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Character Questionnaire

Discussion in 'RPG Café' started by PokemonBreederChris, Apr 24, 2008.


Did you find this Questionnaire Helpful?

  1. Yes, I find this very helpful.

    84 vote(s)
  2. No, I do not find this helpful at all.

    7 vote(s)
  3. yes, and no, I sway either way.

    13 vote(s)
  1. PokemonBreederChris

    PokemonBreederChris UnlimitedBlade Works


    In constructing characters for one's role playing antics, many people are often caught up in what character they wish to portray, and design. Knowing a character well takes time, dedication, like getting to know a living person. But taking the time to do so can help you find new directions to take your writings as you explore the places your character will go. This Questionnaire is designed to help those who have been struck by the dreaded writer's block, to help them scope, and shape their characters, which in turn might help with crafting an intrinsic motivated side-plot that surrounds your character.

    This is to simply help, and inspire ideas, or organize ideas for your characters, an in-depth roster if you will.

    Take your ideas for future characters, or current character, and see how well he or she fits this questionaire. This could simply aid you shape the outlook of your [next] character, and help improve in character analysis/creation all together. You do not need to share it, though I hope this helps in the long run. Not every field is required, especially the in-depth questions that requrie you to explore new frontiers in character-crafting, but the more questions you think about, the stronger and more "human" your character will become.

    The Character Questionnaire:

    I. Basic Attributes ((The Basic Attributes, are the "candy fields" and Physical descriptions of your character, what one can see upon first impression))

    * Given Name:

    * Nickname(s):

    * Appearance:
    - gender
    - age
    - height
    - weight
    - hair color/style
    - eye color
    - makeup
    - clothing style

    * Race/ethnicity:

    * Physical abilities/limitations:

    II. Socioeconomic class/standing:

    * Religion:

    * Place of birth:

    * Place and time of story:

    * Parents' profiles
    - race/ethnicity:
    - socioeconomic level:
    - religion:
    - habits:
    - quality of relationship with child(ren):
    - living/deceased:

    * Brothers/sisters/significant-other relatives (profile each)
    - race/ethnicity:
    - socioeconomic level:
    - religion:
    - habits:
    - quality of relationship:
    - living/deceased:

    * Family structure/life:

    III. Brief Life Story

    It is very important to write a biography for your character, which often is what History becomes. The more detail you create, the deeper you can make your character, and this rich history will be such a rich source of information that it will change and evolve your story accordingly. Questions to keep in mind when you craft your biography would be:

    - How did your character get here from there?
    - What was their life like before the story began?
    - What was growing up like for them?
    - Did they have a good or bad childhood?
    - What struggles have that had, or hardships they have overcome?
    - Has their life worked out like they expected?
    - Has their life been difficult or easy until now?
    - Were they forced into their current path, or are they here by choice?
    - Do they have regrets?
    - What special circumstances have made them into who they are today?
    - Did anything happen in their past that they cannot forget or live down, or that has deeply changed them or scarred them in some way?

    ((As the mods say about "cliches" one should not simply create a cheap Freudian back story as motivation for your characters. Examples that you should not do include "His mother beat him as a child, and now he hates all women." -or- "She was once robbed at gunpoint, and now has an irrational fear of guns."

    Simply put, people are more complex than this. If such a traumatic event happened in their lives, then make the psychological or emotional consequence unexpected rather than exactly what any five-year-old would instantly assume.))

    IV. Psychology ((This is heading into teh Human Psyche, the internal drive of the Human being, which most like would become the personality))

    * Outer Goal (physical):

    * Inner Goal (psychological/emotional):

    * Superobjective: (This is your character’s primary motivation, what drives them more than anything else.)

    * Life, career, or personal goals outside of the realm of the story:

    * Defining characteristic:

    * Hopes/desires:

    * Fears/phobias:

    * Dirty Secrets:

    * Introvert or extrovert?:

    * More thinking or feeling?:

    * What do you see is the biggest contradiction(s) your character lives out?:

    * Tends to be self centered? Selfless?:

    * Favorite and hated foods/drinks:

    * Education or important learning experiences:

    * Most hated activities:

    * Most enjoyed activities:

    * Deepest secret or wildest fantasy:

    * Sense (or lack!) of humor: what makes your character laugh?

    * Who is your character's hero, or who do they admire or emulate?

    V. Philosophy & Morality

    * Attitudes toward:
    - self
    - others
    - friendship
    - sex
    - love
    - family
    - marriage
    - country
    - the world
    - religion

    * Political philosophy:
    - conservative/traditional/ liberal/radical:
    - public causes supported/protested:
    - politically active/apathetic:

    * Superstitions?:

    * Catchphrase that defines their worldview? (Examples: "What goes around comes around." "Live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse." etc.):

    VI. Life & Lifestyle

    * Closest friend(s):

    * Job/career/occupation:
    - Attitude towards job:

    * Noted accomplishments:
    - Famous/infamous?

