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Questions tagged [background]

For questions about a character's background (also called backstory or character history), the origin of a character before they are created and appear in play. Backgrounds are usually most relevant to player characters.

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7
votes
1answer
248 views

Charlatan Schemes, are they just flavor or for mechanics?

Favorite Schemes Every charlatan has an angle he or she uses in preference to other schemes I shave coins or forge documents. Is there a formula or mechanic for shaving coins, or is it more of a ...
2
votes
0answers
172 views

How does the Simic Scientist background work? [closed]

My DM asked me a question about the Simic Scientist background: How are you able to give people different animal and such parts, and how can I create monsters? I am wondering about the Simic Hybrid, ...
4
votes
1answer
279 views

Is it balanced to replace a musical instrument proficiency from my character's background with an artisan's tool proficiency instead?

I'm designing a Wood Elf Outlander Warlock (in D&D 5E) who only has one hand. This makes my arm near to useless. As an Outlander, I am proficient with a musical instrument, and have skill ...
13
votes
2answers
620 views

How to deal with a DM changing my backstory and dismissing my ideas?

The buildup I am playing a campaign with a few friends and we are all kinda new including the DM, though he does have a little more experience than the players. The other day the DM asked everyone ...
9
votes
3answers
229 views

Do the benefits to foraging from the ranger's Natural Explorer feature and the Outlander background's Wanderer feature stack?

I am planning on building my first ranger ever, and I was wondering about the Natural Explorer feature. One of its benefits when in your favored terrain is: When you forage, you find twice as much ...
2
votes
0answers
127 views

How to make my bard not too obnoxious [closed]

I am kinda new to tabletop RPGs. I am am playing with the idea of making a Bard who wanted to be some kind of hero and only became a Bard to be able to create his own tales about himself and become ...
1
vote
0answers
98 views

How can a human blacksmith expert and a merchant goblin open a forge? [closed]

I'm actually thinking about a backstory that links both characters for Symbaroum. In this universe, where elves, trolls, dwarves and goblins exist, it is common for humans to be racist towards other ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Can a character take on additional backgrounds, or at least their benefits?

Can a character take on additional backgrounds, or at least their benefits? For example, there is a sorcerer character that has the Charlatan background. This sorcerer happens to be Drow and in an ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

Creating a character, is Noble a class or a background?

I am getting back into D&D after about 15 years. Reading through the Players Handbook it refers to Noble as a class but it is found in the Background section. Super novice question and I ...
5
votes
1answer
805 views

What is special about having a majordomo?

The Knight variant of the Noble background (PHB page 136) gives the following feature: RETAINERS You have the service of three retainers loyal to your family ... one might be a majordomo ... ...
3
votes
0answers
151 views

How do I best decide who knows what at the beginning of a game? [closed]

Adventure Paths (APs) come with a freely downloadable player's guide that details a lot of things about the setting of the AP, including mechanical suggestions such as which prestige classes or class ...
1
vote
1answer
108 views

Can druids (fluffwise) become cavaliers?

I know that mechanically it could work, but not sure if for Golarion it makes much sense fluffwise. Thus would it make sense if a druid would become a cavalier? (as example Green knight order) or is ...
8
votes
2answers
781 views

Would a character with eternal youth be AL-compliant?

I want to have my character be cursed with eternal youth from a backstory perspective. She'll still be "killable"; she just can't age. Would that break AL rules? I know you can add to or change ...
2
votes
0answers
280 views

Custom homebrew Backgrounds? What are some good references? [closed]

I was wondering. Where I would find some good places to find some custom backgrounds in D&D 5e for reference when making my own custom campaign and maybe even contribute to the list with my own ...
5
votes
2answers
157 views

How do I develop my character's story without spoiling myself on what's about to happen? [closed]

Today, at the table, we reached a point where we have no more goals in sight, and need to think of how we continue the game from this point onward. We are all level 6. The problem I'm facing here is ...
-4
votes
1answer
287 views

Can my backstory give me animal companions?

