[RPG] What are the available Adventurer’s League eligible D&D 5e backgrounds, and where can I find them


Similar to the possible races, official classes, and 4e backgrounds questions, what are official WotC-published backgrounds available for players, and which books/resources contain them?

By official, I mean that the backgrounds are available for Adventurers League Play. While other backgrounds from Unearthed Arcana or from other WotC sources outside the D&D team are of interest, please mention whether they're considered official and sanctioned or not.

Best Answer

Current as of AL Player's Guide v11.0.

The Adventurers League Player's Guide covers what is a legal DDAL resource. From the AL Player's Guide v11.0:

You can use non-optional rules found in the Player’s Handbook, the Basic Rules, and all the books listed below.

Eligible sourcebooks containing backgrounds:

Official D&D Adventure Products

  • Hoard of the Dragon Queen
  • Rise of Tiamat
  • Out of the Abyss
  • Curse of Strahd
  • Tomb of Annihilation
  • Ghosts of Saltmarsh
  • Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus
  • Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden
  • The Wild Beyond the Witchlight

D&D Adventurer's League and Guild Adept Products

  • Ruins of Mezro
  • Rats of Waterdeep
  • Durnan's Guide to Tavernkeeping
  • Knuckleheads and Other Curiosities

Premier Organizer Products

  • The Border Kingdoms
  • Moonshae Isles Regional Guide

Official Backgrounds from Sourcebooks

  • Acolyte (BR, PHB)
  • Charlatan (PHB)
  • Criminal (BR, PHB)
  • Criminal Variant: Spy (BR, PHB)
  • Entertainer (PHB)
  • Entertainer Variant: Gladiator (PHB)
  • Folk Hero (BR, PHB)
  • Guild Artisan (PHB)
  • Guild Artisan Variant: Guild Merchant (PHB)
  • Hermit (PHB)
  • Noble (BR, PHB)
  • Noble Variant: Knight (PHB)
  • Outlander (PHB)
  • Sage (BR, PHB)
  • Sailor (PHB)
  • Sailor Variant: Pirate (PHB)
  • Soldier (BR, PHB)
  • Urchin (PHB)
  • City Watch (SCAG)
  • Clan Crafter (SCAG)
  • Cloistered Scholar (SCAG)
  • Courtier (SCAG)
  • Faction Agent
  • Far Traveler (SCAG)
  • Inheritor (SCAG)
  • Knight of the Order (SCAG)
  • Mercenary Veteran (SCAG)
  • Urban Bounty Hunter (SCAG)
  • Uthgardt Tribe Member (SCAG)
  • Waterdhavian Noble (SCAG)

Also worth noting is that D&D Adventurer's League supports customizing a background, as per the PHB rules for doing so. While this allows for a custom selection of skill proficiency and tool/language proficiency, you're still restricted to equipment packages and background features as published.

Backgrounds from D&D adventures and other products

  • Cult of the Dragon Infiltrator (HotDQ, RoT)
  • Dragon Scholar (HotDQ, RoT)
  • Deep Delver (OotA)
  • Underdark Experience (OotA)
  • Haunted One (CoS)
  • Anthropologist (ToA)
  • Archaeologist (ToA)
  • Fisher (GoS)
  • Marine (GoS)
  • Shipwright (GoS)
  • Smuggler (GoS)
  • Faceless (BGDiA)
  • Feylost (TWBtW)
  • Witchlight Hand (TWBtW)
  • Heretic (Ruins of Mezro)
  • Detective (Rats of Waterdeep)
  • Tavern Worker (Durnan's Guide to Tavernkeeping)
  • Tavern Regular (Durnan's Guide to Tavernkeeping)
  • Arctic Guide (Knuckleheads)
  • Cold Water Fisherfolk (Knuckleheads)
  • Goliath Seeker (Knuckleheads)
  • Prospector (Knuckleheads)
  • Skald (Knuckleheads)
  • Survivor (Knuckleheads)
  • Whaler (Knuckleheads)

In addition, Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus contains alternate features for all 13 of the PHB backgrounds.

Additional Material

If you’re participating in adventures set in either of these locations, you can use their respective products (found on the DMs Guild) to select a background for your character. Rising Shadows-Moonshae Isles Regional Guide
The Border Kingdoms: A Forgotten Realms Campaign Supplement

The information for older editions can be found here: