Creating a Character: Step One - 20 Questions

20 Questions (Adapted from the Shadowrun 2nd Edition rulebook)

1. What is the character’s gender and race?

2. What is the character’s physical size?

3. What is the color of the character’s hair, eyes, and skin?

  • a) What color or colors is the character’s hair?
  • b) How is the character’s hair worn? Why?
  • c) What about eye color? Is it natural?
  • d) What is the character’s skin color?

4. What is the character’s general appearance?

5. Where was the character born?

  • a) What type of upbringing did the character have?
  • b) What level of wealth did the character experience?
  • c) What about the character’s childhood, neighborhood, friends, & family?

6. What is the character’s age?

7. What was the character’s family?

  • a) What did the character’s parents do?
  • b) What was the family’s means of support?
  • c) Were the parents married, separated, or divorced?
  • d) What was the family life like?
  • e) Does the character have any siblings?
  • f) Where are the siblings now? What do they do?
  • g) Does the character keep in contact with the family?
  • h) Did the character even know his or her birth family? If not, who or what was the character’s surrogate/adopted family?

8. Has the character begun his or her own family?

  • a) Does the character have a “significant other?” If so, describe him or her.
  • b) Is the character married? If so, describe his or her spouse.
  • c) Is the character divorced? If so, under what circumstances? Describe the ex.
  • d) Is the character separated? As above.
  • e) Does he or she have children? Does he or she have custody if divorced or separated?
  • f) If not, does he or she want children?

9. Where or how was the character educated?

  • a) Where did the character learn his job/career skills?
  • b) Did the character have basic education?
  • c) Did the character have higher education?
  • d) Where and how did the character’s education take place?

10. Has the character ever done anything else for a living?

  • a) What did the character do before his or her current job/career?
  • b) Did he or she enjoy doing it?
  • c) Why did the character stop doing it?
  • d) Would the character ever go back to doing it?

11. What about the character’s political or religious beliefs?

  • a) Does the character have any defined political beliefs?
  • b) What are those beliefs?
  • c) Is the character religious? If so, what type of religious affiliations does he/she have?
  • d) Was his or her family religious? Are they still?
  • e) Did the character change religions, and if so, why?

12. What is the character’s moral code?

  • a) Will the character kill? Why?
  • b) When did the character decide that he could?
  • c) Does she think killing is acceptable? Under what circumstances?
  • d) Where does the character stand on related issues like capital punishment, abortion, and euthanasia?
  • e) Does the character adhere to a personal ethics code, or even think about it?

13. Does the character have any goals?

  • a) Is what the character is doing now, all the character ever wants to do?
  • b) Does the character have any ambitions beyond the here and now?
  • c) Is he or she satisfied with the way things are?
  • d) If not, why not, and does the character plan to change things? How?
  • e) How long will the change or changes take, and is the character willing to wait that long?

14. Why did the character decide to take a cruise?

  • a) What path led the character here?
  • b) Is it to celebrate a life event like a honeymoon, graduation, promotion, divorce, etc.?
  • c) Who is coming along on the cruise with the character?
  • d) How did the character pay for the cruise tickets?
  • e) Does the character believe in UFO’s, aliens, or Mayan doomsday theories? If so, how strong are those beliefs?

15. What is the character’s personality?

16. What special qualities does the character possess?

  • a) This does not necessarily refer to skills, but to what the character does well.
  • b) Does he or she get along well with people?
  • c) Is the character skilled at taking care of business?
  • d) Is the character skilled at prioritizing tasks? Planning ahead?

17. Are there things the character just cannot do?

  • a) Get close to people?
  • b) Perceive himself or herself realistically?
  • c) Work well with others?
  • d) Think clearly under stress?
  • e) Handle money well?

18. What does the character hate?

  • a) Corporations or banks?
  • b) Politicians or Activists?
  • c) Relaxing?
  • d) Personal questions?
  • e) Sentimentality?
  • f) The media?
  • g) His or her family?
  • h) Certain people? Who?
  • i) His or her ex?

19. What does the character love?

  • a) The seashore?
  • b) The view from tall buildings?
  • c) Quiet times?
  • d) Loud music?
  • e) Art?
  • f) Taking care of business?
  • g) A specific person?
  • h) A certain place?

20. What is the character’s name?

  • a) What was his or her birth name?
  • b) What name does the character use now?
  • c) Did the character choose his or her name, or was it a nickname or a joke?

Creating a Character: Step One - 20 Questions

Beyond the Sea DarrenGMiller