The Best Backgrounds for Druids in 5e dnd

The high fantasy tropes of Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition are no stranger to player creations. Among these high fantasy icons rests the graceful yet terrifyingly powerful Druids, emissaries of the natural world, guardians of the wilds, and wielders of primal magic.

Druidic magic comes from and gives back to the very earth itself, allowing players to showcase the elements to their allies while striking down enemies. While nearly all Druids associate themselves with nature, not all Druids need to follow the same aspects of their identities. Even among the same Druid Circles, the subclass for Druids, players can show their individuality through a careful selection of backgrounds.

Backgrounds grant various proficiencies along with the flavor that influences and supports your characters’ backstories; therefore some backgrounds are better for optimization than others. In this article, we will cover the best backgrounds for Druids in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, separating each section by some of the more popular Druid Circles available to players.

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1. Circle of the Land

The Circle of the Land subclass is made up of mystics and sages that follow ancient knowledge and perform rites through their oral tradition. Druids that follow this Circle will tend to subscribe to the Old Faith and may even work as advisors to rulers in their local regions.

Because the magic of this Circle is related to the land where the player initiates the rite, most backgrounds will either want to match the locale or act as an opposite to it, both of which will serve toward your character’s fantasy niches.

The Hermit

The Circle of the Land Druid thrives in isolation, forging a deep connection with a specific terrain. The loneliness this brings could hinder other characters, but the Hermit’s solitude matches and prepares Druids perfectly for their rites. Being able to foster a symbiotic relationship between land and character is essential even before an adventure begins, so choosing the Hermit can be helpful.

Additionally, players will receive key proficiencies in Medicine, Religion, Herbalism Kits, and one language of their choice- all of which are important to a Druid that hopes to be well-rounded for their party.

The Outlander

The untamed wilds call out to both Druids and Outlanders alike. This pairing works together perfectly, syncing the Druid’s knack for harsh environments with the Outlander’s survivability.

Having lived far from civilization and the comforts of a town or any technology, players taking this background will gain Athletics and Survival proficiencies, knowledge of one type of musical instrument, and one known language. You also become pretty good with maps and geography, granting the ability to survey the area and travel without fear of getting lost.

The Sage

Sages pursue knowledge in both academia and the field. Practical field knowledge often leads to the wilds and studying nature, which extends itself easily to a Circle of the Land Druid’s goal of understanding nature itself. The Sage background adds a layer of wisdom and mystique to the Druid, coupling their magical prowess with an intellectual curiosity about the natural world. Proficiencies earned include Arcana, History, and two languages of your choice. 

best druids background 5e

2. Circle of the Moon

Druids of the Circle of the Moon are fierce guardians of the wilds, taking an aggressive approach to their defensive ideals. Meetings typically take place under the light of a full moon, in which those of the order share news and trade warnings with one another, or they may work alone and often never see another humanoid creature, druid or not. The solo nature of these Druids coupled with their dangerously volatile activities creates legends, myths, and cautionary tales for others to learn.

The Folk Hero

Circle of the Moon Druids can become quite famous among those living in villages under Druid protection. In the event your character acts as a sole protector of an area, the children may begin to tell tales of your bravery, or the governing bodies will honor your heroics.

Regardless of how it begins, your defenses of nature lend themselves to the Folk Hero background, granting you proficiencies in the following attributes: Animal Handling, Survival, one type of Artisan’s tools, and land vehicles. 

The Haunted One

Where the Folk Hero is a local legend, the Haunted One is a cautionary tale. The Haunted One’s enigmatic aura resonates with the primal essence of the Circle of the Moon Druid. Perhaps based on your backstory’s tragic events, your Haunted Moon Druid may want to redeem themselves by any means necessary so long as they can honor nature once more.

If this is the case, then choosing the Haunted One will grant you proficiency in two of the following four choices: Arcana, Investigation, Religion, or Survival. You learn to speak two languages, one of which must be an exotic language. 

The Acolyte

The mysterious nature of the Acolyte lends itself to the secrets of the Druids that meet and worship under the full moon. Many gods inhabit the essence of the moon and the night, and selecting one of these gods or a full moonlit pantheon will allow your character to roleplay much more efficiently as an Acolyte.

Along with Insight, Religion, and two language proficiencies, you also get to work with your Dungeon Master to cater your backstory to the main campaign, plus your god(s) have the opportunity to show themselves and intervene at times- whether it helps you or not. The Shelter of the Faithful Feature can be handy for offering shelter to your party on nights you are unable to keep watch due to the full moon hanging in the sky.

3. Circle of Spores

The Circle of Spores Druid Circle,  members are sometimes called Mushroom Druids, finds beauty in decay. Utilizing mold and other fungi in their magic, they are able to transform lifeless material into abundant and strange life. While their intentions might be good, Mushroom Druids may be seen as unethical from some perspectives, especially when creating life out of death.

The Acolyte

The Circle of Spores Druid, with their symbiotic connection to decay and rebirth, resonates with the Acolyte background’s spiritual devotions. Together, they encapsulate what it means to devote oneself to mysterious powers or religions that others may deem as occult or strange.

We mentioned the Acolyte’s bonuses above with the Circle of the Moon Druid, but your choices in language and behind the scene work with your Dungeon Master will be different. Make your decisions based on whatever fits thematically as well as what can benefit your character’s effectiveness in combat and in roleplay.

The Criminal

The Criminal background seems out of place for Druids as a whole. While evil moralities are not necessarily foreign for Druids, having a connection with nature and preserving the wilds tends to lead to strong moral standings that most can at least agree with on neutral terms. However, the Mushroom Druid requires food for their spores- and fungi grow from the dead.

Criminal backgrounds can include murderers, grave robbers, and even unethical experimentation. Those looking to fuse backgrounds between Criminal and Sage can stick with Criminal for the bonuses and creatively write how the two backgrounds connect for your Mushroom Druid. Criminals gain proficiency in Deception, Stealth, one type of gaming set, and Thieves’ Tools, giving a skill set that is quite unique for most other Druids.

The Sage

Mushroom Druids are quite wise in their ways. Their fields of study are practically untouched by the other classes in Dungeons and Dragons, so the Sage background makes perfect sense for one that wants to pursue, experiment, and share their knowledge of spores with their own Circle or those outside of it.

Arcana and History are still earned, just like the Circle of the Land Druids. However, your two learned languages may be different from Sages of the Land Druids, keeping your character’s individuality just as unique as the player controlling them. 

Conclusion on best druid backgrounds in 5e dnd

The Druid offers many types of Druid Circles to join, each of them granting different magic, a different aspect of nature, and even augmenting their wild shape abilities. While each is powerful in its own right, your choice of background can elevate your Druid to the next level. In combining our selection of Druid Circles- Land, Moon, and Spore- with each of our backgrounds appropriated for the Circles, we get a large canvas to paint our creative combinations on.

Taking into account proficiencies, learned languages, and any kits or vehicles will help us decide which background is best for the character we are creating; however, players should also take into account their backstories whether they are written or simply stored in our memory. Some players will write or craft their backstories before creating their Druids while others will choose their backgrounds and class details then create their backstories.

Regardless of which you choose to do, having a coherent and clear connection between your background and backstory will support your roleplay and combat prowess during live play. Take what you have learned about the Druid Circles and their best backgrounds and create a truly unforgettable character for you and your tablemates.