The Constellations of Loraedor is a supplement with a ton of new backgrounds, created by Keith Owens.
This supplement contains a total of 36 new backgrounds, each one of them corresponding to a constellation in the world of Loraedor. Despite the fact that we aren’t in the Forgotten Realms, and the constellations are quite connected with the deities and pantheon of Loraedor, there isn’t much stopping you from using them in any setting with minimal effort.
Each constellation is accompanied with a short but rich tale of how it came to be – usually some god observed a particularly tragic or amusing happening, and immortalized it in the night sky. The stories are all quite well written and engaging, and they give a pretty good idea of what the constellation is about even in terms of mechanics.
Speaking of mechanics, the backgrounds function pretty much just the same as the ones from the Player’s Handbook. There are options for Traits, Ideals, and Flaws for each one, depending on the story behind the constellation. You also get two skill proficiencies, as well as another proficiency – usually a tool, but it can also be an instrument, a language, or something else. One thing you don’t get is the special features backgrounds give you, such as the Noble’s Position of Privilege or the Criminal’s Contact. However I don’t consider this a great loss; such features don’t really have a mechanical impact on the game, they are more of a roleplaying tool. As such, i think the other options provided (traits etc) are more than enough for that aspect of a character.
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Each constellation is also accompanied by a corresponding image, showing the stars that create it in the sky. The artwork is quite nice, similar to real representations of constellations. I can’t assume it was easy to come up with 36 constellations, much less create their shapes – but there was an excellent job done both by the writer and the artist.
Overall, I think the Constellations of Loraedor is a quality supplement with a lot of content. You can even use it outside the context of backgrounds, assigning each of your players a constellation for further roleplaying opportunities – especially if your campaign includes a lot of astrology and divination, I can see a lot of interesting opportunities.
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