Tired of “15 minute background questionnaires” that take over an hour? Try this shortened “Real 15 Minute Background Quiz” (actual time may vary).
Answer the following questions to turn your character sheet into a biography!
What emotion best describes your character?
Find one emotion your character exemplifies. Try to use a specific word to describe it. For example, instead of “happy,” use “cheerful” or instead of “sad,” use “dour” or “melancholy.” Use of descriptive words help specify your characters specific outlook.
What emotion does your character evoke in others?
Does your character have an obnoxious streak? Do they bring down the mood? Is their laugh infectious? Planning to evoke emotions in other players will help you roleplay and allow you to prepare snippets of dialogue.
Why did your character choose the class they have?
Why did your halfling choose the path of the paladin, as opposed to the much more common rogue? Why is your dragonborn a wizard, even though you know you have sorcerous blood? Playing an uncommon race/class combination can be fun, but doing so requires a bit more thought.
What are you adding to the party?
Roleplaying means playing a role. Discuss your desired position in the team with your fellow players and your DM. An ideal party has characters who can each do their jobs without stepping on each other’s toes. A warrior, a thief, a priest, and a mage will have all their bases covered and will have much more fun than a party of four jack-of-all-trade characters.
What is your character’s goal in life?
If your character had everything he or she needed, why would they go on an adventure? Common needs are survival, greed, security, companionship, romance, or family. Consider what your character’s goals are and where you want them to be by the end of the campaign. It helps to establish this with the DM to ensure it fits with your game’s theme.
How does your character believe this goal can be reached?
What will be your method to achieving it and what are your character’s methods? A character bent on revenge might consider perfecting a fighting discipline, while a character devoted to a cause might consider researching religious or esoteric knowledge.
Where are you from?
In any campaign a character should know where they’re from. Come up with a vague idea of what you want your home to be like and talk to your DM about finding a place in the world similar to your idea. It helps to study your surroundings as many DMs don’t want to take a break from the action and mystery to explain the geography.
What was your family life like?
Consider your character’s cultural and racial roots. An elf adopted by halflings may be very different from one who was born in a proper elven community. Talk to your DM about the possibility of tweaking your racial abilities to reflect your odd upbringing. Your upbringing may be what shapes your character the most.
What do you do for a living?
In most campaigns “adventurer” is hardly an occupation. Are you a bard who plays at inns and taverns and pickpockets the unwary? Are you a nobleman who travels out of boredom and wanderlust? Are you a skilled woodsman who guides travelers for a modest fee? Having an occupation can help you root your character in the world and may earn you some income during downtime.
What values does your character hold?
List three things your character considers sacred truths and three things your character finds unacceptable. Thinking like your character will help you when you need to be that character.
How does your character dress?
Start simple with quality of your clothes. Is your traveling outfit worn and tattered or are your noble’s clothes pristine. How does your character’s history affect his or her appearance?
What are your character’s personal tastes?
Now we’re getting a bit nit-picky. Name at least three things your character personally enjoys. Are you a mobster with a craving for oranges? Are you a barbarian who loves to unwind in a bubble bath? Personal tastes offer a bit of flair to your character and help you connect with them.
What is your character’s limit?
What does your character fear or refuse to do? Is your character the muscle in a team of mercenaries who steadfastly refuses to fly? Are you a dungeon-crawling teen afraid of nothing but the ocean? Character fears and limitations open new opportunities for roleplay and can be a fun growing experience for you and your party to overcome.
Who has had the biggest impact on your character’s life?
Name and briefly describe at least one person who had a significant impact on your character. It can be a personal hero or a diabolical villain. Talk to your DM about possibly setting up a nemesis for your character.
What are some of your character’s quirks?
Does your character have a nervous twitch? Does your character have a preoccupation with mushrooms that goes as far as affecting the aesthetics of their spells? Does your highborn character have an endless supply of white handkerchiefs to wipe her rapier after every fight? Unique character quirks make them more memorable and a memorable experience is what this game is all about!
And you’re done! That didn’t take too long, and now you have a character all set and ready for the world and the challenges ahead!