Serpents and Sewers: Background Traits

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Every character in Serpents and Sewers gets two background traits, which represent physical or mental character traits, upbringing, environment or social background of a character. These should help to make the character more unique and give the player the possibility to get an additional mean of influence on the character’s overall appearance. The two traits are chosen at the character creation and cannot be changed afterwards.

The background traits were introduced in Iron Heroes and can be found there. Additional traits are the ‘background feats’ found in several campaign settings and the feats that grant a +2 Bonus to two abilities.

There are two important addendums: Spellcasting Characters (with the exception of the Paladin) require one of the “Gift” traits. Without these, only magical dabbling is possible. Secondly, only ‘normal sized’ characters can take traits that change the character’s size category or similar features.

The Dungeon Master is required to ban any combination she deems unfitting for the game – you cannot be short and tall at the same time, for instance.

Additionally, Character Backgrounds influence what a character have learned in Life and how he will develop. Several background traits offer Background skills, which may always be treated as class skills, for all classes that character has levels in, and additional favorite classes, that offer more options for the character’s future career.


Contents

Mental Background Traits

Ability Boost

You are remarkably strong, agile etc. for your species, granting you a bonus to a certain ability. Likewise, you also have a specific weakness in another ability.

Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to a ability score of your choice and a –2 penalty to another ability score.

Special: You can take this trait more than once, eliminating the penalty with the second pick.

Background Skills: Chose one skill based on your enhanced Ability and treat it as a background skill.

Animal Empathy

You have an innate, intuitive understanding of animal behavior and instincts and animals just like you.'

Effect: You gain a +4 bonus to all Handle Animals and Ride checks and gain the Druid's Wild Empathy class Feature.

Background Skills: Handle Animals, Ride

Favorite Class: None

Bloodthirsty

You are used to violence and live for the adrenaline rush of the battle – or you just enjoy to inflict pain on your enemies.

Effect: If you deliver an attack that deals enough damage to immediately kill an enemy or drop him nauseated from a heavy hit, your lust for blood stir you to a minor frenzy – you gain a +1 morale bonus to damage and +2 moral bonus to Will saves. These benefits last until the end of this encounter.

Background Skills: None.

Favourite Class: Chose one class with a full BAB progression and treat it as a favourite class.

Born Leader

You possess an innate ability to bring out the best in others and to create loyalty and friendship. With a few words of encouragement from you or a presentation of your efforts to lead, your allies perform much better than normal – at least temporary.

Effect: You gain the ability to use one of the Commander’s Commands (see the Commander class description in the Class section). The Command may be chosen at first level and not changed afterwards.

Special: Commanders with this ability gain an additional Command at first level.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Commander

Brave

You understand the value of quick wits and quicker reactions when blades are drawn and deadly spells are chanted and there is not much that scares you anymore.

Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to your Initiative score and Will Saves to resist fear or fear related effects. Treat an effect that would panic you as if you were frightened and a result that would make you frightened as if you were shaken. An effect that would make you shaken has no effect on you.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Chose one class with a full BAB progression and treat it as a favourite class.

Chaotic Mind

You are crazy, deranged, apart from the reality of other people. Your mind is unordered and jumping from one concept to another with a logic hard to identify or follow by other people. Other people will think of you as enigmatic and at least eccentric, but your unusual cognitive processes offers great protection from mind-effecting magic.

Effect: You gain a +4 bonus to mind effecting magic and abilities. People are feeling insecure around the deranged, and you can easily exploit this – you gain a +2 bonus to Intimidate.

Background Skills: Intimidate.

Favourite Class: None

Fast Learner

You learn very quickly and without many problems.

Effect: You gain 8 additional skill points on first level, and one additional skill point on each following level.

Background Skills: Take one of your choice.

Favourite Class: None

Intuitive Learning

You never understood how people learned from books. While you are not necessarily what other consider as ‘clever’, you have a knack for learning things, even seemingly more intelligent people have problems to grasp.

Effect: Use your Wisdom instead of your Intelligence to determine how many skill points you gain per level.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: None

Loyal Follower

You are not the one who takes the reign and lead your allies from victory to victory – you are the one who guarantees that the leader’s orders will actually lead them to victory and that his efforts for motivation will be effective.

