We're back at it with our D&D 5e background series, today focusing on the entertainer.
What is it?
Entertainers perform for others. They live for having an audience for their skills. Whether you are a musician, a circus performer, or a gladiator, you are equally a form of entertainer. You are an artist in the sense that you live your art through action, not by object. You stir the hearts and minds of men and women with your performances.
How can my class use it?
Entertainers are sort of a Bard-lite. If a Bard selects this background, the overlap in proficiencies will allow them to branch out and pick more diverse skills or proficiencies, which may be useful. It also furnishes a musical instrument as part of the background items list, so that's an expense that can be saved later down the line, and with some musical instruments costing as much as 30 gold, that's not an insignificant expense. Barbarians and fighters are generally best served by making use of the gladiator variant, since it plays to their role as combatants. Rangers and Druids could easily make use of this background to present themselves as a circus lion tamer or snake charmer. Clerics and Paladins could lean more on the poet and storyteller aspects, citing scripture and chivalric legend as sources of inspiration. Monks and Rogues make excellent tumblers or acrobats, as they are both typically characterized by great amounts of physical dexterity. Warlocks, Wizards, and Sorcerers can of course use their magics to entertain and dazzle a crowd.
Why should I use it?
For everyone who isn't a bard, I recommend taking the entertainer background if you want a bardlike flavor while retaining the functionality of your chosen class. Access to the Popular Demand feature is incredibly useful for an adventuring party, who often stays at inns where performances are welcome. There is also the mention of your performances earning you entrance into a noble court, which is particularly handy if you need a foot in the door with a local noble, which again is quite common for adventurers.
What if I play a system other than D&D?
As always, that's cool too. You can still be an entertainer. What is it your character does to draw attention to themself. Do they do stand-up comedy at the local space-cantina? Are they an honest-to-goodness clown, with rubber nose and giant shoes? Or maybe they're an entertainer more informally. They could just have a lovely singing voice, and people throw money at them for it, even if they don't actually consider themself a musician. Also note that any type of entertainer is acceptable. Entertainment need not always be laughter and appreciation. Maybe their livelihood is as a torturer. They solicit the screams of their victims for the delight of sadistic men in a shady back-room. Or perhaps they are a propagandist, trying to inflame the anger and dissatisfaction of the populace. Whatever it is they do, as long as they put on a show and try to sway the hearts and minds of their audience, they are an entertainer.
I hope you enjoyed this and the rest of the content by Digital & Dice. If you would like to read further on entertainer characters, consider checking out my post "Mimes, Politicians, and Piano Players: Atypical Bards" over on my personal blog. Until next time…Game on Internets!
- Draconick, Digital and Dice Contributor
I, Nick “Draconick” Johnson, am a writer and roleplaying enthusiast with over ten years of experience in various tabletop roleplaying games both as a player and as a GM. I am also somewhat involved in other forms of tabletop gaming such as wargaming, board games, and card games. It is my hope that by creating and maintaining this website that I can share my unique take on all things within our hobby and to foster a community of like-minded individuals.