Character Tips, Writing Tips

How to Roleplay a Ranger

Rangers are versatile members of any party. They can lead a group through dangerous wilderness without getting lost, track a wild beast or missing person in diverse environments, and are capable of wielding a multitude of weapons. They’re hired by travelers as guides and make excellent bounty hunters and monster slayers when the time calls for it. They’re also quite passionate and considerate of nature and the flora and fauna that live among it.

If you’re playing or writing a ranger, we’ve got some tips on how to get in their head. Dorian has played a ranger for six years and understands them quite well. Having done so for such a long time, or course, not all rangers are the same. So, for those looking to play or create a ranger, here’s what you need to know.

Roleplaying a Ranger

Playing a ranger comes down to a few key factors. No matter if you’re using the most popular TTRPG in the world, Pathfinder, Forbidden Lands, or Lord of the Rings, rangers have several things in common. Focus on the following traits when you create a ranger to improve your roleplay and writing.

Ranger traits

  • Rangers are fierce protectors of nature. They work to safeguard all that is natural in the world.
  • Rangers know their plants. They can tell the party if a plant is deadly, poisonous, edible, or has healing properties. If they don’t know, they work to do so.
  • Rangers are kind to animals. As protectors of nature, they work to understand creatures of the world, even the dangerous ones. If it comes down to a fight with a beast, they may instead choose to scare away the creature instead of killing it. Rangers are also known to have animal companions.
  • Rangers always seek to understand. Rangers tend to stick to the wilds or live away from cities. This can make them curious about the world. Going to a large urban area can seem outlandish to them but with every place they visit, they seek knowledge first. Knowing more about a place, person, or creature is highly beneficial.
  • Rangers can be difficult at first. Like nature, rangers tend to be guarded and may appear off-putting at first. Once they get to know a person, they warm up easily to them and let their guards drop.
  • Rangers are masters of weapons. There is a reason rangers are known as masters of the hunt. Not for their hunting skills, but their ability to wield and master just about every weapon created.

Famous Rangers

As writers, we find inspiration in nearly everything we come across. So, we thought to help with your roleplay, we should introduce you to a few popular rangers from movies and video games.

  • Geralt of Rivia. Geralt is a Witcher, which is a fancy way of saying ranger. He hunts monsters, uses herbs to make potions and poisons, and is proficient in knowing creatures, tracking, and fighting. He’s gruff and blunt but has a kind heart and is always willing to help those in need.
  • Aragorn. Aragorn from Lord of the Rings is one of the best examples of a ranger we can think of. While known as a Ranger of the North, the title referred to a wandering people who protected the land but sought to remain a secret from others. This gave them a reputation for being distrustful, harsh, and dangerous. While Aragorn can appear quite harsh, he’s kind to everyone he meets once he learns more about them. He also has several animal companions during his journey. Brego is with him in The Two Towers and The Return of the King. While Bill the pony accompanies him in The Fellowship of the Ring.
  • Ruuda Drybarrel. Self-plug. Ruuda’s backstory in our fantasy book series Thread of Souls focuses on her interaction with a group or rangers. She was trained by Deep Stalker ranger Nier Shadowsnare but was not blessed to be a Deep Stalker herself. The Deep Staker rangers are protectors of the Deep Hollows and work to ensure safe passage for travelers on the roads, protect creatures, and are hired out when needed for specific jobs. Ruuda’s history with the rangers could play a larger part in her story, but you’ll have to read and find out.

Character Tips, Storytelling Tips, Writing Tips

Why addressing how your characters are dressed matters

Clothing is an important factor in a story. You may not consciously think about the characters’ outfits while reading or watching, but they tell the story just the same. Shows and movies are easy-to-track outfits, while books or actual plays are more challenging. Keeping track of your character’s clothing is fun and should be part of the tale itself.

Clothing isn’t Optional

Talking about character outfits is just as important as talking about them. You don’t have to describe much or go into much detail. Something as simple as stating the character wears dark leather armor and carries a belt with multiple daggers on it, gets several points — pun intended — across.

This character relies on stealth and strikes quickly. This brings to mind they may be some sort of rogue. The dark armor suggests they prefer to stick to the shadows or be out at night.

