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In Starfield, choosing a background is part of character creation. A player's background gives them a bit of backstory, and grants them the first rank of three starting skills as well. There are 21 possible backgrounds to choose from, each with a different combination of starting skills.

List of all backgrounds

All backgrounds in Starfield
Background Description Starting skills
Beast Hunter From the Ashta of Akila to the Terrormorphs that plague the whole of the Settled Systems, hostile alien life abounds. You've learned the skills to track them, find them, and take them down. Fitness, Ballistics, Gastronomy
Bouncer You've worked the line at the toughest clubs in the Settled Systems. Back then, you learned that most non-lethal confrontations can be solved one of two ways: a strong right hook, or a more strongly secured door. Boxing, Security, Fitness
Bounty Hunter Wherever there are wanted individuals, there are those who profit from their capture. And your quarry knows that in the vastness of space, they can run...but they can't hide. Piloting, Targeting Control Systems, Boost Pack Training
Chef 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. Gastronomy, Dueling, Scavenging
Combat Medic 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. Pistol Certification, Medicine, Wellness
Cyber Runner 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. Stealth, Security, Theft
Cyberneticist 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. Medicine, Security, Lasers
Diplomat 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. Persuasion, Commerce, Wellness
Explorer 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. Lasers, Astrodynamics, Surveying
Gangster You were always disgusted by suckers killing themselves to make an "honest wage." As soon as you were old enough to hold a weapon, you took what you wanted from anyone unlucky enough to have it. Shotgun Certification, Boxing, Theft
Homesteader The discovery of the Settled Systems' many oxygen-rich planets and moons meant humans could live just about anywhere...if they had the know how. You did, and utilized it to great effect. Geology, Surveying, Weight Lifting
Industrialist There was a time when all you wanted to be was a titan of industry, maybe a ship designer, or megacorp exec. Thankfully, that skillset never goes out of style in the Settled Systems. Persuasion, Security, Research Methods
Long Hauler Let those other hotheaded pilots obsess over laser weapons and manueverability. You're a space trucker, pure and simple. Pack the cargo, get it there fast, get paid, repeat. Life is simple and good. Weight Lifting, Piloting, Ballistic Weapon Systems
Pilgrim Wayfarer, wanderer, seeker...transient. You've been called many things during your travels, and learned something those others could never understand - the journey IS the destination. Scavenging, Surveying, Gastronomy
Professor You always enjoyed learning, but nothing could compare to the joy of teaching others. As humankind spread throughout the stars, there was never a lack of knowledge to obtain, and you gladly assisted. Astrodynamics, Geology, Research Methods
Ronin Masterless and unbound, you wandered the Settled Systems as a blade for hire. To some, you were a simple mercenary, to others, a hero. And to a select few...a nightmare they could never wake from. Dueling, Stealth, Scavenging
Sculptor With your knowledge of anatomy and skilled, steady hands, you could have had a lucrative career as a surgeon. Instead, you followed your heart, and created works of art to amaze and inspire. Medicine, Geology, Persuasion
Soldier The Settled Systems is no stranger to warfare, and if there's one thing armed conflict relies on it's trained warriors with guns and guts. You had both. Simple, bloody work...and you were great at it. Fitness, Ballistics, Boost Pack Training
Space Scoundrel Good? Bad? Whose right is it to say? If there's anything you've learned while traipsing through the galaxy, it's this: space may look black, but it's really one big shade of grey. Pistol Certification, Piloting, Persuasion
Xenobiologist The Settled Systems is home to untold alien species. And while none of them have yet proven sentient, that never deterred you. So you sought out and studied them for whatever gifts they offered. Lasers, Surveying, Fitness
[FILE NOT FOUND] Oddly, there is no information on file about your past life. Clerical oversight? Deletion by some powerful unknown faction? Or was there just nothing of note to mention? Whatever the reason, your past is known only to you. What's important is the here and now, and the path you're about to forge... Wellness, Ballistics, Piloting