Writing a Backstory

Posted on Jan 7, 2021 by Admin

Princess Sitting on Throne

Building a backstory for your character is important to really understand how your character would act in situations. Are you a drunken fool, a brave warrior, or afraid of all the monsters in the dark? Well it probably depends on your character's background. You can go super in depth or very simple just make sure you have an idea of what type of character you want to play.

Now maybe you have no clue where to start and that’s okay. Start with what kind of class and race are you wanting to play? See what a typical region is for that character. Would you have been part of an outcast tribe or city dwelling?  Just figure out some semblance of a beginning. Next talk to your DM and see where your campaign will start. That is your ending point. Now you have the freedom to fill in all the rest between with whatever you want.

Stuck for ideas? You can always roll for it. There is a background and ideals part of 5e. I recommend that if you do this, you fill in more to your backstory than just what it gave you. The more you have to go off of the more you’ll be able to get into character when playing. Which is probably the best part of D&D.

Some questions to consider when creating your backstory:

  • What motivates your character?

  • Is there some sort of specific quest or goal they are trying to accomplish?

  • Who have you interacted with along the way?

  • Are there creatures you love or hate?

  • What challenges have you faced along your journey?

  • Have you acquired any specific skills or weapons?

Here is an example backstory from one of my group's past adventures.

Bareris Anskuld

My name is Bareris Anskuld, heralding from the Mulan region of Neverwinter.

The town I was raised in was controlled by the region's most ruthless organized crime syndicate lead by a half-orc smuggler turned tyrant who went by the name Titan. When I was just a boy, I witnessed this monster and his gang of thugs tear through my family's home, murder my mother and father, and hang my eldest brother in the town square for refusing to pay protection money.

This half-orc monster forced me to be his personal servant as payment for sparing my life. I toiled for this creature for a full year before the Mulanese army marched in and wiped out every last thug that had a strangle-hold on our town. The general of the army found pity on my story and took me under his wing as his personal squire. I owe my freedom and everything I would become to this man. As I grew older, I had the most skilled swordsmen and warriors in the force teaching me what they knew and I was an eager learner.

Even though I towered above the other men and could handle a greatsword better than most, I accepted my given duty as Standards Bearer. When we marched into battle, I wanted my men to be able to look towards our banner and know that the fight was not over.

I served my time in the force and now I move from city to city looking for work when I can find it, but I never forget the brothers that I lost on the battlefield or the reason I'm still standing today.

Not all backstories are pretty. Some are dark, others are bright and fun. You have to find something that you feel comfortable playing. But most of all, have fun with it, and don’t worry so much!

Happy Questing!

Photo by Alice Alinari on Unsplash