On the weekend just past, I had a chance to play Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) after a substantial gap of around two years. This was to be a fresh game that required a new character.

The Dungeon Master (DM) is the person who both manages the game and reacts when a player takes an action. She asked each player to write a backstory for our characters that could then be worked into the game.

When writing a novel, it’s a good idea to write up the backstory of the main characters. This helps to keep the action consistent throughout the story, even if you don’t end up using every detail.

The same technique can be used with a D&D character. Mine is called Kat Herder, and she:

  • grew up in a small town and worked as a butcher’s apprentice
  • left to join the military so she could travel, and became a highly-ranked soldier
  • unexpectedly left the military after 15 years, but kept travelling and taking on casual work

But I also don’t have to think of every detail. We’re playing the game in a fictional world that already has its own story, and Kat simply needs to fit into it.

The DM has asked me further questions to enhance the story, so I’ll be working on that this week.

2 thoughts on “Writing a Character Backstory

  1. I got an intro to the D and D world on my first trip to the USA. It was awkward as Brian printed out a character for me and told me we’re playing and I felt at a loss and no idea of what I was doing. He ended up playing two characters haha.

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  2. I’m sorry to hear you had such a bad introduction to the game. Part of the fun is creating a character, and a good DM should help you to do that. That way, you can inject your own personality into it.

    I do hope you’ll give the game another bash one day.

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