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10 D&D Backgrounds for fighters

Updated: Jan 18

Table of Contents

Introduction: 10 D&D Backgrounds for fighters

Martial characters hold a significant place in the world of Dungeons & Dragons, embodying the valorous warriors, skilled mercenaries, and battle-hardened champions. With their formidable combat abilities and unwavering dedication, martial characters are the stalwarts who stand at the forefront of danger, defending their allies and vanquishing their foes.

In the vast realm of D&D, the choices made during character creation play a crucial role in shaping a character's story and personality. Among these choices, the character's background holds particular importance. It provides a rich tapestry of experiences, skills, and connections that breathe life into the character, adding depth and nuance to their adventuring journey. A well-crafted background not only enriches the character's narrative but also provides opportunities for engaging roleplaying moments and personal growth.

In this article, we embark on a quest to10 D&D Backgrounds for warriors. We delve beyond the traditional archetypes, seeking fresh and unique paths for your martial heroes to tread. Whether you're a player searching for an intriguing background to imbue your character with depth or a Dungeon Master seeking inspiration to enrich your campaign, our aim is to present a diverse array of backgrounds that will ignite your imagination and breathe new life into your martial characters.

So, grab your weapons, steel your resolve, and join us as we explore 10 D&D backgrounds for fighters." Prepare to unearth hidden stories, forge powerful connections, and discover extraordinary paths that will shape the destiny of your martial heroes.

II. The Essence of Martial Characters

Martial characters possess a distinct set of defining characteristics that set them apart in the realm of Dungeons & Dragons. These heroes are known for their exceptional combat prowess, honed physical strength, and reliance on weapons and armour.

Their relentless training, unwavering discipline, and tireless dedication make them formidable forces on the battlefield. From the swift and nimble rogue to the heavily armoured paladin, martial characters embody the epitome of martial might.

Within a party, martial characters play a crucial role that extends beyond their combat abilities. Their proficiency in the art of warfare allows them to excel in battles, often taking the forefront in clashes with adversaries.

With their keen instincts, disciplined tactics, and deadly strikes, they are the guardians of their allies, protecting them from harm and ensuring the safety of the party as a whole. Whether it's the frontline fighter absorbing blows, the agile ranger striking from the shadows, or the battle-hardened barbarian raging with indomitable fury, martial characters bring a sense of security and stability to the group dynamic.

The need for diverse and distinctive backgrounds becomes evident when considering the varied experiences that martial characters bring to the adventuring table. While their primary focus may revolve around martial skills, their journeys leading up to their current path can be multifaceted.

Martial characters can emerge from diverse backgrounds, such as noble lineages, humble origins, mercenary companies, or even secretive warrior orders. Each background adds a layer of richness to the character's story, shaping their values, motivations, and relationships. By embracing a range of backgrounds, we ensure that martial characters are not limited to mere archetypes, but rather reflect the vast tapestry of experiences and origins present in the world of D&D.

In the next sections, we will explore ten innovative martial backgrounds that go beyond the conventional, providing you with a palette of options to craft unique and compelling martial characters.

By choosing backgrounds that resonate with your character's past, you will forge a stronger connection to their identity, create opportunities for personal growth, and unravel intriguing storylines that intertwine seamlessly with the adventures that lie ahead. Let us now embark on this journey of discovery, where the foundations of your martial characters will be laid, shaping their destiny in the realm of Dungeons & Dragons.

III. Background 1: "Weaponmaster's Legacy"

A. The "Weaponmaster's Legacy" background is a testament to a character's lineage and mastery of a specific weapon or fighting style. This background grants characters unique advantages, both in combat and social interactions, due to their prestigious heritage and extensive training. Characters with the "Weaponmaster's Legacy" background gain proficiency with a specific weapon of their choice, allowing them to wield it with exceptional skill and finesse. Additionally, they may gain access to specialised combat manoeuvres or techniques associated with their chosen weapon.

B. The story behind the "Weaponmaster's Legacy" background centres on the character's training, lineage, and their profound connection to a legendary weapon or esteemed fighting style. Characters with this background may come from a long line of renowned warriors or be the sole inheritors of a family's martial heritage. They have undergone rigorous training from a young age, studying under masters and honing their skills to become true masters of their chosen weapon. Whether it's the art of dual-wielding blades, the precision of archery, or the brute force of a massive hammer, the character's training has shaped them into a paragon of martial prowess.

The character's lineage and connection to the weapon or fighting style can be rich with lore and history. They may be descendants of a legendary warrior who wielded the same weapon, a relic passed down through generations. Alternatively, they could be the chosen one destined to carry on an ancient martial tradition that is on the verge of being lost to time. The weapon or fighting style itself might have its own tales of heroism and renown, tying the character to a greater narrative of the world.

The "Weaponmaster's Legacy" background provides numerous hooks and plot ideas for engaging storytelling and character development. The character's lineage and connection to their weapon can attract attention from various factions, such as rival warriors seeking to challenge their status or individuals who covet the power of the weapon. The character might be entrusted with a quest or duty related to their legacy, carrying the weight of their family's honour on their shoulders. They could also be involved in a search for lost knowledge or hidden relics that hold the key to unlocking their weapon's true potential.

