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The 5 Best Backgrounds for Half-Orcs in D&D 5e

The 5 Best Backgrounds for Half-Orcs in D&D 5e

Building an attractive backstory for your Half-Orc character is essential, as it not only defines their unique heritage but shapes their journey through the challenges that lie ahead.

Whether you’re a seasoned warrior or a newcomer to the D&D universe, join us as we delve into the savage yet reforming backgrounds of Half-Orcs.

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 Half-Orcs

5. Mercenary Veteran

Skill Proficiencies – Persuasion, Athletics

Tool Proficiencies – Vehicles (land), One type of gaming set

Languages – None

Equipment – A gaming set of your choice, an insignia of your rank, a uniform of your company (traveler’s clothes in quality), and a pouch with the remainder of your last wages (10GP).

Why the Mercenary Veteran?

There are a ton of mercenary groups to choose from, each having its own stances, alignments, lessons, attitudes, and so forth, creating a truly broad character.

Mercenary Life allows you to identify mercenary bands, knowing who hired them, their names, and which taverns they abide in. You can also find mercenary words in between adventures to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

4. Sailor

Skill Proficiencies – Perception, Athletics

Tool Proficiencies – Vehicles (water), Navigator’s tools

Languages – None

Equipment – A set of common clothes, a lucky charm such as a rabbit foot or a small stone with a hole in the center (or you may roll for a random trinket on the Trinkets table in chapter 5), a belaying pin (club), 50 feet of silk rope, and a pouch with 10GP.

Why the Sailor?

Half-Orcs are large, strong creatures who use their strength to help sail ships, often becoming sailors to get out of trouble or getting into trouble as pirates.

Ship’s Passage gives you free passage on sailing ships, while the alternative, Bad Reputation, allows you to commit minor criminal offenses without any repercussions.

3. Folk Hero

Skill Proficiencies – Animal Handling, Survival

Tool Proficiencies – Vehicles (land), One type of Artisan’s tools

Languages – None

Equipment – One set of Artisan’s tools (you may choose), an iron pot, a set of common clothes, a shovel, and a pouch with 10GP.

Why the Folk Hero?

Rustic Hospitality will be your main ability as a Folk Hero, playing the role of people’s hero and an event that defines you as such.

With Rustic Hospitality, you gain the favor of common folk around you, shielding you from danger, though their lives will not be risked for your cause.

Half-Orcs have more tight-knit communities, meaning they’ll appreciate the overall achievements of their kin much more than other races would.

2. Soldier

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 bloodthirsty Half-Orcs are involved, and where there are soldiers, there are encampments.

With Military Rank, your party, accompanied by your Half-Orcs, will be able to rest in secure military encampments and fortresses.

1. Outlander

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?

There is always perilous terrain and bustling settlements requiring an expert to navigate through them.

With Wanderer, your Half-Orc, who would’ve only known where a battlefield is, will always know exactly where you’re going and where to find fresh water and food.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right background for your Half-Orc character in Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a pivotal step in shaping a compelling narrative.

Whether hailing from a military background as a Soldier, embracing the wild as an Outlander, or fighting for coin as a Mercenary Veteran, each choice adds layers to the complex tale of your Half-Orc adventurer.