The Grey Veil
At character creation, each character gets two Story Traits, which help to define the social role of the character and flesh out the backstory (these are different from the the Traits from Unearthed Arcana, which are also available as normal). Many traits grant a new type of bonus: a “trait” bonus. Trait bonuses do not stack.
There are four categories of Basic Traits: Combat Traits, Faith Traits, Magic Traits, and Social Traits.
These traits are associated with combat, battle, and physical prowess; they give characters minor bonuses in battle and represent conflicts and physical struggles in the character’s backstory.
1. Anatomist: You have studied the workings of anatomy, either as a student at university or as an apprentice mortician or necromancer. You know where to aim your blows to strike vital organs and you gain a +1 trait bonus on all rolls made to confirm critical hits.
2. Armor Expert: You have worn armor as long as you can remember, either as part of your training to become a knight’s squire or simply because you were seeking to emulate a hero. Your childhood armor wasn’t the real thing as far as protection, but it did encumber you as much as real armor would have, and you’ve grown used to moving in such suits with relative grace. When you wear armor of any sort, reduce that suit’s armor check penalty by 1, to a minimum check penalty of 0.
3. Bullied: You were bullied often as a child, and you are now constantly ready to defend yourself with your fists when an enemy comes near. You gain a +1 trait bonus on attacks of opportunity attack rolls made with unarmed strikes. Note that this trait does not grant the ability to make attacks of opportunity with your unarmed strikes—you’ll need to take a level of monk, the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, or some other similar power to gain the use of this character trait. However, that doesn’t prevent you from selecting this trait. You’ll simply not be able to make use of it until a later point if you do.
4. Courageous: Your childhood was brutal, yet you persevered primarily through force of will and the hope that no matter how hard things might get, as long as you kept a level head you’d make it through. You gain a +2 trait bonus on saving throws against fear effects.
5. Deft Dodger: Growing up in a rough neighborhood or a dangerous environment has honed your senses. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Ref lex saves.
6. Dirty Fighter: You wouldn’t have lived to make it out of childhood without the aid of a sibling, friend, or companion on whom you could always count to distract your enemies long enough to do a little bit more damage than normal. That companion may be another PC or an NPC (who may even be recently departed from your side). When you hit a foe you are flanking, you deal an additional 1 point of damage (this damage is added to your base damage, and is multiplied on a critical hit). This additional damage is
a trait bonus.
7. Fencer: You trained long hours as a youth with blades, either taking lessons in the genteel art of fencing from tutors paid for by your parents or by being taken under the wing of a disenfranchised fencer who may have turned to a life of crime. You gain a +1 trait bonus on attacks of opportunity made with daggers, swords, and similar bladed weapons.
8. Killer: You made your first kill at a very young age and found the task of war or murder to your liking. You either take particular pride in a well-placed blow, or vile pleasure in such a strike as you twist the blade to maximize the pain. You deal additional damage equal to your weapon’s critical hit modifier when you score a successful critical hit with a weapon; this additional damage is added to the final total, and is not multiplied by the critical hit multiple itself. This extra damage is a trait bonus.
9. Reactionary: You were bullied often as a child, but never quite developed an offensive response. Instead, you became adept at anticipating sudden attacks and reacting to danger quickly. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Initiative checks.
10. Resilient: Growing up in a violent neighborhood or in the unforgiving wilds often forced you to subsist on food and water from doubtful sources. You’ve built up your mettle as a result, and gain a +1 trait bonus on Fortitude saves.
These traits rely upon conviction of spirit, perception, and religion, but are not directly tied to the worship of a specific deity. You do not need a patron deity to gain a Faith Trait, as these traits can represent conviction in one’s self or philosophy just as easily as they can represent dedication to a deity.
1. Birthmark: You were born with a strange birthmark that looks very similar to the holy symbol of the god you chose to worship later in life. This birthmark can serve you as a divine focus for casting spells, and, as a physical manifestation of your faith, increases your devotion to your god—you gain a +2 trait bonus on all saving throws against charm and compulsion effects as a result.
