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Questions tagged [background]

A background is the origin of a character before they are created and appear in play. Also called backstory or character history. Usually most relevant to player characters.

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How much do the general public/players know about Xanathar's “Guild”?

I'm running Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and curious as to how much of an open secret Xanathar's Guild is. If someone has lived in Waterdeep for 20 years, a year, 2 months, a tenday, how much are they ...
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12answers
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Players Develop Backstories Too Much

I keep running into an issue as a dungeon master where my players develop their characters a bit too much. By this, I mean that they'll write up things in their backstories or develop NPCs that aren't ...
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2answers
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Do languages from backgrounds stack with base racial languages, or override them?

Hermit, Outlander, Sage, etc. all get a language trait from choosing that background. However, it's not made clear whether these languages stack with the languages that races provide, or replace them. ...
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0answers
216 views

D&D 5e, Looking for thoughts and suggestions on a character build and backstory I'm looking to make [closed]

Concept - I was looking for inspiration on a character I'd like to play and while watching The Grudge with my girlfriend the other night, I thought of a character concept based around Kayako's skill ...
10
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5answers
728 views

The PCs are boring; how do I involve them in the story?

I just started running my first D&D campaign, and I've run into this problem. I want the story to go to places that involve the PCs personally, and help the players feel more invested. One player'...
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3answers
3k views

What to do if the DM ignores all but one player character's backstory?

My current DM in their homebrew campaign has centered the campaign almost entirely around the barbarian in the party. The campaign has been going for about 6 months of play roughly once a week (about ...
12
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3answers
2k views

Does Charlatan give access to other backgrounds' features?

I am creating a Rogue and I decided to take the Charlatan background. After reading that I get a duke's signet ring, I decided to make my false identity a duke. But then I wondered, doesn't that ...
2
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1answer
247 views

How can I seamlessly incorporate character backstory into a pre-written campaign? D&D 5e [closed]

I am about to start a long running campaign with a bunch of friends and because of the predicted length, several of my player wrote me several pages of backstory and I really want to incorporate them ...
2
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1answer
229 views

Is the feature Heart of Darkness available for customisation of background in AL?

Is the feature Heart of Darkness available for customisation of background in AL (following the guidance of pg 125 of the PHB)? Probably it is equivalent to ask if the background "Haunted One" is part ...
9
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1answer
578 views

Can a customized background provide two exotic languages in AL?

When customizing a background, you can choose a combination of 2 languages or tool proficiencies. Is it AL-legal to pick 2 exotic languages as your background languages? I'm asking this since I don't ...
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1answer
483 views

What's a good background for a treasure hunter? [closed]

I'm making a character for my friend's campaign. I want to make him a treasure hunter. I was looking at the backgrounds to see which one would be good for a profession like that, but I didn't see ...
2
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1answer
317 views

Can background starting GP also be used to buy stuff before you start your campaign? [duplicate]

As an alternative to your class and background starting equipment you can roll to see how much GP you have and you can "buy" your equipment while making your character. Does the same "buying" rule ...
8
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2answers
339 views

Can an incubus possess a mortal's mind? if not, what fiend can?

The reason I'm asking is because of the Haunted One background. One of the options on the Harrowing Event table states: A fiend possessed you as a child. You were locked away but escaped. The fiend ...
21
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8answers
3k views

How can I involve a PC's backstory in a campaign that's set exclusively in a distant or foreign location?

I like my players to have a firm idea of their characters' backstories, and I like the idea of being able to draw on these (NPCs from the past showing up unexpectedly, etc.). However, in our next ...
10
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2answers
853 views

Do background features always apply?

I feel like background features are a little more "final" than normal feats. Take for example the Outlander features Wanderer. You have an excellent memory for maps and geography, and you can ...
3
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1answer
5k views

Soldier Background - Military Rank & Specialty (PHB 140)

The local library has a D&D group that's starting and they suggested to create a character ahead of time. For my half orc barbarian I've chosen the Soldier Background, but I'm not sure what ...
6
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2answers
696 views

What are the pros and cons of players knowing each others' secret backstories?

