Backgrounds with the most powerful features

Many people who enjoy tabletop role-playing games enjoy the process of character creation as much as the adventure itself. Dungeons & Dragons, one of the first TTRPGs as we now understand them, rode the wave of nerd love for character customization into mainstream popular culture.

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Part of building a character for a J&D the game is to choose a Fund. This helps fill in a character’s past, including their childhood experiences, early training, and previous exploits. It is advisable to keep a d10, a d8 and a d6 handy for this part of the process, as rolling these dice will determine certain aspects. Each background is unique, but some have more useful features than others.

seven Folk Hero, D&D Player’s Handbook

dnd mtg fighter art

A nice throwback to old CRPGs, for gamers who loved classic games like quest for glory, the Folk Hero is just that: a hero. This character came from a dull, even humble family, but they were always destined for something greater. the The characteristic of rustic hospitality guarantees an inherent connection with ordinary people, and is a strong ability for any adventure mod.

The Folk Hero has already made a name for himself and often possesses skills related to Wild region survival, martial knowledge or position of leadership in the local community. In fact, the first step in choosing this setting is to roll a d10 to find out exactly how this character made his name. Perhaps they held off a band of roving bandits, slew a troublesome local monster, or led the lord’s army to victory.


6 Athlete, Mystic Odysseus of Theros

Inspired by the Olympic traditions that make up the aesthetic of a module inspired by ancient Greek culture, the athlete combines several ideal characteristics that a character can use in various situations. It’s a great way to start with a fighter, monk, rogue, or any other class that focuses on physical damage.

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Roll a d8 to determine the character’s favorite sport and ideal athlete, among other traits. Is this person more dedicated to the camaraderie of the activity, or is their spirit more competitive? Regardless of these other details, choosing this background grants a character mastery of any type of land vehicle and a bonus to skill checks in acrobatics and athletics, which are huge advantages when traversing the world of any campaign.

5 Criminal, D&D Player’s Handbook

A thug perched on the side of a building, ready to fight in Dungeons & Dragons

Characters don’t have to be thieves to have a criminal past. In fact, a contradiction like this is often what makes a backstory more interesting. A variant of this background can also be the spy, but the line between each is blurred and should ultimately be determined by the dungeon master.

Regardless of a character’s class, choosing that background will grant them skills such as lockpicking and stealth-related abilities, and practical accessories like thieves’ tools and a crowbar. The choice of criminal specialty is the real advantage here, ranging from blackmailer to smuggler, and the criminal character can still take advantage of old criminal contacts in the present day. These connections can come in handy when the party is stuck.

4 Artist, D&D Player’s Handbook

Artwork of a gnome bard performing in a tavern

This context isn’t just for bards, though that would be the most obvious choice. Players can get creative and use this background for a character that has expertise in disguise or specific types of showmanship, like pyrotechnics. A variation of this background is the gladiator, just to illustrate how far it can go, but it depends on the DM and also depends on the campaign if it’s suitable.

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This fund offers bonuses in practical skills like acrobatics and performance, but the biggest advantage is By Popular Demand. A character with an artist background can always find accommodation in various places which host artists, including theaters, taverns and even circus tents. This comes in handy in a game where finding a safe place to rest can be a real hassle.

3 Distant Traveler, Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide

DND Salt Marsh Art

No matter what module they’re playing, this character always comes from a mysterious place somewhere far away. As exotic as it is, it’s still somewhere in Faerûn, unless the player and DM created something special—which is also a possibility.

This background can relate to a character’s class or race in a variety of interesting ways. In addition to unique items like a musical instrument, maps, game set, or other souvenirs from their home country, a distant traveler also gets good bonuses to Perception and Insight checks.

2 Haunted, Curse of Strahd

elise van richten's guide to ravenloft

Every character needs something to motivate them, and for some it’s a terrifying event or a horrific tragedy. This is the basic premise behind the Haunted One background, and while it’s not limited to classes like Warlocks or Sorcerers, it can be a way to complete a character’s backstory in the past tense. literally haunted.

The harrowing event that sets this background is randomly selected using a d10 and may include surviving a monster attack, escaping a witch, or reading a cursed tome. They have better Survival, Insight, Religion and Arcana, but the most useful ability with the Haunted One background is called Heart of Darkness. This ensures that the character will always find sympathy from people they meet on their travels, and this can come in the form of money, food, or a place to sleep.

1 Soldier, D&D Player’s Handbook

Dungeons & Dragons pushing illustrations

Athletics and bullying constitute the basic skills of this background, which is an ideal choice for a character who grew up in a military environment. It could mean that the parents or guardians made war a part of their career and way of life, or that they joined at a young age. All of these details are worked out during the character creation process, including character rank, which is the real strength of this Background.

All of the options offered for a soldier’s specialty are ideal for any character with a melee combat background. These include cavalry, officer, standard bearer, or even as a worker in the kitchen or a blacksmith. Another strength of this context is military rank, that this character still has and is recognized in certain castles, forts and various units of the army.

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