Sailor Background 5E

Hello adventurers! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out the 44th episode of our background series. Today we are going to be going over the sailor dnd background. Which the pirate we went over, the sailor and the pirate variants of each other basically. I forget which one came first, i think the sailor is the original and then the pirate is technically the variant.

But i don’t really think it matters so much they’re considered two separate dnd backgrounds by almost every metric. In any case well at least they have the same mechanics, same description but the feature is different. Before we move on here if you haven’t checked out our updated background series yet you can check out from this link now let’s dive into the description here.


It’s been many years that you had been sailed on the seagoing vessel. In that specific time, you had faced down some of the mighty storms, monsters of the deep, and also those whoever wanted you to sink your craft for the bottomless depths. In this dnd background your first love is the distant line of horizon, but after the time has been come to try out your hand at something new.

You must discuss the nature of a ship which you’ve previously sailed by your DM. Some of the questions raised at your DM are….

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?

This is also first background from the mighty nine as i’m sure lot of you know. It’s pretty pretty good overall, it’s usefulness may vary but it’s description is really nice. Now let’s take a look at its mechanics here now.


  • 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

Under skill proficiencies you gain both athletics and perception which are both incredibly useful. Under tool proficiencies you gain navigators tools and water vehicles as well. Under equipment you have a belaying pin which is just a club, 50 feet of silk rope, a lucky charm, a set of common clothes and a pouch containing 10 gp. Which puts you in line with the average of course.

Overall it’s really nice and it’s usefulness may vary based on the campaign, if you’re just on like a solid land continent. Odds are the using water vehicles isn’t really going to be super useful. The navigator’s tools in general i find to be quite nice especially if the party is traveling without guides or ferryman or what have you.

But overall it’s quite nice. The athletics and perception are both incredible skills to have by the way and taking a look at the equipment, it’s fine you know there is nothing really worth bragging about but it is yeah it’s fine.

Now let’s move along to the feature here. The feature for the sailor is called ship’s passage and this is opposed to the pirates feature of bad reputation. In any case ship’s passage reads as followed.

Feature: Ship’s Passage

No matter when you need to do, also you able to secure the free passage on a sailing ship for the sake of yourself and also your adventuring companions. You might be sailed on a ship that you’ve served on, or else another ship that you have best relationships with in a good way (probably one captained by a former crewmate).

Just because that you’re calling in the favor and also you can not be certain of the schedule or else the route that will meet your each and every need. Basically, your DM shall determine about how long it is take to get where you have need to go. In consideration for your free passage, you and also your companions were expected to assist a specific crew at the time of voyage.

Also read house agent 5e background

Really very good stuff, basically just really helps you out over seafaring adventures may be even provide you with a couple of extra men just through proxy. That being said though it’s usefulness is gonna vary based on the style of campaign you’re running and i think that’s why the pirate variant really exists but. I don’t know let me know what you think down beneath in the comment section.

This is definitely going to be one of the things that you’re going to one of the things that you’re going to chat with your DM about before taking. Just because if they’re not really planning on you guys going on a boat like you’re restricted to a landlocked continent for example.

You’re really not going to see any usefulness out of this and it’s i’m not going to say it’s going to hurt your party but it’s going to make you feel less useful which i think is even worse right?

Variant Sailor: Pirate

Your young age/your youth has been spent under the sway of the dread pirate, also the a ruthless cutthroat those who taught you about how can we survive in this world of the sharks and also savages.

You’ve been indulged in the larceny on some high seas and also they sent more than a deserving soul for the briny grave. Although the fear and bloodshed these are no strangers to you, and also you’ve been garnered a somewhat unsavory reputation in many of the port town.

Whenever if you’ve decided that your sailing career has been involved the piracy, which you can chose to the bad reputation feature which has mentioned below instead of Ship’s Passage feature.

Variant Feature: Bad Reputation

Actually, this dnd 5e sailor background has feature along with the ship’s passage which is called bad reputation and your character which has this background then you may be chose this bad reputation background feature instead of another feature of this background.

No matter about where you are going to, the peoples all are afraid of you because of your reputation. When you’re in the civilized settlement and also you can get away by the minor criminal offenses, like refusing to pay for the food at the tavern or else breaking down the doors at the local shop, but since most of the people those will not report your activity to the authorities. In any case let’s move on to some suggested characteristics here.

Suggested Characteristics

The sailor background 5e could be the rough lot, but at the same time responsibilities of life on a ship can make them generally reliable as well too. The life can abroad the ship shapes their outlook and then it can forms their most important attachments.

Personality Traits

For the personality trait “I enjoy sailing into new ports and making new friends over a flagon of ale.”

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 “Aspiration: Someday i’ll own my own ship and chart my own destiny and this applies to any particular alignment.”

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’ll 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.

Overall this would just be a pretty fun character to play, very simply motivated by money which isn’t inherently a bad thing it makes the dungeon masters job way easier, and the end goal is to purchase your own ship and sail whatever. However many seas you’ve in your world i really like that a lot, because it provides a kind of end goal for the character that doesn’t like completely remove them from the world.

So using that they can actually become an NPC in future games which is something i love to do and i love to see when other DM’s do it as well. It really helps give the party the impression that they’re building the world around them. It’s really a neat stuff. Now let’s take a look at my personal thoughts about the sailor.


At a glance it’s pretty good overall. That being said though it’s usefulness is very campaign dependent. So chat with your DM about it as i’ve been mentioned earlier. That’s really the best course of action because if you’re not going to be near any major bodies of water. I’m going to probably push you towards the pirate. If you still want to maintain the same characteristics at least.


That being said though, i don’t know let me know what you think down beneath in the comment section. Be sure to mention any thoughts, questions, comments or concerns you may have regarding the sailor. As well as any ideas or cool stories you have. With all of that out of the way, i hope you all have a great day and as always happy adventuring.

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