Character History

Introduction

If you are reading this wondering what a Character History is - it is simply a progression of tables, each with an assortment of events, items, attitudes and other character defining items, that one randomly rolls on to come up with a varied and fun sketch of a character's life prior to the beginning of the game. A player can then flesh this out to have a fully functioning character background. Its random nature makes for interesting, often funny twists and turns that a player sometimes has to get creative to explain away as part of his PCs life.

Character History Instructions

Simply roll a d12 for each table, following your Character's History. There will be times when you skip a table or roll on additional tables as the text describes when appropriate. The History table is meant to provide a skeletal outline, a foundation for fleshing out your background. You are welcome to simply look at the tables and pick whatever you think is most appropriate for the character you intend to make but I humbly suggest trying to do it at random. Very interesting stories seem to grow out of trying to explain quite disparate results from the tables. A short description, sometimes a few examples are given with each entry, however the user of the table is by no means constrained by the few examples given.

Birth & Childhood

Place of Birth

d12

Birth Location

Sub-Tables

1

Out in the wilderness

You were born outside the confines of civilization

2

A Rural Hamlet/Village

A few houses, isolated from any one kingdom. Not on the map

3

Slave Pit

You were born amongst slaves

4

Town

Medium size town, part of a kingdom and usually on a map

5

Religious or Scholarly Institution

You were born in a monastery or university or similar setting

6

Fortress

A structure built for military use

7

Palace

Place of residence of the royal family

8

Major metropolis, Capital City

A sprawling conglomeration of residences and businesses, always on the map

9

Caravan or other mobile

You were born on the move, by nomads or on a ship, maybe the circus.

10

Alien racial environment

Raised in the forest by an elven family, or in a cave by wolves, etc.

11

Alien racial city

Raised by another race or species in a conglomeration of said species.

12

Extraplanar

Raised in a plane other than the prime material

 

Childhood Environment

d12

Childhood Environment

Description

1

No Adult Supervision

No one was around a majority of the time, or at all, to supervise. No real structure.

2

Abusive

Caretakers provided significant physical and/or mental abuse

3 - 4

Sheltered

Constant supervision by adults or others, kept you confined to "safe" areas.

5 - 8

Supportive

You were provided guidance and care and allowed room to grow and explore

9

Gang

You were raised by a gang, band or other group

10

Strict

Most of your care was left up to monks, military schools or other strict institutions

11

Owned

Put to work from early or outright owned, very little care given

12

Apprenticed

Given over to a Master to be apprenticed from an early age

 

Family History

Caretaker's Origin

d12

Caretakers

Description

1-4

Original Parents

Raised by the ones that gave birth to you

5-7

Close Family

Raised by family members, not your parents (aunt/uncle, grandfather/mother)

8

Adopted

Never knew original parents. Raised by a couple not related to you.

9

Institution

Raised at an institution, be it an orphanage, monastery or other. Skip to Personal Preferences

10

Master

Sold or given or kidnapped at an early age and raised as property. Skip to Personal Preferences

11-12

On Your Own

Have had to rely on yourself for as long as you can remember. Skip to Personal Preferences

 

Caretaker's Background

d12

Family Background

Description

1

Street Rat

Pan handling in the streets

2

Entertainers

Bards, Minstrels, Poets, Actors

3

Serfs/Servants

In service to a feudal lord

4

Free Laborers/Tradesman

Self-sufficient farmers, fishermen or other subsistence trade. Practiced a minor trade

5

Monks or Scholars

Parents were immersed in a higher calling

6

Military

Career soldiers or mercenaries

7

Gods Blood

Descended from one of the Gods

8

Guild

Practiced a popular trade as members of a broad guild

9

Merchant

From peddlers to gypsies, trade in everything and anything

10

Minor Noble

Part of a knight's, minor liege lord or other minor household

11

Major Noble

Member of a recognized noble family with ties to dukes and barons

12

Royalty

In the same bloodline as the ruling family

 

Caretaker's Status

d12

Status

Description

1-6

Alive and well

Your parents or guardians are both doing well

7-10

Misfortune

On an even roll, only one is affected. On an odd, both. Roll on the Misfortune Table

11-12

Death

On an even roll, only one is affected. On an odd, both. Roll on the The Death Table