You can use clothing to quickly describe a character without outright saying what their specialty is. Mages wear flowing robes, rangers wear leather or fur armor dyed the color of nature, and clerics or healers wear colored robes depicting their deity.

Plot, plot, plot. Location, location, location

Keep in mind the environments your characters visit. Once again, clothing description isn’t meant to take up a lot of words. You’re not in school anymore, you don’t need to hit a word count. What you need to worry about is the type of clothing. If your story takes place in a cold and snowy biome, make sure the characters wear thick outfits to keep them warm.

Vice versa, if they are at the beach for a relaxing day. Put them in clothing that says beach attire. Also, don’t forget about their weapons.

For the love of all things holy. Nothing drives us madder than when characters have their weapons with them all the time! Take them away from time to time. Give them moments to use random objects to fight with. A frying pan hits just as hard as a hammer. Another thing. Please, if they get locked in prison, have the guards take their armor and weapons. Throw in the trope of having a stealthy or rogue character thoroughly searched if you have to. It’s funny.

Major plot points require outfit changes, too. These can be anything from going from one environment to another and character growth. If a character is just starting out on their quest, their outfit should be tailored to their lifestyle. Perhaps they are a professor and only wear professional-looking attire. Then, once they get thrown into the fire as it were, they come out changed. No longer are they that clean professional instructor, but an adventurer who has seen some shit. Their new clothes should reflect this. Now, they wear business attire but it’s ripped or bedazzled with color.

Keep clothing in mind when you write. Outfits make great characters and really help describe your characters even more.

Video Games, Writing Tips

Best Video Games to Build Your Characters (Part 2)

Video games are as great an escape as reading a book. They let you become another character and play out an adventure. Games allow you to discover new lands, save the world, or go on a side quest. Very much like a fantasy book, you join along in the adventure to see what happens in the end.

And like a book series, games can have several in the series. That’s why we split our list of the best video games to design your character into two posts. Sequels are popular. Everyone wants more of what they enjoyed. It worked for Avengers, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and it’s how we’re building Thread of Souls.

If you missed part one of building a character in a video game, check it out here.

6. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire quickly became one of our favorite games. Inspired by Baldur’s Gate, you build a party of characters in an attempt to stop a god from wreaking on the world. You can make a party of five custom characters, each with their own voice and skill line. It’s another great example of a D&D party in video games. You can outfit characters with armor, weapons, and choose a color unique to them to make them stand out.

7. W2K22

WWE is a big part of our lives and W2K22 is one of the best games when it comes to designing a character. From their looks, clothing, and attitude, the game offer plenty of options when it comes to design. You can choose any skin color, select from hundreds of outfits or clothes, and give your character a specific fighting style. It’s one of the most fun games we’ve found when it comes to building a character. Characters are restricted to how tall they can be. So if you play a shorter or taller race, you are limited to height.

8. Neverwinter – Free

Neverwinter’s character creator is the best choice for free games to choose from. It pulls directly from the lore and official D&D books, so those familiar with the mechanics should find it simple to build a character. If you have a drow paladin at the table, you can build them in Neverwinter and get them pretty close to how you imagine them.

9. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is robust. There are 25 classes and 12 races to choose from when you build a character. Classes have their own unique look — rangers wear a hood, paladins wear heavy armor — but you can change certain elements by giving them armor during the journey.

10. Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age

Elves, humans, dwarves, and Qunari make up the characters you’ll be able to choose from in Dragon Age. While it isn’t a lot when compared to other games, it fits the lore of the world. One of our favorite things about the character customization options for Dragon Age is the clothing. There are so many outfits to find and equip in the game and you can customize the color and style of them as well. You can tailor outfits to fit the personality and skill of your specific character.

Seeing your character come to life in a video game can give them more life in your writing. Watching them move around the map or interact with objects and characters can give you new ideas in roleplaying them at the table. Give it a thought the next time you sit down to play.

What is your favorite video game?

Character Tips, D&D / TTRPGs, Fantasy Topics, Storytelling Tips, Writing Tips

Character Prompt – Rune Layout

Creating a character is a difficult process. No matter if it’s for a book, ttrpg, video game, or LARP. You have to think about their past, present, and future and their goals, ambitions, and overall attitude. Developing a character is a fun and engaging process that requires a bit of brainstorming and critical thinking. We’ve talked about using prompts to create a story with tarot cards in a previous post. This time, we’re using runes to build a character by using the Runic V layout.

