Backgrounds

When you create your character, you pick a background that reflects the environment which defined them before they embarked upon their heroic career (as represented by their class).

Unlike the standard rules, Fifth Edition Fallout doesn't use starting equipment packages. The few minor items granted by these backgrounds are given to characters in addition to the equipment purchased by the player.

Caravanner

You belong to one of the caravan companies that keep trade moving throughout the Mojave and other areas of the wasteland. Examples include the Crimson Caravan and the Happy Trails Caravan Company.

Skill Proficiencies: Intimidation, Persuasion

Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set, Vehicles (Land)

Equipment: an iron pot, a lighter, a set of traveler’s clothes, a symbol of your affiliation to your caravan company, a pouch containing 15 caps.

Feature: Caravanner’s Contacts

As a member of a caravan company, you can expect to receive room and board at any of that company’s own wayhouses, if it has any. You also establish relationships in major settlements, allowing you to find a place to stay at a 50% discount. Finally, you understand the caravanner’s code, and know how to approach other traders out in the wastes. You can almost always persuade other travelers to share their fires, their shelter, and sometimes their food with you and your comrades. Of course, you are expected to offer the same courtesies.

Charlatan

This background is as the PHB background of the same name and is appropriate with the following change.

Equipment: a set of fine clothes, tools appropriate to the con of your choice (examples include: ten bottles or needles of fake chems, a deck of marked cards, or a set of weighted dice), a pouch containing 15 caps.

Child of Atom

You belong to the Church of Atom, a post-nuclear religion that believes that each atom contains an entire universe within it, and that splitting an atom is therefore an act of creation. Nuclear blasts such as those that created the wasteland, far from destructive horrors, are therefore to be desired as a holy event. Life in the wasteland is a mere trial until the true believer can do Atom’s work and be brought into its divine light.

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion

Tool Proficiencies: Calligrapher’s supplies, one type of gaming set

Equipment: A holy symbol of Atom, a book of Atom’s doctrine, a set of common clothes.

Feature: Atom’s Grace

You know the religious lore and practices of the Children of Atom, and are accepted by other faithful as a true believer. You can perform the religion’s ceremonies, and you and your companions can expect to recieve hospitality and succor from other Children of Atom, within their means to do so.

You might also have ties to a specific church or mission and be considered a resident there. While near this place, you can call upon the other Children who live there for assistance, provided the assistance you ask for is not hazardous and you remain in good standing with them.

Courier

You are a courier, one of the brave few who make their living ensuring that the disparate communities of the wasteland remain in touch. When caravans or larger groups are going the same way you join them for safety, but sometimes the only way to ensure a package arrives on time is to risk the journey alone. The role of courier is a job that attracts the brave and the reckless, and in which only skilled survivors thrive. Most couriers are self-employed, but typically establish working relationships with one or more delivery companies, such as the Mojave Express in Primm.

Skill Proficiencies: Perception, Survival

Tool Proficiencies: Two chosen from any gaming set, any handheld musical instrument, or Vehicles (Land)

Equipment: an iron pot, a lighter, a set of traveler’s clothes, one package (worth 30 caps upon delivery in the next settlement you visit, either to the local delivery company if there is one or else the addressee).

Feature: Courier's Cachet

All civilised folk respect a courier and the role they play in keeping communications open. As a courier, you can generally find a place to stay at a 50% discount in any settlement, except among raiders and tribals. As a seasoned traveler you understand the caravanner’s code, and know how to approach other traders out in the wastes. You can almost always persuade other travelers to share their fires, their shelter, and sometimes their food with you and your comrades. Of course, you are expected to offer the same courtesies.

Criminal

Larger settlements in the wasteland are often plagued with gangs or even run by large criminal families such as the Chairmen and the Omertas. You belong to one of these organisations.

This background is as the PHB background of the same name and is appropriate with the following changes.

Equipment: a crowbar, a set of common clothes, a pouch containing 15 caps.

Feature: Family Connections

Your position and influence within your crime family is recognized by other members, as well as among the family’s rivals. Members of the organization defer to you if they are of a lower position and you are able requisition simple equipment for temporary use.

You can also get messages to and from other criminals you know, even over great distances, by exploiting vast networks of contacts including sympathetic or blackmailed couriers and caravan masters.

Follower of the Apocalypse

You are a member of the Followers of the Apocalypse, a beneficent organisation devoted to the care of the needy, to preserving precious knowledge, and to ensuring that the follies that led to the Great War are never repeated. They are never shy about speaking out against those in power when they believe that the best interests of the common man are not being protected, which sometimes has them branded as seditious anarchists.

