D&D Backgrounds: Guild Artisan

It’s been a bit, but I wanted to come back and finish off the players handbook backgrounds.The first one that we come back to is the Guild Artisan.

Image Source: Wizards

The Guild Artisan is an adventurer that has had a profession. They are or have been part of the cartographers guild, the blacksmith guild, or any other skilled trade that they might choose. This doesn’t include things like being a wilderness guild as the artisan guilds all focus on some sort of end product. Even if you are just doing calligraphy work, the people who are commissioning the work.

This background is also one of the few backgrounds that encourages you to have down time. Technically, to stay in good standing with the guild, you need to be paying in your guild dues, which aren’t cheap, and while you might make that back in your adventuring, you’re probably better off actually using your guild skill in some down time to use your trade and make more money that way. Because you are paying your dues, you end up getting the benefit of having connections in a lot of spots and a spot to stay with your guild. This is pretty standard for every class, they always have a spot to rest your head if you are willing to look for it, but with the Guild Artisan there is a chance that it can be taken away from you.

So how could you make interesting characters with this?

Image Source: D&D Beyond


In your small coastal town you had a nice little shop. You wrote up the papers for the various shipping merchants that came through and kept track of the payments and which ships had come in. Life was peaceful until a new crew came into town. You got suspicious when their manifests for their shipments didn’t seem to match-up with what you would see in the warehouses. You decided that it was in your best interest to keep an eye on what they were doing and you started snooping around, however, they caught you looking at something you shouldn’t be. They gave you an option, act like nothing happened and help them create forged documents or swim with the fishes. You didn’t want to help them, but that was better than being killed, so you decided to help them. They brought you aboard their ship and you spent the next six years of your life sailing with them and creating documents for them as well and creating their actual business documents. Once they started to trust you, you were able to pick up some skills with the sword and when they had drunk too much at port one time, you took the Captain hostage and brought him to the guards. That got you your freedom, but now you have a black mark on your name. If you can crack a legendary code that hangs in the head quarters of your guild, you might be able to get back in their good graces and make a real living again. Fortunately you have a clue.

Class: Rogue – Swashbuckler
Alignment: Neutral Good


Ting, ting, ting, that was your life for a long time. You were known as one of the best armor makers in your clan, and in the city of Shinholm. You had grown to be quite well known and you had a ton of money, a nice house, and a happy life. Things were going well for you. Then one day the guards knocked down your door and dragged you out into the street. A grieving widow stood in the street and was screaming how you had killed her husband and it was your fault because of your shoddy armor that he had died.There was a trial, but the man had been a popular up and coming noble and while you could tell that the armor he had died in was a forgery of your own, you quickly realized that there were other things going on behind the scenes and that fact didn’t matter. You resigned yourself to your fate, and realized that the gods were looking down on you still when you weren’t hanged like you had suspected but instead were sent to fight on the front lines. There you made a name for yourself when you improved your shoddy armor and you got noticed by an Elven lord. However, you wanted to get back into the good graces of your own lands, you have a shot if you can catch the person who forged your armor as  you’ve started to see forgeries floating around in the elven lords lands now. You just need help since you can be the muscle, but the finer details should be left to someone else.

Class: Fighter
Alignment: Lawful Neutral

Image Source: Geek & Sundry


Your leather work was known throughout the lands, the quality of the work that you did was always some of the best. But you had a secret, you didn’t love the work that you did, you just were good at it. Instead of making things with the leather and exotic hides that were brought in, you preferred to get those hides yourself. One day a woman came in looking to sell you some hides and with a story of a mythical beast whose hide would make the greatest leather armor ever. You became obsessed with this and looked up everything you could about it. Now you have a clue as to where this beast might be, but you know you need to hone your hunting skills before you’ll be able to take it on.

Class: Ranger
Alignment: Any


Filthy, stinking, rich, that is your goal in life, to become filthy stinking rich. You’ve done a pretty good job of getting some wealth, but it isn’t enough. You want more, and while your beer and wines are getting better, you needed to learn how to make even better wine and beer. There was a monastery up on the Higlanch Mountain range that was known for the greatest beers in the world, and that was your goal, to study under them, take what you learned, and then get filthy stinking rich. However, it wouldn’t be that easy, the monks only take in the best, and they can tell that you’re there for the money. They give you a way to prove yourself, and they expect you to train in their ways while you do. Now you’re using the rest of your money to get others to help you complete these quests from the monk, so that you can focus on your training and not end up dead, before you get, you know, filthy stinking rich.

Class: Monk
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
I debated for half a second if this character was evil, but I don’t think they are. They are certainly not good, but they are mainly focused on their single goal. But they aren’t trying to steal the recipe of the beer from the monks, they are just trying to find an easier way for themselves to get the recipe by having other people do the work for them. I feel like they would be the proud leader type of the group while not actually being able to lead.


Have you played a Guild Artisan before? What sort of trade did you have in your background, and did it come up in the game?


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