Cloistered Scholar 5E Background

Hello adventurers! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out the 11th episode of our background series. Today we are going to be taking a look at the cloistered scholar background 5e which is one of my favorite ish ones. It’s really good as a really strong feature. It does play second fiddle to another background from a different book. But for the most part it’s pretty well set up.

This cloistered scholar is found in the sword coast adventure’s guide. In case you were curious it did a really good job of adding in a lot of these backgrounds for dnd we’re going to be covering. So certainly worth getting the book if you find it offers you a lot of content. Now let’s move on to its description here.


Being a child, you were actually a inquisitive when it comes to your playmates those who were possessive or raucous. In any of your formative years, you probably have found your actual way to one of the Faerûn’s great institutes for learning, No mater wherever you’re apprenticed and also have been taught about knowledge is a more valuable treasure than any other precious items such as gold or even gems. Because of this knowledge you have so much dare to leave your home- neither to abandon it but for quest to new lore for being added to its storehouse of the knowledge.

But the much more known to this Faerûn’s fonts of knowledge is the Candlekeep. Even it has the great library that is always been in a need of the workers and also attendants, some of those whomever rise via their ranks to be assume the roles of greater responsibility and also prominence. Of course you might also be one of the Candlekeep’s own, they have dedicated to their curatorship of what is much like to be the most complete body of the lore and also the history in all over the world.

Mostly, instead that you were taken in through the scholars of the vault of some sages or else the map House in a Silverymoon, of course now you’ve been struck in order to enhance your knowledge and also for making yourself available for helping those in some other places those whoever seek all of your expertise.

You might also be one of the few those who aid the Herald’s Holdfast, also helping to the catalogue and also maintain some records about the information which arrives daily from across their Faerûn.

Very good stuff! I like this description a lot. Naturally you can take some liberties with it as you see fit, but in essence it actually reminds me a lot of the mage college in the skyrim series. Occasionally you’ll run into mages in the wild that are seeking to do just this, broaden their own experience and knowledge so they can relay it back to the college itself.

Very cool stuff! Naturally you can take as many liberties as you like seeing how it’s your character and of course discuss with your DM how to best fit this narrative into your overall world. Very cool stuff, now let’s take a look at its mechanics.


Under skill proficiencies you gain access to history, plus arcana nature, or religion. So you can pick one of the three last ones there. I feel like the majority are gonna end up with arcana just because this background is the whole seems to be focused on it. However who knows it is up to you.

Under languages you get two of your choice and sadly no tool proficiencies, although given the description it does make sense. Under equipment you get scholars robes and you can have them denote which school or which institution you belong to. You gain a writing kit with all from the necessities, a borrowed book from your library on a certain subject and a pouch containing 10 gold piece which is right in line with that average.

  • Skill Proficiencies: History, plus your choice of one from among Arcana, Nature, and Religion
  • Tool Proficiencies: None
  • Languages: Two of your choice
  • Equipment: The scholar’s robes of your cloister, a writing kit (small pouch with a quill, ink, folded parchment, and a small penknife), a borrowed book on the subject of your current study, and a pouch containing 10 gp

Overall mechanically this background seems to be pretty good! I like that it does offer some versatility between the arcana nature or religion. So you have all of your main casters kind of covered there, be you a wizard or a druid or even a cleric or warlock depending on how you want to go about it.

The two additional languages completely up to you is certainly nice as well. Once again discuss with your dungeon master which languages are going to be more prevalent in whatever region you may have grown up in.

The equipment is just it’s al right for what it is, nothing really worth bragging about but it’s not bad in general. Now let’s move on to its feature. This one is called library access and it’s a little bit more complicated than most but let’s run through it.

Feature: Library Access

Via many others must be frequently endured some of the extensive interviews and also the significant fees to be gained the access for even the most of the common archives which are in your library, perhaps you have free and also easy access for the majority of the library, even though it might have also some of the repositories of lore which are much valuable, magical, or secret to permit anyone for an immediate access.

You have a best practical knowledge of your cloister’s personnel and also the bureaucracy, you do know about how to navigate such type of connections with some ease. In an extra, you are almost likely to gain the preferential treatment at some other libraries which are across the Realms, like the professional courtesy shown to a fellow scholar.

Also know more about faceless 5e background

Very interesting stuff! So the way this kind of works out is it’ll allow you to go to some place of research libraries, archives places like that with relatively a little ease, they might perhaps recognize the symbol on your robes or you may have some other form of identification as well. Once again work with your dungeon master to figure out exactly how that works.

And if you’d really want to go the extra mile with this, i would have whatever group you belong to be fairly prevalent in your world.

That way the area of the feature that mentions you have a good knowledge of the personnel and bureaucracy that would really help make that particular section that be a lot more prevalent in game, this is something that will give you and your party quite the edge during the exploration and social pillars of the game.

And you know to be fair libraries in general would serve as great exposition if the DM wanted to give you, any world building information or lore that may be pertinent to your current quest or campaign as a whole. It’s just a really good tool for them to take advantage of. Now let’s go over some suggested characteristics really quick here.

Suggested Characteristics

If you want to use this cloistered scholar personality traits, ideal, bond and also the flaw then you have to observe the table which we mentioned below, otherwise you can use sage background’s suggested characteristics also, like the basis for your traits and also motivations, which is modifying the entries when ever it needs to suit your identity.

Personality Traits

For a personal trait i put “there’s nothing i like more than a good mystery.”

D8Personality Traits
1I use polysyllabic words that convey the impression of great erudition.
2I've read every book in the world's greatest libraries – or I like to boast that I have.
3I'm used to helping out those who aren't as smart as I am, and I patiently explain anything and everything to others.
4There's nothing I like more than a good mystery.
5I'm willing to listen to every side of an argument before I make my own judgment.
6I… speak… slowly… when talking… to idiots,… which… almost… everyone… is… compared… to me.
7I am horribly, horribly awkward in social situations.
8I'm convinced that people are always trying to steal my secrets.


Under Ideal “Beauty. What is beautiful points us beyond itself toward what is true.”

1Knowledge. The path to power and self-improvement is through knowledge. (Neutral)
2Beauty. What is beautiful points us beyond itself toward what is true. (Good)
3Logic. Emotions must not cloud our logical thinking. (Lawful)
4No Limits. Nothing should fetter the infinite possibility inherent in all existence. (Chaotic)
5Power. Knowledge is the path to power and domination. (Evil)
6Self-Improvement. The goal of a life of study is the betterment of oneself. (Any)


Under bond “I have been searching my whole life for the answer to a certain question.”

1It is my duty to protect my students.
2I have an ancient text that holds terrible secrets that must not fall into the wrong hands.
3I work to preserve a library, university, scriptorium, or monastery.
4My life's work is a series of tomes related to a specific field of lore.
5I've been searching my whole life for the answer to a certain question.
6I sold my soul for knowledge. I hope to do great deeds and win it back.


Under flaw ” I am easily distracted by the promise of information.”

1I am easily distracted by the promise of information.
2Most people scream and run when they see a demon. I stop and take notes on its anatomy.
3Unlocking an ancient mystery is worth the price of a civilization.
4I overlook obvious solutions in favor of complicated ones.
5I speak without really thinking through my words, invariably insulting others.
6I can't keep a secret to save my life, or anyone else's.

Actually, your body is almost precise to be associated either with the place where ever you had grown up or else with your knowledge that you hope to be acquire via some of your adventuring skills. But your ideal is nothing to doubt about relating to how you’ve got view the quest for knowledge and truth – probably like a worthy goal in an itself, or even maybe like a means to a desirable end.

All this is really good stuff! and lends itself to a ton of plot hooks. As well as a lot of incentive to pursue the adventuring trade. The desire to love mystery is really good for just advancing plot lines in general. Looking towards beautiful things or having a tendency to go towards them would likely lead to the character becoming distracted maybe at a key moment.

And the question you’re searching for might be just the whole focus of the quest you’re going out to do and then after you find that answer you plan on returning back and retiring as an adventurer. Which to be fair, isn’t necessarily terrible way to build a character a lot of times i find players build characters with no real end in mind and no real goal outside of maybe dying a glorious death from time to time.

But i do think that’d be interesting and easily distracted by the promise of information would fall them in line with the beauty ideal right! As well as perhaps lead them down more nefarious paths. For example if a demon offered them some information in exchange for a handful of souls what would that character do?

It kind of depends on what kind of a scholar they are, you know if they’re more morally influenced and seek to be an example to other students then maybe they’ll turn it down but if they’re cold calculating and unfeeling. Maybe they’ll take that off or only to maybe regret it later on.

I also think it would be relatively humorous if the question they were looking for was what is the nature of life or something to that effect and the answer is something as cliche as friendship you know! Something like that would be relatively interesting to play around with at least conceptually. Now let’s get to my personal thoughts.


As a relates to the cloistered scholars as a whole i really like it. Its description is interesting and provides some sense of a character arc just in of itself which is super nice for both dungeon masters and players to refer back to from time to time.

Its mechanics are quite versatile between picking your own proficiencies and picking your own languages. The only real drawback is a lack of utility that comes from artisan tools but c’est la vie is it what it is and you can get those from classes as well and if your DM is open to the optional rules about it you can pursue that in your downtime.

Looking at its feature i think it’s quite good and provides a great opportunity for exposition and i do find a lot of dungeon masters have a nasty habit of over preparing and to be fair i’m guilt of that as well. But this feature provides a great outlet for all that extra information they may have included but not had the opportunity to tell you just because it hasn’t come up yet and it might not so i think it’s relatively good for that alone.

Looking at their characteristics, they’re quite and varied and do offer some really interesting insights as to what kind of a scholar you might be. Overall i like it, i think it’s a pretty strong choice, i might rework some of the feature just to make it a little bit better at all levels of play and at all locations. But outside of that i think it’s quite well done.


That being said, let me know what you think about cloistered scholar down beneath in the comment section. Be sure to mention any thoughts, questions, comments or concerns you have regarding it. That being said, i hope you all have a great day and as always happy adventuring my friends.

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