2. Caretaker: As the child of an herbalist or an assistant in a temple infirmary, you often had to assist in tending to the sick and wounded. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Heal checks, and Heal is always a class skill for you.
3. Child of the Temple: You have long served at a temple in a city, and not only did you pick up on many of the nobility’s customs, you spent much time in the temple libraries studying your faith. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (nobility) and Knowledge (religion) checks, and one of these skills (your choice) is always a class skill for you.
4. Devotee of the Green: Your faith in the natural world or one of the gods of nature makes it easy for you to pick up on related concepts. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (geography) and Knowledge (nature) checks, and one of these skills (your choice) is always a class skill for you.
5. Ease of Faith: Your mentor, the person who invested your faith in you from an early age, took steps to ensure that you understood that what powers your divine magic is no different than that which powers the magic of other religions. This philosophy makes it easier for you to interact with others who may not share your views. You gain a +1 bonus on Diplomacy checks, and Diplomacy is always a class skill for you.
6. History of Heresy: You were raised with heretical views that have made it not only difficult for you to accept most religious beliefs, but you also have had to live with the fact that you or those you love were often treated as pariahs. As a result, you have turned your back on religious teachings, and as long as you do not possess any levels in a class that grants divine spellcasting power, you gain a +1 trait bonus on all saving throws made against divine spells.
7. Indomitable Faith: You were born in a region where your faith was not popular, yet you never abandoned it. Your constant struggle to maintain your own faith has bolstered your drive; you gain a +1 trait bonus on Will saves as a result.
8. Sacred Conduit: Your birth was particularly painful and difficult for your mother, who needed potent divine magic to ensure you survived; your mother may or may not have survived. In any event, the magic infused you from an early age, and you now channel divine energy with greater ease than most. Whenever you channel energy, you gain a +1 trait bonus to the save DC of your channeled energy.
9. Sacred Touch: You were exposed to a potent source of positive energy as a child, perhaps by being born under the right cosmic sign, or maybe because one of your parents was a gifted healer. As a standard action, you may automatically stabilize a dying creature merely by touching it.
10. Scholar of the Great Beyond: Your great interests as a child did not lie with current events or the mundane – you have always felt out of place, as if you were born in the wrong era. You take to philosophical discussions of the Great Beyond and of historical events with ease. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (history) and Knowledge (planes) checks, and one of these skills (your choice) is always a class skill for you.
These traits are associated with magic, and focus on spellcasting and manipulating magic. You need not be a spellcaster to take a Magic Trait (although several of these traits aren’t as useful to non-spellcasters). Magic Traits can represent a character’s early exposure to magical effects or childhood studies of magic.
1. Classically Schooled: Your apprenticeship or early education was particularly focused on the direct application of magic. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Spellcraft checks, and Spellcraft is always a class skill for you.
2. Dangerously Curious: You have always been intrigued by magic, possibly because you were the child of a magician or priest. You often snuck into your parent’s laboratory or shrine to tinker with spell components and magic devices, and often caused quite a bit of damage and headaches for your parent as a result. You gain a +1 bonus on Use Magic Device checks, and Use Magic Device is always a class skill for you.
3. Focused Mind: Your childhood was either dominated by lessons of some sort (be they musical or academic) or by a horrible home life that encouraged your ability to block out distractions to focus on the immediate task at hand. You gain a +2 trait bonus on concentration checks.
4. Gifted Adept: Your interest in magic was inspired by witnessing a spell being cast in a particularly dramatic method, perhaps even one that affected you physically or spiritually. This early exposure to magic has made it easier for you to work similar magic on your own. Pick one spell when you choose this trait—from this point on, whenever you cast that spell, its effects manifest at +1 caster level.
5. Hedge Magician: You apprenticed for a time to a craftsman who often built magic items, and he taught you many handy shortcuts and cost-saving techniques. Whenever you craft a magic item, you reduce the cost of gp required to make the item by 5%.
6. Magical Knack: You were raised, either wholly or in part, by a magical creature, either after it found you abandoned in the woods or because your parents often left you in the care of a magical minion. This constant exposure to magic has made its mysteries easy for you to understand, even when you turn your mind to other devotions and tasks. Pick a class when you gain this trait—your caster level in that class gains a +2 trait bonus as long as this bonus doesn’t increase your caster level higher than your current Hit Dice.
