The Importance of Character Background in D&D

//The Importance of Character Background in D&D

Character Background…

For those who have never played D&D, creating a character is not necessarily about making the best character that can do the most damage and have the best stats. Characters in D&D are more than just numbers. One of the most important pieces of your character is their personality, beliefs, and character background. When you make a character you will assign them personality traits, bonds, ideals, and most importantly flaws. As an example, I had a character once named Norrik. Norrik was a halfling rogue that grew up on a small grape-farm in his shire. He had wonderful parents who brought him up intelligently and well-rounded. However, Norrik was never able to settle with the mediocre life and chose the path of crime to achieve his ambitions.

Norrik started small as a young halfling by making wine in secret with the grapes from his parents farm. Quickly he had a full scale operation running out of an underground well he found as a young boy. He soon caught the attention of the “Shadow Thieves,” an infamous criminal guild from the local city of Waterdeep. They extended him an offer to lead his own sect in Waterdeep and he eagerly accepted.

What Do You Do?

That is Norrik’s character background. Here’s where the rest comes in: Norrik laughs out loud during inappropriate times, he is color blind, he has a small tattoo of a Drow blade below his colorbone (all three personality traits), He carries a picture of his parents at their farm in a locket hanging from a chain around neck and looks at it when he’s sure no one else is watching (his bond), he believes that you should not argue in front of guests, he keeps his word (both ideals), and lastly, he cannot pass up a fair bet (his flaw). Based on his traits and the extent to which he would go to benefit himself, he doesn’t seem like much of a team player. While that’s correct, Norrik is fully-aware that without making some compromises and joining a group, he won’t have the support and power he needs to accomplish his goals. He needs the group, so he will use them to his advantage.

These features define your character background and have real baring on the decisions they should make. If Norrik tells someone he’s going to do something, he will do it; more than likely in a way they won’t expect or agree with. The Dungeon Master, me for our game, will use these details about your characters to challenge you and your group in both combat and role playing situations. I prefer to define a table rule here, these features of your character can be whatever you want, but your character has to join the adventuring group and contribute as part of the team. They can cause tension in the group if it makes sense with your character, but no purposefully harming or killing your teammates.

What Drives You?

Dungeons & Dragons uses an alignment system. Basically, while creating a character you assign your character two values that creates your alignment, either lawful, neutral, or chaotic and good, neutral, or evil. For example, Norrik really doesn’t care about anyone but himself in 99% of situations. He has disregard for law or chaotically putting himself in danger. If it will benefit him, he will do anything; including murder. Thus, Norrik is neutral evil. Your Dungeon Master will help you figure this out based on your character’s background and features.

For new players, it’s not an easy concept to accept sometimes and you will forget while your playing whether a choice would fit your character; The Dungeon Master will help with that part. Beyond this, you roll dice to determine your start points that you can assign to your stats. Then you pick your race and class, learn your skills, your abilities, and you begin!

By | 2018-01-09T12:57:12+00:00 January 9th, 2018|How to Play Dungeons & Dragons|0 Comments

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