First time D&D 5e GM here. At the beginning of my campaign, an NPC will try to send the party on a covert operation. I'm giving one of the characters a special role and backstory: He's that NPC's ...
39
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7answers
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How do I get other players to ask about my backstory?

So here's the thing: I'm the only player in our group who writes long,detailed backgrounds and it's pretty easy for me since I write stories quite often anyway. I've had 3 characters with our current ...
11
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2answers
742 views

How to showcase NPC's rich backstory?

In an upcoming game I have an NPC whom I've picked from a previous game. The NPC in question has already had an interesting background, and was evolved from the endgame state to suit the new campaign ...
64
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12answers
14k views

Is it OK for me to give my players' characters punitive backstories when they don't provide their own?

As a GM I have a rule where I write a players background for the player in a way that will affect them badly if they say the are amnesiacs in order to get out of writing a backstory. I tend to require ...
7
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1answer
3k views

Using the “Haunted One” background outside of the Curse of Strahd

It is my first time creating a character. Can the "Haunted One" background from Curse of Strahd be used outside of the Curse of Strahd storyline?
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1answer
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Does/Should the Gladiator background grant proficiency in the weapon it gives?

The Gladiator background (an Entertainer variant, from PHB p. 130-131) gives a strange weapon (like a trident or net) as starting equipment, but doesn't explicitly specify that it gives proficiency ...
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2answers
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Can I apply Expertise to a skill proficiency granted by background or racial?

Specifically related to 5E, can I use the Expertise ability granted by Rogue class ability to increase my proficiency in a skill that is granted by racial or background? Specifically, I am making a ...
11
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1answer
2k views

Is there some sort of official assassin background?

One of my players wants to play a high elf with the background of a professional assassin. I went through the player's handbook and looked around the internet but couldn't find any "official" ...
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3answers
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Is there an engineering background?

The PHB refers to engineers in the Gnome race description, however, I find no other reference to engineers as a background. It seems like it would fall into the Guild Artisan category, but none of the ...
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2answers
3k views

How is the “By Popular Demand” feature supposed to work?

The Entertainer background (from the PHB) has the following feature, and I'm not sure I'm understanding it correctly. Feature: By Popular Demand You can always find a place to perform, usually ...
20
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3answers
2k views

How can I add details to my character mid-campaign? [closed]

I'm very new to Dungeons and Dragons, but when creating my character, I made it part of his backstory that he had a magic amulet that he couldn't take off. It was originally a McGuffin that I used to ...
14
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3answers
4k views

What are some canon noble houses in 5e?

I like making characters for future campaigns and have come up with a Harpy bard PC of noble birth(background). The idea I wanted to go with is that she is born in an offshoot branch of a canon noble ...
3
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1answer
77 views

Looking for background material about the Midgard Derwisch

We are about to start a game of Midgard 3rd edition were we will be playing the Sturm über Mokattam adventure. I want to play the Derwisch class but I found little on how to roleplay it. Is there any ...
28
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7answers
4k views

Who gets to write how character backgrounds tie into the game?

One of my player's character is searching for a long-lost brother whom he never knew. Who is ultimately responsible for how this NPC is written into the story? I realize that I am the DM, and ...
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6answers
4k views

How is being hunted by a tyrant a flaw?

So I'm a new DM and my friends just made their characters. One of them chose a flaw from the rulebook that confuses me. It's part of the "Folk Hero" background and reads like this: The tyrant who ...
10
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1answer
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Tiefling - Explanation on the “Virtue” name “Carrion” as suggested in the 5e PHB

As you may (or may not) know, a Tiefling has often a "Virtue" name that embodies the Tiefling willingness to find a place in the world. Among those "Virtue" names the following are suggested in the ...
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6answers
2k views

Can a PC change Backgrounds mid-campaign?

I've read about instances of class changes in the middle of a campaign, but what about background changes? For example, if a level 5 character had a Soldier background, but found another to fit their ...
14
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3answers
753 views

Can you buy the unusual items provided by backgrounds?

