I’ve always been a fan of dark elves. Here are two new backgrounds I created for the dark elves of Primordia. They could be used in any setting that has dark elves. They could even be used for characters other than dark elves with a little tweaking.
You are one of the prized dark elves who is a master of the art of massage. Few creatures get as tense as a dark elf, and such tension melts away under your deft touch. You receive respect beyond what your normal station would allow from your clients and members of the powerful elite may come to your table.
Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion
Tool Proficiencies: Herbalism Kit (for making oils & perfumes), Massage Kit
Equipment: A massage kit, a set of common clothes, two flasks of massage oil, one vial of perfume, the favor of an admirer (promise of a future physical encounter, lock of hair, or trinket), and a belt pouch with 15 gp.
Feature: Town Gossip
If something is afoot in the city, there’s a good chance you know about it if it involves any of your clients. People often talk when they’re relaxed, and you learn a lot of pieces of information and gossip from people on your table. Be careful with the information, though, because clients often tell you things they don’t tell anyone else. If one of their secrets gets out, they may know just who to come to for retribution—you!
Massage is a respected profession among the dark elves. You may be a commoner, or even a slave, but you rub elbows (literally) with the most powerful people in the city. You have opportunities for powerful allies and enemies.
d8 Personality Trait
I know how to relax, and I tend to stay calm in social situations.
I’m comfortable with strangers whether they’re of higher, lower or the same social standing as me.
I take my health very seriously. I may have dietary restrictions and exercise regimens that others may find strange, but I believe they enable me to perform at my best.
I have trained myself to see obstacles as opportunities.
I enjoy listening to people talk about their problems. I usually don’t give advice (and never unless asked), but when I do, it’s good.
I’m so used to being calm and centered, I find it distressing to be around people who are angry, afraid or agitated.
Though I would never reveal it to my clients, I secretly enjoy causing pain when pleasure makes it most unexpected.
I hoard the secrets I learn from people on my table, waiting for the opportunity to use them to my advantage.
Betrayal. I use the information I gain from clients to benefit myself and my House. Nothing is sweeter than betraying someone’s trust. (Evil)
Chaos. I use my unique relationships with my clients to sow dissent and discord by spreading (and even making up) gossip. (Chaotic)
Survival. I do whatever I have to to survive and get ahead. I don’t enjoy it, but I do what has to be done. (Neutral)
Obliteration. I love destroying people—whether physically or psychologically. (Evil)
Seduction. I love the romance that can develop with my clients. I secretly keep a mental tally of my conquests. The more inappropriate the dalliance, the better. (Chaotic)
Pride. I pride myself on my craft. I want to be recognized as the best. (Any)
I owe the person who trained me a great debt. She often calls in favors.
I am not who people think I am. If my real identity is discovered, I will meet a grisly end.
A priestess raised me up to my current position. I am her creature. She often uses me in her intrigues.
My fate is tied to another. I must help him keep his secrets, or mine will be revealed.
I am in love (lust) with one of my clients, and I will do anything for her.
I own a parlor, and my fate is tied to its success or failure.
I can’t keep a secret. As soon as I get some juicy gossip, I have to tell someone, preferably the person who would be the most interested in the information.
I resent the people on my table. I wish I had the means to be pampered as they are.
The intimacy of massage often leads me to forget the station of the person on my table. I have often been punished for inappropriately addressing a better.
I always have a crush on one of my clients. The object of my affections changes on an almost weekly basis.
I get very nervous when working on people of higher station.
I once poisoned one of my clients, a noble female. If my crime is ever discovered, I face a fate worse than death.
You are a master of the art of torture. Your House uses you to extract information, whether from enemies of the House or even members of the House. Your services are also often used to punish wrongdoers and make an example of them.
Skill Proficiencies: Intimidation, Medicine
Tool Proficiencies: Torturer’s Tools, Smith’s Tools
Equipment: A set of common clothes, torturer’s tools, and a pouch containing 15 gp.
Feature: Keeper of Secrets
You’ve tortured the high and the low of dark elf society. You’ve tortured members of your own House and other Houses. You’ve learned many secrets from those you’ve tortured. You may have shared them all with your House, or you may have kept some back for yourself. Regardless, the information you know is dangerous—both to other dark elves and to yourself.
Torture is a respected skill among the dark elves. Although wizards and priestesses can often get the information the House needs using magic, your House values you for the impact your torture sessions have on the victim and the observers (torture sessions are often public).
d8 Personality Trait
My greatest pleasure is breaking someone’s will.
I always try to dominate others in social situations.
I have a menacing manner of speaking that began as an affectation but has now become a part of who I am.
I always observe other people very closely, trying to determine their motives and secrets.
I prefer to deal with people one-on-one and am uncomfortable in crowds.
I love to play with people’s emotions, just to see what they’ll do.
I only feel alive when I am in pain or inflicting pain on someone else.
I assume everyone is lying to me until I can prove otherwise.
Truth. I take great pleasure in extracting the truth from people and presenting it to my superiors. That is my true purpose in life. (Neutral).
Conquest. I live to destroy my victims physically and psychologically. Every life I shatter is a feather in my cap. (Evil)
Equality. Everyone is equal in the hands of a torturer. Rank, sex, station and family mean nothing. Agony is the great equalizer. (Chaotic)
Revenge. Everyone who crosses me ends up on my table eventually. They regret their mistakes a long time before I let them die. (Evil)
Discovery. You never know what secrets people hold until you break them. I am a collector of secrets. Some I share with my superiors. Others I keep for myself. (Chaotic)
Craft. I pride myself in my abilities, and I am constantly striving to hone my art. (Any)
I am fanatically loyal to my House. I know that disloyalty is the surest way to end up on a torturer’s table, and I will never allow that to happen to me.
I am in debt to a noble who spared my life and gave me my current position. I will do anything she asks.
I have a secret that, if discovered, would lead to me being the tortured instead of the torturer.
I seek to destroy any torturer regarded as more skilled than me.
I am a true believer and follower of Lloth. I strive to please her with everything I do.
Our kind is destined to rule the world. I do my part to weed out the weak among us.
I am secretly insecure and believe I am less than others in some way.
I have tortured the highest and lowest in our society. They are all the same to me. I often forget myself and don’t show my betters the proper respect.
I am truly sadistic. Inflicting pain is my true love. I sometimes get carried away, mutilating my victims beyond the capability of answering questions too soon.
I believe everyone is inferior to me.
In my heart I despise Lloth. I enjoy torturing her priestesses more than any other. I will do anything to get a priestess on my table, whether or not I’m authorized to do so.
My greatest fear is being tortured myself.