Hey all, I am Beachbot, from The Kingdom đź‘‹

We have been building the backstory for The Kingdom’s world of Aesor for two years, and now that we have had our first mint, it is finally time to start writing the backstories for our unique Avatars. I think I will be starting with my favorite Gruul, but have not decided for sure yet.

In my personal life, I have been DMing for a group of friends, some who are life-long players and others for whom it is their first-ever D&D campaign. We spent a lot of time talking about building character backstories with our group before getting started.In this piece, I will share some of the advice I have heard for creating character backstories during my time with The Kingdom and while playing D&D with friends. Whether you are a writer or a role player (is there a difference?), hopefully you will find something here that is helpful to you!

Get Inspired

The best characters will be those that you are excited to play or write about. Consider drawing inspiration from your favorite characters or stories, or embracing emotions and journeys that are meaningful to you personally. As your character comes to life and grows, you’ll learn about yourself in the process.

Don’t be afraid to get creative, really go wild. Or, simply insert yourself in the fantasy world, whatever is more exciting to you. Remember, your character’s views do not necessarily have to be your own!

Identify Key Milestones - TLP

Identify important events in your character’s past to help understand their personal goals and values. By understanding the highs and lows of your character’s life, you’ll gain insight into their motivations and more easily create a consistent character with emotional depth. Are they driven by a need for independence? A longing for redemption? A sense of stability? Why are they like that?

The Kingdom Concept Art -- Jarranna

Built With the World

Take the time to develop or learn about the world that your character is inhabiting. Are there ways that you can incorporate their key milestones into the events of the world? Maybe their profession is unique to the world, or their circumstances have to do with the politics of the world. Weaving your character into the tapestry of the world around it will result in a richer story with more meaningful character arcs.

If you are creating a character for a tabletop game, make sure to work with your Dungeon Master during this step, there might be some ways to work your character’s backstory into the plot of the campaign or the architecture of the world.

Nobody is Perfect

Even you. Even your character. The most interesting characters have weaknesses which they need to work to overcome (or in the case of characters like James Bond – live with). What are your character’s shortcomings? Are they aware of them? Are they working to improve?

Does your character have any moral ambiguities? Is there anything that they regret, or anything they have an unhealthy obsession with? How would your character do in a life or death situation? Are they trustworthy?

Who Do They Know?

Unless your character is a mysterious green wizard that lives up on a mountain and terrorizes children with eyebrow magic, then they don’t exist in a bubble. Even then, there must be some circumstances that contribute to their lot in life, and someone they talk to.

What other characters are important in their lives? How do they impact the choices that your character makes? In a role playing setting, does this character know any of the other player’s characters?

Art from The Kingdom's first riddle - Jarranna

What Do They Know?

What unique knowledge does your character bring to the table? Is there a secret that only they know? Have they mastered a niche subject, or are they a jack of all trades? Make sure to remember to tie in your character’s knowledge into their backstory.

What Do They Believe?

Beyond your character's worldly motivations, do they believe in anything larger than themselves? How does this influence how they see the world, and how the people of the world see them? How do these beliefs affect the day to day and long term goals of the character? Consider exploring how your character reacts when their beliefs are challenged.

How Do They Feel?

No one acts logically all the time, not even some Vulcans. Is your character guided by their emotions, or do they keep them close to their chests? Do they slip out even at inopportune moments, or are they able to harness them to drive them always further?

Let Them Live (or Die)

Be flexible with your characters, give them the room to grow and react to their experiences as you think they would, not how you want them to. Some plot-armor is fine, but eventually a line is crossed and the character’s story becomes either a comedy or a laughingstock.

How To Get Started?

Everyone has a different process for creating characters, and no one thing will work for everyone. But, since I am about to create a backstory for my first Avatar on Aesor, I thought I may as well share some of my process.

I will probably start by identifying key details in the lore that I am excited to build around. For instance, I am writing a backstory for a Gruul Avatar, who has a Mark of the Old One tattoo. From there, I will read the associated wiki page and decide how my character fits into that cult.

A Gruul Avatar

From there, the next steps will be to solidify the basic details of my character based on their interaction with the lore. How old are they? What skills or motivations might they have? Is my Gruul still loyal to the Mold and Gruush, or have I forsaken them and not yet changed my markings? Maybe I am undercover among the Imperial Swarm?

Final Thoughts

Then I will basically go through the list as described above, slowly fleshing out a complete character, with a full backstory, motivations, and emotions. Come back next week to see what I come up with!

Thank you for reading, and I am looking forward to reading some Avatar backstories! What race do you think you'll start with?

Helpful Links

If you want to learn more about The Kingdom and the world of Aesor, check out: