Similar to the possible races, official classes, and 4e backgrounds questions, what are official WotC-published backgrounds available for players, and which books/resources contain them?

By official, I mean that the backgrounds are available for Adventurers League Play. While other backgrounds from Unearthed Arcana or from other WotC sources outside the D&D team are of interest, please mention whether they're considered official and sanctioned or not.

  • \$\begingroup\$ For AL-legality: do you specifically care about Forgotten Realms AL characters (as opposed to Eberron)? \$\endgroup\$ – CTWind Mar 25 at 15:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CTWind I didn't even realize there was a difference. I think any AL legal are fine, and a note mentioning if a background is specific to a setting would be perfect \$\endgroup\$ – BlueMoon93 Mar 25 at 15:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, ok- it's also worth noting there's backgrounds in official books that are not valid sourcebooks for D&D AL, then; as far as I know, the backgrounds in Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica, for example, cannot be used in any flavor of AL, even though it's an official D&D team book. \$\endgroup\$ – CTWind Mar 25 at 15:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related(?): "What are all the background features in the Player's Handbook? \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Mar 25 at 16:43

The D&D Adventurers League Player & DM Pack covers what is a legal DDAL resource. From the AL player's Guide v9.2:

Background. Choose or create a background using the Player’s Handbook or other campaign resources. Additional resources are permitted in the Adventurers League Content Catalogue (ALCC).


Official Backgrounds

  • Acolyte (BR, SRD, PHB)
  • Charlatan (PHB)
  • City Watch (SCAG)
  • City Watch Variant: Investigator (SCAG)
  • Clan Crafter (SCAG)
  • Cloistered Scholar (SCAG)
  • Courtier (SCAG)
  • Criminal (BR, PHB)
  • Criminal Variant: Spy (BR, PHB)
  • Entertainer (PHB)
  • Entertainer Variant: Gladiator (PHB)
  • Faction Agent (SCAG)
  • Far Traveler (SCAG)
  • Folk Hero (BR, PHB)
  • Guild Artisan (PHB)
  • Guild Artisan Variant: Guild Merchant (PHB)
  • Hermit (PHB)
  • Inheritor (SCAG) (Adventurer's League has special rules for this, presented here)
  • Knight of the Order (SCAG)
  • Mercenary Veteran (SCAG)
  • Noble (BR, PHB)
  • Noble Variant: Knight (PHB)
  • Outlander (PHB)
  • Sage (BR, PHB)
  • Sailor (PHB)
  • Sailor Variant: Pirate (PHB)
  • Soldier (BR, PHB)
  • Urban Bounty Hunter (SCAG)
  • Urchin (PHB)
  • Uthgardt Tribe Member (SCAG)
  • Waterdhavian Noble (SCAG)

Also worth noting is that D&D Adventurer's League supports customizing a background, as per the PHB rules for doing so. While this allows for a custom selection of skill proficiency and tool/language proficiency, you're still restricted to equipment packages and background features as published.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't this list just be identical to the one on D&D Beyond (once it has the missing entries)? \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Mar 25 at 15:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil Depends on if AL supports 100% of the backgrounds from sourcebooks. I assume Ravnica/Acq Inc backgrounds wouldn't be but don't know for sure. \$\endgroup\$ – CTWind Mar 25 at 15:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil Things like the Rick-and-Morty book, Ravnica, and Acquisitions Incorporated are not valid resources for DDAL play. As far as DDAL player should be concerned, they do not exist at all. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Mar 25 at 15:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @bluemoon93 what about the season-specific backgrounds that have popped up a couple of times? (PoTA and definitely CoS, at least? Those books are at my office, where I can't go currently....) Are they still available as part of a +1, or did the season 8 re-work of all things AL toss those out? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Mar 26 at 0:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 IIRC your Background never took up your +1, so you could pick it from any available source - you could pick XGtE as your +1 to play a Hexblade Warlock, and still pick a Background from the SCAG, for instance. \$\endgroup\$ – nick012000 Mar 26 at 3:24

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