Haunted One 5E Background | Guide to Ravenloft Background

haunted one 5e

Occasionally, you have to become an adventurer for no fault of your own. Some extraordinary creature has decided to choose you, for one reason or another. This is a sadly common history of characters in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft. You may have a beast chasing you, or perhaps the beast has chosen you. For whatever occult reason, you feel as though you are not safe being sedentary. Or… Perhaps you are looking for the power to overcome your dark past. No matter what reason you may have, we’re here to help with our Haunted One 5e guide.

Haunted One 5E Background for Ravenloft

The Haunted One has a past with occult beings. Whether you were born under a certain ritual, a beast slaughtered everyone except you, or any other horrible thing happened in your past, you are now haunted. And it’s up to you to figure out why and avenge those who were wronged by your haunting… Which, sometimes, is yourself.


Haunted One allows you to choose two skill proficiencies from Arcana, Investigation, Religion, or Survival. This is Intelligence-heavy, though Survival is always useful.

You gain two languages, one which is “exotic” and otherwise difficult to learn.

You come into play with a Monster Hunter’s Pack, common clothes, a trinket of personal significance, and 1 sp. The Monster Hunter’s Pack includes a chest, crowbar, hammer, and a ton of different methods to fight strange creatures, from lycanthropes to vampires.

Overall, this is a fairly standard background in terms of power. Maybe a little light on the equipment side, but otherwise serviceable.

Feature: Heart of Darkness

You carry the burden of your past. The burden is massive, so much so that one look into your eyes will convince commoners that you are worth helping. While they might fear you, you are worth caring for, and the common people are willing to raise arms to fight with you, if you’re fighting alone.

This feature’s strength is entirely up to DM interpretation. However, many adventurers find themselves in small towns. Your pain and history might get you decent discounts, help from kind-hearted poor people, and maybe even a helper in a fight or two. And, this may sometimes backfire; if a young commoner tries to fight a werewolf, they are probably going to end up as string cheese.

Harrowing Event

Something happened in your life to make you haunted. Something not necessarily supernatural, but definitely scarring. This table is made for inspiration, but any of them could be a good start to your horrifying history.

1A monster that slaughtered dozens of innocent people spared your life, and you don’t know why.
2You were born under a dark star. You can feel it watching you, coldly and distantly. Sometimes it beckons you in the dead of night.
3An apparition that has haunted your family for generations now haunts you. You don’t know what it wants, and it won’t leave you alone.
4Your family has a history of practicing the dark arts. You dabbled once and felt something horrible clutch at your soul, whereupon you fled in terror.
5An oni took your sibling one cold, dark night, and you were unable to stop it.
6You were cursed with lycanthropy and later cured. You are now haunted by the innocents you slaughtered.
7A hag kidnapped and raised you. You escaped, but the hag still has a magical hold over you and fills your mind with evil thoughts.
8You opened an eldritch tome and saw things unfit for a sane mind. You burned the book, but its words and images are burned into your psyche.
9A fiend possessed you as a child. You were locked away but escaped. The fiend is still inside you, but now you try to keep it locked away.
10You did terrible things to avenge the murder of someone you loved. You became a monster, and it haunts your waking dreams.

Suggested Characteristics

Your haunted past means that you’re paranoid and already hurt. This might strengthen or weaken your morale. No matter what, you are a survivor, and you will not let emotions or connections keep you from your mission.

Haunted One Personality Traits

d8Personality Trait
1I don’t run from evil. Evil runs from me.
2I like to read and memorize poetry. It keeps me calm and brings me fleeting moments of happiness.
3I spend money freely and live life to the fullest, knowing that tomorrow I might die.
4I live for the thrill of the hunt.
5I don’t talk about the thing that torments me. I’d rather not burden others with my curse.
6I expect danger around every corner.
7I refuse to become a victim, and I will not allow others to be victimized.
8I put no trust in divine beings.

Haunted One Ideals

1I try to help those in need, no matter what the personal cost. (Good)
2I’ll stop the spirits that haunt me or die trying. (Any)
3I kill monsters to make the world a safer place, and to exorcise my own demons. (Good)
4I have a dark calling that puts me above the law. (Chaotic)
5I like to know my enemy’s capabilities and weaknesses before rushing into battle. (Lawful)
6I’m a monster that destroys other monsters, and anything else that gets in my way. (Evil)

Haunted One Bonds

1I keep my thoughts and discoveries in a journal. My journal is my legacy.
2I would sacrifice my life and my soul to protect the innocent.
3My torment drove away the person I love. I strive to win back the love I’ve lost.
4A terrible guilt consumes me. I hope that I can find redemption through my actions.
5There’s evil in me, I can feel it. It must never be set free.
6I have a child to protect. I must make the world a safer place for him (or her).

Haunted One Flaws

1I have certain rituals that I must follow every day. I can never break them.
2I assume the worst in people.
3I feel no compassion for the dead. They’re the lucky ones.
4I have an addiction.
5I am a purveyor of doom and gloom who lives in a world without hope.
6I talk to spirits that no one else can see.

Wrapping Up Our Haunted One 5E Guide

The Haunted One makes the most sense in a Ravenloft campaign, but many characters suffer from a horrific past. Try them out for your character in any horror-based campaign, or even for a campaign with more realistic fear. Need more Van Richten’s content? Check out the Spirit bard!

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