5E Interesting Race/Class/Background combinations

One of the most interesting aspects of 5E is that backgrounds have been turned into a core feature of character creation, almost on a par with classes and races. What's fascinating is that, thanks to that system, you could come up with fairly imaginative character concepts with little to no effort.

Has any of you thought about interesting, out-of-the-box character concepts? A Dark Elf Acolyte Rogue who belongs to a cult of thieves? A Tiefling Sage Fighter who studies the laws of warfare? A Half-Orc Noble Ranger who wants to be accepted by his aristocratic family?


High elf Spy (variant Criminal) Paladin of Vengeance -- a divine assassin. I might have gone acolyte+rogue instead, but assassinating people with a great sword is important to me.

Human Soldier Barbarian -- his rages are fueled by flashbacks from the war.

Half-elf Entertainer Monk -- sort of a Cirque du Soleil vibe.

Folk Hero Warlock -- the people don't know he's a warlock. ;}

Outlander Monk -- Tarzan.



Cauldor my main is Duergar-Drow halfbreed fighter with very interesting background IMO. Very simplified version is as follows:

Mother Duergar - Father Drow, circumstances are not clear but involved politicking by rival Drow families and Illusion-Geas spell. Obviously the offspring would be despised and destroyed by father if known, raised in secret among Duergar by his grandfather who was Duergar clan chief. Clan was destroyed during attack by Drow forces and Cauldor was taken prisoner by Drow and used as slave gladiator and soldier in war against surface dwellers.

Subsequently Cauldor turned against his slave masters during attack on surface Wood Elves and was taken in reluctantly by elves after saving the life of elven prince. Cauldor tries to fit in with elves but does not succeed and after several years is sent to live among Mountain Dwarves who are allies of Wood Elves. Cauldor would find the dwarves to be more of like kindred but would never feel at home or totally accepted by them. As Cauldor reached age of adulthood he decide to venture out into the rest of the world discover his roots and seek revenge against the Drow.

He would go on to win fame as ferocious fighter of great renown and would take his revenge against the Drow... blah, blah, blah...

Racial bonuses granted - +1 Strength, Constitution and Dexterity, -1 Charisma, Wisdom and Intelligence.

That's all for now folks.
So here are some of the character concepts I'm working with for 5e:

- Thomas Rhymer, Half-Elf Arcane Trickster Rogue/Blade Pact Fey Warlock, Charlatan, unwilling Champion of the Duchess of the Dark Side of the Moon: a conman and expert forger with an obsession with magic and magical artifacts tried to cheat a mysterious customer in a deal for some "genuine ancient Elvish runic tablet." The customer turned out to be a powerful Fey noblewoman who took his soul as compensation and then appointed him her judicial Champion - i.e, when the Duchess gets into a fight with some other powerful otherworldly entity, they send some magical beastie to try to kill him by way of an "honorable" duel. Normally, Thomas looks down on fisticuffs as unsubtle and prefers to talk or sneak his way out, but now he's got no choice but to use his new strange powers. At least until he can figure out how to steal his soul back, or find another one...

- Kraal Spitewrought, aka "Ravendil Fleetfoot," NE "Wood" Elf Hunter Ranger/Assassin Rogue, Bounty Hunter. Basically my concept here was a Druchii Shade in disguise, (badly) pretending to be your typical friend-of-nature chaotic good Elven Ranger. Was working as a scout for a Dark Elf raiding party, but his group came under attack by good guys and he scarpered; now is claiming to be a Wood Elf and living among humans who don't know the difference and using "cultural differences" to explain his tendencies to use poisons and torture people. Is actually an excellent wilderness guide and an excellent tracker, but hates nature (much more a big game hunter than an environmentalist) and loves cities. Likes to hunt "the most dangerous game of all," uses bounty hunting to cover his activities. Sharpened teeth, one ear has its point bitten off, the other has black iron rings in it.

- Ajencis "the Angler," Human Battlemaster Fighter/eventual War Cleric, Acolyte. An ersatz Spartan hoplite who became fascinated by philosophy and left the army to pursue his studies. Now works as a bodyguard, protecting other adventurers, but spends almost everything he earns on rare scrolls and manuscripts. Engages the enemy as much with his incessant Socratic method and interest in ontological and ethical conundrums as he does with his halberd. Eventually, I want him to reason his way toward becoming a nontheist Cleric so that he can better protect and heal his friends while laying down hurt on the enemy.

Dunno why they're all multiclass, but something about the class combos makes for fun concepts.


