Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Details

D is for Details

Your character is made by following the steps of the character creation process.  This process will provide you with the bare essentials of your character and that is perfectly fine for the type of players that like to develop their character through game play.  There are players that like to use a different approach – they prefer to have a little more detail before play begins.  For those players that desire more information the following topics are provided for inspiration.
The Five F’s
1. From?
       ·         Where are you from?
       ·         Size of this place? (village, city, town, metropolis, etc.)
       ·         Any particular mannerisms, customs, dress, traditions, accent?
       ·         What did you do prior to becoming an adventurer?
·         What is your motivation? (Personal, professional, hereditary, revenge, etc.)
·         Are you still “welcome” in your home area?
2. Family?
·         Are your parents living? (If not, what happened?)
·         What is your relationship with your parents?
·         Are you an only child or do you have siblings?
·         What is your relationship with your siblings?
·         Are your siblings still alive? (If not, what happened?)
·         What is your position in the family? (eldest, youngest, rebel, loner, etc.)
·         What is the social class of you and your family? (lower class, middle class, upper class.)
·         Have you started your own family?
·         Do you have any children?
·         What is the current status of your relationship with your spouse?
3. Faith?
·         Are you religious?
·         Which God(s) do you follow and revere?
·         How does your faith influence your actions?
·         How often do you participate? (Pray, attend temple services, etc.)
4. Friends?
·         Who are your friends?
·         Are they recent acquaintances or did you grow up with them?
·         Who is your best friend?
·         How loyal are these friendships?
·         Were any of the other player characters your friend before adventuring together?

5. Foes?
·         Have you made any enemies in life?
·         If so, how did it happen?

The topics listed above are in no way considered complete or exhaustive.  When we originally started working on the Toldara campaign world we wanted to include a section similar to this so we lifted it from another game.  We did not bother coming up with something original at the time because it was just for personal use.  Now that I am posting Toldara stuff to my blog I thought it would be more appropriate to come up with something original.




  1. Back when we played 3rd edition, I picked up a character/world building book to help with the backstory. I at building RPG character backstory. Which is weird since I claim all the time I'm a writer. But the thing I liked the most about the book was a the whole slew of d100 random generator charts that, once I had a few random rolls, I was able to incorperate a backstory easier. Something about having to figure out why my halfling rogue had three human sisters got my brain going!

    1. That book would be a valuable resource!

    2. IIRC Cyberpunk 2020 has something similar. It is called a lifepath. You use a d10 to pretty much determine everything. After your clothes and ethnicity, you roll your family. It is flow chart that begins with your type of family, then if you parents are alive. This leads to details about what happened to your parents, other family tragedies, your childhood environment, and siblings. Those then influence another chart on motivations.

      Then you randomly determine your age. For each year above 16 you roll to see what happened. Then it determines if things were a disaster, or rewarding, if you made friends or enemies, etc. There are charts for that as well including detailing out the friends/enemies/lovers as well as the outcome.

      It seems like a lot, but it only took a few pages. I have been tempted to do something similar as optional rules. It is surprisingly harder to write and make the flow chart than one might think.

  2. I don't normally have problems coming up with some sort of backstory for my characters, but the list you gave is a great example of asking questions we don't always think through. (I think that sort of list would also be good for fiction writers trying to flesh out their characters.)

    I've had friends who roll for all their options and play what they get. One of the best was a dwarf paladin (ok, makes sense) whose chosen deity was nature (wait, what?). That led to a great backstory about his relationship with his clan, with the elves in the party who were his long-time companions, and with the overall goals he aimed to achieve.

    Nice work on this.