A Cleric with an Acolyte background in Baldur's Gate 3.

Baldur’s Gate 3: Character Background Guide

Your character had a life before this tumultuous journey across Faerûn.

Written by:
Avatar photo
Carley is a professional JP-EN translator and writer currently based in Des Moines, Iowa. She has written hundreds of articles for popular sites such as Siliconera, Gameranx, and Otaquest, and has been playing games nonstop since 1996.

Reviewed by:
Avatar photo
Reyadh is a writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction who loves to play video games full of monsters and magic. When he's not scribing unique and unrelenting speculative fiction or slaying demons in virtual worlds, he is writing strategy guides to help others reach their gaming goals.

Key Takeaway

There are 11 backgrounds to choose from in Baldur’s Gate 3, and your decision impacts how other characters interact with you and how you interact with the world. Your background also determines which two skill proficiencies you have and which special quests will become available to you.

The 11 available backgrounds are:

  • Acolyte
  • Charlatan
  • Criminal
  • Entertainer
  • Folk Hero
  • Guild Artisan
  • Noble
  • Outlander
  • Sage
  • Soldier
  • Urchin

By making decisions or performing actions that are in line with your character’s background, you’ll earn Inspiration Points. These can be used to reroll failed Ability Checks.

Along with choosing your race and class, you’ll need to select a character background in Baldur’s Gate 3. This determines who your character was before their current adventure and impacts how other characters interact with you. It also determines your special quests and how you obtain inspiration points.

Table Of Contents

    About Backgrounds in Baldur’s Gate 3

    Fans of Dungeons & Dragons will instantly recognize the importance of backgrounds, but new players may have trouble selecting their character’s lore. There are 11 backgrounds to choose from, and this dictates how you interact with other characters and the environment.

    While you’re free to select any background you’d like regardless of your character’s race or class, certain backgrounds complement certain builds.

    The list of backgrounds on the character creation screen in Baldur's Gate 3.

    Backgrounds decide your character’s two skill proficiencies—for example, Criminals excel in Deception and Stealth, while Nobles are skilled at History and Persuasion. These proficiencies can help you pass certain ability checks as you explore.

    Your background also determines which special quests are available to you.

    Note
    You must create a custom character in order to choose your background. If you’re planning on playing as one of the six Origin Characters, this option won’t be available.

    If you’re someone playing Baldur’s Gate 3 for the story and are unconcerned about optimizing your build, feel free to choose the background that appeals to you the most. As replayable as this game promises to be, there’s no harm in trying a few different backgrounds on for size.

    All Backgrounds and Skill Proficiencies

    Below, you can find more information about every background, including the skill proficiencies that unlock with each.

    BackgroundDescriptionProficiency
    AcolyteYou have spent your life in service to a temple, learning sacred rites and providing sacrifices to the god or gods you worship. Serving the gods and discovering their sacred works will guide you to Greatness.Insight (Wisdom)
    Religion (Intelligence)
    CharlatanYou’re an expert in manipulation, prone to exaggeration and more than happy to profit from it. Bending the truth and turning allies against each other will bring you success down the road.Deception (Charisma)
    Sleight of Hand (Dexterity)
    CriminalYou have a history of breaking the law and survive by leveraging less-than-legal connections. Profiting from criminal enterprise will lead to greater opportunities in the future.Deception (Charisma)
    Stealth (Dexterity)
    EntertainerYou live to sway and subvert your audience, engaging common crowds and high society alike.Acrobatics (Dexterity)
    Performance (Charisma)
    Folk HeroYou’re a champion of the common people, challenging tyrants and monsters to protect the helpless. Saving innocents in imminent danger will make your legend grow.Animal Handling (Wisdom)
    Survival (Wisdom)
    Guild ArtisanYour skill in a particular craft has earned you membership in a mercantile guild, offering privileges and protection while engaging in your art. Repairing and discovering rare crafts will bring new inspiration.Insight (Wisdom)
    Persuasion (Charisma)
    HermitYou were once sworn to seclusion and continue to prefer solitude over the chaos of society.Medicine (Wisdom)
    Religion (Intelligence)
    NobleYou were raised in a family among the social elite, accustomed to power and privilege. Accumulating renown, power, and loyalty will raise your status.History (Intelligence)
    Persuasion (Charisma)
    OutlanderYou grew up in the wilds, learning to survive far from the comforts of civilization. Surviving unusual hazards of the wild will enhance your prowess and understanding.Athletics (Strength)
    Survival (Wisdom)
    SageYou are curious and well-read, with an unending thirst for knowledge. Learning about rare lore of the world will inspire you to put this knowledge to greater purpose.Arcane (Intelligence)
    History (Intelligence)
    SoldierYou are trained in battlefield tactics and combat, having served in a militia, mercenary company, or officer corps. Show smart tactics and bravery on the battlefield to enhance your prowess.Athletics (Strength)
    Intimidation (Charisma)
    UrchinAfter surviving a childhood on the streets, you know how to make the most out of very little. Using your street smarts bolsters your spirit for the journey ahead.Sleight of Hand (Dexterity)
    Stealth (Dexterity)

