If you’re looking for a Dungeons and Dragons background that is full of OUTdoorsy adventure (ba-dum-tsh), the outlander background in 5e is the one for you. The 5e outlander background is perfect for characters who hail from the wilds, whether that be the frozen tundra, a dense forest, or even an expansive desert. Outlanders have a deep connection to the natural world and those who live within it.
This article will discuss everything that you need to know about the outlander 5e background, including the skills, proficiencies, personality traits, features, and tips to roleplay a character with the outlander background.
Outlander Background 5e—Who are the Outlanders?
Your parents and tribe raised you in the unspoiled wilderness. Or maybe beasts raised you. Either way, you lived out your childhood far from the comforts of civilization, observing nature and the constant change all around you. You learned at an early age that the weak perish. Only the strong survive. Outlanders are often seen as barbarians or primitives by those who live in cities, but you know better than most that civilization is a facade. It’s a thin veneer of order that covers the chaos of the world.
You have survived weather that would bring city folk to their knees, and you were blessed to witness the majesty of nature in all its forms. Migrating herds that stretch for miles from one horizon to the other. Flocks of birds so massive they block out the sun like storm clouds. The silence of a deep forest that no city dweller could comprehend and the comfort of knowing you’re the only thinking creature for miles around.
The wilderness is your home, hero. You know that nothing but strong thrive out there. It’s no place for civilized folk, but if they need a guide, you certainly have the skills.
Outlander 5e Bonuses
- Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Survival
- Tool Proficiencies: One type of musical instrument
- Languages: One of your choice
- Equipment: A staff, a hunting trap, a trophy from an animal you killed, a set of traveler’s clothes, and a pouch containing 10gp
Your Origin as an Outlander
Your travels led you through strange places, distant lands, and wondrous sights the average city dweller would never experience. Outlanders often find themselves in the company of other outlanders, as they are the only ones who can truly understand what it is like to live life in the wild. Think about what these adventures did to mold your view of yourself and the world around you. What skills did you pick up along the way? What did you have to do to survive?
Outlander 5e Origin Table (d10)
5—Exile or outcast
Outlander 5e Characteristics
Outlanders care little for the comforts of civilized life, and even less for the decadence of cities. All the constructs of modernity pale in comparison to the majesty of the wilds. The survival of the whole clan is each person’s responsibility so there is no tolerance for hoarding wealth or wasting resources.
Well mannered folk consider outlanders to be savages. So don’t expect to be welcomed in towns and cities by other races when your ways are considered rude among them. Consequently, you trust members of your family clan or tribe with your life and have reservations about city folk.
Outlanders prioritize the important bonds they share with their tribe, clan, family, and also the natural world. They know how quickly nature can bring terrible wrath upon anyone who doesn’t respect its power. Some outlanders are so in tune with nature they suffer awful visions of disastrous events that have not yet come to pass.
Below you will find tables of suggested characteristics and personality traits. Feel free to choose any or come up with your own.
Personality Trait (d8)
1—I’m driven by a wanderlust that led me away from home.
2—I watch over my friends as if they were a litter of newborn pups.
3—I once ran twenty-five miles without stopping to warn to my clan of an approaching orc horde. I’d do it again if I had to.
4—I have a lesson for every situation, drawn from observing nature.
5—I place no stock in wealthy or well-mannered folk. Money and manners won’t save you from a hungry owlbear.
6—I’m always picking things up, absently fiddling with them, and sometimes accidentally breaking them.
7—I feel far more comfortable around animals than people.
8—I was, in fact, raised by wolves.
1—Change. Life is like the seasons, in constant change, and we must change with it. (Chaotic)
2—Greater Good. It is each person’s responsibility to make the most happiness for the whole tribe. (Good)
3—Honor. If I dishonor myself, I dishonor my whole clan. (Lawful)
4—Might. The strongest are meant to rule. (Evil)
5—Nature. The natural world is more important than all the constructs of civilization. (Neutral)
6—Glory. I must earn glory in battle, for myself and my clan. (Any)
1—My family, clan, or tribe is the most important thing in my life, even when they are far from me.
2—An injury to the unspoiled wilderness of my home is an injury to me.
3—I will bring terrible wrath down on the evildoers who destroyed my homeland.
4—I am the last of my tribe, and it is up to me to ensure their names enter legend.
5—I suffer awful visions of a coming disaster and will do anything to prevent it.
6—It is my duty to provide children to sustain my tribe.
1—I am too enamored of ale, wine, and other intoxicants.
2—There’s no room for caution in a life lived to the fullest.
3—I remember every insult I’ve received and nurse a silent resentment toward anyone who’s ever wronged me.
4—I am slow to trust members of other races, tribes, and societies.
5—Violence is my answer to almost any challenge.
6—Don’t expect me to save those who can’t save themselves. It is nature’s way that the strong thrive and the weak perish.
Outlander Background 5e Feature: Wanderer
While city folk learn to memorize the many streets and neighborhoods around them, the wilderness trained you to have an excellent memory and pay closer attention to detail. Your life in the untamed wild depended on it. You remember every bend of a stream, branch of a tree, and subtle changes in elevation. You know the plants, trees, fields, hills, and mountains because of how they connect to one another, not because they are labeled for your navigational convenience.
Over time this led to a photographic memory so you are able to match maps with geography without hesitation. You learn the general layout of terrain and settlements much faster than most. In addition, you can find food and fresh water for yourself and up to five other people each day, provided that the land offers berries, small game, water, and so forth.
Outlander Background—Tips to Roleplay
You know a life lived to the fullest can only be found in the wild and through the bonds you share with family and nature. So be slow to trust your adventuring companions, but once you do, be willing to protect them as if they are your tribe. So how do you learn to trust them? What do they have to do to earn your trust and respect? Are you more likely to trust druids and other types who might have grown up in a more natural environment? Or are you so tribal that you don’t trust anyone that didn’t live within twenty five miles of your tribe?
Growing up in the wilderness, you did not learn the manners and cultures of city folk. So how do you act that is different from civilized people? What traditions or ceremonies do you practice that might be alien to others? If city dwellers shake hands when they meet, do you bow or offer the hilt of your dagger to show you come in peace?
The wilderness is your home, so why did you leave? If you are not welcome in civilization, what is driving you to enter into their domain? Do you hope to convert them to your way of living? To prove that you are just as good as they are? Or do you have something specific that you need from them and plan to return to the wild once you have it?
What do you think about the 5e outlander background? Is there anything you’d add or change? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!