The Runic V Layout

  1. What influenced your character in the past?
    • The top left rune is Dagaz. It represents day, awakening, and new hope. The rune symbolizes discovering new insights, something unknown, or a fresh idea.
  2. What is influencing your character in the present?
    • The next rune, Kenaz, is associated with knowledge and the quest for truth. It is represented by learning one’s true and full potential.
  3. What is a future goal for your character?
    • Raidho represents the character’s personal journey. It symbolizes growth and movement towards control and rationality. The character may wish to learn who they are and who they want to become.
  4. How to achieve that goal?
    • Pertho symbolizes something hidden and is often represented by good omens, unexpected surprises, and forces of change. This could be a mysterious or dangerous challenge your character does not wish to take part in but must overcome in order to grow.
  5. What is your character’s attitude?
    • Jera is assocaited with patience, seasons, and waiting. To reach your goal will require time and understanding and you may not be ready to accept that. You’re character may be quick to take action or take their time.
  6. What problem stands in their way?
    • Mannaz is represented by humankind and humanity. Other associations include reflection, planning, analysis, and self potential. The struggle coud be caused by another person or even within yourself. The actions of another or your own could prevent you from reaching your goal.
  7. How to overcome the problem?
    • Algiz is represented by spirit guides, protection, divinity, and a teacher. It symbolizes going beyond yourself to connect with something spiritual or finding your higher self.

Thread of Souls, Writing Tips

How to Turn a Tabletop Roleplaying Campaign into a Book

Ever since we started playing our ttrpg campaign in 2015, we felt it could be so much more. We knew it would make an amazing fantasy novel. We always have an incredible amount of fun around the table and it’s been exciting to transpose our sessions to a book format. We wanted to share our process for doing so and how you can do so yourself. There’s a lot more to it than copying and pasting what happened word for word in game.

A lot can happen in a tabletop campaign and it can be a lot to keep track of when it’s time to translate it to a book. We’ve come up with a few tips we use when writing Thread of Souls. It helps us streamline the process and make everything more detailed, efficient, and easier to comprehend for the reader.

1. Don’t worry about side quests

Side quests or quests that don’t focus on the main story should be left out of the book. They may be great for a ttrpg session but can take up space and time when copied to the book.

They may help fill out the world and its lore, introduce the characters to NPCs, and reward them with fun new gear, but they slow down the overall pace. There are two ways we suggest inserting a side quest if you absolutely must. The first is to introduce a new main character. Say, for instance, a new player joined the game. The party may need to break away from the main plot for a brief moment to find this person, but to make it more interesting, you should always find a way to loop their story with the main narrative.

The second way to include side quests is if they are linked to the main narrative. As long as the reader learns — either through the quest or later on — it is connected to the main narrative, it can be included.

2. Keep combat short and quick

Ah, combat. What takes several hours at the table is only a few minutes in terms of game time. Typically, one round of combat for everyone involved is just a few seconds. While it can be engaging at the table, long-winded fight scenes can drag on and on and can become rather dull, especially in a book.

Fights are fast. The more time that passes, the more exhausted the characters will get. So while your fights can be hours long around the table, they should be short in the book.

Here’s an excerpt from book one of Thread of Souls, Phantom Five. Taliesin and Ruuda are fighting undead in an abandoned necromancer’s lair.

Taliesin rolled onto his back as the creatures swarmed him. The cave lit with silvery light as
magic burst forth from his hands, incinerating the undead it touched. But they kept coming and coming, a wave of bones and screams. He shouted in pain as blows rained down on him and sharp fingers tore at his skin and clothes, scraping across scale armor.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your fights to around two to three pages long.

3. Add more in-depth descriptions.

Sometimes all it takes to describe a location in a ttrpg game is short sentences to get your players caught up. But in a book, you need to add more sensory information to really bring the reader into the scene. By focusing on the five senses, you’ll be able to paint a better picture. Take for instance Thread of Souls. Ruuda and Taliesin are investigating necromantic magic coming from a hole in the ground.

He climbed down, vanishing from sight. She hesitated before following, using the roots and
rocks to support her weight. A strong smell of mud and earth hit her, and it almost reminded her of the Deep Hollows. It was still too fresh of a scent, though. The darkness was a welcome relief to her eyes as she found herself in an open cavern nearly thirty feet in length. Taliesin stood in the center of it, surveying a floor that was covered in bones.

At the table, the scene was described as Taliesin could feel an odd magical sensation coming from near a boulder. As both characters walk around it they saw a hole in the ground. They could just make out the rocky ground, spiking out in various directions. The players can fill in the rest as they see fit in their imagination and describe what they want to do. But the reader needs a bit more information.

4. Focus on the characters

The story should be driven by the characters. As readers, we connect with people. By knowing how certain characters think, move, and act, we can get a much better understanding of them. At the table, you may know what your character looks like and thinks in their head but the audience won’t, not unless you describe it to them. Readers should get more insight into the characters they are following. Hearing their inner dialogue will help better connect them.

This also comes into play with minor characters the party may meet in the game. Unless they are important to the plot, unnecessary characters should probably be removed from the book. Phil the bartender doesn’t really need to come up multiple times in the pages of your book. You can always add them into a compendium later on.

5. Focus on storytelling

When we say focus on storytelling, we mean to stick with the main plot and the elements that drive the narrative. If you deviate from the overall arc you’ll pull readers away. They need to be invested in the story and its characters.

Thread of Souls, we follow several characters as they investigate mysterious happenings with planer travel and missing spiders. If we were to suddenly shift the focus to political intrigue and assassinations of rulers, it wouldn’t really match the theme we’ve built and would end up being confusing.

Also, don’t take up a lot of time by having characters go on side missions or shop. If it doesn’t have anything to do with the plot, it should be altered or left out of the book. If you absolutely love a character or NPC in the game and want them in the book, give them a good reason to interact with the characters.

Once you get a rough idea down, you can really start to write. To learn more about turning your tabletop game into a book series, we’ve put together a video of our writing and editing process.

Let us know your thoughts and if you’ve ever wanted to write your own fantasy book?

Character Tips, Writing Tips

Complete List to Describe Character Appearance Aside from Color

We give a full list of words that will describe your character’s appearance better than just the color of their hair, skin, and eyes.

Word choice is really powerful when it comes to describing a character in your book, TTRPG game, or other story format. And while the fact that their hair is blond and their eyes are green is typically first in mind, there are stronger words we can use! That is not to say color is irrelevant. I am one of the readers that does, indeed, want to know a character’s eye color because I am a visual reader and picture things cinematically. But let’s combine that deep brown with other adjectives. These will tell us a lot more about the character’s personality.

So here is a list of adjectives to pull from when describing a character! For a fun exercise, try randomly choosing one from each list to create a character from scratch!

Words to Describe Character Build

  • Powerful
  • Slight
  • Heavy
  • Slim
  • Solid
  • Delicate
  • Strong
  • Stocky
  • Sturdy
  • Graceful
  • Petite
  • Slender

Words to Describe Character Cheekbones / Cheeks

  • High
  • Prominent
  • Sculptured
  • Chubby
  • Hollow
  • Sunken
  • Dimpled
  • Creased
  • Pale
  • Ruddy

Words to Describe Character Arms or Legs

  • Long
  • Short
  • Lanky
  • Bony
  • Round
  • Soft
  • Solid

Words to Describe Character Eyes

  • Expressive
  • Calculating
  • Narrow
  • Hooded
  • Upturned
  • Downturned
  • Untrusting
  • Round
  • Big
  • Vacant
  • Unfocused

Words to Describe Character Voice

  • Breathy
  • Flat
  • Grating
  • Throaty
  • Honeyed
  • Tight
  • Brittle
  • Gruff
  • Monotonous
  • Silvery
  • Hoarse
  • Nasal
  • Rough
  • Singsong
  • Thick
  • Wobbly
  • Husky
  • Wheezy
  • Orotund

Words to Describe Character Hair

  • Shiny
  • Dull
  • Wild
  • Untamed
  • Flat
  • Thin
  • Thick
  • Silky
  • Frizzy
  • Coarse
  • Stringy
  • Wiry
  • Wispy
  • Bouncy
  • Messy
  • Oily
  • Tousled

Let’s take an example from the end of Ash & Thunder within the Thread of Souls book series. Here we see a combination of color as well as descriptive words to give personality to the characters.