    About Background Quests and Inspiration

    The background you choose eventually unlocks special quests that add more context to your character’s life as you explore the world of Baldur’s Gate 3. Completing these quests also grants you both Experience Points and Inspiration Points.

    Dialogue options in Baldur's Gate 3 that show which proficiency correlates with which option.

    When you make a decision or perform an action that’s in line with your character’s background, you’ll become Inspired and gain 1 Inspiration Point and 25 Experience Points. Each Inspiration Point can be used to reroll failed Ability Checks, making them incredibly helpful as you progress through the game. Players can only hold four Inspiration Points at a time—any additional points earned are converted into Experience Points.

    Note
    Your companions can also become Inspired on your journey, and all Inspiration Points are stored in a pool with other members of your party. Bringing along characters with different backgrounds is a great way to increase your chance of gaining Inspiration Points.

    Although you aren’t punished for acting against your character’s background, you’ll miss out on Inspiration Points for doing so. Consider this carefully when deciding how you’d like your character to behave and what you’d like their lore to be.

    All Inspiration Goals

    We’ve compiled all Inspiration goals for every background below. Completing these objectives will provide you with an Inspiration Point.

    Acolyte

    Inspiration GoalDescription
    A Kiss Without MercyIn the Shattered Sanctum, impress Abdirak by completing performance checks during the ritual of Loviatar.
    A Unified SpiritAt Waukeen’s Rest, pray with the Flaming Fists.
    Divinity UndoneIn the Dank Crypt in the west chamber found on the Ravaged Beach, unlock and read the Book of Dead Gods. Complete two checks: unlock and examine it.
    Fate Must WaitUse a Scroll of Revivify on your party member or pay the skeleton in your camp after discovering him in the Dank Crypt.
    Her Gift of SilverRecover Selune's lost treasure through prayer inside Owlbear Cave by jumping behind the statue. Read the prayer sheet you find beside the glowing chest.
    Last Rites of the Dark DancerComplete Eilistraee's ritual of sorrow and obtain her blessed blade in the Underdark. You'll need to pass a Religion check.
    Justice Sees AllDiscover why Anders betrayed Tyr by using Speak with the Dead on the body inside the Tollhouse. Confront Anders once this is done.
    Saving the HereticLearn about Maglubiyet and safely free his priest by freeing the Goblin in the cage inside the Shattered Sanctum. You'll need to kill the guards and disarm the trap on the cage.
    Silvanus’ SolitudeWitness the ritual that seals off the grove from the outside world. To do this, Kill Zevlor and report back to Kagha to trigger the ritual when you return to camp and end the day.

