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Why Are DnD Backgrounds Important? [16 Best Backgrounds of DnD]

DnD Backgrounds
  Written By: Ashish Arya
Updated On: 10/23/2023
Est. Reading: 6 minutes

Are you fully leveraging the options at your disposal to make your Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) campaign as immersive as possible?

Perhaps you’ve been so focused on perfecting combat tactics or mastering arcane spells that you haven’t given much thought to the importance of your character’s background.

If so, we’re here to answer the question: “Why are DnD backgrounds important?” Well, aside from adding more depth, these backgrounds can seriously spice up your game.

One could argue that DnD is not just about the destination—it’s about enjoying the journey. Engaging in battles and facing challenges is indeed thrilling, but it’s often your character’s backstory that gives more layers to their quests and decisions.

Contrary to what some might think, selecting a background for your DnD character isn’t about jumping on the bandwagon; it’s about enriching performance and enhancing immersion in the game—something any passionate player wouldn’t overlook.

What are D&D Backgrounds?

In the context of the game, a background provides important story cues about a character’s personal history and the realms of experience they have, above and beyond the abilities gained from race and class.

What are D&D Backgrounds?

It provides important skills, proficiencies, starting equipment, and suggested personal characteristics. This helps in roleplaying aspects of the game by providing certain goals, bonds, ideals, and flaws for your characters to develop throughout gameplay. Examples of D&D Backgrounds include Acolyte, Criminal, Noble, and Sage, among others.

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Why Are DnD Backgrounds Important?

DnD (Dungeons and Dragons) Backgrounds are important as they play a key role in defining your character’s identity, skills, and abilities in the game.

They can provide players with additional equipment, proficiencies, languages, and, most importantly, role-playing hooks. These background details give characters depth and can help inform their motivations or goals.

They also provide important context for Dungeon Masters to craft interactive storytelling experiences tailored to each character’s personal history and chosen path. Backgrounds essentially create a complete narrative for characters, making the gameplay more immersive and interesting.

Why invest in a background?

Investing in a background is crucial, whether it’s for a character in a role-playing game or as part of your personal or company profile.

Why invest in a background?

For a character, it provides depth, motivation, and unique abilities or skills that make gameplay more immersive and engaging. It enriches the storytelling experience by giving characters personal history that informs their decisions or actions throughout the game.

In a business context, having a well-constructed background or company history allows customers to relate more to your brand.

It reflects your credibility, emphasizes your values, demonstrates consistency and stability, and establishes trust among potential clients or investors. It also serves as evidence of your track record of success and expertise in your field.

BackgroundSkill ProficienciesNotes – Skill
AcolyteInsight, ReligionWisdom and Intelligence
CriminalDeception, StealthCharisma and Dexterity
Folk HeroAnimal Handling, SurvivalWisdom
NobleHistory, PersuasionIntelligence and Charisma
SageArcana, HistoryIntelligence
SoldierAthletics, IntimidationStrength and Charisma

16 Best Backgrounds of D&D

The diverse set of backgrounds in Dungeons & Dragons serves as critical pieces in character development to help them navigate through adventures.

16 Best Backgrounds of D&D

Let’s delve into some fascinating backgrounds that can add flavor to your gameplay.

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As a soldier, you come from a military background where discipline, training, and structure are infused right into your veins. Maybe you were from the front lines or perhaps a commander; either way, you have first-hand experience with tactics and logistics. This background lends itself well to an individual who needs to be razor-focused and resolute.

You gain skills like Athletics and Intimidation, which fortify your place in the team—showing that not all battles can be fought using magic.


The Gladiator background is tailor-made for those who thrive on spectacle. Maybe you’re a former slave who fought for freedom, or perhaps fighting is just part of your bloodline.

This type of background means you’re familiar with performing under high stakes with an audience’s eyes upon you. Gladiators have a unique muscle memory — built upon endurance, strength, and audience appeal skills.


If otherworldly intrigue fascinates you, then the Feylost background will resonate with you profoundly. As a character lost in the ethereal and supernatural Feywild realm as a child but returned to normalcy as an adult — your connection and synergy with magical elements run deep.

This history fuels your innate talents for nature-based magic while making interactions with Fey creatures complex narratives within their rights.

Haunted One

The Haunted One background is truly captivating as it intertwines dark pasts with riveting present storylines. Perhaps haunting nightmares or supernatural omens plagued you throughout childhood?

