When you’re preparing to set off adventuring with a new Player Character, you probably have a pretty solid idea in your head of how they’re going to take shape. You’ll have a knowledge of their history, a firm grasp on their personality, a solid mental (or maybe even physical) image of what they’re going to look like. You know your Class Features and Racial Abilities, your weapons and armour. You know who this person is going to be.
Or do you?
Almost certainly, yes. But one of the greatest joys of tabletop roleplaying over other forms of storytelling is that this character will constantly be facing new challenges, experience and quandaries that force you to think on your feet about how they’ll react. For many players, this improvised, immediate self-discovery is the best thing that can happen at the table, but even then, there are times where left field twist or unanticipated scenario run the risk of leaving you stumped as to how your character would proceed.
Moments like this can take you right out of the narrative, leave you second-guessing yourself, and turn that fun into regret as, hours or days after the game finishes, you think back and realise a more appropriate or interesting road you could have taken. I daresay most of us will have those moments, where we rue the path not travelled and wonder if that’d have led to a more exciting story for our characters.
That’s where this article comes in. Included below are a series of questions, set up to be rolled for at random, that aim to help equip RPG players for these moments. There’s no right or wrong answers, and they’re not in any sort of order. Some of these questions are fairly open-ended, others more closed, but answering a handful should help you get into your character’s headspace and prepare you for making snap decisions that feel natural and appropriate for your character.
Simply roll a D20, pick the question, and answer as your character. Rely on instinct, and try to avoid overthinking it. If you spend more than a few seconds trying to come up with an answer, roll another question and come back to that one later. Most of these are skewed towards the fantasy genre, but with a little lateral thinking should work just as well for sci-fi, steampunk or whatever else you’re playing.
- Whether by choice or fate, you have left your home behind to go adventuring. What will you miss about it the most?
- You are granted a single wish. What do you wish for?
- After some time alone, it appears you will be falling in with an adventuring party. How do you feel about this?
- If you were not a (Class/job/role), what would you be?
- You have defeated an enemy who has brought you great personal grief. They surrender and beg mercy. How do you proceed?
- In the heat of battle, you see an opportunity for glory and a chance at victory, but it means deviating from the plan your companions and you have already agreed. How do you proceed.
- Your journey takes you to a new town that you have never visited before. What is the first thing you do upon arriving?
- You witness one of your allies pickpocket a bystander while in town. How do you react?
- In battle with a powerful conjurer, you see an image of your worst fear before you. How do you react?
- A close friend has fallen in battle. You have the means to resurrect them, but such magic/technology is outlawed in the realm you currently reside in. Do you proceed to resurrect them?
- An ally is accused of murder and arrested by the guards. They protest their innocence as they are dragged away. How do you proceed?
- A) If you were not a spellcaster, what kind of weapon would you use? B) If you were a spellcaster, what kind of magic would you use?
- You have the chance to save the life of a stranger at great risk to yourself. Do you?
- Several of your allies are heavily wounded and in no condition to fight. Nonetheless, you have gained the upper hand and your enemy begins to flee. How do you proceed?
- A close friend has been imprisoned for a crime you know they committed. In a letter smuggled from their prison, they beg you to stage a rescue. What do you do?
- You have a limited number of expensive healing potions. You come across a wounded creature on your journey, and an ally suggests that you use one to heal it. Another suggests you put it out of it’s misery and save the potions. What do you do?
- Your companions look to you to lead them. How do you feel about this?
- When presented with the option of a direct attack, subtle infiltration or diplomatic negotiation, which would you choose?
- What is your first thought upon seeing yourself in the mirror?
- If you were presented with the chance to return to a normal, mundane life free from adventure, would you take it?
That’s all for now. I’ve attached these questions as a PDF above, so feel free to download and share if you find it useful! Until next time, happy adventuring.