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Lawful Good: A D&D 5e Background – The Magistrate

Another Lawful Good, another D&D 5e Background, this one inspired by my wife’s time spent on jury duty. Other free D&D 5e content: NPCsnew backgroundsprofessions for townsfolk, the Thri-Kreen.

[divider]D&D 5e Background – The Magistrate[/divider]

You spent your early career as an officer of the state, hearing cases in tribunals or mediating minor disputes. You have served with both judicial and executive powers, having jurisdiction over both civil and criminal cases. As a result, you have a keen knowledge of the law as well as adept skill at peacefully mediating disputes.

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Investigation
Tool Proficiencies: Scribe’s tools
Languages: One of your choosing
Equipment: Judicial Cipher*

Suggested Characteristics:
You know the law. In many cases, you are the law. Having served as a deputy, sheriff, reeve, attorney, magistrate, perhaps even consulting detective, you know how to investigate crimes as well as how to interpret, argue, and, when necessary, enforce the laws of a community or jurisdiction. Depending on the powers vested in you, you serve as investigator, judge, jury, and – when the situation demands – executioner.

Feature: Bureaucratic Impunity
Rules and regulations can stifle great warriors and wizards, but not you. Whenever there is a document to be obtained or a license to be bought, you can circumvent waiting lines, fines and standard response times. You always know what office is actually responsible, which document is really needed, who can be bribed how, and you can always attempt to negotiate, given the time to say what you need. Your confidence, poise and cool will shield you from legal trouble as long as you stay useful.

New Tool: *Judicial Cipher (price and weight as book)
If you have access to the appropriate legal codex for a given jurisdiction, you may add your proficiency bonus when interacting in an official capacity with agents of the law or when arguing points of law with anyone in the jurisdiction.

IomedaePersonality Trait:

  1. I stay detached and “by the book” – nothing ever needs to get personal.
  2. I’m intense and watchful, seeing potential trouble everywhere.
  3. I prefer to be underestimated, to the point of playing more bumbling than I am in order to set traps for those who contest me.
  4. I am harshly judgmental of those who have broken the law even once.
  5. I am argumentative, seeing everything as a debate to be won and never letting anything go.
  6. I talk fast and will always use the most arcane words I can think of, even when I don’t know their meaning or they don’t exist.
  7. I often get emotionally involved in the defense of innocents.
  8. I express everything with great gravitas.


  1. The Law. The Law is the Law. None are above the Law, especially those who enforce it. (Lawful)
  2. Punishment. Those who transgress, no matter the slight, are guilty and must be punished. And, in the end, all are guilty.  (Evil)
  3. Street Justice. The law coddles the wealthy and connected while oppressing the poor and powerless. So sometimes a hero has to take the law into your own hands. (Chaotic)
  4. Rehabilitation. No one is beyond redemption. (Good)
  5. Peace. Violence is a last resort and parlay is sacred. I punish only with great sorrow and go to great length to prevent it. (Any but Evil)
  6. The Truth. Shine a light on the darkness and let things fall as they may. (Neutral)


  1. Someone very close to me has been imprisoned or enslaved. It is my dream to see them legally released.
  2. A certain criminal has eluded me time and again. I will not rest until I bring this villain down.
  3. My family was murdered by criminals. I will avenge.
  4. Mysteries fascinate me, and I zealously pursue their solution for the sheer joy of it.
  5. The symbols of office are no mere objects. My title and position give me purpose.
  6. If I believe an accused to be innocent, I will go to the ends of the earth to clear her name.


  1. I have taken a significant bribe, and a certain crimelord knows it and can prove it.
  2. I rose to swift in the hierarchy and am now under constant attack from envious and petty rivals.
  3. I am too hard a negotiator. I reject even the most reasonable offers, as long as I think I can get more.
  4. I am obsessed with righting wrongs and tracking wrongdoers, to the exclusion of other, healthier interests.
  5. I am haughty and arrogant, always thinking I know best for others.
  6. The law is a path to power.


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