This experience garners empathy but also breeds skepticism amongst your fellow adventurers towards danger – whether unseen presences lurk beyond their perception.

Silverquill Student

Hailing from the prestigious Strixhaven University, your character as a Silverquill student is all about eloquence with magic––a testament to the quill’s might.

This background provides a unique blend of social skills interspersed with usability within magical manifestations, making you a pivotal player in negotiations and interactions.

Far Traveler

With the Far Traveler background, your character isn’t accustomed to the customs, cultures, and laws known to others. It’s all about surviving outside of your comfort zone while learning and adapting.

This background guarantees rich storytelling—colorful first-time experiences, tales from far-off lands — stimulating engaging role-play opportunities.


The Entertainer background offers an antithesis to combat-based ones: embracing artistic talents. You could be a musician serenading with magical lutes or a contortionist charming with acrobatic finesse.

Not only does this make you beloved among the townsfolk, but it also proves essential when distractions are required amidst tricky plots or stealth missions.

Astral Drifter

Choosing an Astral Drifter is akin to choosing limitless exploration. A native of the astral plane twists reality into unconventional possibilities––and that’s where it becomes interesting.

The potential for exploring parallel universes or dream-like realities brings a unique flair to campaigns, where creativity meets strange alien knowledge.


As a Criminal, your background is laden with illegal activities. Maybe you were a pickpocket, a burglar, or even the mastermind behind whole operations. You’re known for blending into the crowd, popping locks, and remaining unseen.

Working in the underbelly of society has given you contacts and an understanding of how to maneuver stealthily, making your contributions to the team just as essential within shadowy situations.

Clan Crafter

A Clan Crafter hails from a long lineage of skilled artisans or blacksmiths. Rather than spells or swords, your power lies in creating objects of beauty and durability.

Your craftsmanship goes beyond mere product-making and extends to important societal rituals and tapestry weaving, ensuring their tales survive for generations. With this background, you provide crucial supplies for fellow adventurers.


The Anthropologist background equips you with an insatiable curiosity about different races and cultures within D&D’s diverse world.

With insights into numerous societies’ traditions and beliefs, you work as the bridge-building group member — using diplomacy to navigate through social conflicts while providing knowledge on various civilizations.


Being an Outlander means being one with nature, perhaps as a tribal nomad or a wild hunter who faces nature’s raw power daily—and surviving.

Your instinctive navigation skills and resourcefulness when procuring food make you an asset during travels—bringing survival assurance beyond magic tricks.

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As an Athlete, strength isn’t just your weapon—it’s your lifestyle. This background equips you with impressive physical abilities attributing athleticism over tactical combat understanding—and sometimes that’s precisely what’s needed!

Imagine being able to outrun danger or leap over challenges without breaking a sweat—that’s the value athletes bring.

Dimir Operative

Dimir Operatives tap into duplicity hailing from the House Dimir guild in Ravnica city—where intrigues, secrets, and manipulation reign supreme.

This background equips you with intricate schemes and information brokerage, making you the group’s secret weapon when deception reigns supreme.

Folk Hero

The Folk Hero background presents a character loved by ordinary folk. Perhaps you stood against tyranny or performed a heroic deed—earning love and faith from commoners.

Your actions resonate with the masses, making it easier for you to gain trust and cooperation in quests—providing an angle of kindness amidst chaos.

Caravan Specialist

As a Caravan Specialist, your character lived the constantly moving nomadic life—be it as a trader or a gypsy. This constant travel across terrains has honed your survivalist instincts while familiarizing yourself with diverse regions and people—an invaluable asset to any adventuring group needing guidance over rocky roads.

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FAQs about D&D backgrounds

Do backgrounds significantly influence the gameplay in DnD?

Absolutely! Backgrounds not only flesh out your character’s past but also provide specific skills and tools, which can heavily impact role-play and strategy.

Why should I choose a background that doesn’t align with my character’s class?

Diversifying your background from your class can create a more compelling, unpredictable character personality and story, delivering a richer narrative experience.

How do backgrounds relate to alignment in DnD?

While backgrounds describe your past and acquired skills, alignment represents your moral compass or ethical orientation—it’s about who you are now rather than where you come from.

Does every player have to choose a background for their characters?

It’s highly recommended but not mandatory. However, skipping this step could lead to missed priority skills or role-playing opportunities that make gameplay lively and interesting.


  • 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!