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Building Character: How To Make A Good Backstory for a Dungeons and Dragons game

So you finally have joined a new campaign. Or perhaps are starting over with a new character. While rolling up stats for a character is an essential step as a newbie to Dungeons and Dragons, creating a backstory is also important. Curious about making one?

This article will guide you on writing an amazing backstory for your Dungeons and Dragons character.


How To Write A Backstory


Define Your Character

When creating a backstory, the first thing is to know who your character is in the most basic level. Things like their name, race, class, appearance, parentage, family, personality, employment, education, religion, etc.

Ask yourself if and how these core attributes define the character. Also, how these attributes have affected their growth as a character throughout their life.

If you need help asking more questions beyond this, YouTuber Ginny Di has made an excellent video here. The video shows detailed list of questions to ask yourself and your character during the backstory creation process.


Be Aware of Your Character’s Flaws and Bonds

While you’re asking yourself about your character, it may be handy to think about your character’s flaws and bonds. No one is perfect.

Having flaws and bonds can add a whole lot of depth to your character. It makes them far more solid and three-dimensional as a person. Flaws can range from as simple as, “I never like to back down from a fight” to as complex as, “I made a terrible mistake in my past and now I’m afraid I will repeat that mistake, now that I’ve tried to come clean.”

Bonds can help tie your character to the world. By giving your character a reason to care about something or someone outside of themselves, it provides further depth to your characters.

As your character grows, sometimes the line between bonds and flaws can become very blurred. For example a character who cares about their friends may face some internal conflict amongst themselves when they are faced with losing their loved ones.

The Player’s Handbook has some great ideas for potential flaws and bonds that you can use to get started. Here’s the link to the handy guide. Get started here.

Talk With Your DM About Your Character

Take the time to talk with your DM about your character to help them understand your character’s backstory and how to fit it in the world.

Your characters don’t exist in a vacuum and have connections with others in the world, whether it is through people, organisations, or events in the character’s life that have special significance.

Be aware too of making enough ambiguity and holes in your character’s backstory especially at the beginning of a campaign, in order for the DM to have some hooks to begin with. You will be filling in many of those holes throughout your adventures. This is especially true if you’re starting at low levels.

Interact With Fellow Players

After talking out your character with the DM, keep in mind how your character may interact with your fellow players. The interactions between player characters can be an incredible source of growth, or perhaps even conflict for your character. Perhaps your character may know another character which can add a whole new layer of complexity as they interact with each other. Remember to keep open communication between players in order to facilitate this relationship between your characters. With solid communication, you will be able to really enhance both characters and in turn have a backstory that can really shine!

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