In my life and in my hobbies, I create a lot of characters. Character is important in role playing games (Table-top, online, etc) for me, it creates a sense of visceral storytelling. When the game City of Heroes was active, I had about 13 characters I actively used because I was invested in their stories. Some people use their character sheets for their games or come up with bios for their characters when writing, but I find it lacking sometimes. I feel like there’s more that needs to be asked.
Here’s a dossier I’ve used to question all my characters to get a feel for them. If I’m interested after writing filling this out, I continue with developing them. I made off the cuff characters for RPGs and had to fill this out to cover any holes in their story. I have a character, Ahminda who I’ve used for years through different platforms (D&D even in Skyrim). The story has made for a strange character that I’ve grown very attached to and will use in almost every game I try out.
Without further ado, here’s the dossier.
Section 1: Basic facts
Also Known As (nicknames/alias):
Age: Birthdate: Place of Birth:
City of Current Residence:
Height: Weight: Eye Color:
Hair Color: Hair Style:
Basic Concerns about Health:
Occupation (if applicable):
Section 2: Preferences and Mannerisms
Describe your manner of dress (i.e.: Expensive couture clothing? Long lasting styles? Trendy styles? What everyone else is wearing?):
Describe your speech and voice (shrill voice? Do you talk fast? Deep voice? Authoritative?):
Mannerisms, Posture and Gestures (How do you carry yourself-does your body reflect your mood?):
Any favorite words or phrases:
Usual cuss words, if any:
What music do you tend to listen to:
Do you enjoy reading, if so what:
Your favorite TV show and/or movie and why:
Your most prized possession:
Section 3: Internal Reflection
What is your earliest memory?
If you were suddenly much richer, what would you do with the money?
If you were to write your own obituary or epitaph, how would you want it to read?
What is your stated dream in life?
What would you be willing to die for, if anything?
Speaking of death, what is your opinion on God and/or the afterlife?
Robert Towne, the noted screenwriter, said he gets to know people only in knowing what they fear most. What do you fear most?
Along those same lines, what event are you most afraid of happening?
How would you describe your physical appearance? How do you feel about it? How does it affect you?
What are your major strengths of character?
What are some of your annoying habits?
What are you good at? What do you wish you were good at?
What are three events that have shaped you into the person you are today?
What is your philosophy in life?
What ambitions do you have that you have not yet fulfilled?
What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?
What would you consider to be your biggest regret?
What do you actively work at to gain, keep or protect-not merely say is important, but actually invest time and emotion in-money, fame, family, country, revenge, etc.?
How would you describe yourself, if totally and completely honest?
In a single word, how would you sum up your attitude against the world-interested, optimistic, defeated, exploitive, compassionate, dissatisfied, power-mad, controlling, happy, etc.?