Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Everyone Else: The Lawyer Background for 5e

Skill Proficiencies: History, Persuasion
Languages: Any one
Tool Proficiencies: Calligrapher’s Tools
Equipment: a set of fine clothing, a quill, a scroll case with several legal documents in it, and a pouch with 15 gold pieces

You are a recognized representative in the courts of law.  In addition to your direct knowledge of the legal process, you have learned the skills of persuasion and debate. If your homeland officially bars paid for legal representation, your position will be informal and under-the-table, making appearances “as a friend” of the parties you represent.

Suggested characteristics
Lawyers need a sharp mind to correctly understand and utilize the procedures of law.  What is written on paper is not the only factor that influences the law; historical precedence can strongly fill in the gaps of how a law is worded or even transmute it into something entirely different form how it would be without that legal precedence.   But not merely knowing the law and historical precedence is not enough; a lawyer needs to be able to convince others that what she argues is truth.

Feature: Legal Representation
As a recognized legal advocate and counsel, you have access to the courts of law. You may petition the courts, draft legal documents, and provide legal advice.  You have a good working knowledge of the court system, including common legal loopholes and methods of getting around legal obstruction.

Personality Characteristics (1d8)
1.       I’m contrarian by nature. Playing devil’s advocate is just too tempting.
2.       I use rhetorical questions whenever possible.
3.       I “speak with my hands.”
4.       I constantly quote famous people.
5.       I rebuff rudeness with aloof haughtiness.
6.       I complete a preparatory ritual for good luck before any major endeavor.
7.       Nothing convinces me of a man’s character more immediately than his handshake.
8.       My tone of voice wavers dramatically with my state of mood.

Ideals (1d6)
1.       Excellence                   I take pride in everything I do. (Any)
2.       Procedure                   There are no exceptions to the rules. (Lawful)
3.       Pro Bono                     I can’t refuse a charity case. (Good)
4.       Subversion                 I’ll overthrow the system from within! (Chaotic)
5.       Exploitation                I’ll use the laws for MY benefit before all others. (Evil)
6.       Relativism                   Everybody has their own point of view. (Neutral)

Bond (1d6)
1.       An innocent man has been framed. I must ensure his exoneration.
2.       A stranger offered me a substantial amount of money to meet with him in a secret place.
3.       A guilty man escaped justice.  I can’t do anything to him legally, but…
4.       It seems I may have stumbled upon a major secret. Somebody wants me dead…
5.       I must acquire this rare legal tome.
6.       I’m traveling to an area where the people desperately need my services.

Flaw (1d6)
1.       I never hurry, yet I hate to wait.
2.       I can go into a long-winded speech at the slightest provocation.
3.       I can more about winning than being right.
4.       I’ve acquired a reputation for being too ruthless.
5.       I don’t think I’ll ever have enough money.
6.       Other people say I nitpick things to death. I think I’m just a stickler for details.

Variant: Canon Lawyer
You don’t operate in the secular court so much as the courts of your church. You base your legal arguments on the laws of your deity rather than the laws of man. It’s likely you were ordained as part of the priesthood even if you are not a divine caster. For a canon lawyer, replace History with Religion.

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