Barber: A Background

Barber: A Background

You have pursued the venerable profession of the barber. They include the arts of the groom and beautician, the skills of a minor apothecary, and the local mender of minor ailments, wounds, and rashes.

You also excel at the arts of gossip and prattling on. You’re a subtle master of coaxing, flattering, inquiring, and all manner of information gathering and manipulation.

 Barbers occasionally gain access to rich, influential, and aristocratic individuals. They can be intimates of the local harbormaster or secret gambling buddies with the high priest. For these reasons, they are of great interest to thieves’ guilds, spy rings, blackmailers, and assassins.

Who better to murder a rival gang boss or foreign diplomat than the person paid to dance a scented razor across their throat?

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, and choose 1 from; Medicine, Perception, or Persuasion.

Tool Proficiencies: Barber’s kit, and 2 types of gaming sets.

Languages: Choose two.

Equipment: Barber’s kit, a white smock, a set of fine clothes; a list of personal, and professional, references, and letters of recommendation; 15 gp in a leather pouch.

Feature: A Kind Word and Sympathetic Ear

As a barber, you’re trained to be welcoming, attentive, and charming. You can be a captivating conversationalist or an empathetic confidante. You know a person’s tells, such as perspiration points, pupil dilation, fidgets, blushing, and other body language that betray malice, fear, or deception.

You gain advantage on Wisdom (Insight) and (Persuasion) checks when interacting with humanoids within 5 feet of you that you can understand. If you have recently groomed or healed an individual, your proficiency bonus for the ability check is doubled against that target.

Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) checks made against you and Charisma (Deception) checks, made by targets you select and who are within 5 feet of you suffer disadvantage, assuming you’re not blinded, deafened, or incapacitated.

Suggested Characteristics

While barbering, you might have been a suave, charming operator or a talented, flamboyant, conceited perfectionist. Some barbers are quiet, sage-like, confidantes. Some are boisterous overcommunicators. And some are not what they seem at all.

d8Personality Trait
1I deal with uncertainties by keeping everything in my personal life perfectly ordered.
2I am a master of my craft. I do not take lightly to others comparing their inferior skills and sensibilities to mine.
3I am listening, always listening. And always remembering.
4I’m disdainful toward people who lack my commitment to excellence of craft.
5Facts should never spoil a good story.
6I’m always game for a friendly wager.
7I enjoy debating the finer points of almost anything, for hours on end. The more obscure, scandalous, or intriguing, the better.
8I consistently exhibit the utmost courtesy, and show deep respect to those in authority.
1Fair. Do right by me and mine, and you can count on me to watch your back.(Any)
2Self-Serving. What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is yours. Including your troubles.(Neutral)
3Chinwag. I obsessively gather information, gossip, and rumor. The more salacious, the more it empowers me. (Evil)
4Proud. I am an upstanding, law-abiding artisan. A person of my station and calling has no need of charlatans, law breakers, and ne’er-do-wells. (Lawful)
5Humble. I’ll care for others before myself and would rather give praise than receive it. (Good)
6Nihilist. The end comes when it chooses. Deeds, and doings matter little, we must live every moment as our last. (Chaotic)
1I’m from a family of far-ranging travelers. I send what money I can, when I can, to them.
2Nothing is more important than making my clients and friends look and feel great.
3I suffered a terrifying disease in my youth. Now I take nothing into my body that is impure or unhealthy.
4I have vowed to pass on my art and skills when the time comes for me to put down my scissors and straight razor.
5A small hand mirror was given me by the dean of my barber college upon graduation. Why? I do not know, but I treasure it above all else. Why do I treasure it? This, I also do not know.
6I was once cheated out of my share of a joint business venture. I will return one day and take back what I am owed. With interest.
1Greed is good. Mine that is.
2My love of gossip (and of sharing it), gets me (and others) into trouble, frequently.
3I am judgmental and verbose about the personal hygiene, style, and fashion failings of most other people.
4I sometimes charge into a conflict before I know exactly what’s going on.
5Deceiving others is part of the information broker’s toolset. No exceptions here.
6I take what I need, when I need it. Although I’ll happily replace or return what I use . . . after my needs have been met.

Artisan’s Tools: Barber’s Kit. This compartmentalized carrying case contains varieties of scissors, combs, razors, and brushes. Skin balms, scented powders, exfoliators, colognes, and curlers are included. As well as vials, and jars of makeup, false lashes, nails, and other cosmetics. Proficiency with a barber’s kit allows you to use it in the same capacity as a disguise kit.

In the hands of a trainedbarber, the barber’s kit also provides advantage on Intelligence (Medicine) skill checks. Additionally, barbers using this kit can alleviate one level of exhaustion on one willing target for each uninterrupted 10 minutes spent grooming and refreshing that individual.

Cost: 40 gp

Weight: 6 lbs.

Like this background? Find more ways to make your character unique in Tome of Heroes!

about Robert Fairbanks

Robert Fairbanks, first plunged into the unknown in 1976, with ye olde boxed, blue-book basics. He has yet to return.

Robert’s been fortunate to be a long-time contributor to Kobold Press, with whom he broke into game design in 2014. His other publisher contributions include Inner Ham Productions, Storm Bunny Studios, and TOR books.

1 thought on “Barber: A Background”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Kobold Courier and Earn Loot!

Stay informed with the newest Kobold Press news and updates delivered to your inbox weekly. Join now and receive a PDF copy of Caverns of the Spore Lord

Join The Kobold Courier


Be like Swolbold. Stay up to date with the newest Kobold Press news and updates delivered to your inbox twice a month.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Scroll to Top