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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Default Looking for good random fantasy backstory tables.

    Ever since I was a kid, I've loved rolling on random tables for making characters. Especially when determining background details. A good recent example of this would be the random backstory generator in D&D 5e's Xanathar's Guide to Everything. You make rolls that tell you the character's background info like how many siblings they had, what socioeconomic status they had, whether or not interesting things happened to them during childhood, etc...

    Does anyone know of good resources like that?
    Quote Originally Posted by Phelix-Mu View Post
    We live in the land of the internets, where arguing is never pointless.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground

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    Mar 2016
    The Frozen North

    Default Re: Looking for good random fantasy backstory tables.

    I cant seem to find anywhere to buy it but Central casting heroes of legend 2nd edition seems literally just be lying around the internet in PDF format

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
    Jay R's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Dallas, TX

    Default Re: Looking for good random fantasy backstory tables.

    You want the tables from an article in The Dragon #3, "Birth Tables for D & D", by Brad Stock & Brian Lane

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    Default Re: Looking for good random fantasy backstory tables.

    Pathfinder's Background Generator is pretty nice. Enough detail to give you things to work with, bare-bones enough that you can flesh out the prompts and choose which aspects are actually important to your character. I've even recently been shown towards a tool here that will essentially roll on all the tables for you.
    A worldbuilding project, still work in progress: Reign of the Corven

    Spoiler: Some Quotes
    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    It's fantasy. Nearly by definition it contains things that cannot exist. Complaining that this gets the science wrong is like shooting fish in an aquarium; at once easy, likely to upset aquarium fanciers, and utterly oblivious to the reason most people like aquariums in the first place.
    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    Descriptive: You ate that baby, so you're Evil.
    Prescriptive: You're Evil so you have to eat babies.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground

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    Aug 2016

    Default Re: Looking for good random fantasy backstory tables.

    I know two (that might be a bit specific though):

    First, the new Dark Eye edition has, in their region-detailing books random tables for characters specifically from those regions, that I found rather nice.

    And the FATE-Based Wuxia RPG Tianxia has the "Path of Destiny" (iirc) Character generator that creates a character alongside some background. Really fun to use, imho.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Troll in the Playground
    Kane0's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Looking for good random fantasy backstory tables.

    Xanathar’s guide to everything just released and has a couple pages for exactly that.
    Roll for it
    5e Houserules and Homebrew
    Extended Signature
    Awesome avatar by Ceika.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Firbolg in the Playground
    2D8HP's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    San Francisco Bay area

    Default Re: Looking for good random fantasy backstory tables.

    The one's in Xanthar's are mighty indeed, but can they match those of this Forum?


    Here you go:

    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Edgy name generator! Roll 3d20!

    d20 First name Last name (1st half) Last name (2nd half)
    1 Agony Beast Arrow
    2 Dagger Black Blade
    3 Ghost Blood Blood
    4 Ghoul Cold Bone
    5 Gloom Dark Crow
    6 Misery Despair Dark
    7 Mist Doom Demon
    8 Moon Ever Death
    9 Pain Fright Eye
    10 Raven Fury Flame
    11 [Refuses to state first name] Grim Heart
    12 Shadow Hate Ice
    13 Shudder Never Mark
    14 Spider Pain Martyr
    15 Talon Poison Scar
    16 Twilight Razor Shackle
    17 Venom Steel Skin
    18 Wander Storm Skull
    19 Whisper True Snow
    20 Wolf Vengeance Sword

    A few try-outs:

    Talon Despairmartyr
    Dagger Razorflame
    Twilight Poisonice
    Venom Darkcrow
    Misery Whisperdeath

    Working as intended, it seems.

    Class, Race, and Tragic Events:
    Quote Originally Posted by Belac93 View Post
    Well, here is an edgy character generator I made for 5th edition D&D. Use with the name generator. Enjoy!

    1d6 Race
    1 Human
    2 Half-orc
    3 Drow
    4 Half-drow
    5 Tiefling
    6 Ghostwise Halfling

    1d10 Class
    1 Fiend Warlock
    2 Shadow Sorcerer
    3 Assassin Rogue
    4 Undying Warlock
    5 Death Cleric
    6 War Cleric
    7 Berserker Barbarian
    8 Hunter Ranger
    9 Vengance Paladin
    10 Shadow Monk

    1d8 Backstory p1 1d8 Backstory p2
    1 I was abused by 1 Family member(s).
    2 I hate 2 Dragon(s).
    3 My family was killed by 3 Orc(s).
    4 I am a transformed 4 Demon(s).
    5 I am in love with a 5 Devil(s).
    6 I killed a 6 Drow
    7 I have the soul of a 7 Ghost(s).
    8 I work for 8 Assassin(s).