    Shatter the MoonDestroy the Moonstone on the statue in the Selunite Outpost located in the Underdark.
    Tipping the ScalesEarn the worship of the Kuo-Toa by persuading them that you are BOOOAL's chosen before fighting and killing BOOOAL.
    The Final Scribe’s BoonDiscover Jergal's amulet in the chapel's hidden tomb. This can be done after obtaining The Amulet of Lost Voices in the Dank Crypt.
    Treefather’s SorrowUnleash Silvanus' curse upon the grove by killing all of the Druids.

    Charlatan

    Inspiration GoalDescription
    A Better OfferConvince the pit spiders to attack the Goblins.
    Anything for the ProfitSuccessfully steal the toe ring from the Novice Crusher in the Goblin Camp.
    Cheese your Way ThroughPersuade the Bandits in the Chapel to let you enter. Interact with the locked door and you'll hear a muffled voice. Choose the [Deception] option and pass the skill check—doing so will also inspire Asterion.
    Devil’s AdvocateInterrogate the dead mind flayer without getting caught.
    Flexible DiplomacyAfter convincing the Tieflings to free Lae’zel, betray them.
    Just Passing ThroughIn Moonhaven, persuade and trick the Goblins.
    MercilessConvince the Gnoll Flind into eating herself. She can be found on the the Risen Road with her pack.
    Mirror MasterIn the Thayan Cellar, Trick the magic mirror.
    One of UsUse the Hag mask to avoid Auntie Ethel's mind-controlled minions.
    Silver Blades, Silver TongueTrick Kith’rak Voss to escape without a fight.
    SpikedPoison the beer in the Goblin Camp.
    The Importance of NetworkingManipulate your way into the Zhentarim Hideout.
    Very Important ParasiteDeceive any of the guards in the Goblin Camp.

    Criminal

    Inspiration GoalDescription
    A Fine Fortune Steal an item worth at least 1000 gold.
    A Sound InvestmentGive Mol money to found a guild in Baldur's Gate.
    Blood PriceMurder an innocent civilian.
    Culling The CrowdPoison the drunk Goblins in the camp.
    Escape ArtistEscape from jail after being arrested.
    Finders KeepersRefuse to return Barth's locket.
    Friend of the FamilyBecome an ally of the Zhentarim.
    HereticSteal the Idol of Silvanus in the Druid Grove.
    JailbreakerSmuggle the Goblin Sazza out of the Makeshift Prison in the Grove.
    Lesser EvilsRob the Enthralled fishermen on the shore.
    Serpent’s BountyTake Zevlor’s payment for killing Kagha in the Druid Grove.
    Slaughter’s PrizeAlly with the Goblin leader Minthara to loot and slaughter the Druid Grove.
    Swiftly StolenSteal the Duergar boots from the Gnome.

    Entertainer

    Inspiration GoalDescription
    A Bard MuseHelp Alfira complete her song at the Druid Grove.
    A Story for the AgesPersuade someone to join your side with a well-timed story.
    CelebrantDance with the Tieflings in the camp.
    Chicken Chase ExtraordinareWin a match of Chicken Chase.
    Feel the BeatSuccessfully perform on the Goblin war drum.
    Give Them a ShowGet the Goblins on your side while dueling the Novice Crusher.
    Heart of the CreatorInteract with Bernard at the Arcane Tower by using one of the phrases from the plays found throughout the tower, then perform with him.
    Life of the PartyIn the Goblin Camp, take part in the toast.
    Made You LookEarn Mattis's respect by taking his Ring in the Druid Grove.
    The Art of AgonyPerform in Loviatar's ritual.
    The Price of FameRescue Volo, Bard Extraordinaire, from the Goblin Camp.
    The Price of InkFree Oskar the painter from the Zhentarim.

