Dungeons & Dragons

Some Questions regarding D&D 5E Suggested Characteristics and Variants



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August 24, 2020

There are in total of 13 DnD 5e Backgrounds; every background that we came across has its own peculiar charm that attracts us towards it. This characteristic of the backgrounds (being different from the other is due to one of the main important characteristics that we find in the book, that are to say THE SUGGESTED CHARACTERISTICS.

The Suggested Characteristics that are mentioned in the book encompasses sub-headings like, Personality Traits, Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws.

These four are important when it comes to define a character in a background. It is like describing a person when you get along with him or her. To select a personality trait for your character, all you have to do is to roll a d8 to select one trait for your character. And the same goes for the Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws.

Why are these important for a Background?

Well, regarding this we need to reflect back to ourselves to get the answer to it. Just like normal, a person has his value and motives and these factors play a critical role in his life like how does her perceives things in his life? How does he look at people? How positive and optimistically he thinks and acts? All these cognitive things complete an individual and define him.

Just like this, Personality Traits, Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws play the same role in defining Background in Dungeon and dragons.

Are there any traits in some of the Background that might not go with it?

One of the things that came under my observation when I was going through the background of the Charlatan was that there was some sort of personality trait/s that might not suit the character of a Charlatan.

Like one of his personality traits says ‘I fall in and out of love easily, and am always pursuing someone”, this may not go with a typical Charlatan as they are cunning and whatever they do they do it for themselves and for failing in love with some you have to be selfless and not act mean or deceitful to the one you love.

You may also find some of the traits for your characters in the book that might not go with his personality or you maybe find it like it may suit some other character rather than the character with whom you are playing.

What are the Variant in the Book?

Variants in the player’s book are mentioned alongside the main backgrounds like with Criminal (SPY), Guild Artisan (Guild Merchant), Hermit (other hermits), Nobel (knight), and Sailor (Pirate).

Variant are the side background that might overlap with the main background that is why they are written alongside the main background.

Like if you choose the background of a criminal 5e background and chooses its variant you might notice that the variant SPY as nearly the same back story that of a criminal in which you are a criminal but not completely expose yourself to the others; you work as an espionage agent and you sell secrets for the money to the one how to pay the highest amount for it.


Suggested characteristics are the important factors that will help you to define your character and help you understand more and make you learn more about your character. On the other hand, variants are like the additional side backgrounds that you can choose for your character if suited well.

Each Variant overlaps with the main background but it is not completely the replica of it original and has its own uniqueness that makes it help stand out from the main background.

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