Effect: Whenever you gain a morale bonus through another character’s leadership efforts such as the cleric’s sermons or the commander’s orders, double that bonus. This does not work when the morale boost was caused by a spell or another supernatural ability or power.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Man-at-arms

Master of your own fate

You have decided that only you will detemine your way in life. No ancient prophecies, mystical writings or caste origin should ever force you to take another path than that you have chosen for you. You are your own master and do not tolerate anyone else to tell you what you should do.

Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to all saves against mind-affecting spells or powers - you are too stubborn to submit to mere magic. Your stubbornness also grants you two additional hitpoints at first level, as not even pain and injury should lead you from the way you have chosen.

Background Skills: Chose two skills. These skills will be treated as background skills for you. You and not your origin determine what you are good in.

Favorite Class: Chose one class and treat it as a favorite class.

Paranoid

Perhaps you were betrayed once or you have a low opinion of most other people, but you have learned to distrust most people that you know well, let alone strangers. For you, everyone is suspicious.

Effect: Once per social encounter, you can reroll a Sense Motive, Spot or Listen checks. In any case, you must choose to re-roll after rolling but before learning the results of the check, and you must accept the results of the second roll, even if it is lower than the first.

Background Skills: Sense Motive

Favourite Class: None

Perfect Recall

You have an eidetic memory, and can easily remember even minor details from an event others have long forgotten without much difficulty.

Effect: You enjoy a +1 bonus to all knowledge checks and a +2 bonus to spot to see through a disguise. If you have any questions about details or events, such as a person’s name or the exact events, the DM is obliged to tell you, even if you as a player have forgotten them. While you can’t memorise the exact wording of a book or a similar source, you can remember the general gist of the book or the passage. You always remember faces, names and the basic sequence of events.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: None

Seducer

You have the eerie ability to charm and manipulate others, perhaps due to your attractiveness or just a great skill in empathy and scheming. You don’t need magic to twist others around your fingers.

Effect: When dealing with NPCs whose starting attitude is neutral or better, you can temporarily improve their attitude by two categories instead of one with a successful diplomacy check for a number of minutes equal to your charisma modifier. Afterwards the attitude returns to its original state (if the NPC is now more hostile to you, the attitude obviously does not change back).

Background Skills: Intrigue

Favourite Class: None

Physical Background Traits

Ability Boost

You are remarkably strong, agile etc. for your species, granting you a bonus to a certain ability. Likewise, you also have a specific weakness in another ability.

Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to a ability score of your choice and a –2 penalty to another ability score.

Special: You can take this trait more than once, eliminating the penalty with the second pick.

Background Skills: Chose one skill based on your enhanced Ability and treat it as a background skill. Favourite Class: None

Burly

You are exceptionally tall and heavy set for your species. You are larger and tougher than most others and your broad shoulders can carry a heavy weight.

Effect: Whenever you are subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), you are treated as one size larger if doing so is advantageous. You are also treated as a creature of one size larger for the purposes of calculating your carrying your light, medium and heavy loads.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: None

Cat’s Balance

You are exceptionally light on your feet and have a superb sense of balance.

Effect: You gain a +2 bonus on all Balance, Move Silently and Tumble checks. You do not become flat-footed when you are balancing, and you retain your complete defense bonus in these circumstances. When you make a Tumble check to reduce damage from falling, reduce the height of the fall by 20 feet.

Normal: Using Tumble to reduce Falling damage reduces the fallen distance by 10 feet.

Background Skills: Acrobatics

Favourite Class: Assassin, Bravo or Thief (pick one, not all three)

Face in the crowd

You have knack for blending into crowds. You lack any noteworthy features or characteristics that would make you easy to identify or to recognize you. With a little effort, you can remain nearly anonymous.

Effect: During any non-combat situation, you can make a hide check based on your charisma instead of your dexterity to fade into the background. Make a hide check opposed by spot checks from everyone else who s present. Those who fail simply do not notice you, as long as you don’t do anything suspicious or threatening. Additionally, you gain a +4 bonus to disguise checks.

