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.
  • In addition, most backgrounds give a character proficiency with one or more tools.
  • Tools are detailed in chapter 5.
  • 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.


  • Some backgrounds also allow characters to learn additional languages beyond those given by race.
  • See “Languages” earlier in this chapter.


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

Suggested CharacteristicsEdit

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 BackgroundEdit

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 coin on gear as described in chapter 5. (If you spend coin, you can't also take the equipment package suggested for your class.) FinalIy, 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 BackgroundsEdit

  • Acolyte (Skills:Insight and Religion, Player's Handbook p127)
  • Charlatan (Skills: Deception and Sleight of Hand, Player's Handbook p128)
  • Criminal (Skills: Deception and Stealth, Player's Handbook p129)
  • Entertainer (Skills: Acrobatics and Performance, Player's Handbook p130)
  • Folk Hero (Skills: Animal Handling and Survival, Player's Handbook p131)
  • Guild Artisan (Skills: Insight and Persuasion, Player's Handbook p132)
  • Hermit (Skills: Medicine and Religion, Player's Handbook p134)
  • Noble (Skills: History and Persuasion, Player's Handbook p135)
  • Outlander (Skills: Athletics and Survival, Player's Handbook p136)
  • Sage (Skills: Arcana and History, Player's Handbook p137)
  • Sailor (Skills: Athletics and Perception, Player's Handbook p139)
  • Soldier (Skills: Athletics and Intimidation, Player's Handbook p140)
  • Urchin (Skills: Sleight of Hand and Stealth, Player's Handbook p141)
  • Haunted One (Skills: Choose two from among Arcana, Investigation, Religion, and Survival, Curse of Strahd p209)
  • City Watch (Skills: Athletics and Insight (or Investigation), Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide p145)
  • Clan Crafter (Skills: History and Insight, Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide p145)
  • Cloistered Scholar (Skills: History +1 from Arcana, Nature, or Religion, Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide p146)
  • Courtier (Skills: Insight and Persuasion, Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide p146)
  • Faction Agent (Skills: Insight +1 mental skill appropriate your faction, Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide p147)
  • Far Traveler (Skills: Insight and Perception, Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide p148)
  • Inheritor (Skills: Survival +1 from Arcana, History, or Religion, Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide p150)
  • Knight of the Order (Skills: Persuasion +1 non-investigation Int skill, Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide p151)
  • Mercenary Veteran (Skills: Athletics and Persuasion, Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide p152)
  • Urban Bounty Hunter (Skills: 2 from Deception, Insight, Persuasion, or Stealth, Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide p153)
  • Uthgardt Tribe Member (Skills: Athletics and Survival, Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide p153)
  • Waterdhavian Noble (Skills: History and Persuasion, Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide p154)
  • Inquisitor (Skills: Investigation and Religion, Plane of Innistrad p12)
  • Initiate (Skills: Athletics and Intimidation, Plane of Amonkhet p8)
  • Vizier (Skills: History and Religion, Plane of Amonkhet p10)
  • Dissenter (Plane of Amonkhet p11)

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.