 

Misfortune

d12

Misfortune

Description

1-2

Cult

Became involved with a religious cult

3-4

Addiction

Be it drugs, alcohol or gambling

5-6

Crippled

Accident, random encounter or worse causing a partial or complete incapacitation

7

Cursed

Lycanthropy, vampirism or other such

8

Taken

Be it by roaming barbarians, organized crime or slavers

9

Indentured Servant

Bad deals or bad luck left a large debt to be paid off by labor, or outright slavery

10

Bankruptcy

Responsible, directly or indirectly, for the loss of all gold and lands

11

Crazy

Some lamentable situation caused complete mental breakdown

12

Prison

Situations led to long term incarceration

 

The Death Table

d12

Death

Description

1-2

Warfare

An event ranging from a raid to a siege caused death

3-5

Disease

Anything from a simple cold to a Pox caused death

6-7

Accident

Any number of random events, from a mule kicking at the wrong time to a fire

8-9

Murdered

From the random pick pocket to a planned assasination. Roll 1d12 - on a 10+, you know who did it

10-11

Unknown

Found dead under mysterious circumstances

12

Murdered by You

You did the killing

 

Siblings

d12

Siblings

Description

1-2

Twins

You are one of twins

3-4

Triplets

You are one of triplets

5-6

Only Child

This is itÖitís only you

7-8

1-2 Siblings

One or two, not twins

9-10

3-5 Siblings

Three to Five Siblings

11-12

Too Many Siblings

You are part of the Horde

 

 Roll 1d12 for Each Sibling.

d12

type of Siblings

1-6

Younger Sibling

7-12

Older Sibling

Odds

Brother

Evens

Sister


Fate of Your Siblings

d12

Fate of Sibling

Description

1-2

Lost Touch

It is unknown to you what became of this sibling

3-4

Lives with Parents

This sibling is home with your parents

5-6

Misfortune

This sibling has had bad luck in life. Roll under the Misfortune table.

7-8

Keeps in Touch

This sibling is enjoying his or her own life, apart, but keeps in touch

9-10

They Hate You

This sibling despises you for some past transgression

11-12

Dead

This sibling has died. Roll on the Death table.

 

Personal Preferences

Garb

Garb refers to the clothes your character prefers to wear. Most characters will have to wear armor for adventuring. This table represents what they wear when they can choose their garb, when they can relax and wear what they want versus what is necessary.

d12

Garb

Description

1-3

Conservative

Attire suitable to the region you are from

4

Provocative

Skimpy clothing, showing skin with the intent to be sexually attractive

5

Military

Like to keep your armor on always

6

Rags

Don't care about clothing, wear moth eaten rags

7

High Fashion/Noble

The latest fashions, expensive materials with embroidery

8

Chameleon

Changes style for whatever is the local trend

9

Ninja

Loose fitting, dark clothing good for sneaking or comfort

10

Naked

Prefer no clothes

11

Furs

Prefers pelts and animal skins for clothing

12

High Seas

Likes to wear clothing suitable for a pirate or sailor

 

Hair

The stuff that keeps your scalp warm.

d12

Hair Style

Description

1-2

Long Hair

Past the shoulders, as long as you'd like.

3-4

Short Hair

Cropped close to your skull, or down to the shoulder, or anywhere in between.

5

Bowl Cut

Common among monks and soldiers.

6

Thin Braid

Skinny braid of hair from short rat tail to long and luxurious.

7

Thick Braid

An elaborate, thick braid that takes up most of your hair.

8

Dreadlocks

Multitude of individual braids. Often decorated with beads or bells.

9

Bald

Either on purpose or by nature's design, you have no hair.

10

Top Knot

Shaved bald except for a single spot from which you grow hair.

11

Crazy

Radical styles such as mohawks, spikes, weird colorings, etc.

12

Wild

Unruly mass of unkept hair. A dirty, dingy bird's nest.

 

Mark

A mark refers to a distinguishing feature of the character that is not the normal, and sets him apart from others. For some characters they may be known by this mark - Eric the Red Axe, or Beatrice Scarhand. A mark is unique but doesn't hold any value beyond that of the basic item.

d12

Mark

Description

1-4

None

There is no one distinguishing mark that sets you apart.

