This article incorporates the different facets of the sailor background 5e. Its personality traits, features, classes, and much more are available right here for you to enjoy and learn. Sailor 5e could be the backdrop you were looking for all along.
Table of Contents
What is the 5e sailor background all about?
As a D&D sailor, you have been on the sea for most of your life. You’ve experienced moments of life and death, ranging from wild storms, sea creatures, monsters, and so on. You cherished all those memories, but it’s time for you to return home and start afresh.
As a sailor, you’ve always had a knack for directions and maps, quite like the Outlander feature. However, they aren’t as good as you, obviously.
You’d be offered two skills and a feature that would come in handy. Discuss the rest of the details with your DM, such as the ship you sailed, your position, etc.
5e Sailor Attributes
- Proficiencies – Athletics, Perception
- Tools – Navigator’s tools, vehicles (water).
- Languages – none
- Equipment – A belaying pin (club), 50 feet of silk rope, 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 pair of ordinary clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10gp.
Sailor 5e Features
- Ship’s passage – This detail is more like a free pass for you and your companions to be onboard a sailing ship wherein you were once a sailor or on one where you’ve good relations with the people. Since this would be counted as a sign of goodwill, you can’t decide the route or time it takes to reach your destination; it’s up to your DM. You and your mates would be expected to lend a hand with the ship’s working during its journey.
Variant Sailor: Pirate – Instead of going ahead with the DnD 5e sailor background, you could choose the pirate background 5e, which involves your character being raised by hoodlums and being taught to survive in dangerous situations, quite similar to urchin 5e. You are infamous for ravaging other ships with no regard for people’s lives. If you choose Pirate personality trait, add a pirate attribute in your sailing career and select the notorious trait from the sidebar instead of the boathouse one.
- Variant feature: Infamy – If you enjoy authority and the power that comes with it, this feature would be better for you than the boathouse trait. People would feel terror at the sight of you and you’d get away with petty crimes like overeating at a pub, property damage, etc. because of the threat, you generate in others.
Here is a list of ideals, flaws, and other traits your character possesses in the D&D sailor background.
|1.||My friends can rely on me, and they know that.|
|2.||My motive for working hard is to enjoy afterward.|
|3.||I have fun exploring new ports and making new friends.|
|4.||I exaggerate the truth for the sake of a good story.|
|5.||A tavern brawl is the best way to know a city.|
|6.||Friendly gambling is a must.|
|7.||My language is as offensive as it gets.|
|8.||I prefer a properly done job, especially if someone else does it.|
|1.||Respect: A mutual respect between the crew and the captain is necessary. (Good)|
|2.||Fairness: We all put in efforts, and all of us enjoy its reward. (Lawful)|
|3.||Freedom: The sea represents the idea of going anywhere and doing anything. (Chaotic)|
|4.||Mastery: I’m a conqueror, and my eyes are on the other ships. (Evil)|
|5.||People: I believe in my crewmates and not in ideals. (Neutral)|
|6.||Aspiration: My dream of owning a ship and creating my destiny would come true someday. (Any)|
|1.||My captain comes first for me.|
|2.||The ship is essential as everyone else comes and goes.|
|3.||I can never forget my first ship.|
|4.||I have a lover in a harbor town I miss.|
|5.||My share of profits is due, and I intend to get it.|
|6.||I’m driven by vengeance on those pirates who killed my captain, crewmates, and left me to die.|
|1.||I follow orders, even if they aren’t right.|
|2.||I do anything to escape the extra work.|
|3.||If someone questions my courage, I prove them wrong.|
|4.||Once I start drinking, it’s hard for me to stop.|
|5.||I carry loose coins and trinkets with me wherever I go.|
|6.||My pride would lead to my destruction.|
Sailor background 5e classes
The sailor DnD comes with classes that are well suited to your needs, so pick the one you connect to.