Furthermore, conflicts may arise if the character's weapon or fighting style is associated with a particular group or organisation, creating alliances or rivalries that impact the character's journey. The character's mastery and reputation might attract disciples or apprentices seeking to learn from them, allowing the character to pass on their knowledge and create their own legacy.

In summary, the "Weaponmaster's Legacy" background offers a compelling foundation for a martial character's story.

It combines their lineage, training, and a connection to a legendary weapon or fighting style, providing them with unique advantages and opportunities for personal growth. By delving into the depths of their heritage, characters with the "Weaponmaster's Legacy" background can unearth fascinating plot hooks and engage in quests that shape their destiny as legendary warriors.

Improved Weapon Mastery

  • Gain proficiency with an additional weapon of your choice.

  • Increase your damage dice by one step (e.g., from d6 to d8) when using your chosen weapon.

IV. Background 2: "Exiled Gladiator"

The "Exiled Gladiator" background introduces a martial character who, in their past, was a celebrated gladiator, admired for their skill and bravery within the gladiatorial arena. However, due to unforeseen circumstances or a twist of fate, they were banished or forced into exile, leaving behind their life of fame and glory.

This background grants characters unique insights and abilities derived from their time as a gladiator, making them formidable combatants.

The character's journey from the gladiatorial arena to their current adventuring life is marked by a series of trials and transformation. Once a renowned fighter within the confines of the arena, they now face the challenges of the open world, adapting their skills to the rigours of adventuring. The character's past as a gladiator significantly shapes their present choices and outlook on life.

They may carry the weight of their former reputation, striving to prove themselves beyond their gladiatorial identity. Alternatively, the character may harbour bitterness or anger towards those who orchestrated their downfall, seeking redemption or vengeance as they carve a new path.

The impact of their gladiatorial past goes beyond combat prowess.

It influences their mindset, discipline, and ability to perform under pressure. They might possess a keen understanding of crowd dynamics, using their charisma and showmanship to captivate and manipulate others. Their experiences in the arena have forged a resilience that allows them to endure physical and emotional challenges. However, the character may also grapple with the psychological effects of their time in the gladiatorial games, such as trauma or a thirst for adrenaline-fueled conflict.

The character's gladiatorial background provides a wealth of opportunities for campaign narrative integration. The character's notoriety as a former gladiator can attract attention from various factions, both supportive and adversarial.

The character may encounter former allies or rivals, each with their own agendas and vendettas. Their exile might be tied to a larger political conspiracy or betrayal, presenting opportunities for uncovering the truth or seeking justice.

Incorporating the character's gladiatorial background into the campaign narrative can involve encounters with arenas, fighting pits, or underground fighting rings. The character's reputation as a gladiator can lead to invitations to prestigious tournaments or requests for their assistance in training aspiring fighters. Alternatively, their skills may draw the attention of powerful individuals who see potential in them, offering opportunities for mentorship or recruitment into secretive organisations.

Additionally, the character's journey of self-discovery and redemption can be a central theme. They might seek to reconcile their past actions, making amends to those they harmed or seeking forgiveness from the gods. Their experiences as a gladiator may have shaped their view on the value of freedom, justice, or honour, driving their actions and alliances throughout the campaign.

In summary, the "Exiled Gladiator" background introduces a martial character with a compelling backstory and distinct skill set derived from their gladiatorial past. Their journey from the arena to the adventuring life presents opportunities for personal growth, redemption, and thrilling encounters tied to their former life. By incorporating the character's gladiatorial background into the campaign narrative, players and Dungeon Masters can explore themes of resilience, identity, and the pursuit of a new purpose beyond the confines of the gladiatorial games.

Resilient Survivor

  • Gain advantage on saving throws against fear and charm effects.

  • Once per long rest, regain hit points equal to your level when reduced to 0 hit points.

V. Background 3: "Nomadic Sentinel"

The "Nomadic Sentinel" background portrays a martial character who originates from a nomadic tribe or clan, assuming the role of protector and sentinel for their people. Born into a life of constant movement and survival in harsh terrains, these characters develop unique skills and perspectives that set them apart. This background offers characters specialised knowledge and abilities associated with their nomadic lifestyle.

The character's connection to nature is a fundamental aspect of the "Nomadic Sentinel" background. They possess an innate understanding of the land, weather patterns, and the creatures that inhabit their nomadic territories. This connection enables them to navigate treacherous terrains, find sources of food and water, and recognize potential threats.

Their survival skills encompass a range of disciplines, including hunting, tracking, foraging, and shelter-building, making them self-reliant in even the most unforgiving environments.

In terms of combat, the character's nomadic lifestyle has shaped their unique fighting techniques. They may incorporate elements of agility, mobility, and guerrilla warfare into their combat style.

Utilising hit-and-run tactics, camouflage, and improvised weaponry, they excel at ambushing enemies and adapting to unpredictable battlefields. Their ability to blend seamlessly with nature allows them to utilise natural cover and take advantage of their environment to gain the upper hand.

The "Nomadic Sentinel" background offers exciting potential storylines rooted in the character's clan, rival tribes, and encounters with otherworldly forces. The character's interactions with their own clan can involve fulfilling important ceremonial roles, acting as a mediator during internal disputes, or embarking on quests to secure resources necessary for the tribe's survival.