5

Tattoo(s)

A tattoo or tattoos that are unique enough or extensive enough to set you apart.

6

Jewelry

A piece of jewlery that is unique or unusual such as a nose chain or rhino-head ring.

7

Scar(s)

Scar or scars savage or extensive enough to be memorable. Could also be missing part.

8

Weapon

A weapon with unusual styling such as a red axe or spear with the head carved like a wasp sting.

9

Armor

Armor with a design that sets it apart and makes it stand out in a crowd.

10

Item

Any of a myriad of things that might be memorable such as a silver flute or an elaborate plumed hat.

11

Body Paint

Pigments applied to the body in great enough quantity to seem unusual.

12

Mannerism

Any of a wide range of odd behavior such as howling at stray cats or chewing on leather belts.

 

Personal Treasure

Personal Treasure is something that has deep value to the character, even though it may have little to no monetary value. The character may also think the item lucky, kissing it before a bet or prior to jumping off the side of the ship, and losing it would be a bad omen. Usually these are not displayed openly, but only shared with someone that is close to you.

d12

Personal Treasure

Description

1

Item of Clothing

Your mom's scarf or similar

2

A Toy

A childhood memory or maybe a sibling's

3

A Document

The deed to family land, proof of your noble birth maybe

4

Religious Symbol

Helped you get through tough times, or added strength

5

Item

Any random item such as a musical instrument or a carving

6

Tool

A memory of a trade left behind maybe

7

Weapon

The knife that killed your parents, or your dad's trusty axe

8

Body Part

A lock of hair, or a baby tooth, very personal reminders

9

Tattoo

Your sister's name or a monolith that is in memory of some sacrifice

10

Animal

A favorite pet, maybe one given to you

11-12

None

 

Significant Times in Your Life

Fate Table

Roll 1d12 Number of eventful years in your life thus far. Roll that many times on the Fate Table. The order they are rolled in is their chronological order, although years may pass between significant events.

d12

Fate

Description

1-2

Tragedy

Fate has not been kind

3-4

Windfall

Lady luck smiles on you

5-6

Made a Friend

Someone enters your life in a beneficial way

7-8

Made an Enemy

You rubbed someone wrong

9-10

Cupid Strikes

A relationship develops

11-12

Personal Enlightenment

Events unfold that help you grow as a person

 

Tragedy

d12

Tragedy

Description

1-2

Financial blow

You manage to lose all your gold/possessions

3-4

Debt

Financial or otherwise, you make yourself indebted to someone or some group

5-6

Imprisoned

Through crime or mistake, you end up imprisoned for 1d12 months

7-8

Accident

You have a serious accident that leaves you incapacitated for 1d12 months

9-10

Addiction

You lose 1d12 months of this year battling an addiction such as alcohol or gambling

11-12

Lose a Pet

An animal you held dear dies

 

Windfall

d12

Windfall

Description

1-2

Financial Boon

You nearly double your worth in lands and possessions

3-4

Someone Owes You

You managed to be at the right place and at the right time and someone owes you

5-6

Fame

Through your deeds you manage to make a name for yourself locally

7-8

Long Lost Someone

You find a sibling you never knew you had. Roll on the sibling tables

9-10

Scruffy!

You find yourself a pet

11-12

Travel

The opportunity arises to travel to far distant lands for 1d12 months

 

Made a Friend

d12

Made a Friend

Description

1

Like a Big Brother or Sister to You

Someone that is older and looks after you, fussing over you at times

2

Like a Little Brother or Sister to You

Someone you look after as well as tease

3

Teacher or Mentor

A sage becomes a friend that instructs you in matters

4

Partner or Co-worker

Someone you work with often becomes a close friend

5

An Old Lover

You said - I just want to be friends - and meant it

6

An Old Enemy

Bygones become bygones and old rivalries become funny stories

7

Like a Foster Parent to You

This friend regails you with advice as well as cares for you

8

Old Childhood Friend

You bump into someone you had not seen in years

9

Relative

A relative becomes a friend as well as a relation

10

Gang or Tribe

Somehow you earn the friendship of a gang or tribe of people

11

Creature with Animal Intelligence

You befriend a badger or horse, or even a random Displacer Beast you can no longer find

12

Intelligent Creature

Maybe you ran into a Sphinx or a Wemic and managed to take the proverbial thorn out of the proverbial paw

 

Roll on the Heft Table to see how much help your friend can be.

