Author Topic: Questions to ask oneself during creation! (Excerpt from the RL Campaign Setting)  (Read 2459 times)

Geiger

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I thought this might be useful to some of you when making a new character. It runs you through some basic questions to really put yourself in your character's boots.

Quote from: Ravenloft Campaign Setting (3e), pg. 59-61
In the depths of every heart, there is a tomb and a dungeon, though the lights, the music, and revelry above may cause us to forget their existence, and the buried ones, or prisoners whom they hide.
—Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Haunted Mind"

By following the guidelines in this chapter, you can create the framework of a player character. Race, class, skills, and feats; these rules are the meat and bones of a hero, but they remain incomplete. The heart and soul of your character is her personality, and only you can breathe life into your creation.

The protagonists of Gothic tales often encounter villains or creatures that represent their own inner demons made manifest. By providing your hero with vibrant characterization, you offer the DM greater opportunities to engage your hero with adventures tailored to her interests. A wizard obsessed with acquiring magical power might find herself on a quest for the spellbooks of a lich; a barbarian who steadfastly protects his clan from chittering goblin raiders may eventually assume the title of chieftain.

So, as a final exercise, whenever you create a Ravenloft player character, place yourself in your hero's mind and consider the following questions. This is not a test, and there are no wrong answers.

1. What do you look like? Are you alluring? Plain? Grotesque? Do you dress in finery or tattered rags? Do you have any scars or distinguishing features? A character's appearance may hint at her past. For example, a fighter hunting the weretiger who infected her with lycanthropy might still bear scars from the attack.

2. Where is your family? Where is your homeland? Are you native to Barovia, or were you drawn into a quest from the arid Amber Wastes? Do you have a cozy cottage to call home, or have you been banished from your ancestral estate? Some players may believe that loved ones can't be threatened if they don't exist, but consider this: a hero with no one to lose also has no one to turn to in times of need.

3. What is your greatest love? For what or whom would you make sacrifices? A romantic interest? A family member? Yourself? Your god? Magic? Youth? Knowledge? Power? Would you make a personal sacrifice or sacrifice Someone else?

4. What is your greatest regret? Do you have any memories that haunt you at night? Were you unable to prevent a death? Do you have a mental or physical trait that you despise? Did you betray a friend in a time of weakness?

5. What makes your skin crawl? What are your hates or fears? Many elves are disgusted by the acrid scent of gunpowder, and dwarves are said to dislike the sea. Do you dislike the smell of live-stock, or do you hate the sweltering heat of summer? Does witnessing an injustice set your teeth to grinding, or does the sight of spiders send you into shivers? Do you find a race, culture, religion, or form of magic primitive or unnatural?

6. What fascinates you? What topics draw your interest? Do you attend operas, or do you read tawdry novels? Would you pore over the intricate patterns of a magic scroll, the strands of a cobweb, or the gears of a clock tower? Do you have a weakness for riddles? Do you live your life in search of new sensations?

7. What are your habits? Do you have any patterns in your life? A sorcerer might twist his beard when lost in thought; a caliban might collect "trophies" from slain foes; a bard might practice every night to hone her musical skills.

8. What are your secrets? Do you hide anything from the outside world? Are you disguising a trait, or have you buried an event from your past? Why do you keep this secret? If your secret was revealed, would you merely be embarrassed, or might you face persecution or place someone at risk?

9. Are you rational or passionate? Do you pride yourself on following your head before your heart, or are you a true romantic? Characters with chaotic alignments tend to be more comfortable with their emotions, but lawful characters are certainly capable of passionate outbursts.

10. Are you sophisticated or superstitious? Were you educated in the finest boarding schools, or were you raised by tanners who left their farmstead only to check their traps? A cosmopolitan character might be experienced in the skills of etiquette, while an unrefined peasant might know countless folktales about the fey.

11. How strong is your faith? Many denizens of the Land of Mists scoff at religion, believing that the gods have long since ceased to care about mortal concerns. If religious, do you worship the prevalent religion of your homeland, or have you adopted a foreign creed? Are you pious or zealous?

12. How self-confident are you? Do you continually question your own motives? Do you struggle with an inner darkness? Or do you stride boldly forth, knowing in your heart that your actions are correct?

13. What drives you to adventure? Why have you taken up the dangerous life of an adventurer? Are you simply mercenary, seeking treasure? Are you on a hunt for vengeance? Are you driven by altruistic motives? Do you believe you have a destiny to fulfill? Are you trying to reclaim a stolen birthright? Are you struggling to be reunited with a lost love?

Merry Munchkin

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Excellent points.  I would only add my suggestion that these are questions that every character, not just new characters, should constantly evaluate and re-evaluate since they may change over time during the course of RP.  A brand new character might not have answers yet to all of these questions (and might not want to have all of them answered right out of the starting gate), but may develop them later.  I can say from experience that things like "greatest love" and "greatest regret" often mean more when they are developed organically through the course of RP with your fellow players.


*edited typos


Burleigh Burrowell - RIP