    * Clubs/organizations belonged to:

    * Favorite music or group/favorite TV shows or films:

    * Hobbies:

    VII. Food for Thought

    * How would your character react to:

    - Inheriting $1 million:
    - The death of a loved one:
    - A natural disaster: hurricane/earthquake, etc.:
    - Being fired:
    - Meeting an old friend or enemy not seen for years:
    - Having or raising children:
    - Being raped/mugged/violated in some way:
    - An unexpected kindness or compliment:
    - A serious illness such as AIDS or cancer:
    - A flat tire on the expressway:
    - An interracial relationship:
    - Five minutes on local or national TV:


    For further analysis of your characters, you should ask yourself, or rather, your character, thought-provoking questions that explore personal philosophy, morality, politics, knee-jerk reactions, secret fantasies, wishes, and much more. Questions to think about would be:

    A. If your character were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would they most regret not having told someone? Why haven't they told them yet?

    B. Would your character accept $1,000,000 to leave the county and never set foot in it again?

    C. Your character is given the power to kill people simply by thinking of their deaths and twice repeating the word "good-bye." People would die a natural death and no one would suspect them. Are there any situations in which they would use this power? [If they can imagine themselves killing someone indirectly, could they still see doing it if they had to look into the person's eyes and stab the person to death? Have they ever genuinely wanted to kill someone or wished them dead?]

    D. What would constitute a "perfect" evening for your character?

    E. Would your character rather be extremely successful professionally and have a tolerable yet unexciting private life, or have an extremely happy private life and only a tolerable and uninspiring professional life?

    F. If your character could wake up tomorrow having gained any one ability or quality, what would it be?

    G. Your character has the chance to meet someone with whom they can have the most satisfying love imaginable - the stuff of dreams. Sadly, they know that in six months the person will die. Knowing that pain that would follow, would they still want to meet that person and fall in love? What if they knew their lover would not die, but instead would betray them? [In love, is intensity or permanence more important to them? How much do they expect from someone who loves them? What would make them feel betrayed by their mate - indifference? Dishonesty? Infidelity?

    H. Does your character prefer being around men or women? Do their closest friends tend to be men or women?

    I. Would your character be willing to murder an innocent person if it would end hunger in the world?

    J. What is their most treasured memory?

    K. If your character knew there would be a nuclear war in one week, what would they do?

    L. What is the greatest accomplishment of your character's life? Is there anything they hope to do that is even better?

    M. One would be the one material item your character would save during a fire?

    N. Your character is offered $1,000,000 for the following act: before them are ten pistols - only one of which is loaded. They must pick up one of the pistols, point it at their forehead, and pull the trigger. If they can walk away they do so a millionaire. Would they accept the risk?

    O. If your character could choose the manner of their death, what would it be?

    P. For what in your character's life do they feel most grateful?

    Q. How forgiving is your character?

    R. When your character tells a story, do they often exaggerate or embellish it? If so, why?

    S. How much does your character feel in control of the course of their life?

    T. Is it easy for your character to ask for help when they need it? Will they ask for help?

    U. Would your character like to be famous? In what way?

    V. What are your character's most compulsive habits? Do they regularly struggle to break those habits?

    W. What does your character strive for most in their life: accomplishment, security, love, power, excitement, knowledge, or something else?

    X. How easily embarrassed is your character?

    Y. Does the fact that your character has never done something before increase or decrease its appeal to them?

    Z. What’s the most dangerous thing your character has ever done?


    I Hope this questionnaire has provoked thought about your characters, and helps you for the better. Yes, it is in depth, but to benefit all in every possible thought to make your character more then two dimensions. Just as the Human body is complex, just as creating a new life. You are the "God" of your character, you creat them from pen and papper, to a masterpiece.

    Thankyou for taking your time and reading this, If you wish, you may post feed back about it, or even talk about your main character you recycle many times ((though with a few alterations). You may even post the whole questionaire's worth of answers, if you want.

    I hope this has helped you.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2008
  2. Elementman-Novapoke

    Elementman-Novapoke Well-Known Member



    This is really helpful, it's recently helped with a creative writing project at school, and when I got it all down, I found it easy to figure out what Leon (my character) would do. It was easier than thinking about what i'd do in specific scenarios, if i'm honest.

    I suggest that people copy this down somewhere; this may lead to some RPG newbies become the next big thing, and by that I mean the next, The Doctor, Shadowfaith, Psychic, PBC, and many, many others. Maybe because of this, this particular board will thrive with quality post and RPGs, instead of what we're experiencing at the moment - some RPGs made of beautiful posts and brilliant ideas, which are swamped by the waves of less than mediocre plots and posts, which can hardly be called 'Quality'.

