Criminal/Spy Background 5E In DnD

Hello adventurers! welcome to my dnd spy backstory and thank you very much for checking out the 13th podcast of our dnd backgrounds series. Today we’re taking a look at the dnd 5e criminal/spy background. Usually the spy has been considered to be the variant of this background, however there’s none mechanical difference between the two so it’s really just the same aspect.

Since it has been found in the good old players handbook so in that case everyone should have access to it. Of course i want to reveal that, this is perhaps one of the more popular backgrounds selected belonging right up there with the charlatan background 5e and even the urchin background 5e as well and for being honest i could kind of see an appeal behind it. It mainly fits in with a many of the classes outright namely the rogue who knows. In any case let us dive right into its description.

Hello Adventurers!! Thank you sooo much for giving me the opportunity to interact with you! Let me just go over a few details with you. Subscribe for updates from our publishing company Labs, and get free adventures, and 5E content along the way.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.


In breaking any types of laws you’re an experienced criminal. Being a criminal background 5e you’ve a great history in it and you’ve spent much more time among other criminals and you even have good relationships within the criminal underworld.

Actually, to the world of murder, theft, and violence you’re much closer than many peoples actually the violence which pervades the underbelly of the civilization and also you’ve been survived up to this specific point with flouting all of the rules and regulations of the society. Now let’s take a quick look at those mechanics.

  • Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Stealth which are two highly useful in almost all elements of play.
  • Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set (dragon’s chess or cards dice whatever), thieves’ tools as well.
  • Equipment: A crowbar, a set of dark common clothes including a hood, and a pouch containing 15 gp which puts it above that 10gp average.

In its entirety mechanically this is specifically quite a sound background and lends itself to a pretty diverse method of play. Now without any further ado let’s take a look at its feature which is also known to be criminal contact.

Feature: Criminal Contact

As a 5e criminal background in dnd you have most reliable and a trustworthy contact with those who acts your liaison to a network of these criminals. You know the way how to get and receive the messages from your contact and to your contact respectively, even though over great distances; usually, you know the local messengers, corrupt caravan masters, and even seedy sailors those who able to deliver messages for the sake of you.

You can also check soldier d&d 5e background now.

Here i could say this is perhaps one of my favorite features to have in being a dungeon master. So that if a player own it i really appreciate it. However it gives the best tool to the dungeon master in order to allow you with clues and exposition that you may have otherwise skipped or overlooked at the time of your exploration pillar of play.

It is really the best one and i like it and even if you’re a crafty DM you are able to work it into their backstory and also the more they do use the criminal contact the more of a  sedimental attachment the party is likely being to form towards them. Not to mention it does imply that this network is be aware of you and your party and also it may influence the party’s direction in some form of fashion.

And of course there’s anything else to stop means nothing! Of course here the criminal contact from requesting the favors, giving quests and adventurers and of course it might be even pointing the party in a particular directions. So it is absolutely nice and i do really like it you’d feel free to incorporate a little bit of magic in different messages also in some other backgrounds have. But finally i like it, i think it’s really clean. Now let us take a look at some suggested characteristics here.

Suggested Characteristics

In all types of backgrounds 5e any criminal may seem like the villains on a particular surface and of course many of them are villainous to a core. But some of them probably have an abundance of the endearing, but only if they’re not redeeming the characteristics.

Of course there might be an honor among those thieves, but all the criminals show any respect for the law or authority very seldomly.


Under bond i went with “Someone i would love died because of the mistake that i made. That would never happen again. And that would likely loop back to the personality trait itself.

1I’m trying to pay off an old debt I owe to a generous benefactor.
2My ill-gotten gains go to support my family.
3Something important was taken from me, and I aim to steal it back.
4I will become the greatest thief that ever lived.
5I’m guilty of a terrible crime. I hope I can redeem myself for it.
6Someone I loved died because of a mistake I made. That will never happen again.


Under the ideal i put honor: I do not steal from the others in the trade and of course it is lawful. And that might also serve a utility benefit as well.

