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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default RP questions for players.

    I'm getting ready to run my first game of D&D 3.5 in a while and I'm hoping to make it last. In order to do that I want to make sure that my players feel really involved. I was going to ask them to just write a short background on their character and why they've decided to start adventuring, but do you guys think I should ask something a bit more specific? I've not created the world yet so I'm open to a lot of suggestions about that as well.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    The best way to make players really involved is to have them flesh out not only their own persona, but part of the world. Small part, of course. Their village, with its local blacksmith and miller, their parental home, their favourite dog, their sister, the neighbourhood bully, etc.

    Great for plot hooks, of course, but not only. Just gives a great sense of realism when the PC return to his village after a quest to find out his favourite dog died and his sister married the neighbourhood bully

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    That sounds good. I might give them a brief questionnaire to force them to think about how their character would react to certain situations. What their answers are is less important than HOW they answer. Here are some questions, but you should come up with you're own (Or use these).

    1)A man is accused of a crime you know he did not commit. He is on the run from the law and asks your character to hide him, what does your character do?

    2)A corrupt guard is demanding bribes from the citizens of a town you're character is staying in, does you're character intervene, and if so, how?

    3)You discover that an ally is taking bribes from you're foes, you are the only one that knows this. What do you do?
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    I don't know if you've noticed, but pretty much everything BRC posts is full of awesome.
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    So, Astronaut, War Hero, or hideous Mantis Man, hop to it! The future of humanity is in your capable hands and or terrifying organic scythes.
    My Homebrew:Synchronized Swordsmen,Dual Daggers,The Doctor,The Preacher,The Brawler
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Ah, some very interesting ideas. Thanks, you guys!

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Background helps a lot. You need to make sure they do more than list their parents names and professions though. Asking them why they left home and how they came to the city where game starts usually helps.

    If you have the free time, I also recommend starting with each player individually instead of throwing them together as a group. Give them 30-60 minutes in their own spotlight. Let them find their character without the rest of the group watching.
    If you like what I have to say, please check out my GMing Blog where I discuss writing and roleplaying in greater depth.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    That sounds good. I might give them a brief questionnaire to force them to think about how their character would react to certain situations. What their answers are is less important than HOW they answer. Here are some questions, but you should come up with you're own (Or use these).

    1)A man is accused of a crime you know he did not commit. He is on the run from the law and asks your character to hide him, what does your character do?

    2)A corrupt guard is demanding bribes from the citizens of a town you're character is staying in, does you're character intervene, and if so, how?

    3)You discover that an ally is taking bribes from you're foes, you are the only one that knows this. What do you do?
    Why?! I mean, the idea to make a player think about his character's actions is a good one, but I question the method of implementation. If you put those questions in questionnaire, you lose a great opportunity to actually do it in-game. Instead of a questionnaire, why not actually throw such situations at the PCs as part of the game?

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Troll in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Do a quick (under 10 minutes) internet search. I tried "character creation questions background". Make a list of questions that you like (maybe 20). Then ask the players to answer a number of them (maybe 10, if you had 20 originally) that they find interesting and appropriate to their characters.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Titan in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lin Bayaseda View Post
    Why?! I mean, the idea to make a player think about his character's actions is a good one, but I question the method of implementation. If you put those questions in questionnaire, you lose a great opportunity to actually do it in-game. Instead of a questionnaire, why not actually throw such situations at the PCs as part of the game?
    Because the goal of such a questionnaire is to make the player's think about their characters. They don't have to give you their answers, they just need to think a little, so their characters start the game with some personalities in place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiasaur11 View Post
    So, Astronaut, War Hero, or hideous Mantis Man, hop to it! The future of humanity is in your capable hands and or terrifying organic scythes.
    My Homebrew:Synchronized Swordsmen,Dual Daggers,The Doctor,The Preacher,The Brawler
    [/Center]

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lin Bayaseda View Post
    Why?! I mean, the idea to make a player think about his character's actions is a good one, but I question the method of implementation. If you put those questions in questionnaire, you lose a great opportunity to actually do it in-game. Instead of a questionnaire, why not actually throw such situations at the PCs as part of the game?
    Consider the questionnaire to be foreshadowing. You'll get the players to think about their answer. You'll prime them to deal with a situation. Then drop it in their laps, albeit a little different. It's easy to condemn the corrupt guard. What about when he's been your quest giver for the last 3 levels? See if making the scenario personal changes things for anyone.
    If you like what I have to say, please check out my GMing Blog where I discuss writing and roleplaying in greater depth.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    What can I say... I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I find it much more useful for character development when the PCs are just faced with the situation; w/o preparation, without talking it over in advance; even if the trope is later subverted. I mean, nobody asked Hamlet "what would you do if you saw a ghost?" in advance. He just saw a ghost and went from there.
    Not gonna argue anymore. Agree to disagree, okay?

