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Backgrounds are a trait which describes a character's life outside of their career as an adventurer. Each background grants characters two skill proficiencies and determines what inspires them. Backgrounds also have narrative effects, including options in dialogue and the opinions or attitude of others towards the character.

Each origin character, including the Dark Urge, has a pre-selected background that cannot be changed. Custom characters select a background on character creation. A character may only have one background, and it cannot be changed once the game is started.

Acolyte[edit | edit source]

Background Acolyte Icon.png
"You have spent your life in service to a temple, learning sacred rites and providing sacrifices to the god or gods you worship. Serving the gods and discovering their sacred works will guide you to greatness."

See also: Acolyte

Improves: Insight, Religion

Characters: Shadowheart, Zenith Feur'sel

Charlatan[edit | edit source]

Background Charlatan Icon.png
"You’re an expert in manipulation, prone to exaggeration and more than happy to profit from it. Bending the truth and turning allies against each other will lead to greater success down the road."

See also: Charlatan

Improves: Deception, Sleight of Hand

Characters: Astarion, Kree Derryck

Criminal[edit | edit source]

Background Criminal Icon.png
"You have a history of breaking the law and survive by leveraging less-than-legal connections. Profiting from criminal enterprise will lead to greater opportunities in the future."

See also: Criminal

Improves: Deception, Stealth

Characters: Ver'yll Wenkiir

Entertainer[edit | edit source]

Background Entertainer Icon.png
"You live to sway and subvert your audience, engaging common crowds and high society alike. Preserving art and bringing joy to the hapless and downtrodden heightens your charismatic aura."

See also: Entertainer

Improves: Acrobatics, Performance

Characters: Brinna Brightsong

Folk Hero[edit | edit source]

Background Folk Hero Icon.png
"You’re the champion of the common people, challenging tyrants and monsters to protect the helpless. Saving innocents in imminent danger will make your legend grow."

See also: Folk Hero

Improves: Animal Handling, Survival

Characters: Minsc, Wyll, Danton

Guild Artisan[edit | edit source]

Background Guild Artisan Icon.png
"Your skill in a particular craft has earned you membership in a mercantile guild, offering privileges and protection while engaging in your art. Repairing and discovering rare crafts will bring new inspiration."

See also: Guild Artisan

Improves: Insight, Persuasion

Characters: Jacelyn

Haunted One[edit | edit source]

Only available to Dark Urge characters
Background HauntedOne Icon.png
"A wicked moment, person, or thing that cannot be slain by sword or spell haunts your mind and flickers in your peripheral vision. You carry it wherever your adventure takes you - or perhaps it carries you."

See also: Haunted One, Dark Urge

Improves: Medicine, Intimidation

Characters: The Dark Urge

Noble[edit | edit source]

Background Noble Icon.png
"You were raised in a family among the social elite, accustomed to power and privilege. Accumulating renown, power, and loyalty will raise your status."

See also: Noble

Improves: History, Persuasion

Characters: Minthara, Kerz

Outlander[edit | edit source]

Background Outlander Icon.png
"You grew up in the wilds, learning to survive far from the comforts of civilization. Surviving unusual hazards of the wild will enhance your prowess and understanding."

See also: Outlander

Improves: Athletics, Survival

Characters: Halsin, Karlach, Eldra Luthrinn, Sina'zith

Sage[edit | edit source]

Background Sage Icon.png
"You’re curious and well-read, with an unending thirst for knowledge. Learning about rare lore of the world will inspire you to put this knowledge to greater purpose."

See also: Sage

Improves: Arcana, History

Characters: Gale, Sir Fuzzalump

Soldier[edit | edit source]

Background Soldier Icon.png
"You are trained in battlefield tactics and combat, having served in a militia, mercenary company, or officer corps. Show smart tactics and bravery on the battlefield to enhance your prowess."

See also: Soldier

Improves: Athletics, Intimidation

Characters: Jaheira, Lae'zel, Varanna Sunblossom

Urchin[edit | edit source]

Background Urchin Icon.png
"After surviving a poor and bleak childhood, you know how to make the most out of very little. Using your street smarts bolsters your spirit for the journey ahead."

See also: Urchin

Improves: Sleight of Hand, Stealth

Characters: Maddala Deadeye

Removed and Unused[edit | edit source]

The following backgrounds existed in Early Access, but were removed in the final version of the game. While their art and text can be found in the game files, the following are not selectable in the release version.

There are icons in the game files for character specific backgrounds.

Differences to the tabletop game[edit | edit source]

Most of the backgrounds used in Baldur's Gate 3 (including the removed Hermit and Sailor, above) are drawn from the 2014 Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook. The exception is the Haunted One, which was introduced with the popular horror adventure Curse of Strahd, and which is the only background to provide different skill proficiencies to the tabletop version.

In the tabletop game, backgrounds also provide additional benefits, including:

  • Non-skill proficiencies not used in Baldur's Gate 3, like languages, tools, vehicles, games or musical instruments;
  • Non-adventuring equipment, like clothing, trinkets or tools; and
  • A "background feature" providing the character with one or more abilities usually not tied to mechanics, like an Acolyte being able to request shelter at a temple of their god or an Outlander being able to forage for food without a die roll, and having a very good sense of direction.

These additional benefits are all replaced in Baldur's Gate 3 by the specific inspiration conditions and special options in dialogue.