Making a better Background

A great way to expand your roleplaying abilities in Dungeons & Dragons, or any other roleplaying game, is to try and make better characters. Developing a background and personality for your character will give you a better guideline on how to play your character and it will also give your Dungeon Master more hooks for their story and opportunities to role-play. We’re going to discuss a few ideas on how to easily create a better D&D character background by using simple plot hooks and personality traits. These methods can be altered to work with other roleplaying games as well.

Pick one thing that the character will die for. This thing should be carefully thought out, as it could easily cause the demise of the character. Maybe your character cannot stand slavery. Whenever he runs into it in his travels he is forced to address it and correct it. And, he will fight to the death to do so. This will be a focal point of the character due to the deadly nature of the characteristic.

Decide on three things that your D&D character will always fight over. Maybe he has an unrelenting hatred for trolls and whenever he is near them he must find them and attack them. Or, maybe whenever he encounters citizens from a small, secluded town he feels compelled to fight them over past wrong-doings. Choose three possible situations or trigger mechanisms that your character will fight for.

Choose one thing that your character absolutely fears. This fear is something that will drastically alter how you play the character when he encounters this fear. It could be that the character has a fear of the open sea and will absolutely not travel on boats. Or, maybe he has a fear of fighting in high areas, like on a large bridge or in an open tower.

Pick one characteristic that defines your character to other people. This characteristic is what NPCs or other players usually refer to your character as being. “Yeah that Fighter, he’s crazy.” A crazy fighter could be someone that fights in a completely unpredictable matter. Perhaps there is method to his madness, but if there is only he apparently knows what it may be.

Decide on one supplementary character that is somehow connected with your character and very important. For example, perhaps your character is a distant relative of the king of a foreign land. Although you’ve never met the king, you bear the same last name and if you really needed it he may help you. Or, you might be the enemy of a powerful politician. You could have spoiled his election one year by casting light on misdeeds he had done, and he has still not forgotten of this.

With these seven different characteristics, one thing that you will die for, the three things you will always fight for, and one thing that you are afraid of, and one characteristic that defines your personality, and one character that is important to you, you’ve instantly created a small amount of background, personality, and a play style for the characters. Answering these questions for your character dramatically increases the chance for fun and dramatic roleplaying opportunities in your game, as well as starting the foundation for your D&D character background.

Making a better Background

Carrion Crown: Kyle's ktle1985