Overrun by the chaotic power of the Maelstrom for the past thousand years, Otera is a harsh world full of countless dangers. For the descendants of those who survived Godfall huddled behind Solace’s walls, life is not easy. All are expected to do their part, in one way or another, to keep the city running. Some run businesses; toil from day to day at a craft; perform manual, intellectual, or spellcasting labor (or some combination of these); or serve the city in some other capacity.
No one in Solace is forced to go hungry, but those from among the lower classes may only eat real food when it is provided to all citizens for free on high festival days, subsisting on bland but filling conjured food the rest of the year. Likewise, living conditions for those who can’t afford a home in the mid- to upper tiers of the city can be rather squalid, as the lower into the depths of the city you venture, the darker, dirtier, and more cramped conditions tend to be.
In selecting or building a background for your character, it’s important to keep a few key considerations in mind:
- All player characters are native to Solace and have never lived anywhere else, though they may have have spent some time exploring outside the city as part of a scavenging crew or the crew of a ship or airship. For the vast majority of citizens, though, leaving the city is equated with near-certain doom, and those who dare to do so and manage to return are regarded with no small amount of awe.
- Protected from the ravages of the Maelstrom by powerful magical wards maintained by the Sovereign Four, Solace is the last-known pocket of safety where humanoid civilization has survived in the post-Godfall world.
- Each citizen of Solace also hails from a specific district of the city. Every district has its own subculture, character, and quirks that set it apart from the rest. For more information on the districts, see Solace.
- In addition to choosing which district your character is from, you are also encouraged (but not required) to align your character with one of four factions in the city: the Greenhands, Conservators, Wardens, or Framers, whichever best suits your character’s interests, skills, talents, and personal goals. These factions are responsible for much of the management of daily life in the city, as well as for spearheading and sponsoring missions undertaken by adventurers on the frontier. Though friendly rivalries exist between them, the factions are also highly cooperative and dependent on one another, as each performs a series of functions vital to preserving the lives and wellbeing of Solace’s citizens. For more information about the factions, see Factions.
- And perhaps most importantly, consider this: for one reason or another, your character has decided to leave the safety of Solace and venture out to the frontier, joining the Sovereign Four’s expedition to explore and settle the Broken Lands. What made you decide to sign on for this incredibly dangerous adventure? What do you hope to accomplish in the frontier? Is it the lure of harvesting Essence and figuring out what you can do with it? Are you drawn by the chance to dig into the mysteries of what this world used to be and why things are the way they are now? Are you running from something in the city, and eager to put as much distance between yourself and it as possible? Or do you just hunger to know what’s out there? Any of these reasons and countless others work, but the more clear you are on what your character initially hopes to accomplish by joining this expedition, the more fun you’re likely to have.
New and Reflavored Backgrounds
Because Godfall is a unique setting with special considerations, some standard backgrounds have been reflavored or prohibited altogether where they don’t make sense for this setting. We’ve also added several new suggested backgrounds that you’re welcome to choose from.
Information about new and reflavored backgrounds for Godfall can be found in Godfall Feats and Backgrounds. Any officially published background not mentioned either in this document or in the list of prohibited backgrounds below is considered legal and can be played as written.
Standard Backgrounds Unavailable in Godfall
A list of standard backgrounds that have been prohibited because they don’t fit well within our setting is provided below:
- Far Traveler (SCAG) (the feature for this background is likewise unavailable)
- Uthgardt Tribe Member (SCAG)
- Waterdhavian Noble (SCAG) (if you’re interested in the feature for this background, see our version of it associated with the new Farmer background)
- Pirate variant for Sailor (PHB) (you may still take the Bad Reputation background feature as a variant feature for another fitting background, such as Criminal, or for a custom background)
- If you take the Noble background, you may not take the “Retainers” variant background feature.
Creating a Custom Godfall Background
If you wish, you may create a custom background for your character or customize one of our existing approved backgrounds using the guidelines for doing so in the Player’s Handbook (p. 125). However, first please read carefully through the information on this page, as well as that in the GM Binder doc for new and reflavored backgrounds. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the parameters within backgrounds work (or don’t work) in Godfall; the last thing we want is for you to get excited about a character concept and build out your character, only to realize after the fact that the background concept doesn’t fit our setting.
For this reason, if you are a brand new player to our game and/or if you’re doing more than just subbing out custom skills or proficiencies for an existing background, it’s also a good idea to run the concept for your background by one of the DMs, particularly one of our Lorekeepers. You can do this using the #lore-questions channel on Discord or by PMing a DM with the Lorekeeper tag in their listed roles (left click a DM’s name in the member list on Discord to see their associated roles).
When creating a custom background or customizing an existing one, you may select any approved background feature and any standard set of background equipment you like.
Languages in Godfall
Because of its unique cosmology, language options for Godfall are a little different than in other games. The universal language spoken in Solace is Common, though most people speak at least one other language as well—either because it is a part of their ancestry, or because they grew up in a neighborhood where another language was commonly spoken. See Solace for more information about specific city wards and their subcultures.
Approved starting languages:
- Braille (written form only; based on Common)
- Sign (sign language; no vocal or written form; based on Common)
Starting languages that require DM approval:
- Deep Speech
Languages that are very new to PCs in this setting and can only be learned with Lorekeeper approval:
- Old Hafsin