1601 Adam Elsheimer, Judith Beheading Holofernes, 1601-03What is missing or present that allows—or drives—an individual to ascend the scaffold and stretch taught the creaking rope? Or to flourish dramatically for the crowd before sending ringing steel through bone and wood? Is it greed, tradition, civic duty, or bloodlust? At best the secret lies within, whether known or buried deep. Who can truly say what flaw or virtue destines a person to wear the black hood.

In many cultures, the calling is respected and even revered; executioners can be celebrities at country fairs, or menacing and despised representatives who overshadow a small village; looming presences in the courtyards and dungeons of urban jail houses or simply the enigmatic masters of ceremony at lurid, torchlit spectacles of back woods “justice.”

They are the dark figureheads and shrouded facilitators of the ultimate reach of the law—mysterious and anonymous, discreet and well paid.

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Intimidation

Languages: None

Tool Proficiencies: One set of (choose either carpenter’s or smith’s) artisan’s tools.

Equipment: Custom leather hood or mask, traveler’s clothes, certificates and documentation of “special” qualifications, experience and references, a leather belt pouch containing 15gp.

Feature: Anatomy 101

Choose any one 2-handed slashing weapon that does not have the versatile property. Whenever utilizing this weapon type, your weapon’s base damage roll is made at advantage versus Medium and Small (mammalian) humanoids.

Suggested Characteristics

Though rarely boastful or talkative about it, few executioners are ashamed of their past. Those not secretive about their work remain staunch supporters of the practice and the craft.

Most often rigid believers in law and order, these men and women, while rarely thought of as “good people,” are frequently reliable and unwavering supporters of a group or cause. Their usually impressive physiques and fearsomely emotionless demeanor complements most any negotiations or social situation a party might find itself in.

d8 Personality Trait

  1. I believe that anything worth doing is worth doing to perfection.
  2. I am utterly devoid of emotion, even in the face of impending doom.
  3. My allies (I do not have “friends”) know they can always rely on me.
  4. I am always polite and respectful.
  5. I am never polite or respectful, so I rarely speak.
  6. I am haunted to the point of instability by memories of the sights and deeds of my past.
  7. I revel in my strength and skills, and have no qualms about exhibiting them.
  8. I deal with life bluntly, simply, and head-on; direct solutions are always my preference.

d6 Ideal

  1. Silent Respect. People should always be treated with dignity and respect, even if they are about to mount the gallows. (Good)
  2. Civic-Minded. I will always strive to obey just authority, customs, and laws. (Lawful)
  3. The law is a tool—a cloak to hide behind. Adhere too closely to it and you embrace tyranny. (Chaotic)
  4. Might makes right; the weak require domination and structure. (Evil)
  5. Self-Sufficiency. I mind my own business and tend only to my own affairs. (Neutral)
  6. In the end I always remain true to my own private code and path of self-betterment. (Any)

d6 Bond

  1. I have sworn allegiance to a particular faith, order, liege lord or charity in an attempt to atone for past misdeeds.
  2. I still maintain false identities and a veil of secrecy because many of my old “patients” have still-living relatives or friends who would love to find me and do bad things to me.
  3. I will never again do harm to an unarmed person.
  4. I still secretly maintain contacts in “the Association” and will on rare occasion practice “the craft” (if the wages and conditions are right) with the utmost anonymity and discretion.
  5. I have a family somewhere and hope to come across clues to their whereabouts during my travels and adventures.
  6. I love my (executioner’s chosen) weapon and go to great lengths to care for it. I practice, perfect, and, whenever possible, discuss at great length every nuance of its nature and uses.

d6 Flaw

  1. When I set my mind to something, I follow through regardless of obstacles.
  2. Violence is my answer to most forms of resistance.
  3. Weakness is intolerable and must be eradicated from our culture.
  4. I will often follow orders even knowing full well they are wrong or corrupt.
  5. I am obsessive about concealing my true identity and rarely trust anyone.
  6. I obey the law of the land even when it is oppressive or tyrannical.

Variant Headsman: Royal Executioner, Torturer, Hangman

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