    I suggest this is stickied. Before it dies out.

    Last edited: May 22, 2008
  3. RaZoR LeAf

    RaZoR LeAf Night Terror

    Stickied AND Sealed :)
  4. Ventus3

    Ventus3 Waiting for summer

    Thank you! I was having real trouble thinking of my character's traits since he's a ghost. I was thinking of making an RP and this really helped me gather up my ideas and get them organized before I lost them. Thank you PokemonBreederChris!

  5. Torpoleon

    Torpoleon Pokémon Sun!

    Thank you for making this i have never joined an rpg and asked to join one yesterday and didn't get a response yet. Now i know the stuff to do with the character!
  6. Titan500

    Titan500 Solar Panels

    This is great. I've got enough help to create my own RP
  7. Mariku -- kitten

    Mariku -- kitten Toshiya lover<3

    Pretty useful fo some of my under developed characters. Thanks~
  8. Killer_Squirtle

    Killer_Squirtle Follow my lead!

    know if only everyone did this sort of thing, RPGs would be even more rocking
  9. Venia Silente

    Venia Silente [](int x){return x;}

    This questionnnaire has been a great help... for my fics!!

    Faved, saved, etc.

    Also I'm amazed by the "Food for Brain" line of questioning. Even thinking a little bit about these questions helped me to develop my character a huge lot.

    Thanks and congratulations!
  10. 1# manga fan!

    1# manga fan! 2 Year Veteran


    Live Fast die young and leave behind a beautiful courpse!

    Now that's a good thing to sticky! I'm definetly faving this for my Fan fic! and other RPGs!
  11. Kiruria

    Kiruria La Melancolie Noir

    Haha, I read through the questionnaire, thinking about my two most in-depth characters, Yamiko and Lupin. I found some of the questions very difficult to answer, but some of those I found difficult to answer even for myself (like the million-dollar questions).

    Then there were some questions that looked hard but were easy to answer for one particular character. For example, when I read the question about being paid a million dollars to shoot one of ten pistols at oneself, I immediately thought, "Yamiko would definitely answer no--knowing her luck, she'd probably kill herself." That's because one of Yamiko's defining characteristics is being under a curse, thus causing her to be hesitant to push her luck. But for other characters, this question is more difficult. For Lupin, for example, I had to think about it a bit: "Hmm, he's not cursed like Yamiko is, but does like to evaluate his options. Hmm... wait a minute, then again, his criminal nature kind of forces him to take risks. Oh yeah, and then there's the fact that he's constantly preparing himself for death anyway. Yeah, I think he'd definitely take the risk--the money would really help the Black Cat Bandits, right?"

    Then there were other character fields that seemed obvious to consider first, but I didn't consider them. I still can't assign most of my characters to a religion, for example; I can only think of one character who I know the religion of off the top of my head. Then there were other characteristics I've contemplated for quite a while--like Lupin's favourite food and Yamiko's career goal--but never found the answer for some reason.

    The fun part I found about looking at two characters at once while reading these questions was comparing their answers. Some of the differences were funny, and some were different or similar in a very interesting way. That's especially applicable in my case, because since Yamiko and Lupin are supposed to be lovers, this comparison can give more insight into their relationship. Well, some of those answers were:

    -- What catchphrase defines your world view?
    Yamiko: "Destiny happens, no matter how much you try to control it." And later, "The bad things that happen in life are only tests of character."
    Lupin: "Break the rules quickly, quietly, and reasonably." Also, "The will is capable of great things that the body is not."
    Both: "Death, I triple-dog dare you."

    --You have the chance to meet someone with whom you can have the most satisfying love imaginable - the stuff of dreams. Sadly, you know that in six months the person will die. Knowing that pain that would follow, would you still want to meet that person and fall in love?
    Yamiko: "Definitely not. That would be foolish. Why start something when you know it will end badly? For the rest of my life afterward, I'd be haunted by those six months--it would feel much like a breakup."
    Lupin: "I'll have to say yes. Even after the love of my life is at least thought to be dead, the thought of that love would continue to inspire me. Besides, I've been hoping for this kind of love for a long time."

    --For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
    Yamiko: "Having always had some sort of loving guardian supporting me. Also, not being physically or mentally disabled."
    Lupin: "Having Yamiko in my life. Also, not having a criminal record."

    Overall, I think this guide is good not only for under-developed characters, but well-developed ones as well. This guide "tests" characters to see if they really are as well developed as the creator thinks they are.

    I can also point out that many of the questions in the guide are not as necessary for minor characters, because chances are the story won't give these characters much of a chance to show all of those character elements. Even for a main character, many of these questions still go unanswered for the reader. But thinking about these questions for a main character can be excellent sources of plot ideas, even if the answer to the question is never revealed in the story.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010

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