5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

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5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by Havard » Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:38 pm

LIST OF BACKGROUNDS
See also: List of Classes, List of Races, List of Character Background

Player's Handbook
  • Acolyte
  • Charlatan
  • Criminal
    • Variant Criminal: Spy
  • Entertainer
    • Variant Entertainer: Gladiator
  • Folk Hero
  • Guild Artisan
    • Variant Guild Artisan: Guild Merchant
  • Hermit
  • Noble
    • Variant Noble: Knight
  • Outlander
  • Sage
  • Sailor
    • Variant Sailor: Pirate
  • Soldier
  • Urchin
Curse of Strahd
  • Haunted One

Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide
  • City Watch
    • Variant City Watch: Investigator
  • Clan Crafter
  • Cloistered Scholar
  • Courtier
  • Faction Agent
  • Far Traveler
  • Inheritor
  • Knight of the Order
  • Mercenary Veteran
  • Urban Bounty Hunter
  • Uthgardt Tribe Member
  • Waterdhavian Noble
Tomb of Annihilation
  • Archaeologist
  • Anthropologist


Planeshift: Magic the Gathering
  • Dissenter (Plane-Shift: Amonkhet)
  • Initiate (Plane-Shift: Amonkhet)
  • Inquisitor (Plane-Shift: Innistrad)
  • Vizier (Plane-Shift: Amonkhet)
Thanks to Timemrick, who suggested making this list here:


Feel free to post Backgrounds from WotC books and UA articles in this thread. 3PBB and fan created backgrounds are also cool, but maybe easier to keep in a separate thread?

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Last edited by Havard on Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:08 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by timemrick » Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:27 am

Player's Handbook:
  • Acolyte
  • Charlatan
  • Criminal
    • Variant Criminal: Spy
  • Entertainer
    • Variant Entertainer: Gladiator
  • Folk Hero
  • Guild Artisan
    • Variant Guild Artisan: Guild Merchant
  • Hermit
  • Noble
    • Variant Noble: Knight
  • Outlander
  • Sage
  • Sailor
    • Variant Sailor: Pirate
  • Soldier
  • Urchin
Curse of Strahd:
  • Haunted One
The DMG discusses how to create new backgrounds, but (unlike new races) it doesn't give any worked examples.

I don't believe "Unearthed Arcana" has included any backgrounds yet.
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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by Zeromaru X » Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:46 am

A player of mine has the SCAG, and he lets me use it (is like a communal book in my table, xD), so I can contribute with the backgrounds of that book. :D

Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide:
  • City Watch
    • Variant City Watch: Investigator
  • Clan Crafter
  • Cloistered Scholar
  • Courtier
  • Faction Agent
  • Far Traveler
  • Inheritor
  • Knight of the Order
  • Mercenary Veteran
  • Urban Bounty Hunter
  • Uthgardt Tribe Member
  • Waterdhavian Noble

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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by Havard » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:44 pm

Thanks to the both of you! :) I finally got around to restructuring the original post in this thread.

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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by zontoxira » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:33 pm

What about backgrounds from the official AL series? There were certainly some from Mulmaster (Elemental Evil) and Hillsfar (Rage of Demons).
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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by Seethyr » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:56 pm

Thank you very much for this list.
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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by Dread Delgath » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:05 pm

zontoxira wrote:What about backgrounds from the official AL series? There were certainly some from Mulmaster (Elemental Evil) and Hillsfar (Rage of Demons).
I would think those are "official", although I don't like either of them. They would work if Mulmaster & Hillsfar were part of a campaign, but if you aren't using FR or those two locations in your own campaign, they become useless by themselves.

Of course, I could rename them, but then again, why wouldn't I simply re-write them to be backgrounds from specific locations in my campaign and not use the originals as presented at all?

(Not trying to crap on these backgrounds, only providing a different point of view.) :oops:
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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by zontoxira » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:06 pm

Dread Delgath wrote: I would think those are "official", although I don't like either of them. They would work if Mulmaster & Hillsfar were part of a campaign, but if you aren't using FR or those two locations in your own campaign, they become useless by themselves.

Of course, I could rename them, but then again, why wouldn't I simply re-write them to be backgrounds from specific locations in my campaign and not use the originals as presented at all?

(Not trying to crap on these backgrounds, only providing a different point of view.) :oops:
Good point, outside of Moonsea such backgrounds could be redundant, since they're tied to their respective cities. But then again, SCAG backgrounds are tied to FR too, if not a specific area. A Waterdhavian noble or Uthgardt tribe member might feel the same way, when playing away from the Sword Coast, or even in another world.
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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by Dread Delgath » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:56 am

zontoxira wrote:
Dread Delgath wrote: I would think those are "official", although I don't like either of them. They would work if Mulmaster & Hillsfar were part of a campaign, but if you aren't using FR or those two locations in your own campaign, they become useless by themselves.

Of course, I could rename them, but then again, why wouldn't I simply re-write them to be backgrounds from specific locations in my campaign and not use the originals as presented at all?

