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Dragonborn Paladin - quadz08 - 10-03-2015

I'm looking for some help building a more in-depth background on my dragonborn paladin. I took the sage background - my general idea is that he worked primarily as a librarian / record-keeper in a temple for [insert god here], and then [event occurred] which led to his taking up the sword. I want to RP him as charismatic and friendly (charisma of 16), fair and just, but always has his nose (snout?) in a book, and will almost never turn down an interesting conversation or promise of unique knowledge.

Thanks for the help in advance!

RE: Dragonborn Paladin - Bboy207 - 10-04-2015

Depending on the setting he would probably follow the god bahamut(Think I spelled it right) He is essentially the good god dragon god of justice and bahamut's rival is tiamat the evil dragon god of chaos

RE: Dragonborn Paladin - RyanReads - 10-04-2015

Maybe the ancient library where your character studied was burned to the ground by [an invading force/a civil war/part of a political protest/cultists/followers of a rival god]. This moment taught your character that the preservation of knowledge and history sometimes requires proactive methods, seeking out and removing those who may threaten wanton destruction.

RE: Dragonborn Paladin - mentalburnout - 10-04-2015

Maybe in your pursuit of knowledge you cam across some ancient scroll or artifact of a long forgotten deity. You now seek out more to bring this forgotten faith back to life. Maybe a temple, or the lost teachings, or some other relics.

RE: Dragonborn Paladin - quadz08 - 10-04-2015

All interesting ideas. I will marinate on them, and any others I get. Smiling

RE: Dragonborn Paladin - mentalburnout - 10-04-2015

Is there anything in particular you are looking for. His background is a bit broad for us to delve into. Tell us a little bit about your character. Whats he like. Dislike. Whats his name. Start describing him to us. As you do you might find you fill in a lot of the blanks. Then if there is something specific you have troublebwith we can give you ideas.

RE: Dragonborn Paladin - quadz08 - 10-04-2015

I think I just need to spend some time brainstorming, to be honest! I don't know a lot of those things just yet.

RE: Dragonborn Paladin - quadz08 - 10-05-2015

Alright. I took some time thinking and writing today - I'm curious to know what people think! My character's name is Kolorro, and he has taken the surname Derekh rather recently.

Not long ago, I was a simple dragonborn. Born into a family of moderate means - not powerful, but not poor - I lived a comfortable, unexciting life. I was not unique amongst my friends and peers. I had moderate aspirations, and moderate success in achieving them. I worked as a librarian, in the temple of Bahamut. I was not a particularly religious individual, though I gave Bahamut the appropriate respect. My time in the library gave me an appreciation for literature and history - things I did not particularly enjoy in my youth. The library was old, very old, and very cluttered. There were hundreds, maybe even thousands, of texts that had been lost in storage decades or centuries before. As I had few passions outside of my work, I spent a fair amount of my free time categorizing, sorting, and of course, reading these texts. Many of them were unimportant, or dull, or simply older versions of known texts. Some of them, however, were genuine finds. A particularly notable text included an account of the... personal life, shall we say, of a very important and well-known ancestor of a wealthy and powerful family. It is officially known to be a fictionalization, though I and the fair amount of coin I was paid by the family think otherwise. Regardless of the truth, it was a fun read.

One day, however, I came across a scroll describing a god of dragonkind which I did not recognize, and whose name I had not come across before - Derekkarand. It was described only briefly, but was mentioned to be a kindly white dragon - a strange combination of characteristics in the dragon pantheon. My curiosity piqued, I began a search for more information about Derekkarand. I was successful in some measure, and unsuccessful in others. I was able to find additional manuscripts referencing Derekkarand, and what I saw filled me with a strange admiration and respect - an emotion I had never felt when worshipping Bahamut. It was a god of both mercy and justice, a god which had turned its back on the evils of its chromatic brethren, but was unable to embrace the zealots of the metallic pantheon. The kinship I felt grew stronger, my interest greater, and I began to worship and learn more in earnest. This attracted the attention of others - those around me who were devoted to Bahamut felt I had betrayed an important aspect of our culture, and I began to suspect I was being watched by higher-ups in the community.

With this in mind, I began to train myself. I learned to wield a blade and armor. When I could find no more of Derakkarand in my corner of the world, I set out to find more. I needed to bring the knowledge of Derekkarand to the world. I had to make the truth known. Truth would be known, and I, clad in shining white armor, would be its bearer!

The idea is that I'm playing it as basically a conspiracy theorist - someone who believes he's found something truly important, something that matters, and that others seem not to want this information to get out. I haven't talked any of this through with the DM, and I don't know if getting into the gritty details makes much sense in the beginner / fairly on-rails campaign I'm in now, but the idea would be that the DM would be able to take it in several directions - maybe I'm a crazy person reading too much into what amounts to an old fiction novel, or maybe I've truly stumbled upon a massive conspiracy.

RE: Dragonborn Paladin - RyanReads - 10-05-2015

I like it a lot! There's loads of places it could go.

RE: Dragonborn Paladin - mentalburnout - 10-05-2015

I like it a lot honestly. You may be right in thinking that a beginner campaign is not going to allow you the freedom to follow up on this characters story to the fullest, but its not a bad thing to get into your characters head and find out what makes them tick. Besides even if this is a short lived campaign your character can find life again in another campaign down the road.

I would say that introducing something that may be a new deity is something to run by a DM for sure, but as you said... it may be nothing at all it is just something your character is investing his time into. I would for sure work with you on this backstory in one of my long term campaigns.

If you wanted to keep going to develop Kolorro a bit more I would suggest maybe fleshing out his personality a bit more. The way 5e does this is kind of simple and not the best or worst way to do this. It does work for a basic framework though I find. So you can start to build him bit by bit as you are comfortable with.

Alignment. I find alignment is a very very rough basis to how your character acts in society in regards to others. This is a big grey area in DnD for a lot of people and personally I think has less weight than other character bits.

Personality traits. The PHB suggest picking two traits that sum up your character. You've kind of mentioned a few here that would probably already work. Anti social? Prefers books to others? Maybe paranoid he is being watched? Maybe awkward? Your character will always be more complicated than one or two sentences but it is nice to have concrete things to go to when trying to rp your character. These trait may also change or grow as your character experiences more in his travels. One of my favorite characters had two personality traits based off of his highest and lowest score, and neither trait was that much of a help to him in life but I loved playing him. He had high charisma so he came across as very self sure and narcissistic, he could be charming for awhile but often wore thin after a few conversations. Then he had low wisdom so he didn't have much to back up any of his self sure attitude. He was a blast to play.

Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws. 5e asks you to pick at least one of each of these to flesh out your character. You can have more than one of each easily, and sometimes they over lap. Ideals are sort of your personal code I would say. What is the one thing you will fight for or never betray? Could be any number of things. Bonds are the things in your life that you are most connected to. What is the most important thing in your life? Flaws are probably the most obvious one, and I would say one of the more important ones. This doesn't have to be super drastic, it can be very subtle. This is different than just a negative personality flaw, as the PHB states this is a weakness fear or compulsion someone might use against you if they knew it.
The PHB give some good examples of these three but don't feel limited. Now the most important thing I think that most people miss is that these three characteristics work best when they overlap. It isn't required but I feel like if your bond being threatened may make you overlook your flaw or go against your ideal... thats when those sweet moments in a campaign come out. It can work any number of ways, but those things can have an effect on each other. 

To give a very quick example that is very rough. A rogue character has reformed his life and settled down, his ideal is to never again take what is not his, his bond is his family, and his flaw is a fear of going back to prison. Someone takes his family, and threatens them to harm unless he pulls a job for them, and if he goes to the authorities they will turn him in form past deeds, or if he fails the job his family will be hurt and he could go back to prison. What does this character decide to do?

Background. The PHB premade backgrounds are good tools for helping build your character up. They are not set in stone, and you should not have to follow them exactly. At least not in my campaigns, I can't speak for every DM. This is a good section to go to to see some ideas you might take inspiration from, but it sounds like your background is pretty set.

Other than all my ramblings, you could think of friends, family, old bosses or coworkers... and how each of them had an affect on your character and his personality. Remember not everyone can be an orphan with a mysterious and troubled past.