In honor of my last post, which my friend Mr. Joesky the Dungeon Brawler would say makes a "blahblahblah" sound, here's some free stuff you can use.
When you make a fighter-type character, you may choose to roll 1d6 and gain the following backgrounds:
Benefits: You gain a suit of chainmail and the weapon of your choice for free from your military service. You also have 500 bonus experience from your many years of service.
Penalties: You often have a thousand-yard stare, remembering the events of wars past. When something causes stress, you have a penalty to notice things and situations. When extremely stressed, you may enter a comatose state, and be unable to be budged for 1d6 minutes.
2- Brigand: You were once a marauder of the forests, mountains, or snows. You have turned from a life of crime and murder to a life of looting and slaying. A minor change, to be sure, but certainly less stressful on your countrymen at least.
Benefits: You have an additional 1d6x20 gold to start with, booty from your theft. You also have a bow, free of charge.
Penalties: You are wanted in your home region by the law and are recognized as such. There is a bounty of 1,000 gold on your capture, and 500 for your head.
Benefits: You have the ability to work metal, able to produce your own arms and armor for 3/4 of the normal cost, as long as you're willing to spend at least a week per 100 gold total. You can also repair your own arms and armor for the same cost. In addition, you have a great and heavy one-handed hammer for free.
Penalties: Being a blacksmith's son, you have little experience handling weapons that aren't broad and heavy hammers and suffer a -1 penalty to attacks with such weapons.
4- Deserter: You signed up to serve your kingdom, not spend your days cooped up in some garrison, sharpening swords and looking wistfully at the horizon. In the cover of nightfall, under some false pretense, you escaped with your sword, armor, and horse, and never looked back.
Benefits: You have a normal sword, suit of scale mail, and a decent-quality horse. The armor is clearly identifiable as belonging to your former army, and you may be identified as a scavenger, deserter, or a member of the army you left behind, depending on their familiarity with your former allegiance.
Penalties: While your former compatriots aren't on the lookout for you, desertion is punishable by death by hanging, and if found out, you will be brought to justice and killed. You are generally paranoid about being discovered, and are always looking over your shoulder.
5- Marine: You were a soldier-sailor, one of those who would fight pirates and other men on the high seas, boat to boat. You're rough, tough, and more than a little scarred and capable of putting up a good fight regardless of the conditions. Once you were released from service, you quickly realized that the free food, shelter, and drink came to an end and decided to continue doing what you always did best: fight.
Benefits: You have the great reaving axe you carried and a suit of studded leather armor. In addition, you are capable of maintaining and sailing most kinds of watercraft, and are a passable navigator. Finally, you're able to drink most anybody directly under the table, useful in seedy waterfront bars.
Penalties: You are physically dependant on alcohol, having drank more than your fair share while out to sea. When not under the influence of some liquor or another, you suffer a -1 penalty to all rolls. Recovery, if possible, is likely long and hard and fraught with missteps.
6- Nobleman: You are the son of a minor noble who's caught wanderlust. Having been born to hear tales of chivalrous knights, dragon-slayers, and heroic battle. While never having been in an actual battle, or seen one, or even knowing what one smells like, you're awfully eager to spill some blood.
Benefits: You have a full suit of plate mail from your parents' armory. It is relatively ill-fitting, having been designed for a man larger and stouter than yourself, but you make do.
Penalties: You are naieve and haughty, and suffer a -1 penalty to your Charisma score for having and retaining henchmen. You treat them like common servants and stable-boys, and they resent your superior attitude. You are also likely to get on your compatriots' nerves, never satisfied with anything less than the finest food or sleeping arrangements, and complaining heartily that today's adventurers aren't nearly as heroic as the legends of old. In short, you're spoiled badly.