    Folk Hero

    Inspiration GoalDescription
    A Lethal EndeavorIn the Underdark, escort Baelen and successfully help him escape the Field of Bibberbangs.
    A Timely RescueSave Findal from the Goblins that kidnapped him in the Underground Passage.
    Fate Worse than DeathIn the Shattered Sanctum, free Liam from his Goblin captors.
    Guardian of the ForgottenSave the Tieflings from the Goblin assault by defeating the three Goblin leaders (True Sol Gut, Minthara, and Dror Ragzlin). Afterwards, return to the Druid Grove and talk to Zevlor.
    LiberatorLiberate the enthralled fishermen from the Mind Flayer near the crashed Nautiloid.
    Protector of the SmallSave Mirkon and defeat the Harpies at the Secluded Cove.
    Rescue from the FlamesSave everyone you can from Waukeen’s Rest.
    Saved by a ThreadSave Smythin from falling to his death in the Spiders' Pit.
    Snake WhispererProtect Arabella from Kagha and her serpent.
    Soul WardenSave Nadira from the Bugbear Assassin.
    The Bard with Nine Lives Rescue Volo from the Goblin Camp.
    The Most Unfortunate GnomeRescue the gnome Barcus Wroot from the Windmill in the Blighted Village.
    Unmasking the TruthFree one of the Hag’s masked Thralls.

    Guild Artisan

    Inspiration GoalDescription
    An Acquired TasteDrink one of Auntie Ethel’s unique potions.

    *Heart of Stone and A Mother's Loathing are the only two beneficial potions—the rest grant temporary or permanent debuffs.
    An Artist in NeedIn the Zhentarim Hideout, purchase Oskar’s freedom by speaking to Brem.
    A Golden MasterpieceSell an item worth at least 1000 gold.
    A New VisionCombine the spearhead you get from the mother Owlbear and the broken shaft from True Soul Edowin.
    In Working OrderRepair the elevator behind the illusionary wall in the Zhentarim hideout.
    Mind Over MushroomsGather ingredients for Omeluum's Potion by speaking to Blurg in the Myconid Colony and visiting the Arcane Tower.
    RegenerationRestore power to the elevator in the Arcane Tower by placing a Sussur flower in the generator at the base.
    The Apprentice Turns MasterCraft Nettie's antidote in the cauldron.
    The Finest IngredientsCreate a masterwork item from Sussur Bark. The blueprints can be found in the blacksmith's basement in the Blighted Village, and once you have the Sussur Bark, return here to craft your weapon of choice.
    The Spider’s GiftIdentify the Drow armor near Waukeen's Rest.
    Trash and TreasureObserve the effects of the Chest of the Mundane by placing an item inside. The chest can be found on the northern balcony of the 3rd floor of the Arcane Tower.
    Valued CustomerTrade with someone who has High approval of you.

    Noble

    Inspiration GoalDescription
    A Man Of Many TalentsRescue Volo from the Goblin Camp and ask him to join your camp.
    Blueblood SolidarityLearn Wyll's family history.
    Bodyguards For HireRecruit the Ogres to fight for you.
    Dragon’s HordeHave at least 2,000 Gold in each companion’s inventory.
    Eldritch AuthorityBecome a True Soul.
    Fine By MeUse your wealth to bribe a guard.
    Lest Ye Be JudgedLearn Astarion's history as a magistrate.
    Noblesse ObligeDismiss a Companion for interrupting a conversation.
    Penchant For DiplomacyReach a High level of approval with a Companion.
    Protector Of The DukeRescue Counsellor Florrick from the second floor of the burning building in Waukeen's Rest.
    Soul For SaleAcquire a Soul Coin for your personal collection. You can find two inside the Dank Crypt, and a Tiefling hands one out at the Druid Grove.

