Exploring Outlander Background in D&D 5E

The Outlander background in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (D&D 5E) opens up a world of role-playing possibilities for players who wish to immerse themselves in a character with a rugged and wild nature, akin to those found in the Outlander TV series or the Outlander book series by Diana Gabaldon. In this article, we will delve into the details of the Outlander background, providing an extensive guide on how to incorporate it into your D&D 5E gameplay.

The Outlander Background in D&D 5E

The Outlander background is designed for characters who grew up in the wilds, far from civilization and the comforts of town and technology. Whether raised by wolves, surviving in the wilderness alone, or part of a nomadic tribe, Outlanders are adept at living off the land, hunting, tracking, and surviving in harsh environments. It offers a unique flavor to a character’s backstory and can lead to exciting role-playing opportunities.

Features of the Outlander Background

  1. Skill Proficiencies: Outlanders gain proficiency in Athletics and Survival, reflecting their prowess in physical activities and their ability to thrive in the wild.

  2. Tool Proficiencies: They are proficient with one type of musical instrument, representing their connection to nature and the primal rhythms of the wilderness.

  3. Languages: Outlanders are likely to speak one additional language that is common among the denizens of the wilderness.

  4. Equipment: Outlanders start with a set of traveler’s clothes, a staff, a hunting trap, and a pouch containing 10 gp. These items are essential for survival in the wild.

  5. Feature: Wanderer: This feature allows the Outlander to find food and fresh water for themselves and up to five other people each day, provided that the land offers such provisions. The Outlander can also navigate the wilderness with ease, never getting lost except by magical means.

Role-Playing an Outlander Character

When playing an Outlander character, it is essential to embrace the rugged and self-reliant nature of the background. Consider the following tips to enhance your role-playing experience:

  • Embrace the Wild: Think about how your character views civilization. Do they find it stifling or uncomfortable? Embrace their wild side and let it shine through in your role-playing interactions.

  • Survival Instincts: Use your proficiency in Survival to track prey, find shelter, and navigate the wilderness. Show your party members how valuable your skills are in ensuring their survival.

  • Nomadic Tales: Share stories from your time in the wild. Describe encounters with dangerous beasts, challenging terrain, or mysterious natural phenomena. Let your past adventures shape your character’s present actions.

Incorporating Outlander Background in D&D 5E Campaigns

When creating a character with the Outlander background, consider how their experiences in the wilderness have shaped their personality, beliefs, and goals. Are they seeking a way back to the wilds they love, or are they looking to bring the lessons of nature to the civilized world? Work with your Dungeon Master to weave your character’s backstory into the campaign setting, creating compelling hooks and opportunities for growth.

Outlander Character Ideas

  1. The Lone Survivor: A character who was the sole survivor of a shipwreck and had to learn to survive on a deserted island.

  2. The Tribal Outcast: An Outlander who was exiled from their nomadic tribe and now seeks to prove themselves and find a new place to belong.

  3. The Wilderness Sage: A hermit who has spent years living alone in the wilderness, communing with nature and gaining insight into the secrets of the world.


1. Can an Outlander background work well with classes like Ranger or Druid?
Yes, the Outlander background complements classes that have a strong connection to nature, such as Rangers and Druids. It provides additional depth to your character’s backstory and can enhance your role-playing experience.

2. How can an Outlander character contribute to a party in a dungeon-heavy campaign?
While Outlanders excel in wilderness survival, they can still be valuable in dungeon environments. Their skills in tracking, navigating, and hunting can help the party avoid traps, find hidden paths, and gather resources in hostile environments.

3. Can an Outlander character have a non-combat focused role in the party?
Absolutely! Outlanders can serve as scouts, guides, and providers for the party, focusing on survival skills, knowledge of the land, and role-playing interactions rather than direct combat.

4. Are there any specific traits or ideals an Outlander character typically follows?
Outlanders often value freedom, self-sufficiency, and harmony with nature. They may prioritize survival instincts, loyalty to their companions, and a deep respect for the natural world in their actions and decisions.

5. How can an Outlander character develop throughout a campaign?
As the campaign progresses, an Outlander character can evolve by adapting to new environments, forming deeper bonds with their party members, confronting their fears or past traumas, and learning to balance their primal instincts with the complexities of civilization.

In conclusion, the Outlander background in D&D 5E offers a rich tapestry of role-playing opportunities for players interested in exploring characters with a rugged, wild spirit. By embracing the wilderness, honing survival skills, and weaving their past experiences into the present narrative, Outlander characters can enrich any campaign with their unique perspectives and abilities. Whether roaming the untamed wilds or venturing into uncharted dungeons, Outlanders bring a sense of adventure and resilience to the world of Dungeons & Dragons.

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