A while back, I talked about different methods of writing character backgrounds, focusing on the Ten Minute Background and the 20 Questions method, in which I mentioned that I wanted to switch from the former to the latter. I’m starting a few new games in the coming months, so this is a good opportunity, and I wanted to share the questions I’m using with you.
The reason why I’m switching is because this can incorporate all of the details of the 10 Minute Background, but provides some more direction. I wanted to avoid questions with yes/no answers in favour of ones that push players to describe things in more detail. So here they are, my twenty questions.
- What are three things that stand out about the way you look?
- Where are you from?
- What’s the your social and political background?
What are five things about your history or personality that are essential to getting to know you?
- Who are two people you consider friends?
- How did you meet them?
- Why are you friends?
- What’s one secret that you have?
- What’s one secret that relates to you, but you don’t know?
- What are two goals that you have?
- Why do you have those goals?
- Who is one person who’s hostile toward you?
- Why are they hostile toward you?
- What are your three most vivid memories?
- What’s a hobby that you have?
- Why are you with the party?
- What strengths do you bring to the party?
- What do you hope to gain from being in the party?
- What did you do during the recent war?
- What is your name?
I spent most of the questions fleshing out the 10 Minute structure, but wanted to focus on personality and background outside of that. I’m especially interested in the hobbies that people will come up with. I’m encouraging my players to get creative, with the setting, preferably without making themselves the prince of Ruritania, but I want to give them the opportunity to add to it, creating new places or even organizations.
What do you think? What questions would you add or take away? I’ll let you know how it works out, and I’ll have more on the games later.