House Rule: Background and Origins

This rule is also used in the Night’s Dark Terror-campaign. It is used next to the Farmboy/Citykid-rule. Since both rules deals with skills, they are separated in the campaign by having the first rule apply to regular skill checks and the other rule applies to skill challenges. In other games they do not have to be tied to e.g. Skill Challenges.

Background for the Rule

The purpose of this rule is to allow the player to add his characters background into the game. With the 4E rules it is difficult to specialize in different skills and for players to express their character through his selection of skills. This was easier in the earlier editions, and this rule was designed with idea of giving the players a chance to express their character through their skill use. Intead of giving the characters specialized skills as earlier, the players get to colour the skills according to their characters’ background.

The rule works like this

When creating the character the player chooses a craft and a specific region and neighborhood, where the PC grew up. When the player can include either his native region or neighborhood or his craft from his upbringing, he earns a +2 bonus to the skill check. As such there is no limit as to what skills the player can enhance, as long as the player can legitimize in the fiction, that his background plays a role. Additionally one can suggest, that the player in social situations not just describes his character’s background, bit actively includes it in the dialogue.


  • Son of Miller from White Street by the Northgate of Specularuam, or
  • Apprenticed as a goldsmith at the Blackhill forges.

When rolling a skill check in a skill challenge the player can choose to involve the rule. The player then includes his background in the situation, e.g. “as a Miller’s son I converse with the bakers about the difficulty of getting proper flour, thus gaining their approval” and the player gains +2 to his Diplomacy check with the bakers. The goldsmith apprentice can likewise use his background boost his endurance rolls, since the many hours of working at the smithy have improved his stamina.

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