Conflict with rival tribes may arise due to territorial disputes, scarce resources, or long-standing feuds, presenting opportunities for diplomacy, infiltration, or all-out skirmishes.

Moreover, the character's nomadic lifestyle might bring them face-to-face with supernatural or otherworldly forces. They may encounter ancient spirits, mythical creatures, or ethereal entities tied to their ancestral lands.

These encounters could lead to quests involving protecting sacred sites, uncovering forgotten lore, or resolving conflicts between the spiritual and physical realms. The character's unique perspective as a "Nomadic Sentinel" provides a bridge between the natural and supernatural, making them key figures in maintaining the balance between these realms.

Additionally, the character's personal journey may involve questions of loyalty and duty to their nomadic clan. They may face decisions that challenge their commitment to their people, such as choosing between upholding tradition or pursuing personal ambitions. The character's nomadic background also presents opportunities for personal growth as they navigate the complexities of loyalty, responsibility, and the desire for individuality.

In summary, the "Nomadic Sentinel" background immerses martial characters in a world of survival, nature, and clan dynamics. Their connection to the land, survival skills, and unique combat techniques set them apart as versatile and adaptable warriors. The potential storylines revolving around their clan, rival tribes, and encounters with otherworldly forces offer a rich tapestry of adventure, cultural exploration, and personal growth.

Nature's Blessing

  • Gain proficiency in Survival skill.

  • When traveling through natural terrains, your group's travel speed is increased by 10%.

VI. Background 4: "Battlefield Medic"

The "Battlefield Medic" background centres around a martial character who possesses specialised healing and combat skills, trained to tend to wounded allies amidst the chaos of battle.

These characters are not only adept in martial combat but also possess extensive knowledge of anatomy, emergency medical care, and the application of healing techniques. This background provides characters with unique abilities and benefits related to their medical expertise.

The character's training as a battlefield medic involves rigorous education and hands-on experience in the field of medicine, focusing specifically on treating injuries sustained in combat.

They possess a deep understanding of anatomy, the ability to assess and triage injuries quickly, and proficiency in a range of medical procedures such as wound dressing, setting broken bones, and administering emergency treatments. This specialised training allows them to provide essential support to their comrades during intense battles.

Balancing offence and defence presents a significant challenge for battlefield medics. They must make critical decisions in the midst of combat, assessing the urgency of injuries, and determining the most effective use of their healing abilities while also actively engaging in combat.

This delicate balance requires mental fortitude, quick thinking, and adaptability, as they must switch between the roles of healer and combatant seamlessly. The character's combat skills are often designed to protect themselves and their patients, incorporating defensive manoeuvres and techniques to mitigate threats while tending to the wounded.

The character's medical expertise as a battlefield medic greatly contributes to the overall party dynamic and plot progression. Their healing abilities and knowledge of medicine allow them to keep the party in fighting shape, swiftly tending to injuries during and after battles. This ability to provide immediate care on the battlefield can turn the tide of combat and prevent critical injuries from becoming fatal.

The character's medical expertise also opens doors to engaging plotlines and interactions. They may be sought after by factions, organisations, or nobles who value their healing abilities. Their knowledge of anatomy and medical practices could make them valuable allies to scholars, researchers, or wizards who seek to unlock the mysteries of magical or supernatural afflictions.

Additionally, the character's compassion and dedication to saving lives may attract followers, disciples, or patients who look up to them as healers and rely on their expertise.

Furthermore, the character's medical training may lead them on quests to recover rare herbs, locate lost or forbidden medical texts, or seek out renowned healers for further training. Their expertise can play a crucial role in uncovering the secrets of ancient artefacts or solving mysteries related to diseases or curses that plague the land.

In summary, the "Battlefield Medic" background introduces a martial character with a unique blend of combat skills and medical expertise. Their training as healers in the midst of battle allows them to tend to wounded allies while actively engaging in combat.

Their medical knowledge and abilities contribute significantly to the party's overall well-being, making them invaluable assets during dangerous quests. By incorporating the character's medical expertise into the plot, players and Dungeon Masters can explore compelling narratives surrounding healing, medical advancements, and the ethical dilemmas faced by those who walk the path of a "Battlefield Medic".

Swift Healer

  • When using a healer's kit to stabilize a creature, they regain 1 hit point instead of becoming stable.

  • Once per short rest, you can use a bonus action to heal a creature you touch for 1d6 + your Wisdom modifier hit points.

VII. Background 5: "Tactician's Stratagem"

The "Tactician's Stratagem" background highlights a martial character with exceptional tactical insight and leadership abilities. These characters possess an innate talent for strategic decision-making, making them invaluable assets in both military campaigns and adventuring parties. This background grants characters unique advantages and benefits derived from their expertise in tactics and leadership.

The character's military background serves as the foundation of their strategic prowess. They may have risen through the ranks of a disciplined army, led squads or entire units into battle, and earned their reputation as a brilliant tactician.

Their experience in commanding troops has honed their leadership abilities, allowing them to inspire and guide their allies to victory. The character's understanding of military logistics, battlefield formations, and situational analysis equips them with the tools to make quick and effective decisions during combat.

The character's strategic decision-making skills extend beyond the battlefield. They possess the ability to assess complex situations, identify potential threats, and devise plans to overcome obstacles. Their strategic mindset is shaped by a combination of experience, training, and natural aptitude.

They excel at evaluating risks, exploiting weaknesses in their opponents, and maximising the strengths of their allies. This unique skill set positions them as valuable advisors and critical thinkers within their adventuring party.

The character's strategic mindset offers a wide range of opportunities during adventures and battles. Their ability to analyse situations and anticipate outcomes can lead to diplomatic solutions, allowing them to negotiate peaceful resolutions, sway powerful individuals, or form alliances.

Their strategic insight can uncover alternative paths, bypassing confrontations altogether or uncovering hidden routes and shortcuts. In combat, the character's tactical expertise enables them to outsmart opponents, setting traps, exploiting vulnerabilities, and coordinating attacks with their allies for maximum effectiveness.

The character's leadership abilities can be utilised within the adventuring party. They may take charge during planning sessions, guiding their comrades to make informed decisions. Their tactical insights can help the party identify the most efficient and effective routes, mitigating risks and minimising casualties.

They may also provide crucial advice and analysis during investigations, unravelling complex mysteries or deciphering ancient puzzles. Their strategic mindset can extend to resource management, ensuring the party makes the most of their equipment, supplies, and available resources.

Moreover, the character's strategic prowess can attract the attention of powerful factions, military leaders, or rulers who seek their counsel or services. They may be entrusted with crucial missions, charged with defending strategic locations, or sought after as advisors in matters of war and politics.

Their decision-making skills and leadership abilities may also inspire others to rally behind them, leading to opportunities for the character to build alliances, assemble armies, or unite disparate factions against a common threat.

In summary, the "Tactician's Stratagem" background presents a martial character with exceptional tactical insight and leadership abilities. Their military background, experience in commanding troops, and strategic decision-making skills make them indispensable assets in both military campaigns and adventurous quests.

Their strategic mindset offers opportunities for diplomatic solutions, outsmarting opponents, and providing invaluable guidance to their allies. By embracing the "Tactician's Stratagem" background, players and Dungeon Masters can delve into the realms of military strategy, leadership, and the complexities of decision-making in Dungeons & Dragons.

Tactical Insight

  • Gain proficiency in the Insight skill.

  • Once per short rest, you can use your reaction to grant advantage on an attack roll made by an ally within 30 feet.

VI. Background 6: "Cursed Blade Wielder"

The "Cursed Blade Wielder" background introduces a martial character who finds themselves in possession of a powerful yet cursed weapon. This background delves into the character's struggle with the dark forces associated with their blade, highlighting both the potential benefits and inherent risks that come with wielding such a cursed artefact.

The cursed weapon grants characters unique abilities, but also poses challenges and dangers that must be navigated.

The character's story centres around their quest to uncover the origins of the curse afflicting their weapon. Driven by a desire to control or remove the curse, they delve into ancient tomes, seek out wise sages, and explore forgotten ruins in search of answers.

As they unlock the mysteries of the curse, they gain knowledge of the weapon's dark powers and how to harness them. The character must balance the temptation to wield the weapon's formidable abilities with the constant fear of succumbing to its malevolent influence.

Utilising the dark powers of the cursed weapon becomes a delicate dance for the character. They may discover ways to channel its energy to enhance their combat skills, summon dark magic, or gain supernatural insights. However, each use of the weapon risks drawing them further into the curse's grasp, affecting their judgement, corrupting their thoughts, or unleashing unintended consequences upon the world. The character's struggle lies in finding the right balance, seeking ways to control or suppress the curse's influence while still wielding its power.

The character's internal struggle with the curse forms a central theme of their story. They may battle against the weapon's malevolent whispers, constant temptations, or even its attempts to exert control over their actions. This internal conflict can lead to moments of doubt, self-reflection, and the exploration of their own morality and inner strength. The curse becomes a catalyst for personal growth and self-discovery as the character grapples with the darkness that resides within them.

Allies and enemies related to the weapon's history can emerge during the character's journey. The character may encounter individuals or factions connected to the curse's origins—ancient cults, vengeful spirits, or even other cursed blade wielders.

These encounters may offer opportunities for alliances with those who seek to break the curse or adversaries who desire to seize the weapon's power for themselves. The character's choices and actions can shape these relationships, forging alliances or facing bitter rivalries that carry consequences throughout their adventures.

Ultimately, the character's path as a cursed blade wielder presents opportunities for profound character development and redemption. They may strive to find a way to free themselves from the curse entirely, seeking redemption and the chance to live a life free of its influence.

Alternatively, they may embrace the darkness within, using the weapon's power to achieve their goals while risking their own descent into darkness. The character's choices and actions will shape their destiny, determining whether they can overcome the curse's hold and find a new path towards redemption or succumb to its insidious grasp.

In summary, the "Cursed Blade Wielder" background portrays a martial character entangled in a dark and dangerous web of curse and power. Their quest to control or remove the curse while utilising the weapon's dark abilities drives their story.

The character's internal struggle, potential allies and enemies related to the weapon's history, and opportunities for personal growth create a compelling narrative that explores themes of redemption, temptation, and the fine line between light and darkness.