Wellby Brushgather - halfling, sage, cleric of Brabdobaris (halfling demigod of trickery and adventure). Wellby is a scholar and a priest, but to look at him you'd never guess it, clad in studded leather with a brace of daggers slung across his chest. The only tell is the symbol on his shield, which to the uninformed looks like just a bare footprint. Wellby is driven by his curiosity. There's nothing he likes more than a mystery and he's easily distracted by the promise of new information. There should be no limits on knowledge and no constraints on discovery. But the taller folk don't part with secrets easily and sometimes a bit of mischief is needed. Through his domain spells, Wellby can charm others and even assume different guises when needed. He doesn't seek fame or rights (although a good stash of coin is always an asset). Adventure is just a means to a more satisfying end - to have the gravest tales to tell his patron when he finally passes to the afterlife.

Wellby spent a good deal of time at Candlekeep, studying the history of the Realms. He befriended and aged monk who died while Wellby was sill in residence there. The monk bequeathed to Wellby a tome written in an undecipherable language. He also left a letter warning that the book contained terrible secrets and not to let it fall into the wrong hands.


Personally, I love it when a background plays against the assumed archetype of a class...
The paladin outlaw, the warlock folk hero, the wizard outlander, etc.
Personally, I love it when a background plays against the assumed archetype of a class...
The paladin outlaw, the warlock folk hero, the wizard outlander, etc.
This. One of the best things about the 5e PHB, and about Backgrounds in particular, is that very simple things can generate lots of ideas. Going against the grain when it comes to Race/Class/Background combinations is a very easy way to kick things off for a character or even for a campaign.


The halfling cleric I detailed above was the result of randomly rolling stats, race, background, personality traits, ideal, bond, flaw, and a trinket from the table at the end of the equipment chapter and then creating a narrative that fit them all together.

Here's a sampling of some less conventional characters from the same kind of random rolling:

A wood elf barbarian acolyte who feels his faith must be upheld at all costs, worships a hero of his faith, seeks to protect an ancient text that other sees as heretical, and is very inflexible in his thinking. This sounds to me like fanatical cultist, so I made him a member of a band of outcast wild elves who worship Fenmarel Mestarin, the elven god of outcasts and wild elves. Incidentally Fenmarel is called the "Lone Wolf" so he's already lined up to become a totem warrior taking the wolf as his totem. For his tribe, he's a holy warrior, and his rage is a divine blessing.

A tiefling barbarian sailor who works hard, plays hard, swears like... well, a sailor, tends to be view respect among the crew and commitment to the ship as more important than personal bonds, and won't back down form a challenge. I decided to opt for the pirate version of the sailor background to create a former pirate trying to get out of the underworld. But he's got a bad temper and a chip on his shoulder.

A human bard entertainer who is unreliable to his friends, but hard to stay mad at. He likes to tell stories and is prone to bold action. Someone stole his prized musical instrument and he hope to get it back. I wanted to put this character on the path to the College of Valor, so I took the gladiator alternative to the entertainer background and pumped up his strength a little. So he puts own show fights where he wields an ornately decorated greatclub, blasts a warhorn (a replacement for his lost prize), regails the audience with tales of his deeds and compares himself to legendary heroes, and then buys his opponents a drink when its over. I see this guy as sort of a D&D version of an over the top, ostentatious WWE star that looks like the bare-knuckle boxer dude in the hyper-masculine man memes.

A dragonborn fighter urchin who prefers to stay unseen, unnoticed, and is wary of false kindness. He wants a better life and will do most anything he can to earn some gold to get there. The funny thing was I rolled the personality trait for urchins that say "I like to squeeze into small spaces" and then rolled a random height of 6' 7" and wt of 279 lbs. So I picture this huge, hulking dragonborn trying to squeeze himself as tightly into the corner of a tavern as he can because he's nervous in crowds. Funny image. Anyway, I made this guy an orphan whose clan died near a human city and he wound up living on the streets there. He doesn't even remember his given name, just his childhood knickname "Shieldbiter" so he goes by "Biter".

A dwarf monk entertainer. I randomly rolled his type of performance and got fire-eater. He strives for perfection, believes art should reflect the soul, is a sucker for a pretty face, is very loyal to his troupe, and has a story for every occasion. So I made this guy have a very fiery temperament as a youth. He was supposed to become the clan's lorekeeper and historian, but he was just too rowdy to study. His parents sent him to a monastery to learn self control. I decided to put him in line for the Four Elements path and that he learned fire-swallowing as part of disciplining himself. With no real place for him back with his clan, he decided to travel the world and continue his path of self-development. He fell in with a group of traveling entertainers and performs monk-like feats of physical discipline and is the fire-eater. He has flame tattoos all over him. (Maybe he and the bard are buddies).

A human sorcerer (blue dragon heritage) outlander. He has a love of the wilderness, an innate curiosity about things, a thirst for glory and a preference for solving problems with violence. Sounds a bit like Conan to me, except he's a scrawny sorcerer. And I also rolled that he was, in fact, raised by wolves. So I pictured this guy has being found by a nomadic pack of longtooth shifters and raised among them ("raised by wolves"), but he was always the runt and developed a bit of a small man complex. But at puberty his sorcererous heritage started to manifest so now he likes to pick fights with big guys and zap them with his spells.

