Looking for the ultimate RPG character backstory guide? Maybe a D&D Character Backstory generator? Perhaps you’re specifically looking for a rogue backstory or other examples? We’ve got you covered.
Before we get to the meat of this page, I’d like to point you toward the corresponding blog post I wrote covering some of the details on how I leveraged AI (specifically, GPT-2) in creating the fantasy character backstories below. I’ve got a lot of great free ideas and examples you can use for your RPG character (or use these at a starting point for a work of fiction!) Either way, you can browse quite a few here for free or buy Bellow’s Big Book of Fantasy Characters at Amazon.
We’ve also got some great resources for creating a random character backstory for you D&D character as well as a bunch of other information and examples to help you come up with the best fantasy character OF ALL TIME. Hehe. Seriously, let’s get to the good stuff!
Table of Contents
Here’s a breakdown of what you can find on this page.
- Character Backstories
- Create a Character Backstory
- LitRPG Adventures RPG Generators
Choose one of the links above or just browse below to spend some quality time coming up with the best possible character backstory.
Fantasy Character Backstory Examples
We’ve picked ten basic fantasy races and ten basic fantasy classes. If this project turns out to be popular, we could expand the AI to include other races and classes. Or perhaps create new races and classes? For now, we will see how this batch of 10 x 10 does. With a hundred race and class combinations, there’s hopefully something for everyone. These ideas are meant to inspire your own creativity and do NOT need to be followed to the letter. Pick and choose what you like, coming up with your own unique character backstory.
Elf Character Backstory Ideas
An elf is a fantasy staple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to come up with an RPG character backstory. Here are two quick examples. If you’d like to make your own, be sure to head over to LitRPG Adventures and signup for the Workshop to generate all sorts of character backstories and more on your own!
Female Wood Elf Wizard
Gwenmari often feels like she has a split personality. She cares too much about her family, but has a hard time telling when they, and everyone else, are taking advantage of her. She loves her home of Aldmonador, but is exploring the kingdom of Grabisco at the behest of her family. She never really had a sense of adventure as a child, but she knew that she wanted something more meaningful from life than the life of a servant or small merchant in Muytibe.
Growing up as an elf in a small family in a small town, Gwenmari has a natural sense of community. She helps her neighbors whenever she can, even if it’s outside of her expected duties. Most of the time, though, she just can’t say no to helping her family out.
Gwenmari stays in the background as much as possible, allowing her red hair and silver eyes to set her apart, just a little bit. She wears long, flowing robes and uses the entire spectrum of colors available to her, be it black, white, gray, red, blue, or purple.
Generate your own Elf Character Backstory Ideas!
Male Dark Elf Sorcerer
Oren is the son of a well-known wizard. Rather than join his father to learn the arcane arts, Oren is more interested in enhancing his natural physical abilities. He enjoyed fighting in the arena as a youth, learning how to use his body in a fight, and developed the skills necessary to do so. He took up magic, but not the arcane arts. He has a sense of humor, but he takes himself too seriously at times.
Oren is confident and serious. He pushes himself to the limit and has no tolerance for those who don’t push themselves just as hard. He’s verbally abusive at times, but doesn’t mean anything by it.
Oren has long black hair and silver eyes. He’s a lithe, muscular halfbreed. He tends to wear a lot of black as it doesn’t show dirt as easily. He has a tattoo on his chest that covers the symbol of his patron god Grummsh the Slithering One.
Generate your own Elf Character Backstory Ideas!
Female Elf Rogue
Male Elf Rogue
How do you make a good RPG character?
Creating a good RPG character has a lot to do with creating a good backstory. I’ve got four great ideas to help you come up with a unique backstory for your character.
Make a good first impression. Your character’s name should give a clue to his or her personality. For example, if you’re a “Charming” character, you should pick a name that reflects this. For example, a name like “Sir Charming” or “Cinderella” or “Prince Charming” would be good names for a charming character. Pick a name that reflects your character’s personality. Now, that example might seem a little silly, so let me give you some more ideas on how your character’s name can reflect their personality and more.
Give your character a good nickname. For example, if you’re a “Mage”, you could be called “Apprentice”, “Magi”, or “Brandish”. If you’re a “Warrior”, you could be called “Knight”, “Bludgeon”, or “Butcher”. If you’re a “Trickster”, you could be called “Imp”, “Impish”, “Bucktooth”, or “Twisty”. If you’re a “Witch”, you could be called “Spellbinder”, “Sorceress”, “Old Witch”, or “Hexie”. If you’re a “Death” character, you could be called “Death”, “Messenger of Death”, “Reaper”, or “Soul Eater”. If you’re a “Seducer”, you could be called “Bewitcher”, “Seductress”, or “Enchantress”. The idea here is to come up with something descriptive about your character. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and make a funny nickname. A good example of that would be “Flirty”. It’s not a good idea to give your character a nickname that doesn’t show off his or her personality. For example, don’t call your character “Captain” if he or she is a “Mage” and not a “Warrior”.
