Sunday, July 5, 2009

Grimlock, Character Background

Grimlock, Ranger

Other than coming up with a name for your RPG character, the next hardest thing is coming up with a background! When you have a blank slate, it's hard to know exactly where to start, and how many times do we have to suffer through the "you meet in a tavern" plot device? In our upcoming 4e campaign we used a deck of Story Cards for character backgrounds. Although it can be played as a complete RPG by itself, the cards worked great just to kick start your ideas. The cards don't tell you what your background is, in fact they're a little vague, but they focus your creative energies to help scaffold the background. The following background for my Ranger character was laid out using six Story Cards in a specific order. The first card is your past, the second the present, and the third is your future. Next is the force that has a positive influence on your life, followed by which force has a negative impact on your life. The final card drawn is what hangs in the balance for your character. Enjoy!
Angus Grimlock was a member of a clan of Half-Orcs who were as stern and unforgiving as the frozen lands they hailed from. As a family however they were close-knit and revered nature's beauty and power. This is where he learned the ways of the Ranger.

Upon birth Angus was welcomed into the arms of not just a single mother and father, but an entire community of parents. The concept of uncles, cousins, and the like did not exist, so close was their clannish bond everyone was either your sibling or your parent.

During the war Angus acted as a Scout, as did some of his brethren with different detachments, their skills showed promise. While away at war his home was overrun and clan massacred by a rogue faction of the enemy army, and one by one, he lost his remaining brothers in battle as well. He sunk low, losing all sense of identity and purpose hand as his role in the war ended, he wandered the thick forests living off carrion and becoming more beast than man.

In his darkest hour, on death's door, he received a vision from the eldest of his clan. Angus was the last member of the clan, true, but it would not die with him, he would rebuild the clan. Angus would sire the next generation of his clan singlehandedly.

Strength and honor, traditions held of the utmost importance to his clan in the past are what drive him today. Being alone, the last survivor of his clan without kin or mate to lend support are what keep him in constant conflict. Will he be able to fulfill his destiny and rebuild his clan, or will revenge overtake him as he seeks to destroy those who wiped out his clan?

The Grimlock Clan Tartan


  1. So... his epic destiny is to get a girl pregnant? Just kidding! How will he carve out a land that will be safe for his new clan? Will he ever find a woman strong enough to begin the clan with him? Will he ever find the one that slaughtered his clan? Or is it more important to fulfill the vision, rather than his lust for vengeance? Yeah, there are definitely story hooks there =)

  2. You jest, but that was our joke as well when I turned that Story Card over. Remember, he's got to repopulate the whole clan, I'm thinking multiple wives here!

    Good questions all, I try to push character development as much as possible in an RPG, so hopefully we'll get to grips with those and more during the course of our adventures!