Background Skills: Stealth

Favourite Class: None

Graceful Acrobat

You are lithe, flexible and has the grace of a dancer. You move with excellent coordination and complete difficult acrobatic maneuvers with relative ease.

Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to tumble checks and can use Tumble to move at your normal speed without penalty.

Background Skills: Tumble

Favourite Class: Bravo

Hard to kill

Your body just does not give up, even when you are severely injured.

Effect: You gain a +4 bonus to all saves to resist the effects of wounds or to stabilise and you gain one additional level of Scratches you can tolerate.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Chose one class with a full BAB progression and take it as a Favorite Class.

Mighty Build

Your heavy muscles and broad build allows you to use tools and weapons other would fiend clumsy to wield. While an enormous maul would force others to struggle to keep their balance, you have the strength and steadiness to use such large weapons without problems.

Effect: You can wield weapons up to one size larger than normal for a creature of your size without penalty. You still suffer the normal penalties for weapons above that size and for smaller ones. The benefit of this trait only effects weapons and do not expend to shields.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: None

Quick

You are extraordinary swift on your feet and an expert runner.

Effect: Add +10 ft to your base speed.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Bravo

Resilient

You have an incredible immune system and an iron cast stomach. Poisons and Illnesses have little effect on you.

Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to Saves to resist poisons and illnesses. Additionally, whenever you are the recipient of a Heal check to treat poison or disease, the character performing the Heal check gains a +2 bonus on the check result.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Alchemist

Sharp Senses

You posses an uncanny awareness for your surroundings and are normally the first to recognize details around you. You are notoriously hard to surprise.

Effect: Whenever a Spot, Search or Sense Motive Check would reveal a falsehood or a hidden object or person, the DM makes such a check for you in secret. If the check succeeds, you learn that something is amiss and can make an additional check yourself to determine the exact nature of the event; the first check gives only a general feeling.

Background Skills: Perception.

Favourite Class: Pathfinder

Short

You are much smaller and skinnier than normal – so much that you count as one size category smaller than other member of your species.

Effect: You are small-sized if you ordinarily would be medium sized. As a small creature, you gain a +1 bonus to your defense, a +1 size bonus to attack rolls, and a +4 bonus to hide rolls. You suffer a –10 foot penalty to your base speed and a –2 penalty to your strength. You also must wield weapons one size smaller than normal and gain a -1 size penalty to your Shock Value.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: None

Tall

You have longer arms and legs than other members of your species, which let you tower over the others. In battle, your height and longer limbs grant you improved reach. Effect: You gain a +2 size bonus to grapple checks. In Combat, when you wield an at least medium sized weapon, you can attack with your weapon as if it had a 5 feet longer reach, but doing so would give an additional –4 penalty to all attack rolls for this turn.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: None

Tough as iron

Your bulging, powerful muscles are hard as old wood and your bones are even tougher. You are not injured easily.

Effect: You gain a natural armor of 1/-. If you already have natural armor, increase it by 1.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Chose one class with a full BAB progression and take it as a Favorite Class.


Social/Cultural Background Traits

Aristocratic Heritage

You were born into the nobility and enjoyed the privileges of this life. You are supposed to be a leader and a ruler instead of a follower and had access to the best teachers and equipment.

Effect: As a member of ruling class, you start the game with double the normal amount of gold to purchase equipment and your better education grants 4 additional skill points at first level and one additional skill point on each subsequent level. You also bear a title in a nation or domain that will grant you several privileges, such as hospitality and access to the upper class of the nobility.

Background Skills: Knowledge (Royalty and Nobility)

Favourite Class: Commander or Noble

Barbarian

You grew up in a tribe or society that is less sophisticated or civilized than the people further away from the wilderness. Your people had less technological knowledge, and the land you grew up in was much wilder than the farmland where the more civilized people live.

Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to survival checks and since you grew up in a much more dangerous environment, you also have sharpened senses: you gain a +2 bonus to Perception checks and your initiative. On the downside, you do not have the same access to wealth and higher arts as many other people and start with only half of the usual Starting Wealth.

Background Skills: Survival

Favourite Class: Berserker

Born in the saddle

Your people wandered the lands on the back of your mounts and like most of the children of your people you learned to ride before you could walk. You are an expert horseman.

Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to ride checks and handle animals check, as you spent more time with your mount than with many people. Additionally, you can reroll a ride check once per encounter if you fight mounted and may use your full class level to determine the level of a potential Animal Companion if said companion is your mount.

Background Skills: Ride

Favourite Class: None

Craftsman

You trained as a craftsman or artisan or derive from a family with a long-standing tradition in this area. Perhaps you never planned to live the life of an adventurer but the circumstances forced you to give up your craft.

Effect: You gain 4 ranks in one craft skill of your choice and an additional skill point every level that you can only use to raise craft or profession skills. Likewise, you gain a +2 bonus to the appraise skill since you have developed an eye for the quality of craftsmanship. This ability also allows you to spot flaws in objects, allowing you to add your Intelligence modifier (if any) to all damage rolls against objects and constructs.

Background Skills: Craft (any)

Favourite Class: Alchemist

Circus Artist

You were born amongst a group of travelling actors, acrobats, performers or fortune tellers. During your time amongst these extraordinary people you were schooled in performing a particular activity typical of their lifestyle.

Effect: You are a natural performer and gain a +2 to all Balance, Perform, Sleight of Hand and Tumble checks. In addition, you get an additional +2 bonus to one skill from the following list: Bluff, Escape Artist, Handle Animal, Sense Motive or Use Rope.

Background Skills: Chose one of the following list: Acrobatics, Legerdemain, Perform

Favourite Class: Thief

Denizen from the Deep

Your people live deep underground, in caves and mines beyond the surface and far away from the sun. You are well adapted to this environment, but the open skies and lightness of the surface world is something terribly strange for you.

Effect: You gain the Darkvision ability with a reach of 60’. If you already have Darkvision, increase its reach by 60’. You also gain a +2 bonus to Hide, Move Silently and Search, as these skills can guarantee your survival in the dangerous darkness of the underground.

Background skills: Hide

Favourite Class: None

Desert Dweller

Your people lived in the endless dunes of a great desert and you have learned to survive in this merciless environment.

Effect: You enjoy a +4 bonus to saving throws against fire, hot weather effects and heat exposure, as well as an energy resistance against fire equal to your constitution bonus. Likewise, you can survive on half the standard amount of food and water and may treat difficult terrain based on sand as normal terrain.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Pathfinder

Disciplined Upbringing

Your people are admired for their single-minded determination and clarity of purpose and you were raised with this discipline.

Effect: You gain a +2 bonus on Will saves and Concentration checks.

Background Skills: Concentration

Favourite Class: None

Faithful

You were raised in a very religious environment of religious fervour and in strict observation of he faith’s religious tenets. You don’t have to be a priest or a similar representative of the faith, but you are a stout believer.

Effect: As long as you hold up a code of honor fitting to your religion, you get an additional bonus based on your faith and resolution – you get a +2 bonus to Will Saves against fear effects and once per day, may add a +2 moral bonus to a single D20 roll of your choice. Additionally, you gain a +2 bonus to knowledge (religion) and social skills when dealing with followers of the same faith.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Paladin

Ice-Born

You were born in the frozen lands of ice and snow. You are used to bitter cold and howling winds and coldness has little effect against you.

Effect: You gain a +4 bonus on all saves against cold effects, including cold weather or exposure and an energy resistance against cold equal to your constitution bonus. You can treat difficult terrain as normal terrain, as long as its difficulty is based on snow, iced surfaces or similar winter or cold related reasons. You also gain a +2 Bonus to Athletics and Survival, checks and may treat Survival in a cold environment as a trained skill, even if you have no ranks in it.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Berserker

Member of the Thieves’ Guild

You are or were a member of the local guild of thieves or a similar underworld organisation and you have learned the art of crimes close to perfection.

Effects: Your criminal activities taught you how to gain access to information others may be unable to obtain. You gain a +2 bonus to all intrigue checks and gain 4 additional skill points at first level and +1 skillpoint on each level, which can only be used for skills from the following list: Acrobatics, Disable Device, Intrigue, Legerdemain or Stealth. The Guild also offers shelter and some contacts as well as some social lever in the underworlds, but you are required to be loyal to the guild and spend a certain amount of your income for the guild’s ‘welfare program’.

