Vie for Glory
The 10-minute character background jumpstart
Step 1: 5 concepts
Step 2: 2 goals
Step 3: 2 secrets
Step 4: 2 friends, 1 enemy
Step 5: 3 memories
Step 6: going more in-depth
Write five things about your character’s concept and background, five things that you think are the most essential parts of your character. You don’t have to stop at five — this is just a minimum.
Example: Martin Tenbones:
- Former pirate and retired adventurer, now owns a tavern in wherever.
- Outgoing and charismatic – attempts to keep up on all the local gossip and juicy secrets that pass his way — he believes that knowledge is power.
- He and his former party fought the forces of the pirate captain Craven, who was a major lieutenant for the current Dread Pirate Hellbeard. Used the wealth he acquired to build his tavern. Sometimes worries that the pirates may decide to find him and extract revenge.
- Though he still friends with most of his former party, some parted the group on bad terms. His girlfriend Whats’er’name went back to sea to fight pirates once more. He’s heard that her ship was taken by Hellbeard and believes she was killed. He mourns her death.
- Although he is retired, he can be convinced to adventure again if he hears that his lot love may still be alive, or if he is contacted by the White Foxes during a crisis (see Secrets, step 3).
List two goals for the character that you, as a player, think would be cool to see accomplished in-game. During sessions in which you take positive action to achieve that goal, you may be awarded an action point.
- I’d like to see Martin reunited with his lost love and perhaps able to mend fences with some of his former adventuring buddies over the course of this campaign.
- It would be cool to have Martin face and possibly defeat the Dread Pirate Hellbeard once and for all.
List two (or more!) secrets about your character. They may be secrets the character knows, or a secret that involves them but that they are not actually aware of.
- Martin is a member of the White Fox Society, a secret society dedicated to keeping Hometown free of tyranny and evil, as well as keeping local governments honest. He provides information and rumors to them, but can be convinced to take a more active roll if —
- Whats’er’name, Marin’s lost love, is still alive. She was captured by the Dread Pirate Hellbeard and has been kept as his captive for all these years.
Describe at least three people that are tied to the character though blood, romance, honor, etc. Two of them are friendly to you and one is hostile. Each can do something useful for you if you can get the situations to line up. If you like, you can include any enemies of yours here as well —
- Martin’s friend Audric Cwellen was one of his adventuring mates. Audric, a holy warrior in the service of the Goddess of Whatever, is the leader of the local cell of the White Fox society, and provides Martin with information and adventure hooks.
- Another of Martin’s old companions, Aubrey LeVaine, is not as helpful as Audric, because they quarreled over the love of Whats’er’name, and Aubrey is still bitter about losing her to Martin. Still, he can provide some magical support if Martin can convince him to let go of his hate.
- Yebin Thistledown is a halfling Martin met in the Forest of Wherever and saved him from a pack of Howlers. Yebin makes all sorts of alchemical items and loves collecting odd souvenirs and items. He operates a bizarre patchwork shop in the city of NotHometown.
Describe three specific memories your character has. They don’t have to be elaborate, but they should provide some context and flavor.
- Martin remembers growing up in a tavern as a young boy, helping his mother with the cooking. This started his own interest in the culinary arts.
- Martin remembers the panic he felt when he discovered that the ship he signed on to was a pirate ship after a brutal attack on a merchantman. He vividly recalls the smell of blood and burning timbers.
- Martin often recalls the goodbye kiss he gave Whats’er’name when she left him. No kiss he’s had since ever compares to that memory.
Life, Death, and Beyond
- Who were your parents?
- Are they still alive? If not, why?
- What is your relationship with your parents?
- Do you have any reviled or celebrated ancestors?
- Who were they?
- How do most others feel about them?
- Do others treat you differently once they find out?
- Do you have any siblings?
- Are they still alive? If not, why?
- Are you still friendly with your siblings?
- Do they still live with your parents?
- What was your childhood like?
- Did you have a best friend? Are you still in touch?
- Did you have a rival? Are you still rivals?
- Did you have a role model? Describe him or her.
- Did you witness or remember an event that was historically important? What was it?
- Were you wealthy or poor growing up?
- Did your family’s fortunes change? If so, why?
- Can you read and write? If not, why?
