Pre-Approved Backgrounds

Acolyte

You have spent your life in the service of a temple or a religious academy. You were trained to act as an intermediary between the realm of the divine and the mortal world, learning to perform sacred rites and holy sacrifices. You are not necessarily a Cleric, merely you were raised or trained within a holy institution.
Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Religion
Languages: Two of your choice
Starting Equipment: Holy symbol, prayer book or prayer wheel, 5 sticks of incense, vestments, common clothes, pouch, 15 gp.
Feature: Shelter of the Faithful
You and your companions can expect to receive free healing and care at a temple, shrine, or other established presence of your faith, though you may be expected to supply necessary spell components. Those who share your religion will support you (but only you) enough to enjoy a modest lifestyle.
Additionally, you may have a "home temple" who might be willing to provide additional aid and services, and the faithful flock and other Clerics of your god may be willing to aid you in a pinch.

Charlatan

You grew up with parents or apprenticed yourself to a person who were, essentially, con artists, quacks, cult leaders, or otherwise engaged with taking advantage of people. You learned to read people with a glance, tease out their heart's desire, and figure them out with a few leading questions.
Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Sleight of Hand
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise Kit, Forgery Kit
Equipment: Fine clothes, disguise kit, tools for the con of your choice (ten fake potions, a set of weighted dice, a deck of marked cards, or the signet ring of an imaginary noble family), pouch, 15 gp.
Feature: False Identity
You have created a second identity that includes documentation, established acquaintences, and diguises that allow you to assume that persona. Additionally, you can forge documents, including official papers and personal letters, as long as you have seen an example of the kind of document or the handwriting you are trying to copy (other would-be forgers need to possess an example to work from).

Criminal

You are an experienced criminal with a history of (successfully) breaking the law. You have connections to organized crime or some kind of theives' guild and are closer than most to the world of hired murder, theft, smuggling and violence that pervades the underbelly of civilization.
Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Stealth
Tool Proficiencies: One types of gaming set, theives' tools
Equipment: Crowbar, common clothes in dark colours, hooded cloak, pouch, 15 gp.
Feature: Criminal Contacts
You know how to reliably contact criminal organizations in whatever city you're in, though they are not necessarily inclined to be helpful to you for free you at least known enough of the common signs and language that they would be willing to hear you out.

Cursed

You have lived with some sort of curse for years. How you got the curse, how you became cured and how it affected you are your decision, but it might play into how you acquired the knowledge and powers of your class. While you are no longer suffering unde rthe curse, you have been irrevocably marked by dark powers.
Skill Proficiencies: Intimidation, one of Arcana or Religion
Languages: Two of your choice
Equipment: Traveler's clothes, small knife, two additional rolls on the trinket table, pouch, 15 gp.
Feature: The Pulse of Evil
You have learned to feel the movements of the residual magic left in your system. With ten minutes of meditation (which can be part of a short or long rest), you can sense whether there are any creatures with the fiend or undead types within a mile of your location. You do not get a sense of their location, direction, or even any details about what kind of creature they are, but you can get a rough sense of their number ("one", "some", "many", etc.)

Doctor

You were a barber-surgeon, field medic, nurse, or other healer. Healing wounds, treating disease, and creating medicines are part of your training and perhaps even practice. While matters of flesh and blood make others uncomfortable, you thrive among such elements. When others panic, you're already working out a cure or stopping the bleeding.
Skill Proficiencies: Investigation, Medicine
Tool Proficiencies: Herbalism Kit, Poisoner's Kit
Equipment: A preserved medical anomaly (such as a deformed skull or pickled mutant fetus), herbalism kit, common clothes, pouch, 15 gp.
Feature: The Doctor is In
Barring other factors (race, gender, religion, etc) you can expect a warm welcome basically everywhere you go. If you work as a healer to support yourself, you will able to afford a comfortable lifestyle. In addition, during downtime or travel time, you may provide your allies with free medical care , provided they are sick or injured, and can expect a small amount of aid from your colleagues in the healing profession.

