Embarking on a pirate space odyssey in Starfield requires a shrewd selection of your character’s starting background. These are the best options!
How to Choose a Background
To choose a background in Starfield, start the game, and once at the main menu, select “New” to start a new game. Go through the guided tutorial, and you’ll soon be able to fully create your character, making a biometric ID, Body, Face, and then selecting a Background and three optional Traits.
See our Full Character Creation Guide.
Best Background For Pirate Builds In Starfield
1. 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.”
The name of this background truly says it all. The quintessential space scoundrel in its dialogue options is hands down the best background for a Pirate build in Starfield. It combines the best opening skills from three different skill trees and puts them together in a way that narratively makes perfect sense and feels genuine and lived in.
Space Scoundrel grants us one rank in the Pistol Certification, Piloting, and Persuasion skills at level 1 right out the gates. This allows you to use your Persuasion to talk your way through most scenarios, and when you can’t or don’t want to, you’ll have the extra damage boost from Pistol Certification to put your enemies down.
The Piloting skill will allow us to use the thrusters right from the beginning of the game, allowing us to fly circles around much more difficult foes in space, which should allow you to take on more difficult or numerous amounts of enemies, increasing your XP gain. This background is a must-have if you plan on playing through the Crimson Fleet and Trade Authority storyline as the roleplaying and immersion from this combo is some of the best the game offers.
2. 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.”
The Bounty Hunter background is a great starting point for a Space Pirate character looking to do a lot of boarding, and ship combat, providing one rank in the Piloting, Targeting Control Systems, and Boost Pack Training skills right at the start of the game.
Piloting is a must-have skill for almost any build in Starfield, so getting it early on will allow us to pilot higher-tier ships, and use the ship’s thrusters, increasing our maneuverability.
Targeting Control Systems unlocks the ability for us to target specific parts of an enemy ship, which is one of the only ways to safely disable the engines of an enemy vessel to board it, kill its crew, loot all its contents, and even steal the ship if you so desire.
Lastly, the Boost Pack Training skill is an absolutely essential skill to every build in Starfield, and getting it right out the gate is truly game-changing as it grants you use of the boost pack, adding verticality and maneuverability. With this background, it sets you up for this style of Pirating success and allows you to start building your combat skills come level 2 to round out your character. The dialogue options for the Bounty Hunter also further lean into an interstellar pirate theme by giving the character a hard edge and a theme that fits well in the world, whether it be the Trackers Alliance or Crimson Fleet.
“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.”
The Gangster also fits thematically very well into a Pirate build. It grants us one rank in the Shotgun Certification, Boxing, and Theft skills. The Shotgun Certification is going to increase our damage output with Shotguns by 10% right out the gate, which leans very well into a boarding Pirate both thematically and mechanically as you will be engaging in close-quarters combat.
Boxing will boost our unarmed damage by 25% and will come in handy if you decide to steal a ship, especially if you don’t want to kill the captain outright or don’t have time to reload your shotgun.
Theft allows us to pickpocket individuals. Piracy is all about taking what isn’t yours and making it yours, so this serves to bring that element of the theme to life.
Lastly, from a roleplaying perspective, the gangster dialogue options encapsulate the gritty attitude one seeking to play a more chaotic evil pirate character would be shooting for.
“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.”
The Soldier, thematically and from a roleplaying perspective, is a bit of a stretch, at least with the dialogue options present in the game to fill the role of a Pirate. However, mechanically with one rank in the Fitness, Ballistics, and Boost Pack Training skills it’s hard not to mention the Soldier as a viable background for making a very mechanically strong Pirate build.
Fitness will increase our Oxygen reserves by 10%, making doing everything easier and longer.
The Ballistics skill will increase our damage with ALL ballistic-based weapons by 10%. This is fantastic as most weapons in the early game and Crimson Fleet special weapons are all ballistic-based.
Boost Pack Training, as mentioned above, is fantastic to have at level 1. Plus the way it synergizes with these two other skills will make your character an extremely mobile, versatile, and powerful character at the get-go, which for the more aggressive nature and bloody business of a pirate in Starfield is very desirable. So while this background might not feel right at times thematically or through its dialogue options, if you’re willing to look past that for the mechanical benefits you’ll have a very powerful build that will only get stronger.
The Final Word
Whether embracing the guile of the Space Scoundrel, the tactical prowess of the Bounty Hunter, the chaos of the Gangster, or the mechanical might of the Soldier, each background offers a distinct path for carving out your spacefaring legacy. We hope you found this article useful and for all things Starfield be sure to check out our website for more news, tips, tricks, and builds.
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