Every story has a beginning. Your character’s background reveals where you came from, and what has influenced you until now. Some backgrounds reflect past lives or careers that you have since given up (such as hermit or gladiator), but some (such as merchant or Templar) reflect current occupations. The backgrounds presented here are custom backgrounds tailor-made for Dark Sun. If there is a background you wish for your character and do not see it here, talk to your DM to see what can be done.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Proficiencies: “If a character would gain the same proficiency from two different sources, he or she can choose a different proficiency of the same kind (skill or tool) instead.” (PhB, 125).
  • Suggested Characteristics: “A background contains suggested personal characteristics based on your background. You can pick characteristics, roll dice to determine them randomly, or use the suggestions as inspiration for characteristics of your own creation.” (PhB, 125).
Background Notes
Acolyte see below
Entertainer see below
Folk Hero illiterate
Gladiator see Gladiator page
Guild Artisan There are no formal artisans guilds, but many informal associations you can be a part of.
Guild Merchant see Guild Merchant page
Hermit illiterate
Noble see below
Outlander illiterate
Sailor Illiterate; replace “vehicles (water)” with “vehicles (silt)”
Soldier illiterate
Templar see Templar page
Urchin illiterate
Veiled Alliance see Veiled Alliance page


There are no gods on Athas any longer. Instead, the denizens of Athas worship nature. A Dark Sun acolyte is a druid. Replace all mention of gods with nature spirits, and use this modified starting package:

Skill Proficiencies: Nature, Medicine
Tool Proficiences: Herbalism Kit
Equipment A druidic focus, various herbs, a walking stick, a belt pouch containing 15 cp.


On Athas, entertainers are more than entertainers: they are often traveling spies and assassins, sent on missions for various groups. Being a wandering minstrel is the perfect cover for a spy: no one suspects the lone lute player, or thinks them capable of murder. When choosing the Entertainer, consider the following modification to the starting package:

Skill Proficiencies: Performance, Deception
Tool Proficiences: Disguise Kit, one type of musical instrument, poisoner’s kit
Equipment Musical instrument of your choice, a vial of poison, a disguise, and a belt pouch containing 15 cp.


Each city-state has its own version of nobility. In Urik, nobles are raised to nobility by King Hamanu, and are rich land-owners. In Draj, the nobility are fierce warriors. When thinking about selecting this background, carefully consider which city-state you came from, and adjust the starting package in accordance:

City-State Name of Nobility Skills Tools Equipment
Balic Praetor
Draj Jasuan Knight replace both skills with Nature, Athletics replace extra language and tool proficiency with one weapon proficiency of your choice plain clothes, signet ring, badge of the Jasuan, purse containing 25gp
Eldaarich Noble replace history with Stealth replace gaming set with poisoner’s kit
Gulg Jugadas replace both skills with Nature, Survival replace gaming set with Herbalism kit replace signet ring and scroll with the mummified head of an enemy
Raam Nawab
Urik Sirdar replace history with one other skill of your choice remove one extra language remove signet ring


The Dying Sands of Athas muuphish