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Faceless Background 5e

Faceless Background 5e

Those who opt for the Faceless Background are those adventurers who could never be considered heroes. In many cases, it would be appropriate to consider them an anti-hero.

Most people will never see them in a good light, whether due to their social class, cultural background, family reputation, or perhaps past discretions. It is probably why you have turned to the adventuring life, for here, rather than finding yourself weighed down by your past, you can shed that old skin and create a new persona for yourself.

Characters opting for the Faceless Background don a disguise when they head out of their door. This could be a literal disguise, or they find themselves acting out a role of their own making. Often both.

And when you can reinvent yourself in such a way, the sky is the limit regarding who you can be, from the inconspicuous and almost invisible character who seems to blend into the background or a larger-than-life personality who no one can fail to notice.

Faceless Background 5e Bonuses

  • Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Intimidation
  • Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit
  • Languages: One of your choice
  • Equipment: Disguise kit, a costume, a pouch containing ten gp

Adopting A Faceless Persona

Your chosen Faceless persona is like a mask you hide behind in public, but it comes as second nature to you, so much so that when you adopt it, it feels as natural as your real identity. With the Faceless persona, you have a split personality, albeit one that is totally under your control.

How you come up with that personality is up to you. This is a free-form and experimental part of the rules, and you should work with the Dungeon Master to create something balanced, fun, and fitting with the world you campaign in.

If you are stuck for ideas, roll a d10 on the chart below and work with the prompt given.

Faceless Persona Table (d10)

1—A flamboyant spy or brigand

2—The incarnation of a nation or people

3—A scoundrel with a masked guise

4—A vengeful spirit

5—The manifestation of a deity or your faith

6—One whose beauty is greatly accented using makeup

7—An impersonation of another hero

8—The embodiment of a school of magic

9—A warrior with distinctive armor

10—A disguise with animalistic or monstrous characteristics meant to inspire fear

Faceless Characteristics

As stated, the Faceless character constantly presents a false persona to the outside world, like an actor under the audience’s gaze. You have adopted such a role because your true identity can never be revealed to the world at large, though there may be one or two close to you who know the truth.

You could choose characteristics usually associated with other backgrounds to flesh out this side of your personality. Folk Hero and Noble are excellent choices and help build a backstory of a Robin Hood-type figure or an Aragorn-like heir to a throne who is not yet prepared to reveal his true identity. Working out a narrative with your DM can be fun.

But of course, this doesn’t mean your real identity is abandoned, and you can switch back to your true self as the situation requires. You may be a boring librarian in your city, but when adventuring in the wilderness, become a hero for the downtrodden rural citizens.

Consequently, characters of the Faceless Background will have two sets of characteristics recorded. One set for their true Persona and one set for their secret selves. Two characters for the price of one.

Developing the Faceless Persona

Once you have established the basic idea of your Faceless Persona, you can then further develop it through the tables below. As always, if you or your DM already have ideas for this, ignore the tables and introduce your own persona traits, all the better to create a truly unique background.

Personality Trait (d8)

1—I’m earnest and uncommonly direct.

2—I strive to have no personality — it is easier to forget what’s hardly there in the first place.

3—I treasure a memento of the person or instance that set me on my path.

4—I sleep just as much as I need to and on an unusual schedule.

5—I think far ahead, a detachedness that is often mistaken for daydreaming.

6—I cultivate a single obscure hobby or study and eagerly discuss it at length.

7—I am always learning how to be among others — when to stay quiet and laugh.

8—I behave like the extreme opposite of my Persona.

Ideal (d6)

1—Justice. Place in society shouldn’t determine one’s access to what is right. (Good)

2—Security. Doing what must be done can’t put the innocent in harm’s way. (Lawful)

3—Confusion. Deception is a weapon. Strike from where your foes won’t expect. (Chaotic)

4—Infamy. My name will be a malediction, a curse that fulfils my will. (Evil)

5—Incorruptibility. Be a symbol, and leave your flawed being behind. (Any)

6—Anonymity. It’s my deeds that should be remembered, not their instrument. (Any)

Bond (d6)

1—I do everything for my family. My first thought is to keep them safe.

2—What I do, I do for the world. The people don’t realize how much they need me.

3—I’ve seen too many in need. I must not fail them as everyone else has.

4—I stand in opposition, lest the wicked go unopposed.

5—I am exceptional. I do this because no one else can, and no one can stop me.

6—I do everything for those who were taken from me.

Flaw (d6)

1—I am callous about death. It comes to us all eventually.

2—I never make eye contact or hold it unflinchingly.

3—I have no sense of humor. Laughing is uncomfortable and embarrassing.

4—I overexert myself, sometimes needing to recuperate for a day or more.

5—I think far ahead, a detachedness that is often mistaken for daydreaming.

6—I see morality entirely in black and white.

Faceless Background 5e Feature: Dual Personalities

Almost every being you come into contact with will know you through the Persona you present, even your fellow adventurers. But, you have woven your alternate Persona so tightly around yourself that anyone trying to uncover facts about your true self will be unable to break through. Similarly, your alternate person remains hidden from view when acting as your true self.

This feature gives you the ability to switch between your dual personalities as many times and as often as you like, meaning that you can use one as convenient camouflage for the other. 

Faceless Background 5e — Roleplaying Dual Personality

The Faceless Background allows you to craft and wander between two distinct personalities. The more opposed to each other they are, the easier it will be for you to keep them separate.

For example, suppose your alternative Persona is that of a highly regarded and well-loved local town council member, and you have created it to hide the fact that you are actually an amoral serial killer. In that case, you shouldn’t have any problems knowing exactly how to act in each personality.

However, separating the two will be tricky if both your Faceless Persona and your true self are outsiders who prefer their own company and keep all others at arm’s length. Also, the more extreme you make the two personas, the more fun you will have when playing them.

Faceless Background 5e FAQs

How does the faceless background work in DnD 5e?

The Faceless Background allows the character to adopt a new, secondary persona that can be quite different from their real self. This might include physical disguises, but more often is a non-physical, alternative personality that they can adopt or discard depending on the situation.

What are the background options in DnD 5e?

The background options are many and varied. They run from the most impoverished hermit to the privileged noble, from the most nefarious of criminals to the honest artisan. Each comes with its own additional traits and skills.

What are the best backgrounds for DnD 5e?

As with most things in DnD 5e, it all depends on the style of play you wish to adopt. The Soldier background is a particularly strong option, and Entertainer and Criminal both come with excellent non-combat benefits.

What is the custom background rule in DnD 5e?

The Custom skill rule allows you to replace any one feature with any other one, choose any two Skills, as well as a total of two Tool proficiencies or Languages from the sample Backgrounds. You can either use the Equipment package that comes with your designated Background or buy gear as described in the Equipment section.

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09/23/2023 05:30 am GMT

Final Thoughts on Faceless Background 5e

Remember, with the Faceless Background, you are creating two personalities; there may be no physical difference between the two. That said, you could push the physicality to the extreme two and change your look, physical attributes, and even gender through various padding, makeup, and other disguises, but this might often be hard to maintain.

Best to create two opposite personalities, but going down the same route as Clark Kent or Batman might also be fun.