Pusherman A Background/Kit for 5e/OSR Narcosa

#Narcosa is here at the request of +Rafael Chandler and a lot of folks are asking, "What is Narcosa?" Make something narcotastic... basically, drug-related OSR posts!

This is a kit/background for those fellas that make Narcosa go round: the Pusherman. The background is written for 5e D&D, however it can easily be used over any OSR system - simply remove/modify the fiddly bits you don't need. This background probably works best for a minor villain NPC, but some of our favourite anti-heroes fall into the Pusherman category: Tony "Scarface" Montana, Saul Silver or Red, Walter White or Jesse Pinkman.

I'm your mamma, I'm your daddy
I'm that nigga in the alley
I'm your doctor when in need
Want some coke, have some weed
You know me, I'm your friend
Your main boy, thick and thin
I'm your pusherman -- Curtis Mayfield

Skill Proficiencies: Insight (wisdom), Persuasion (charisma)
Languages: 1 additional of choice.
Tool Proficiencies: Dealer’s Tools (scales, scoops, pouches, vials) OR Alchemist’s Tools
Equipment: 5 hits of product, a set of clothes (fine or common that includes a long coat with many pockets), a set of artisan’s tools, a keepsake of your childhood (roll on trinket table).

Feature: Connected Pusher
You have contacts in the illicit goods racket all over. You know the best places to find, buy and sell the worst things. You can’t necessarily get a good deal, but you can get anything a customer needs. You also have a special type of product you can push, some close connection that can provide you with profits of 3d12+6 gp a week, if you forego other activities (no adventuring). There is an increased chance of getting pinched by the local constabulary each week (as determined by your DM). Choose or roll for your area of expertise:

  1. Narcotic powders, psychotropic magic dusts, ground mermaid fin and other nose candies.
  2. Illicit potions: dragon’s sleep, beholder’s kiss, bella mortis and other devious draughts.
  3. Broke-oak, Phnamana blue, Kuo toke and other potent smokeables.
  4. Mojo pins, white spikes, quiet quills and other injectables.
  5. Myconoidals, ascomytics and other fungal offerings.
  6. Poisons. (Small doses for pleasant effect, heroic doses for unfortunate ones.)
  7. Jellies, molds, and oozes. (Snort it, slather it, or slurp it).
  8. Illegal weaponry.

Suggested Characteristics:
You try to be anything your buyers need. You are a friend, mother/father, sister/brother, bully, saviour, doctor, therapist, confidante, criminal, hustler -- you are the pusherman.

Personality Traits
  1. Anonymity is my ally. I sell by proxy. If nobody knows me for real, I ain’t really getting pinched. You hide yourself away and no one knows this true life of yours.
  2. Being connected is the greatest thing there is. I can get you a-nee-thin’. So, what you need, sucka? Garrulous and aggressive, you live for the hustle.
  3. I don’t do drugs. I am drugs. You won’t use your product (or won’t use it again) and you hold yourself to that deeply.
  4. I don’t care who I sell to, as long as I am selling. You push your product on anyone with enough coin to buy it. People tend to hate you.
  5. Paranoia hasn’t always served you well. You’ve been pinched before. You aren’t going back, but the life has got a hold of you.
  6. It may be a little pond, but I am the biggest fish. You face problems with bravado and a bit of bullying. Maybe even use a little Sam Jackson angry eye.
  7. Sometimes you’re flush and sometimes you’re bust. You have a flexible approach to your lifestyle and you are always looking to be more flush. Choose a catch-phrase that shows how cool you are under pressure.
  8. You wear the latest trends in fashion, the best kicks and finest jewelry. You have a greedy appreciation for fine things and status. You are the sharp-dressed man.
  1. Respect: Everyone knows who I am and what I do. I wear it like a badge of honour and I live by my code. Fuck you if you can’t respect that. (Lawful)
  2. Winning: Hustlin’ is the only thing in life. The money, power, women (men) - while all are great, none of it matters. Just the score. (Neutral)
  3. Power: You will rise to the top. All the other cockroaches can be crushed under your boot. (Evil)
  4. Freedom: Live free or die. What I do sets people free! Everyone wants to be free. (Chaotic)
  5. Wealth: Coin. Clink. Cash. It’s all I live and breathe. Can’t afford another hit? Fuck you, pay me. (Neutral)
  6. Knowledge: Customer service. I provide a service and my customers appreciate the confidentiality that I guarantee. It ain’t my fault I know all their dirty secrets. (Unaligned.)
  1. My customers are my friends. They love me and I love them.
  2. My source is a dear old friend of mine. I have to protect them, even if they don’t feel the same.
  3. “Adventuring with my friends” has given me access to some of the most potent shit in the world.
  4. My bosses have me stitched up. I can’t get out of the life.
  5. My family is everything to me, but they can’t know the truth of my work.
  6. (Party Member) is the inspiration I need to change, but old habits die hard.
  1. The cardinal rule is: “You don’t use your product.” You break the cardinal rule.
  2. You’d pinch the pennies out of your momma’s purse... and you have.
  3. There is something you desire so deeply that you will sacrifice necessities to have.
  4. You try to exercise power over everyone, even your friends and allies. You are kind of a cunt.
  5. You don’t trust anyone. Nobody. Not your mother, not your allies. Especially not your mother.
  6. You are convinced that you are destined for greatness.


