Starfield backgrounds list Play4ever

Looking for a list of all the Starfield backgrounds you can choose from? From what we’ve seen so far of Starfield, it looks like Bethesda have created their most powerful character creation tool yet. And one of the most important choices you can make when creating your player character is to choose a background.

All the backgrounds in Starfield will give you access to three starting Starfield skills which can influence your playstyle and effectiveness in a wide variety of situations, from combat to exploration, trading to socializing. In this guide, we’ll walk you through all the Starfield backgrounds we know about, and everything we know (or suspect) about how these backgrounds will change your playthrough of Bethesda’s enormously ambitious RPG.

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Starfield backgrounds list

Thanks to the Starfield gameplay reveal trailer, we have seen 16 distinct Starfield backgrounds, and have information on the skills of several of them. It looks like there’ll be a total of around 20 backgrounds available at launch, but here are the ones we currently know about.

Here are the 16 Starfield backgrounds we know about:

  • Chef
  • Combat Medic
  • Cyber Runner
  • Cyberneticist
  • Diplomat
  • Explorer
  • Beast Hunter
  • Bouncer
  • Bounty Hunter
  • Gangster
  • Homesteader
  • Industrialist
  • Long Hauler
  • Pilgrim
  • Professor
  • Ronin

Each of these backgrounds gives you a point in three different starting skills, giving your first few hours quite a bit of variation from other players’ opening play-sessions. Combine it with up to three Starfield traits, and you’ll have a character who is very much your own.

Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios

Chef

You might think picking the Chef background isn’t exactly a great choice for combat, but actually it’s a solid option for close-quarters bruiser playstyles thanks to a healthy diet and your proficiency with kitchen implements. We also fully expect Starfield to have a sumptuous array of food and drink items, some of which might have pretty potent effects that the Chef can use to their advantage.

Official Description:

“While the unrefined masses scarfed down Chunks by the shipload, you catered to those with a more… discerning palate. In your kitchen, countless alien species became true culinary masterpieces.”

Starting Skills:

  • Gastronomy – Craft specialty food and drinks, and research recipes at a Research Lab
  • Dueling – Melee weapons do 10% more damage
  • Wellness – Immediately gain 30 points of health
Heller sprawls against the side of a crate on a moon in Starfield.
Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios

Combat Medic

The Combat Medic is a fantastic vanilla option when it comes to picking your Starfield background. You gain increased healing from Med Packs, and your carrying capacity is increased – fantastic for players like me who loots everything that isn’t nailed down. Pistol Certification may or may not be your cup of tea, but even if not, you can always ignore it and invest points into other combat styles later on.

Official Description:

“Leave it to human beings to fight over something as infinite as outer space. That’s where you come in. You’ve never been afraid to take on the enemy… but you’d much rather take care of your friends.”

Starting Skills:

  • Pistol Certification – Pistols do 10% more damage
  • Medicine – Med Packs heal 10% more
  • Weight Lifting – Increase total carrying capacity by 10 kilograms
A space solider sneaks up behind a security guard in Starfield
Image credit: Bethesda

Cyber Runner

The Cyber Runner background gives you a slightly sneakier set of skills, with the ability to hack Advanced locks from day 1, and a boost to Persuasion which can help tip conversations in your favour. Like Combat Medic, you also get some starting Pistol expertise as the Cyber Runner, the usefulness of which depends entirely on which weapon types you think you’ll be using most throughout your playthrough.

Official Description:

“From Neon to New Atlantis, the megacorps stand as monuments to power, prestige and profit. You’ve worked both for and against them, on the inside and out, often sacrificing conscience for credits.”

Starting Skills:

  • Pistol Certification – Pistols do 10% more damage
  • Security – You can attempt to hack Advanced locks, and 2 auto attempts can be banked
  • Persuasion – Gain an increased chance of success on speech challenges
VASCO, a robot companion in Starfield, looks towards the camera while standing in the room of a spaceship.
Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios

Cyberneticist

The Cyberneticist background gives you a handy opening skillset which favours fighting against mechanical enemies such as Robots and Turrets. You’re also particularly handy with Laser-based weaponry, and you gain the same healing efficacy boost as the Chef background to help keep you alive in messy combat scenarios.

Official Description:

“Robots? Mere toys. Neuroamps? Good for parlor tricks. The Colony War may have made implants and upgrades available to veterans, but you once saw a greater future. Humans and machines, as one.”

Starting Skills:

  • Medicine – Med Packs heal 10% more
  • Robotics – You deal 10% more damage to Robots and Turrets
  • Lasers – Laser weapons do 10% more damage
Walter sits in a chair and looks up to the side in Starfield.
Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios

Diplomat

For players who want to talk (rather than shoot) their way through Starfield, the Diplomat background is the ideal choice. Not only do you gain a boost to your Persuasion, making you more likely to succeed during speech challenges, but you also get more bang for your buck while trading, and even get a point into Diplomacy so you can force an NPC to stop fighting if you so wish.

Official Description:

“The wars are over. Peace now reigns in the Settled Systems. But only because there are those quietly fighting to keep it. Because of you, agreements were signed, words were heeded… lives were spared.”

Starting Skills:

  • Persuasion – Gain an increased chance of success on speech challenges
  • Diplomacy – You can force a target NPC at or below your level to stop fighting for a while
  • Bargaining – Buy items for 5% less and sell for 10% more
A figure stands on the surface of a moon and looks out towards a ringed planet in the sky in Starfield.
Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios

Explorer

The Explorer is a little more mysterious than the previous backgrounds in this list, because we don’t yet know what the Surveying skill does; we only know that it exists. The Explorer is at home out in space and can make Grav Jumps to other star systems and planets more easily than others. They also get a point in the Lasers skill, which makes them more potent with Laser-based weapons.

Official Description:

“They said exploration is a lost art. You didn’t listen. As the major factions argued over the space they desperately tried to control, you were busy uncovering the wonders of the Settled Systems.”

Starting Skills:

  • Lasers – Laser weapons do 10% more damage
  • Astrodynamics – Decreases Grav Jump fuel cost
  • Surveying – ???

Note: from this point onward, we don’t yet have information on the starting skills of each background. We can, however, make some assumptions and educated guesses on the type of playstyle that they might lean toward.


Beast Hunter

The Beast Hunter’s exact skillset is unknown, although we suspect it’ll reward you for stalking your prey and taking them out quickly and cleanly. If we had to guess, the Beast Hunter will give you points in Stealth (increases sneak attack DMG) and other Physical or Combat categories.

Bouncer

While we don’t know the Bouncer background’s starting skill bonuses, I’ll be very surprised if one of them isn’t Intimidation, which forces an NPC to flee from your temporarily. The Bouncer’s other talents are likely to focus on the physical and combat trees.

Bounty Hunter

The Bounty Hunter likely differentiates itself from the Beast Hunter with more of a proficiency in space travel. Think the Mandalorian – tracking bounties across the Settled Systems. There’ll be a mix of combat and tech-related skills in this Starfield background.

Gangster

The Gangster background’s skills haven’t yet been revealed, but Theft, Bargaining, Scavenging, and other skills in the Social tree seem like they’d be a reasonable fit for such a background. We might see a certain Certification or other combat-focused skill in there too.

Homesteader

The Homesteader’s starting skills haven’t been revealed, although we can surmise that they won’t be a particularly combat-focused background. We’d be inclined to suggest Outpost Engineering as a possible skill for the Homesteader, though it seems like backgrounds won’t often give points into higher-tier skills like this one. They may potentially gain benefits relating to agriculture and food, so perhaps Gastronomy or Botany are more likely feathers in the Homesteader’s cap.

Industrialist

The Industrialist background’s skillset is as yet unknown, but we can speculate that it might include skills which focus on building and earning money, rather than fighting. As such we’d expect the Industrialist’s starting skills to be found in the Social or Science trees.

Long Hauler

The Long Hauler background in Starfield likely gives players the ability to carry more cargo in their ship via the Payloads skill, but we don’t know for sure yet. The other skills are likely to be found in the Tech skill section, but again we don’t know for sure.

Pilgrim

The Pilgrim background is a bit of an enigma at the moment. We don’t yet know where the Pilgrim’s skillset lies, but we’d expect a Pilgrim to be more effective at social rather than combat encounters. Potentially they may also have skills which increase their endurance, seeing as Pilgrims are often known for taking long journeys.

Professor

The Professor background again doesn’t seem like the kind of background one would choose for a combat-focused character, but we can’t know for sure. We can only speculate that the Professor will provide starting skills in the Science and Tech departments.

Ronin

The Ronin background has an unknown skillset, but we’re strongly inclined to think it focuses on combat. If Bethesda are leaning into the true historical “samurai” interpretation of “ronin”, we may see some increased melee damage appear in the form of the Dueling skill, and perhaps Theft too, given that ronin are traditionally depicted as lordless vagabond-style warriors.


That’s all 16 of the Starfield backgrounds we know about revealed and explored, so hopefully you have a better idea of which one you’re going to pick for your first playthrough when the game releases on 6th September. To help prepare you for launch day, check out our other guides on the Starfield PC requirements, Starfield Early Access, and Starfield characters.

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