D&D 5E Do you use/allow custom backgrounds?

The first page of backgrounds in the 5e phb allow for customising a background with simple steps:
  1. pick 2 skills
  2. pick 2 tool proficiencies and/or languages
  3. choose an existing background feature from the phb

How many of you use this in your games? The last point in particular seems like itd be a great way to anchor the pcs into a campaign world. Theyre not a guild artisan, theyre a qaarthian desert nomad spice trader, not a sailor but a dishonourably discharged former member of the red keep guard, etc.

I ask as I'm not much of a fan of the options in the phb as i find them quite bland, but i also think it's an option tha t can open up a great dialogue between player and gm.
 

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Voi_D_ragon

Explorer
If they can make it make sense and not be just a way to grab free skills that aren't on their class list, sure they can go for it.
 

Waterbizkit

Explorer
Since it's not a variant rule, or one to be used at the DMs discretion, the question really should be "Do you disallow use of the custom backgrounds?" That's probably splitting hairs though, especially since there are plenty of people who will take the stance that everything is at the DMs discretion. Either way, the point is I do allow it.

It's nice when everything in a characters background is cogent, but at the end of the day, mechanically it's just a package of a few extra proficiencies and one neat little ability that may occasionally come up in game, so I'm not too bothered by it. Honestly I prefer that the backgrounds benefit makes sense within the context of the story more so than the skill and other proficiencies.
 

5ekyu

Hero
The first page of backgrounds in the 5e phb allow for customising a background with simple steps:
  1. pick 2 skills
  2. pick 2 tool proficiencies and/or languages
  3. choose an existing background feature from the phb

How many of you use this in your games? The last point in particular seems like itd be a great way to anchor the pcs into a campaign world. Theyre not a guild artisan, theyre a qaarthian desert nomad spice trader, not a sailor but a dishonourably discharged former member of the red keep guard, etc.

I ask as I'm not much of a fan of the options in the phb as i find them quite bland, but i also think it's an option tha t can open up a great dialogue between player and gm.

I will allow it unless i see a Compelling Reason To Say No. i would even consider a different "feature" that isn't already listed as long as it was reasonable and no CRTSN.

I encourage players to add stuff to the buffet.
 

Greg K

Legend
As a DM, I include several third party backgrounds and have modified several of the PHB backgrounds for my upcoming campaign. Therefore, I am willing to consider allowing new backgrounds. However, I do not allow players to just create their own backgrounds or make their own modifications. They need to discuss the background with me and, if I determine, that it is appropriate for the campaign setting, we will work together to create the mechanics
 



Shiroiken

Legend
There is nothing wrong with custom backgrounds. I know a player that always wants to use it, since he is not a cookie cutter character... ever. Of course, he usually has a 10 page backstory, a half dozen personality traits, bonds, and flaws too...
 



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