Dungeons & Dragons has four new character backgrounds to use in Ghosts of Saltmarsh. Earlier this week, Dungeons & Dragons released its new adventure book Ghosts of Saltmarsh, which contains updated versions of seven classic adventures as well as a ton of new rules and guides for running a nautical-based campaign. One bit of new content is the addition of four character backgrounds, each of which has ties to the sea. Players can choose a background for their character that gives them a couple of extra proficiencies and an occasional minor ability. While no background has "game-breaking" potential, these backgrounds usually provide players with a bit of extra help when making skill checks or trying to ply information while exploring a town.
The new backgrounds in Ghosts of Saltmarsh are the Fisher, Marine, Shipwright, and Smuggler. The Fisher background gives players proficencies in both History and Survival checks, along with the ability to catch enough food to feed an entire party if they have access to a body of water with marine life. Fishers can also tell a Fishing Tale (either true or exaggerated) which may make listeners more friendly to that character. Marines are sea-farers trained for combat on the shores, able to move up to 16 hours a day without feeling the effects of a forced march. Marines also have proficiencies in Athletics and Survival checks and are proficient in using different types of vehicles. The Shipwright has the ability to repair ships and is especially handy for making quick (and temporary) repairs to a boat after its suffered damage. The Smuggler, meanwhile, has access to safe houses in towns that they operate in, allowing them and their party to keep their presence secret if needed.
Like other backgrounds, the backgrounds found in Ghosts of Saltmarsh are mostly there for flavor. If you want to create a character with some sea legs under them, you might want to consider one of these backgrounds instead of the generic Sailor background found in The Players Handbook.
Ghosts of Saltmarsh is now available for sale at game stores and from online retailers.