- Have you ever been married or coupled with a significant other?
- Are you still together? If not, why?
- Do you have any children together? Have you adopted any children?
- How do you feel about your significant other’s family?
- Did you practice any trades before becoming an adventurer?
- Why did you change careers?
- Who trained you in your current skills?
- How do you feel about this person or the organization he or she represents?
- Do you have any close friends?
- Why are they your friends?
- What would you do for your friends?
- Do you have any bitter enemies?
- What caused this person or persons to become your enemy?
- Would you kill your enemy?
- What are your goals and dreams in life?
- Why do you have these goals?
- How do you plan to attain these dreams?
- How does adventuring fit into those goals and dreams?
- Do you have any retirement plans?
- Do you have a will? If not, why?
- Who would your possessions and wealth go to if you should meet an untimely end?
- How do you feel about killing?
- What would drive your character to kill, and why?
- How do you feel about death?
- Do you believe in the afterlife? Describe your beliefs.
- What are your moral or religious beliefs?
- How far would you go to defend these beliefs?
- Who or what taught you these beliefs?
- If opposing religions exist, how do you feel about them?
- Do you get along with other members of your church or belief system?
- Do you practice a form of religion that is considered heretical?
- What are your personality traits and personal habits?
- How do others react to them?
- Do you have any distinctive physical traits?
- Scars or tattoos? How did you acquire them?
- How do people react to them?
- Do you get along with other people?
- If not, why?
- Do others consider you trustworthy?
- How do you treat other people?
- How do you handle their quirks and personalities?
- What personalities irritate you the most?
- Do you have a daily routine? How do you react to its interruption?
- Do you have any mental quirks or illnesses, such as phobias or obsessions?
- How do others react to them?
- Where do they stem from?
(10-Minute list from an official WoTC forum or ENWorld thread, I forget which)
(In-Depth section questions from PC Pearls 2, www.goodman-games.com )
The Extra Questions
Date this form was created:
Full name of Character:
Reason, meaning or purpose behind the name:
Reason for nickname:
How old they appear:
Glasses or contacts?
Hair color length and style:
Weight and height:
Type of body (build):
Skin tone and type (i.e., harry, slimy, scaly, oily, fair, burns easily):
Shape of face:
Distinguishing marks (dimples, moles, scars, birthmarks, etc.):
Is s/he healthy?
If not, why not? Or why are they healthy?
Do they look healthy? Why/why not?
Char’s favorite color:
Least favorite, why?
Least favorite music, why?
Mode of transport:
How do they spend a rainy day?
Are they a daredevil or cautious?
Do they act the same alone as when with someone?
Is their soft spot obvious, why/why not:
If not, how do they hide it:
Type of childhood:
Most important child hood event that still effects him/her:
Relationship with her:
Relationship with him:
Siblings, How many, relationship with each:
Children of siblings:
Other extended family:
Close? Why or why not:
Most at ease when:
Most ill at ease when:
How they feel about themselves:
Past failure they would be embarrassed to admit:
If granted one wish what would it be, why?
Optimist or pessimist? Why?
Introvert or extrovert? Why?
Drives and motives:
Extremely skilled at:
Extremely unskilled at:
Does anyone know?
How did they find out:
One word they would use to describe themselves:
One paragraph of how they would describe themselves:
What do they consider their best physical characteristic and why:
The worst one? Why?
Are they realistic assessments?
If not, why not?
How they think others preserve them:
What four things would they most like to change about themselves:
If they were changed would they be the same person, why/why not:
Would changing of number 1 make them more happy? Why/why not:
Interaction with other people:
How do they relate to others:
How are they perceived by strangers:
How do they view the Hero/Heroine:
First impression of the char:
What happens to change this perception:
What do people like most about this char:
What do they dislike most about them:
How do they plan to accomplish them:
How will others be effected by this:
How do they react in a crisis:
How do they face problems:
Kind of problems they usually run into:
How they react to new problems:
How they react to change:
Favorite clothing, why:
Least favorite, why:
Where do they live:
Where do they want to live:
Spending habits, why:
What do they do too much of, why:
Most prized possession, why:
People they secretly admire, why:
Person they are most influenced by, why:
Most important person in their life before story starts, why:
How do they spend the week just before the story starts: