1001 Backstories

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The point of a 1001 thread is to have a place where people can pool thousands of ideas together for easy access by others who are suffering from a creative block. Now I've seen many 1001 threads, but none to help with one of the most creatively driven aspects of the game: backstories.

So here it is, 1001 Backstories for you characters who desperately need them.

1. Amnesia. You have no clue who you are, where you've been, or what you've done. You may recall bits and pieces over time, but for the most part, your past is a mystery.
I think this counts.

2. Student Loans: You have been expelled from school for failure to pay tuition and other costs. (I've been wanting to play a wizard who is in this predicament and is adventuring to raise money to pay off his school debts).
3. Exile - You are unable to return to your homeland due to past crimes (or misunderstandings) and find acceptance in a group of adventurers, content to wander the land with them for the remainder of your days.
4. Noble-blooded. The true heir to a throne that was taken from you by a relative. You must now gather power in the form of magic items and dependable companions in order to reclaim what is rightly yours.
5. Disaster Area - Bad things happen when you are around, not always your fault. You've been chased out of several places after unexplained fires, floods, poisonings and duck invasions have been blamed on you.
6. Clone: You are the clone of a great hero (or vilain) that could be either dead or alive. Your creators hoped to basicly make a new one that would be under their control.
7. Glory Hog: You set out to make a name for yourself. You wish to be remembered in stories and in legends long after you pass away.
8. Revenge: Some evil guy killed your family/wife/child/furry animal, and now you want to kill him.
9. Big Game Hunter: You kill monsters for the glory of the hunt and the head on the mantle; any rewards or moral compensation is just gravy.
10. Drunken Bet- It always happens like this. Your head clears as you ride slumped over in the saddle, thirsty as hell with a pounding headache. You're armed for battle, although it looks like a schizophrenic chimpanzee dressed you. In your hand is an empty booze bottle, and in your pocket is a royal writ or something. "Gods be damned," you grumble as you unfold the paper. "What did I agree to do this time?"
11: Exitment - You wonder the land in search of thing less boring. You left you life because it was... to normal for you.

12: Seaker - You travel the world in search of an item that may won day save the world... and your soul.

13: Seaker of Lore - You are awe Struck by anctent Lore and want to learn it all. However, there is only so much you can learn in a Library, you set out to descuver past Mysterys.
14: The Fairies Told Me to!: People think you're insane, but they can't deny the power you wield. You're out there adventuring because the beings that granted you your powers want you there. But of course, being fairies, they forgot to tell you what.

15: In the Name of [insert deity here]!: Your church has sent you on a holy mission of some sort. Go rid the world of evil/poverty/bad movie sequels, in the name of your lord!!!

16: Why the hell not?: One day, you decided you wanted to go on an adventure. So you got up, picked up a sword, got some supplies, and went adventuring.

A list of CharOp Handbooks I'm currently updating:

Heart of the Dragon: A Dragonborn's Handbook

Infernal Wrath: A Tiefling's Handbook

17. Follower, not a Leader: Someone you admire or look up to is going on an adventure. Since they're going, naturally you tag along.

