101 Questions to Help Create Character Backgrounds and Personalities

A character needs to be more than just a few scores and abilities and possessions.  There are so many ways to make your character more memorable and most of them don’t take much time.  Below is a list of 101 things to consider when creating a character.  You certainly don’t need to answer all or even half of them to make a character more interesting.  Just answer a few that seem most pertinent and you’ll have a much more interesting character.  Yes, there are two lists that add up to only 51, but many questions have follow-ups.  (If you have ideas for more, please post a comment!)

Simply skim the list and if any point gives you an idea for something about your character, jot it down.  The questions are all phrased for a male character, but all or most should apply to female characters or even characters that are other things. (Droids, monsters, etc.)  Some may require coordination with the GM or at least information about the game world.  Of course coordinating with the GM or learning a little about the game world isn’t a bad thing!


  1. Is the character generally approachable or does he keep to himself?  Why?
  2. Does the character give plain answers to others or is he mysterious?
  3. Is the character a hard-worker, or does he take it easy?  Does this nature vary for any particular activity?
  4. How does the character feel about pets?  How about wild animals?  Does he have a favorite animal/pet?
  5. What does he think of holidays?  Does it vary for religious vs. national holidays or for a particular holiday? Does he have a favorite and why?
  6. What is the character’s religion? Is the character very religious?  How does he show it/observe his religion?
  7. How does the character feel about religions other than his own? Does that affect how he treats other characters?
  8. What does the character think about magic?  (Or for a futuristic setting: what does he think of advanced sciences?) Does that affect how he treats other characters?
  9. How does the character feel about the local ruler?
  10. Does the character drink?  Does he have a drinking problem?
  11. Does the character have any other vices? (Smoking, gambling, sex, etc.)
  12. Does the character take risks?  Why?
  13. How does the character treat people below his social class? How does he feel about those above him?
  14. Does the character have any off-putting habits?  (Bites nails, belches inappropriately, etc.)
  15. Does the character have a phobia?  (In some game systems this may give you character points toward something else.)
  16. Does the character have something he hates and therefore likes to kill? (For example: goblins killed his sister, so he revels in killing them.)
  17. What does the character do to relax? (Music, books, drink, gamble, sporting events, etc.)
  18. Does the character have any catchphrases? (It’s clobbering time! Crom! etc.)
  19. Does the character have any unusual voice or speech pattern?
  20. How does the character not fit his culture’s or race’s stereotype?  (Example: A dwarf who gets sick after one ale.)


  1. Why was the character given the name he has?
  2. Does the character have a nickname?  What is the source of the nickname? Is it flattering or not?  How does he react to it?
  3. What is the character’s hometown? How long has he lived there?  Does he like it or want to get away or already miss it?
  4. Has he traveled much? Where? Why?
  5. Has he lived for a long period in another town? Which town(s)? Why?  Has he lived in any unusual/harsh environments?
  6. Has the character had issues with the law?  Was it deserved?  How did it turn out?  What did the character learn from the problems?
  7. What culture is the character a part of?  (One country probably has more than one culture, and some cultures span multiple countries.)  Are there parts of the culture he dislikes?
  8. What were the character’s parents like? What were their professions? Are they still alive?
  9. Does the character have siblings?  What were/are they like?
  10. Did the character have any other close relatives? What are they like?
  11. Does the character have a mentor?  What is he like?
  12. Does the character have a best friend? What is he like?
  13. Was the character ever married?  Why or why not?  Is he still married?  Why or why not?
  14. Does the character have children of his own? If so, what are they like?
  15. Does the character have any other resources to draw on? What is the source of these?
  16. Does the character have someone he wishes to impress?  Why?
  17. Does the character have someone/something to avenge? Why?
  18. Does the character have an enemy?  What caused the issue between the two?
  19. Does the character know other members of the party?  What does he think of them?
  20. Did the character have any schooling?  (Or for modern/futuristic settings: did he attain an advanced degree?)
  21. Does the character have any non-game related special skills?  (For example, is he a good cook or an excellent lay-preacher?)
  22. Was there something unusual about his childhood? (Enslaved, given a kiss by the queen for some good deed, etc.)
  23. Is the character part of a specific ethnicity that is persecuted?  Is the character part of an ethnicity that receives special perks? (You may need to work this out with your GM to fit into the game setting.)
  24. What did the character do before deciding to adventure? (His skills could be related to his prior trade.)
  25. What caused the character to begin adventuring? Who else was involved in the early adventuring?  Did anyone die?  Did he earn a special reward, find a treasure, etc?
  26. Does the character have a scar or some mark?  What was the cause?  Are the mark(s) visible?
  27. Is there a prophecy about the character?  Does he believe it?
  28. Is the character being blackmailed or does someone have undue influence over him in some other way?
  29. Has the character already had some adventures?  What happened?
  30. What goals does the character have based on his background?
  31. How did the character get to be where he is currently located?

What am I missing?  Add them to the comments, thanks!