The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide – Review

For most attendees of a table top RPG session, much pride is taken in the characters we craft to take on an epic journey promised by the dungeon or game master.  There are role players who can effortlessly weave a backstory, while others may find the task tedious. Whichever you are reading this review, I recommend giving The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide a chance to help you improve your playable character.

To start off my journey, I chose a character with a set personality but absolutely no backstory. Her name is Kilena. The guide, written by James D’Amato, creator and game master of the One Shot Podcast, has made it possible for me to bring this character to life. From deciding the holiday Kilena celebrates to the details of her rival, her heroic symbol to her bare minimum inventory, this book forces a role player to think outside the box, sometimes so far outside the box they cross into another realm. Not all the time, however. Some of my favorite portions of the book involved putting my faith in a d6 roll, like describing what happened that one time Kilena was cursed.

No single activity feels duplicated. I approached the book with the thought I would select a few activities just to start, but the title and description of each quickly made me wish I could do them all! Before I knew it, each activity became an interesting idea I wanted to explore about my new character. Facets of personality that one might not normally consider for an RPG character are explored, deepening a player’s connection to their character. This is not for the casual player, rather for a player wanting to dedicate time and effort to a character they will fall in love with. This is an epic quest not suitable for the faint of heart.

A simple guide book would easily lose a reader’s interest, but this provides descriptive and interesting scenarios that truly start turning the gears in a player’s head. One must consider, “What would my character do in this situation?” or, “How would my character be perceived by others?” At times, the open-ended questions proved a bit daunting, especially when they happened repeatedly. I found skipping around to an activity that gave options to choose from was helpful. The change of pace helped start cranking those gears again, so I could return to the open-ended activities when I was ready. Additionally, reading through all the directions and thought provoking questions before starting an activity helped the ideas come a little easier. Keep in mind, many of the activities can be completed alone but a few are more fun with the party.

The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide will not only help spark the beginner’s mind to create a healthy backstory, but will also help veterans find aspects of their character that they may have never considered before. Anyone with an imagination could take a blank slate and come out with an interesting character on the other end. If anyone asked me for advice, my first suggestion would be this book and I would even recommend my favorite activities. Kilena started as a nobody, but now I know so much about her and feel as if I’m meeting her for the first time.

Written by
Writing is my passion. Gaming is my hobby. Combining the two just makes sense. That's why I'm fortunate to be a part of GamingLyfe. My favorite game series is The Legend of Zelda. I'm partial to a good adventure game with a story that latches on with its villainous claws and refuses to release me.

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