Entertainer

You thrive in front of an audience. You know how to entrance them, entertain them, and even inspire them. No matter what art you practice- music, dance, poetry, humour, or even gladiatorial combat- your art is your life.
Skill Proficiencies: Acrobatics, Performance
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise Kit, one type of musical instrument
Equipment: A musical instrument, a favor from an admirer (love letter, lock of hair, etc), costume, traveler's clothes, pouch, 15 gp.
Feature: By Popular Demand
You can always find a place to perform, be it an inn, tavern, circus, theatre, or perhaps even as part of noble's court. At such a place, you receive a modest or comfortable lifestyle, as long as you can perform each night. In additional, wherever you perform, you eventually become a local figure of note, and can expect aid or hospitality from those who recognize you.

Folk Hero

You come from humble beginnings, but you are destined for a greater calling. Already, you have committed some act- standing up to a corrupt shire-reeve, defeating the local bully, solving a child's disappearance, etc- that made your home village regard you as their champion. Now your destiny calls you stand against tyrants and monsters that threaten common folk everywhere.
Skill Proficiencies: Animal Handling, Survival
Tool Proficiencies: One type of artisan's tools, Vehicles (Land)
Equipment: A set of artisan's tools (your choice), shovel, iron pot, common clothes, pouch, 10 gp.
Feature: Rustic Hospitality
Because of your unpretentious upbringing, you can fit in among common folk with ease. You can find a place to hide, rest, or recuperate among other commoners, unless you've done something to earn their disfavour. They are even willing to shield you from the law (or anyone else searching for you), though they will not risk their lives for you.

Guild Artisan

As an apprentice or a practicing member of an artisan's guild, you were a well-established part of the mercantile world, freed by talent and wealth from the constraints of a feudal social order.
Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion
Tool Proficiencies: One type of artisan's tools
Languages: One of your choice
Equipment: Set of artisan's tools of your choice, letter of introduction from your guild, traveler's clothes, pouch, 15 gp.
Feature: Guild Membership
As an established member of a guild, you can rely on certain benefits from others of your profession. Your fellow guild members will provide you with lodging and food if necessary. Guilds also often wield great political power. If you are accused of a crime, your guild will support you if a good case can be made for your innocence or if the crime is justifiable. Your guild will also pay for your funeral, in the event of your untimely demise.

Hermit

You lived in seclusion- either in a sheltered community such as a monastery, or entirely alone- for a large part of your life. In your time apart from society, you found quiet, solitude, and some of the answers you were searching for.
Skill Proficiencies: Medicine, Religion
Tool Proficiencies: Herbalism kit
Languages: One of your choice
Equipment: Scroll case, notes from your prayers or reflections, winter blanket, common clothes, herbalism kit, 5 gp.
Feature: Discovery
The quiet seclusion of your extended hermitage gave you access to a unique and powerful discovery. It could be a great truth about the cosmos, a fact that lay long forgotten, the location of some lost relic, etc. I might even be damaging information on the people who consigned you to exile.

Noble

You grew up among wealth, power, and privilege. You carry a noble title, and your family owns or oversees land, collects taxes, and wields significant political influence. You could be a pampered aristocrat, a disinherited scoundrel, a fallen knight looking for redemption, or even a merchant so rich the difference between you and the nobility is merely a name. Either way, your duties, you attempts to flee those duties, or even your arrogant whim has made you turn to the life of an adventurer.
Skill Proficiencies: History, Persuasion
Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set
Languages: One of your choice
Equipment: Fine clothes, signet ring, scroll of pedigree or title, purse, 15 gp
Feature: Position of Privilege
Thanks to your noble birth and connections, you are welcome in high society, and when you conduct yourself as a noble and your title is made known, you are afforded rights beyond most people. Common folk will make every effort to avoid your displeasure, other people of noble birth with grant you a degree of hospitality and regard, legal disputes against smallfolk will generally go your way, and formal introductions to royalty and the upper echelons of the religious hierarchy become possible.

Outlander

You grew up in the wilds, far from civilization and the comforts of town and technology. Perhaps you were a nomad, follow the trails of great herds that your people hunted for leather, bone and meat. Perhaps your parents were scholars, and you spent much of your childhood exploring forgotten ruins or digging up ancient civilizations. Perhaps you even grew up among bandits and raiders. Either way, you know the ways of the wild.
Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Survival
Tool Proficiencies: One type of musical instrument
Languages: One of your choice
Equipment: Staff, hunting trap, trophy from a difficult hunt, traveler's clothes, pouch, 10 gp.
Feature: Wanderer
You had to learn how to navigate without maps, and have an excellent memory for geography and can always recall the general layout of terrain and the locations of landmarks you've seen before. In addition, your skill at foraging and hunting means that you can find food and fresh water for yourself and up to five other people each day without making a Survival check.

