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#AprilTTRPGMaker

5. Character or worldbuilding?

Tough question. I think harder about world building, I suppose. And, I’ve written at least one specifically world-building game, where you create a world by destroying a painting. The weird thing is that I’ve always been attracted to worlds that were already built. (I have a history of diving deep into games with dozens of books about the setting, and terrible mechanics. Your Shadowruns and Exalteds and Eberrons and even BattleTechs and such.) I dunno. Maybe the worlds just speak more to me than people do.

I also totally love making the overly long back stories for my characters that modern GM’s tend to find unwelcome. Those should come back in fashion.
I demand at least a half page of backstory, and three Connections, for any new character coming into my campaigns. The more backstory you bring to the table, the sooner your character gets their own plot arcs. The last guy that brought only a half page is still kind of a retainer to the player group, and has had very little in the way of personal story to develop. The woman who showed up with a description of her character's egg-father, some memories of her character growing up on the docks and riverboats of the t'skrang community on the Serpent River, and a model sheet of her character in a variety of poses and activities, has got a relationship with an NPC, a new baby sibling, and has advanced in t'skrang culture to where she's now a diplomat for her House.

I don't feel that you can truly get a character's voice without knowing who they were before they came to this point. If the point is just to play a hack and slash, that might not be that important. But for character-driven plots, I find it invaluable.