Archaeologist Background 5E

Hello adventurers! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out the third episode of our background series. We have another professional background in store for you today, if you want to look at it like that today we are going to be taking a look at the archaeologist dnd background. This much like the anthropologist before is found in the tomb of annihilation.

I really do like these ones however i feel like this one in particular was modeled or has the potential to be modeled after a rather influential character in the explore and adventure genre. In any case if you missed our d&d backgrounds and you would like to check them then you can use the link and for now let’s dive right into its description.


In dnd backgrounds an Archaeologist 5e have a chance to learn all about the long-lost and also fallen cultures related to the past by studying their remains -also their bones, their ruins, surviving masterworks and also their tombs. it can be practiced by anyone and those whoever do practice the archaeology travel for the far corners of the world to the root via crumbled cities and also the lost dungeons, digging in the search of an artifacts which might tell the stories of monarchs and even the high priests, wars and also the cataclysms.

Feature: Dust Digger

Before becoming an adventurer, you had spent your most of the young life crawling around in the dust, and also pilfering relics of the questionable value from the crypts and also ruins. Although you have managed to be sell a few of your discoveries and even earn enough coins so you can buy proper adventuring gear and also you have held onto an item which has greatest emotional value for the sake of you. You can roll on the signature item table to see what you’ve, or else chose an item from the below table.

D8Signature Item
110-foot pole
7Hooded lantern

And they provide you with this chart so roll a d8 and get a random one. However i gotta say i would probably make up your own right! I find the charts are usually good if you don’t have an idea of what you’re doing or if you’re new to the game. But if you have a particular character concept in mind, so long as your dm’s are right with it. Go nuts you know have fun. Now let’s move on to its mechanics here.


  • Skill Proficiencies: History, Survival
  • Tool Proficiencies: Cartographer’s tools or navigator’s tools
  • Languages: One of your choice
  • Equipment: A wooden case containing a map to a ruin or dungeon, a bullseye lantern, a miner’s pick, a set of traveler’s clothes, a shovel, a two-person tent, a trinket recovered from a dig site, and a pouch containing 25 gp

The skill proficiencies you get are history and survival which are both incredibly useful. And under tool proficiencies you get Cartographer’s tools or navigator’s tools and the choice is up to yours and unlike the other backgrounds we’ve covered you only get access to one language with this particular background.

Under equipment you will see a map to a ruin or dungeon which is awesome by the way, it basically gives you a starting quest. A bullseye lantern, a miner’s pick, a set of traveler’s clothes, a shovel, a two-person tent which is also awesome, a trinket recovered from a dig site that kind of relates to the description up top, and a pouch containing 25 gold piece which puts you in a very good starting position.

Honestly out of all the backgrounds we’ve covered thus far albeit it’s only been two others, this has got to be my favorite in terms of equipment. I love the fact that it contains a map to a ruin or dungeon, it really provides a lot direction to the party straight out of the gate and leads into a character arc of your own which i find to be absolutely amazing and fascinating. Now let’s take a look at their feature.

Feature: Historical Knowledge

The archaeologist has access to historical knowledge. Whenever you make to do enter a ruin or dungeon and you can correctly ascertain its original purpose and also determine its builders, such as whether those were dwarves, elves, humans, yuan-ti, or even some of the other known races. In an addition, you can also determine the monetary value of an art objects more than the century old.

I love this as well, i think this is absolutely fantastic and i do believe it opens up. A lot of opportunities for exposition for the dungeon master and if you’re a dungeon master that specializes in lore this will be an absolute godsend for you. In addition to that the ability to essentially appraise ancient objects is super useful in terms of the priority structure of the party.

Ordinarily parties tend to form themselves in a way where the magic items re always more valuable and thus more preferable and it puts dungeon masters in a strange position where sometimes the party doesn’t sell they’re supposed to and they end up having just too many magic items in general.

This is a great way to prevent that but still provide the partying opportunity to make money or collect trinkets that don’t have any real purpose or implications in the game world itself. It’s very interesting. Now let’s get on to its suggested characteristics here.

Suggested Characteristics

In 5e backgrounds some of the few Archaeologists could be resist the lure of an unexplored either to ruin or to dungeon, especially, if such type of a site was the source of legends or else is rumored for containing the treasures and also relics to the wizards warlords, or even royalty.

Some of these Archaeologist 5e are plunder for the wealth or fame, mean while the others to be considered in their calling to illuminate the past or else keep the world’s greatest treasures from falling into the wrong hands. Of course, no matter whatever their motivations and also archaeologists combine the qualities of the scrappy historian by the self-made heroism of the treasure-hunting scoundrel.

Personality Traits

The personality trait is i love a good puzzle or mystery.

D8Personality Traits
1I love a good puzzle or mystery.
2I'm a pack rat who never throws anything away.
3Fame is more important to me than money.
4I have no qualms about stealing from the dead.
5I'm happier in a dusty old tomb than I am in the centers of civilization.
6Traps don't make me nervous. Idiots who trigger traps make me nervous.
7I might fail, but I will never give up.
8You might think I'm a scholar, but I love a good brawl. These fists were made for punching.


Under ideal, the death wish, nothing is more exhilarating than a narrow escape from the jaw’s of death and that will put you towards the chaotic end of things.

1Preservation. That artifact belongs in a museum. (Good)
2Greed. I won't risk my life for nothing. I expect some kind of payment. (Any)
3Death Wish. Nothing is more exhilarating than a narrow escape from the jaws of death. (Chaotic)
4Dignity. The dead and their belongings deserve to be treated with respect. (Lawful)
5Immortality. All my exploring is part of a plan to find the secret of everlasting life. (Any)
6Danger. With every great discovery comes grave danger. The two walk hand in hand. (Any)


Under bond, i hope to bring prestige to a library, a museum or a university.

1Ever since I was a child, I've heard stories about a lost city. I aim to find it, learn its secrets, and earn my place in the history books.
2I want to find my mentor, who disappeared on an expedition some time ago.
3I have a friendly rival. Only one of us can be the best, and I aim to prove it's me.
4I won't sell an art object or other treasure that has historical significance or is one of a kind.
5I'm secretly in love with the wealthy patron who sponsors my archaeological exploits.
6I hope to bring prestige to a library, a museum, or a university.


I have a secret fear of some common wild animal, and in my work i see them everywhere.

1I have a secret fear of some common wild animal – and in my work, I see them everywhere.
2I can't leave a room without searching it for secret doors.
3When I'm not exploring dungeons or ruins, I get jittery and impatient.
4I have no time for friends or family. I spend every waking moment thinking about and preparing for my next expedition.
5When given the choice of going left or right, I always go left.
6I can't sleep except in total darkness.

Now before i reveal let me know down beneath if you’ve figured out who it is. So as soon as i went through this particular background and i saw all of these and i saw that one of the items you can get through the d8 table is a whip, i’m like oh my goodness there’s no way. I strongly believe there is plausible evidence here to support that wizards of the coast made this at least in part with indiana jones himself in mind.

There’s just too many strange coincidences that seem to line up to support that and i mean i don’t know it is just conjecture of course, i doubt there’s any official statements on it. Now let’s get into my personal thoughts on it. Also read the uthgardt tribe member article.


If you can’t tell i’m a relatively huge fan of the archaeologist background. I think it is one of those backgrounds where the dungeon master needs to be on board in order to take full advantage of it. However when i look at the equipment just the two-person tent alone to me makes it feel like it’s more well-rounded than a lot of the other backgrounds.

And in addition to a lot of these valuable items you get or certainly useful items you get, you get a free quest and 25 gold piece that to me is pretty great. The verdicts out on whether or not historical knowledge is super useful, personally with my dungeon master style i believe it would be. However if your DM doesn’t really fuss about the details of stuff like that then you might not see a ton of use out of it.

In any case it’s worth bringing up during the session zero, the vast majority of dungeon masters i know would absolutely love to have this opportunity for exposition and i don’t know i think it would break up the dungeon crawl feel of a lot of campaigns.

Which is certainly nice you know if you can explain how this particular dungeon as used for excavating raw minerals or how this particular area was used as a temple of worship and people were sacrificed here.

I think that’s all really interesting and it could help explain a larger narrative throughout the whole campaign. Which is to me an incredible opportunity for world building.


In any case let me know what you think of the archaeologist background down beneath in the comments section. Be sure to mention any thoughts, questions, comments, or concerns you might have regarding it. That being said, i hope you all have a wonderful day and of course happy adventuring everyone.

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