Creating a Character History
Creating an interesting history for your character greatly increases the depth of your character and helps to bring him to life. Having a backstory for your character helps develop your character, aiding in changing him from merely a collection of numbers to becoming a vibrant, living character whom you look forward to playing.
When creating your character’s backstory, be specific, but at the same time, be vague. If there are certain elements in your character’s story that you want to have, make these known. If your father was killed by a greedy, corrupt nobleman, then say so. But at the same time, don’t get too caught up in specifics. Try not to create names of specific people and places, as this may be extremely limiting to the DM in terms of what he can do and where he can place these events, and may end up being beyond the scope of what this campaign can offer. Let your character have questions that don’t have obvious answers. Give the character questions that you yourself don’t know the answers to. Let yourself learn things as your character does. If your character was prophesied at birth to kill the evil king, then there is little doubt at what conflicts and goals your character will end up having. If instead he wakes up and finds a strange, magical ring on his hand that he cannot take off, flares with light when certain enemies approach, and is being chased by cloaked figures who are willing to kill to get that ring, that scenario gives the DM a lot of territory to work with.
When creating your character’s history, make sure you discuss it thoroughly with your DM. Maybe in this campaign, there is no evil king to overcome. But perhaps substituting a diabolical high priest or wicked baron will work nearly as well? Finding a story hook that you want and that works within the DM’s campaign makes everyone happy.
Also, be sure that you discuss it with your fellow players. Work with them to create points of commonality between your characters. They’re all siblings or cousins? All from the same military unit? All from the same village? The relationships don’t have to be the same between all the characters. Maybe two or three of you are related? Perhaps the fighter served in the same patrol as the warlord? The paladin and the avenger both were raised at the same temple? In general, try to establish character relationships with at least two other party members. Having multiple points of commonality ensures that certain adventure hooks remain viable, even if one player cannot make a given gaming session.
Depending on the campaign, the DM may offer more specific details for you to build your character. These campaign-specific backgrounds are offered in an attempt to further integrate your character into the fabric of the world, so that the setting seems more vibrant and dynamic.
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