7. Magical Lineage: One of your parents was a gifted spellcaster who not only used metamagic often, but developed many magical items and perhaps even a new spell or two—and you have inherited a fragment of this greatness. Pick one spell when you choose this trait. When you apply metamagic feats to this spell, treat its actual level as 1 lower for determining the spell’s final adjusted level.
8. Magical Talent: Either from inborn talent, whimsy of the gods, or obsessive study of strange tomes, you have mastered the use of a cantrip. Choose a 0-level spell. You may cast that spell once per day as a spell-like ability. This spell-like ability is cast at your highest caster level gained; if you have no caster level, it functions at CL 1st. The spell-like ability’s save DC is Charisma-based.
9. Mathematical Prodigy: Mathematics has always come easily for you, and you have always been able to “see the math” in the physical and magical world. You gain a +1 bonus on Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (engineering) checks, and one of these skills (your choice) is always a class skill for you.
10. Skeptic: Growing up, you were always around magical effects to the extent that you realized that much of it was smoke and mirrors. You gain a +2 trait bonus on all saving throws against illusions.
Social Traits are a sort of catch-all category—these traits ref lect the social upbringing of your character, your background with high society or lack thereof, and your history with parents, siblings, friends,
competitors, and enemies.
1. Adopted: You were adopted and raised by someone not of your actual race, and raised in a society not your own. As a result, you picked up a race trait from your adoptive parents and society, and may immediately select a race trait from your adoptive parents’ race. Race traits can be found in Pathfinder Companion products—if you don’t have access to a selection of race traits, it’s best to simply pick a different social feat.
2. Bully: You grew up in an environment where the meek were ignored and you often had to resort to threats or violence to be heard. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Intimidate checks, and Intimidate is always a class skill for you.
3. Canter: You grew up among thieves and scoundrels, and their unusual speech patterns and turns of phrase don’t phase you in the slightest today as a result. Anyone who attempts to use Bluff to deliver a secret message to you gains a +5 bonus on his Bluff check. When you attempt to intercept a secret message using Sense Motive, you gain a +5 trait bonus on the attempt.
4. Charming: Blessed with good looks, you’ve come to depend on the fact that others find you attractive. You gain a +1 trait bonus when you use Bluff or Diplomacy on a character that is (or could be) sexually attracted to you, and a +1 trait bonus to the save DC of any language-dependent spell you cast on such characters or creatures.
5. Child of the Streets: You grew up on the streets of a large city, and as a result you have developed a knack for picking pockets and hiding small objects on your person. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Sleight of Hand checks, and Sleight of Hand is always a class skill for you.
6. Fast-Talker: You had a knack at getting yourself into trouble as a child, and as a result developed a silver tongue at an early age. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Bluff checks, and Bluff is always a class skill for you.
7. Natural-Born Leader: You’ve always found yourself in positions where others look up to you as a leader, and you can distinctly remember an event from your early childhood where you led several other children to accomplish a goal that each of you individually could not. All cohorts, followers, or summoned creatures under your leadership gain a +1 morale bonus on Will saves to avoid mind-affecting effects. If you ever take the Leadership feat, you gain a +1 trait bonus to your Leadership score.
8. Poverty-Stricken: Your childhood was tough, and your parents had to make every copper piece count. Hunger was your constant companion, and you often had to live off the land or sleep in the wild. You gain a +1 bonus to Survival checks, and Survival is always a class skill for you.
9. Rich Parents: You were born into a rich family, perhaps even the nobility, and even though you turned to a life of adventure anyway, you enjoyed a one-time benefit to your initial finances and your starting cash increases to 900 gp.
10. Suspicious: You discovered at an early age that someone you trusted, perhaps an older sibling or a parent, had lied to you, and often, about something you had taken for granted, leaving you quick to question the claims of others. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Sense Motive checks, and Sense Motive is always a class skill for you.