Background Skills: None.

Favourite Class: Thief or Assassin.

Mountaineer

You come from the mountains or their direct surroundings. You are used to steep slopes and jagged cliffs.

Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to survival in a mountainous environment and +4 bonus to all Athletics checks dealing with climbing. You are also used to keep your footing under all costs, granting you a +2 bonus to all checks and saving throws you make to keep yourself from being knocked prone. Additionally, the mountains have bred toughness and tenacity into you, granting you an additional level of Scratches and a +1 bonus to your Shock Value.

Background Skills: Athletics

Favourite Class: Barbarian

Merchant

You have worked as a merchant and a trader and made some important experiences in the art of commerce.

Effect: You get a +2 bonus on all Intrigue and Sense Motive checks and start the game with twice the regular starting wealth. In addition, you can reduced or increase the price of any ware you buy or sell by 10%.

Background Skills: One fitting craft skill

Favourite Class: Thief

Peasant

It might not the most heroic background, but it is the most common: You were born among the village folk that works in the fields and nourishes the whole realm through agriculture and animal husbandry. This is dull labour without any prestige, so it is no wonder that you turned away from this and started a life as an adventurer.

Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to the Profession (farmer) skill and handle animal. More important, the constant labour on the fields grant you a +1 Bonus to all Fortitude Saves. You are so grown to harship that you also gain one additional level of Scratches.

Background Skills: Handle Animals, Profession (Agriculture)

Favourite Class: None

Scholar

You have spend many years with learning and studying, granting you an impressive and broad education. Effect: You can use any knowledge skill as a trained skill even if you don’t have any ranks in it and gain a +2 bonus to all knowledge checks as well. You get an additional skill point per level (4 at 1st level) that may only distributed among knowledge skills.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: None

Sea child

You are at home at the sea, whether you have spent more time aboard of a ship than on dry land or grew up on the coast.

Effect: You ignore any penalties to fighting aboard a ship due to heavy seas or swaying decks and gain a +2 bonus to all ability or skill checks to keep on foot, keep their balance. You are also proficient with either a martial or an exotic weapon associated with the sea or fishing, like the trident or the net.

Background Skills: Athletics

Favourite Class: None

Spellwise

You grew up in a land where mighty wizards are more common than in the rest of the world. Everyone in your homeland knows something about magic, and you have developed a certain resistance against the favourite art of the local spellcasters.

Effect: You receive a +2 bonus on all Knowledge (Arcana) and Spellcraft checks. You also get a +2 bonus on saving throws against spells and effects of a school of magic of your choice.

Background Skills: Knowledge (Arcana) or Spellcraft

Favourite Class: None

Swamp Folk

You were born and raised in a community deep within a marsh or swamp. Your people may have made their homes in small mud huts, on houses raised on wooden stilts, or on free drifting rafts, but they all relied on the isolation and solitude to protect them from their enemies. You are completely at home in the muddy tracts and waterways of such lands.

Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to survival checks in a marshland environment and treat the slippery, wet or muddy ground of a swamp as normal instead of difficult terrain. You also get a +2 bonus on Saving Throws against poisons since there are many poisonous animals and plants in the marshes.

Background Skills: Athletics

Favourite Class: Pathfinder

Urban Scum

You grew up in one of the toughest slums of a giant urban jungle. From early on, you learned how to scavenge and survive on the streets, including the occasional fight for your survival or even worse.

Effects: You are a tough street dweller, granting you a +2 bonus to Intimidate, Intrigue and Sense Motive. Your experience in street fights also grants you 1D6 of Sneak Attack damage that stacks with sneak attack from other sources. On the downside, you only start half the normal starting wealth due to the poverty of your upbringing.

Background Skills: Intrigue

Favourite Class: Thief

Warrior people

Your people praise nothing as much as martial prowess and live a life full of strive and combat. Perhaps you grew up in a mercenary unit or a tribe in a constant state of war with its neighbours and you have adapted to this highly martial upbringing.

