How To: Character Background

As a DM I often find that I get one of two extremes when I ask my players for their character’s background story. More often than not I will get either a few curt words about who the character is and where they came from, or I will get a long, detailed story about the character’s life and exploits to the start of the campaign.

Unfortunately, neither of those is particularly useful for me as a DM. I’ve learned to be specific about the kinds of background details I’m looking for in particular and have found that now I get results that not only can I use, but leave my creative players feeling less frustrated about their hard work going to waste and my less creative players feeling less lost when they write their backgrounds.

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