In a world where darkness and industry converge, selecting the right background is crucial for crafting a narrative that echoes with the tenacity and resilience of Duergar characters.
This guide navigates the depths, revealing the five best backgrounds meticulously tailored to complement the stoic nature and formidable abilities of Duergar.
What Are Backgrounds in D&D 5e?
Backgrounds are more than simple stat boosts in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition. They reveal where your character came from, why you became an adventurer, and your place in the world.
Before choosing your Background, ask yourself a few questions:
- What was I before I became an adventurer?
- Why did I stop doing what my Background explains and become an adventurer?
- Where did I get the money to buy my starting equipment?
- Where did I learn the skills used in my class?
- What’s different about me compared to others with the same Background?
Best Backgrounds for Duergar
Skill Proficiencies – Intimidation, Athletics
Tool Proficiencies – Vehicles (land), One type of gaming set
Languages – None
Equipment – A trophy you took from a fallen enemy (a piece of a banner, dagger, or broken blade), a set of common clothes, a deck of cards or a set of bone dice, an insignia of rank, and a pouch with 10GP.
Why the Soldier?
Soldiers are everywhere in D&D, especially when agile war-ravaged Duergar are involved, and where there are soldiers, there are encampments.
With Military Rank, your party, accompanied by your Duergar, will be able to rest in secure military encampments and fortresses.
Skill Proficiencies – Religion, Medicine
Tool Proficiencies – Herbalism kit
Languages – Choose one
Equipment – A set of common clothes, a winter blanket, a scroll case stuffed full of notes from your studies or prayers, a Herbalism kit, and 5 GP.
Why the Hermit?
A Hermit lives a Life of Seclusion, but this seclusion resulted in a campaign-changing discovery.
Whether you picked up a cursed artifact, discovered a secret of the universe, or befriended a god, anything is possible when you’re a Hermit Duergar.
Note: Keep in mind that Duergar live in the Underdark, so they may have certain discoveries unknown to those living above, and their discoveries may be more sinister than previously envisioned.
3. Failed Merchant
Skill Proficiencies – Persuasion, Investigation
Tool Proficiencies – One type of artisan’s tools
Languages – Choose one
Equipment – A set of fine clothes, a merchant’s scale, one set of artisan’s tools, and a belt pouch with 10GP.
Why the Failed Merchant?
Failed Merchant Duergar are essentially the worse versions of Guild Merchant Dwarves, but this lack of bad luck is most likely because they stay in the Underdark.
Supply Chain lets you retain your connections to merchants, entrepreneurs, suppliers, and wholesalers, making it easier for you to call upon their connections when looking for a specific item or items.
Skill Proficiencies – Survival, Athletics
Tool Proficiencies – One type of musical instrument
Languages – One you choose
Equipment – A trophy from an animal you killed, a set of traveler’s clothes, a hunting trap, a staff, and a pouch with 10GP.
Why the Outlander?
Outlander works for almost any class you choose as a Duergar. You can even make it more specific to a Duergar by linking Outlander to the underground.
However, its normal capacity works fine as well, as Duergar may have studied maps that form the landscapes above them as they frequently go to raid or pillage away from their homes.
1. Haunted One
Skill Proficiencies – Choose two of Survival, Religion, Investigation, or Arcana
Tool Proficiencies – None
Languages – Choose two languages, one of which being an exotic language (Undercommon, Sylvan, Primordial, Infernal, Draconic, Deep Speech, Celestial, or Abyssal)
Equipment – A set of common clothes, a monster hunter’s pack, one trinket of special significance (you may choose one or roll for one on the Gothic Trinkets table), and 1SP.
Why the Haunted One?
Shaped by a Harrowing Event, Haunted One Duergar have experienced some of the most horrific atrocities known to any living creature, especially after dwelling in the Underdark.
Their Heart of Darkness fills your eyes with unimaginable horror, noticed by those who speak to you, understanding that you are no stranger to darkness.
Commoners might fear you, but they will also extend a helping hand, at times even fighting alongside you if you were to find yourself standing alone against an enemy.
Whether you’ve experienced utter darkness as a Haunted One, plumbing the depths of the universe as a Hermit, or thriving in the wilderness as an Outlander, each background adds a distinct layer to your Duergar character’s story.
Dive into the depths of your character’s past, allowing the chosen background to seamlessly integrate with their stoic persona.