Effect: Your people’s focus on martial prowess makes them skilled warriors. This environemnt of martial prowess has allwoed you to study the art of combat from early on, granting you familiarity with all martial weapons and one bonus feat from the fighter bonus feat list. In addition, you gain a +2 bonus to will saves to resist fear or fear-related spells and effects and a +2 bonus to Initiative rolls.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Commander or any one class with a full BAB progression

Widely travelled

Your people where constantly on the move and you have seen many countries towns and especially roads. Perhaps you grew up without ever settling down anywhere for more than a fortnight and for your whole life, the road stretched out in front of you.

Effect: You are used to travel and to commute with many different people. You gain a +2 bonus to intrigue checks and fortitude checks to resist fatigue from marching or other encumbrances. You have also learned the languages of the cultures you have met, granting you two ranks in the languages skill.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Pathfinder

Wild Child

You were raised in the wild by a pack of animals who, for whatever reason, chose to rear you as one of they own. It was not until a later age that you began to learn of your true nature and began to seek out your own kind.

Effect: Your time among animals has naturally attuned you to their minds allowing you an unmatched ability to interact amongst them. You gain a +4 bonus to all handle animal checks and may also select a single type of animal which operates commonly in packs (such as wolves), these animals almost never act with hostile intent towards either you or up to 6 additional individuals travelling within 60 feet of you (should either you or one of your chosen companions act in a hostile manor towards the chosen creatures they will however defend themselves and move against you). In addition, you gain the endurance feat and a +2 bonus to survival checks due to your youth in the wilderness.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Berserker

Woodland folk

You were born and raised between towering trees and a dense brushwood and here in the forest you are at your best. Perhaps you even feel somewhat uncomfortable in open spaces.

Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to Stealth and Survival checks in a forest environment and a +2 bonus to craft checks related to wood. Additionally, you gain a +4 bonus to all Athletics and Acrobatics checks dealing with climbing or moving in treetops and you retain your full defense bonus while climbing.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Pathfinder or Archer

Exotic and Supernatural Background Traits

Arcane Gift

You were born with the Gift to manipulate the forces of magic and are able to become an arcane spellcaster.

Effect: This trait allows you to take levels in an arcane spellcasting class.

Normal: Without this trait, a character cannot take class levels in an arcane spellcaster class.

Special: The Gift should be treated as a rare and exotic trait, because there are only a few things worse that you can do to a Fantasy game than cheapen and de-mystify magic. In any given group, not more than one character should have this trait.

Background Skills: None.

Favourite Class: Chose one arcane spellcaster class and treat it as a favourite class.


Atheist

You don't believe in gods, or any other such superstition. This makes you some kind of an outsider, when you vocalize your beliefs in public, but more importantly, your refusal to accept the god's powers greatly reduces them when facing you - which is not always beneficial for you.

Effect: You gain a +4 bonus to all Saving throws to resists divine spells or spell-like effects or powers with a divine background (e.g. the spell-like abilities of the plane-touched). You may even make your Saving roll against spells that would normally do not allow one (the Gamemaster determines which Save is applied in the specific situation). On the downside, any divne spell which would have a positive effect on you is only half as effective as usual (healing spells only heal half the damage, other spells have only half the usual duration for you).

Special: You can not take this trait and the divine Gift.

Background Skills: None.

Favourite Class: None.


Child of Prophecy

Omens and signs of great potency accompanied your birth and it seems that you have a great destiny to fulfil. This does not need to be entirely positive, but in one way or the other, you will change the way of the world.

Effect: This trait has no mechanical effect, but will easily enlarge your importance in the ongoing campaign. Discuss with your DM what the prophecy tells about your character and what destiny she has to fulfil.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Pick one class of your choice and treat it as a favorite class.


Divine Gift

You were blessed by the gods, spirits or the earth itself and have gained the rare blessing to form and manipulate the energies of divine magic.

Effect: This trait allows you to take levels in a divine spellcasting class.

Normal: Without this trait, a character can not take class levels in a divine spellcaster class.

Special: The Gift should be treated as a rare and exotic trait, because there are only a few things worse that you can do to a Fantasy game than cheapen and de-mystify magic. In any given group, not more than one character should have this trait.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: Chose any one divine spellcaster class.


