Just a short post today. A friendly MMO acquaintance of mine writes fiction for a living (sorry, not going to name drop). Using a technique they use in their craft, they would also apply it to making character bios for the MMO they played. They came up with 9 questions. If you can answer each of these questions, you pretty much have a character well fleshed out. They’ll have their own motivations, and fears, and can react accordingly to plot events. On to the questions:
- What does he love?
- What does he hate?
- What would he be willing to die for, real death, no rez?
- What would he go through anything to live for (because there are things that are worse than death)?
- If he were granted one completely unselfish wish, what would it be?
- If he were granted one completely selfish wish, what would it be?
- When he is all alone in the dark, with no one to see how he feels, what scares the crap out of him?
- Where does he think he’ll be 5 game-years from now, and what does he think he’ll be doing?
- If all the villains were defeated and he didn’t need to be a hero anymore, what would he do with his life?
If your characters are struggling a bit to think up a background, have them fill out this list (or at least most of it). For being a DM, I’ve found it indispensable information as a starting point to plan out adventures which can have some resonance with the group. Getting a few one-shot sessions, which tackle the psyche of one player can make for some memorable games. I also think this is great for NPCs too, and especially for the main heavy villains of your campaign. It’s also interesting to push players into confronting some of the answers on this list, and over time, see how much they’ve grown and changed.
I think this is a neat list, and hope you folks get some mileage out of it too for your campaigns.