Whatever you were before, your history pales before what you were made to be: the sole survivor of a horrifying event. It might have been a single night of terror, you and your friends stalked through the darkness trying to survive until dawn. It might have been years of slowly-dwindling resistance, trapped in an occupied city. Your tormentors may have been inhuman antagonists, impossible to communicate with or placate, or they may have been monsters of a worse sort: those who were much like you but chose to exterminate all you knew anyway. Whatever the tribulation, at the end, only you remained of those who entered the crucible with you.

Surviving something like that changes you deeply. Despite the nightmares and trauma, you never broke. Perhaps you can’t break, now: all the soft, vulnerable spots in your psyche have been made hard. That hardening, however, makes it difficult to connect with others who can’t truly know what it’s like to have such an experience. You’ve probably turned to adventuring because there’s no longer a place for you in normal society. Somehow, fighting for your life in the darkness again and again is comforting. At least, now, you usually choose what you face.

Skill Proficiencies: Choose two from Perception, Stealth, or Survival
Tool Proficiencies: One type of artisan’s tools (used to make items needed for your survival)
Languages: The language of the enemy that pursued you
Equipment: A simple weapon (a rare example of a fully-functional item you salvaged), a set of artisan tools with which you’re proficient, slightly-damaged common clothes, and a belt pouch with 10 gp worth of assorted coins you’ve scavenged.

Feature: Vigilance

It served you well during your ordeal to keep an eye on your surroundings at all times, waiting for an attack from any direction, and you have not gotten over this wary anxiety. You have advantage on rolls to detect an ambush or otherwise avoid attempts to surprise you with an attack, even while theoretically safe (which can counter disadvantage from these conditions, such as being asleep). (Opponents have disadvantage on rolls to ambush you that target your Passive Perception.)

Variant Feature: Improvisation

You can generally scrounge materials to create equipment that is serviceable from the detritus of civilization. Given access to your artisan’s tools and some kind of raw materials that would make sense in the construction, during a short rest you can cobble together an item that will be functional, if flawed. The item tends to break whenever you roll a 1 using it (or an enemy rolls a 20, for armor other other defensive items), and, in the case of alchemical concoctions, does half its normal effect and expires in 24 hours.

Suggested Characteristics

Sole survivors tend to be damaged in a number of ways, but with a deep inner strength and conviction that saw them through.

d8 Personality Trait

  1. The safest place for food is in my belly. I don’t know when I’ll get to eat again.
  2. I don’t talk much. I guess I got out of the habit.
  3. “Unflappable” is a good word for me: it takes a lot to make me flinch.
  4. There are a few seemingly meaningless perks of civilization that I’m disproportionately excited about. I never thought I’d see them again.
  5. People are neat (even people I don’t like). I’m just happy to be here, among the living.
  6. I relate many things back to anecdotes about people I lost; uncomfortably so.
  7. My humor is incredibly dark. If you can’t laugh, you’ll go crazy.
  8. While I understand the concept of ownership, I have few qualms about walking off with practical items that I think might be necessary later that nobody else seems to be using.

d6 Ideal

  1. Final Girl/Boy. When someone comes after you, you can only give them so much space before you have to push back. Hard. (Neutral)
  2. Protector. I lost a lot of good friends. No one else should ever die like that again, especially not my new friends. (Good)
  3. Reaver. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with what was done to me. I just need to be strong enough that it’s me on the other side, next time. (Evil)
  4. Sheriff. What happened to me was only possible because my allies didn’t stand together and fight back. I hope to show that if we all work together, society is stronger than the monsters. (Lawful)
  5. Survivor. At the end of the day, staying alive has its own meaning. Higher callings are all well and good, but every new sunrise you see is a victory. (Any)
  6. Wildling. While I hated everything about being hunted, there was something free about just me and my friends against the darkness. Being back in society, I feel like all its rules are only there to make us vulnerable to further attacks. (Chaotic)

d6 Bond

  1. I’m trying to find meaning in why these things happened to me. Is there ultimately a way to extract justice? Or was it just an evil I have to contend with?
  2. The friends I lost have no one but me to carry out their legacies. I need to protect those they loved and enact their agendas.
  3. I don’t think what happened to me was an isolated incident. I want to track down and stop similar things from happening again.
  4. The scars I earned in my trials still hurt, and I worry that I might be somehow infected. Am I doomed to become that which pursued me?
  5. I left something important behind in the place where I was hunted. Some day, I hope to reclaim it, but it is far and I am not prepared to revisit it, yet.
  6. I liked who I was before. I was happier then. Perhaps, by reconnecting with people and places of my youth, I might someday recapture that feeling.

d6 Flaw

  1. I can’t differentiate between the beings/nationality that attacked me, and have no belief that any of them can be other than monsters.
  2. They mostly came at night. I’m obsessive about maintaining a watch and don’t sleep soundly even in the safest locations.
  3. I’ll never fully trust anyone that hasn’t proven they’d die for me. Looking for ulterior motives and danger tends to alienate potential allies.
  4. I’m too trusting of anyone that isn’t one of my tormentors, so used to everyone banding together against the greater threat.
  5. Basically feral at this point, I have a hard time maintaining normal, emotional relationships. Everyone is either combat partner, risk, or threat.
  6. Because of incidents where my enemies played dead, I’m dedicated to ensuring my opponents can’t get back up when my back is turned. It’s gruesome.