1Honor. I don’t steal from others in the trade. (Lawful)
2Freedom. Chains are meant to be broken, as are those who would forge them. (Chaotic)
3Charity. I steal from the wealthy so that I can help people in need. (Good)
4Greed. I will do whatever it takes to become wealthy. (Evil)
5People. I’m loyal to my friends, not to any ideals, and everyone else can take a trip down the Styx for all I care. (Neutral)
6Redemption. There’s a spark of good in everyone. (Good)


Here under flaw i went with “When i see something valuable, i can’t think about any thing but how to steal it.” And that type of goes in line with perhaps why do they even became a criminal in the first place.

1When I see something valuable, I can’t think about anything but how to steal it.
2When faced with a choice between money and my friends, I usually choose the money.
3If there’s a plan, I’ll forget it. If I don’t forget it, I’ll ignore it.
4I have a “tell” that reveals when I’m lying.
5I turn tail and run when things look bad.
6An innocent person is in prison for a crime that I committed. I’m okay with that.

Personality Traits

For the personality trait i went with “I do always have a better plan for what to do when things go wrong.” Which is just kind of fits in with the criminal or the spy mentality.

D8Personality Traits
1I always have a plan for what to do when things go wrong.
2I am always calm, no matter what the situation. I never raise my voice or let my emotions control me.
3The first thing I do in a new place is note the locations of everything valuable—or where such things could be hidden.
4I would rather make a new friend than a new enemy.
5I am incredibly slow to trust. Those who seem the fairest often have the most to hide.
6I don’t pay attention to the risks in a situation. Never tell me the odds.
7The best way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t do it.
8I blow up at the slightest insult.

It is absolutely cool and i really think the potential for role play opportunities and also world building is off the charts for the criminal and of course it is not to mention it would be pretty fun for an average player. Now let us go through the features and my personal thoughts on this background.

Feature: Criminal 5E Speciality

There are various types of dnd criminal’s and within a thieves the guild or the similar criminal organization, the individual members actually have specific specialties. Not only these criminal’s even those who operate outside of such types of organizations have as strong as enough preferences for particular types of crimes over others. You have to select the role which you’ve played in your whole criminal life or else you can roll on the below table.

And it gives you with a nice d8 table to a kind of see what is your favorite speciality like it were. In any case you can feel free to come up with your own as well, i don’t really thought these charts to be overly useful but that is of course just me.

d8Criminal Specialty
5Highway robber
6Hired killer

Variant Criminal / Spy: Spy

even though all of your capabilities aren’t differ from those of the burglar or smuggler, you’ve learned and also you’ve practiced those criminals in a context which is in a different way; like an espionage agent. Of course, you might’ve been an officially sanctioned agent of the crown, or probably you sold the secrets that you uncovered to the highest bidder.

Personal Thoughts

That being said, I really do love it and i do find out in any case. Sometimes you’d get the players who shall grab this background for just kind of be jerks to other party members and abuse the term that it’s what my character would do endlessly. Overall if you’re gonna go with this specific background that know which it is strong enough mechanically and via its feature alone for justify you being a little bit more lenient with a party member.

And of course there’s likely to be a reason you guys all grew up together in the first place so it’s perhaps best to focus on that particular goal before you’d focus on the things that separate you. Not to mention if you pursue your criminal past during you’re with group, you’re likely simply drag them down into whatever punishment that you’re likely to receive.

And of course as good as your feature is and as great as these mechanics are it’s not likely to be help you out to a point where you could break out yourself and also your whole party consequence free. Here what i mean is who knows if you’re high enough a level that i’m sure there’s some magics that’ll help with that but of course it is better off for being not to do that at least on the onset of your game.


In any case overall it is quite nice, i like it. You can let me know what you’d think about the criminal/spy down under beneath in the comments section. Make sure to mention any thoughts, questions, comments or concerns that you have about it.

Leave a Comment