, and make the fall realistic. You’ve been behind the wheel of a number of vehicles and know how to maneuver them at high speeds.

Associated Skills: Acrobatics, Mechanics





Type: Occupation

Setting : Modern

Gadgets are like a natural extension of your hand. You might be a professional in Information Technology, an amateur hacker or just be addicted to cutting edge tech.

Associated Skills: Mechanics, Science

Brian Liberge

Brian Liberge is a father of one, living in Boston, MA. Introduced to AD&D at an early age, he’s continued to update with the editions, and new games. He loves home-brewed ideas, is honest to a fault, and thinks that ideas and mechanics should absolutely be shared between systems. With a B.S. Degree in Theatre Arts, a job in Information Technology, and a love of strategy gaming, he tries to bring the best of each into his new creations for StufferShack. Check out his latest book the Midgard Bestiary for 4e, available now. Profile Page / Article Portfolio

  2 Responses to “Modern Backgrounds”

  1. How about politician? Doesn’t have to mean high up, but as a British example, a local Councillor or civil servant could have a lot of the same access and low level skills as someone much higher up.

    Just a thought…

  2. Absolutely. The themes above were created specifically as delivery mechanisms for the new skills.

    Politician doesn’t quite scream Mechanics or Science to me, and I’m sure there are other ‘Modern’ backgrounds as well that don’t use these themes.

    Lawmaker is one of the existing Occupation themes which covers politician in the flavor text. Just drop “Follower of Erathis” Prerequisite and your good to go!

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