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    In the case that the GM reacts to your character with the idea that you're taking it too far, and/or you failed to roll option 3 on the backstory (part 1) table roll on the following table.

    1d12 Dead family member
    1 Father
    2 Mother
    3 Grandparent
    4 Sister
    5 Brother
    6 Identical twin
    7 Fraternal twin
    8 Son
    9 Daughter
    10 Self
    11 Roll twice and combine
    12 Cousin

    Assuming you wish for a more optimised deceased family AnonymousWizardPress will be releasing the Ultimate Guide to Dead Family Members as soon as I can be bothered to write it, including both a point build system and random tables to generate the vital status of over six generations of family members.

    Quote Originally Posted by Belac93 View Post
    Alignments that are edgy? I would say CG, CN, TN, LN, LE, NE. Gives us a nice 6 alignments.
    1d6 Alignment
    1 Chaotic good, Probably racist.
    2 Chaotic neutral, 'classic' edgy character.
    3 True neutral. Pragmatic to the core.
    4 Lawful neutral. Probably serves an evil higher power.
    5 Lawful evil. Lives by her own code.
    6 Neutral evil. Like chaotic good, but probably racist towards more people.

    Edit: The characters that are being ended up with are awesome. My tables do have a lot of bugs (killing an orc isn't much), but with the working for your family, what if your family is evil?

    Fashion sense:
    Quote Originally Posted by Personification View Post
    Don't forget the gloomy motif tables:

    1. Dark Red
    2. Black
    3. White
    4. Dark gray
    5. Deep Purple
    6. Roll twice and combine

    1. Wolf
    2. Bear
    3. Eagle
    4. Dragon
    5. Demon
    6. Leaves
    7. Stripes
    8. Random gashes
    9. Reroll, if 1-5 make it crying
    10. Reroll, if 1-5 make snarling
    11. Reroll, if wearing armor add spikes, if wearing a cloak or robe add frayed ribbony tassels to ends (like a Mistcloak)
    12. Roll twice and combine

    EDIT: leaf includes any plant motif, and the reason design 11 only includes armor and cloaks is because if you are wearing anything else you aren't edgy enough

    Eye Color
    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    The backstory table really needs a "by myself" point.

    Also, unusual eye colour table:

    1 - Dark Red
    2 - Deep Violet
    3 - Vibrant Green
    4 - Pitch black, including sclera
    5 - Golden Yellow
    6 - Icy Blue
    7 - Filmy white, because blind. Doesn't affect performance in any way
    8 - Roll again, add catlike slit pupil

    Wander Grimscar is a human war cleric with dark red eyes and catlike pupils. He is literally his own family members transformed into him. (Well, that sounds like a rather gruesome body horror scenario. I imagine the entire family was brutally torn apart by a monster and a powerful transformation mage created a new body from the remains to save the one family member still alive.)

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    If you roll two 8s, you have horizontal slit pupils like a goat.

    If you roll three 8s, you have one horizontal pupil and one vertical pupil, and also people refuse to make eye contact with you because it makes them sorta dizzy.

    If you roll four 8s, you're from a bizarre cave-dwelling subspecies that doesn't have functioning eyes, but you can see through the pain you feel when the light hits your highly attractive hideous mutant face. No one will ever understand what it means to see the world as shades of pain.

    If you roll five 8s, your must stay blindfolded at all times because your eyes are Dark Portals Into The Hideous Terror Dimension, and they will spew forth blood demons to feast upon the world if they are ever freed from their angelic prison (did I mention the blindfold is made from angel-skin leather?). Death, too, will release the evils locked within you, but only you know this, so in order to protect the world you must constantly kill the righteous men and women who hunt you for being the abomination you know you are. Also you cry blood.

    If you roll six 8s, instead of eyes you just have knives jutting out of your face. At your option, the hilt or the blade may be protruding.