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, either Medicine or Science

Tool Proficiencies: Two types of artisan’s tools.

Equipment: A healer’s kit, herbalism kit, a set of commoner’s clothes.

Feature: Follower’s Favour

You command the respect of other Followers, as well as many citizens of the wasteland who appreciate the work that the Followers do. You and your companions can expect to receive hospitality and succor from other Followers, within their means to do so.

You might also have ties to a specific mission and be considered a resident there. While near this place, you can call upon the other Followers who live there for assistance, provided the assistance you ask for is not hazardous and you remain in good standing with them.

Former Enclave

You were raised among the Enclave, a group descended from political and military officials who saw out the bombs from the safety of their bunkers, and now believe themselves to be the rightful successors to the governance of the United States. The Enclave are known for being extremely isolationist, unsympathetic, and often violent toward all other factions due to their belief that exposure to radiation and the FEV virus has made other humans “impure”. However, you abandoned the teachings that you were raised to believe and found a way to escape the oversight of the Enclave and make your own way in the world. Such treason would naturally make you a target for reprisals from your comrades of old.

Skill Proficiencies: History, Intimidation

Tool Proficiencies: Vehicles (Land)

Equipment: Enclave dog tag, a set of fine clothes, 20 salvage (Pre-War Money).

Feature: Ex-Enclave

You are a former member of the Enclave, and still have useful knowledge about their operations. You know the location of local facilities other than top-secret sites above your old clearance level. Additionally, when you are in an Enclave location, there is a 30% chance that you know or can guess the access codes for terminal-locked doors to non-critical areas when their Hacking DC is 15 or less.

If you encounter other former Enclave, they are predisposed to offer you assistance if it doesn’t unduly endanger them and is within their means.

Finally, during any physical conflict in which you are opposed by members of the Enclave, they always attempt to take you alive unless you leave them no choice but to kill you. Some officers might simply want to see you interrogated and punished for your betrayal, while others might be sympathetic towards you. The exact reason for your attempted capture is left to GM discretion.

Former Brotherhood

You are a former member of the Brotherhood of Steel, a militant organisation formed in the wake of the apocalypse from remnants of the Armed Forces and government scientists. In spite of the high-minded ideals of the group, their heavy-handed approach to dealing with other factions and tendency to hoard technology that would help right now to be preserved for a purely hypothetical future turned you away from their doctrine.

Skill Proficiencies: Investigation, Athletics (Knight only), Persuasion (Paladin only), Science (Scribe only)

Tool Proficiencies: Mechanics’ Tools

Equipment: Brotherhood dog tag, a set of traveler’s clothes, a minor technological widget (refer to the trinket table for examples), a pouch containing 15 caps.

Feature: Brotherhood Intelligence

You are a former member of the Brotherhood, and still have useful knowledge about their operations. You know the location of local facilities other than top-secret sites above your old clearance level. Additionally, when you are in an Brotherhood location, there is a 30% chance that you know or can guess the access codes for terminal-locked doors to non-critical areas when their Hacking DC is 15 or less.

If you encounter other former Brotherhood, they are predisposed to offer you assistance if it doesn’t unduly endanger them and is within their means.

Finally, during any physical conflict in which you are opposed by members of the Brotherhood of Steel, they always attempt to take you alive unless you leave them no choice but to kill you. Some officers might simply want to see you interrogated and punished for your betrayal, while others might be sympathetic towards you. The exact reason for your attempted capture is left to GM discretion.

Initiate of Steel

You are an active member of the Brotherhood of Steel, a militant organisation formed in the wake of the apocalypse from remnants of the Armed Forces and government scientists. Their goal is the preservation of technology they see as necessary to revitalise civilisation, but over the years some factions of the Brotherhood have also sought to police attempts by other groups to use technology they perceive as dangerous.

Skill Proficiencies: Investigation, Athletics (Knight only), Persuasion (Paladin only), Science (Scribe only)

Tool Proficiencies: Mechanics’ Tools or Vehicles (Land)

Equipment: Brotherhood dog tag, a set of traveler’s clothes, a minor technological widget (refer to the trinket table for examples), a pouch containing 15 caps.

Feature: Bond of Brothers

You are a loyal and respected member of the Brotherhood of Steel. Other members of the Brotherhood recognize your authority and influence, and they defer to you if they are of a lower rank. You can invoke your rank to exert influence over other soldiers and requisition simple equipment. You can also usually gain access to friendly military encampments and fortresses where your rank is recognized.

