Backstory

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Every survivor has a story of who they were before the plague, or of something that happened before you met them. They reveal it to you in three parts as they gain levels in skills, assuming that you performed Research in a Laboratory to gain Survivor Management; otherwise, the backstory is not available. If a survivor sticks to one skill and doesn't crosstrain (which is typical because only one skill can be active at a time on any survivor other than the player character), then these three parts become available when they reach levels 3, 6, and 9. A speech bubble appears to indicate that a survivor is ready to talk. After reading the next part of their backstory, you get to pick a new perk for them. Which ones you can choose from are dependent on the survivor's currently-active skill and elements from the backstory.

How Perk options are selected[edit | edit source]

Each backstory has perks that are associated with that backstory. In most (but not all) cases, the three choices of perks available in the first stage consist of one perk from the backstory and two perks from the currently-active skill. If a non-backstory perk is chosen in a given stage, then the backstory perk that was skipped will be retained as an option to be chosen in the next stage alongside whatever new perk is associated with the backstory in the new stage. For example, the three perks associated with Diane Moon (the tutorial narrator in Snoqualmie in Story Mode) are Tough, Born Leader, and Defenses Expert. But, Diane Moon also starts off as a Soldier. Assuming that the player doesn't assign Diane Moon to change her active skill in a School, then when the first stage of Diane Moon's story is presented, the choices might look like:

  • Tough
  • Firearms Training
  • Melee Training

"Tough" comes from the first stage of her backstory. "Firearms Training" and "Melee Training" come from the fact that her currently-active skill is Soldier. If you select Firearms Training and then get to the second stage of Diane's story, the choices might look like:

  • Tough
  • Born Leader
  • Melee Training

Skill-Related Perks[edit | edit source]

Each skill has three basic perks as well as one or more advanced perks. The basic perks can appear as options at any stage of a survivor's backstory. The advanced perks, however, can only appear as options at the second or sometimes third stage of a backstory; they also require additional conditions to be met, meaning that they will only appear for certain backstories, and only if certain combinations of other perks were selected in the earlier stages.

In general, advanced perks only appear for backstories which have negative perks (e.g., intense focus), or for backstories where perks are not available at a stage (whether because "(none)" is specified at that stage; because the survivor already has the perk; or, because the survivor has a conflicting perk).

  • Builder:
    • Basic: Artist, Redecorator, Tools Expert
    • Advanced: Defenses Expert (stage three only), Fearless Reclaim (stage three only)
  • Engineer:
    • Basic: Bookworm, Crafter, First Aid
    • Macgyver (stage two or three)
  • Leader:
    • Musician, Negotiator, Preacher
    • Peacekeeper (stage two or three)
  • Scavenger:
    • Basic: Good Cook, Green Thumb, Hoarder
    • Advanced: Hunter (stage two or three), Scrapper (stage three only)
  • Soldier:
    • Basic: Firearms Training, Melee Training, Hand to Hand Combat
    • Advanced: Commander (stage three only)


List of Backstories[edit | edit source]

The remainder of this article contains a spoiler guide for the various backstories found in Rebuild 3, at least insofar as players have discovered them. Each backstory entry begins with the first line in the first stage of the backstory and (in some cases) some more memorable keywords. This is then followed by the list of known or suspected perks associated with each stage of that backstory, in order.

Any notation in (parentheses) before the quote indicates any special conditions that might apply to the backstory that aren’t already implied in the categorization.

“(none)” as a perk entry means that the given stage of the backstory does not have any associated perks introduced at that stage. When this happens, it’s usually in the first stage of a backstory, so in such cases all three perk choices are taken from the survivor’s currently-active skill.

“(Perk A/Perk B)” as a perk entry means that the given stage of the backstory introduces two perk choices at once. It’s not uncommon for this to happen in a backstory where the first stage has a “(none)” and the third stage is not a “(none)”, so it’s impossible for such survivors to grab all three perks associated with the backstory (assuming that the player would desire such a thing in the first place).

“(unknown)” indicates that the perks associated with the given stage of a backstory is not known. Further experimentation in play sessions is required.