A human cleric folk hero who once robbed a corrupt merchant, values honesty, likes to inspire confidence in others, never gives up, but has a but has a love for hard drink. For this character, I determined that he was a simple farm boy who grew tired of local corruption. Being a big strapping lad, one night he but on a homemade mask, robbed a crooked merchant and left he tied up and bruised in the town squire. Everyone figured it was him and the local priest took him in to the temple and had him take vows before he could be arrested, providing him sanctuary. But everyone was more willing afterward to begin standing up for themselves. Now as a full-fledged cleric, he protects the common people from oppression and spreads the message of fairness and justice for his deity.

Thank Dog

Well, I know what I find interesting. What everyone else finds interesting is another matter entirely.

I just created a human archfey warlock with the charlatan background fluff but the hermit background benefit. She was raised by the Queen of Faerie (well, her servants) in the Feywild. She doesn't fully know how or why this happened but from what she's been able to garner, she was either a changeling (a human child stolen and replaced by a fae), or was left in the forest by her parents.

She struggles with her identity and strives to live up to the elven ideals. She'll be taking a lot of abilities and powers and spells in order to become more fae-like (manipulative, trickster, chaotic, whimsical as well as things like darkvision, use of a sword, etc.) as she levels up. She has been sent to the Prime Material plane in order to find out more about the Cult of the Dragon and for the first time in her life has been confronted with the realities of her human ancestry. And she's not very impressed by them.
Forest Gnome Barbarian, Urchin background.
Orphaned after a tragic cart accident in the big city, grew up on the streets among the humans, befriending the alley cats and sewer rats and stray dogs (speak with small animals).
He is terribly enthusiastic as befits a gnome but when he thinks about what happened to his parents, or sees anyone being bullied or kept downtrodden, he just gets really mad.
He has a high Dex and prefers to fight with a rapier (those narrow city alleys favour the cut and thrust over the hack and slash).
He's ace.


A Halfling Noble Barbarian, prince of an obscure tribe, prophesied to find a new homeland for his people. Gets very frustrated when nobody takes his credentials seriously. His signet ring and pedigree papers are a carved bear tooth and an ink painting on a wolf pelt.


A Dark Elf Acolyte Rogue who belongs to a cult of thieves?
Speaking of which...
The character I've been playing for quite some time in a "home" (read: FLGS) game: a half-elf acolyte assassin/shadow monk/feypact bladelock. Basically a member of an elite, secret order of assassins within the elven church. He's been so much fun to play.


Kobold Noble. (Comes from a long and proud lineage of princely dragon slaves.)

Catfolk/Rakasta Pirate. (Aquaphobe who lives on a boat!)

(Half) Ogre Secret Agent Rogue. (Shhh!! I am in disguise as one of the human cultists!)

Goblin Sage. (Listen to the great wisdom of the 11 year old!)

Hobgoblin Charlatan. (I will lie to you within the bounds of my honor!)

Minotaur Guild Artist. (For some reason his porcelain shop business just isn't doing too hot.)

Rakasha Urchin. (Alms... alms... alms for the evil megalomaniacal sorcerer tigerman....)
This is probably my favorite aspect of the system! I have a had a great time with it.

I have made a High Elf Illusionist Wizard with the Entertainer Background which was a lot of fun. He yelled magic words, some taken from Harry Potter books and Latin class, whenever he casts any spell (I made it a flaw, if he can't yell it theatrically, it just fizzles...)

I also made a Dwarf Battlemaster Noble (think John Hannibal Smith from the A Team)

My current PC is a Halfling Ranger with the Soldier Background (which, admittedly, isn't that odd)

My backup PC, waiting in the wings, is a Forest Gnome Priest of War (Torm) with a Charlatan Background (Think Psyops)


40th lv DM
I have a dead Warforged Fighter (Eldritch Knight), Nobel (knight).

He's an animated/clockwork suit of armor who's continuously being upgraded by a trio of gnome tinkerers.
Think Iron-Man. With a pit-crew.

Currently the gnomes are crafting him a new head....
Once that's complete a raise dead spell is needed.

So my next 5e character is planned to be one of the gnomes, forced to do some adventuring of his own to get the parts/spell.
Background wise I might make the gnome a noble (knight) as well so I can keep the remaining pit crew + dead warforged handy.


High elf Spy (variant Criminal) Paladin of Vengeance -- a divine assassin. I might have gone acolyte+rogue instead, but assassinating people with a great sword is important to me.
Interesting my divine assassin is a rogue/paladin with a sailor(dread pirate) background he uses the cover of being a pirate to get around town doing what needs to be done.


Dwarf Bard/Skald Sailor who embraces the sea life as a "saltbeard" (gently cribbed from Pathfinder). Has seen a lot of things and has many stories to tell.

Throw a bunch of Dwarf Pirates on a ship and enjoy your new Vikings.