Your character’s backstory is important. At LitRPG Adventures we have all sorts of ideas you can use, but in general, you want to build a character who is motivated to do something. For example, if you’re a “Mage”, you might be a good guy who only wants to be left alone to study and cast spells or you might be a bad guy who wants to rule the world or a neutral character who wants to study and help people. Whatever kind of backstory you decide to go with, make sure your character is motivated to act. This will lead you to coming up with a story that explains their background and how they became to be the person they are today. Another idea is to explain the reasoning behind one of your character’s class choices.
If you’re a “Mage” and you want to be a good character, the backstory could explain why you decided to be a good character and not a “Trickster”. Maybe you found a group of good people and they convinced you not to give up your humanity to save your life. Maybe they helped you get through a tough time of your life and you want to help people where you can from now on. The idea here is to come up with a backstory that explains your character’s personality and class choices. Another idea is to shy away from typical RPG characters. This means no typical “good guys” or “bad guys”.
Have a plan. If you’re an “Alchemist”, for instance, you could work for a good organization or a bad organization. Maybe your character has a unique ability that he or she can’t control. Maybe your character works for an organization and he or she just found out their employers are evil. In any case, you want to come up with a compelling reason for your character to do something in a story. If your character has already done everything the game can offer, you’ll need to build a story off what we call the “Guidepost Missions”. The guidepost missions are missions that advance the story of the game. These are missions where your character is called to some place and you have to work together with a group of NPC’s to do some important mission.
How do you make a good backstory for your PC?
Good question! First, there are many different types of story / plot / subplots / arcs. I love the cool challenge of putting some mystery together for the party to unravel, so I usually try to work something into the story that the players (and sometimes the NPCs) will want to get to the bottom of and uncover all of the details. It’s fun to let the players slowly learn about the plot through the course of play and it allows the whole story to be told slowly through the telling of smaller parts. To get a good backstory you need to start with a good plot, so I’d start with the plot and build the backstory from that.
How do you start a backstory?
First, you want to have an idea of what type of character you will be playing. Once you know this, all you need to do is surround this character with an environment that is directly caused from you character’s past. Deciding what type of past your character has will dramatically alter how you create your backstory.
A) If your backstory’s main story goal is revenge, then your current adventure is the direct result of whatever altercation caused your character to wish to seek revenge. Revenge stories are incredibly fun to write and for an audience to read. This style backstory is often very well known because of its powerful emotional connection to the audience.
B) If your backstory’s main story goal is treasure, then your current adventure is the result of a treasure map that you followed to your current location. This is another very powerful backstory that has a lot of history behind it.
C) If your backstory’s main story goal is a mission, then your current adventure is the result of whatever task you were given in the past. This is a simple story that is often very fun and exciting to write.
D) A less popular choice is if your backstory’s main story goal is gaining power. Everyone wants to gain power, but the point of a backstory is for it to be the reason as to why you are where you are during your current adventure, not for you to be at some arbitrary power level at the start of your adventure.
Once you have determined what your story goal is, you can just work backwards from there. Use your character’s current environment as the means by which you can tell the story you wish to tell.
Now that you have a general idea of how to create a backstory, you still may be lacking some of the information you need. In order to deliver a good backstory, you need to remember that it is still part of the adventure. So, you need to have things that advance your adventure along. Most good backstories are segments of the adventure itself and not completely separated from the adventure.
The amount of backstory that the audience knows is typically the amount of backstory that you include in your game. For instance, if you told your players your backstory during the character creation session, then you would DM your game with the information that you told your players.
It is important to note that you don’t have to tell your DM your character’s backstory. Your DM will be receiving more information than just your backstory. He will be receiving all the parts of your character sheet as well as any choices that you make during the game.
Finally, your DM may even have a backstory already prepared for you. So, you need to be mindful that yours is not the only backstory being used during the game. Your DM may have a backstory that directly affects the adventure path that you are on.
In conclusion, backstories by their very nature require some explanation to be done within the game. If you do not tell your DM your backstory, then you may find that your DM has his own backstory in mind and they may conflict with one another.
DMs should not be evil; they should remain neutral.
How long is a D&D backstory?
Another great question! This is subjective, of course, but in general you don’t want to write an entire novel for your character’s D&D backstory. At a minimum, you’ll want a few sentences. If you really care about the character, you might consider writing a longer character backstory for them. One page is the upper limit for character backstories in general.