On some backstories, player observations are inconclusive, so only the best guess is presented. Bear in mind the following when trying to determine the perks associated with a backstory:

  • Perks associated with a backstory usually have a thematic connection to the story text, so it’s worth actually reading the story and trying to think about it when in doubt. “Musician” tends to show up on backstories related to entertainers; “Devout” on backstories related to religion, “Animal Lover” on backstories related to animals, and so on.
  • Some survivors start off with perks before you even talk to them, then their backstory is randomly selected afterwards. Some perks conflict (presumably because something in the data definitions for perks says “Perk A and Perk B may never coexist”) and a perk will never be shown as an option if it conflicts with a pre-existing perk. For example, if a survivor started off with “Devout”, then “Skeptic” will never be presented as a choice, even if the backstory normally prescribes it as a choice.
  • A perk will never be presented as a choice if that perk is already present, even if the perk is present only because of an equipped item. So, a survivor that has a Pitchfork non-weapon item equipped (and thus gains Green Thumb from the Pitchfork) will never be presented with Green Thumb as a perk choice even if their backstory normally prescribes Green Thumb as an option. This also happens with First Aid and Walter’s Go Bag.
  • Some perks that are associated with a class are also associated with a backstory. So, if a backstory occurs on a character of the corresponding class, it can be difficult to determine if the perk option is coming from the backstory or the class. Generally, when the player is presented with the choices, all backstory-associated perks are listed before all class-associated perks.
  • Inversely, if a class-contradictory perk is presented as an option, then it is definitely associated with the backstory. For example, “Firearms Training” as an option on a Scavenger or Leader is certainly associated with the backstory.

Because of the above complications, some observations of perks associated with backstories may be incorrect. Stories where confidence in the observation is low, the entry is marked (Suspect Theory) or (Multiple Theories). In the case of multiple theories, the different combinations are listed. At this time, it is believed that each backstory only has one correct theory.

Suspected mutually-exclusive perks are:

  • Devout/Skeptic
  • Tough/Friendly
  • Brave/Coward

Special Backstories[edit | edit source]

These backstories only occur under special conditions.

(Diane Moon only; Story Mode) “You want to know more about me? ... I was a cop. In Seattle.”

  • Tough, Born Leader, Defenses Expert

(Bill Hyman only; Story Mode) “Gosh I miss my cabin.”

  • Camper, Loner, Immune

(Gretchen only; Story Mode) “I do not feel comfortable talking about myself...”

  • Loner, Eccentric, Intense Focus

General Backstories[edit | edit source]

These backstories can occur on almost any survivor that you recruit to your fortress.

“I’m not sure why I came back into town. I was a Park Ranger,”

  • Camper, Loner, Tough

“Greetings child. How does the Lord find you on this most glorious of days?”

  • Devout, Ninja, Fighter

“I’m an entomologist, don’t you know?”

  • Scholar, Stinky, Intense Focus

“Back, when the world made sense, ... Spine, Torque, and Fail law firm”

  • Bookworm, Fighter, MacGyver

“Yesss? How can I help you massster?”

  • Fast Recovery, Ninja, Eccentric

“Eh there. ... I’m just happy to have solid ground under my feet again.”

  • Tough, Hoarder, Fighter

“Sorry if I have bit of an accent.”

  • Green Thumb, Good Cook, Resourceful

“Hey there friend. Have you stretched this morning? It’s important to stay limber.”

  • Pacifist, Artist, Cultist

“Have you seen the state some of these storm drains are in?”

  • Stinky, Handyman, Ninja

“Oh... hi! You know, it kinda sucks that we don’t have any horses.”

  • Animal Lover, Coward, Intense Focus

“Back before all this, by day I was just your average working stiff. ... Scarlet Pimpernel”

  • Musician, Negotiator, Fighter/Scrapper

“What am I doing up at this hour?”

  • Light Sleeper, Half Rations, Fighter

“Hello my child. Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. ... Clockwork Cabaret”

  • Musician, Eccentric, Born Leader

“I miss the days when the only danger was burning to death. ... Yeah, I was a firefighter.”

  • Fast Recovery, Brave, First Aid

“Why hello there. ... I serve the Lord and my husband as best I can.”

  • Devout, Pacifist, Peacekeeper

“Ey boss, how goes? ... Union rules an’ all...”

  • Melee Training, Fast Recovery, Driver

“Hail and good morrow, Sire!”

  • Eccentric, Fighter, Intense Focus

“Eh there squire. ... I was a health care worker.”

  • First Aid, Driver, Friendly

“When they tell ya a dog is man’s best friend, they ain’t whistlin’ Dixie."

