The Dark Horizon
Character Role-playing Companion
Building this at the start of your game will guarantee a fully fleshed out character who has a past, goals, and a future. Your character will not feel as if they started their existence at the start of a game. These things are guidelines and not hard rules and as the game progresses, you might find yourself changing this page as you go; that is the best thing that you can do as it means your character is growing and changing as they go through their life’s journey.
The Absolute Rule: Your character MUST be designed to that the other players can at least like you enough to eventually work with you and trust you.
This page is put in a layout for easy reference later on when you wish to review or change something.
When building it at the start the recommended order of creation is as follows:
1) Deﬁne the character’s profession – Cover all possible choices
2) Create a rough outline – One or two paragraphs
3) Decide on rights and wrongs – Between ﬁve to ten to start
4) Determine a back story – At least one event for each ﬁve years of character adulthood
5) Make a list of friends and foes – Create at least two of each
Try to tie foes to character wrongs
Try to tie friends and foes to back story
6) Lay out some goals -Three short, one medium, and one long to start
7) Attach some quirks and traits – Come up with one or two to begin with
What is your full name and title?
What do you look like? Why?
What kind of powers/abilities to you envision having once you gain experience and power?
Are you a natural leader? Or perhaps just friend that always comes through?
Do you seize the day and immediately change things that you want to in life (recommended) or do you endure life and hope things get better? Do you seek adventure or will it have to find you?
How did you end up in your profession?
Who are your (or your profession’s) enemies?
Who are your friends?
Where were you born? Which class do you belong to?
What goals do people in this profession have?
What significant events happened in your past? How did they shape who you are now?
Rights and Wrongs
Lying: Is it ever okay to misrepresent the truth? Any skeletons in the closet?
Cheating: Does the character ever break the rules? Why?
Stealing: Is it okay to take things? From whom might it be okay?
Killing: How does the character feel about the taking of lives? Under what circumstances might it be acceptable or unacceptable?
Authority: Is the character a control freak or are they most comfortable being directed by others? Are they a righteous upholder of the law? Do they ever question orders?
Regime/Politics: Does the character approve or disapprove of the current governing force? Are they actively protecting or actively trying to replace the current regime? Are they involved in politics at all?
Philosophy: Do the ends justify the means? Are we free to choose our actions or does fate rule our destiny?
The Law: What form of law does the character practice or approve of – anarchy, honor systems/self rule, personal codes, written law? Should one obey and uphold the law without question or should the laws be subject to creative interpretation? Does the character have a personal honor system or set of unique beliefs?
The Unknown: How does the character react to foreigners/aliens? Are they open to new cultures or do they ridicule or fear them? Are things from other cultures to be appreciated or destroyed as heretical?
Other People: How does the character regard other people? With suspicion? As tools and obstacles? With respect? How does the character feel about the rich, the poor, the powerful and the weak?
Habits: Does the character have any particular habits or vices? Are there any habits or vices the character ﬁnds morally reprehensible?
Secrets: Does the character have any secrets or secret goals? Why? Under what circumstances might their secret be told?
Class: Where does the character sit in the game setting’s class hierarchy? How does the character feel about those in lower classes? Do they ignore them, regard them as animals, look down upon them with contempt or view them with kindness, as under their direct care and responsibility, or in a symbiotic relationship? How about those in the classes above? Do they view them as evil or as something to aspire to?
Sins and Virtues
Sins and Virtues should not be viewed as good or bad for a character by the player (perhaps the character himself may want to ‘improve’) but as a map to their personality. For each Sin and corresponding Virtue, decide which is dominant in your character and then to which degree.
Quirks and Traits
Do you have an accent?
What is your temperment?
e.g. Stoic? Impulsive? Silly?
What kind of mannerisms do you have?
e.g. Wisecracking when scared? Tapping foot when impatient?
What kind of weaknesses round out your character?
e.g. Physical? Social? Faith-based? Psychological?
What other miscellaneous things that are important to you?
e.g. Treasured items? Fond memories?
What about the world would you like to change?
What do you love most in life?
What do you hate most of all?
What are your Short Term Goals?
i.e. Things you are working on as soon as possible
What are your Medium Term Goals?
i.e.Things that you would like to do but either aren’t possible right yet or might take a bit of luck to get started
What are your Long Term Goals?
i.e. Things that aren’t going to happen right away but if you get them done, your life is one step closer to being complete
If you come up with some kind of short story, think about sharing with the GM and keeping it aside to share with the group in game at some point. This always makes for good character interaction if played at the right time.
This document was created by Carl Fowkes for use in character creation and maintenance. Most questions are inspired by or directly lifted from Gamemastering By Brian Jamison (www.gamemastering.info). Thanks for writing the best book, Brian.