Knowing why your PC adventures is a cracking way of understanding how he might act while delving dungeons. It is a dangerous profession after all and few – if any – individuals take it up for no good reason.
By William McAusland (Outland Arts)
Sometimes writing a lengthy background for your PC is too much hassle. You might not be able to find the time or the inclination to be creative. Alternatively, it may be you suspect the PC may not survive the rigours of his chosen profession for very long and the effort of a long, involved background seems a waste. Deciding why he adventures, though, is a great way of getting quick insight into his character.
PCs can decide to adventure for any number of reasons. A few of the most common include:
- Accused: The PC has been accused of a serious crime (perhaps justly, perhaps unjustly). To escape their punishment (or to pay off a hefty fine) he now adventures. If the PC was wrongly accused, he may also be looking for revenge or the means to prove his innocence.
- Bloodlust: The PC loves violence and meting out death to his enemies. The only way to do so legally is to adventure.
- Glory: The PC has a burning desire to be famous; slaying monsters, exploring renowned deathtraps and protecting the innocents is an excellent way of achieving fame. He may alternatively seek to prove his worth to an specific organisation – perhaps an order of knighthood or a wizards’ guild – so that he might be welcomed into its august ranks.
- Love: To prove his worth to his beloved, the PC is adventuring. He may be seeking unending wealth, renown or a certain object stipulated by his love.
- Power: The PC desires to be powerful. PCs that adventure to accumulate power normally do so for some other (hopefully benign) reason.
- Protect: Many PCs take up the adventuring life to keep the realm, faith or something else safe from monstrous incursions or other threat.
- Rescue: The PC may be searching for a missing loved one. They may have simply disappeared one day or could have been taken during a raid by slavers, orcs or some other group.
- Revenge: The PC has been wronged by someone and they adventure to gain the means or power to have their revenge.
- Searching: Obsessed with a particular item – perhaps an artifact or holy relic – the PC quests to gain it for himself. Alternatively, the PC could be seeking forbidden knowledge, a lost, legendary locale and so on.
- Thrill-Seeker: The PC was bored in his former life; adventuring provides the thrills he seeks.
- Told To Go: The PC has been told to adventure by someone else – perhaps a local noble, religious leader or family member. He could even have been kicked out of home. Interestingly, this kind of adventurer might not actually want to be an adventurer and could dream of settling down some day.
- Wanderlust: The PC wants to travel the wide world and see all there is to see. These PCs are wanderers and rarely stay in the same place for long.
Help Fellow Players
The list above is by no means comprehensive. Do your PCs have other motivations to adventure? Did I miss something blindingly obvious? Let us know in the comments below and help your fellow players breathe life into their PCs!