Investigator 5E Background | New Van Richten’s Guide Background

investigator 5e

There are many who are essentially blind to what is going on around them. You are not one of them. Introduced in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft, Investigators are those curious enough about the world to never accept a simple answer. They dig deep, and wish to pursue their goals until the law, and those around them, accept it. These can be some of the most dangerous adventurers alive, or the most useful. Find out how to make your investigator pop in our Investigator 5E background guide.

Investigator 5E Background for Ravenloft

Investigators are all concerned with the mysteries of the world. Whether those mysteries infest their own lives, or are simply around them, is a part of history.

This background is designed around a small list of good skills and getting some strong tool proficiencies.


You gain two skills from the following list; Insight, Investigation, or Perception. We highly suggest that you always take Perception, then take Insight or Investigation depending on if you plan on talking (Insight) or looking (Investigation) more often.

You are proficient with a Disguise Kit and Thieves Tools. Disguise kits are fun but not horrifically useful. Thieves’ tools are by a large margin the most useful toolkit in the game.

You start with a magnifying glass, a trinket from a case, a set of common clothes, and 10 gold.

Overall, very strong proficiencies and a flexible amount of money. This is a really good background! You won’t feel like you’re not strong just because you’re taking this.

Feature: Official Inquiry

You can gain access to a place or individual if you’re investigating them as part of a crime. Those who aren’t involved in the investigation get out of your way or even help you out. Authority either loves or hates you.

This is useful if your DM allows you to quickly change what case you investigate. If, for instance, you get a message from the Mayor about a serial killer, you can quickly start investigating it and negate some dice rolls by just… getting access to the location. However, if the DM puts obstacles in the way of changing your case, then this will be a bit annoying to use effectively in a campaign. Unless the DM builds the campaign around the crime your character is looking for.

First Case

All Investigators have their start somewhere. You might still be investigating your first case, or it’s far behind your career. Either way, this table might spark some inspiration concerning your characters’ curious nature. Or, you can just choose one straight-up; these are some great sounding cases!

d8First Case Options
1A friend was wrongfully accused of murder. You tracked down the actual killer, proving your friend’s innocence and starting your career as a detective.
2You’re told you went missing for weeks. When you were found, you had no memory of being gone. Now you search to discover what happened to you.
3You helped a spirit find peace by finding its missing corpse. Ever since, other spectral clients have sought you out to help them find rest.
4You revealed that the monsters terrorizing your home were illusions created by a cruel mage. The magic-user escaped, but you’ve continued to uncover magical hoaxes.
5You were wrongfully accused and convicted of a crime. You managed to escape and seek to help others avoid the experience you suffered, even while still being pursued by the law.
6You survived the destructive use of a magic device that wiped out your home. Members of a secret organization found you. You now work with them, tracking down dangerous supernatural phenomena and preventing them from doing harm.
7You found evidence of a conspiracy underpinning society. You tried to expose this mysterious cabal, but no one believed you. You’re still trying to prove what you know is true.
8You got a job with an agency that investigates crimes that local law enforcement can’t solve. You often wonder which you value more, the truth or your pay.

Suggested Characteristics

There are no suggested characteristics for the Investigator. However, there are some traits an Investigator should consider as they make their character.

How has your curious lifestyle changed you? Do you look for every lie that a person tells you? Do you glance around a room to look for it’s secrets whenever you can? Are you telling people about contradictions in their speech while sipping a martini?

How have your ideals changed with constant travel and secret-delving? Do you no longer value promises as much, if they inhibit the search for the truth? Do you value the truth more than your well-being? More than the well-being of someone else?

Investigator work brings a lot of clients. Do you care about any of them? How about any of the criminals that you’ve caught? Do you feel any empathy for the people that you put behind bars? How about for any of the authority figures that may have helped you out? Or even the ones that have the gall to step in your way?

What has your history of searching and seeking done to your mind? Do you have a nervous tick whenever someone directly addresses you? Have you developed a drug habit to cope with the constant pressure put on you by your clients? Do you never fully build a trusting relationship because anyone could be stabbing you in the back?

Wrapping Up Our Investigator 5E Guide

That’s all we have for the Investigator! This is a background with a lot of meat on it’s bones. It has strong flavor, great proficiencies, and even solid equipment. That’s rare! Try it out soon, especially with an Intelligent or Wisdom-based class. You’ll see just how cool being curious can be.


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