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Clasp Member

Whether you grew up in the slum-run streets of Kymal bamboozling foolish gamblers out of their fortune, or spent your youth pilfering loose coin from the pockets of the less-attentive travelers throughout Emon, your lifestyle of deceiving-to-survive eventually drew the attention of the Clasp: the most organized, and dangerous, crime syndicate across Tal’Dorei. Offering protection, a modicum of kinship, and a number of useful resources to further develop your craft as a criminal, you agree to receive the brand of the Clasp and join their ranks.

You might have been working the guild’s lower ranks, wandering the alleys as a simple cutpurse to fill the meager coffers with wayward gold until the opportunity arose to climb the professional ladder. Or you may have been ordained a Spook, a clever actor and liar whose skill in blending in with all facets of society has made you an indispensable agent of information gathering. Perhaps your technique with a blade and swiftness of action led you to become a feared hitman for a Clasp Spireling, sending you on the occasional contract to snuff the life of some unfortunate soul who crossed the Clasp. Regardless, while the threat of the law is ever looming, the advantages to having a foot in such a powerful cartel can greatly outweigh the paranoia.

Skill Proficiencies: Deception, plus your choice of one between Sleight of Hand or Stealth.

Tool Proficiencies: Your choice of one from Thieves’ Tools, Forgery Kit, or Disguise Kit.

Languages: Thieves’ Cant

Equipment: A set of dark common clothes including a hood, a set of tools to match your choice of tool proficiency, and a belt pouch containing 10g.

Feature: A Favor In Turn You have gained enough clout within the Clasp that you can call in a favor from your contacts, should you be close enough to a center of Clasp activity. A request for a favor can be no longer than 20 words, and is passed up the chain to an undisclosed Spireling for approval. This favor can take a shape up to the DM’s discretion depending on the request, with varying speeds of fulfillment: If muscle is requested, an NPC Clasp minion can temporarily aid the party. If money is needed, a small loan can be provided. If you’ve been imprisoned, they can look into breaking you free, or paying off the jailer.

The turn comes when a favor is asked to be repaid. The favor debt can be called in without warning, and many times with intended immediacy. Perhaps the player is called to commit a specific burglary without the option to decline. Maybe they must press a dignitary for a specific secret at an upcoming ball. The Clasp could even request a hit on an NPC, no questions asked or answered. The DM is to provide a debt call proportionate to the favor fulfilled. If a favor is not repaid within a reasonable period of time, membership to the Clasp can be revoked, and if the debt is large enough, the player may become the next hit contract to make the rounds.

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Lyceum Student

You most likely came up through money or a family of social prestige somewhere in the world, as tuition at the Alabaster Lyceum is not inexpensive. Your interests and pursuits have brought you to the glittering halls of Tal’Dorei’s highest place of learning, soaking in all and every lesson you can to better make your mark on the world (or at least you should be, but every class has its slackers). However, the call to adventure threatens to pull you from your studies, and now the challenge of balancing your education with the tide of destiny sweeping you away is looming.

You may have come to better research and understand the history and lore of Exandria and the lands you now call home, perhaps seeking a future here at the Lyceum as a professor. You could also have been drawn by the promise of prosperity in politics, learning the inner workings of government and alliances to better position yourself as a future writer of history. Perhaps you’ve discovered a knack for the arcane, coming here to focus on refining your spellcraft in the footsteps of some of the finest wizards and sorcerers in days of yore.

Skill Proficiencies: Your choice of two from among Arcana, History, and Persuasion.

Languages: Two of your choice

Equipment: A set of fine clothes, a lyceum student uniform, a writing kit (small pouch with a quill, ink, folded parchment, and a small penknife), and a belt pouch containing 10g.

Feature: Student Privilege You’ve cleared enough lessons, and gained an ally or two on staff, to have access to certain chambers within the Lyceum (and some other allied universities) that outsiders would not. This allows use of any Tool Kit, so long as the Tool Kit is used on the grounds of the Lyceum and is not removed from its respective chamber (each tool kit is magically marked and will sound an alarm if removed). More dangerous kits and advanced crafts (such as use of a Poisoner’s Kit, or the enchanting of a magical item) might require staff supervision. You may also have access to free crafting materials and enchanting tables, so long as they are relatively inexpensive, or your argument for them is convincing (up to the staff’s approval and DM’s discretion). Suggested Characteristics Use the tables for the Sage background in the PHB as the basis for your traits and motivations, modifying the entries when appropriate to match your pursuits at the Lyceum. Your bond is likely associated with your goals as a student, and eventually a graduate. Your ideal probably involves your hopes in using the knowledge you gain at the Lyceum, and your travels as an adventurer, to tailor the world to your liking.

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Ashari

Away from the complex political struggles of the massive cities of Exandria, you’ve instead been raised to revere and uphold the protection of the natural world, while policing, bending, and guiding the elemental powers that either foster life or destroy it. Living among smaller bands of tribal societies means you have stronger ties to your neighbors than most, and the protection of this way of life is of cardinal importance. Each Ashari is tethered to one of the four elemental tribes and their villages. You must select one: The Pyrah (Fire), the Vesrah (Water), the Terrah (Earth), or the Zephrah Ashari (Wind).

