A typical creature in this world has an alignment, which broadly describes its moral and personal attitudes. Alignment is a combination of two factors: one identifies morality (good, evil, or neutral), and the other describes attitudes toward society and order (lawful, chaotic, or neutral). Thus, nine distinct alignments define the possible combinations.

These brief summaries of the nine alignments describe the typical behavior of a creature with that alignment. Individuals might vary significantly from that typical behavior, and few people are perfectly and consistently faithful to the precepts of their alignment.

Lawful good (LG) creatures can be counted on to do the right thing as expected by society.

            Neutral good (NG) folk do the best they can to help others according to their needs.

            Chaotic good (CG) creatures act as their conscience directs, with little regard for what others expect.

            Lawful neutral (LN) individuals act in accordance with law, tradition, or personal codes.

            Neutral (N) is the alignment of those who prefer to steer clear of moral questions and don’t take sides, doing what seems best at the time.

            Chaotic neutral (CN) creatures follow their whims, holding their personal freedom above all else.

            Lawful Evil (LE) creatures methodically take what they want, within the limits of a code of tradition, loyalty, or order.

            Neutral Evil (NE) is the alignment of those who do whatever they can get away with, without compassion or qualms.

            Chaotic Evil (CE) creatures act with arbitrary violence, spurred by their greed, hatred, or bloodlust.

Alignment in the World

For many thinking creatures, alignment is a moral choice. Every person can choose whether to follow the paths of good or evil, law or chaos. According to myth, the good-aligned spirits who created people gave them free will to choose their moral paths, knowing that good without free will is slavery.

The evil spirits who created other creatures, though, made those creatures to serve them. Those creatures have strong inborn tendencies that match the nature of the spirits that made them. Even if those creatures choose a path of good, they struggle against their innate tendencies their entire life.

Alignment is an essential part of the nature of light and dark spirits. A dark spirit does not choose to be lawful evil, and it doesn’t tend toward lawful evil, but rather it is lawful evil in its essence. If it somehow ceased to be lawful evil, it would cease to be that spirit.

Most creatures that lack the capacity for rational thought do not have alignments--they are unaligned. Such a creature is incapable of making a moral or ethical choice and acts according to its bestial nature. Sharks are savage predators, for example, but they are not evil; they have no alignment.

Language Arts

Every character from the elemental nations can speak common, this is the shared language of all nations. If your character is not affiliated with a nation there is a chance that they have a native language other than common, you can work with your GM to determine the details of your language in that scenario.

Other than common, there are a number of other ways that people have developed to communicate in this world. Your class or archetype may grant you access to one or more of these language arts. Note these on your character sheet.

Choose your language arts from the Language Arts table, or choose one that is common in your campaign. Be sure that your language choices are relevant to your character and your game, consult with your GM if you’re not sure what extra languages would make sense for your character.

Some of these languages are actually families of languages with dialects, common the most so, having many dialects in every nation. Others like sign language have a common set of signs that many people know, but could also be a set of signs made up by a faction to help them communicate certain things silently. In general, even if two people have different dialects, if they speak the same language they can communicate with one another.

Language Arts
Human LanguagesTypical Speakers
CommonMembers of all nations
Simplified ScriptEducated members of all nations
High CommonElite, Wealthy, Ruling Class
High ScriptScholars, Scribes, Religious Officials
Sign LanguageAnybody
Body LanguageAnybody
Dissidents’ CodeRed Lotus, Wayfarers, Underground Factions
Spirit LanguagesTypical Speakers
First TongueNatives of the Spirit Wilds
Mother TongueNatural Spirits, Mother Nature
Twisted TongueDark Spirits

Personality Characteristics

Fleshing out your character’s personality --the array of traits, mannerisms, habits, beliefs, and flaws that give a person a unique identity--will help you bring him or her to life as you play the game. Four categories of characteristics are presented here: personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws. Beyond those categories, think about your character’s favorite words or phrases, tics and habitual gestures, vices and pet peeves, and whatever else you can imagine.

Each archetype presented later in this chapter includes suggested characteristics that you can use to spark your imagination. You’re not bound to those options, but they’re a good starting point.

Personality Traits

Give your character two personality traits. Personality traits are small, simple ways to help you set your character apart from every other character. Your personality traits should tell you something fun about your character. They should be self-descriptions that are specific about what makes your character stand out. “I’m smart” is not a good trait, because it describes a lot of characters. “I’ve read every book in the library” tells you something specific about your character’s interests and siapotion.

Personality traits might describe the things your character likes, their past accomplishments, things your character dislikes or fears, your character’s self-attitude or mannerisms, or the influence of their ability scores.

A useful place to start thinking about personality traits is to look at your highest and lowest ability scores and define one trait related to each. Either one could be a positive or negative: you might work hard to overcome a low score, for example, or be cocky about your high score.


Describe one ideal that drives your character. Your ideals are the things that you believe in most strongly, the fundamental moral and ethical principles that compel you to act as you do. Ideals encompass everything from your life goals to your core belief system.

Ideals might answer any of these questions: What are the principles that you will never betray? What would prompt you to make sacrifices? What drives you to act and guides your goals and ambitions? What is the single most important thing you strive for?

You can choose any ideals you like, but your character’s alignment is a good place to start defining them. Each archetype in this chapter includes six suggested ideals. Five of them are linked to aspects of alignment: law, chaos, good, evil, and neutrality. The last one has more to do with the particular archetype than with moral or ethical perspectives.


Create one bond for your character. Bonds represent a character’s connections to people, places, and events in the world. They tie you to things from your backstory. They might inspire you to heights of heroism, or lead you to act against  your own best interests if they are threatened. They can work very much like ideals, driving a character’s motivations and goals.

Bonds might answer any of these questions: Whom do you care most about? To what place do you feel a special connection? What is your most treasured possession?

Your bonds might be tied to your class, your archetype, your nation, or some other aspect of your character’s history or personality. You might also gain new bonds over the course of your adventure.


Finally, choose a flaw for your character. Your character’s flaw represents some vice, compulsion, fear, or weakness--in particular, anything that someone else could exploit to bring you to ruin or cause you to act against your best interests. More significant than negative personality traits, a flaw might answer any of these questions: What enrages you? What’s the one person, concept, or event that you are terrified of? What are your vices?


Inspiration is a rule the Game Master can use to reward you for playing your character in a way that’s true to their personality traits, ideal, bond, and flaw. By using inspiration, you can draw on your personality trait of compassion for the downtrodden to give you an edge in negotiating with the Red Lotus. Or inspiration can let you call on your bond to the defense of your home village to push past the effect of a move that is holding you back down.

Gaining Inspiration

Your GM can choose to give you inspiration for a variety of reasons. Typically, GMs award it when you play out your personality traits, give in to the drawbacks presented by a flaw or bond, and otherwise portray your character in a compelling way. Your GM will tell you how you can earn inspiration in the game.

You either have inspiration or you don’t--you can’t stockpile multiple”inspirations” for later use.

Using Inspiration

If you have inspiration, you can expend it when you make an attack roll, saving throw, or ability check. Spending your inspiration gives you advantage on that roll.Additionally, if you have inspiration, you can reward another player for good roleplaying, clever thinking, or simply doing something exciting in the game. When another player character does something that really contributes to the story in a fun and interesting way, you can give up your inspiration to give that character inspiration.


Everybody has a type. Your character’s archetype reveals what sort of person they are, how they fit into the story, and how you relate to others. Your prodigy may be the town hero or an unknowing child. Your guardian may be the mother of four or a ruffian bodyguard. Your artist could be a theater performer or an old, wise storyteller.

Choosing an archetype provides you with important cues about your character’s identity. The most important question to ask about your archetype is why? Understanding why your character fits into a certain archetype can help you understand where they come from and where they are going. What is your character’s background and how does it contribute to who they are today? What is their motivation and where did it come from? How did you learn the skills of your class? What sets you apart from the people around you?

The sample archetypes in this chapter provide both concrete benefits (features, proficiencies, and languages) and roleplaying suggestions.


Each archetype gives a character proficiency in two skills. Skills are described in chapter 7.

In addition, most archetypes give a character proficiency with one or more tools. Tools and tool proficiencies are detailed in chapter 5.

If a character would gain the same proficiency from two different sources, they can choose a different proficiency of the same kind (skill or tool) instead.


Some archetypes allow characters to learn additional languages beyond Common. See “Languages” earlier in this chapter.


Each archetype provides a package of starting equipment. If you use the optional rule from chapter 5 to spend coin on gear, you do not receive the starting equipment from your archetype.

Suggested Characteristics

An archetype contains suggested personal characteristics based on your archetype. You can pick characteristics, roll dice to determine them randomly, or use the suggestions as inspiration for characteristics of your own creation.

Customizing an Archetype

You might want to tweak some of the features of an archetype so it better fits your character or the campaign setting. To customize an archetype, you can replace one feature with any other one, choose any two skills, and choose a total of two tool proficiencies or languages from the sample archetypes. You can either use the equipment package from your archetype or spend coin on gear as described in chapter 5. (If you spend coin, you can’t also take the equipment package suggested for your class.) Finally, choose two personality traits, one ideal, one bond, and one flaw. If you can’t find a feature that matches your desired archetype, work with your GM to create one.


Skill Proficiencies: Chi, Medicine

Tool Proficiencies: Herbalism kit

Language Arts: One human language of your choice

Equipment: A gift you received from someone you helped, a book, a healing kit, 5 sticks of incense, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp

Feature: Devoted Altruist

You know how to be encouraging, empowering, and empathetic, and how to use your words to uplift your companions. When your friends are down or in need of care, you know how to be there for them, cheer them up, and inspire them. Once per day, when you offer this service to someone, you can give them inspiration

You also get joy from helping others. When you do a particularly good job, your GM may give you inspiration for uplifting others as well.


Skill Proficiencies: Animal Handling, Survival

Tool Proficiencies: One type of artisan’s tools, vehicles (land)

Equipment: A set of artisan’s tools (one of your choice), a shovel, an iron pot, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp

Feature: Rustic Hospitality

Since you come from the ranks of the common folk, you fit in among them with ease. You can find a place to hide, rest, or recuperate among other commoners, unless you have shown yourself to be a danger to them. They will shield you from the law or anyone else searching for you, though they will not risk their lives for you.


Skill Proficiencies: History, Insight

Language Arts: Two human languages of your choice

Equipment: A book, a small knife, a letter from a dead colleague posing a question you have not yet been able to answer, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp

Feature: Been Around the Block

When you attempt to learn or recall a piece of information, if you do not know it yourself, you often know where and from whom you can obtain it. Usually, this information comes from a library, scriptorium, university, or another elder or learned person such as yourself. Your GM might rule that the knowledge you seek is secreted away in an almost inaccessible place, or that it simply cannot be found. Unearthing the deepest secrets of the world can require an adventure or even a whole campaign.


Skill Proficiencies: Acrobatics, Performance

Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit, one type of musical instrument

Equipment: A musical instrument (one of your choice), the favor of an admirer (love letter, lock of hair, or trinket), a costume, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp

Feature: By Popular Demand

You can always find a place to perform, usually in an inn or tavern but possibly with a circus, at a theater, or even in a noble’s court. At such a place, you receive free lodging and food of a modest or comfortable standard (depending on the quality of the establishment), as long as you perform each night. In addition, your performance makes you something of a local figure. When strangers recognize you in a town where you have performed, they typically take a liking to you.


Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion

Tool Proficiencies: One type of artisan’s tools

Language Arts: One human language of your choice

Equipment: A set of artisan’s tools (one of your choice), a notebook, a set of traveler’s clothes, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp

Feature: Ambitious Socialite

You have practiced your pitch a thousand times over and made everyone you know hear you out. You know well how to get people interested in what you’re interested in and can almost always convince them to at least entertain you for long enough to hear a 30 second speech. In telling everyone who will listen about your schemes, you’ve gained at least one supporter, who does everything they can to help you out. This could be delivering messages, finding resources, contacts, or a place to stay. They may not join you in your travels, but you know you can count on them when you’re in need of assistance.


