Pirate DnD 5E Background

Hello adventurers! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out the 39th episode of our background series. if you’re wondering is there a pirate background 5e? then read this full article! today we are going to be going over pirate dnd 5e background which in my opinion is one of the more interesting backgrounds in the player’s handbook. More so because it kind of goes against the grain of a lot of the other backgrounds found in there.

So it is interesting, in any case if you haven’t seen all of our dnd backgrounds list yet and you would like to, please do check out the list by visit our official page. In any case let’s dive right on into the pirate by first checking out its description.


You’ve been sailed on a seagoing vessel for many years. In that particular event of time, you have faced down the mighty storms, monsters of a deep, and of course those who would like to sink in your craft for the bottomless depths. Anyway, your first love is a distant line of an horizon, but the has surely come in order to try your hand at something new only.

You do discuss the nature of a ship that you previously sailed along with your DM. The questions are like

Was it a merchant ship, a naval vessel, a ship of discovery, or a pirate ship? How famous (or infamous) is it? Is it widely traveled? Is it still sailing, or is it missing and presumed lost with all hands?

What were your duties on board – boatswain, captain, navigator, cook, or some other position? Who were the captain and first mate? Did you leave your ship on good terms with your fellows, or on the run?

Now as with a lot of these other backgrounds always make sure your backstory lines up with your character level. For example if you are level 1 you are not going to be the lord of the seven feet seas and the blackbeard is not going to be your first mate. So don’t try it unless it’s some scrawny dude named blackbeard who is just like 12 years old or something.

But for the most part at level one you’re likely just going to be a ship hand, nothing really too special about you. in any case that’s a good transition to move over to the mechanics.


You gain skill proficiency in both athletics and perception. Both of which are amazing skills to have proficiency in by the way, especially if you don’t already have it. Under tool proficiencies you will gain the navigator’s tools as well as water vehicles which is pretty useful. Especially if no one else in your party rather has the ability to navigate especially over the sea.

Under equipment you have belaying pin which is just really a club, 50 feet of silk rope, a lucky charm, a set of common clothes and a pouch containing 10 gp.

  • Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Perception
  • Tool Proficiencies: 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 set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp.

Taking a look at this overall, i do think it is quite strong especially relative to a couple of the other PHB backgrounds. Navigator’s tools and the water vehicles in particular are rather noteworthy. Although depending on your campaign and the NPCs you encounter along the way their usefulness may vary. In any case let’s take a moment here and go over its feature. This one is called bad reputation.

Feature: Bad Reputation

Suppose, if your character has this pirate background, then you may do select this background feature instead of the Ship’s Passage. But no matter wherever you go, the people are affraid of you because of your reputation.

However when you are in the civilized settlement, then you can easily get away with the minor criminal offenses, like the refusing to pay for food at the tavern or else breaking down the doors at a particular local shop, since most of the people shall not report your activity to the authorities.

Now this is rather interesting and i would make a case that as you scale and level and as you pursue this more, rugged thuggish lifestyle. The degree of crimes to which you can get away with would only increase. However something else worth noting is just because you don’t get reported doing it doesn’t mean it isn’t known that you did it.

By this what i mean is, it is fair to be said that some people namely shop owners or inn owners are not gonna like you or your party all that much. They’ll be kind to you in person but behind the scenes they will be using any tools they have access to, to get rid of you and making sure you’re not welcome.

In other words make sure you’re checking your food and drink for saliva before indulging too much. In any case let’s move on to its other features such as ship’s passage and pirate and then we will go over to its suggested characteristics.

Feature: Ship’s Passage

Whenever you need to, you are easily able to secure free passage upon a sailing ship for the sake of yourself and also for your adventuring companions. Any way you might be sail on a ship that you have been served on, or else another ship that you have some good relations with (probably one captained by a former crewmate).

Just because of you’re callig in the favor, that you can not be a specific either of a schedule or route that will meet your every need. Of course your DM shall determine how long it takes in order to get wherever you need to go. In return of your free passage, you and your companions are most expected for assist the crew during the voyage.

Variant Feature: Pirate

You’ve spent all of your youth under a sway of a dread pirate, usually a ruthless cutthroat those who taught you how can you survive in the world of the sharks and savages. However, you’ve indulged in the larceny upon high seas and sent more than a deserving soul for the briny grave. The fear and also bloodshed are no strangers for you, and of course you’ve been garnered a somewhat unsavory reputation in many of a port town.

Suggested Characteristics

Personality Traits

For personality trait i went with “My friends know that they can rely on me no matter what.”

d8Personality Traits
1My friends know they can rely on me, no matter what.
2I work hard so that I can play hard when the work is done.
3I enjoy sailing into new ports and making new friends over a flagon of ale.
4I stretch the truth for the sake of a good story.
5To me, a tavern brawl is a nice way to get to know a new city.
6I never pass up a friendly wager.
7My language is as foul as an otyugh nest.
8I like a job well done, especially if I can convince someone else to do it.


Under ideal i put “Fairness. We all do the work. So we all share in the rewards. And this will take you towards the lawful side of things.”

1Respect: The thing that keeps a ship together is mutual respect between captain and crew. (Good)
2Fairness: We all do the work, so we all share in the rewards. (Lawful)
3Freedom: The sea is freedom-the freedom to go anywhere and do anything. (Chaotic)
4Mastery: I'm a predator, and the other ships on the sea are my prey. (Evil)
5People: I'm committed to my crewmates, not to ideals. (Neutral)
6Aspiration: Someday I'll own my own ship and chart my own destiny. (Any)


Under bond “I will always remember my first ship.”

1I'm loyal to my captain first, everything else second.
2The ship is most important – crewmates and captains come and go.
3I'll always remember my first ship.
4In a harbor town, I have a paramour whose eyes nearly stole me from the sea.
5I was cheated out of my fair share of the profits, and I want to get my due.
6Ruthless pirates murdered my captain and crewmates, plundered our ship, and left me to die. Vengeance will be mine.


Under flaw “I can’t help but pocket loose coins and other trinkets i come across.”

1I follow orders, even if I think they're wrong.
2I'll say anything to avoid having to do extra work.
3Once someone questions my courage, I never back down no matter how dangerous the situation.
4Once I start drinking, it's hard for me to stop.
5I can't help but pocket loose coins and other trinkets I come across.
6My pride will probably lead to my destruction.

I really do kind of like this because it has that almost homesickness kind of vibe to it. You know, you’re a very caring person to those in your inner circle and you likely left a lot of those behind when you decided to leave the sailing life or maybe they were taken from you in a painful way…who knows, we all do the work so we all share in the rewards it’s just a very almost noble thing to say in a lot of ways.

However it might lead you to look down on certain people in high society which might lead to some points of friction in the campaign. Always remembering your first ship kind of falls in the line with that homesickness or nostalgia. And under flaw it just would make sure for some interesting character developments or maybe just some interesting scenarios in general.

A good way to really take advantage of this is to have the DM be like and as you check your pockets you realize you have taken the fiance’s ring without even noticing it. Something like that kind of like kleptomaniac syndrome a little bit. In any case let’s move on to my personal thoughts.


I really like the pirate, i think it’s good in almost every regard. Its feature has some drawbacks inherent to it but you know what it would make for some interesting opportunities, character advancements and just plot details in general. So i like it, gives the dungeon master a lot to work with.

That being said, certain members of your party might not be so fond of it but in terms of a campaign at large i doubt it’ll be affected too too much.


That being said, let me know what you think of the pirate down beneath in the comment section. Be sure to mention any thoughts, questions, comments or concerns you may have as well as any ideas, stories or adventures of your own you might have had. That being said, i hope you all have a great day and as always happy adventuring.

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