Your sailor could have any role on the ship they like, from lifting things to being part of a tribe who spend their time on the sea. It might be that they are spiritually connected to the ocean, and it’s their true calling. If you plan on introducing them to the sea later in life, explain what their quest is, which motivated them to do so. In the pirate variant, deliberate upon what were you felonies? What does the character feel doing so? And so on.
|1.||I prefer wandering around.|
|2.||I perform a specific ritual before embarking on an adventure.|
|3.||I always visit the cheapest tavern in a new port.|
|4.||I love telling my epic tales of adventures to anyone interested.|
|5.||I prefer testing my strength in physical challenges.|
|6.||My nickname is grim as I take all my quests seriously.|
Every ship should have at least one bard as part of their crew because no one entertains you more than the stories they recite when you’re tired after a long, dull day. They might be on the journey to increase their collections of songs and experiences, or it might be that they feel connected to the sea.
The rationale behind your character joining the crewmates on this voyage and from where did they learn these skills would be the cornerstone of the storyline.
|1.||I have a lover in every place I’ve been to, so it’s hard to keep track of it.|
|2.||My appearance matters to me as a handsome sailor/pirate.|
|3.||I have a rich collection of tales for every occasion.|
|4.||I never turn my back on a challenge.|
|5.||I’m suspicious of people until they earn my trust.|
|6.||I never pass an opportunity to gamble.|
Clerics might be a worshipper of the sea god or the god of weather or storms. For those who choose the pirate backdrop, your personae might be the followers of gods of battle or chaos, and it’s the perfect disguise to spread the commands of your patron. The sailors might even be passionate about spreading peace and harmony in the seas.
Emphasize on moments that shape them as a character, like why did they choose to become a sailor or why you decided to stop sailing, and so on.
|1.||My faith has become strong since I was saved from drowning by god.|
|2.||I’ve come to terms with the volatile nature of the sea.|
|3.||It unsettles me to be on land, and I avoid it at all costs.|
|4.||I relish the chance of sharing fables about my god.|
|5.||I despise people who try to control the sea through magic and technology.|
|6.||I carry a trinket with me to remind me of the sea.|
Druids and the sea go hand in hand. They are excellent at guiding the ship or facing the various sea creatures the ship encounters. Think about why they chose to be a sailor instead of being the protector of the sea. They might feel lonely and as an outsider with others apart from their crewmates, so focus on why they left this life and their plan.
|1.||I prefer being in the water as much as possible.|
|2.||I regret leaving my loved ones.|
|3.||I love the sea, despite being seasick.|
|4.||The strong are responsible for destroying the weak.|
|5.||I hold grudges and punish those who insult me.|
|6.||I’m apprehensive of those who can’t hoist a sail.|
Fighters could be marines interested in military service, or you might be part of the monarch’s navy. You could also be a sailor to explore a new land. It’s up to you to decide how you learned the skills of martial arts. To make your character exciting, you could incorporate some superstitions they believe in and why. Also, figure out the reason behind your character leaving behind this life.
|1.||I use actions instead of words to show my strength.|
|2.||I’m kind to my friends and the worst nightmare for my enemies.|
|3.||I try not to break my code of honor, ever.|
|4.||I keep a list in my mind of where I hid my gold.|
|5.||I care about only one person, and that’s me.|
|6.||I leave before I get too close to anyone.|
A monk might have selfish reasons to join sailor DnD backdrop as it could be used to go for pilgrimages. It’s also possible that they belong to an order of monks that train in the sea. Focus on when they became a monk and a sailor.
In the pirate variant, you need to deal with how the spiritual side links with this path. Pirate monks believe that life is an ultimate test, and the stronger person survives and takes from the weak. They might also be named so because they are the protectors of the poor and meek.
|1.||I stick to my code of conduct, even if it isn’t the best choice always.|
|2.||I follow the motto that life should be experienced fully, including good and bad.|
|3.||I’ll never leave behind anyone.|
|4.||I shy away from small talks, but awkward silences are also discomforting.|
|5.||I exaggerate the truth a lot at times.|
|6.||I pick up things out of curiosity.|
A paladin’s reason to be a sailor could be their motive of eliminating the bad and evil from the world. After finding their higher purpose, they might have left the sea or joined the marines. Before the campaign, they enjoy a life of comfort and satisfaction. Deliberate upon why you left behind the life of a paladin and why did you become a sailor. If you choose to be a pirate, it might be tricky as to how you justify looting people and disregarding all law and order.
