Shamelessly ganked but credited to the fantastic blog Hack and Slash at http://hackslashmaster.blogspot.ca/ I have adapted slightly to make it more applicable to my own campaign world. Used without permission but not in challenge to copyright.
Background: Winter Soldier
You once lived a life that is now gone. Through sorcery, magic, or chance everyone you once knew is dead and you lived in a long distant time. You have dim memories of the passage of history, flashes of insight and knowledge into what has passed during your long sleep, that while profound are also somewhat random and unpredictable. There is also a strong possibility you are not the only one to be out of time. Perhaps a companion or an old enemy who knows secrets long forgotten by those people in the modern age.
- Skill Proficiency: History with Expertise (Double Proficiency Bonus), but always with Disadvantage.
- Tool Proficiency: Select any one gaming set
- Languages: Select any one old or ancient language
- Equipment: Costume Clothes (any archaic people/uniform), a trinket of historical significance unknown to you, your gaming set, beltpouch of 10sp
Specialty: There are lots of reasons you could be pulled out of time. Roll randomly, or choose one from the following list.
- You were turned into stone, and recently revivified with a stone to flesh spell.
- You were imprisoned by a powerful wizard and the enchantment was recently broken.
- You were adrift, unconscious, in the astral plane for many years and were rescued by a hunting band of the Old Race who were going to eat you, luckily you escaped alive.
- Sleeping curse. Wouldn’t you know it?
- Frozen in the ice.
- Entered a portal and it transported you through time.
- Sent through time by the Delian. It was for a reason, though when you arrived you had no recollection of what that was.
- You weren’t magically transported. You spent the whole time in prison.
Feature: Living Legend
People see you as larger than life due to your survival. Some fear you, some seek you out, some fete you, and some will try to capture you to torture or vivisect the source of your miraculous survival out of you. In any case your presence tends to polarize people when they recognize you, and if you are willing to capitalize on this you can live a Wealthy Lifestyle at no cost.
You don’t understand a lot of unfamiliar things. Perhaps races, language, and customs are all strange. But you are no stranger to human nature. People are always the same. Being from the past doesn’t make you stupid. You also carry the burden of everyone you ever knew being gone or drastically changed from when you knew them. It is very likely you may have amnesia of one kind or another.
- I am this way because I volunteered. The reasons I did so are just as true today as they were then!
- I hate everything the way it is now. By leaving I’ve disgraced or lost everything that was important to me.
- Everything is so different here, you have no frame of reference for anything. Your home culture was radically different from what you experience.
- Everything in your day was golden and you love to tell people about it!
- I’m young enough that I’m loving being in the future.
- I’m just a normal guy thrust into an extraordinary experience.
- Why is this happening to me!
- I have no idea what the future or my life holds, but I will meet it with a level head.
- Duty: My goal has not changed. (Lawful)
- Honor: I struggle to do what is right, no matter the time. (Good)
- Loss: Everything is different, so it doesn’t matter what I do! I’m truly free. (Chaos)
- Revenge: All that matters is making whoever did this to me pay. (Evil)
- Discovery: I will figure out how the three seashells work! (Unaligned)
- Escape: I just want to extract myself from whatever I’ve gotten into and live the rest of my life in peace. (Unaligned)
- You just really want to get your old stuff back.
- You hung out with some marginalized group because you blended in. It wouldn’t be right if anything happened to them.
- You have an enemy that you still seek to destroy.
- You were experimented on by aliens. Either they, or a robot servant of theirs is your friend.
- Something that existed in the past exists now, and it is your focus. Either you must protect it or serve it. Perhaps it is a creature, a god, or just the symbol or earthly representation of such a thing.
- You founded an order and discover the current incarnation of such an order to have drifted so far from it’s original purpose, that it nearly serves what it was founded to combat.
- What no one knows is that I traveled through time intentionally, because I was a screw-up where I was from.
- The future is so radically different that you are suffering from one or several mental illnesses (Anxiety, Depression, etc.)
- You frequently misunderstand what people say.
- Whatever happened to send you through time was a punishment. If anyone knew what you did, they would say you got off easy.
- You are overcome by apathy and don’t have anything to care for in this new and strange world.
- A different government is in power then when you left. You were a hero for the vanquished rulers.
Again, adapted from <http://hackslashmaster.blogspot.com/2014/08/on-5e-backgrounds-winter-soldier.html>