  • Animal Lover, Team player (none)

“*Yawns* What time is it? ... zed incessantly clawing at the walls.”

  • Loner, Hoarder, Light Sleeper

“Greetings citizen. I am just a nondescript, mild-mannered individual....”

  • Loner, Brave, Superhero

“Yes, what is it? ... Valedictorian.”

  • (none), Genius, (Superhero/Loner)

“The one nice thing about being taken back to basics is you get more campfires in your life.”

  • (none), Artist, (Defenses Expert/Intense Focus)

“Dude, is there any way we can get an industrial pump?”

  • Easygoing, (none), (Defenses Expert/Handyman)

“Have you ever looked at the sky? Like, really looked?”

  • Camper, Light Sleeper, Genius

“This place isn’t bad. Needs more greenery.”

  • Pacifist, Ninja, Green Thumb

“Hey bud, yah got a nickel?”

  • Camper, Half Rations, Resourceful
  • Camper, Half Rations, (Resourceful/Scrapper) (You need to pick the backstory related perks in order to obtain 'Scrapper')

“Did you know I used to be a war photographer?”

  • Brave, Artist, Fighter

“Hello there dear. You look cold.”

  • Crafter, Handyman, Redecorator

“Me? Back in the day I used to make little review shows for the internet.”

  • Musician, Resourceful, Firearms Training

“Me? I come from a long line of haberdashers.”

  • (none), Handyman/Negotiator, Brave

“Before the outbreak... I struggled to survive, just like now. ... Mostly lavender.”

  • Green Thumb, Camper, Stinky

“I used to take care of the children’s section of the main library in our hometown.”

  • Bookworm, Scholar, Genius

“Hey there friend. Have you stretched this morning?”

  • Pacifist, Artist, Cultist

“Yeah, yeah. Be friendly. Polite. ... I used to be a building inspector for one of the local municipalities.”

  • Tough, Redecorator, Fighter

“So... so, so, so... I used to be a research subject, yeah?”

  • Intense Focus, (unknown), (unknown)

“Bah. I can’t stand these cramped quarters.”

  • Loner, Artist, Handyman

“I was a nurse in one of the first hospitals hit by the outbreak here.”

  • First Aid, Fast Recovery, Resourceful

“You think you recognized me from before the infection? ... I was a professional skeptic.”

  • Skeptic, Born Leader, Driver

“I’m a scientist! An oceanographer, to be specific.”

  • Bookworm, Skeptic, Genius

“That’s a good boy Gerry.”

  • Animal Lover, Fast Recovery, Resourceful

“I had an alternative clothing store back in the day. ... 6 inch stiletto”

  • Redecorator, Handyman, (none)

“You know, one of the best ways to pay for a chemistry degree....”

  • Scholar, Genius, (unknown)

Luddie[edit | edit source]

These backstories can only begin on survivors in maps where the Luddie faction is present, even if you have not encountered them, yet.

“How are you doing today? ... stress”

  • First Aid, Former Luddie, Intense Focus

“You know, it was a lot easier to be a vegan when there was a well-stocked tofu aisle...”

  • Good Cook, Resourceful, Former Luddie

“You! You’re one of them, aren’t you? AREN’T YOU?!”

  • Eccentric, Hoarder, Former Luddie

“Hey! You! Yeah, you. You seen any colanders around? Or pots?”

  • Eccentric, Former Luddie, Stinky

“Everyone’s energy has been particularly black this month. ... I’m a practicing Wicca,”

  • (none), (Born Leader/Camper), Former Luddie

“Sure, these zed are grumpy, but ya ever seen a llama when it’s got its goat up?”

  • Animal Lover, Former Luddie, Crafter

St. Michaels[edit | edit source]

These backstories can only begin on survivors in maps where the St. Michaels School for Boys faction is present, even if you have not encountered them, yet.

“Have you seen the sorry lot ‘round here? ... little league coach”

  • (none), (Born Leader/StMichael’s Dropout), Team Player

“You! I know what you’ve been up to. You don’t fool me. ... Dr. Agbayani”

  • Light Sleeper, Loner, StMichael’s Dropout

“You haven’t seen any children around here, have you? I can’t stand children.”

  • StMichael’s Dropout, Born Leader, Defenses Expert

“Have I ever told you about my old buddy Dan? Great guy. We were part of child protection services.”

  • Pacifist, Team Player, StMichael’s Dropout

“I tell you, it’s a lot nicer here than it was keeping the school clean for those stuck up so and so’s back at St. Michaels.”

  • StMichael’s Dropout, First Aid, Handyman

Granville Riffs[edit | edit source]

These backstories can only begin on survivors in maps where The Granville Riffs faction is present, even if you have not encountered them, yet.

“Jeez, it’s worse here than any of the ghettos I used to work in.”

  • Former Riff, Redecorator, Handyman

“Greetings sensei.”

  • (none), (Fighter/Loner), Former Riff

“Greetings and honor to you, senpai. ... Nise No Budo”

  • (none), Fighter, (Former Riff/Ninja)

“There are times I miss the Dojo.”

  • (none), (Fighter/Former Riff), Superhero

“I... uhhh... GAH! Don’t sneak up on a person like that! ... The janitor, yes.”

  • First Aid, Coward, Former Riff

Last Judgment[edit | edit source]

These backstories can only begin on survivors in maps where The Last Judgment Gang is present, even if you have not encountered them, yet.

“How do you do sir and/or madam? ... Admittedly, that’s not how my old master, Father O’Grady, would have put it.”

  • Devout, Easygoing, Ex Last Judgment

“What I wouldn’t give to get some gas.”

  • Driver, Ex Last Judgement, Tough

“Damn, what I wouldn’t give for some tunes.”

  • Musician, Devout, Ex Last Judgement

“I’m just a nobody. ... Get lost.”

  • Ex Last Judgment, Fighter, Tough

“*Burp* ‘Scuse me. The doctors said that they’d cleaned all that yeast bacteria....”

  • Good Cook, Light Sleeper, Ex Last Judgment

Rotten[edit | edit source]

These backstories can only begin on survivors in maps where The Rotten faction is present, even if you have not encountered them, yet.

(There are no known examples at this time.)

Government[edit | edit source]

These backstories can only begin on survivors in maps where The Government faction is present, even if you have not encountered them, yet.

“Hey there kids! ... I worked in the customs office.”

  • Easygoing, Eccentric, Government Agent

“Hi there. How do you do? ... Poncho Corporation.”

  • Firearms Training, (Born Leader/Team Player), Government Agent

“Ahhh! I mean... Halt! Stand and identify yourself...”

  • (Suspect Theory)
  • (none), (Fighter/Government Agent), Coward

“Yes, can I help you? ... Dance with Numbers”

  • (none), Born Leader, Government Agent

“Greetings friend. I just wanted to thank you for your immutable hospitality...”

  • Preacher, Born Leader, Government Agent

"Sir? I was a retired officer prior to my ..."

  • Government Agent, (unknown), (unknown)

DAHLIAS[edit | edit source]

These backstories can only begin on survivors in maps where The Dogwood Acres Helpful Ladies In Action Society is present, even if you have not encountered them, yet.

“Yeah, I was a private investigator back in the day.”

  • (none), (Fighter/Brave), Former DAHLIA

“This is fascinating. ...alpha males in a group of monkeys....”

  • Former DAHLIA, Bookworm, Fighter

“Do I know my way around a car?”

  • Driver, Fighter, Former DAHLIA

“It could be rough being a part-time jail guard at a small detachment.”

  • Friendly, Fighter, Former DAHLIA

“This place is a mess. ... I was an activist!”

  • Former DAHLIA, Fighter, Born leader

Pig Farmers[edit | edit source]

These backstories can only begin on survivors in maps where The Pig Farmers faction is present, even if you have not encountered them, yet.

“*Nods* How do? Me? Doin’ fine. Fine. Miss my pig though. ... Bessy-Sue”

  • Animal Lover, Former Pig Farmer, Handyman

“Me? I’m a food scientist...”

  • Good Cook, Resourceful, Former Pig Farmer

“I used to be assistant curator of the Imperial Fortenbrass Museum for the Preservation of Culture.”

  • Bookworm, Former Pig Farmer, Genius

“I never thought I’d go by having a zombie gnaw on my skull. ... I was a trucker.”

  • Driver, Former Pig Farmer, Friendly

“Howdy pardner! ... I’m at my happiest when covered in mud.”

  • Stinky, Former Pig Farmer, Defenses Expert

Chosen Ones[edit | edit source]

These backstories can only begin on survivors in maps where The Church of The Chosen Ones is present, even if you have not encountered them, yet. Of particular note is that “Former Chosen One” does not necessarily imply “Cultist”, but the two can coexist. “Cultist” backstories can occur on maps where The Church of The Chosen Ones is absent.