Sage

You spent your formative years in a scholastic setting, perhaps attending an academy or at the foot of a some mentor. Libraries, auditoriums and classrooms were your home, and learning from ancient teachers and even older manuscripts your work. Whatever the circumstances, your efforts made you an expert in your chosen fields of study.
Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, History
Languages: Two of your choice
Equipment: Bottle of black ink, quill, small knife, letter from a dead colleague posing a question you have not yet found the answer to, common clothes, pouch, 10 gp
Feature: Researcher
When you attempt to recall a piece of lore, if you do not know what it is offhand (ie, fail a relevant check), then you know where you might find out or otherwise how to obtain that information. Usually, this knowledge comes in the form of a library, book, scroll, scholar, or university that you realize could provide a source of that knowledge.

Sailor

You sailed on a seagoing vessel for years. In that time, you faced down mighty storms, the monsters of the deep, and those who wanted to sink your craft to the bottomless depths. Your first love is the distant line of the horizon, but the time has come to try your hand at something new.
Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Perception
Tool Proficiencies: Navigator's tools, Vehicles (Water)
Equipment: Belaying pin that can be used as a club, 50' silk rope, lucky charm, common clothes, pouch, 10 gp.
Feature: Ship's Passage
When you need to, you can secure free passage on a sailing ship for yourself and your adventuring companions. It isn't hard for you to find an acquaintance in port to make this arrangement with. Because you're sailing for free, you can't be certain of the schedule or route, and you and your companions will be expected to pitch in on deck to "pay" for the voyage.

Soldier

War has been your life for as long as you care to remember. You trained as as youth, studied the use of weapons and armour, learned basic survival techniques, including how to stay alive on the battlefield. You might have been part of a royal guard, standing army, town watch, or order of warrior monks. You were the best in your unit, and now the time has come to ply your skills elsewhere.
Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Intimidation
Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set, Vehicles (Land)
Equipment: Insignia of rank, trophy from a fallen enemy or victorious battle, set of dice or deck of cards, common clothes, pouch, 10 gp.
Feature: Military Rank
You have a military rank from your career as a soldier. Soldiers recognize you as a kindred spirit, even if they were former enemies, and would be willing to grant you assistance and shelter if you make you former rank known. Additionally, the army with which you served and their allies may still defer to you as a ranking soldier, and give you access to places otherwise forbidden or fulfilling the occasional requisition request on your behalf.

Tinker

You grew up around tools and know your way around a workshop. Perhaps you served with military engineers, were apprenticed to a clockmaker, or your parents were wandering potmenders and tinsmiths. Whatever the case, you have an instinctive way with machines and tools of all varieties.
Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, Investigation
Tool Proficiencies: Two types of artisan's tools
Equipment: One types of artisan's tools, bottle of black ink, quill, small knife, puzzle box, plans for your next creation, parchment, common clothes, pouch, 10 gp.
Feature: My Finest Creation
You possess a device, your unique creation, that you carry with you wherever you go. Choose one of: a mechanical claw that can extend up to five feet and pick up small objects weighing less than five pounds, a fuel-less lighter than can easily ignite small fires, a music box that can record a play back fifteen seconds of sound, or a mechanical animal that can be wound up and walk in a straight line (speed 10) for one minute.
You can afford yourself a modest lifestyle simply by making a show of displaying your creation.

Urchin

You grew up on the streets alone, orphaned and poor. Nobody was there to watch over you or to provide for you, so you learned to provide for yourself. You fought rats and other urchins for food, and kept a desperate watch out for other unfortunates who would steal from you. You slept in alleyways and on rooftops, exposed to the elements, and endured sickness without the advantages of comfort or medicine. Somehow you've managed to survive, through cunning, strength, speed and luck.
Skill Proficiencies: Sleight of Hand, Stealth
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise Kit, Thieves' Tools
Equipment: Small knife, map of the city you grew up in, pet mouse, a token of your parents, common clothes, pouch, 10 gp.
Feature: City Secrets
You know the secret patterns and flow of city streets and can find passages through the urban sprawl that others would miss. When you are not in combat, you and your companions can travel between any two locations in the city twice as fast as your speed would normally allow.

Pre-Approved Backgrounds

D&D: The Worth of Steel NoMoshing