Dark Resilience

  • Gain resistance to necrotic damage.

  • Once per long rest, you can use your action to regain hit points equal to half your maximum hit points.

VII. Background 7: "Elite Bodyguard"

The "Elite Bodyguard" background showcases a martial character who has served as an elite bodyguard for a prominent figure or organisation. This background focuses on the character's unwavering dedication, combat prowess, and the unique challenges they face in protecting their charge. The character gains specialised skills and advantages that make them a formidable protector.

The character's loyalty is the bedrock of their role as an elite bodyguard. They have chosen a life dedicated to the protection of their charge, be it a noble, a high-ranking official, or a powerful organisation. This loyalty is unshakable, as they prioritise the safety and well-being of their charge above all else.

Their combat prowess is honed through rigorous training, allowing them to excel in both offensive and defensive techniques. They possess heightened situational awareness, sharp reflexes, and proficiency with various weapons and combat styles.

The character's unwavering dedication to their charge drives their actions and decisions. They are willing to sacrifice their own well-being, endure hardships, and face immense dangers to ensure the safety of their charge. Their protective instincts are finely tuned, and they possess the ability to anticipate threats, analyse vulnerabilities, and take swift action to neutralise dangers.

The "Elite Bodyguard" background offers a plethora of potential storylines rife with assassination attempts, political intrigue, and conflicts arising from the character's protective role. Their charge's prominent position may make them the target of assassins, rival factions, or individuals seeking to exploit their influence. The character's duty becomes a constant struggle against hidden enemies and shadowy forces that threaten the safety of their charge.

Political intrigue intertwines with the character's role as an elite bodyguard. They find themselves embroiled in power struggles, clandestine operations, and manipulative schemes. Their loyalty may be tested as they navigate treacherous political landscapes and uncover hidden agendas. The character's protective role often places them in the centre of high-stakes events, forcing them to make difficult choices that can shape the course of political alliances or even the fate of nations.

Conflicts can arise from the character's protective role, both internally and externally. They may encounter rivals who question their competence, challenge their authority, or seek to replace them as the primary protector. Tensions can arise with fellow bodyguards or members of the charge's entourage, creating rivalries or alliances based on mutual respect and shared goals.

Moreover, conflicts can emerge from the character's own internal struggle as they grapple with the weight of their responsibilities, the personal sacrifices they must make, and the fine line between loyalty and blind obedience.

In summary, the "Elite Bodyguard" background presents a martial character who embodies unwavering loyalty, combat prowess, and an unyielding dedication to protect their charge. The character's role as a guardian gives rise to compelling storylines featuring assassination attempts, political intrigue, and conflicts tied to their protective duties.

Shield of Protection

  • Once per short rest, when an ally within 5 feet of you is targeted by an attack, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll.

  • Gain a +1 bonus to AC when wearing armor.

VIII. Background 8: "Mystic Weapon Bond"

The "Mystic Weapon Bond" background focuses on a martial character who possesses a profound and mystical connection with their weapon. This background delves into the character's symbiotic relationship with the weapon, granting them the ability to channel magical energies and perform extraordinary feats. The character gains unique advantages and responsibilities derived from their mystical bond.

The character's connection with their weapon goes beyond a mere tool for combat—it becomes an extension of their being. They have forged a deep bond with their weapon, often through rituals, training, or fateful encounters. This bond enables them to tap into its latent magical energies and unlock extraordinary abilities. By channelling their will and focus, they can unleash devastating strikes, manipulate elements, or even summon arcane forces through their weapon.

The character's symbiotic relationship with their weapon influences their combat style and strategic approach. They may employ intricate manoeuvres, utilising the weapon's magical properties to create defensive barriers, enhance their agility, or unleash devastating area-of-effect attacks. Their mastery of the weapon's magical energies allows them to adapt to different situations, combining martial prowess with spell-like abilities, making them formidable adversaries on the battlefield.

The "Mystic Weapon Bond" background offers a wealth of potential storylines centred around the origins of the weapon and the character's responsibility to safeguard it. The character's weapon may have a storied history, tied to ancient prophecies, forgotten civilizations, or powerful magical entities. Unveiling the secrets of its creation and understanding its true potential becomes a significant quest for the character.

Conflicts can arise from those who seek to exploit the power of the character's weapon. Antagonists may be drawn to its magical allure, desiring to possess it for their own nefarious purposes. The character's responsibility to safeguard the weapon becomes paramount, leading to clashes with individuals or organisations who seek to control or harness its power.

Furthermore, the character's bond with their weapon may attract the attention of mystical beings, arcane societies, or otherworldly entities who recognize the unique nature of their connection. They may encounter mentors, allies, or adversaries who possess knowledge about the weapon's origins or seek to guide or manipulate the character's path. The character's journey becomes intertwined with the pursuit of greater understanding, uncovering the weapon's true purpose, and discovering their own destiny in relation to it.

The character's quest to explore the origins of their weapon, their responsibility to safeguard it, and conflicts arising from those who seek to exploit its power create a rich narrative filled with mystery, power struggles, and personal growth.

Arcane Empowerment

  • Once per short rest, you can add your Intelligence modifier to damage rolls made with your bonded weapon.

  • Gain advantage on saving throws against being disarmed or having your bonded weapon forcibly taken from you.

IX. Background 9: "Reformed Bandit"

The "Reformed Bandit" background depicts a martial character who, in their past, led a life of banditry but has since chosen to abandon that path. This background delves into the character's transformation, highlighting the reasons behind their change of heart and their ongoing struggle to seek redemption. The character gains unique insights and challenges derived from their chequered past.

The character's transformation from a life of banditry reflects a profound change of heart and a desire to leave their criminal past behind. The reasons for this transformation can vary widely, from a personal epiphany or a traumatic event that sparked their conscience to encounters with individuals who showed them a path towards a better life.

The character now seeks to distance themselves from their former life, embracing the principles of honour, justice, or a higher cause.

The character's ongoing struggle to redeem themselves becomes a driving force in their story. They grapple with the guilt and remorse of their past actions, striving to make amends and prove that they have changed. This struggle is reflected in their actions and choices, as they consciously strive to uphold moral values and make positive contributions to the world. Their redemption journey is often a deeply personal one, involving introspection, self-reflection, and the relentless pursuit of making right what they once did wrong.

The "Reformed Bandit" background presents opportunities for conflicts with former allies or enemies from the character's past. Their decision to turn their back on the bandit lifestyle may have garnered animosity or betrayal from former companions who view their change as a betrayal.

These conflicts can arise in the form of confrontations, revenge attempts, or even attempts to draw the character back into a life of crime. The character's struggle to distance themselves from their past may be constantly tested by these encounters, forcing them to confront their own temptations or the pressures exerted by those who knew them before their transformation.

Moreover, the character's path of redemption provides opportunities for personal growth and powerful character arcs. They may seek opportunities to right the wrongs they committed during their bandit days, aiding victims, and working towards justice.

They may find solace in joining a group or organisation that fights against injustice, becoming a champion for the weak and downtrodden. Through their actions, they inspire hope in others and forge a new identity rooted in redemption and a commitment to making the world a better place.

The character's journey also involves internal conflicts and struggles. They may battle with feelings of unworthiness, constantly questioning whether they truly deserve redemption or if they can ever truly escape the shadow of their past. This internal struggle can provide rich opportunities for character development and exploration of themes such as forgiveness, self-forgiveness, and the capacity for change.

In summary, the "Reformed Bandit" background presents a martial character who has left behind a life of banditry in pursuit of redemption. Their transformation reflects a change of heart and a commitment to a path of honour and justice.

The character's ongoing struggle, conflicts with former allies or enemies, and opportunities for personal redemption arcs create a compelling narrative that explores themes of forgiveness, personal growth, and the power of second chances.

Nimble Escape

  • Gain proficiency in the Stealth skill.

  • Once per short rest, when you take the Disengage action, your movement speed increases by 10 feet until the end of your turn.

X. Background 10: "Eldritch Weapon Adept"

The "Eldritch Weapon Adept" background centres around a martial character who has achieved mastery in the fusion of martial prowess and eldritch magic. This background highlights the character's unique training, which enables them to harness arcane energies to infuse their weapons with magical properties or cast spells during combat. The character gains distinctive advantages and encounters challenges stemming from their mixed abilities.

The character's training as an Eldritch Weapon Adept involves a delicate balance between martial techniques and arcane study. They have honed their combat skills to a high degree, becoming proficient in various weapon styles and mastering close-quarters combat. In addition, they possess a deep understanding of arcane magic, allowing them to channel their inner energies to infuse their weapons with magical properties or cast spells seamlessly in the heat of battle.

Through their mastery of eldritch magic, the character can imbue their weapons with enchantments, granting them additional properties or elemental effects. They may manipulate arcane energies to enhance their strikes, summon protective barriers, or unleash devastating spells while still maintaining their physical combat prowess. The fusion of martial and arcane arts allows them to adapt to various combat situations and surprise opponents with their versatile capabilities.

The "Eldritch Weapon Adept" background presents potential storylines rooted in the character's connection to magical societies, conflicts with those who distrust their mixed abilities, and their continuous pursuit of greater mystical power. The character may be affiliated with a prestigious arcane academy, where they have undergone rigorous training alongside spellcasters. This connection to magical societies can open doors to unique quests, access to rare magical artefacts, or opportunities to unravel ancient mysteries.

Conflicts may arise from individuals or groups who distrust or fear the character's mixed abilities. They may encounter prejudice or suspicion due to their unique fusion of martial and arcane arts. These conflicts can range from verbal disputes to outright hostility, leading to intense battles or political struggles. The character's journey involves navigating these tensions, seeking acceptance, or proving their worth to sceptical allies and enemies alike.

The character's pursuit of greater mystical power becomes a driving force in their story. They may search for ancient tomes, seek out powerful mentors, or venture into dangerous realms to uncover new spells, techniques, or magical artefacts. This pursuit can lead to encounters with powerful beings or forces tied to eldritch realms, presenting both opportunities for growth and threats to their sanity or mortal existence.

Furthermore, the character's unique abilities may draw the attention of arcane societies, secret organisations, or even rival factions who desire their skills for their own purposes. The character's choices and allegiances can influence the balance of power within these factions, setting the stage for intricate political manoeuvres, alliances, or power struggles.