“They were the strangest pair Unolé had ever seen. One was a strong female Dwarf with fiery, wild hair of different colors. She wore hardy clothes of deep brown leathers with a purple shirt underneath. Although her thick hair was pulled around front to try to hide her face, Unolé could tell something was strange. The Dwarf’s skin had a grayish blue tone. A beard covered her jawline, but even past that Unolé could tell she was very pretty, with full, dark lips and upturned green eyes framed by thick lashes. She glanced about nervously, fingers twitching towards the two swords she had at her hips. The oddest thing about her, though, was the barrel strapped to her back.

Unolé’s eyes moved to the man. Standing barely taller than her, he leaned confidently against the bar. A cloak draped over his slender figure. She took in clothes of mostly black accented by white and silver. A hood shadowed his face, but slits in the side revealed long, pointed Elven ears. He was exceptionally handsome, with a sharp jawline and high cheekbones. But there was something odd about him, as well. His skin was gray, and two yellow irises were set in large, expressive eyes. Strands of white hair hung on either side of his face.”

Bardic Inspiration, Opinion, Writing Tips

Our Top Picks of Spotify Music to Write To

Discover our go-to instrumentals that we use when sitting down to do some writing.

If you are like me, then music can be really distracting when you write. I tend not to listen to anything at all because I am either dancing, imagining, or rocking out to the beat. So when I do find something that is both inspiring and non-distracting, I gravitate towards it.

Here I want to share with you my favorite instrumentals from Spotify that are easy-listens when writing for the Thread of Souls books.

  1. The French Library by Franz Gordon

I like this track because it is so simple and peaceful. Oftentimes I don’t even realize it specifically is playing. There is an elegance to the melody that inspires one to write.

2. Bright Light of the Day by Whalebone

This one really relaxes me. It is such a beautiful, gentle melody that I just feel inspired anytime I hear it.

3. Spirit of the Gael by Alasdair Fraser

My Celtic ancestry has me loving all Celtic sounds. There is something ancient and wild but also soothing about it.

4. Concerning Hobbits by Chill Astronaut

Lord of the Rings always inspires me, but their soundtracks tend to be very grandiose and distracting while I write. So this “chill” version of Concerning Hobbits is very dear to me.

5. Cookin’ in Hateno Village by Wizard of Loneliness

The Legend of Zelda is another inspirational story for me. This soundtrack takes one of the best melodies but makes it more relaxing, making it an easy-listen while writing.

6. Dragonborn by Qumu

This is from the Elder Scrolls video games. While their version of Dragonborn is very intense and heroic, this one is easy going, giving notes of adventure while not pulling your concentration from writing.

7. The Dream of Taliesin by Jeff Johnson

I may be personally partial to this one as Taliesin is the name of a primary character from Thread of Souls. But it is relaxing and always gets a lot of emotions going in me. Great for writing to.

8. Thoughtful by Peder B. Helland

One of things I like best about this track is that is is 11+ minutes long. It’s nice to have on for awhile for writing.

Dragon Age
Character Tips, D&D / TTRPGs, Fantasy Topics, Opinion, Storytelling Tips, Video Games, Writing Tips

How Adding A Neutral Party can Enhance your Story

We look to series like Dragon Age and Pirates of the Caribbean see how adding a third neutral party can help you tell more engaging stories

It’s typical storytelling to follow the protagonist versus the antagonist. But what if there was a third party introduced to the mix? One that got in the way of both others. One with their own agenda. How would that change a story? We’ll use Dragon Age and Pirates of the Caribbean as examples of how you can use a third party to develop your story.

Story Example

The next Dragon Age game may be a ways off but the stories and characters of Thedas span more than just video games. There are several novels and comic books you can sink into until the fourth game’s release. The most recent comic being Dragon Age: Dark Fortress.

SPOILER WARNING: Content may spoil events from the games. You have been warned. We will avoid major spoilers.

Dark Fortress follows fan-favorite character Fenris as he hunts down the son of his former master Danarius. Throughout the three-issue run, we learn that Tevinter mages are creating another powerful warrior like Fenris. It’s something the Qunari aren’t huge fans of either so they show up to put an end to it. Fenris teams up with characters from previous comics and they work together to track down the mages.