If I make a good backstory for my character is it possible to get an animal companion or two due to my backstory if the game master accepts it? The animals I want are an owlbear and a chimaera. I want ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I politely tell my players to shut up about their backstory? [closed]

Disclaimer: I know backstories are good and necessary but here's the issue - Two players have a joint backstory, and one of them is REALLY into it, and it's starting to disrupt game time because he ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Does using your Criminal Contact background feature require a roll?

Someone with the Criminal background has the "Criminal Contact" feature, which is described as such: You have a reliable and trustworthy contact who acts as your liaison to a network of other ...
7
votes
2answers
871 views

What type of artisan's tools would a tailor use?

I'm creating a character with a Guild Artisan background as a tailor, but I'm not sure what tool would be good to get proficiency in.
7
votes
1answer
140 views

Finding a College of Lore “local group” as an outsider in the city

I am playing a newly Level3-Bard with the College of Lore. In her backstory she encountered the criminal group The Nine Swords in Westgate, who are protected from high up and her goal is to bring them ...
2
votes
0answers
122 views

Can I use a rust dragon as a mount? [closed]

I'm relatively new to D&D, and after playing a bit with some friends, picked up a few books to learn more. In one book, "A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO DRAGON RIDING", I was introduced to the idea of ...
2
votes
3answers
503 views

Can a character have two pasts? [closed]

I have a character in mind that has two pasts. Basically I want to create a character that has the memories of two other people in her head. Somewhat like split personality but more like a fusion of ...
3
votes
2answers
290 views

How can I justify a gnome samurai in Faerûn? [closed]

A new player wants to join a game I'm running. The campaign is set in Thesk in Faerûn, and the player wants to play a gnome samurai. I'd like to find a way to make this work, but I keep running into ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Exotic language on new character? [closed]

I've already read this post but just wanted to get clarification; I am new to D&D and have created a Half-Orc War Cleric who was once a soldier... His back story involves demons and I decided to ...
2
votes
0answers
245 views

Marrying two of your own characters [closed]

I am a normal RPer and writer who’s in their first D&D campaign. I want to make it so that my next two characters are a married couple who are roaming the lands and picking up jobs as they search ...
44
votes
5answers
4k views

How can I develop my character's background when I know nothing of the game's lore and want to avoid spoilers?

This is a tricky one, and I may be painting myself into a corner in which case please feel free to tell me so in an answer but please also provide advice on how to get out whilst disturbing as little ...
6
votes
3answers
656 views

What issues will arise from a player's weird request for a backstory?

So we are starting a new campaign and one of my players has a unique backstory. His character had a twin sister who died at the age of 10. Before her death, a wizard found them both and bound the ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Is a staff from background starting equipment counted as a quarterstaff or an improvised weapon?

When selecting the background for my Sorcerer, I chose Outlander (PHB, p. 136-137). This background gives a "staff" for starting equipment (among other things). Does the staff act like a quarterstaff ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Can a DM deny your background if it's from a book? [closed]

My Dungeon Master and I have been at arms for a week now since she allowed another player to kill me while I was away from the game, sick. Now that I've built my new character, she tells me that I ...
42
votes
12answers
14k views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

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. ...
6
votes
0answers
853 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
votes
5answers
890 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'...
18
votes
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
votes
3answers
8k 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
votes
1answer
552 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
votes
1answer
480 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
847 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I get player characters who have non-adventurer backstories to go on adventures?

I have had an annoying issue where all my players make characters that don't adventure and have jobs! This makes it really hard to incorporate them into the story and gives them very little backstory (...
-2
votes
1answer
1k 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
votes
1answer
847 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
914 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
votes
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 ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

How do background features work in terms of mechanics?

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
votes
1answer
14k 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
votes
2answers
1k 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
votes
7answers
6k views

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 ...
10
votes
2answers
830 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
votes
11answers
15k 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
votes
1answer
4k 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?