Starfield backgrounds

We have a detailed breakdown of all Starfield backgrounds so you can build the ultimate Spacefarer with the best starting skills and bonuses.

The role of Starfield backgrounds is to provide your Spacefarer with a set of starting skills for their journey, and to add some unique dialog options as you explore the Settled Systems. Choosing the best Starfield background can make it easier to advance through the Starfield main quest, earn Credits, and even convince criminals to leave you alone.

So, whether you see yourself as a futuristic Bouncer or a cosmic Chef, you can bet there’s a background ready for you to select.

Unlike Starfield traits, backgrounds don’t come with negative side effects and won’t align you with any Starfield factions, but your chosen background will be reflected in certain NPC interactions. Backgrounds are important if you’re trying to create specific Starfield builds, so choose carefully.

What’s the best Starfield background?

The best overall Starfield background is the Combat Medic. The starting skills for this background include Wellness and Medicine, which will help you breeze through early combat encounters and patch yourself up when wounded. You’ll also have Pistol Certification to boost your damage output with the handguns that you pick up during the early game.

However, there are other options for brilliant backgrounds depending on your style of play. Those who prefer to sneak in the shadows can benefit from the Cyber Runner background, which confers the Stealth, Security, and Theft skills. Or, if you’re more concerned with dogfighting in the depths of space, the Long Hauler background might be a better pick, providing you with skills in Piloting, Ballistic Weapon Systems, and Weight Lifting.

Don’t want to be a Combat Medic? We’ve got the full list of Starfield backgrounds here below. Or, if you keep scrolling you find our list of the best Starfield backgrounds ranked, as well as advice on which to opt for when creating particular builds.

Every Starfield background and their skills:

Placeholder image for Beast Hunter
  • Beast Hunter

    • skills Fitness, Ballistics, Gastronomy
    • summary

      You’re a dab hand with ballistic weapons – and with a frying pan.

Placeholder image for Bouncer
  • Bouncer

    • skills Boxing, Security, Fitness
    • summary

      You’re just as skilled with your fists as you are with a digipick.

Placeholder image for Bounty Hunter
  • Bounty Hunter

    • skills Piloting, Targeting Control Systems, Boost Pack Training
    • summary

      You’re an expert in ship-to-ship combat as well as boost packs.

Placeholder image for Chef
  • Chef

    • skills Gastronomy, Dueling, Scavenging
    • summary

      You boast expert knife skills and are capable of cooking up a storm.

Placeholder image for Combat Medic
  • Combat Medic

    • skills Pistol Certification, Medicine, Wellness
    • summary

      You’re a crack shot with a pistol, and can heal more with a Med Pack.

Placeholder image for Cyber Runner
  • Cyber Runner

    • skills Stealth, Security, Theft
    • summary

      You’re sneaky, light-fingered, and skilled with a digipick.

Placeholder image for Cyberneticist
  • Cyberneticist

    • skills Medicine, Security, Lasers
    • summary

      Your implants and upgrades buff your healing, lockpicking, and more.

Placeholder image for Diplomat
  • Diplomat

    • skills Persuasion, Commerce, Wellness
    • summary

      You’re naturally persuasive, which is handy with NPCs and vendors alike.

Placeholder image for Explorer
  • Explorer

    • skills Lasers, Astrodynamics, Surveying
    • summary

      You jump further, survey new worlds, and shoot lasers.

Placeholder image for File Not Found
  • File Not Found

    • skills Wellness, Ballistics, Piloting
    • summary

      You’re a mystery. An enigma. A walking question mark. Oh, and a bit of an all-rounder.

Placeholder image for Gangster
  • Gangster

    • skills Shotgun Certification, Boxing, Theft
    • summary

      If you can’t steal what you need, your fists and a shotgun are a fine backup.

Placeholder image for Homesteader
  • Homesteader

    • skills Geology, Surveying, Weight Lifting
    • summary

      Hostile world? No problem. Your strength and rock-smarts will see you through.

Placeholder image for Industrialist
  • Industrialist

    • skills Security, Persuasion, Research Methods
    • summary

      Your gifts for conversation and innovation are a boon in the Settled Systems.

Placeholder image for Long Hauler
  • Long Hauler

    • skills Weight Lifting, Piloting, Ballistic Weapon Systems
    • summary

      Space truckers are physically strong, gifted pilots, and can handle themselves in a dogfight.

Placeholder image for Pilgrim
  • Pilgrim

    • skills Gastronomy, Scavenging, Surveying
    • summary

      As a wanderer, you’re used to eating on the road and making more with less.

Placeholder image for Professor
  • Professor

    • skills Astrodynamics, Geology, Research Methods
    • summary

      Booksmarts certainly come in handy when you’re a galctic explorer.

Placeholder image for Ronin
  • Ronin

    • skills Dueling, Stealth, Scavenging
    • summary

      You’re a wandering samurai, striking from the shadows with a lethal blade.

Placeholder image for Sculptor
  • Sculptor

    • skills Medicine, Geology, Persuasion
    • summary

      You’re used to seeing the untapped value in mud and rocks.

Placeholder image for Soldier
  • Soldier

    • skills Fitness, Ballistics, Boost Pack Training
    • summary

      Your enemies can’t outmatch your pace, manoeuvrability, or firepower.

Placeholder image for Space Scoundrel
  • Space Scoundrel

    • skills Pistol Certification, Piloting, Persuasion
    • summary

      You might as well just call you character Han.

Placeholder image for Xenobiologist
  • Xenobiologist

    • skills Lasers, Surveying, Fitness
    • summary

      Whether you’re holding a scanner or an Equinox, you’re happy.

The best Starfield backgrounds ranked

If you’re still having a tough time deciding on which of the 21 options to opt for, we’ve ranked all the available backgrounds. These are based on our impressions of the game and testing different skillsets, so if you disagree, head over to our Starfield forum to let us know what you think.

Screenshot of the Starfield cyberneticist background for Starfield backgrounds guide

What are the best Starfield backgrounds for my build?

If you’re trying to achieve a specific build, you need to start from the minute the game asks you to select your background. So, we’ve put together this list of a few of the builds we’ve created and what backgrounds work best with them.

Stealth builds – The obvious option for stealth builds is the Cyber Runner background, with all the skills we mentioned in the opening of this article. However, there are some alternatives. The Gangster background includes the Theft skill, with the addition of Boxing if pickpocketing goes amiss. Or there’s the Ronin route, which is the only alternative background to Cyber Runner that includes the Stealth skill.

Social builds – There is a clear favorite for the best Starfield background when it comes to social builds, and it’s the Diplomat. Equipped with Persuasion, Commerce, and Wellness skills, this option is ideal for making your way around the galaxy without ever pulling a trigger or launching yourself at someone with a Rescue Axe in hand.

Melee builds – Melee builds benefit from backgrounds like Chef, which has the Dueling skill, or the brawling Bounceroption, which comes with the Boxingskill.

Samurai build – If you’re aiming to become a space samurai, the only real option is the Ronin background. This background comes with the Stealth, Dueling, and Scavenging skills, providing the basis for your future as a science-fiction swordsman.

That’s our guide to Starfield backgrounds. For more assistance making your way through Bethesda’s latest epic RPG, check out our Starfield map hub, including interactive versions of the Akila City Map, Neon map, Cydonia map, and more on the way.

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