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5E Backgrounds List [Explore Diverse Origins Of DnD Characters]

5E Backgrounds List For Dnd Players
  Written By: Ashish Arya
Updated On: 12/28/2023
Est. Reading: 8 minutes

Stepping into a new adventure as your alter ego in Dungeons & Dragons (DnD) can be a thrilling endeavor.

It’s not just about the hundreds of game options or the compelling quests, but it’s also about shaping your character in a manner that best suits your playstyle and fantasy preferences.

That’s where the 5e backgrounds list comes into play, serving as an excellent resource to help shape your character’s history, personality traits, skill sets, and much more.

As you journey through the world of DnD, one thing to remember is that there are no templates that dictate who you are. Each player has the freedom to create their character from scratch and carve out their unique destiny.

You might choose a noble knight or a cunning thief; maybe you see yourself as an enterprising merchant or perhaps even an intrepid explorer. The choice is yours and yours alone.

5E Backgrounds List

Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) has always been about crafting your own epic story, bending rules and traditions to fit the narrative of your choice.

5E Backgrounds List

It allows you the liberty to create compelling characters uniquely tailored to your desired playstyle. Two important character options are the Acolyte and Charlatan backgrounds.

They lend flavor to the world you’re building, solidifying the link between you and your character’s reality.


  • Feature: Shelter of the Faithful.
  • Proficiencies: Insight, Religion.
  • Tags: Temple, Faith, Worship.

Walking in faith and driven by religious fervor, Acolytes form a fundamental part of Dungeons & Dragons’ intricate backdrop.

As an Acolyte in DnD, you dedicate yourself to a specific deity or pantheon your life revolves around worship, rituals, holy ceremonies, prayer.

Your special trait as an Acolyte is Shelter of the Faithful, which means you command respect from those who share your faith and can seamlessly blend into any temple devoted to your deity.

You have proficiencies in Insight and Religion, skills that are crucial to maintaining serenity within your realm of worship.

Insight gives you an edge in understanding other people’s intentions and desires while religion allows you a deeper comprehension of divine entities crucial abilities if one is serving as an intermediary between mortals and divine beings.

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  • Feature: False Identity.
  • Proficiencies: Deception, Sleight of Hand.
  • Tags: Scam, Disguise, Forgery.

On the other end of the spectrum from devout Acolytes are cunning Charlatans who don’t shy from disguises or deception for their gains.

As a Charlatan, it may be difficult for others to pin down who exactly you are a gift that often grants leverage in sticky situations.

The key feature for Charlatans is their False Identity. With this, you can fabricate an entire persona, complete with appropriate documentation and acquaintances who can vouch for your false identity when required.

When it comes to proficiency, your talents lie in Deception and Sleight of Hand. Your silver tongue expertly maneuvers through lies while nimble fingers work their magic unseen, making you exceptional at manipulating both people and situations.

The choice of background should significantly impact not just the abilities but also how your character interacts within the world of DnD.

Bring these characters alive with your choices. Both Acolyte and Charlatan have their charm—choose what resonates with your inner hero (or villain).


  • Features: Criminal Contact
  • Proficiencies: Deception, Stealth
  • Tags: Underworld, Stealth, Thievery

You take the law into your own hands as a Criminal in the world of DnD. Your history might be stained with misdeeds or maybe you’re on your path to redemption.

You have an invaluable asset, your Criminal Contact, individuals loyal to you from your past dealings. Your proficiencies lie in Deception and Stealth.

The gift of gab lets you subtly weave intricacies of lies, while stealth enables you to blend into shadows unseen when the situation calls for it. Criminals possess a unique blend of allure and danger that can add rich inflections to a player’s journey.


Feature: By Popular Demand
Proficiencies: Acrobatics, Performance
Tags: Perform, Craft, Public

Captivate and charm as an Entertainer in your DnD campaign. Possessing poise and graceful agility, you’re a beacon of creative freedom.