Heft Table

d12

Heft

Description

1

Peon

This person has no real pull, only has himself

2

Clan

Close family ties into an extended family all willing to lay their lives for this individual

3

Gang

A small (1d12x5) group of like-minded individuals

4

Tribe

A large group of individuals tied by culture

5

Minor Figure

A local hero or minor noble that can pull on the resources of a single town

6

Major Figure

A famous hero or major noble that can pull resources over an entire province

7

Military Connections

Someone that is part of a mercenary outfit or part of the guard

8

Black Market/Underground

Powerful connections with the black market and the criminal world

9

Powerful Individual

Someone who is a power unto himself, like a mage or a powerful priest

10

Connected to the Light

Angelic forces or extra planar do-gooders with wide ranging reach

11

Connected to the Dark

Demonic forces, or connections with Dark Gods or other such nasties

12

Royalty

A member of the ruling family with pull anywhere within the kingdom, some beyond

 

Made an Enemy

d12

Made an Enemy

Description

1

Ex-Friend

You used to have lunch together and the like, but things went sour

2

Ex-Lover

All that love turned to hate

3

Relative

Family bonds cut by strife

4

Childhood Enemy

An old face you hoped you would never see again

5

Person You Worked For

One overtime too many

6

Person That Worked for You

You should have paid for that overtime

7

Ex-Partner

A working or adventuring relationship turns to arguments

8

Gang or Tribe

You managed to step on the really wrong foot

9

Authorities

There are those amongst the law that dislike you

10

Dark Powers

Somehow, you've come to the attention of dark forces, and they know your name

11

Creature with Animal Intelligence

You kicked that mule one time too many, and now it hates you to the bone

12

Intelligent Creature

You have some creature like a dragon angry with you

 

Roll on the Heft Table to see how much trouble you are in. Roll on the Animosity Table to see how this enemy and you are connected.

Animosity Table

What caused the animosity? Then roll on the Intensity Table to see how bad it is between you. After that roll to see Who Hates Whom to establish how things stand.

d12

Animosity

Description

1

Humiliation

Caused the loss of face or status publicly

2

Rift

Caused the loss of a friend or lover

3

Busted

Truly or falsely brought criminal charges against the person

4

Betrayed

Left the other out to dry or outright backstabbing

5

Cold Shoulder

Turned down for a job or turned down romantic advances

6

Rival

Had been competing for a job or romantically and won over the other

7

Foiled

Caused the failure of some plot, quest or undertaking

8

Sore loser

Defeated this person in combat or game/gamble

9

Bigotry

From race to religious beliefs, the hatred stems from stereotype

10

Murdered

Convinced this person killed a friend/relative/lover

11

Jealousy

This person's looks/life/luck/wealth bother you

12

Took Advantage

Took economic advantage by scam, or physical advantage through force

 

Intensity Table

How intense are the bad feelings?

d12

Intensity

Description

1-2

Annoyed

It rubs you wrong to be around this person, but you can control it

3-4

Bothered

You can't restrain quips and cut downs when you are around this person

5-6

Angry

Proximity to this individual leads to arguments, shouting, yelling

7-8

Ignore

This person doesn't exist to you

9

Violent

A fight will erupt when you are around this person, if you have to start it yourself

10

Hot Murder

All bets are off and so are the gloves - if the two of you are in the same room, Thunderdome rules apply

11

Cold Murder

If you catch sight of this person, your head starts drawing up schemes for death

12

Ruination

Whatever you have to do to bring this person down, her personal life, her job, family, etc

 

Who Hates Whom?

Where is the bad blood coming from?

d12

Who Hates Whom?

