Background Check

UPDATE: The partial backgrounds found in this article are a preview. They are fully available as a Pay What You Want product on the DMs Guild in a pretty PDF with art and 13 other ready to roll backgrounds.

Oh happy day! If you’ve got a local friendly game store or other book store near you, you’ve probably already got the Player’s Handbook, as I do (or you’re grabbing it today). If you’re waiting for your Amazon order, then check out this article from Mike Mearls previewing the list of backgrounds in the Player’s Handbook. It’s not a bad list at all! There are a lot of great choices there. However, there are a few options I want to add for Exploration Age.

In the article referenced above, Mike gives some great advice about creating your own backgrounds. Proficiencies can easily be swapped out for others. He says the most difficult part is creating your own background benefit, which doesn’t even sound that hard. Check it out.

So with those points in mind, I present to you two backgrounds (and a variant) from the Exploration Age Campaign Guide.

Variant Sailor: Sky Sailor

You live the life of the sailor, but the skies are your seas. Ornithopters and airships are the places where you feel most at home, soaring above the hubbub of the world, isolated in the freedom of flight. You might have served in the military as a scout or in some sort of sky navy, you might have worked for a merchant captain or passenger vessel, or perhaps you were a sky pirate who raided the ships of others.

If you decide to take the Sky Sailor background, you have proficiency in vehicles (air) instead of vehicles (water). In addition your Ship’s Passage feature applies to airships instead of seafaring vessels.

Demolitions Expert

Crazy bomb!

You assemble, dismantle, and use explosives and weapons of destruction, including siege weapons. Maybe were in the military, and you built bombs that you threw into the throngs of invading hordes, launched boulders from catapults into enemy towers, or drove a mech through the front line of an enemy army. Or perhaps you belonged to an organization of criminals or rebels, and you were the one who blew up the safe or caused the buildings of oppressors crumble. Whatever the case, you know the power of weapons of destruction and harnessed them to make structures and enemies fall.

Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, Investigation

Tool Proficiencies: Siege Weapons or Mechs, Bomb-Makers Kit

Equipment: A bomb-makers kit, a collapsible 10-foot pole, a piece of shrapnel from unique explosive you haven’t been able to identify, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp


You were a lumberjack, miner, oil driller, or had another profession which gathers resources nature created. Nature has a lot to offer, and you saw taking those resources as a way to make a living. This kind of labor is hard work, which shaped the person you became today. Decide the nature of your profession (or roll on the table below), the specific resource you harvested, and decide why you left this life to make a career as an adventurer.

d6 Profession
1 Metal Miner
2 Gem Miner
3 Lumberjack
4 Oil Driller
5 Fungus and Herb Collector
6 Fur Trapper

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Nature

Tool Proficiencies: Mechs, vehicles (land)

Equipment:  A work knife, 50 feet of hemp rope, an ancient copper coin found in the wilderness, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp.

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