Developing Characters: Pre-Session Q&A


An important part of making a cohesive group of characters for a role playing game is to make sure that the players understand everyone else’s characters. Many Powered by the Apocalypse (PBtA) games like Masks and Dungeonworld have bonds or relationships to other characters that indicate not just their interactions with other players, but also their expectations for future ones. For games that don’t have this built into their structure, there are many ways to develop these same levels of connection.

The one method I’ll talk about today is useful not just for developing relationships, but also for introducing characters to an audience, like an Actual Play Podcast or Live Stream.

Pre-Session Q&A


Before you begin the recap for each session, introduce the player and character. Once they introduce themselves, ask each player a leading question about their character. Really good questions will lead the players to reveal more information about their character. This is really helpful for finding out more about characters that hasn’t come up in the game yet. Some examples include:

-        What is your character’s greatest fear?

-        What emotion is most often associated with your character, such as guilt or optimism?

-        What did your character think about (insert a recent situation)?

-        Does your character have any friends that aren’t in the group?

-        Who does your character feel most protective about?

-        What would cause your character to retire or give up?

-        What would your character’s nightmares look like?

Asking each player the same question allows everyone to get a helpful view of everyone else’s perspectives. If everyone has a similar fear, for example, that is common ground that the Game Master (GM) can use during the game. The players also know that other characters feel that way, and can look for opportunities to bring it up during role playing.

This is just one way of developing characters and relationships, what are some methods you use?