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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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52 votes
3 answers
95k views

What happens if I get the same skill from both my background and my class?

I made a trickster cleric with spy background. This caused an overlap of stealth and disguise. (Further compounded by me wanting to take hide in shadow ... which again granted me stealth.) What ...
Brian Ballsun-Stanton's user avatar
18 votes
7 answers
4k views

Food Scraps, what are they and do they go bad?

My Ranger character has the Urchin personality trait of "I hide scraps of food and trinkets away in my pockets", which I have been RPing, without thought for much benefit. I have been just ...
bitfed's user avatar
  • 477
14 votes
3 answers
15k views

Must my background be chosen from the given options in the 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 ...
pepper's user avatar
  • 729
44 votes
12 answers
21k 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 ...
Cooper's user avatar
  • 9,616
22 votes
3 answers
17k 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 ...
DrPhil's user avatar
  • 1,997
19 votes
2 answers
558 views

What are the consequences of letting players be characters from a work of fiction?

What are the consequences of letting players be characters from a book, movie, or other pre-existing work of fiction? For example, how would I handle a campaign based on the X-Files where the PCs are ...
Jakob's user avatar
  • 4,941
14 votes
3 answers
3k views

What can a soldier requisition and for how long?

In the military rank feature it says the soldier can "requisition simple equipment or a horse for temporary use". What qualifies as simple equipment, any simple weapon or something less complex than a ...
HESH's user avatar
  • 823
12 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Ghgyh's user avatar
  • 339
9 votes
1 answer
18k views

If you choose to roll for starting gold for your class, do you get starting equipment from your background as well?

Say you choose to roll for starting gold for your class (and then buy equipment). Do you still get the starting equipment from your background (but not from your class)? Or do you not get any starting ...
Jonguar's user avatar
  • 99
4 votes
1 answer
3k views

Do D&D 5E characters get the characteristics of both Classes AND Backgrounds?

I went into character creation assuming yes, but I feel like I'm overdoing it. If I'm doing this right, my Half-Elf Cleric (Nature) with Acolyte Background has: Two Holy Symbols (from Cleric and ...
Robert's user avatar
  • 12.9k
3 votes
2 answers
338 views

Reasons for being sent to retrieve an all-powerful artefact? [closed]

I'm considering (first time) DM'ing "The Silvyr Tower" for a group. However I am not sure how to sell the starting situation to my players. Summarizing the starting situation: the group is ...
bobismijnnaam's user avatar
44 votes
5 answers
6k 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 ...
RyanfaeScotland's user avatar
16 votes
5 answers
700 views

As a GM, how do I encourage PCs to share and play out their backstories?

My players have trouble creating deep backstories for the characters. I have decided to go with that but provide opportunities in-game for filling out the gaps. I'm considering introducing some ...
Vorac's user avatar
  • 4,169
16 votes
1 answer
9k views

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 ...
Gael L's user avatar
  • 28.8k
15 votes
6 answers
3k views

How do I represent a warlock with a background in thievery?

I'm developing a Dwarven Warlock (Hrafnhildur "Fin" Arnarsdottir) for the next 4E campaign I get the chance to join. She left home to join a gang in a city, and after reading a book they were going to ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
12 votes
7 answers
2k views

What systems use interesting questions to inspire character backgrounds? [closed]

In another question, it was suggested that the game "Dread" has a number of questions to make players really consider their character's backstory and personality. However, I'm planning to run a non-...
Yamikuronue's user avatar
  • 5,484
12 votes
1 answer
6k views

What is the difference between themes and backgrounds?

Wizards has fairly recently released character themes for D&D 4th Edition. What is the difference between themes and backgrounds? Can you pick one of each or do you have to choose between the ...
wax eagle's user avatar
  • 104k
11 votes
5 answers
3k views

Ex-wizard that pretends he still is a wizard

I am pondering creating an epic-level wizard character, who through excessive use of Mordenkainen's Disjunction on artifacts has permanently lost all casting ability as well as all his class levels ...
HugoRune's user avatar
  • 211
11 votes
3 answers
22k views

Do characters start with the tools their background says they are proficient in?

I find it odd that some backgrounds give the character proficiency with tools but then do not list those tools under equipment. For example, the Urchin: Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit, thieves' ...
AdamP's user avatar
  • 445
10 votes
6 answers
5k 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 ...
David's user avatar
  • 357
9 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Maddie's user avatar
  • 91
9 votes
4 answers
4k 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 ...
Z.Moe's user avatar
  • 1,088
6 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Turion's user avatar
  • 547
5 votes
4 answers
6k 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 ...
else's user avatar
  • 171
4 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
VarisBersk's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
GumdropWizard's user avatar
-13 votes
1 answer
9k views

What are all the background features in the Player's Handbook?

Looking to find a comprehensive list of the background features in the PHB so that it’s easier to reference and customize a player background.
Amethyst Wizard's user avatar