Based largely on actual events.

Well, maybe not the whoring under bridges part but I have seen (and experienced) the sting of shitty starting gold rolls and let me tell you, it makes life interesting at 1st-level. It’s great role-playing fodder too.

Speaking of, folks from Twitter asked about the short character questionnaire I give players at the beginning of a new campaign. I’ve used the questionnaire approach for years but my exposure to the Dread RPG last year greatly influenced the questions and how I present them. With my new group beginning the Rise of the Runelords adventure path, I emailed the following questions to the players:

  1. Who do you love/have loved?
  2. Where did you grow up? (answer may be as broad as “in poverty” or as specific as a town/local mentioned in the Rise of the Runelords player primer provided to you)
  3. An elder family member or your mentor gave you a piece of advice on their deathbed. What was it?
  4. Why have you come to the town of Sandpoint?
  5. Choose one: A proud eagle. A wounded bear. A noble lion

The questions may seem innocuous enough but they are a good way to get players thinking about their new characters and in the first sessions of a new campaign, familiarity is huge. I switch up the questions depending on the campaign so your miles may vary. I try to keep it general for three questions, campaign specific for one question, and then something like the fifth question that is a measure of a characters personality.

I hope you find it useful!

COMMENTERS: How do you begin a new campaign? Do you have any methods not described in the rulebooks for developing characters?