Your upbringing may have prepared you to be a fierce warrior, trained in combat to defend your culture and charge as protectors of the rifts. It’s possible your meditation on the balance of the elements has brought you peace of mind with strength of body as a monk of the Ashari. Perhaps you found strength in bending the elements yourself, joining the ranks of the powerful Ashari druids. Regardless, your loyalties ultimately lie with the continued safety of your tribe, and you’ve set out to gather allies to your cause and learn more about the world around you.

Skill Proficiencies: Nature, plus your choice of one between Arcana or Survival.

Tool Proficiencies: Herbalism Kit Languages: One of your choice.

Equipment: A staff, hunting gear (a shortbow with 20 arrows, or a hunting trap), a set of traveler’s clothes, a belt pouch containing 10 gp.

Feature: Elemental Harmony Your upbringing surrounded by such strong, wild elemental magics has attuned your senses to the very nature of their chaotic forces, enabling you to subtly bend them to your will in small amounts. You learn the prestidigitation cantrip, but can only produce the extremely minor effects below that involve the element of your chosen Ashari tribe: • Zephrah: You create an instantaneous puff of wind strong enough to blow papers off a desk, or mess up someone’s hair. • Pyrah: You instantaneously create and control a burst of flame small enough to light or snuff out a candle, a torch, or a small campfire. • Terrah: You instantaneously create a small rock within your hand, no larger than a gold coin, that turns to dust after a minute. • Vesrah: You instantaneously create enough hot or cold water to fill a small glass. Suggested Characteristics Use the tables for the Outlander background in the PHB as the basis for your traits and motivations, modifying the entries when appropriate to match your ties to your Ashari upbringing. Your bond is likely associated with those you respect who you grew up around. Your ideal probably involves your wanting to understand your place in the world, not just the tribe, and whether you feel your destiny reaches beyond just watching the rift.

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Recovered Cultist

Since the Divergence, the influence of the Betrayer Gods was sealed away with the rest of the pantheon and a time of religious rediscovery began anew. Through the small net of the Divine Gate, however, the will of the darker deities could still reach out, could still whisper and promise. The rising cults are scattered and separated, with little to no unity between the greater evils. Hidden hierarchies of power-hungry mortals corrupt and seduce, promising a sliver of the same power they had been promised when the time comes to reap their harvest.

You once belonged to such a cult. Perhaps it was brief, embracing the rebellious spirit of youth and curious where this path may take you. You also may have felt alone and lost, this community offering a welcome you had been subconsciously seeking. It’s possible you were raised from the beginning to pray to the gods of shadow and death. Then one day the veil was lifted and the cruel truth shook your faith, sending you running from the false promises and seeking redemption.

You have been freed from the bindings of these dangerous philosophies, but few secret societies find comfort until those who abandon their way are rotting beneath the soil.

Skill Proficiencies: Religion and Deception.

Languages: One of your choice.

Equipment: Vestments and a holy symbol of your previous cult, a set of common clothes, a belt pouch containing 15 gp.

Feature: Wicked Awareness

Your time worshipping in secrecy and shadow at the altar of malevolent forces has left you with insight and keen awareness to those who still operate in such ways. You can often spot hidden signs, messages, and signals left in populated places. If actively seeking signs of a cult or dark following, you have an easier time locating and decoding the signs or social interactions that signify cult activity, gaining advantage on any ability checks to discover such details. Suggested Characteristics Use the tables for the Acolyte background in the PHB as the basis for your traits and motivations, modifying the entries when appropriate to match your ties to your intent on fleeing your past and rectifying your future. Your bond is likely associated with those who gave you the insight and strength to flee your old ways. Your ideal probably involves your wishing to take down and destroy those who promote the dark ways you escaped, and perhaps finding new faith in a forgiving god.

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Fate-Touched

Many lives and many souls find their ways through the patterns of fate and destiny, their threads following the path meant for them, oblivious and eager to be a part of the woven essence of history meant for them. Some souls, however, glide forth with mysterious influence, their threads bending the weave around them, toward them, unknowingly guiding history itself wherever they walk. Events both magnificent and catastrophic tend to follow such individuals. These souls often become great rulers and terrible tyrants, powerful mages, religious leaders, and legendary heroes of lore. These are the fate-touched. Few fate-touched ever become aware of their prominent nature. Outside of powerful divination magics, it’s extremely difficult to confirm one as fate-touched. There are many communities that regard the status as a terrible omen, treating a confirmed fate-touched with mistrust and fear. Others seek them as a blessing, rallying around them for guidance. Some of renown and power grow jealous, wishing to bend a fate-touched beneath their will, and some stories speak of mages of old attempting to extract or transfer the essence itself.

Players are not intended to select this background, but this is instead provided for the dungeon master to consider for one or more of their players, or perhaps a prominent NPC, as their campaign unfolds. It provides very minor mechanical benefit, but instead adds an element of lore, importance, and fate-bearing responsibility to a character within your story. Being fate-touched overlaps and co-exists with the character’s current background, only adding to their mystique. Consider it for a player character who would benefit from being put more central to the coming conflicts of your adventure, or for an NPC who may require protection as they come into their destiny. Perhaps consider a powerful villain discovering their fate-twisting nature and using it to wreak havoc. All of these possibilities and more can be explored should you choose to include a fate-touched within your campaign.

Feature: Fortune’s Grace Your fate-touched essence occasionally leads surrounding events to shift in your favor. You gain 1 Luck point, as per the Lucky feat outlined within the PHB. This luck point is used in the same fashion as the feat, and you regain this expended luck point when you finish a long rest. If you already have the Lucky feat, you add this luck point to your total for the feat.

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