The Lives of Ghost Hunters & Cowards

Today we present two unique backgrounds based on the Scooby gang. First is the Coward, based on Shaggy and Scooby’s constant fright yet dogged willingness to continue adventuring. Second is the Ghost Hunter, inspired by the rest of the gang, particularly Velma, and also a bit by characters like the Ghostbusters and the Winchesters from “Supernatural.” Since these backgrounds are mutable and can represent a several possible occupations, rather than make unique tables for characteristics, I have provided suggestions for characteristic tables from the PHB. The listed backgrouds also can be used as the base if you want to adapt these as alternates (so Coward could be adapted as an alternate Guild Artisan, Noble, Soldier, or Urchin). If using these as alternates, replace the equipment with that of the base background, and you may want to change out one of the skill or tool proficiencies.

You are a bit of a scaredy-cat. Lily-livered. Chicken. But you can still be a hero!

Skill Proficiencies: Perception, Persuasion
Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set, One set of artisan’s tools
Equipment: A good luck charm, a set of common clothes, a set of artisan’s tools (your choice), pouch with 15 gp.

Source of fear – Roll a d6 or choose one:
1 – When you were young, you were attacked by a real-live monster. You survived, but were scarred for life.
2 – You were conscripted into an army, but deserted during your first battle, realizing you did not have the nerve.
3 – You’ve lived a very ordinary life, never taking risks until now. You just aren’t used to the adventuring life.
4 – Haunted! You were actually haunted for some time. A mischievous spirit or minor fiend followed you and played pranks, menaced you when you were awake and disturbed you when asleep. Your fear is due to this constant harassment. At the DM’s option, the spirit or fiend may still follow you.
5 – Disappointment. Your family has a legacy of valor and honor, but you have never lived up to it. You have taken up adventuring to try and make them proud, but you simply don’t possess the bravery of your lineage.
6 – You were once fearless, but a traumatic event on your first adventure broke your resolve. You have taken up the call of the adventuring life again, but you are much more cautious and a bit jumpy now.

Feature: The Better Part of Valor
You have disadvantage on saving throws against becoming frightened. During the first turn after  becoming frightened, you gain +10 feet to your base speed and your movement does not provoke opportunity attacks, but you cannot use the attack action or cast spells. If you succeed at a saving throw against becoming frightened, you no longer have disadvantage on such saving throws until you finish a long rest.
Additionally, you have an excellent sense of things that may be dangerous, but then again, you think everything is dangerous. The DM may give your character unique insights on situations based on your overwhelming fear of everything.

Suggested characteristic tables from the PHB: Guild Artisan, Noble, Soldier, Urchin

Ghost Hunter
You have spent your life rooting out spirits, ghosts, and other haunting presences. You are an expert in all things relating to the undead, particulary the souls of the departed. If you are a spellcaster or a ritual caster, you are also likely an exorcist. Sometimes you encounter mundane creatures posing as ghosts, and your expertise allows you to unmask them as frauds.

Skill Proficiencies: Choice of History or Religion; Investigation
Tool Proficiencies: Herbalism kit
Languages: One of choice
Equipment: 5 pieces of chalk, holy symbol, herbalism kit, small knife, a set of common clothes, several scrolls and /or sheets of parchment covered with your notes about the undead, pouch with 10 gp.

Supernatural Origin – Roll a d6 or choose one:
1 – Child prodigy. Blessed with wisdom beyond your years, you used your talents to solve mysteries and help others rid themselves of ghosts when you were young. Now as an adult, you are taking a more direct role in the fight against the undead.
2 – You grew up in a haunted house or village. Supernatural events were a part of your life and seem almost normal to you; you know exactly what to do when things get spooky.
3 – You led an ordinary life, but one day you encountered an undead creature that you had to fight on your own. You survived, and vowed to never be unprepared again.
4 – You had a loved one became a ghost on their death. You communicated with them and helped them with their unfinished business, letting them move on, and you realized your calling.
5 – You were trained by a religious organization from a young age as a specialist in the undead, either to fight them or control them, depending on the deity or pantheon.
6 – You were once possessed by a malevolent spirit. Another ghost hunter successfully performed the exorcism, and took you under their wing as an apprentice.

Feature: Bane of the Undead
You immediately recognize signs of a haunting or similar undead activity in an area you enter with no need for a check. You are able to determine the exact origin of an undead when you make an Intelligence check to discover facts about it, including who they were in life (if they were once mortal). This may give you an edge when fighting them, such as bringing up loved ones to give the creature pause, or helping ghosts move on from their undead state into the afterlife. Your DM will use their discretion as to what you can glean about a particular undead and whether it is useful.

Suggested characteristic tables from the PHB: Acolyte, Folk Hero, Sage

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