“Greetings friend. Is it not a glorious day?”

  • Easygoing, Former Chosen One, Preacher

“Greetings child. I am a member of the Monastic Order of the Burning Goat.”

  • Preacher, Devout, Former Chosen One

“I must say, it is absolutely dreadful being cooped up in here all the time.”

  • Pacifist, Coward, Former Chosen One

(woman) “I miss my husband. _____ was such a sweet guy.”

  • Skeptic, Former Chosen One, Resourceful

“Greetings sibling. Have you heard the word of Nutbrush, her holiness of the fluffy tail?”

  • Preacher, Former Chosen One, Animal Lover

1337crew[edit | edit source]

These backstories can only begin on survivors in maps where the 1337crew faction (pronounced “leet crew”, or “elite crew”) is present, even if you have not encountered them, yet.

“I miss the days of the net.”

  • (Multiple Theories)
  • (none), Former 1337crew, Genius
  • Skeptic, Former 1337crew, Genius

“What did I do before the dead started trying...? ... I was an independent movie producer.”

  • Musician, Resourceful, Former 1337crew

“Me? I used to design video games for a living.”

  • (Multiple Theories)
  • (none), Former 1337crew, Superhero
  • Skeptic, Former 1337crew, Superhero

“What the hell did I do to deserve ending up in a suckass place like this?”

  • Coward, Former 1337crew, Loner

“Yes, ah... sir... miss... sir... Sorry I... can I help you with something? ... assembly line of electronics”

  • (none), (Handyman/Half Rations), Former 1337crew

“Listen, let’s get this straight: I identify as a chick, okay?”

  • Tough, Crafter, Former 1337crew.

Pharmacists[edit | edit source]

These backstories can only begin on survivors in maps where The Pharmacists are present, even if you have not encountered them, yet.

“What did I used to do? Well, I was a marriage counselor.”

  • (none), (Born Leader/Easygoing), Former Pharmacist

“Hey friend, you’re not one of those government types, are ya?”

  • Camper, Former Pharmacist, Fighter

“You hungry, friend? ... leather shoes ... I used to be a short order cook at a little backwoods diner.”

  • Good Cook, Former Pharmacist, Resourceful

“Duuuude. Hey dude. Dude! How ya doin’? ... weight off the mind.”

  • Easygoing, Green Thumb, Former Pharmacist

Gustav[edit | edit source]

These backstories contain the perk Friend of Gustav. Gustav is generally present on all maps almost without exception.

“So, what odds give us surviving until tomorrow?”

  • Friend of Gustav, Ninja, Intense Focus

“Hey there friend, are you tired? Hungry? ... Food for gold!”

  • Friend of Gustav, Negotiator, Born Leader

(Female) “Hey sweetie, how are you doing? ... I used to do a lot of work form the bedsheets...”

  • Friend of Gustav, Musician, Friendly

“Does this look infected to you?”

  • Half Rations, Eccentric, Friend of Gustav

“Me? I used to work for a robotics firm.”

  • (none), (Genius/Driver), Friend of Gustav

“What was that? Do I have any special “kills”? ... firecrackers”

  • Crafter, Friend of Gustav, Hunter

Former Children[edit | edit source]

Sometimes, a 13-year-old child in your fortress will “grow up” on what is supposedly their 14th birthday and be converted from a non-weapon item to a survivor. Their former caretakers automatically unequip, and start off with a positive relationship with, these (now former) children when this happens. These backstories only occur on such former children in your fortress.

“I used to have a pet rabbit when I was younger”

  • Animal Lover, Brave, Resourceful

“Hi! I’m one of the Gen Z-ers, born post-infection.”

  • Skeptic, Tough, Immune

“You know how they say it feels like we’ve been fighting zed since forever?”

  • Bookworm, Pacifist, Scholar

“Hi. Well you already know all about me. I was born in a fort like this.... I never flew to France in an airplane or called Australia on a cell phone.”

  • Loner, Driver, Camper
  • Loner, Driver, (Camper/Scrapper) (The character have to pick Loner and Driver and be a Scavenger for unlocking Scrapper)

“Well, there isn’t much you don’t know about me already.”

  • Friendly, Pacifist, Easygoing