You are a student of ancient history, and you’ve come to explore the crumbling and vine-choked ruins of the cyclops empire, which have lain abandoned among the isles for thousands of years.
You went to a tavern last night to meet a contact who supposedly had an old map of lost cyclops ruins to sell, but the drink was stronger than you had expected and you passed out before making the deal.
Benefit You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (history) and Knowledge (local) checks, and one of these skills is a class skill for you. In addition, you gain Cyclops or Polyglot as a bonus language.
You grew up listening to tales of adventure and piracy on the high seas and the sea chanteys of old salts in dockside dives. You learned all about what it’s like to be a pirate by talking with the sailors on shore leave, and learned how to tell a tale (or perform some other pirate entertainment) yourself.
You went to a tavern to earn a few coins with your tales of the sea. The patrons seemed pleased with your performance and bought you a few drinks. You had just remembered a tale of an unfortunate sailor who found himself press-ganged on a pirate ship after his drink was drugged when suddenly everything went black.
Benefit You gain a +1 trait bonus on Diplomacy checks and one category of Perform checks, and one of these skills is a class skill for you. In addition, once per week you can make a DC 15 Knowledge (local) or Intelligence check to see if you know a popular legendary pirate tale, the telling of which grants you a +1 trait bonus on checks made to influence NPCs on the ship.
You know many of the region’s secrets and the locals already know who you are. You aren’t quite hated in town, but folk seem to think you’re a troublemaker and a bastard and not to be trusted. The town’s tougher folk respect you, but the law-abiding citizens don’t.
Benefit You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (local) checks, and Knowledge (local) is a class skill for you. In addition, you can choose any one notorious citizen from below as an ally; depending on the person you pick, you’ll get different benefits.
Everyone suspects the sweaty, shifty-eyed apothecarist sells poisons from his cluttered, acrid smelling wreck of a shop. You’re one of the few in town who know this for a fact.
Benefit: You start the game with 400 gp worth of poison, and the apothecarist will continue to sell you poison as long as you don’t spread the word.
The noble is eager to rebuild his presence in town, and you’re one of the ones he’s selected as an agent.
Benefit: Choose one of the following skills: Bluff, Sleight of Hand, or Stealth. Your work for him gives you a +1 trait bonus on that skill, and it is always a class skill for you.
One of your ancestors was an infamous pirate captain, whose very name struck fear in the hearts of those who sailed the seas in search of an honest living. Piracy is in your blood, and you’ve always longed to follow in your forebear’s footsteps and plunder the shipping lanes.
You went to a notorious pirate hangout tavern, eager to start your career as a buccaneer. While you were there, however, a dashing and flirtatious corsair caught your eye, and after a whirlwind night of booze and romance, you found yourself beaten senseless and stuffed in a sack, carried off to who knows where.
Benefit You gain a +1 trait bonus on Intimidate and Profession (sailor) checks. In addition, you gain a one-time +1 trait bonus to your Disrepute and Infamy scores.
You come from a long line of colonists. While your people’s control wanes every day, you nevertheless maintain a hardy constitution and natural sense of survival. What took you away from home is up to you, but you return to the land of your birth in the hope of putting your homeland back on the map.
Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (local) checks relating to settlements and politics and a +1 trait bonus on saving throws against disease.
Devotee of the Old Gods
The deities worshiped today are not the same ones revered in ancient times—deities with names like Anubis, Osiris, Ra, and Set, among others. Your family never lost the faith of your ancestors, however.
Benefit(s): You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (history) and Knowledge (religion) checks, and one of those skills is always a class skill for you. In addition, your faith in the old gods grants you a +1 trait bonus on saving throws against divine magic.
You grew up on the dangerous docks and quickly learned that fists often make a better point than fancy words, especially when used the right way. You’ve always preferred action to talk, anyway.
While drinking at a tavern last night, you got into a brawl with some of the other patrons. You handled yourself well, but a group of rough-looking characters ganged up on you and overwhelmed you, knocking you unconscious.
Benefit Fortunately, you were able to conceal your brass knuckles when you were press-ganged, and you begin the campaign with them, regardless of your starting circumstances. You gain a +1 trait bonus on damage rolls with brass knuckles and improvised weapons.