18. Eloping with Adventure: Why marry the person you have been betrothed to, when you can slip away in the night to find your own destiny?
19. Amish: You come from a culture that holds certain beliefs not shared by the majority of the region. However, upon reaching a certain age, the community allows you to venture out to experience how others live for an alloted time. After the time has passed, you must choose how you want to live.
20. To Be A Master: You don't care about power or titles. You just wanna be number one! You want to become the world's undisputed master of a particular thing, whether that is swordplay, spellcasting or maybe even capturing one of every kind of monster in the world. As such, you want to travel the world, learning from the masters and kicking the arse of any of your rivals, real or imagined. You won't stop until you are acknowledged as the greatest at whatever it is you want to be the greatest of!
21. Agent or Guildsman: You are part of some sort of organization, like a spy network or a mercenary guild or something similar. Your adventures are assignments given to you by your superiors. Whether those assignment are mercenary jobs that you may choose to accept or decline, or direct orders that require cooperation if you want to keep breathing depends on what your organization is like. Expect interference from rival organizations as you go about your work.
22. Philosopher: You are a philosopher first, adventurer second. You do not desire adventure, you merely wander the world seeking to understand the Ultimate Mystery of sentient experience. You might be a war commander who ponders the nature of the Universe, or an Arcane scholar seeking the ultimate truth. One way or another, your nomadic search for deeper meaning will find its way into parables and fables in years to come.
23. Penitent: At some point in your life, you committed a crime, sin, or mistake. While you may or may not have been punished for what you did, the act still weighs heavily on your conscience. You've taken up adventuring as a way of seeking redemption for your past. Maybe by doing some good in this world, you can find forgiveness in the next one.
24. Megalomaniac: You are not great. Not yet anyway. But for some reason, you believe you are. Maybe you believe yourself to be the child of a god, a deposed monarch, an assassin sent to kill a deposed monarch, or a mighty hero trapped in a weak, inexperienced body. You adventure to sate your pride, reclaim your "throne" or fulfill your "destiny". Who knows? Maybe one day you will be great after all!
25. Divine Scion: You are the child of a god. You may be aware of this, or perhaps you aren't. Something about you sets you apart from mere mortals, whether that is superhuman strength, unnatural beauty, or some unique trick that only you can do. Will you model your life after your divine parent? Will you rebel and become the antithesis of their dogma? Will you ascend to join your divine family, or choose to remain a mortal in the world you grew up in?
26. Scholar: Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate. Sometimes knowledge is the greatest treasure you can find. You may be an amateur archaeologist, seeking the secrets of civilizations long dead. You may be a researcher, attempting to unlock the secrets of magic. You tend to prefer exploring locations that have some sort of historical or educational value, rather than simply because loot may be found there. Still, treasure is a nice bonus to learning something new. And of course, there's the possibility that you might find some ancient artifact that belongs in a museum!
27. Fugitive: Whether you're running from the law, running from a band of mercenaries, or running from bill collectors (I plan to use this one actually), you're running from some group of people who want you to face something that you really dont wanna face.
Mercenary: More due to a huge ego than for the material wealth, you have chosen not to acknowledge any masters, only clients. You tend to get annoyed when people get all high and mighty in front of you.
29: My Destiny Said I Would: For some reason, you are fated to be an adventurer, whether you like it or not.

30: ...And I Said I Wouldn't: You were prophesied to bring doom to the world, and you decided to prove the fortune-teller wrong.

31: Adventuring is Fun!: You like that thrill you get from being a hero, and thus, you became one full-time.
32. Salvager: There's a lot of great stuff to be found in dungeons, whether it's lost treasures of a bygone age, gear from unlucky adventurers who didn't make it, or even harvested monster organs! And all can fetch a great price on the open market. You got into adventuring for one thing, and one thing only, profit. All that "junk" lying around the abandoned fort? Just a few repairs and it's as good as new and ready to sell. That artifact that's required to prevent the destruction of the world? Probably should double the price for that. Maybe even triple.
33. Kin of a Villain: One of your relatives or ancestors is known and reviled throughout the world. Maybe your uncle is the corrupt baron who overtaxes his citizens, or your grandmother is a lich of great powers. All your life, you've watched "heroes" take a crack at your family, only to fail. Will you follow in your relative's footsteps and possibly even depose him/her? Or will you rebel against your heritage and become a hero who ends your relative's villainy once and for all?
34. Refugee: Some time in the past, your home suffered a great tragedy. Perhaps there was a terrible plague, a battle that razed it, or a terrible magical accident that sent it the way of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In any case, you and many others were driven from your home, and are now rootless. You adventure because you no longer have a place to call your own, but as an adventurer, you can make your own. Perhaps one day you'll lead others like you, who were displaced by events beyond their control, and forge a new home for yourselves in the world. But those days are far from now. For now, it's time to roll up the bedroll, pack up the tent, and start moving again.
35. I Will Find You - You and a friend or someone you love (parent, child, sibling, lover, what have you) have been separated by some awful calamity such as a war or other disaster, or maybe the person has been kidnapped or has gone missing for some reason. You have made it your mission to find this person again.
36. Hopeless Addict: You are addicted to some sort of drug. While the drug has no deadly effects if taken properly, you go through terrible withdrawals without it. Because of this, you adventure to make money to support your habit. You know you're pathetic, spending money that you risked your own life to get for a short buzz, but quitting's just so damn hard!
37. Cultural Spy: Your people have a reputation for being ignorant and backwards. You are out to learn about other cultures and bring back ideas that can raise your people up from the low regard they are held in.
Here is some based on some of my characters.