|1.||I persuade others to follow the tenets of my oath with me.|
|2.||Even though I’m a pirate, I never lie and remain fair with my hostages.|
|3.||I keep aside some of the robbed things to help the poor.|
|4.||I enjoy the reaction of people listening to an adventurous tale of mine.|
|5.||I will test my strength in any way, even by starting a brawl.|
|6.||I’m frightened of the sea and refuse to swim in it.|
A ranger with a little experience in sailing rivers would be perfect for this backstory as they could go on expeditions and explore all the places on the map. Choosing the river option would be beneficial in this backdrop. Even as pirates, they would be the right choice. They could use their skills of tracking down ships and robbing them of gold and other gems. An animal as a companion would also serve a useful purpose. All you have to think about is why they chose the sea and learned the ranger skills.
|1.||I’m inquisitive about everything and interfere unnecessarily.|
|2.||I’m clumsy, but my crewmates consider me a lucky charm.|
|3.||I’m reserved and speak when required.|
|4.||I require two hours in the morning to function properly.|
|5.||I have this urge to prove my worth and accept any challenges.|
|6.||I enjoy my own company, even in port.|
Rogues are suited to be stereotypical pirates, as seen in movies, so you have to ponder what would make them stand out. Use their desires to mould the background into something exciting such as did they join the crew to seek greater pleasure and fame out of it? Also, why did they decide to quit?
|1.||I only protect my crew and me.|
|2.||I don’t take insults sportingly.|
|3.||I’m generous and share my wealth with friends and strangers.|
|4.||I believe in one rule - From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.|
|5.||I take my skills as a rogue quite seriously.|
|6.||I have a deep appreciation for art, especially opera.|
Sorcerers have a way of getting into any ship, vessel, or navy. Their spells are the best way to defend against the attacks by the pirates or other sea monsters. A sorcerer might find a family in the crewmates on the ship who accept them despite their magical powers. Keep the answers ready for all the when, why, and how.
|1.||I’m incredibly superstitious and keep charms and holy symbols with me.|
|2.||I enjoy showing off my physique and magic.|
|3.||I’ve learned that you can only rely on your crew.|
|4.||I prefer being on the move instead of staying still.|
|5.||I practice a disciplined routine to keep control of my powers.|
|6.||I’m fearless because of my powers.|
A pact between your character and their patron might be in place as they saved their life from a shipwreck. The warlock doesn’t realize until it’s too late that this pact might cost him a lot. They might live in constant anxiety about what might be asked of them, maybe the sacrifice of his crewmates?
Questions such as when they joined the crew, the pact etc. should be answered. Also, temptation is the central theme in this class, so see as to which temptation drives them. Is it love, vengeance, or something more sinister?
|1.||I see people as a means to my end.|
|2.||I’m afraid that I wouldn’t be able to fulfill what my patron asks of me.|
|3.||Little things like the sound of the wind on the sails, the creak of the hull, etc. delight me.|
|4.||I love to know new things about people out of curiosity.|
|5.||I’m a coward who’s immensely afraid of getting hurt.|
|6.||I don’t get too close to people to avoid letting them know my secret.|
Wizards can be a sailor after or before mastering the spells. It could be that you joined the ship to widen your horizons and research more about wizardry, or it might be that you became a crew member to earn money for the studies. Make sure to attach an emotional reason behind you choosing this path.
You can choose to practice spells and necromancy on corpses if you go ahead with the pirate variant. You can even plan for a bigger magical project, and you have the liberty to make them come from a high social status background.
|1.||I frequently party to compensate for the time spent studying.|
|2.||I keep my work under wraps and write in codes to hide from everyone.|
|3.||I see the world analytically as components, actions, and reactions.|
|4.||I enjoy traveling and visiting new places.|
|5.||People are annoyed by me talking too much, but there’s so much to tell in little time.|
|6.||I’m terrified of the ocean and can’t swim.|
Sailor background 5e gives you the power to shape your persona’s life as you want. There are numerous options and varieties to choose from, as Sailor 5e is your getaway from the boring, monotonous life and would turn it into an adventure.