I am unclear on which equipment to use and not use. My class is rogue and my background is guide (which I found on this site). All the equipment that I get from the guide background is very similar to what comes in the explorer's pack. Do I keep the doubles or do I have to choose a different background perhaps?

  • \$\begingroup\$ just for your own reference, not having the PHB you might find the Player's Basic Rules helpful. There's also the SRD freely available, but that only has one background included. (Basically, it's just there as a template for how to build one.) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jul 13 '16 at 2:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm planning on picking up one tomorrow but I've mainly been going off the basic rules pdf and googling things to see if I could get my character just the way I wanted him \$\endgroup\$ – Del Nailo Jul 13 '16 at 3:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just to warn you, you may get a lot of questions abut this background. I just took a quick look and this jumped out: it gives you "swim," "climb," and "track" skill proficiencies, which aren't skills in 5e. You want to look at the "Outlander" background in the PHB or Basic Rules. It gives you the 5e skills that cover the RL skills mentioned in the "guide" background, the "wanderer" trait in that website is lifted verbatim (and probably illegally) from the wanderer feature of the outlander, and it doesn't have the equipment clashes you've noticed. Happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jul 13 '16 at 3:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, I jumped to conclusions about that website. Turns out it's a wiki someone threw up during the playtests of 5e. It's probably still illegal (because of whatever NDAs were agreed-to during Next), but at least that explains why the test is verbatim. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jul 13 '16 at 4:08

This is up to you and your DM. There aren't rules to cover this problem because you won't face this problem when using published classes and backgrounds, because they don't have this problem.

The classes' starting equipment and backgrounds' starting equipment in the PHB don't suffer this problem. Generally speaking, you get some weaponry, armor, a pack, and things related to your class features1 from your class' starting equipment. From your background you get clothing, a few knick-knacks,2 and some money. The biggest overlap I can find is if you're a Wizard with the Sage background: you might end up with two bottles of ink rather than one.

(Compare with the similar situation with proficiencies: you can absolutely "get" the same skill or tool proficiency twice through class and background, so there's a rule to cover this on PHB p.125.)

1 - things like a spellbook, holy symbol, musical instrument, thieves' tools, &c.

2 - things like a trophy from an animal you killed, a rabbit's foot, militaria insignia; avoiding the term "trinket" because they don't overlap much with the trinkets table on pp.160-161

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, I guess I'll rework a backup official background in case I get a picky DM. \$\endgroup\$ – Del Nailo Jul 13 '16 at 2:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DelNailo Your comment leads me to believe you're creating a character in a vacuum, not for a specific group you will be joining. Personally I would avoid making a character until you have a group, unless you know in advance exactly what the specifics are of the game you're creating the character for. The DM gets quite a lot of say about what does or doesn't work in their game so there's a very real chance your pre-made character will get rejected outright, or need heavy reworking. The books and system rules are only guidelines at best, not law. The DM decides the law. \$\endgroup\$ – Cronax Jul 13 '16 at 6:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Cronax while I agree with you in principle, it's worth noting that in some online environments like Roll20, it's common to see groups saying that people wishing to join should post a character bio, thus requiring you to have a character already. While you could build a fresh character each time, that's a lot of work for a group you may not get into. \$\endgroup\$ – anaximander Jul 13 '16 at 8:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Cronax in my opinion one the the things D&D's strongest at among TTRPGs is the "solitaire" game. If we only "played" D&D when with others (or in reference to a group's activities) I'd not have had nearly as much D&D fun in my life. Building characters, dungeons, and towns that have not yet seen the light of day even after thirty years... that's part of the game (for some of us) too. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jul 13 '16 at 11:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I definitely build character concepts and background stories all the time, and I think about what kind of stats and background might fit that character, but I leave the nitty-gritty details for when I want to use the character since I don't want to be disappointed when the perfect character I had prepared turns out to not be allowed...I guess I do things differently \$\endgroup\$ – Cronax Jul 13 '16 at 12:35

You get all of the equipment from both sources. The intent is that your chosen race, class, and background all combine to form the core of your character. See page 14 under "Choose Equipment":

Your class and background determine your character's starting equipment, including weapons, armor, and other adventuring gear.

If you're concerned about duplicates, you have two options. First, you could just have backup items. Second, you could talk to your DM about using the purchase alternative rules in the second paragraph in the above referenced section.

As for changing your background, I'd advise against it from a roleplaying perspective. Backgrounds are there to define who you are, where you came from, and how you see the world. The point is not the stuff you got from doing that.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you I think I got it, I'll just switch my pack? cause backups are good but the other packs let me diversify a little. Plus being a guide is essential to my backstory so I definitely didn't want to lose that. is it weird to have two backpacks? \$\endgroup\$ – Del Nailo Jul 13 '16 at 2:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can't seem to find Guide as a background in the PHB (so I'm guessing it's Sword Coast, but that doesn't really matter) so I don't know what it offers. However, page 96 clearly indicates the rogue may choose between three packs: Burglar's, Dungeoneer's, and Explorer's. \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Harmon Jul 13 '16 at 2:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ yea i just googled different backgrounds. I'm a first time player i don't have the phb yet so iv'e been going mainly off of google searches and the official website. \$\endgroup\$ – Del Nailo Jul 13 '16 at 2:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you guys though, this was really helpful. \$\endgroup\$ – Del Nailo Jul 13 '16 at 2:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ For more official character options, you may be interested in this question. Also, welcome to the hobby and the site. When you get a bit more rep, come join us in chat \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Harmon Jul 13 '16 at 2:49

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