Eldritch Void

Arcane magic just does not have the usual effect on you. Often, it has no effect at all on you. The reason for this may be personal determination or pure coincedence.

Effect: You gain a +4 bonus to all Saving throws to resists arcane spells or spell-like effects or powers with an arcane background. You may even make your Saving roll against spells that would normally do not allow one (the Gamemaster determines which Save is applied in the specific situation). On the downside, any arcane spell which would have a positive effect on you is only half as effective as usual (usually helpful spells have only half the usual duration for you).

Special: You can not take this trait and the arcane Gift.

Background Skills: None.

Favourite Class: None.

Fur

For reasons you don't really know yourself, you were born with a thick fur that covers your whole body. Perhaps this is a distinct trademark of your people, or you are an accident - if you are a member of a specis that is already covered with fur (like Gnolls), your fur is much thicker and tougher than usual and you still stand out among your people.

Effect: This trait grants a Damage Resistance of 1/- and a 3 point energy resistance against cold damage.

Background skill: Craft (Grooming and Braiding).

Favorite Class: Barber


Lucky

Perhaps you were born under a good star or some higher power looks out for you, but through luck, determination, and resilience, you survive when no one expects you to make it through.

Effect: You gain a +1 bonus to all saving throws and your defense.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: None


Magic Sense

While you not necessarily have the Gift to wield magic itself, you have the rare ability to sense magic around you.

Effect: Your ability to sense the presence of magic items or spellcasters resemble the Sense Magic spell, but is always active and takes the form of a 30 feet radius emanation around you. This ability is not per se magic and is therefore not affected by antimagic spells etc. (spells that hide the magic aura of casters or items are still in effect). This sense of magic also allows you to defend better against it, whenever you are a target of a spell or effect which is cast onto you within the reach of your ability: In this case you gain a +1 bonus to all saving throws against spells and other supernatural powers.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: None


Not from this world

You are not completely mortal. Perhaps your mystic power seem to transcend your mortal form or you are the descendant of a truly odd couple, but in any case your inner radiance is so strong that you are more than mortal.

Effect: You are a Native Outsider, not a humanoid. You have darkvision out to 60 feet (or, if you already have darkvision, increase its range by 60 feet). Furthermore, you gain an Energy Resistance against one source of damage of your choice equal to your constitution modifier. You may not take this trait if you already gain the native outsider feature from a template or when your species is an outsider by default.

Background Skills: None

Favourite Class: None


Psionic Gift

Somehow, you were always different. Sometimes you saw events happen before they happened, or things around started to shake when you were angry. You are a psionic who have this Gift - or Curse - that sets you apart from the rest of the world.

Effect: A character with this trait is a psionic and can obtain psionic feats and powers; other than magic, psionics are mostly useable at will, and are open to any class. The character choses one of the psionic power paths - Biokinetics, Clairvoyance, Telekinetics or Telepathy -and gains the associated bonus (see the Psionics section for this).

Normal: Without this trait, a character can not take psionic feats and the corresponding powers.

Special: The Gift should always be treated as a rare and exotic trait, because there are only a few things worse that you can do to a Fantasy game than cheapen and de-mystify supernatural powers. Psionics in Serpents and Sewers represent a more primal and innate ability in comparison to magic, and should therefore be even rarer.

Background Skills: None


Supernatural Resistance

For strange reasons, magic and psychic gifts affect you much less than others. While it is very unlikely that you have the Gift yourself, those who have it do not impresse you much.

Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to all Saving Throws to resist all forms of spells, spel-like abilities or supernatural abilities.

Background Skills: None

Favorite Class: None

Weak Magic

You were born with a trace of magic in your blood, not enough to qualify for the full gift, but still impressive from the point of view of the complete mundane people. Your innate magic may be too weak to become a real spellcaster, but you have an intuitive understanding how to work your specific magic powers.

Effect: Choose 3 cantrips and any one level 1 spell from any spell list. You can cast only these spells, and are considered to have a spell energy pool equal to your highest mental ability bonus. With the GM's accord, the Weak Magic trait may suffice to qualify a character for a class with only very limited spell access like the Shapechanger.

Background Skills: Use Magic Device

Favourite Class: None

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