Towards the end of the run, events collide and the three groups end up facing off against one another. It’s a story that is familiar to the Dragon Age series and plays out many times throughout. Yet it never feels overused: Quanri vs

Things are going rather well for the protagonist when all of the sudden, the Qunari arrive and they have to rethink their strategy.

How You Can Adapt it

It’s an example that can be used in any TTRPG or novel for that matter. It is a great way to increase tension and build lore in your world as well. Your characters may think they are the only ones hunting down a specific enemy, item, or person but what if they weren’t? Perhaps a third party shows up at inconvenient moments to get in their way. Plots like this are a great way to develop your story and add suspense and action to the mix.

Just when the characters think they’ve got the upper hand, the third party comes in and trips them up. This third group can be evil, good, or neutral. Their motivations can vary from stopping the other two parties, stopping one party, or just adding a little chaos.

Take the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie for example. On Stranger Tides follows Spanish and English soldiers as they search for the Fountain of Youth. The third party consists of Jack Sparrow and the crew of the Queen Anne’s Revenge. The climax sees English troops fighting the pirates over control of the fountain before Spanish soldiers arrive and destroy it. After their task is done, they just walk away without fighting anyone.

Introducing a third party to the story can change the flow of the narrative. It’s interesting, adds detail to your world, and gives your payers a reason to think of new ways to handle situations. Although, don’t overdo it.

So, give it a shot the next time your characters are after the BBEG or magical artifact. You never know how it will change your story and keep everyone on their toes.

Character Tips, D&D / TTRPGs, Fantasy Topics, Writing Tips

How to Develop the Appearance and Aesthetic of Your Character

A quick guide to knowing just how your character looks from their clothes to their weapons.

When building a character for a tabletop game, oftentimes, there isn’t a clear picture of what your character looks like. Unless you have an artist draw them up or talk about how they look, other players and even the dungeon master may not always remember what they wear or wield. We’ve put together an easy guide so you and everyone at the table gets a clear and precise picture of what your character is all about.

While this is more specifically aimed at TTRPG’s, these can easily be applied to any character creation.

Choose a Color Scheme

When thinking of Lord of the Rings, Gandalf is always depicted as wearing either blue or gray/white. He always walks with his famous walking stick and smokes a pipe. The movies helped cement this image into our heads and we’ve never forgotten it. Color is a great way to make your character stand out from others. When you’re building your character, follow this list:

  • What is their favorite color?
    • Perhaps they wear a lot of whatever color that is. A bard may paint their instruments a shade of purple and take on the name ‘The Purple Pantomime’.
  • Mix and Match Colors
    • You could also try mixing and matching colors too. Wearing colorful vibrant clothes is a great way to be remembered.
  • Hair and Beard
    • Dying your characters hair or beard is a great way to differentiate yourself.
  • What does your character carry with them?
    • Having your character carry around a specific item is a good way to remember them by. It could be something like a weapon, using a particular spell, or carrying a flask or coin they play with.

Use a Character Miniature Builder

Programs like Hero Forge, Eldritch Foundry, or Doll Divine are great tools for bringing your characters to life. They allow you to customize your character in a number of ways. Once you’re done you can either have a 3D mini mailed to you or print it out yourself using a 3D printer. Many online creators even provide additions such as weapons, pets, and poses you can set your character in as well.

Ruuda Drybarrel made in Eldritch Foundry.

Video Game Character Creators

RPG video games are a great resource for building out your character. Whether it’s Elder Scrolls Online, Neverwinter, Baldur’s Gate 3, or Solasta, all of them give you a chance to create a vivid character. You may end up spending hours in the character creator but it’s all worth it in the end.

You can then take a picture of the character and bring it with you to future sessions.


We are going to take the list above and offer examples. These are all characters from our epic fantasy Thread of Souls book series. If you are still lost on how to narrow down this information, check these out!