The PHB (p.125) states that you can either take the equipment package provided by your background or you can use coin to purchase your starting equipment. If you choose to purchase your starting ...
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3answers
8k views

Can the urchin's pet mouse survive combat?

The background Urchin provides the player with "a pet mouse". Is there any reasonable way to make this mouse survive combat? I would think that the first area of effect spell (say fireball) would kill ...
3
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1answer
610 views

Which background should ordinary people get? [closed]

Most of the adventurers out there already have some kind of experience (their background) when they go on their first quest. However, I think that a character can not always be prepared for ...
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1answer
393 views

Do I combine assets from one's Class with one's Background? [duplicate]

I've hardly played any D&D, and I'm about to act as a group's DM very soon. I've been doing my 'homework' of course, but I'm running out of time and have difficulties grasping some concepts still. ...
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2answers
517 views

How best to seamlessly incorporate player's backstories into the game? [closed]

The characters in my game have excellent backstories, but bringing them to the forefront, highlighting the skills, abilities/ skills/ feats and NPC connections they made sometimes isn't the easiest. ...
4
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1answer
2k views

What proficiencies and starting equipment does Bard class + Entertainer background give?

The Bard has proficiency with 3 instruments (e.g, Lute, Viol, Panflute) and starts with 1 (e.g. Lute). Selecting the Entertainer background allows for proficiency with 1 other instrument (e.g. Drum) ...
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2answers
253 views

Nature vs nuture: How much of a race's abilities and stats are genetics vs. upbringing? [closed]

If a person of X race were raised in Y (different) race's culture, would they "pick up" the stat bonuses, penalties and racial abilities of Y race? If so, how would one determine which bonuses, ...
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4answers
2k views

Can a knight (noble variant) buy a guard dog and give the leash to his squire?

The Knight variant of the Noble background grants three retainers — one of whom is a squire (PHB 136): One of your commoner retainers is replaced by a noble who serves as your squire, aiding you in ...
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2answers
365 views

Can a dhampir be chaotic good? [closed]

I had a discussion with a player about the alignments, and my player said she wanted to play the homebrewed 5e dhampir as chaotic good vs. chaotic neutral. The reason she cited came from www.easydamus....
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1answer
12k views

Do proficiency bonus increases due to levelling apply to skills gained from background?

I'm playing my first D&D 5e character, a Wood Elf Fighter with the Soldier background. I have proficiency in the skills Acrobatics and Survival from the Fighter class, and Athletics and ...
2
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1answer
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What does the animal empathy background special bonus apply to?

The 56–60 background result “Empathy with a type of animal” on CGT-2 — Background Options Table is a little bit obscurely worded. It says, Any maneuver on or with such an animal receives a special ...
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1answer
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Do the extra tables in the Background section of the 5e PHB count as Characteristics?

Charlatan has the Scam (e.g. "I cheat at games of chance" or "I shave coins or forge documents.") Criminal has the Specialty (e.g. "Burglar" and "Blackmailer," which aren't quite so detailed.) ...
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2answers
1k views

Are class skills picked before or after your character's Background is selected?

In the Backgrounds section: Each background gives a character proficiency in two skills. Skills are described in chapter 7. In addition, most backgrounds give a character proficiency with one ...
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4answers
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Why doesn't the Criminal background give Thieves' Cant?

Is there any reason why the Criminal background in 5th edition D&D does not give you the bonus language of Thieves' Cant? With an admittedly limited understanding of the criminal world, I still ...
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2answers
1k views

Madness Rules for 3.5 [duplicate]

So, I am running a game of D&D 3.5 and I have a player character in the group whose backstory includes his mother having gone insane at some point in the past. As she is a marked heir of her ...
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3answers
5k views

Background - obligatory chosen from player's handbook?

I'm new to D&D and I'm trying to create my first character. One thing I don't understand is the character's background. There are some background described in the player's handbook. Do I have to ...
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2answers
9k views

How do players choose skill proficiencies, languages, and equipment when making up their own backgrounds?

I'm going to be DMing fairly soon for the first time, and the players in my group wants to make their own backgrounds. How do I go about letting them choose skill proficiencies and equipment and stuff ...