(Not trying to crap on these backgrounds, only providing a different point of view.) :oops:
Good point, outside of Moonsea such backgrounds could be redundant, since they're tied to their respective cities. But then again, SCAG backgrounds are tied to FR too, if not a specific area. A Waterdhavian noble or Uthgardt tribe member might feel the same way, when playing away from the Sword Coast, or even in another world.
The Waterdhavian noble is different from the PHB noble bg, but what they've done anyone can do by changing a thing here or there. I do allow the Uthgardt background in my campaign world, renamed of course - and I can't even remember why I drew a distinction between using one and not the other.
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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by timemrick » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:03 am

The backgrounds in SCAG could have benefited from some commentary similar to the appendix on class options in other worlds. And half of them (including the Uthgardt tribe member and Waterdhavian noble) could have been simplified into variants of PHB backgrounds, because there's no significant difference in benefits other than the background feature.
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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by Havard » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:45 pm

zontoxira wrote:What about backgrounds from the official AL series? There were certainly some from Mulmaster (Elemental Evil) and Hillsfar (Rage of Demons).
These should definitely be included on the list.

BTW: interesting disucssion about the merits and flaws of the backgrounds guys.

What makes for a great background?

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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by Dread Delgath » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:31 am

Havard wrote:BTW: interesting disucssion about the merits and flaws of the backgrounds guys.

What makes for a great background?
Versatility in a multitude of campaign settings, whether "official" or home-brewed campaigns is a must for great backgrounds.

I'll use the Uthgardt Barbarian background as an example. Personally, I like it and I use it because it matches a cultural equivalent in my own campaign, and I actually have no problems with it. I am only using it as an example because my campaign is heavy on barbarian classes.

However, its a 'pigeon-holed' background because it is very specific in culture and location within a single campaign world.

I would rather look at a barbarian background titled "Northern Barbarian", or "Totem Savages of the Arid Plains", and rename them for my own campaign. Of course it would be totally admissible to list where they would fit best in any given campaign world in the background description, like "this barbarian background may cover barbarians of the Uthgardt variety in the FOrgotten Realms, and the Wolf and Tiger Nomads in the World of Greyhawk..."

Aside from basic versatility, a great background should complement the character's class and race. Most classic examples of barbarians would see a human/barbarian/outlander combo, but rarely a human/barbarian/acolyte combo.

It is not impossible to use this last example, but all I mean is that it is a rare combination.

The Uthgardt tribe member culturally probably only includes humans and maybe half-orcs because it IS a culture detailed in the FR setting, and it will have a dominant racial type listed. I don't know the actual ratios, but the more specific a background is, the less inclusive it will be to characters outside of those setting parameters.
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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by zontoxira » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:12 pm

Like what Dread Delgath says, versatility is one option that makes for a good background. Perhaps advice on how to mix races/classes with backgrounds or even backgrounds themselves could suffice. In my group, there's a Purple Dragon Knight Clan Crafter, a Lore Bard Acolyte, and an Archfey Warlock Criminal, weird combos imo; and I want to play some sort of a bandit, a mixed Outlander/Criminal, a rogue who lives and makes a living by robbing people in the wilds (crossroads, bridges, forest trails etc.).
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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by Birchbeer » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:46 pm

Tomb of annihilation has two additional backgrounds:
Anthropologist and Archeologist.

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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by Dread Delgath » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:48 pm

Ah! The Purple Dragon Knight is another FR 'only' background that I've hammered out a bit to fit in my Dakan Mar campaign as a "Knight of the Wall", or somesuch. I'd have to look up the actual background entry to tell you what I re-named it as. :oops:
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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by zontoxira » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:26 pm

Dread Delgath wrote:Ah! The Purple Dragon Knight is another FR 'only' background that I've hammered out a bit to fit in my Dakan Mar campaign as a "Knight of the Wall", or somesuch. I'd have to look up the actual background entry to tell you what I re-named it as. :oops:
Tbh, PDK is a martial archetype. The idea of a background based on this subclass seems intriguing, nonetheless.

And to be On Topic, I could browse my files and get the Mulmaster and Hillsfar player's options for their respective backgrounds, if you fellas want them added to the list.
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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by Dread Delgath » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:11 am

zontoxira wrote:
Dread Delgath wrote:Ah! The Purple Dragon Knight is another FR 'only' background that I've hammered out a bit to fit in my Dakan Mar campaign as a "Knight of the Wall", or somesuch. I'd have to look up the actual background entry to tell you what I re-named it as. :oops:
Tbh, PDK is a martial archetype. The idea of a background based on this subclass seems intriguing, nonetheless.

And to be On Topic, I could browse my files and get the Mulmaster and Hillsfar player's options for their respective backgrounds, if you fellas want them added to the list.
Heheheh! Well, it is familiar because I did use it in my Dakan Mar campaign, and honestly I haven't looked at the material since I wrote it up. That it is an actual subclass and not just a background is very embarrassing on my part, but I'm used to making these kinds of goofs. :oops:
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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by timemrick » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:46 pm

My local library had a copy of Tomb of Annihilation, so I checked it out today. I will almost certainly never run or play it, and I'm not sure if I will even bother reading very much of it, but it had some monsters I wanted to copy for my own use. It also has two new backgrounds: Anthropologist and Archaeologist.
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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by Havard » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:01 pm

timemrick wrote:My local library had a copy of Tomb of Annihilation, so I checked it out today. I will almost certainly never run or play it, and I'm not sure if I will even bother reading very much of it, but it had some monsters I wanted to copy for my own use. It also has two new backgrounds: Anthropologist and Archaeologist.
Added to the list! Thanks! :)

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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by timemrick » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:04 pm

Havard wrote:Added to the list! Thanks! :)
You're welcome!

Now go fix the font and spelling. /nitpick :lol:
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Re: 5E Character Backgrounds from Official Sources

Post by Havard » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:09 pm

timemrick wrote:
Havard wrote:Added to the list! Thanks! :)
You're welcome!

Now go fix the font and spelling. /nitpick :lol:

Work work...sigh :D

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