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Astronomer’s Assistant (Apprentice): A Fifth Edition Background

Astronomer’s Assistant (Apprentice): A Fifth Edition Background

Jan Matejko - Astronomer Copernicus Conversation with GodYours was to be the limitless heavens. As your master before you, you set your course to become a great navigator and cartographer of the stars and astral bodies. Later you would evolve into a revered soothsayer, advisor to kings and historians, or a renowned researcher and academician for the great churches, colleges, and wizards’ guilds. You would wisely dispense your scientific and mathematical formulae, predictions, and calculations to the powerful and the well-connected. Yours was to be a nocturnal and studious life of increasing knowledge, prestige, and, yes, perhaps even power.

But you were torn from that destiny, your life-compass now aligned to a colder and more fickle star. Was your mentor betrayed, or was this person the architect of a treacherous betrayal or catastrophic miscalculation? Perhaps you were drawn to more eldritch aspects of astrology and darker studies—your ambitions and intellect dwarfing the feebleminded charts, thoughts, and theorems of your would-be “master.”

Skill Proficiencies: History, Religion

Languages: Two of your choice

Tool Proficiencies: Cartographer’s tools and navigator’s tools.

Equipment: One set of navigator’s or cartographer’s tools (astral or otherwise); a set of traveler’s clothes; a quarterstaff; a satchel containing your (hastily?) gathered charts, journals, and astronomical arcana; a small bit of meteorite (with unusual properties?) that you gathered on a field-recovery assignment; and a belt pouch containing 10 gp.

Feature: Crypto-Analyst

Whenever deciphering, solving, or translating charts, diagrams, formulae, or problems of a mathematical, astral, or statistical nature, you make the appropriate save or skill check as if you were proficient in the applicable stat or skill. Additionally, this roll is made at advantage.

Suggested Characteristics

Most often pursued by individuals of a more reclusive, studious, and intellectual nature, the life of an apprentice astronomer is largely one of solitude, study, and science. Following their masters to positions and facilities, they are financed through contracts and service to universities, the nobility, or one of the institutions of faith, science, or magic. Other astronomers establish independent observatories of their own; often they are noteworthy warlocks, mages, or retired adventurers with interests beyond this “earthly” realm. They might even finance and staff a private demesne by utilizing and/or selling their discoveries, calculations, and portents. Most astronomers adopt mentorship, taking on apprentices like you, who function as servants, scribes, and assistants in observatory, field, and laboratory. They do this in exchange for esoteric knowledge—the ritual and scientific learning required to master and advance the mystifying arts of searching out and deciphering the wisdom and will of the stars.

d6 Personality Trait

  1. My master imparted unfathomable numbers of astrological predictions, philosophies, and calculations over the years. I am more than eager to share with one and all.
  2. I am often lost in my own hypothesis and calculations, sometimes mumbling my distracting calculations and formulae aloud.
  3. Having spent my youth as a nocturnal scribe, research assistant, and would-be astronomer, I have little notion of social etiquette or the ebb and flow of day-to-day norms.
  4. Everything I have experienced can be connected to or was foretold somewhere by astrological events (and I can show you the math to prove it).
  5. Although I quietly and pleasantly endure the dim-witted presence of common folk, my ambitious path to power by way of my growing secret knowledge would shock them all.
  6. I see and extrapolate portents, omens, and cause and effect while examining probabilities from every event I witness.

d6 Ideal

  1. The universe is based on structure and logic; it is magically and mathematically measurable and often predictable. (Lawful)
  2. My increasing secret knowledge and understandings will lead me into the courts and into the confidence of the nobility; my predictions and portents will sway kings and alter nations. (Evil)
  3. The infinite seeming scope of what little we can actually perceive proves our insignificance. So “do what thou wilt” while you can. (Neutral)
  4. My wisdom and knowledge should be shared (judiciously) and used for the benefit of all whenever possible. (Good)
  5. I will always try to do what’s best when circumstances allow. The betterment of the group includes the betterment of me. (Any)
  6. Nothing can avert my path to greatness; this too has been written in the stars and is read in the omens. (Any)

d6 Bond

  1. I am bound only to my inexorable fate, and no passion of heart or spirit moves or drives me.
  2. I bear terrible secret knowledge of an impending catastrophe that can only be delivered to, or shared with, a specific and special individual.
  3. I work to help support and maintain my current observatory, research facility, or academy.
  4. Nothing must come between my pursuit of scientific and astrological wisdom.
  5. Nothing must limit my quest for lost or forbidden knowledge and personal power.
  6. I have sworn an oath to ruin and then replace my cruel one-time mentor, who betrayed me and drove me from my studies of the stars.

d6 Flaw

  1. A few lives lost are a small price to pay for acquiring ancient wisdom.
  2. I have little respect for anyone who is not a proven and lettered intellectual.
  3. I am suspicious of most people and always leery of crowds and bright, noisy places.
  4. I am becoming obsessed with the darker elder secrets of the cosmos, and I sometimes hear whispers and voices that may not be real.
  5. Prestige, admiration, and acknowledgement of my intellectual prowess are all that motivate me.
  6. I am far too enamored now of beautiful company, fine wines, food, and music, and my studies and research suffer for it.

Variant Astronomer’s Assistant (Apprentice): Fortuneteller, Seer

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