A character’s personality is split into two parts: Attitudes and Motivations. Of these, the latter is the most important to a roleplaying game. A motivation is anything that drives your character to act. They can be external or internal. A poisonous snake can be an external motivation, but we’re not overly concerned with these right now. Those are provided by the game master, and are more directly related to attitudes. Instead, we’ll going to think about internal motivations–those that come from the character’s own twisted mind.
First, before we go any further, make sure you have a copy of the Character Wheel Sheet, so you can follow along.
6 Page PDF
This Character Sheet includes sections for every part of the Character Wheel. It is system agnostic, so feel free to use it with any character for any game.
Director, what’s my motivation?
Significant Details are critical under this category. Choose a handful of powerful motivators you want constantly considered by the Game Master during adventure planning.
As before, look over this section of the sheet for inspiration. At least one of your significant details should be a goal, and another should be a belief. There is a lot of power in both.
I lied a bit about not concerning yourself with external motivations, but for good reason. If you look next to Emotional Triggers, under Attitudes, you see a nearly identical list called Handling Emotions. These two really do go hand in hand. Whereas Handling Emotions is where you’ll eventually describe how your character behaves when he feels a particular emotion, Emotional Triggers are things that readily inspire the emotion in the first place. Think of these as consistent external motivations, if you like.
List some things that inspire Anger, Depression, Envy, Fear, Joy, and Lust.
Fears and Insecurities
At first glance this seems like a redundant section, but it serves a different purpose. Whereas above you listed things that cause fear, this is where you should write down things your character is always afraid of. These are far more pervasive. In the case of phobias, these are stronger than a mere fear, and are irrational by definition. The way a character reacts to a phobia should be stronger than the way they react to fear.
General Fears are the sorts of things that should keep your character up at night. Perhaps it’s fear for loved ones or maybe fear of the unknown.
Insecurities are more subtle. Perhaps your character doesn’t like his body, or is afraid he’s going to let his team-mates down. Insecurities should eat at the character, and show up a little bit at a time.
Loves and Passions
If fear causes a character to run away, Loves and Passions draw him in. These can be Callings, which are things your character loves doing, or Interests, which are things he likes to learn about, study, or just be surrounded by.
Obsessions are a stronger form of love, and should have a dramatic effect of the character, whereas Pet Peeves are things that simply irritate.
Vices, though, deserve serious attention. Vices may be bad things for players to have, but they’re fantastic for a character. They add flavor and charm, and can be a blast to play. Maybe your character smoke pipes, or is an alcoholic. Maybe he just spends a little too much time at brothels. The sky’s the limit when it comes to lewd behavior.
Nothing if more important than having goals for your character. Simply put, this is your way of directly affecting the story in your campaign. Your character’s goals will cause him to seek adventure. If they don’t, then you need more goals.
I’ve broken goals up into categories. Personal Goals are the kinds of things your character wishes to change about himself. These could be about personality or lifestyle–a desire to get over some fear, or to stop a particular vice. The others are pretty self-explanatory: Career, Projects, Family, and Relationships.
Your character believes things. Some of these beliefs are so closely held that they color everything the character does. His Religion is more than just what god he prays too, but how closely he follow religious edicts and how much he sees the divine in the world around him. Philosophies are merely things he believes about human behavior. These are closely related to and inform his Political Views. Lastly, most characters have Superstitions such as never wearing green into battle because it’s bad luck or never lighting a fire using pine because the spirits don’t like it.
That basically covers Motivations. Certainly there are others you may think of. If you do, let me know. In the meantime, next week I’ll go over Background.