In every game I have ran in the past, the players were required to flesh out their character backgrounds. For both the gamemaster and the player, character backgrounds are crucial components that turn a sheet of stats and skills into a vibrant and memorable participant in the setting. Gamemasters can utilize richly written backgrounds to bring in past lovers, friends, family members, or enemies into the path of the players either as allies, antagonists, or the impetus for a new story. Player goals developed during background creation can lead to excellent story arc material for the gamemaster, and players feel a sense of accomplishment as they pursue those goals.
In the wishlist of items brought up by the community, a background generator had strong support and it shot up to the top of my list to be included in the new edition. The character background generator will be comprehensive, adding roughly ten to fifteen pages to the final book, and include the following:
- Point of origin (league, region, environment)
- Family members and how players relate to them
- Social status of the family
- Past relationships and rivals
- Driving goals
- Major events (childhood, teens, early adult)
Each of these categories will have additional tables based on point of origin, social status, and any interesting results generated by the player. As an optional rule, the gamemaster may allow the player to apply their Psyche rating as a positive or negative modifier in order to shift the table results up or down.
In additional news, I have started looking at a few ideas on martial arts systems for the book, but more on that on my next blog entry.