Ask a Pro: Question Three

Friday, June 5, 2009

3. Do you encourage your players to create well-thought-out backgrounds complete with hooks that you can insert into your campaign?

Lisa Stevens: I do, but don't reward. I basically tell my players that if they come up with interesting backgrounds, then they'll get more out of my campaign; it will be more personal for them, as I'll take their hooks and use them in the plot. If you don't create a background, then you'll still have fun, but maybe the story won't be as personal for you. Either is fine; I let the players decide what they want out of the campaign.

F. Wesley Schneider: Yes. They don't have to write up elaborate histories, but I usually ask them to at least provide me with their characters' shticks.

James Jacobs: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

Erik Mona: Doesn't matter. If a player is really into that, then I'll take the hooks and weave them back into the campaign, but if a player doesn't care then neither do I.

Jason Bulmahn: I'll ask but won't mandate it. I leave it to player discretion. I'll definitely reward the effort, in that the story will be tied to their history and generally benefit them in some way and be more personal.

Sean K Reynolds: Encourage.

Joshua J. Frost: Yes, I encourage.

James Sutter: Once their concepts are made I like to work with them to get them all together, but there are some players who just like to show up and go, and that's fine. I think well thought out is more fun, but of course sometimes my problem is that I'll create a really long and detailed history and then die after one session. (laughs)

Chris Self: Absolutely.

I've always thought this was one of the best parts of running a campaign!

Hank Woon
Editorial Intern

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