In summary, the "Eldritch Weapon Adept" background showcases a martial character who has achieved mastery in combining martial prowess with eldritch magic. Their training allows them to infuse their weapons with magical properties and cast spells while maintaining their physical combat skills. The character's connection to magical societies, conflicts arising from distrust, and their continuous pursuit of greater mystical power create a captivating narrative that explores themes of acceptance, power, and the harmonious fusion of martial and arcane arts.

Eldritch Insight

  • Gain advantage on Intelligence (Arcana) checks.

  • Once per long rest, you can use your action to cast the Detect Magic spell without expending a spell slot. Additionally, you can detect the school of magic associated with the detected magic.


In the realm of Dungeons & Dragons, the choice of a character's background plays a vital role in shaping their story, motivations, and abilities. This article has explored ten innovative and original martial backgrounds, each offering unique perspectives, challenges, and opportunities for character development.

From the "Weaponmaster's Legacy" to the "Eldritch Weapon Adept," these backgrounds have presented martial characters with diverse origins, ranging from noble lineages and nomadic tribes to reformed bandits and cursed blade wielders. Each background has its own distinct features, storylines, and potential for exciting adventures.

By delving into these backgrounds, players and Dungeon Masters can breathe life into their martial characters, immersing themselves in the intricacies of their pasts and the choices that have shaped them. Whether it's harnessing the power of a cursed weapon, seeking redemption from a life of banditry, or mastering the fusion of martial skills and eldritch magic, these backgrounds provide a wealth of possibilities for rich narratives and engaging character arcs.

Through these backgrounds, players can explore themes of honour, redemption, loyalty, sacrifice, and the fine line between light and darkness. They can navigate treacherous political landscapes, uncover ancient mysteries, and face formidable enemies. Additionally, these backgrounds provide opportunities for personal growth, forging alliances, and leaving a lasting impact on the world around them.

As players and Dungeon Masters embark on their D&D adventures, the choice of background becomes a crucial step in creating memorable characters with depth, complexity, and unique stories. Whether it's building upon the foundations of a "Tactician's Stratagem" or embracing the transformation of a "Reformed Bandit," these backgrounds offer endless possibilities for character exploration and immersive storytelling.

So, grab your dice, gather your party, and embark on a journey of swords and sorcery, where martial characters with innovative backgrounds become the heroes, champions, and legends of a world filled with adventure and magic. The realm of Dungeons & Dragons awaits your imagination and the stories that will unfold within it.


  • What are D&D backgrounds and how do they affect my character creation?

  • D&D backgrounds provide a framework for your character's backstory and offer various benefits such as skill proficiencies, tool proficiencies, and background features. They add depth and flavour to your character's identity and can influence their interactions within the game world.

  • How do I choose the best background for my D&D character?

  • The best background for your character depends on their concept, backstory, and desired role in the game. Consider their personality traits, skills, and the overall theme you want to portray. Choose a background that complements these aspects and aligns with your character's goals and motivations.

  • Can you explain the different types of backgrounds available in the Player's Handbook?

  • The Player's Handbook offers several backgrounds, including Guild Artisan, Folk Hero, Criminal, Soldier, and Far Traveller, among others. Each background provides specific skill proficiencies, tool proficiencies, and background features that reflect different aspects of your character's past experiences.

  • What are the benefits of selecting a martial background for my character?

  • Martial backgrounds often grant skill proficiencies related to combat and survival, such as weapon proficiencies or proficiency in Athletics or Survival. They may also provide tool proficiencies like a disguise kit or proficiency in a musical instrument, depending on the specific background. Additionally, martial backgrounds may have background features that enhance combat abilities or provide advantages in specific situations.

  • How do background features enhance my character's abilities and role-playing experience?

  • Background features are unique traits or abilities associated with your character's background. They can offer advantages in social interactions, exploration, or combat. For example, the "Position of Privilege" feature from the Noble background grants your character advantages when dealing with common people or nobility, enhancing their social influence.

  • Which backgrounds provide skill proficiencies and tool proficiencies relevant to martial characters?

  • Backgrounds such as Soldier, Bounty Hunter, and Far Traveler often provide skill proficiencies in Athletics, Survival, or Perception, which can be valuable for martial characters. Tool proficiencies can vary, but options like a disguise kit or a musical instrument can be found in backgrounds like Criminal or Entertainer.

  • Can I create my own background for my D&D character, or do I have to choose from the predefined options?

  • The Dungeon Master's Guide provides guidelines for creating custom backgrounds, allowing you to tailor your character's background to fit their unique story and abilities. Collaborate with your Dungeon Master to ensure balance and consistency within the game world.

  • Are there any new backgrounds introduced in recent publications like Tasha's Cauldron of Everything?

  • Tasha's Cauldron of Everything introduced optional rules for customising backgrounds and provided new pre-published backgrounds like the "Astral Drifter" and "Blood Hunter." These backgrounds offer distinct abilities and features that cater to different character concepts and playstyles.

  • Do certain backgrounds offer bonus actions or unique class features that complement martial characters?

