Supremely Useful Backgrounds in D&D

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is an iconic tabletop role-playing game that thrives on storytelling, character development, and immersive gameplay. One crucial element that shapes a character’s identity is their background. A character’s background not only provides a narrative foundation but also grants unique skills, proficiencies, and role-playing opportunities that can dramatically influence the course of a D&D campaign.

Acolyte in a temple

1 Acolyte

The Acolyte background taps into the divine, offering characters a rich backstory rooted in religious or spiritual pursuits. With proficiency in Insight and Religion, Acolytes are adept at deciphering motives and understanding the intricacies of the divine. Their Shelter of the Faithful feature, allowing them access to temple hospitality, adds a layer of practicality to their background.

A female sage

2 Sage

The Sage background caters to characters with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Proficiencies in Arcana and History make Sages invaluable in unraveling arcane mysteries and historical puzzles. The Researcher feature allows them to uncover hidden information efficiently, making them indispensable in quests requiring lore or ancient wisdom.

A woman standing in front of a mirror

3 Charlatan

The Charlatan background provides a compelling narrative for those who navigate the world through cunning and deception. Proficiencies in Deception and Sleight of Hand make Charlatans formidable manipulators. Their False Identity feature enables them to seamlessly blend into any environment, making them adept spies or infiltrators.

A man walking through a dark forest

4 Criminal

Characters with a Criminal background thrive in the underworld, with proficiencies in Stealth and Deception. Criminals can choose from various criminal specialties, such as burglars or enforcers, tailoring their skills to suit the campaign’s needs. The Criminal Contact feature establishes a web of underworld connections, providing a valuable resource for information and favors.

A Folk Hero

5 Folk Hero

Folk Heroes arise from humble beginnings, driven by a sense of justice and a desire to protect the common folk. Proficiencies in Animal Handling and Survival reflect their connection to the land. The Rustic Hospitality feature cements their status as a local hero, gaining the support of the common folk in rural communities.

Guild Artisan in a workshop

6 Guild Artisan

Crafters and artisans find their roots in the Guild Artisan background. Proficient in Insight and Persuasion, Guild Artisans excel in negotiations and understanding the motivations of others. The Guild Membership feature grants them access to a network of fellow artisans, opening doors to resources, workshops, and potential patrons.

An Old Hermit

7 Hermit

The Hermit background caters to characters who have withdrawn from society to pursue personal enlightenment. Proficiencies in Medicine and Religion reflect their focus on holistic knowledge. The Discovery feature represents a profound revelation or piece of ancient lore gained during their seclusion, providing a unique edge in the adventuring world.

Noble woman

8 Noble

Nobles hail from aristocratic families, wielding influence and authority. Proficient in History and Persuasion, Nobles excel in navigating social situations. The Position of Privilege feature showcases their status, providing access to high society and assistance from those who respect their noble lineage.

Outlander surveying the land

9 Outlander

Characters with an Outlander background are forged by the untamed wilderness, with proficiencies in Athletics and Survival. The Wanderer feature allows them to navigate various terrains easily, and their self-sufficiency in the wild makes them invaluable in survival-based campaigns.

A street urchin

10 Urchin

Urchins come from the harsh streets of the city, adept at surviving through wit and agility. Proficient in Sleight of Hand and Stealth, Urchins excel in navigating urban environments. The City Secrets feature allows them to move through city streets unnoticed and find shelter in the most unlikely places.

In Dungeons & Dragons, a character’s background is more than just a collection of skills and features; it’s the bedrock upon which players can build a story. Regardless of choice, backgrounds can offer mechanical advantages and present compelling narratives that enrich any D&D campaign. Whether your character is a scholarly Sage or a streetwise Urchin, their background shapes their abilities and role in your tabletop adventure’s unfolding epic.

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