Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Monday Motivations #5

Article #5 in a regular series where I offer up some ideas for character backgrounds by class.  I aim to collect these ideas together for a future pdf publication.

What made your character decide to become a wizard? Why did they leave their home town? Did they leave family behind or are they looking for something? These are all questions players face when generating their characters, with the best will in the world it's tempting to rely on cliché.


3.  New Sheriff in Town - When a new Sheriff arrived a few months back, things just started to take a turn for the worse.  He ferreted out some of your Assassin's Guild colleagues and the jobs started to dry up.  The final straw came when the Guild Master decided to close up shop.  You decide to strike out on your own, perhaps another town's Guild will have need of your skills...

4.  Set-up - That last job you did went South pretty quickly, those bodyguards knew you were coming.  Someone in the Guild is either supplying false intelligence or someone's put out a contract on you, but who? and why?  One things for sure, you can't go back to the Guild a failure, they kill failures...


3.  Magical Runt.  Being a wizard runs in your family your mother and father and your little sister are all wizards and they're far more accomplished than you will ever be.  Which is why you decided to run away and set up yourself up as a hedge wizard in a far flung corner of the world...

4.  Army deserter!  - Around your twelfth birthday your powers manifested themselves.  You were promptly registered with the local magistrate and you forgot about it completely as you buried yourself into your new studies.  Nine years later you shouldn't have been surprised when the kings letter arrived drafting you into the Mage corps of his army.  It wasn't long before you couldn't take anymore of the endless drilling so one night you escaped the compound and made a break for enemy lines...


3. A Legendary Blade - Whilst out hunting one day your prey darted into the relative safety of a small copse of trees and you hunter's instinct told you to follow.  The copse was deceptively dense and soon you needed to hack a path through the tightly knit trees.  You slash your way into a clearing and discover a pair of large boulders and lying at their foot a skeletal warrior holding a finely wrought blade.  The warrior has clearly been dead for many years, his disintegrating armour is of a strange design, the like of which you have never seen, however, the sword he carries is untarnished and as you slide it out of it's scabard you marvel at the keenness of the edge as it reflects the light.  After taking the blade back home your sleep is disturbed by strange dreams and a voice calling out to you.  Each morning as you strike out to catch the day's pray you feel compelled to keep walking and leave your dreary tribal hunter's life for that of adventure and distant lands...


  1. This is a great resource for character development. I especially like the story of the wizardly runt that runs away from his lineal past in order to make a name for himself. That provides all sorts of motivation for them to prove themselves and try to gain power and mastery over their craft.

    Building a meaningful back story for your characters, something unique that avoids cliche ideas, is important for making the experience more than just a game. It helps to immerse you in the story of that characters life, and gives a depth to them that you can't get without knowing what makes them tick.

  2. Thanks Joseph, I'm glad you like it.