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5e Character Backgrounds: Student of War

A student of war has been under the wing of a master, school, or way of fighting. They may seek excellence for its own sake, but more usually a master of the tools and ways of battle are means to another end. 

Skill Proficiencies: Two of (Intimidation, Perception, or Insight)

Tool Proficiencies:

Game Set and Tactical Communication (flags, sign language, horns, smoke signals), plus one martial weapon.


The martial weapon they are proficient in, a bag of 25 gp, a game set, a tent, and a trinket representing their school, master, or way of fighting.


Adaptive Precision: Once per long rest, if you roll a critical hit on an attack roll, you may forfeit that critical hit and roll a d20. Record the result. The attack is treated as a 20 without any benefits of a critical. The next time you would roll that recorded number, treat it as a critical hit instead.

Suggested Characteristics:

Students of war are driven in a deep-seated way to pursue martial excellence. As battle is unforgiving they often have great physical prowess and are keenly aware of their own failings. It is not unusual to find this overdone to the point of arrogance, callousness, or perfectionism. Otherwise, the ways of battle are not limited to any one philosophy so students have no particular ideology or beliefs that they hold in common.

d8 Personality Trait: 

  1. Things always come quick to me, and I don’t forget what I’ve learned.
  2.  I find that the best solutions are found by looking past what everyone takes for granted.
  3.  I have already planned my next three moves before they’ve even started.
  4.  Nothing shakes me. I do not bend and I do not break.
  5.  Get out of my way or get moved out of my way, I will not stop until I succeed.
  6.  Together we can triumph, with my guidance we will be greater than the sum of the parts.
  7.  You just don’t understand my new ideas, I am not stuck on the well-tread paths of the world.
  8.  I am the sheepdog guarding against the wolves of the world.

d6 Ideal:

  1.  Victory. There is only one true failing to feel guilt over, defeat.
  2.  Challenge. I must find my limits, push against them, and become comfortable stepping past them.
  3.  Renown. Life will be spent and gold traded away but glory survives the longest. 
  4.  Honor. I uphold the vows and promises I have made, no matter the cost.
  5.  Conquest. To see them kneeling before me, pleading mercy, is the truest show of strength.
  6.  Peace. Only the meek, those with power but stay their hands, have the ability to negotiate harmony.

d6 Bond:

  1.  The one who taught me my craft means everything to me.
  2.  Me and my rival were always looking to outdo the other, and I still seek to be better than them.
  3.  Everyone in life has their place, and mine is with the order that made me who I am.
  4.  I have lost some of my friends in battle, and my connection with those who remain is unbreakable.
  5.  I look up to an officer that led me in battle.
  6.  During training, there was a pariah of our class that left, but their conviction still resonates with me.

d6 Flaw:

  1.  How many others have trained as hard as I have? Why should they matter if they are lesser than me?
  2.  There are no wrong ways to win. Mercy is made up by the weak to coddle themselves.
  3.  I will not stray from the correct path, to do so would make my successes like ash in my mouth.
  4.  The world keeps turning while there is more to do, I cannot stand waiting around.
  5.  I wish that people were as easy to understand as my martial art forms.
  6.  Even the tiniest mistake must be fixed and replaced with perfection.

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