  • Yes, some backgrounds may provide bonus actions or unique class features that synergize with martial characters. For example, the "Criminal" background offers the "Criminal Contact" feature, allowing your character to have a reliable informant or fence to aid them in their endeavours.

  • Are there any pre-published backgrounds specifically tailored for bounty hunters or frontline soldiers?

  • Yes, the "Bounty Hunter" background from the Dungeon Master's Guide and the "Soldier" background from the Player's Handbook are ideal choices for characters who operate as bounty hunters or frontline soldiers. These backgrounds provide relevant skill proficiencies and features that reflect the character's experiences in those roles.

  • How does my character's background tie into their personality traits and identity within the game?

  • Your character's background influences their personality traits, motivations, and general outlook on life. It provides context for their skills, knowledge, and social connections. Integrating your character's background into their identity allows for richer role-playing and more engaging interactions with other players and the game world.

  • Can you provide some sample backgrounds that are popular among players?

  • Certainly! Some popular backgrounds include the "Guild Artisan" for characters with a craft or trade background, the "Folk Hero" for those with humble origins and a reputation among common people, and the "Entertainer" for characters with a knack for performance and showmanship.

  • Is there a specific background that grants musical instrument proficiencies or ties into a character's musical abilities?

  • The "Entertainer" background grants proficiency with a musical instrument of your choice. This background is perfect for characters who want to showcase their musical talents or entertain others during their adventures.

  • How does the position of privilege feature in some backgrounds affect gameplay and social interactions?

  • The "Position of Privilege" feature, found in backgrounds like Noble or Knight, grants your character advantages in social situations. It reflects their elevated status or connections and can open doors, grant an audience, or influence the attitudes of those around them.

  • Can you explain how starting equipment differs based on the character's chosen background and its impact on gameplay?

  • Each background provides a specific equipment package that includes starting gear. The equipment varies based on the background and can include weapons, armour, tools, and other items. Starting equipment impacts gameplay by providing your character with essential resources and tools to excel in their chosen role, be it combat, exploration, or social interaction.

Martial Background Adventure Ideas

1. Adventure Hook: The Past Returns - A martial PC's background catches up with them as a long-lost comrade from their military service seeks their help. They bring news of a powerful artefact hidden in the Astral Sea, but it's being pursued by dangerous beings. The PC must gather their old party members, use their character proficiencies, and face the perils of the Astral Sea to secure the artefact.

2. Adventure Hook: Homecoming Trials - A martial PC receives word that their old master, a renowned warrior, has gone missing. Returning home, they discover their master's disappearance is connected to a hidden power struggle within their character's race. The PC must navigate their character background's political intrigue, improve their ability scores, and uncover the truth to save their master and their people.

3. Adventure Hook: Gift of the Gods - At 1st level, a martial PC discovers they possess a unique racial bonus tied to their character's heritage. The revelation of their hidden potential attracts the attention of a divine entity seeking champions. The PC must embark on a quest to prove their worth and unlock their newfound divine magic while navigating the complexities of different backgrounds and dealing with the temptations of great power.

4. Adventure Hook: The Regiment's Gambit - As a frontline soldier, a martial PC is tasked with a dangerous mission involving a new game mechanic. The PC and their party members must infiltrate enemy territory, relying on their character's military rank, different proficiencies, and strategic abilities. Success in this mission could turn the tide of the war, but failure would mean dire consequences.

5. Adventure Hook: Trials of Mastery - A martial PC is presented with a great opportunity to train under a renowned master, granting them an additional use of a powerful bonus action. However, the training demands a difficult choice. The PC must sacrifice their current character concept or take a different background to fully embrace the training and unlock their true potential.

6. Adventure Hook: The Enchanted Tome - A group of rival player characters discovers a spell list hidden within a legendary magical item. Each character, with their unique background features and skill feats, must decipher the arcane writings. The spell list promises great power, but the characters soon realise that they're not the only ones interested in its contents, leading to a race against time and a clash of powerful forces.

7. Adventure Hook: Secrets of the Fallen Empire - The martial PCs stumble upon an ancient ruin, containing lore skill scrolls and artefacts from a long-lost civilization. Delving into the lore, they uncover major events that shaped the world and learn of a powerful magical item hidden within the ruins. As they navigate traps and encounter mythical guardians, the PCs must rely on their character's proficiency bonus, teamwork, and tactical prowess to claim the artefact.

8. Adventure Hook: The Warlock's Gambit - A martial PC becomes entangled in a web of dark intrigue when a party member reveals themselves to be a warlock, wielding special features and additional spells. The warlock's pact puts the party at risk, and the martial PC must decide whether to confront their fellow player character or collaborate to uncover the true intentions behind the pact before it's too late.

9. Adventure Hook: The Dice of Fate - A martial PC encounters a mysterious NPC offering them a set of enchanted dice. When rolled, the dice alter game mechanics, granting the PC unique advantages or disadvantages during combat, saving throws, or ability score increases. However, as the PC delves deeper into their character's unique background, they discover that using the dice comes with a price and may attract unwanted attention.

10. Adventure Hook: The Forbidden Arsenal - A martial PC learns of a hidden cache of magical items that grant additional uses of powerful bonus actions. The cache is guarded by powerful entities.

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