  • What makes Ruuda stand out?
    • On the run from her city’s caste system, Ruuda dyed her hair red, orange, yellow, and white to hide herself from those who may know her. To her friends, she easily stands out during battles and chaotic moments. She also carries around a barrel she wears like a backpack.
  • What does Taliesin wear?
    • Taliesin is a cleric who spent his life putting undead to rest so he wears all black attire. He also themes his outfit around his goddess and wears spiderwebs.
  • Why does Jade have a tattoo?
    • Jade grew up in a nomadic druid tribe where everyone got tattoos that represent culture and tradition. It is similar to Polynesian island tribes.
  • How does Jasita speak?
    • Jasita is very soft spoken in large crowds. She relies on reading people’s minds to get information. She is a researcher and academic and often uses larger words and phrases to get her point across.
  • Why does the Citadel wear pink robes?
    • The Citadel is a place of law and order as well as a school. The robes represent station and power. The color pink was chosen because it is easily noticeble and anyone who sees it will instantly recognize it means the Citadel is here.
      • Fun Fact: It may also be becuase Dorian watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and loved how Dolores Umbridge wore pink. It isn’t an evil color at all and that’s what makes it unique and engaging. Not saying the Citadel is evil.
Character Tips, Opinion, Storytelling Tips, Writing Tips

How to Write a Character Backstory

We look at the must-have’s for a good character backstory, as well as how not to get overwhelmed!

When you are writing your character backstory, it can be easy to stare at a blank page and wonder how to even approach it. Character lives are complex, after all. And how do you condense all this information into a quick-read format? We’ve got an easy guide here for you to follow to help create all your characters! While this is more specifically aimed at D&D and other TTRPG’s, these can easily be applied to any character creation.

What You Absolutely Must Know About Your Character

There are core tenants that make up every character and help shape them. There are also key pieces of information that will help drive plot forward during a D&D game. When you sit down to write your character’s background, follow this list:

  • Where they grew up.
    • Was it a city or a rural environment? Was it coastal, snowy, mountainous? Was it a center of activity or a slower pace of life? All these things help shape how your character perceives the world.
  • Childhood
    • Some core childhood questions to answer are: Did they have friends? Was their family wealthy or poor? What did they do for fun?
  • Positive Relationships
    • Make note of any good relationships they had in their life, whether it be family, friends, a mentor, or other figure.
  • Neutral Relationships
    • Is there anyone important that had a small association with?
  • Negative Relationships
    • Is there someone they hate? Someone they wronged? Someone who would rather see them dead?
  • Personality Traits and Flaws
    • Make a very small list of some key points of their personality and key flaws. Don’t overdo it. A lot of this will flesh itself out once you are really inside the character.
  • Open-Ended Conflict
    • The most important thing to include is open-ended conflict. Something that can be resolved as the story plays itself out. Something that can come back to hurt the character. Did your character make a mistake? Run away from something? Leave something unfinished? All these are great starting points.

How Not to Get Overwhelmed

All that information above can seem like a lot to tackle. But don’t get overwhelmed! There is one simple rule that will help you not feel lost in this character creation. You might not like it, but here it is.

Keep the backstory to 1-2 pages.

Do not go over that. Truly understanding the character often means simplicity. Break down the core of all that information above into its simplest formats. Don’t add in unnecessary details. Don’t add in dialogue. Don’t go on “side quests”. Keep it simple so you can focus on the soul of your character.


We are going to take the list above and offer examples. These are all characters from our epic fantasy Thread of Souls book series. If you are still lost on how to narrow down this information, check these out!

  • Where did Unole grow up?
    • The empire’s capital city in the plains. It’s very busy and diverse.
  • What was Ruuda’s childhood like?
    • The youngest of 12 siblings. Her family is middle-class. She had a small number of friends. She liked to play pranks on her siblings and help with the family business.
  • What were Sen’s positive relationships?
    • Sen had a girlfriend that he’s since lost track of, but he very much loved her. He admires his former pirate captain “the Baroness” and is still loyal to her.
  • What were Artemis’ neutral relationships?
    • She knew a variety of soldiers and Rangers during her time in the war.
  • What were Taliesin’s negative relationships?
    • Taliesin crossed the line of acceptable behavior for his station with the ruling priestesses of his city, so he has angered all of them.
  • What are Jasita’s personality traits and flaws?
    • Jasita is studious, dedicated, curious, and soft-spoken. She is socially awkward and often reads people’s minds to try and understand them, which makes people angry with her.
  • What is Jade’s open-ended conflict?
    • Wild Elf Jade is wanted in the Elven capital city because she crossed racial lines and became romantic with a High Elf. She hasn’t returned to the city since.