38. Recalled: You did your duty, you survived, and best of all... you retired. Now some peaple nock on your door and expect you to go on and help them save the world! I mean its a good cause, but you deserve some rest, dont you?

39. Child: you lost your family (perhaps taken, seperated, murdered, ect.) and you wander the streets alone. Your young age mean peaple dont take you as seriously as they should,but that just gives you an opening. you seek strong peaple to protect you and further your goals, which could be anything from finding your family to just living.

40. Saved, and in debt: You were hurt, scared, broken, and alone. But through prayer, or perhaps just some higher power being curious, you were saved. Now you dedicate yourself to your saviour. perhaps it has a hands off additude, and allows you to find your own path. It could instead start to direct your goals, for good or for evil.

41. Shattered: A horrible event left your mind scarred. Perhaps you now have multible personalities, parinoid that your socks are consireing with the trees, or are afraid of nearly everything. For whatever reason your unstable mind has granted to strange power, from divine fire to unnatural reflexes.
42. Redeeming Your Past: You were a surviver growing up. You did what you needed to in order to survive. Perhaps you stole, or lied or killed. No matter what it was, you did things that you regret. You adventure now, not for yourself, but to make retribution for your crimes. You might not be able to make it up for those you hurt, but you can make it so no one has to go though it again.
My current character's got a very complex background, so I'll make a few out of his:

43. Chosen of the gods. The gods blessed your life, giving you talents and chances above and beyond what you deserved. Perhaps it's time to use those talents in their honor. The spellcasting Ioun granted you, the swordsmanship Kord granted you, the stealth Sehinane blessed you with; these can all be repaid by glorious service.

44. Bored nobleman. Why sit around all day and train to become a courtier or a priest, when you could be out being a hero! Saving innocents, slaying dragons, making something special out of your life.

45. Historian. Your studies have served you well, but you long for more information on an esoteric subject. Perhaps it's time to go hunt that information out with some bodyguards to protect you.
46. You fail, it's my turn now. For whatever reason you feel that the guy (or gal or other) currently in charge, for lack of a better word, sucks. Be this the mayor, baron, duke, king, emperor... or even a deity (demi-god paragon path, anyone?), you feel that you should be the one in charge... after all, it's not like you could do any worse, is it?
47 The Agent
You surve you King, doing the... less beutiful work for him. You follow his orders and his code as long as they dont g past your moral boundrys if any.
48. My Other Plans Fell Through...: Maybe you and some friends were starting a business venture, a musical band, a church, etc. For whatever reason, your collectives dreams were busted and now you are left alone, far from home. Adventuring isn't your first love but it'll have to do for now.
49. Drafted. You had two choices: become cannon mage fodder in the army, or get the hell out of dodge and become an adventurer. You chose the latter. After all, a raging dragon is less lethal than that sorry excuse for "food" the military would try to foist off on you.
50. For my hometown! You left home for one reason, to help the peaple you grew up with. Perhaps they have some sort of plague and your looking for the cure. Or looking for a new, cheap, food stuff. Perhaps even looking to bring more peaple to your community. Whatever the reason you hope to one day do home with your mission accomplished.
51. Somebody's gotta do it..

There are things out there that need to be done... People to be saved, wrongs to be righted, battles to be won. You may be the only one with the skills for it, or simply in the right place to be able to help, but duty/honor/responsibility compels you to do what you can when someone needs your help.

52. Why Me?!?!

Adventure follows you like a plague. You're always in the wrong place at the right time. If there's a prophecy, it's about you - you've been Chosen by everyone to do everything. Cursed swords find you like magnets. Dragons fall out of the sky in front of you when you're in an underground cave. You can't seem to live a normal quiet life no matter where you run or hide.
You spend every waking moment that you're not running for your life or saving the world complaining loudly about it and whining incessantly.


I am the Magic Man.

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)


I am the Lawnmower Man.



I am the Skull God.

(Koo Koo Ka Choo)


There are reasons they call me Mad...

53. Hey, what does... oops.

it really is ALL YOUR FAULT that the world will end in exactly 247 days, 37 minutes, and 12.4 seconds. And now you have to go fix it.
54. Breadwinner: Unlike most adventurers, you have a spouse and kids back at home waiting for you. You and your family fell on hard times some years back, and you took to adventuring to put food on the table. You don't see your family for months at a time, but you know they depend on you. But do you like the long times on the road, without spouse and kids to bother you? Or do you miss them with all your heart, and rush home to see them any chance you get?