Backgrounds indicate the life your character previously had, and determines their starting gear. Super Mutants either have the background of The Master, or Vault 87. Androids typically have an Advanced or Scholar background.
Advanced backgrounds are typically Mercenaries, (ex)Slavers, Bodyguards, or Hired Guns, Brotherhood of Steel runaways, or Scavengers
Starting Equipment: 1x Laser Pistol 24 shots, 1x Small Energy Cell, Padded Clothing, 3 Stimpacks.
Backwater backgrounds are people who made their living in The Region but not within the city limits, usually from one of the surrounding suburbs.
Starting Equipment: 1x Double Barrel Shotgun, 2x Cans of Chew or Carton of Cigarettes, 1x Bag of Squirrel Jerky, Set of work clothes and a Leather Jacket.
The Civilized background represents characters who grew up in Chicago, or one of the larger cities in The Region.
Starting Equipment: 1 set of Basic Clothing, 1x 9mm Pistol 12 rnds. 1x Extra Magazine, 150 caps, 1 Stimpack.
Characters with the Military background are typically Ex-NCR, Ex-Police Force, Security Guards, Para-Military, Mercenaries or Hired Guns.
Starting Equipment: M16 Rifle 30rnds, 1x Extra Magazine, 2 MREs, 1 Canteen, 1 Communication Radio.
Character with the Raider background live as Highwaymen, and Criminals wandering the wastes, taking what they want from those unfortunate enough to be wandering around unarmed or unaware.
Starting Equipment: 1x Nailed Bat, 1 Set of Piece Mail Armor, Flask of Whiskey, 1x dose of Buffout or Jet, Lighter, 3 sticks of dynamite.
The Scholar background represents higher educated characters, usually Doctors, Engineers, Scientists, Philosophers, Followers of the Apocalypse. etc.
Starting Equipment: Labcoat, 2x Mentats, 1x dose of Fixer, 2x Proximity Mines
Tribal characters grew up in the wilds and usually have some sort of tribal beliefs, They are survivalists who are used to the life of scavenging, or hunting, and gathering
Starting Equipment: Brahmin Skin Cloak, Bow 12 arrows, 3x Healing Powder, 3x Radscorpion Venom Glands
The Vault background is for characters who spent some of their life growing up in a control group vault. Many people who once lived in vaults suffer from agoraphobia, or are untrustworthy of those who inhabited the wastelands their whole lives.
Starting Equipment: Vault Suit, Pipboy 3000, Switchblade, Nuka Cola