Friday, October 7, 2016

Dark Secrets

Part of choosing a Background for your character in 5e D&D is figuring out what your character's background-specific Personality Traits, Ideal, Bond, and Flaw will be. For a game with a Gothic atmosphere, you could choose to roll on the following table of Dark Secrets in place of rolling on the Flaws table from your chosen background. The entries below could also be used to replace rolling on the Bond table. If you want the table below in a pdf with nicer formatting, here you go.

Dark Secret
You killed one or both of your parents. If this secret is ever revealed, you can expect to be shunned by polite society. Also, there may be a vengeful brother, sister, or constabulary on your trail.
In the past you stole an item of great worth. However, absconding with your ill-gotten gains proved difficult so you were forced to hide your prize. If your connection to the theft is discovered you can expect to be hunted by the law and quite possibly executed for your crime.
You once belonged to a strict faith, but some imp of the perverse goaded you into violating the tenets of your religion in a spectacular way. Perhaps you defiled a holy altar or defaced a rare sacred scripture. If your secret is revealed you might be hunted down by the faithful and burned as a heretic.
You formerly worked as a resurrectionist; you dug up and sold fresh corpses to medical schools for their anatomical lessons. If your secret is discovered you can expect the families connected to the bodies you procured to exact vigilante justice against you.
You murdered someone in the heat of passion; now their ghost haunts you. Your secret is mostly safe, but those with psychic sensitivity or occult knowledge might be able to see the ghost that constantly pesters you. If they reveal your crime you will be hunted down by the law.
You are addicted to sensual pleasure. In fact, you have led others down the path of the hedonist. If your role in such degeneracy is discovered, the families of the people you have corrupted will seek you out and demand satisfaction.
As a child you frolicked with the wicked fey under the cover of a deep, secret forest. You may have outgrown such dalliances, but if your past is ever discovered you might be regarded as a changeling or even burned at the stake as witch.
You are a drug addict. Perhaps you favor the sweet oblivion provided by opium or perhaps you cannot resist drinking yourself into a stupor; in any case, the result is the same: you have lost your family's fortune to your vice and subsequently run away from them in shame. If your secret is revealed your family will confront you and demand recompense.
During a time of crisis you had a complete mental breakdown and were institutionalized. The reasons for your breakdown are known only to you, but if word of your mental instability should become common knowledge, no one will ever be able to trust you again and some might have reason to actively fear you.
You were the only survivor of a terrible shipwreck, and only you know that the wreck was caused by supernatural means. In fact, you struck an abominable deal with the cause of the ship's destruction that allowed you to survive. If your secret were revealed you would be reviled by all god-fearing folk and possibly pursued by the families of the people who perished aboard ship.
You have always heard voices in your head urging you to do cruel, inhuman things. Sometimes you listen to the voices. If knowledge of the voices you hear were to become known, you would likely be locked away in an asylum for the incurably insane.
During an expedition to the wild, uncharted places of the earth you were forced to indulge in cannibalism to survive. Sometimes you still hunger for the taste of human flesh. If your crime is exposed you would be shunned by all as a savage and hunted down by the families and friends of those you consumed.
You once witnessed a serial murderer in the midst of dispatching a young woman to an early grave, but were too cowardly to intervene or inform the authorities. Her screams still echo in your mind. If your secret is discovered you would certainly be confronted by the angry friends and family of the murdered girl.
You were once a willing spy for the Inquisition, turning in anyone suspected of witchcraft and heresy. However, you also turned in a rival who you knew was innocent. You are haunted by the knowledge that they were tortured upon your word. Should it get out, you might find yourself pursued by the person you falsely accused.
Since childhood you have had an uncanny double—there is a person who looks exactly like you that sometimes assumes your identity to commit awful crimes. If you should ever be linked to the deeds of your strange double, you would risk paying the price for their misdeeds.
You once worked as an exorcist; however, you had no particular skill or ability to banish otherworldly presences. Your last case involved a young woman who slew her family while possessed by a particularly vicious demon—you were powerless to stop her. If your secret is found out you will be hounded as a fraud and confronted by church officials.
You are addicted to gambling and have racked-up an impressive debt. Your debt is now so far past due that there is no hope of squaring it except through the most magnificent of sums. If your secret is exposed your life will be in grave danger from those who want to collect on your debt and no one from the gambling world will associate with you.
The pressures of respectable family life were too much; you abandoned your spouse and children, leaving them to fend for themselves. If your secret is discovered you will be hunted down by detectives hired by your family to ascertain your whereabouts and bring you to justice.
You once blackmailed a prominent member of society. Unfortunately, they have retrieved whatever evidence you once held against them and now wish to exact a painful revenge against you. You fear being discovered by both the law and your former victim.
You are the unfortunate inheritor of a family curse. If your connection to your accursed family (or the reason why your family is accursed) is ever discovered you will run the risk of being shunned by all.