All together now, folks. What time is it?
It’s time for a new issue of Unplaytested!
Below you’ll find an unlucky little background for your 5e games, community coolness chock full of Kickstarters worth backing, and some very cool Underground Oracle Publishing news.
The concept of a character being “the chosen one” isn’t a fresh one. However, anyone who knows me would know that would never prevent me from taking my swing at the horse.
With this background, I wanted to explore how a character who’s beset by bad luck might explain their special origin. (This background is the perfect meta-scapegoat for those notorious players who can never seem to roll above an 8 when the game is on the line.)
Background: Born Under A Bad Sign
Before drawing your first breath in this life, you were marked by fate and forces far beyond your control. Maybe it was due to being born during an astronomical event, like an eclipse or the appearance of a strange celestial body burning its way across the sky. Perhaps your birth was the direct result of the machinations of some esoteric cult, striving toward an arcane goal known only to them. Or maybe your parents crossed an unseely fey that’s sworn vengeance on their entire bloodline. Whatever the reason may be, you have found that despite your best efforts, you’re just bad luck. And whether that luck affects you or those seeking to harm you seems to wax and wane along with some unseen tide.
When you select this background, work with the GM to determine what “bad sign” you were born under that has affected your life up to this point.
Skill Proficiencies: Choose two from among Arcana, History, Nature, Religion
Tool Proficiencies: Alchemist Supplies, Calligrapher's Supplies, or a gaming set of your choice
Languages: Abyssal, Celestial, or Sylvan
Equipment: A set of common clothes, a trinket that you’ve had for as long as you can remember, a small knife, a rabbit’s foot, a belt pouch, and 4 gp
Feature: Stars Align
The circumstances of your birth have tied your fortune to whims outside of your understanding.
Every day at dawn, roll a d100. On a result of 1-50, if the D20 roll for an Attack that you make is a 20, treat it as a 1. On a result of 51-100, if the D20 roll for an Attack targeting you is a 20, treat it as a 1. This effect lasts until the next day at dawn when you roll for this feature again.
D6 | Personality
I try to keep a low profile so people don’t blame me for things outside of my control.
I get very nervous staying in one place for too long.
It’s a relief to see someone else experience bad luck instead of me.
I’m envious of people who seem to have everything always going their way.
I celebrate every success to the fullest, because I never know when another will come.
When things are going good, I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
D6 | Ideal
Destiny. Whether I like it or not, it’s obvious I’m meant for something more.
Revelation. I have to discover who or what has cursed me.
Freedom. If I can’t change my luck no matter what I do, then I may as well do what I want.
Family. I’ve always been lonely and I would travel to the ends of the world to find people I can call my own.
Catharsis. This lifestyle is the only way that I can find release.
Purpose. I have to have to find out what it is I’m meant for.
D6 | Bond
I will find the source of my bad luck and find a way to destroy this curse.
Every day when I wake up, I tell myself my luck will change and do my best to believe it.
I’m dedicated to my friends and see them as the only good luck in my life.
I try to mitigate my bad fortune by strictly following superstitions.
Life is too short, especially with luck like mine, so I live it to its fullest.
It’s my solemn duty to protect others from the bad luck I bring with me.
D6 | Flaw
I use others as a scapegoat for things I think are my fault.
I hate listening to the problems of others when I know my life is worse.
I know I’m better than the people around me because the gods have chosen me to challenge.
I’m terrified to try anything new or possibly dangerous.
I take more than my share because I feel like I’m owed it.
I resent my friends for not understanding my hardships.
Today I’d like to highlight some Kickstarters that caught my attention (and money) over the last couple of days.
A player aide for Neurodiverse and Inexperienced players alike! Take some of the stress off both you and your DM!
I was able to snag a pdf of this screen during the first printing KS, but I’m psyched to be able to get a physical one with this second printing. Created by Shaun Sunday, the 5e Player Screen is pretty damned awesome and a perfect accessory for new players and neurodiverse players alike. You can sign up here to be notified when the KS launches in a few weeks, and you can see a very cool review of the original here.
When the sun exploded, we looked to the Sparks to bring a new dawn. A mech-filled tabletop RPG Illuminated by LUMEN.
Spencer Campbell, the creator of the LUMEN system (which I’ve recently become very enamored with) just launched his KS NOVA, “a tabletop RPG about exploring an incredibly dangerous and changed world, after the explosion of our sun.” As the PCs, you pilot mech suits powered by shards of the broken sun itself. Very rad. Check it out here for a little non-D&D, rules-lite fun.
…a step-by-step guide to making comic books from cover to cover. It's the first time Bond reveals the alchemy and method to her editorial madness.
Shelly Bond definitely doesn’t need an introduction from me, but for those in the non-comic half of the community, she’s a comic editor with many Eisner award-winning titles under her belt. She recently launched a KS for Filth & Grammar: The Comic Book Editor’s Secret Handbook and it looks like it will be a wellspring of knowledge for indie creators out there. It’s directed toward comic creating (obviously), but I’m sure there are some jewels that we all can pull from it. Plus it just looks fun as fuck.
Down in The Underground
There’s so much happening with Underground Oracle Publishing!
Stickers! We’re running a special promotion through June where patrons at our $3 and $6/month tiers are all getting very cool Underground Oracle Publishing stickers. You can read those details here.
Charity! We’re matching all money that we make from new sign-ups to our Patreon during June and donating it to Jasper’s Game Day, an amazing charity that’s making an incredible impact on our community. You can read more about that here.
Free Supplements! We provide a rolling selection of PWYW (free) titles to the community that updates every month. These titles are chosen from our catalog by our patrons and are a nice way to check out what we do. The current selection is a good mix of older and newer supplements, so go snag yours here.
And that’s issue #4 in the big ol’ bag, folks. As usual, let me know what you think of this background in the comments and if you like what I’m doing here, sharing would be super awesome.
If you want a formatted PDF of this background complete with alternative art, patrons starting at our $1.50 monthly tier and get them as they release, plus all other patron bonuses.
If you want to see some playtested materials, check out my work for Underground Oracle Publishing on DriveThruRPG or our Patreon. And if you’d just like to throw a little support my way, you can find me on Ko-Fi or Twitter.
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The materials presented are available for personal use only. No portion of this work other than the material designated as Open Game Content may be reproduced in any form without express written permission.
Excellent issue! Glad to still see you and yours bringing the awesome content, as well as showing your support for the community! Rock on!