The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide | Book Review

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If you play D&D the tabletop game, then you’ll know how much time it can take up to create an entire backstory for your characters as a dungeon master. Luckily, author James D’Amato has whipped up The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide. It’s is a book full of prompts and activities to flesh out your character’s story.

Not only can The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide help you get started with a character, but it also helps you add layers of depth to your characters by allowing you to answer such questions as “how would they act in this situation” or “what vision could fill him with unknown fear?”

The process of creating a character with this book is a fun experience in itself as the sections are broken up by character level. There are sections for characters that are level 1-7, 8-14, and a whole section dedicated to legendary characters at levels 15-20. The questions presented to build your character are all optimized based on the situations your character would be facing around that level. For example, in the level 1-7 section there is a section that determines your character’s alignment based on the risk he or she is willing to take to save a cat.

A page from The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide

In the level 8-14 section there are prompts dedicated to how your character reacts after having a taste of death. You’ll answer questions like, “what was he/she expecting from the afterlife?” and “what is the greatest lesson he/she carried back from death?”

At level 20, there are sections dedicated to how your character would take on the most challenging task that any RPG (Role-playing game) character could face; defying a god.

The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide is the perfect way to create a unique character for yourself, and no two characters made using this book will be the same. There are setups to the questions that allow you to take different paths to your answers, ensuring that each character will be made up of enough unique attributes to distinguish them from one another.

Another page from The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide

I can also say that as a writer, and someone who is currently working on fantasy fiction that this book isn’t reserved for dungeon masters who frequent in D&D. This is a book I could use in my writing to flesh out my own character backstories and arch-types. Even as someone who plays a ton of RPGs and MMOs, I could flick through this book when creating my characters to add a little more depth to them, even if some of the depth will be imaginary.

A fun project I did to get acquainted with this book was to create a character for fun in my journal. I intended to only use a maximum of two pages to familiarize myself enough with the book to do a review. But the process was so fun that I ended up using six pages of my journal. Even if you don’t intend to use your character for anything, going through this book will give you an appreciation for the skill of creating characters. Whether for video games, literature, D&D or even comic books.

Learn how to defy a god in The Ultimate RPG Backstory Guide

The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide is a gem for all dungeon masters, and for anyone who may find themselves with the need to create characters with depth. I could even picture indie developers who may not have their own creative resources, utilizing this book to flesh out characters in their RPGs. At $10.39 for the paperback currently, this book is completely worth the price.

If you want to learn more about RPG gameplay, you can take a listen to the author’s own One Shot podcast.

– This is based on an Advance Reader Copy of The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide provided by Simon & Schuster

About The Author
Gary A. Swaby Co-founder/UK Managing Editor
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