Welcome again fellow adventurers! Let’s take creating characters further yet.
In the last article, we discussed backgrounds, personality, and appearance. Now we will discuss some of the other details like objectives, connections, and how to bring it all together.
Details, details, details…
You already know a bit about where your character came from and where they are today. Now it’s time to figure out what they hope for and want to accomplish. Consider things like…
- Directives – What are your worst fears and greatest aspirations? What are your motivations? What are your boundaries for things you would and even more importantly would not do?
- Immortal Patrons – Are you devout and whom do you offer devotions to? Are you afraid of the immortals?
- Mortal Patrons – Do you have any affiliations? Are you a loyal servant of the crown? Are you a knight in an order? Are you part of a guild? Do you actively support the institution?
- Motivations – What is it that keeps you moving?
- Terms – What are your immediate, short, and long-term objectives?
- Goals – What are your goals in life?
- Change – What would you change if you could about your background, personality, and appearance?
Though your character may be a loner, they are rarely alone. This is where you come up with information about your contacts, resources, mentors, and even the other characters in the party. Who is important to you? How did you meet and get to where you are now?
- Friends – Who are they? These are the most likely, and most forgotten, connections who help you even if you even if you haven’t seen them for a long time.
- Family – No one gets to choose their relatives and whom they likely feel obligated to due to birth but they do need your consideration. (Also see “Background” from the last post.)
- Employers and Employees – Who has hired you or who have you hired beforehand? Maybe you became friends due to working together? Who might have complicated your life as one of the above?
- Mentor(s) – Who took you under their wing and helped you to grow to be the person you are today?
- Companions – Who are they to you? Have you known them for quite a while? How long have you been associates? Did you just meet? How did you meet?
- Rivals – Competitors or enemies? Are they friendly or antagonistic? How did you become rivals? Do you have enemies and how serious is the rivalry?
Never stop asking questions
Though by now you have a better idea of who your character really is, there’s always room for more to distinguish them even more from all the other characters. Ask questions like:
- What did you do to not be a stereotype?
- Which media figure or public celebrity do you resemble or sound like?
- What would be your theme song?
- What would your friends say about you if they had to write your epitaph?
- What are your faults and weaknesses?
- Do you have any mannerisms like an accent or a dialect, body language, or behavioural patterns that are good and bad?
This is where your idiosyncrasies fit in well and can be developed further.
Pulling it all together at the table…
You can make an awesome character but you still need to make an effort to role-play at the table. Though your character sheet and these details offer a great start, you can always go further with role-playing than roll-playing. If you want to roll-play and that works for you then that is your choice – but you can do so much more.
I, as well as many people that GM that I know, want players to bring something to the story, not just have a story told to them. Or even worse, some players just want combat after combat. I want a story to unfold, but I want the player characters to be an active part of it.
Don’t be afraid to be different, as this will help you become a better person. You can try something and if it does not work then you can change it as well. Try things like voices, dressing in character, or even using mannerisms. Who knows what, or more importantly whom you will inspire?
Bringing it all together we will still need growth through adventuring, diversity, and anything that will develop your character.
I like it when I walk into any game store, or when people are over at my house, and I hear people talk about the things that make interesting characters – not their attributes and statistics on magic items.
Next time… Alignments, attitudes, and traits!
Keith R. Byers, A.Sc.T., Esq.