Every story has a beginning Edit

Your character’s background reveals where you came from, how you became an adventurer, and your place in the world. Your fighter might have been a courageous knight or a grizzled soldier. Your wizard could have been a sage or an artisan. Your rogue might have gotten by as a guild thief or commanded audiences as a jester. Choosing a background provides you with important story cues about your character’s identity.

The most important question to ask about your background is what changed? Why did you stop doing whatever your background describes and start adventuring? Where did you get the money to purchase your starting gear, or, if you come from a wealthy background, why don't you have more money? How did you learn the skills of your class? What sets you apart from ordinary people who share your background? The sample backgrounds in this chapter provide both concrete benefits (features, proficiencies, and languages) and roleplaying suggestions.

Proficiencies Edit

  • Each background gives a character proficiency in two skills.
  • Skills are described in chapter 7 of the PHB.
  • In addition, most backgrounds give a character proficiency with one or more tools.
  • Tools are detailed in chapter 5 of the PHB.
  • If a character would gain the same proficiency from two different sources, he or she can choose a different proficiency of the same kind (skill or tool) instead.

Languages Edit

  • Some backgrounds also allow characters to learn additional languages beyond those given by race.

Equipment Edit

  • Each background provides a package of starting equipment. If you use the optional rule from chapter 5 to spend coins on gear, you do not receive the starting equipment from your background.

Suggested Characteristics Edit

  • A background contains suggested personal characteristics based on your background.
  • You can pick characteristics, roll dice to determine them randomly, or use the suggestions as inspiration for characteristics of your own creation.

Customizing a Background Edit

You might want to tweak some of the features of a background so it better fits your character or the campaign setting. To customize a background, you can replace one feature with any other one, choose any two skills, and choose a total of two tool proficiencies or languages from the sample backgrounds. You can either use the equipment package from your background or spend coins on gear as described in chapter 5. (If you spend coins, you can't also take the equipment package suggested for your class.) Finally, choose two personality traits, one ideal, one bond, and one flaw. If you can't find a feature that matches your desired background, work with your DM to create one.

List of Backgrounds Edit

  • Acolyte (Skills: Insight, Religion, and Languages +2, PHB p127)
  • Anthropologist (Skills: Insight, Religion, and Languages +2, Tomb of Annihilation p191)
  • Archaeologist (Skills: History, Survival, Cartographer's Tools or Navigator's Tools, and Language +1,Tomb of Annihilation p192)
  • Black Fist Double Agent (Skills: Deception, Insight, Disguise Kit, and choose one from Artisan’s Toolsor Gaming Set, CoStrahd)
  • Caravan Specialist (Animal Handling, Survival, Land Vehicles, and Languages +1, Elemental Evil)
  • Charlatan (Skills: Deception, Sleight of Hand, Disguise Kit, and Forgery Kit, PHB p128)
  • City Watch (Skills: Athletics, Insight, and Languages +2, SCAG p145)
  • Clan Crafter (Skills: History, InsightArtisan's Tools, and Languages +1, SCAG p145)
  • Cloistered Scholar (Skills: Languages +2, History, and choose one from Arcana, Nature, or Religion, SCAG p146)
  • Cormanthor Refugee (Skills: Nature, Survival, Elven Language, and Artisan's Tools +1, RoD
  • Courtier (Skills: Insight, Persuasion, and Languages +2, SCAG p146)
  • Criminal (Skills: Deception, Stealth, Gaming Set +1, and Thieves' tools, PHB p129)
  • Dissenter (Skills: noneSpecial Background Feature, Plane of Amonkhet p11)
  • Dragon Casualty (Skills: Intimidation, Survival, Draconic Language, and a Tool based on your Origin, CoStrahd)
  • Earthspur Miner (Skill: Athletics, Survival, Dwarven and Undercommon Languages, Elemental Evil).
  • Entertainer (Skills: Acrobatics, PerformanceDisguise Kit, and Musical Instrument +1, PHB p130)
  • Faction Agent (Skills: Languages +2, Insight, and choose one mental skill appropriate your faction, SCAG p147)
  • Far Traveler (Skills: Insight, PerceptionMusical Instrument +1, and Languages +1, SCAG p148)
  • Folk Hero (Skills: Animal Handling, SurvivalArtisan's Tools +1, and Land Vehicles, PHB p131)
  • Gate Urchin (Skills: Deception, Sleight of Hand, Thieves's Tools, and Musical Instrument +1, RoD)
  • Gladiator (Skills: Acrobatics, PerformanceDisguise Kit, and Musical Instrument +1, PHB p130)
  • Guild Artisan (Skills: Insight, Persuasion, Artisan's Tools +1, and Languages +1, PHB p132)
  • Guild Merchant (Skills: Insight, Persuasion, Artisan's Tools +1, and Languages +1, PHB p132)
  • Harborfolk (Skills: Athletics, Sleight of Hand, Water Vehicles, and Gaming Set +1, Elemental Evil)
  • Haunted One (Skills: Exotic Language +1, and choose two from among ArcanaInvestigationReligion, and Survival, Curse of Strahd p209)
  • Heretic (Skills: Deception, Religion, and Languages +2, Ruins of Mezro p28)
  • Hermit (Skills: Medicine, Religion, Herbalism Kit, and Languages +1, PHB p134)
  • Hillsfar Merchant (Skills: Insight, Persuasion, Land Vehicles, and Water Vehicles, RoD)
  • Hillsfar Smuggler (Skills: Perception, Stealth, Forgery Kit, and Languages +1, RoD)
  • Inheritor (Skills: Gaming Set +1, Musical Instrument +1, Survival, and choose one from ArcanaHistory, or Religion, SCAG p150)
  • Initiate (Skills: Athletics, IntimidationLand Vehicles, and Gaming Set +1, Plane of Amonkhet p8)
  • Inquisitor (Skills: Investigation, ReligionThieves' Tools, and Artisan's Tools +1, Plane of Innistrad p12)
  • Investigator (Skills: Insight, Investigation, and Languages +2, SCAG p145)
  • Iron Route Bandit (Skills: Stealth, Animal Handling, Gaming Set +1, and Land Vehicles, CoStrahd)
  • Knight (Skills: History and PersuasionGaming Set +1, and Languages +1, PHB p135)
  • Knight of the Order (Skills: Languages +1, Gaming Set or Musical Instrument +1, Persuasion, and choose one non-investigation Int skill, SCAG p151)
  • Mercenary Veteran (Skills: Athletics, Persuasion, Gaming Set +1, and Land Vehicles, SCAG p152)
  • Mulmaster Aristocrat (Skills: Deception, Performance, Artisan's Tools +1, and Musical Instrument +1, Elemental Evil)
  • Noble (Skills: History and PersuasionGaming Set +1, and Languages +1, PHB p135)
  • Outlander (Skills: Athletics, Survival, Musical Instrument +1, and Languages +1, PHB p136)
  • Phlan Insurgent (Skills: Stealth, Survival, Land Vehicles, and Artisan's Tools +1, CoStrahd)
  • Phlan Refugee (Skills: Insight, Athletics, Languages +1Artisan's Tools +1, Elemental Evil)
  • Pirate (Skills: Athletics, Perception, Navigator's Tools, and Water Vehicles, PHB p139)
  • Sage (Skills: Arcana, History, and Languages +2, PHB p137)
  • Sailor (Skills: Athletics, Perception, Navigator's Tools, and Water Vehicles, PHB p139)
  • Secret Identity (Skills: Deception, Stealth, Disguise Kit, and Forgery Kit, RoD)
  • Shade Fanatic (Skills: Deception, Intimidation, Forgery Kit, and Netherese Language, RoD)
  • Soldier (Skills: Athletics, IntimidationGaming Set +1, and Land Vehicles, PHB p140)
  • Spy (Skills: Deception, Stealth, Gaming Set +1, and Thieves' tools, PHB p129)
  • Stojanow Prisoner (Skills: Deception, Perception, Thieves' Tools, and Gaming Set +1, CoStrahd)
  • Ticklebelly Nomad (Skills: Nature, Animal Handling, Herbalism Kit, and Giant Language, CoStrahd)
  • Trade Sheriff (Skills: Investigation, Persuasion, Thieves Kit, and Elven Language, RoD)
  • Urban Bounty Hunter (Skills: Choose two from DeceptionInsightPersuasion, or Stealth, and choose two from Gaming SetMusical Instrument, or Thieves' Tools, SCAG p153)
  • Urchin (Skills: Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Disguise Kit, and Thieves' Tools, PHB p141)
  • Uthgardt Tribe Member (Skills: Athletics, SurvivalLanguages +1, and choose one from Musical Instrument or Artisan's Tools, SCAG p153)
  • Vizier (Skills: History, ReligionArtisan's Tools +1, and Musical Instrument +1, Plane of Amonkhet p10)
  • Waterdhavian Noble (Skills: History, PersuasionLanguages +1, and choose one from Gaming Set or Musical Instrument, SCAG p154)