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Totally Guy's Avatar

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lin Bayaseda View Post
    Instead of a questionnaire, why not actually throw such situations at the PCs as part of the game?
    I agree. The best backstories I've written have been the result of being frustrated in game. I found myself needing to canonise my awesomeness because I couldn't get any of it to happen in the game itself.

    As well as concentrating on the characters, concentrate on the players. Find out what sort of game they want to be playing.

    I have the players write out 2 or 3 beliefs for the character with some kind of action to it. "I will rescue my sister from the wizard.", "I will confound my nemesis with my web of lies."

    These have the benefit of making the game about the characters rather than having a game that is played through by these characters. It also allows the player to directly state what they come to the table for which is a great GM tool.
    Attempting to say controversial things that everyone will agree with.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lin Bayaseda View Post
    Not gonna argue anymore. Agree to disagree, okay?
    Sure. I'll just add that my current campaign is the first one where I'm trying out the foreshadowing of these questions. I'm certainly not doing this with every moral dilemma I'll be throwing at the players, nor am I using every moral question I ask at a later date. Most of the time it's been a matter of me asking questions that I don't expect the game to ask. If the answer sounds interesting, I'll go back and revisit the question in game.
    If you like what I have to say, please check out my GMing Blog where I discuss writing and roleplaying in greater depth.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Anxe's Avatar

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    The way I plan to do it for my next campaign is to ask the players questions about their characters that would be the same type of questions you'd ask a new person you meet to find out more about them.

    Who are their parents? Are their parents still together or divorced or dead or is one of them dead or is one working away from home? Where did the character grow up? What did the character want to be? Who trained the character? Was the character injured as a child?

    These questions will probably get you mild, but believable backgrounds.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Haha, well believable backgrounds will be a plus. My first player really wants to play a Drow Paladin so she's going to need a pretty good background to make that work.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Prime32's Avatar

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    That sounds good. I might give them a brief questionnaire to force them to think about how their character would react to certain situations. What their answers are is less important than HOW they answer. Here are some questions, but you should come up with you're own (Or use these).

    1)A man is accused of a crime you know he did not commit. He is on the run from the law and asks your character to hide him, what does your character do?

    2)A corrupt guard is demanding bribes from the citizens of a town you're character is staying in, does you're character intervene, and if so, how?

    3)You discover that an ally is taking bribes from you're foes, you are the only one that knows this. What do you do?
    Elder Scrolls fan?

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Nah, just a thief. :D
    I am trying out LPing. Check out my channel here: Triaxx2

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    I've found the key thing that work to engage players is to force them to have some type of common background/care about. LIke they're all in the city of Fizzybob and they care about the city. Where they're from and why they care is up to them, but they do. It can be all members of one church, or an extended noble family, members of a nation, a secret society. Whatever.

    The point is that the party starts with a core common cause.

    Then you threaten that cause.

    If you don't do this, then you end up with a bunch of different characters who spend weeks of time together trying to find something that interests all of them other than killing monsters and taking their stuff. I think starting out with something that pulls the party together is what drives long term campaigns.

    The best campaign I was ever in was when the group of us were all relatives, scions of a noble house. The first session was the king murdering our father the count, our mother, and a few relatives and declaring us traitors. The ensuring rebellion as we tried to clear our name and throw down a corrupt king was genius, and we were all very committed to the cause and each other even though the characters were all over the alignment map. (albeit the evil became evil in the face of what the king did and were more of an 'ends justify the means' in reclaiming our honor. very _lawful_ evil.) Much great roleplaying was had by all.


    Another thing that I've seen work well is to bribe the players. Say "if you give me a detailed history of your character, PLUS an exploitable plot hook related to you, I will give you a bonus feat at first level."
    Last edited by Severus; 2010-04-20 at 01:20 PM.

  18. - Top - End - #18
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    JonestheSpy's Avatar

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zach J. View Post
    I was going to ask them to just write a short background on their character and why they've decided to start adventuring, but do you guys think I should ask something a bit more specific? I've not created the world yet
    Oooh, big mistake right there. World first, backgrounds second. The players should have a lot better time creating meaningful backgrounds if they have something to latch onto in your setting. And a unique setting will often inspire characters to create unique backgrounds, which lends to greater investment in their characters.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Hmm...I guess you have a point. I've never really created a world for a D&D game. I guess I've always just run "sandbox" environments. Hmm, I guess that's something I can work on after classes are out.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Fallbot's Avatar

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    You should definitely come up with the world first. It's very hard to make an realistic backstory when you don't know what's realistic for the setting. Especially if you've got someone trying to justify something as unlikely as a drow paladin.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Well I've already okayed the drow paladin. I'm already being pretty restrictive in limiting the players to the core rulebooks so I'm going to be a bit more lenient with the characters themselves. She's just going to need an awfully good Diplomacy check to make sure she and the party actually get some quests.

    Edit: It looks like the second player is thinking of playing a pacifist Goblin wizard-philosopher.
    Last edited by Zach J.; 2010-04-20 at 02:51 PM.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zach J. View Post
    Hmm...I guess you have a point. I've never really created a world for a D&D game. I guess I've always just run "sandbox" environments. Hmm, I guess that's something I can work on after classes are out.
    Having your own world helps a lot, but it is also a ton of work. You could use one of the existing campaign environments, though getting all those materials can be expensive if you're a student.

    One trick a friend of mine used once was to take parts of existing real world maps, and invert them. The players spent a whole campaign in a backwards map of alaska and never figured it out...

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Haha, that's an excellent idea! Map-making is my least favorite part of dming so that would help out a lot.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Fallbot's Avatar

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zach J. View Post
    Well I've already okayed the drow paladin. I'm already being pretty restrictive in limiting the players to the core rulebooks so I'm going to be a bit more lenient with the characters themselves. She's just going to need an awfully good Diplomacy check to make sure she and the party actually get some quests.
    There's nothing wrong with that. However, how such a character is going to be played will depend a huge amount on the setting you use. For example, in our campaign, next to no one has even heard of the drow, and so playing one, and justifying one as a character is relatively easy. If you use a more traditional FResque setting where every single dirt farmer knows exactly how to spot one, writing a backstory explaining how one survives on the surface will be more difficult. Little things like that are important and if they aren't decided beforehand, inconsistencies can appear.
    Last edited by Fallbot; 2010-04-20 at 03:13 PM.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Ah, I see what you're saying now. Thanks for the tip, Fallbot.

    Edit: I'm thinking that most people won't have ever seen an actual Drow elf before, but I think that "dark elves" will be the stuff of stories that commoners tell to scare each other. So common villagers will be scared because this character is their scary story come to life. The character has never had any contact with actual Drow so I'll have a bit more time to decide how they actually act.
    Last edited by Zach J.; 2010-04-20 at 03:06 PM.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Also, in addition to "Why are you adventuring?" a good question for the whole group is
    "Why are you adventuring together?"

    That question is all too often left out in pregame discussions, and having the answer makes things run a lot smoother within the game.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    I had my players make use of the "7 Sentence NPC" to create a basic concept. Those that were really interested wrote a complex background and gave me possible hooks for future campaign tie-ins. Those that just wanted to play around still had a good framework for a character, but wouldn't find as many hooks for their character's development.

    My world was still flexible enough that I could incorporate a number of disparate origins into a single setting: a goliath tribal country to the north, roving bands of catfolk and saurian shifters in the mid-country, and a warforged glamored to look like a grey elf (with a memory problem). Two of them are seeking revenge (murdered mentor, murdered spouse and kidnapped child, and though they don't know it yet, it's against the big bad of the campaign.

    However, I'd second and third eepop's advice about making sure they have a reason to fight together, not just fight. My players were "the only ones around who were capable enough to deal with the threat", but that was a weak step early on in the campaign.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=91813

    10 minute backgrounds, fills out a LOT.
    Last edited by BobVosh; 2010-04-20 at 09:18 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Alabenson
    Evil Intelligence is knowing the precise ritual that will allow you to destroy the peaceful kingdom that banished you.

    Evil Wisdom is understanding that you probably shouldn’t perform said ritual while you’re standing in the estimated blast radius.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    The Big Dice's Avatar

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fallbot View Post
    You should definitely come up with the world first. It's very hard to make an realistic backstory when you don't know what's realistic for the setting. Especially if you've got someone trying to justify something as unlikely as a drow paladin.
    Creating a whole world is a pretty daunting task. I fine you're better off creating just a small part of it. One town and it's surrounding area, maybe a county. And it doesn't need to be in vast detail. All you really need is the blacksmith, general store owner, head of the village and maybe one or two people for fluff.

    Then again, I was always a big fan of the town of Threshold, in the old multi coloured boxed D&D sets. They took that from a single dungeon, to a town to a nation to an entire world and then cosmology too.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Thajocoth's Avatar

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    Default Re: RP questions for players.

    I try to get players to give me as many NPCs and locations as possible. A big reason for this is that I suck at coming up with names myself... Then I bring back old friends & foes in ways consistent with their backgrounds for maximum personal effect.
    Avatar by me. It's Incendius Darkscale, a Good Dragonborn Dragon Sorcerer, Demonskin Adept, Prince of Hell, worshiper of the Platinum Dragon (Bahamut), specializing in Fire and Lightning, wielding a staff in each hand.

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