Urchin 5E Background

Hello adventurers! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out the 51st episode of our background series. Today we have a classic among classic in store for us. Not really for mechanical benefits are there i suppose and it is a really strong background but i think it’s become like more of a meme at this point.

Just because like the idea of a PC with parents is kind of obscure, like i don’t know if i’ve ever played in the game where parents are involved, i don’t think. Another major thing but i don’t think even the DM’s i talked to have. I don’t know i should probably ask him outright and see. In any case doesn’t matter for the context of this article.

But what does this today we’re talking about the urchin dnd background which is found in the player’s handbook and if you haven’t check out the other helpful backgrounds and you’d like to check all of them that dungeons and dragons 5th edition has to offer you can check out the full table from going to this article. In any case let’s dive into the urchin by first going over its description.


In dnd backgrounds this urchin 5e is something different than the others. As per this you have grew up on various streets by alone, orphaned, and poor, you don’t even had no one to look at you about yourself or else to provide something for you. To overcome these types of situations you’ve learned to provide yourself.

You’ve had fought fiercely over the food and also kept the constant watch out for an other desperate souls those who’ve might steal from you.

By nature, you’ve slept on the rooftops and then in an alleyways, exposed to the elements, and also endured sickness without an advantage of the medicine or else a place to recuperate. You’ve been survived despite all odds, and also did so through the cunning, strength, speed, or some combination of each one.

You’ve begun your career as an adventurer with an enough money for living modestly but securely by thinking it should last for at least 10 days. But the question is How did you come by that money? What allowed you to break free of your desperate circumstances and embark on a better life? read the full article below you can get some idea!

As per this the war has been your whole life for at least as long as you could care to remember. You’re trained like a youth and studied a use of weapon and armor, you’ve learned some basic survival techniques that includes how to stay alive on a battlefield. Of course you might be the part of standing national army or even a mercenary company, or probably a member of a local militia who rose to prominence during a recent war.

Whenever you select this background, you must work with your DM in order to determine which type of military organization you were being a part of, and how far though its usually ranks you progressed, and also what type of experiences you actually had at the time of your military career. Was it a standing army, a town guard, or a village militia? Or it might be a noble’s or merchant’s private army, or a mercenary company.

Basically i had a rough kid really rough. But now you’re an adventurer trying to make something of yourself or destroy the world or i don’t know up to you really! In any case there’s a lot you can do with this..treat yourself as an emotionally damaged blank slate and let’s check out some mechanics here.


Under skill proficiency you gain sleight of hand and stealth. Both of which are quite useful in almost every scenario. Under tool proficiencies you gain the disguise kit and thieves tools. Which are both super useful as well.

You get quite a few equipment namely the small knife, a map of the city you grew up in, a pet mouse, a token to remember your parents by, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp.

  • Skill Proficiencies: Sleight of Hand, Stealth
  • Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit, thieves’ tools
  • Languages: None
  • Equipment: A small knife, a map of the city you grew up in, a pet mouse, a token to remember your parents by, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp

Which is interesting because you’d imagine urchins would be poor but there you are with just as much gold as anyone else and even more than a couple of them so. Take from that what you will. It kind of goes without saying these are some really good mechanics.

Sleight of hand and stealth are both super useful in and outside of combat having the disguise kit in general is amazing but add that in with thieves tools which are about as useful as you want them to be and man you’re cooking with fire.

However it’s going to be worth noting you don’t have either of them as equipment provided so you’re gonna have to buy them, pick them up along the way or find the components you need to make them and that’s up to your dungeon masters discretion of course. In any case let’s move on to your feature. This one is called city secrets.

Look at cloistered scholar 5e blog post from our expert team.

Feature: City Secrets

You keep know all kind of secret patterns and also flow to the cities and even can find the passages through the urban sprawl which other would be missed. But whenever you’re not in the combat, you (and also some of the companions you lead) able to travel in between any two locations in a city twice as fast as your speed would’ve normally been allowed.

This is really interesting and really just nice overall. This is actually really similar with one of the gravitant backgrounds we’ve gone over. Namely the golgari agent. The golgari agent kind of replaces the urchin some ways. However the urchin is still better in terms of skill and tool proficiencies at least i like to think so.

Another really good difference between the under city paths that the golgari agent has and city secrets that the urchin has is the urchin it’s almost guaranteed to be safe passage where in terms of the golgari agent it does out of its way to say that it’s not.

So take from that what you will and feel free to describe these paths however it is you’d like but quicker travel is always a good thing, i can’t think of a single instance where it wouldn’t be great. It can get around incurring penalties like exhaustion. Not to mention, if there’s ever a time constraint involved this is going to be super useful.

I would also make an argument that you’d be able to figure out like where secret black markets would be, things of that nature but that’s kind of more so up to your dungeon masters discretion. In any case let’s move on to its suggested characteristics here.

Suggested Characteristics

These urchins in dnd were shaped by the lives of desperate the poverty, for good and for ill. Actually, they would tend to be driven by the commitment to the people by whom they’ve shared life on the street or else by a powerful desire for finding a better life and also maybe get some payback on all of the rich people those who had tread them badly in their earlier life..

Personality Traits

For this particular example for the personality trait i went with “I hide the scraps of food and trinkets away in my pockets.”

d8Personality Trait
1I hide scraps of food and trinkets away in my pockets.
2I ask a lot of questions.
3I like to squeeze into small places where no one else can get to me.
4I sleep with my back to a wall or tree, with everything I own wrapped in a bundle in my arms.
5I eat like a pig and have bad manners.
6I think anyone who's nice to me is hiding evil intent.
7I don't like to bathe.
8I bluntly say what other people are hinting at or hiding.


Under ideal “People: I help the people who help me —-that’s what keeps us alive and that’s a relatively neutral stance.”

1Respect: All people, rich or poor, deserve respect. (Good)
2Community: We have to take care of each other, because no one else is going to do it. (Lawful)
3Change: The low are lifted up, and the high and mighty are brought down. Change is the nature of things. (Chaotic)
4Retribution: The rich need to be shown what life and death are like in the gutters. (Evil)
5People: I help the people who help me-that's what keeps us alive. (Neutral)
6Aspiration: I'm going to prove that I'm worthy of a better life. (Any)


Under bond “I owe my survival to another urchin who taught me how to live on the streets.” Which is pretty cool.

D6Options For Bond
1My town or city is my home, and I'll fight to defend it.
2I sponsor an orphanage to keep others from enduring what I was forced to endure.
3I owe my survival to another urchin who taught me to live on the streets.
4I owe a debt I can never repay to the person who took pity on me.
5I escaped my life of poverty by robbing an important person, and I'm wanted for it.
6No one else should have to endure the hardships I've been through.


Under flaw “It’s not stealing if i need it more than some one else.” Which is a relatively loose moral code to say the least.

1If I'm outnumbered, I will run away from a fight.
2Gold seems like a lot of money to me, and I'll do just about anything for more of it.
3I will never fully trust anyone other than myself.
4I'd rather kill someone in their sleep then fight fair.
5It's not stealing if I need it more than someone else.
6People who can't take care of themselves get what they deserve.

Overall, this particular style of character would likely put far more stock in people than they would in any individual item. As a direct result they’re not super materialistic, maybe they’d get along with the far travelers or the more nomadic backgrounds and people of whatever world you belong to.

It’s really interesting nonetheless and naturally there’s a lot of ways you can go with this. In terms of interesting plot hooks you could get the parents involved, maybe the parents dropped them off at an orphanage or something along those lines to escape some kind of political assassination or something of that effect and they’re actually secretly a noble but i don’t know play it out however you want.

There’s certainly a lot of directions a dungeon master can take the urchin which is really nice, even if it is a little bit of a meme. Now let’s get to my personal thoughts on it.


I really like the urchin, i like it’s great. From a mechanical perceptive it’s really really nice. Certainly better than the vast majority of the backgrounds in the player’s handbook. At least as far as i can tell it suits my play style quite nicely. And its feature is really good as well i mean what more can you really expect from a background.

The biggest complaint a lot of dungeon masters have is there’s not a lot of ways you can kind of pull up this character’s heart strings seeing as how they already lost their family but you can always try reintroducing the family, maybe a long lost brother or something along those lines.

The suggested characteristics also provide tons of opportunity for dungeon masters to really sink their teeth into a character. So i don’t know, i’ve always been a firm believer that the dungeon master is more than capable of out thinking the character and has way more tools in their toolbox to do so.

Who knows maybe their parents get resurrected and want them to stay at home with them and provide the best life possible and the urchin is forced to choose between that life or adventuring with a party. You know there’s a lot you can do with it.

Wrap Up

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

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