    If you roll seven 8s, you are a construct made out of an animate Robe of Eyes and the soul of a forsaken child, and to conceal your hideous eye-covered (but totally ripped and vaguely sexy) form you have to wrap your entire body in bandages like a mummy. This hurts a ton because you have no eyelids. Also, because you're an artificial human, you're only ever capable of the shadow of real emotion, and this makes you extremely angsty but in like a totally unemotional way. To control the homicidal rages your stolen soul drives you to, you must hunt down and kill serial killers who only kill other serial killers and eat their eyes, which makes you cry viscuous black slime that seeps out from your bandages.

    If you roll eight or more 8s, all of the above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post

    Also if you roll eight 8s, you get mind-control spider eyes and the undying love of the Game Master.

    This personality is good for any campaign!
    Quote Originally Posted by ZX6Rob View Post
    Well, hold on, I think we're missing one of the most important parts of the proper edgelord here.

    He's got to be misunderstood! His misanthropic nature is simply the outward manifestation of a deep-seated insecurity, resulting from the internalization of the notion that he is apart from others and always will be, that he somehow stands alone, and that no one will ever truly understand the incredible, titanic struggle within himself, nor will he ever truly be able to relate this to another person, no matter how close they become.

    Darkedge Shadowblade's behavior and affectations are, in large part, due to this deep-seated need for understanding and acceptance. And yet, as a half-tiefling, half-aasimar assassin, given incredible gifts in the art of death that, in truth, are more of a burden than a boon, who can truly claim to understand or know him? Of course, he does what he must do to survive, and so he will tell himself, as his black-edged knife cuts the throat of one more unsuspecting nobleman, fatted on the wealth of the nation that he's enslaved with his unjust regime; but there will always be that shadow of self-doubt. The kind that can usually only be expressed during brooding internal monologues while Darkedge Shadowblade crouches, hunched and ready to leap at a moment's notice, on the silent gargoyles of the largest church in the city -- itself an impossibly large symbol of greed and lust for power given form in unfeeling stone -- as the rain pours down his hooded and implacable face.

    You gotta' have the rain. That makes the whole scene.

    Role-playing indeed!
    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    Grimblade Mourncloud rued birth into this world of pain and especially wearing spiked bracelets and skull epaulets to the mall that matched those adorning Darkfire Stormwind who's tragic deal and awesomicity had no match. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!
    Verily if Darkfire Stormwind had any tears left to shed, surely they would turn to steam upon release due to the bitter fires that rage inside one such as Darkfire Stormwind! Just a gaze from Darkfire Stormwind steel colored eyes (which were set off well by the spiked bracelets, and skull epaulets) was enough to turn one such as Grimblade Mourncloud into a mere tepid stain at the mall!
    Darkfire Stormwind tragic deal and awesomicity were such that Darkfire Stormwind only spoke of Darkfire Stormwind in the third person. Darkfire Stormwind just liked to say Darkfire Stormwind!
    Grim specter of noogie hangs like shroud over us all

    Extended Sig


    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
    Does the game you play feature a Dragon sitting on a pile of treasure, in a Dungeon?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    You're an NPC stat block."I remember when your race was your class you damned whippersnappers"
    Snazzy Avatar by Honest Tiefling!

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Anonymouswizard's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    In my library

    Default Re: Looking for good random fantasy backstory tables.

    Although I joked about a system for designing dead families in the post that 2D8HP quoted, I am considering designing a 'backstory generator' as part of my setting for Lamentations of the Flame Princess. The big thing is, it would give actual stat boosts and equipment for those who went through it, with a (smaller) number of bonuses being given to those who don't want the hassle.

    In short, you pick your class (the first draft is going to go with the four human classes only), then roll for social standing, then use class and social standing to find which upbringing table to roll on, which will give you a bonus and send you to a childhood events table, and you'll continue going through until you hit the adulthood events tables, which you can roll on as much as you want in exchange for stat points (which one decided by 1d6). So you might luck out and get full armour and a musket from military service, but you'll run the risk of sacrificing Strength Points. All childhoods should be roughly equal, but afterwards it's risk versus reward.
    Snazzy avatar (now back! ) by Honest Tiefling.

    RIP Laser-Snail, may you live on in our hearts forever.

    Spoiler: playground quotes
    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    30.2672° N, 97.7431° W

    Default Re: Looking for good random fantasy backstory tables.

    You may want to track down a copy of THIS. It is exactly what you are looking for, and has editions for fantasy, modern, and sc-fi
    "Sleeping late might not be a virtue, but it sure aint no vice. The old saw about the early bird and the worm just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."

    - L. Long

    I think, therefore I get really, really annoyed at people who won't.

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