Description

1-4

You towards the other person

The animosity is from you for them

5-8

The other person towards you

The other person has the strong feelings, not you

9-12

Mutual

You both feel strongly about each other

 

Cupid Strikes

d12

Cupid Strikes

Description

1-2

Casual

The year is marked with relationships. You date several people throughout the year, each for about 1d12 weeks

3-4

Serious

You find a certain someone whom you date for 1d12 months

5-6

A Good Thing

A serious relationship has lasted into this year. Roll 1d12 - On a 1-5 it ends, on a 6-11 it continues through the year, on a 12 you marry

7-8

Dog

You find someone else, while dating someone seriously. Roll 1d12 - odd they find out and dump you, even they never find out

9-10

Heartbreak

Someone whom you'd been dating cheats on you. Roll 1d12. Even, you find out, odd they dump you and you don't know why

11

Tragic

Someone whom you'd been dating for over a year dies

12

Even More Tragic

Pregnancy. Roll 1d12; 1-3 You leave, 4-6 He/she Leaves You, 7-8 You Marry, 9-12 Crossbow/Sword Point Wedding

 

Personal Enlightenment

d12

Personal Enlightenment

Description

1-3

Attribute Improvement

Improve an ability score

4-6

Skill Learning

Add a new skill or two

7-9

Magical Ability

Improve your magical abilities

10-12

New Feat

Add a new feat or two

 

Attribute Improvement

d12

Attribute

Description

1-2

Strength

Heavy labor and little rest develop your muscles. +2 to Strength

3-4

Dexterity

Running with a band of rogues or maybe at the circuit with the jugglers sharpen your reflexes. +2 to Dexterity

5-6

Constitution

Training under a veteran or ex-mercenary, or time spent in harsh terrains, toughens you. +2 to Constitution

7-8

Intelligence

Time spent at a university or with a scholar teaches valuable skills and how to apply rational thinking. +2 to Intelligence

9-10

Wisdom

A sage or priest schools you in the benefits of faith and strength of mind. +2 to Wisdom

11-12

Charisma

You meet a very charismatic leader or powerful entertainer who teaches you the strength of assertiveness and charm. +2 to Charm

 

Skill Learning

d12

Skill Improvement

Description

1

Strength Skill, New

You are able to learn a new Strength-based skill.

2

Strength Skill, Improvement

Through lots of practice or much use, one of your Strength-based skills improves. +1  Added to Skill Rank

3

Dexterity Skill, New

You are able to learn a new Dexterity-based skill.

4

Dexterity Skill, Improvement

Through lots of practice or much use, one of your Dexterity-based skills improves. +1 Added to Skill Rank

5

Constitution Skill, New

You are able to learn a new Constitution-based skill.

6

Constitution Skill, Improvement

Through lots of practice or much use, one of your Constitution-based skills improves. +1 Added to Skill Rank

7

Intelligence Skill, New

You are able to learn a new Intelligence-based skill.

8

Intelligence Skill, Improvement

Through lots of practice or much use, one of your Intelligence-based skills improves. +1 Added to Skill Rank

9

Wisdom Skill, New

You are able to learn a new Wisdom-based skill.

10

Wisdom Skill, Improvement

Through lots of practice or much use, one of your Wisdom-based skills improves. +1 Added to Skill Rank

11

Charisma Skill, New

You are able to learn a new Charisma-based skill.

12

Charisma Skill, Improvement

Through lots of practice or much use, one of your Charisma-based skills improves. +1 Added to Skill Rank

 

Magical Ability

d12

Skill Improvement

Description

1

Abjuration

You learn a new Abjuration spell.

2

Conjuration

You learn a new Conjuration spell.

3

Divination

You learn a new Divination spell.

4

Enchantment

You learn a new Enchantment spell.

5

Evocation

You learn a new Evocation spell.

6

Illusion

You learn a new Illusion spell.

7

Necromancy

You learn a new Necromancy spell.

8

Transmutation

You learn a new Transmutation spell.

9-10

Spell-Like Ability, 1/day

You somehow gain the ability to use a Spell-Like Ability 1/day

11-12

Supernatural Ability, 1/day

You somehow gain the ability to use a Supernatural Ability 1/day

 

New Feat

d12

Skill Improvement

Description

1-2

Weapon Proficiency

You learn how to use a weapon.

3-4

Armor or Shield Proficiency

You learn how to handle a type of armor or shield.

5-6

Skill Feat

You gain a feat (for which you meet the prerequisites) which only improves skill(s).

7-8

Basic Feat

You learn a new Feat that has no prerequisites.

9-10

General Feat

You learn a new General Feat for which you meet the prerequisites.

11-12

Feat

You learn a new Feat for which you meet the prerequisites.

 

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