Skill Proficiencies: Investigation, Survival

Tool Proficiencies: Navigator’s tools

Language Arts: One of your choice

Equipment: A staff, a hunting trap, a map of your area of interest, a set of traveler’s clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp

Feature: Discovery

Your time exploring has given you access to a unique and powerful discovery. The exact nature of this discovery depends on the nature of your exploration. It might be a great truth about the cosmos, the spirits, the path to enlightenment, or the forces of nature. It could be a site that no one else has ever seen. You might have uncovered a fact that has long been forgotten, or unearthed some relic of the past that could rewrite history. It might be information that would be damaging to the people hired you or that could get you consigned to exile.

Work with your GM to determine the details of your discovery and its impact on the campaign.


Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Intimidation

Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set, vehicles (land or water)

Equipment: A reminder of your quest, a trophy taken from a fallen enemy (a weapon, article of clothing, or part of a beast), a gaming set (one of your choice), a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp

Feature: People’s Champion

You have a following in some places who have heard of your heroic deeds. Where you are known, you are beloved by the common folk. As long as nothing is wrong, you are welcomed with feasts and free lodging, and in some cases adventuring equipment. They will help you in any way they can, as long as your requests maintain an air of grandeur in their eyes.

If something is wrong, the common folk, even the ruling class (if they cannot or do not want to handle it themselves), will come to you first expecting help.


Skill Proficiencies: Animal Handling, Perception

Language Arts: Two human languages of your choice

Equipment: A small knife, a small pet, a token to remember your parents or home by, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp

Feature: Sheltered from Harm

You have a look about you that implies that you are helpless. Any person who is not hostile to you that sees you in danger or in need of assistance feels an instinct to protect or aid you. A good-natured person will even put themselves in harm's way for you in some situations. Most people will only go so far as to protect you, but if you present your situation to someone implying that your whole group needs help, there's a chance they will offer what assistance they can to your group.


Skill Proficiencies: Performance, Persuasion

Tool Proficiencies: One musical instrument

Languages: One human language of your choice

Equipment: A musical instrument (one of your choice), a lucky charm, a reminder of someone you love, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp

Feature: Hopeless Romantic

Every cloud has a silver lining to you, and you believe that there's a romantic solution to every problem. Sometimes in the most dire situations, you receive a flash of inspiration that either shows you a previously unseen way out or energizes you to act with the fervor of your romantic spirit. Your GM will either help you find this clever solution or give you inspiration in these situations.


Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Stealth

Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set, thieves’ tools

Equipment: A crowbar, a set of dark common clothes including a hood, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp

Feature: Criminal Contact

You have a reliable and trustworthy contact who acts as your liaison to a network of other criminals. You know how to get messages to and from your contact, even over great distances; specifically, you know the local messengers, corrupt caravan masters, and seedy sailors who can deliver messages for you.


Skill Proficiencies: History, Intimidation

Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set

Language Arts: High Common, HIgh Script

Equipment: A set of fine clothes, a signet ring, a scroll of pedigree, and a purse containing 25 gp

Feature: Position of Privilege

Thanks to your ruling class, people are inclined to think the best of you. You are welcome in high society, and people assume you have the right to be wherever you are. The common folk make every effort to accommodate you and avoid your displeasure, and other people of the ruling class treat you as a member of the same social sphere. You can secure an audience with a local ruler if you need to.


Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Sleight of Hand

Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit, forgery kit

Equipment: A set of fine clothes, a disguise kit, tools of the con of your choice (ten stoppered bottles filled with colored liquid, a set of weighted dice, a deck of marked cards, or a signet ring of an imaginary ruling class family), and a belt pouch containing 15 gp

Feature: False Identity

You have created a second identity that includes documentation, established acquaintances, and disguises that allow you to assume that persona. Additionally, you can forge documents including official papers and personal letters, as long as you have seen an example of the kind of document or the handwriting you are trying to copy.