    Outlander

    Inspiration GoalDescription
    Abyss JumperEnter the Underdark through the bottomless well found in the Spider Cave. Be sure to use the Featherfall spell!
    A Mother’s FuryIn Owlbear Cave, successfully defeat the Owlbear Mother.
    A Noble EndeavorUse a noblestalk mushroom.
    Clever CuckooSteal from the giant bird's nest in the Underdark.
    Cub TamerSuccessfully tame the Owlbear Cub.
    CursebreakerDiscover the curse of Yeenoghu and destroy his hyenas.
    Eyes Of The WildSuccessfully see past the illusion covering the swamp.
    Mushroom EnthusiastDestroy every kind of hazardous Underdark mushroom.
    Nest EggTake an item from the Carrion Crawler nest in the Underdark. You must disguise yourself or be a short race to do this successfully.
    Rock SteadySurvive the bandits' rolling boulder trap.
    Sticky FingersAcquire the pouch from the spider's cave.
    Walking On AirSuccessfully use a Fairy Ring.

    Sage

    Inspiration GoalDescription
    All Knowledge Is Worth HavingRead the Thayan tome of Necromancy and pass all checks.
    A Natural AllianceRecognize the Druid and Harper armor.
    A Solitary SpiderRead the arachnomancer's journals found at the bottom of the well in the Blighted Village.
    ReanimatorCorrectly follow Gale's instructions to resurrect him.
    Roots Of The GroveLearn local history from the Druidic frescos.
    Secrets of the High ChieftainConvince Booyagh Piddle to hand over Volo's Guide to Goblins in the Goblin Village and read it.
    Secrets Of The MatronRead the tome 'On Educating the Faithful' found in the Underdark.
    Secrets Of The NecromancerRead The Necromancy of Thay tome.
    Secrets Of The Shadow DruidsDiscover and read Faldron's Canticle found in the chest in Kagha's room in the Druid Grove.
    Secrets Of The Sundering Unlock and read the Book of Dead Gods found in the Dank Crypt.
    Secrets Of The Sussur TreeRead the Treatise of Anti-Magic found on the first floor of the Arcane Tower in the Underdark.
    The Forbidden ArcaneBuy and read Omeluum's notes on illithid magic.
    The Phases UnfoldSolve the moon puzzle sealing the door to the Underdark.

    Soldier

    Inspiration GoalDescription
    Chain of CommandFollow Flaming Fist's orders at the burning inn.
    Conquer of ConquerorsDefeat the Githyanki raiding squad.
    Drowned in the DarkDefeat the Duergar patrolling along the Ebonlake.
    No One Left BehindEnsure all of the Grove's defenders survive the first Goblin assault.
    One for the AgesKill ten or more enemies in one fight without anyone in your party dying.
    PentacrushKill five Enemies in a single turn.
    StrategistDestroy a powerful foe in one strike.
    To Arms!Help the Tiefling Guex learn how to fight in Emerald Grove.
    Warrior of the HellsKill the cultist leader chasing Karlach.

    Urchin

    Inspiration GoalDescription
    Artful DodgerEarn Mattis's respect by taking his ring.
    Born InnocentSave the Owlbear Cub from the Goblins.
    Family Comes FirstEncourage Meli to tell the truth about the Amulet.
    Hunger Never FadesFill your plate at Raphael's House of Hope.
    IdolatryHelp Mol steal the Idol of Silvanus.
    MercenaryExtort gold from Zhentarim survivors.
    Not on My WatchSave Arabella from Kagha and her serpent.
    Protect Your OwnProtect the child who took the locket from Barth.
    Pyramid SchemeConvince the Ogres to fight for you without giving them gold.
    Slaying the PiperRescue Mirkon from the Harpies.
    The Allure of CoinSteal from a child who was killed by Harpies.
    What Price Dignity?Steal the toe ring from Crusher in the Goblin Camp without getting caught.

    Choosing your character’s background is one of the more difficult decisions in the lore-heavy Baldur’s Gate 3. As with many other aspects of this highly customizable title, some trial and error may be needed to find the lore that best scratches your roleplaying itch.

    Read Next
    Cloud Gaming, Explained
    Marshall Gunnell | 9 months ago
    Dragon Age: Inquisition – How to Acquire All Inquisition Agents
    Carley Garcia | 8 months ago
    What Does RNG Mean in Gaming?
    Reyadh Rahaman | 2 years ago