Personality and Background Questionnaire for Roleplayinggames
Something I find crucial when I play roleplayinggames is not only to produce a character according to the rules, but also so provide it with a background and (maybe most important of all) a personality that makes sense.
Playing is not only about rolling dices; it’s above all about role-playing in my opinion. I have therefore made this questionnaire about the personality and background of your newly developed character. I have tried to be generic and not speak about game-specific terms, but when I wrote this I had a fantasy-setting in mind so all questions might not suite your character and setting.
I have find inspiration to this questionnaire in numerous sources and I won’t mention them here since I undoubtedly will forget some of them. I have played since I was ten years old and have compiled a list, which is the foundation of this document, for many years. The main source has been roleplayinggames and articles in fanzien. Since I don’t remember them all I won’t mention any of them at all. Hence the ownership of the copyright of this material can be disputed.
Maciej Zalewski was kind to provide some feedback, and suggested two new questions (I’ve marked them with ”Maciej”), but most importantly, he has translated it into Polish.
Depending on world, setting and social status one can assume the PC have 1d20 brothers and sisters, a rich noble men won’t have that many children but a farmer might very well have. Their age relative the PC can be rolled by a d20, roll a d6: 1-3 younger and 4-6 older then the PC. For humans about 60% of all born is boys and 40% is girls but the higher the age the more likely it is that a brother of the PC dies and I think this should be reflected in the PC’s family. The youngest child is probably a boy but when it comes to them that are 10 years and above it’s probably 50-50.
You can safely assume that almost all of the brothers and sisters that are above 20 are married which implies the question whether the PC is married or not. If not, how come? Try to write down a little story about why he never married. If married, do the same procedure above to determine the age of the PC’s children (it’s quite likely they have children since you marry if you plan to form a family - and that includes children).
The parents is 19+the age of the oldest child+1d6 years old, the mother is usually some years younger then the father (roll a d4). Are the parents alive or how did they die?
When it comes to the rest of the relatives the only limit is the limit of you imagination. Roll dices and make decisions until you get sick and tired of it - or run out of paper to write it down.
How rich are the family and how have that affected the PC? Did his parents’ lack of money make him greedy or does the money run through his fingers like water when he gets the chance? Is he spoiled and assumes that he can get everything he wants or does he live in poverty even when he got a lot of money? Is the family influential or does people spit in the road when the PC comes?
Who taught him what he knows? What did the PC think of his teacher(s)? Who paid for the training? Did he pay with his work or did some older relative pay for it? Did he make any good friends during his childhood? Any allied or enemies? How powerful are they? What can they do to the PC’s advantage/disadvantage? What does they represent to the PC? Does he despise them or does he follow their slightest bidding?
- Colour of hair, eyes, skin, beard, moustache.
- Length, weight, age, bodily constitution, hair cut
- Clothing (colour, fashion and fabric)
- Where does he keep his equipment? Both the one he is carrying with him and the one he have stuck away for further use - its not always wise to carry all your valuables on your person.
- How much does he care how his clothes look like? (Does he wear only clean robes and changes them immediately whenever they become stained in the slightest way or can he wear the same piece for months without washing despite the odor it emits?) (Maciej)
- Does the public opinion affect the way he wears? (Will he continue wear his old favourite heavily stitched cloth he feels comfortable in even if he knows that it currently looks like rags and people look around him when they pass him?) (Maciej)
- What is the first impression people get when they meet him?
- Does he have any sign that makes him stand out? (Dedicated follower of fashion, scars, the way he behave, etc.)
- What good - and bad - habits does he have?
- What religion does he have?
- What drives him, what makes his life worth living? (Love, revenge, money, looking for the meaning of life, fight someone or something (why?))
- What does he find important in life and what does he think is worth fighting for? (Human rights, fight poverty, ”the one with the most money when he dies wins”)
- What have so far prevented him from archieve his goals in life, or have he reached ”Nirvana”?
- Which vices and peculiarities does he have?
- What hobbies and interests does he have?
- What are his thoughts about death, monks, religion (both his own and others), fanatics (religious or others), taxes, the leader of the country, the power of the church, confession (or similar).
- Which gods/religious events does he celebrate? (They don’t have to be part of his religion)
- Will he help someone in need, always or under certain circumstances, and why (not)?
- What will he never do?
- Can he kill a foe that has surrendered? Can he kill someone at all?
- Will he break a promise?
- How loyal is he to friends? After they have betrayed him, how may he react? Does he still trust them?
- What prejudices, duties and rights does he think he have towards society and the society towards him?
- What is his thoughts about society and the tradition and culture it stands for?
- Does he respect the laws?
- What is his thoughts about other creatures life and welfare? (Does he try to oppress other species or does he just ”mind his own business”?)
- Are there any proverbs he tries to follow?
- Does he have any phobias or other weaknesses?
- What is the PCs most prominent physical attribute? How have his attributes affected him? (Does he feel ashamed of his great strength or does he brag about it and oppress the weaker?)
- Are there any traumatic or very happy events in his life and how have they worked upon him? (Plague, the towns most cleaver and beautiful girl said ”yes” to his proposal, all his family killed in war, starvation, etc.)
- How easily does he get angry? How angry? (Does he get furious about nothing or does he keep his anger to himself for weeks?)
Optimist, Pessimist, Curious, Inquisitive, Naive, Easy to fool, Suspicious, Cautious, Pedantic, Violent, Warlike, Perspicacious, Sagacious, Astute, Single-minded, Self-willed, Obstinate, Headstrong, Reluctant, Conservative, Whimsical, Capricious, Mischievous, Malicious, Willing to Help, Kind, Careful, Repugnant, Cruel, Insensible, Insinuating, Fanatic, Malignant
Modest, Abrupt, Blunt, Delicate, Egoist, Arrogant, Authoritative, Reticent, Eloquent, Diplomatic, Annoying, Vigorous, Braggart, Antagonistically, Insolent, Retiring, Reticent, Silent, Considerate, Tactful, Mysterious
Scrupulous, Particular, Truthful, Liar, Honouring, Righteous, Deceitful, Treacherous
Cheerful, Compassionate, Pitying, Sensitive, Humble, Light-hearted, Decent, Nice, Friendly, Gloomy, Depressing, Heartless, Callous, Proud, Conceited, Hot-tempered, Irascible, Strict, Self-possessed, Nervous
Tender-hearted, Polite, Courteous, Hard-working, Industrious, Diligent, Lazy, Philosophical, Down-to-earth, Cold-blooded, Compassionate, Pitying, Jealous, Irreconcilable, Self-assured, Self-confident, Cocksure, Uncertain
Lazy-bones, Dullard, Energetic, Strenuous
Courageous, Brave, Cowardly, Foolhardy, Rash
Aesthetic, Normal, Amoral, Sadistic, Virtuous, Perverse
Slow, Cautious, Thinks deeply, Mediocre, Humourless
Religious, Pious, Moderate, Martyr, Disrespectful, Atheist
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