Eye for Plunder
You’ve always had a keen eye for the glitter of gold or silver, and you’ve robbed enough rich merchants and raided enough ships to have a feel for where the most valuable plunder is hidden.
You found yourself relatively well off when you got your share of your last voyage’s plunder, and decided to spend a few of your hard-won coins at a popular pirate tavern. Maybe the shine of your new wealth distracted you, however, because you never saw the miscreants who slipped something into your drink, knocking you out cold.
Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Appraise and Perception checks to find concealed or secret objects (including doors and traps). In addition, you begin the campaign with a selection mundane trade goods worth 50 gp that you were able to scrounge together during your first day on the ship.
You were born and raised in town or its surrounding farms. You know many of the region’s secrets, and the locals already know who you are. You are well liked in town, and you’ll have lots of friends in the region, but the town’s tougher side sees you as a snitch or a pansy.
Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (local) checks, and Knowledge (local) is always a class skill for you. In addition, you can choose any one law-abiding citizen from below as an ally; depending on the person you pick, you’ll get different benefits.
Local noble and Innkeeper
Benefit: You gain an additional 10% over the amount of gp you normally would get from selling off treasure.
Benefit: The benefits of being close friends with the town sheriff are extensive, and you can call in favors from him once per game session. A favor can either get you out of a legal jam, hook you up with a town guard for help, or give you a onetime +10 bonus on a Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check made against any local person.
Get the Cargo Through
Sea trade is never safe. Ever-present hurricanes blow many ships each year off course, into jagged rocks, or directly to the sea floor. Pirates wait on the other side to take cargo from ships lucky enough to traverse or bypass the storm. Your job is to ensure a precious cargo arrives safely—what form this cargo takes and the nature of your relationship to it are up to you and your GM.
Benefit: Your character’s history as a merchant or mercenary has earned her a respectable living, and you begin the campaign with an additional 300 gp in starting wealth.
You grew up in a pirate port infamous for both the scoundrels who visit it and the feared assassins who run it. You’ve been around pirates all your life, but you’ve learned to be wary in your dealings with people, as there’s no telling who might be an assassin in disguise.
Looking to make your fortune, you hopped aboard a pirate ship and decided to celebrate your safe arrival with a few drinks at a tavern. There were some suspicious-looking characters there, to be sure, and you decided to give them a wide berth, but as you left, feeling a bit woozy from drink, you were set upon by thugs in a dark alley and knocked unconscious.
Benefit You gain a +1 trait bonus on Sense Motive checks, and Sense Motive is a class skill for you. In addition, your familiarity with the pirate’s life allows you to make untrained Knowledge (local) checks regarding pirates or the region.
Natural Born Sailor
You were born aboard a ship at sea or down by the docks in a port city on an auspicious day. Old salts and sea dogs nod knowingly and say that the goddess of piracy, sea monsters, and strife, has marked you for a greater destiny. You don’t know anything about that, but you’ve always felt more at home on the sea than on land, and your keen eyes can easily pick out a sail on the distant horizon.
You came to a tavern in port in search of your fate. You’re not sure how many drinks you had, but they quickly went to your head and you passed out on the table before you found your destiny—unless it lay in the bottom of a bottle. Then again, maybe you found your destiny after all…
Benefit You gain a +1 trait bonus on Perception and Profession (sailor) checks. In addition, once per week you can reroll a Profession (sailor) check and take the higher result (you must announce that you are using this ability before the results of the check are known).
You’ve recently come from somewhere else and are hoping to make your fortune here.
Choose one of the following:
The secrets of ancient fallen civilizations intrigue you, particularly magical traditions. You’ve studied magic intensely, and hope to increase that knowledge by adding lost lore. You’ve come to pursue that study, and chose this place as your base because it was out of the way of bigger cities—meaning less competition to study the ancient monuments in the region, you hope!
Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (arcana) checks, and Knowledge (arcana) is a class skill for you. If you cast arcane spells, pick three spells on your spell list. You are particularly adept at casting these spells, so they function at +1 caster level when you cast them, and their save DCs (if any) gain a +1 bonus.
For whatever reason, you were forced to flee your homeland. Chance or fate has brought you here, and it’s here that your money ran out, leaving you stranded in this small town. You are also being pursued by enemies from your homeland, and that has made you paranoid and quick to react to danger.
Benefit: You gain a +2 trait bonus on Initiative checks.
You have come here to see about expanding the presence of your chosen faith after receiving visions that told you your faith is needed—what that need is, though, you’re not quite sure.
Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (religion) checks, and Knowledge (religion) is a class skill for you. If you cast divine spells, pick three spells on your spell list. You are particularly adept at casting these spells, so they function at +1 caster level when you cast them, and their save DCs (if any) gain a +1 bonus.
One of your legs was bitten off below the knee by a shark when you were just a child, and was replaced with a wooden peg leg. You’ve long since gotten used to your prosthesis, however, and take none of the normal penalties from having a peg leg.
Your balance always gets a bit shaky after a few drinks, and last night at the tavern was no exception. That must be why you fell to the floor as soon as you tried to stand up. What happened next is hazy, but you’re pretty sure you were dragged out of the bar and onto a ship at the docks. At least they didn’t throw you to the sharks…
Benefit You’ve had to learn to deal with the pain of your injury as well, and you gain a +1 trait bonus on Fortitude saves. Ever since your accident you’ve hated sharks, and you also gain a +1 trait bonus on damage rolls against sharks and other animals with the aquatic subtype.
Whether you joined the crew with the hope of one day captaining your own ship, as the means of paying your way to a foreign port with sweat and blood, or as a slave or indentured servant, you now call a ship home.
Pick one of the following skills: Acrobatics, Climb, Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (geography), Swim, or Survival. You gain a +1 trait bonus on that skill, and that skill is always treated as a class skill for you.
Characters with this trait have likely been on the ship since it departed it’s original port.
On a ship, a sailor often has to learn multiple skills, and this rule certainly applies to you. Your father was a woodworker, and you learned your first trade from him. But on your first voyage at sea you quickly found out that a carpenter is often a ship’s doctor as well—after all, who knows more about sawing off limbs than someone who saws wood for a living? People are a lot bloodier than wood, that’s for sure, but you haven’t had many complaints—those sailors who have enjoyed your services are either happy to be alive or dead, and there’s old salts who swear the peg legs you for made them are better than the real legs they used to have.
You were between ships and after stopping for a drink at a tavern you happened upon a damsel in distress in the alleyway outside. Thinking you could help, you didn’t notice the thugs hiding nearby, and they caught you unawares. You’ve been on enough ships to know a press gang by the blow of the sap on the back of your neck—you just hope whatever ship you end up on needs a surgeon. Although the majority of your equipment was taken away when you were press-ganged, you managed to hang on to a fully stocked healer’s kit, and you begin the campaign with it, regardless of your starting circumstances.
Benefit You begin play with a fully stocked healer’s kit and gain a +1 trait bonus on Craft (carpentry) and Heal checks, and Heal is a class skill for you.
Not all passengers on seafaring vessels are legal or even known to the captain and crew. Whether too poor to book legal passage on the ship or fearing discovery by customs officials in your home port, you or an ally stowed away on the ship in secret. This may mean that the crew doesn’t know you’re on board, or perhaps they do now but didn’t when the ship set sail.
Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Stealth checks and Survival checks to find food.
Touched by the Sea
You’ve always felt the call of the sea and your blood surges with the ebb and flow of the tides. Perhaps one of your parents was a sailor or pirate, or maybe one of your ancestors had a bit of aquatic elf or undine blood in them. Whatever the reason, you’re as comfortable in the water as you are on land.
You came to port in search of your destiny, and after a few drinks at a tavern you went down to the docks to take in a view of the sea. The last thing you remember is a blow to the back of your head and the waves rushing up to meet you.
Benefit You gain a +1 trait bonus on Swim checks and Swim is a class skill for you. In addition, penalties on attack rolls made underwater are lessened by 1.