Your Backstory Should Not Include:
Loot. You don’t need to track down to the copper piece every copper piece of gear that your character ever got. You got a sword for a birthday present? Put in that the character is fond of the sword and got it for his 18th birthday. Be specific enough that you won’t have to worry about the exact details later, but don’t get overly specific.
You don’t need to track down to the copper piece every copper piece of gear that your character ever got. You got a sword for a birthday present? Put in that the character is fond of the sword and got it for his 18th birthday. Be specific enough that you won’t have to worry about the exact details later, but don’t get overly specific. Personality quirks. A dwarf grew up in a tiny mountain village where everyone had to dig a tunnel to get to his house? Neat, but don’t write a paragraph.
A dwarf grew up in a tiny mountain village where everyone had to dig a tunnel to get to his house? Neat, but don’t write a paragraph. Persona. Don’t write about how his friends think of him, or what his enemies think of him. The Dungeon Master interprets your personas, not the other way around. You already have this information, and it’s a great opportunity for them to make connections between your characters and their world.
Don’t write about how his friends think of him, or what his enemies think of him. The Dungeon Master interprets your personas, not the other way around. You already have this information, and it’s a great opportunity for them to make connections between your characters and their world. Future details. Don’t write about what your character will do later in the campaign. That’s a great opportunity for the Dungeon Master to provide players with vital information that they may need later.
How do you write a character backstory?
Want to write a character backstory for your RPG or fantasy novel? These quick tips will help you get headed in the right direction. First, the key to writing your character’s backstory is that it isn’t backstory. This information will come up organically as the story is told, supported by actions and words. This method is more effective than forcing the backstory into the story as a separate flashback. There’s a time and place for that in the novel, however you’re better off to write the backstory as part of the ongoing story.
There’s a time and place for that in the novel.
If your character has a unique look to them or a unique background, it can be a deep mystery shown in flashbacks throughout the story, though it’s not something we recommend. The story of how they are unique will create a more emotionally invested reader. If your backstory is a mystery, it will create a lot of questions that the story will need to answer.
Another way to write your character’s backstory is to create a narrative from the character’s perspective. The best way to write from your character’s perspective is to become the character. Imagine this: if your character could write their own story, what things would they choose to emphasize? What would matter most to them? What would they want their life story to be?
The backstory should reveal something about the character. Some people put a lot of thought into planning character backstories but those backstories don’t actually provide any information about the character. It’s like trying to tell your friend something about yourself in a short paragraph. You’re forced to omit all sorts of juicy details because they aren’t important to telling your story. That’s not the right approach. Your backstory should be filled with interesting and revealing details. That’s what makes it a good backstory.
How do you write a D&D character backstory?
Very carefully! Haha. Just kidding. We’ve got a few quick tips for when you’re writing a new D&D character backstory no matter what race or class you’re playing or what edition of the rules you’re playing.
How to Create Great RPG Characters
First, let’s get a quick overview of what we mean by the word great when talking about RPG characters. For the purposes of this article, characters are considered to be great when, upon their introduction, the other players at their table will say something like “Whoa, cool character.”
In other words, great characters create excitement at the table. Great characters have a memorable and impactful first appearance. If the other players are like me, they will often remember great characters for quite a long time.
Not all of your games will have the time to bring a character to that height. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no way to make characters great. There are certain tricks that you can use to make your characters a bit more memorable. You can make characters that people will remember once the spotlight has turned away from them.
Everyone knows that you can make an interesting character by giving the person a quirk or two. But cool is in that class of character traits that goes beyond being interesting. Cool characters are cool even when you are not interacting with them. If you think about it, some of the famous characters from books, movies and television are cool characters. And they are not necessarily the characters who are most interesting to interact with.
How to Create Interesting RPG Characters
Aren’t all great characters interesting also, you ask? Well, not all the time. This is why we have a separate section for coming up with character backstories that will keep people interested and yearning to know more.
LitRPG Adventures Generators!
Do you enjoy creating new monsters, items, spells, locations, and more for D&D or your favorite tabletop RPG? There’s a lot of great random generators out there (like donjon, for example), but I’ve built another that I think you might enjoy.
The LitRPG Adventures RPG Workshop generators are powered by the GPT-3 API from OpenAI, currently the largest language model in the world. Yes, I got access to a supercomputer and decided to teach it D&D. What can I say? I’m an old school gamer and a LitRPG author.
Members of this community can create a variety of RPG content for your favorite tabletop game or browse the vast library of already generated content for ideas. Fiction writers are finding this a useful resource as well. You can see some output samples already generated, or keep reading to learn more.