Player Characters

Character Backgrounds and Motivations

So far in discussing character generation in Hack100, we’ve focussed solely on the numbers that define an adventurer. Whilst these are essential from a game mechanics perspective, they are, nevertheless, rather dry. Apart from each character’s Specialism, they tell us little about their wider background and motivations.

In Hack100, a character’s background and motivations are captured in a single sentence that describes these aspects. The approach is inspired by OpenQuest in which the first stage of character generation is to write a “one sentence summing up of what the character is all about“. It’s an elegant approach. Simple and concise, yet wide-ranging in its application. Exactly what we’re aiming to achieve in Hack100.So, for example, we might have …

  • A wizard’s apprentice seeking ingredients for her master’s work.
  • A halfling cartographer documenting uncharted lands.
  • A deserter from the army seeking work as a mercenary to pay off gambling debts.

And so on.

In each case, the sentence tells us something about the character’s background (which will often be related to their Specialism) and something about their motivation for adventuring. It gives the character context without the need for lengthy biographies and backstories. And it provides the Referee with hooks for future adventures.

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