Your merit stems from the By Popular Demand feature which makes you renowned across towns for enthralling performances that virtually guarantee a hospitable welcome wherever you perform.

Your inherent talents shine through in Acrobatics and Performance. Not only can deftly tumble through physical feats requiring dexterity and agility but also bewitch crowds with your captivating demonstrations.

Whether it’s juggling daggers or reciting heroic poetry, an Entertainer’s life is seldom dull.

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Folk Hero

Folk Hero

Feature: Rustic Hospitality
Proficiencies: Animal Handling, Survival
Tags: Rural, Commoner, Champion

As a Folk Hero in DnD 5e background list; humble beginnings may be your introduction, but rise of the commoner is your legacy. The heart of people is with you due to your Rustic Hospitality feature.

You’re a local legend, liked and aided by commoners belonging to the countryside, who open their homes and hearts for you.

Your proficiency lies in the Animal handling and Survival abilities. You can intuitively understand animals and have a knack for surviving in challenging environments. A Folk Hero signifies not only resilience but also a beacon of hope for the common people.

Guild Artisan

Feature: Guild Membership.
Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion.
Tags: Commerce, Craft, Guild.

As a Guild Artisan, you possess expert craftsmanship and business acumen, making your unique skill set a valuable asset to any team.

Your primary feature is your Guild Membership, which not only gives you credibility but also provides protection, support, and job opportunities within your chosen field.

Your skills are in Insight, allowing you to discern the true intentions behind people’s words or actions a vital trait when negotiating business transactions and Persuasion, enabling you to influence others effectively.

As a Guild Artisan, you value quality work and strive for perfection in every endeavor.



Feature: Discovery.
Proficiencies: Medicine, Religion.
Tags: Solitude, Mystery, Spirituality.

The path of a Hermit is one of seclusion from society. Driven by their own motivations perhaps an unwavering faith or the pursuit of a personal goal Hermits live in solitude striving for self-sufficiency.

Your defining feature is your cherished Discovery a significant secret or truth that can completely shift the course of your adventure.

In terms of proficiency, Hermits specialize in Medicine and Religion. The solitary life compels them to become their own healers and spiritual guides; mastery over these two domains makes Hermits remarkably resilient both physically and spiritually.


Feature: Position of Privilege.
Proficiencies: History, Persuasion.
Tags: Wealth, Power, Prestige.

Probably the journey as a DnD Noble calls out to you. Nobles have status advantages over other members of society; they enjoy their rich lifestyle radiating prestige and power.

As a Noble, your main asset is your Position of Privilege, granting you reverence from those aware of your status.

With proficiency in History, you have an edge when it comes to political matters and can leverage the past to influence the present.

Your art of Persuasion ensures that with strong reasoning, you can navigate any social situation effectively. Nobles may be born to privilege, but in DnD, they can accomplish incredible feats if used wisely.

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Feature: Wanderer
Proficiencies: Athletics, Survival
Tags: Wilderness, Travel, Exploration

As an Outlander, you thrive in the vast open spaces where civilization has yet to leave its mark. With your roots in tribal societies far from bustling city life, you have learned to adapt and survive in the harshest of conditions.

Your special trait is being a Wanderer, which gives you a unique sense of direction even when traditional paths and markers prove useless. This exceptional sense of orientation ensures you can always recall the geography of your travels with remarkable clarity.

The proficiencies at your disposal are Athletics and Survival a perfect blend for enduring demands of the wilderness.

The athleticism allows you to climb steep cliffs or swim across wide rivers while survival skills ensure adaptability in inhospitable circumstances. The world outside city walls is wild, but as an Outlander, that’s where you find solace.


Feature: Researcher
Proficiencies: Arcana, History
Tags: Knowledge, Study, Scholar

Those choosing the background of a Sage are seekers of wisdom. Your life revolves around libraries laden with arcane knowledge or ancient texts that carry long-forgotten histories.

Your core feature is being a Researcher. You know where to find any piece of information you need whether it be from cryptic scriptures hidden deep within ancient catacombs or musty old scrolls in an elder’s possession.

It might take time and effort, but ultimately there’s no secret too elusive for a dedicated sage.

The proficiencies inherent to a Sage are Arcana and History. Knowledge of Arcana lets you understand magical theory and identify spells; mastering History allows for critical analysis and understanding of past events.

As a Sage, your craving for knowledge surpasses others; after all, knowledge is power.



Feature: Ship’s Passage.
Proficiencies: Athletics, Perception.
Tags: Sea, Ship, Voyage.

Unleashing a thrilling life on the seven seas is the Sailor background. As a seafarer, your character knows all about hard work, teamwork, not to mention the golden opportunity to explore unknown lands and ocean’s mysteries.

Your sailor background grants you one unique feature – Ship’s Passage. This ensures that when you need to, you can secure free passage on sailing ships for yourself and your adventuring companions.

You might be expected to lend a hand with ship’s operations or fend off pirates but traveling will always be an adventure.

You possess proficiencies in Athletics vital for those rigorous sea voyages and Perception – to help you spot any imminent threats or land in the distance. From navigating through storms to warding off sea monsters – a Sailor’s life is never dull.


Feature: Military Rank.
Proficiencies: Athletics, Intimidation.
Tags: War, Command, Strategy.

Having served on the brutal battlegrounds of war, Soldiers come out as hardy survivors with tales that surpass time itself. Forging a character from this background brings an unyielding force onto your side.

Recognized by their Military Rank, Soldiers command respect from those who are part of or recognize their former military organization you may even have soldiers under your command.

In terms of proficiency, Athletics prepares you for physical exertion and prolonged marches while Intimidation becomes second nature as you influence others through sheer force of will a combination perfect for exerting influence over enemy lines and driving fear into adversaries’ hearts.



Feature: City Secrets.
Proficiencies: Sleight of Hand, Stealth.
Tags: Streets, Survival, Stealth.

Then there goes the wayward child of the streets, the Urchin. Growing up tough and scrappy, a character from this background knows the city like the back of their hand.

The special feature you hold is City Secrets, allowing you to move at an impressively quick pace when navigating cities a handy trick when outwitting foes or eluding city guards.

In terms of skills, your hardship-filled upbringing gave you proficiency in Sleight of Hand a result of numerous pickpocketing escapades, and Stealth perfect for blending into shadows or losing someone in dense crowd.

To survive as an Urchin means to become one with the city itselfthe back alleys and rooftops are your playground.

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FAQs About 5E Backgrounds List

What is a ‘background’ in DnD 5E?

In DnD 5E, a background is a narrative device that provides your character with a backstory, key characteristics, and certain skills and proficiencies.

How does choosing a DnD 5E background benefit my character?

Choosing a background adds depth to your character and provides you with additional skills, tools, languages and role playing cues.

Can I change my character’s background in the middle of the game?

Typically not. Your character’s background is decided at the start of the game and generally remains consistent, representing their life before adventuring.

Does my choice of background affect my character’s class or race in DnD 5E?

No. Your choice of background is independent from your chosen class or race, it gives depth to your personality and offers extra skills.

Can I create my own custom backgrounds within DnD 5E?

Yes, While there are predefined backgrounds in the player’s handbook to choose from, DnD 5E also encourages players to work with their Dungeon Master to craft personalized backgrounds.


  • Ashish Arya

    I'm a tech enthusiast and lifelong gamer, hailing from the beautiful city of Chandigarh. My passions range from immersing myself in worlds like GTA V, COD, SIMS, Roblox and Minecraft to exploring the latest innovations in laptops and technology. Armed with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Application, I love sharing my insights through writing and engaging with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on my journey through the ever-evolving realms of gaming and tech!