5e Race IV: The Avians

The Avians
Avians are bird-like humanoids: Tengu, Aarakocra, Lunekin and Kenku. Bwaaak!

Avian Traits
All avians share some common traits.
Ability Score Increase: Your Dexterity score increases by 2.
Age: Short to exceptionally long.
Alignment: Avians tend toward Neutral.
Size: Small to Medium
Speed: Small 25, Medium 30
Flight: You have a fly speed of 60.
Smooth Descent: You can reduce falling damage with a Dexterity saving throw for half damage or none.
Unfortunately, Armour: Armour crafted for avians costs double. Flight in heavy armour is impossible (it also negates Smooth Descent). Medium armour impedes flight (half speed). Light armour may be worn with no ill effect.
Talons and Beak: All avians can make a natural attack with talons or beak for 1d4 + Strength modifier slashing damage.
Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and your avian tongue. Avian languages are usually pronounced through squawks, chirrups and whistles. Some Avians are also comfortable with the languages of air elementals or giant eagles.
Subrace: Choose a subrace from below.

Aarakocra Traits
Raawwk! Kawkaw! Raaawk!
Size: Medium.
Height: 4’6”+2d6 inches. Weight: 100+height modifier result in pounds.
Ability Score Increase: Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Keen Eyesight: You have advantage on skill checks that involve sight.
Diving Attack: When attacking from high above (in a dive), Aarakocra have advantage on the attack roll.
Aerial Weapon Proficiency: Aarakocra have proficiency with javelins and lances.

Tengu Traits
Tengu are birdmen that live atop mountains. They are notorious tricksters, renowned martial artists and powerful magic-users. Tengu tend to be solitary and mysterious due to their exceptionally long lives.
Size: Medium.
Height: 4’8”+2d8 inches. Weight: 100+1d4x height modifier result in pounds.
Ability Score Increase: Your Intelligence or Wisdom score increases by 1.
Shapeshift: All Tengu can assume the form of a human once per day per level. This form is always the same and has none of the benefits of the avian form. The Tengu can maintain this form for a number of hours equal to his Constitution score and changing from one form to the other requires 1 action.
Ventriloquism: Tengu can cast Minor Illusion at willTengu are limited to auditory illusions only. (Thanks for pointing this spell out, Kasper).
Open Possession: At 3rd level, all Tengu can take possession of a willing host. You become smokelike and enter the body of the host, gaining access to the language and knowledge of the host temporarily. The host can force the Tengu out of its body at any time by reasserting its persona. There is nothing the Tengu can do to remain in possession of the host.
Dark Sword Miniatures (Painted by Jessica Rich)

Lunekin Traits
Small and rotund, lunekin (also known as owlmen) are nocturnal hunters and spiritualists (kind of like this, only more humanoid). They pray to the moon goddess for protection.
Size: Small.
Height: 2’7”+3d4 inches. Weight: 35 + height modifier result in pounds.
Ability Score Increase: Your Wisdom score increases by 2.
Darkvision: Your nighttime predations are made easier with powerful night-vision. You can see in dim light up to 120 feet of you as if it were bright light. You can’t discern colour in darkness, only shades of grey.
Moon Dance: When under moonlight, Lunekin can dance/pray to the moon goddess for aid (as a bonus action). This aid can come in one of three forms: a surge of vitality, healing oneself for 1d6+wisdom modifier; a gleam of inspiration, granting a +2 bonus to one skill check; the predatory insight, granting advantage and +2 to hit and damage on a single attack. This ability can only be used once per night. Moon Dance can be used one additional time per night at levels 6, 12 and 18. During a full moon, effects are doubled. Under the new moon, effects are halved.

Kenku Traits
Kenku have strong group dynamics and work best with others. Unlike other avians, kenku do not have the Flight ability. Kenku also do not have the Unfortunately, Armour trait (heavy armour will still negate Smooth Descent).
Size: Medium.
Height: 4’6”+2d6 inches. Weight: 100+1d4x height modifier result in pounds.
Ability Score Increase: Your Charisma score increases by 2.
Flock Effect: Kenku work well with others. When working together on a skill check, Kenku provide an additional +2 to the roll. In combat, Kenku gain +1 to hit and damage when flanking with their allies (the flanking ally also receives a +1 to hit OR damage.
Mimicry: Kenku have a natural skill for mimicking voices and sounds. You have advantage on deception checks to mimic a sound or voice you have heard.