Raider

You are, or were, affiliated with one of the many raider gangs that group together for mutual survival in the wastes at the expense of other, less unscrupulous souls.

Skill Proficiencies: Intimidation, Survival

Tool Proficiencies: Three types of gaming set

Equipment: A set of traveler’s clothes, a trophy from a past victim (refer to the trinket table for examples), a pouch containing 15 caps.

Feature: Part of the Gang

You know how to behave among Raiders to ensure you are treated with respect, or at least caution. You are usually able to gain access to camps belonging to your gang (or former gang), as long as you remain on friendly terms with them. Additionally, you can generally negotiate access to raider camps for your comrades and yourself, provided the gang in question can be reasoned with and they are not aware of your own gang affiliation if you happen to be rivals.

Railroad Agent

You are a full agent of the clandestine organisation known as the Railroad, and assist them in their goal of freeing Gen-3 Synths from the control of the Institute.

Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Stealth

Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit

Equipment: A set of traveler’s clothes, a disguise kit, a pouch containing 5 caps.

Feature: Railroad

You know up-to-date countersigns used to identify other members of the Railroad, and understand codes used to encrypt communications between cells. You are also fluent in Railsigns, symbols used by the Railroad to mark caches, dead drops locations, safe houses, and the presence of allies or danger.

If you encounter other Railroad Agents or sympathisers, they are predisposed to offer you assistance if it doesn’t unduly endager them and is within their means.

You also know the location of your local cell’s current headquarters and are always welcome there as long as you don’t compromise it to outsiders. In addition, you know the location of dead drops currently used by your cell.

Scientist

You are one of a rare few individuals actively trying to preserve and restore the advances of pre-War science and have dedicated your life so far to the pursuit of scientific achievement.

Skill Proficiencies: Medicine, Science

Tool Proficiencies: One of Chem Cook’s Tools, Herbalism Kit, Mechanic’s Tools.

Equipment: Your choice of chem cook’s tools, healer’s kit, herbalism kit, or mechanic’s tools. A set of traveler’s clothes, a set of fine clothes.

Feature: Scientific Enquiry

You intuitively grasp the purpose of most old world devices, technologies, and scientific experiments you encounter without needing to make any kind of ability check to identify them, though you may sometimes require an hour to read through relevant materials. This does not confer any special ability to make use of the things you identify without appropriate skills.
Additionally, you are generally afforded the respect and goodwill of other members of the scientific community, provided you don’t waste it. Other scientists you know generally agree to assist you with tasks that won’t be hazardous or significantly costly to them in resources or time, provided you remain in good standing with them.

Soldier

You are an active or former member of a military force. Examples include the Minutemen, an armed forces from the people and for the people dedicated to protecting the citizens of the Common Wealth, andt he NCR Army, whose members defend the territories and people of the New California Republic. Mercenary companies such as the Gunners or Talon Company also find employment in the wastes. Unfortunately, when not legitimately employed many squads within such companies often turn their training and armaments to ill use, behaving no better than common raiders.

This background is as the Player’s Handbook background of the same name and is appropriate with the following changes.

Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set

Equipment: Dog tag, a trophy taken from a fallen enemy, a set of common clothes, an iron pot, a lighter. a pouch containing 15 caps

Vault Raised

You emerged into the wasteland from one of Vault-Tec’s extraordinary fallout shelters. You likely came from a shelter running one of their less dangerous experiments, explaining the continuing survival of the community within your vault. It’s also possible that the intended experiment was never begun. If you’re unlucky, the sudden activation of a nightmarish experiment may have been what forced you out into the wastes to begin with. For such a character, the horrors of the wasteland might be as nothing compared to what they have escaped from.

Skill Proficiencies: History, Science

Tool Proficiencies: Pip-Boy

Equipment: A numbered vault suit, a Pip-Boy.

Feature: Secrets of the Vault

Due to access to superior education, you intuitively grasp the original purpose of most old world locations, devices, and practices without needing to make any kind of ability check to identify them,though you may sometimes require an hour to read through relevant materials. This does not confer any special ability to make use of the things you identify without appropriate skills.

Additionally, you possess a secret which could dramatically alter the local balance power or the unfolding history of post-nuclear America. The secret should have something to do with your vault of origin, and can be determined in conjunction with your GM.
Examples might include the location of the vault itself if it is currently hidden, knowledge that you brought with you when you left the vault, or a device or other piece of significant technology.

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