Knight Background 5e: Nobility Has REAL Benefits

Last Updated on November 22, 2023

Knight Background

Skill Proficiencies: History, Persuasion

Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set

Languages: One of your choice

Equipment: A set of fine clothes, a signet ring, a scroll of pedigree, and a purse containing 25 gp, (optional: 

Characteristics: The PHB presents us with a variety of options for personality traits, ideals, flaws, and bonds that we can use to roleplay our character. Choose some of the options presented or roll on the tables below.

Feature: Retainer: You have access to three retainers loyal to your family. They do not fight for you, but they can perform mundane tasks. Two of these are commoners, but one is a noble that serves as your squire.

Knightly Characteristics

Since the knight is a variant of the noble background and not its own unique choice, the available options are just those provided by the noble background.

Below, I’ve added some characteristics in addition to the nobles that you can use as alternate options. These are just traits that I believe more accurately represent a character that earned a noble title.

Personality Traits

d10Personality Trait
1My eloquent flattery makes everyone I talk to feel like the most wonderful and important person in the world.
2The common folk love me for my kindness and generosity.
3No one could doubt by looking at my regal bearing that I am a cut above the unwashed masses.
4I take great pains to always look my best and follow the latest fashions.
5I don’t like to get my hands dirty, and I won’t be caught dead in unsuitable accommodations.
6Despite my noble birth, I do not place myself above other folk. We all have the same blood.
7My favor, once lost, is lost forever.
8If you do me an injury, I will crush you, ruin your name, and salt your fields.
9Nobility means little to me beyond the battles it brings me to.
10I was a squire to one of the bravest knights in all the lands, now I seek to carry on his legacy.


1Respect. Respect is due to me because of my position, but all people regardless of station deserve to be treated with dignity. (Good)
2Responsibility. It is my duty to respect the authority of those above me, just as those below me must respect mine. (Lawful)
3Independence. I must prove that I can handle myself without the coddling of my family. (Chaotic)
4Power. If I can attain more power, no one will tell me what to do. (Evil)
5Family. Blood runs thicker than water. (Any)
6Noble Obligation. It is my duty to protect and care for the people beneath me. (Good)
7Service. All that I do is at the command of a higher calling.
8Loyalty. The people fighting at my side matter the most to me.


1I will face any challenge to win the approval of my family.
2My house’s alliance with another noble family must be sustained at all costs.
3Nothing is more important than the other members of my family.
4I am in love with the heir of a family that my family despises.
5My loyalty to my sovereign is unwavering.
6The common folk must see me as a hero of the people.
7Small villages like the one I grew up in hold a dear place in my heart, and I will destroy anyone that threatens them.
8I have been charged with a holy quest.


1I secretly believe that everyone is beneath me.
2I hide a truly scandalous secret that could ruin my family forever.
3I too often hear veiled insults and threats in every word addressed to me, and I’m quick to anger.
4I have an insatiable desire for carnal pleasures.
5In fact, the world does revolve around me.
6By my words and actions, I often bring shame to my family.
7I have no understanding of what it means to be a peasant.
8I take what I want, it is my right.

What is a Knight?

In 5e, a knight is a variant of the noble background. This background puts you at one of the lowest titles of nobility, but allows you to gain some of the benefits of nobility without being noble-born.

Knighthood is provided to people who achieve great accomplishments in service to their country, kingdom, or some aspect of a ruling party. That’s a “real world fact” for you, and naturally, it applies to the worlds of D&D as well. While “kingdoms” may come in many different forms, each has some form of a noble warrior that serves the people and the “crown”.

Even in our world, the term knight is only representative of one culture. The roman legionnaires, Aztec eagle warriors, and Japanese samurais all fit the description this background tends to represent.

In D&D, your knight character is someone who has already done something to achieve the status of knighthood. That something is entirely up to you and your DM. Just remember that a 1st-level character probably hasn’t singlehandedly slain a dragon.

What is the Knight of the Order Background?

While the “knight” background is a vague background based on a knight’s ties to nobility, there is actually an entirely different background called Knight of the Order. These knights are much more similar to soldiers, and belong to a specific order of knights.

These orders can be religious or civic in nature, but the concept of what makes a knight stays largely the same. For more on that, check out our article for the Knight of the Order background.

This background allows you to really explore what it means to be a knight. Sure, you can play a paladin or an echo knight with this background and lean all the way in.

In reality, though, your knight can be anything from a fighter to a warlock, since there aren’t any class restrictions on backgrounds.

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