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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 (Proficiencies: Insight, Religion, and Languages x2, PHB p127)
  • Anthropologist (Proficiencies: Insight, Religion, and Languages x2, Tomb of Annihilation p191)
  • Archaeologist (Proficiencies: History, Survival, Cartographer's Tools or Navigator's Tools, and Language x1, Tomb of Annihilation p192)
  • Black Fist Double Agent (Proficiencies: Deception, Insight, Disguise Kit, and choose one from Artisan’s Tools or Gaming Set, CoStrahd)
  • Caravan Specialist (Animal Handling, Survival, Land Vehicles, and Languages x1, Elemental Evil)
  • Charlatan (Proficiencies: Deception, Sleight of Hand, Disguise Kit, and Forgery Kit, PHB p128)
  • City Watch (Proficiencies: Athletics, Insight, and Languages x2, SCAG p145)
  • Clan Crafter (Proficiencies: History, Insight, Artisan's Tools, and Languages x1, SCAG p145)
  • Cloistered Scholar (Proficiencies: Languages x2, History, and choose one from Arcana, Nature, or Religion, SCAG p146)
  • Cormanthor Refugee (Proficiencies: Nature, Survival, Elven Language, and Artisan's Tools x1, RoD
  • Courtier (Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion, and Languages x2, SCAG p146)
  • Criminal (Proficiencies: Deception, Stealth, Gaming Set x1, and Thieves' tools, PHB p129)
  • Dissenter (Proficiencies: none, Special Background Feature, Plane of Amonkhet p11)
  • Dragon Casualty (Proficiencies: Intimidation, Survival, Draconic Language, and a Tool based on your Origin, CoStrahd)
  • Earthspur Miner (Skill: Athletics, Survival, Dwarven and Undercommon Language, Elemental Evil).
  • Entertainer (Proficiencies: Acrobatics, Performance, Disguise Kit, and Musical Instrument x1, PHB p130)
  • Faction Agent (Proficiencies: Languages x2, Insight, and choose one mental skill appropriate your faction, SCAG p147)
  • Far Traveler (Proficiencies: Insight, Perception, Musical Instrument x1, and Languages x1, SCAG p148)
  • Folk Hero (Proficiencies: Animal Handling, Survival, Artisan's Tools x1, and Land Vehicles, PHB p131)
  • Gate Urchin (Proficiencies: Deception, Sleight of Hand, Thieves's Tools, and Musical Instrument x1, RoD)
  • Gladiator (Proficiencies: Acrobatics, Performance, Disguise Kit, and Musical Instrument x1, PHB p130)
  • Guild Artisan (Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion, Artisan's Tools x1, and Languages x1, PHB p132)
  • Guild Merchant (Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion, Artisan's Tools x1, and Languages x1, PHB p132)
  • Harborfolk (Proficiencies: Athletics, Sleight of Hand, Water Vehicles, and Gaming Set x1, Elemental Evil)
  • Haunted One (Proficiencies: Exotic Language x1, and choose two from among Arcana, Investigation, Religion, and Survival, Curse of Strahd p209)
  • Heretic (Proficiencies: Deception, Religion, and Languages x2, Ruins of Mezro p28)
  • Hermit (Proficiencies: Medicine, Religion, Herbalism Kit, and Languages x1, PHB p134)
  • Hillsfar Merchant (Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion, Land Vehicles, and Water Vehicles, RoD)
  • Hillsfar Smuggler (Proficiencies: Perception, Stealth, Forgery Kit, and Languages x1, RoD)
  • Inheritor (Proficiencies: Gaming Set x1, Musical Instrument x1, Survival, and choose one from Arcana, History, or Religion, SCAG p150)
  • Initiate (Proficiencies: Athletics, Intimidation, Land Vehicles, and Gaming Set x1, Plane of Amonkhet p8)
  • Inquisitor (Proficiencies: Investigation, Religion, Thieves' Tools, and Artisan's Tools x1, Plane of Innistrad p12)
  • Investigator (Proficiencies: Insight, Investigation, and Languages x2, SCAG p145)
  • Iron Route Bandit (Proficiencies: Stealth, Animal Handling, Gaming Set x1, and Land Vehicles, CoStrahd)
  • Knight (Proficiencies: History and Persuasion, Gaming Set x1, and Languages x1, PHB p135)
  • Knight of the Order (Proficiencies: Languages x1, Gaming Set or Musical Instrument x1, Persuasion, and choose one non-investigation Int skill, SCAG p151)
  • Mercenary Veteran (Proficiencies: Athletics, Persuasion, Gaming Set x1, and Land Vehicles, SCAG p152)
  • Mulmaster Aristocrat (Proficiencies: Deception, Performance, Artisan's Tools x1, and Musical Instrument x1, Elemental Evil)
  • Noble (Proficiencies: History and Persuasion, Gaming Set x1, and Languages x1, PHB p135)
  • Outlander (Proficiencies: Athletics, Survival, Musical Instrument x1, and Languages x1, PHB p136)
  • Phlan Insurgent (Proficiencies: Stealth, Survival, Land Vehicles, and Artisan's Tools x1, CoStrahd)
  • Phlan Refugee (Proficiencies: Insight, Athletics, Languages x1, Artisan's Tools x1, Elemental Evil)
  • Pirate (Proficiencies: Athletics, Perception, Navigator's Tools, and Water Vehicles, PHB p139)
  • Sage (Proficiencies: Arcana, History, and Languages x2, PHB p137)
  • Sailor (Proficiencies: Athletics, Perception, Navigator's Tools, and Water Vehicles, PHB p139)
  • Secret Identity (Proficiencies: Deception, Stealth, Disguise Kit, and Forgery Kit, RoD)
  • Shade Fanatic (Proficiencies: Deception, Intimidation, Forgery Kit, and Netherese Language, RoD)
  • Soldier (Proficiencies: Athletics, Intimidation, Gaming Set x1, and Land Vehicles, PHB p140)
  • Spy (Proficiencies: Deception, Stealth, Gaming Set x1, and Thieves' tools, PHB p129)
  • Stojanow Prisoner (Proficiencies: Deception, Perception, Thieves' Tools, and Gaming Set x1, CoStrahd)
  • Ticklebelly Nomad (Proficiencies: Nature, Animal Handling, Herbalism Kit, and Giant Language, CoStrahd)
  • Trade Sheriff (Proficiencies: Investigation, Persuasion, Thieves Kit, and Elven Language, RoD)
  • Urban Bounty Hunter (Proficiencies: Choose two from Deception, Insight, Persuasion, or Stealth, and choose two from Gaming Set x1, Musical Instrument x1, or Thieves' Tools, SCAG p153)
  • Urchin (Proficiencies: Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Disguise Kit, and Thieves' Tools, PHB p141)
  • Uthgardt Tribe Member (Proficiencies: Athletics, Survival, Languages x1, and choose one from Musical Instrument x1 or Artisan's Tools x1, SCAG p153)
  • Vizier (Proficiencies: History, Religion, Artisan's Tools x1, and Musical Instrument x1, Plane of Amonkhet p10)
  • Waterdhavian Noble (Proficiencies: History, Persuasion, Languages x1, and choose one from Gaming Set x1 or Musical Instrument x1, SCAG p154)

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