tripleshot31
Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun 03 Mar 2024, 02:17

Character Motivations & Backgrounds for Ravens Purge

Sun 03 Mar 2024, 02:29

Hello! In past games of D&D I often wrote up little backgrounds the players can choose from during character creation. They are small seeds that help them be curious and motivated to join the campaign story. Have you done anything similar?

I have written up a set for Raven's Purge and would love feedback or suggestions. And of course if you like these feel free to use. Thanks!

  1. (Human) The substance Mog is rumoured to be a powerful agent of transformation and power. You must learn everything you can of it, acquire a sample and become something greater than you are now. (Find Zytera)
  2. (Not Elf) You found a ruby and it has become precious to you. Since you found it you dream of a wise elf that gives you life advice. (Elf can push them to find the crown)
  3. A member of your family was taken by the Rust Brothers as a blood sacrafice to preserve the safety of the village. You believe they are not dead and can be saved from this grim fate. (Find Hagglers Host and save them)
  4. A few times in your life the same stranger has interrupted your life, appearing from nowhere. They claim to be a great bard and is in fact your parent. So far you have refused to listen to them. (Child of Merigall!)
  5. You have a great love of songs and the bards that sing them. Once the greatest bard you have ever heard wooed you. The two of you spent the best night of your life. In the morning they were gone, their name missing from your memory. But you are determined to find them and love them again. (Lover of Merigall!)
  6. Your grandfather was your best friend as a child. On a fatefull trip from the village a demon ambushed you, killing him. Since then you have sworn to find the kill every demon you hear of. One day you will track down the rumoured Prince of Demons and kill him too. (Hate demons and want to kill Krysella)
  7. Your ancestors were trapped in a village when the bloodmist came. Only a few families prayed to the Raven god. Most others prayed to Rust and Heme. Over 300 years every family devoted to Raven was killed, cast out or sacraficed. Only you and yours kept the secret that long. Now that the Blood Mist is gone you want to find others who follow Raven and learn what you could not in secret. (Learn of Raven and Sisters, hate Rust brothers)
  8. Your small village was prospering in first year after the Blood Mist, until the day that a demonic suit of armor, filled with fire, appeared and burned it all down. Your sleep is haunted with nightmares of that day. Only destroying this creature will bring you peace. (Kill Teramalda)
  9. One day a group of passing horseman stopped for food and rest at your village. They were magnificent! The stories they told gave you a compulsion to find adventure. Their leader was the legendary Zertorme. You want nothing more than to find him and pledge your loyalty to him. (Want to ally with Zertorme)
  10. The great dwarven city of Vond fell in the Alder Wars. Every member of your family, on their deathbeds, has made their kin swear to take it back or else to make their children swear it. Your mother has just died and you have continued this vengeful tradition. (Want to ally with Arvia)
  11. (Elf or Dwarf) Unlike most of your kin you have a deep sorrow for the way the Orcs were abandoned by your ancestors. You have, in small ways, tried to help the Orcs but its not enough. Now you want to find the greatest of the Orcs and help them achieve a standing equal to your kin. (Want to help Orcs and find Soria)
  12. In your village was the most beautiful yet somehow mysterious woman. She mostly kept to herself, and most who grew close to her would leave the village. Yet your unrequited love could not be stayed. In a night of passion you learned her secret. She was an orc woman passing as human. She fled the village. Since you have sworn to find her and win her back. (Love of female Orcs, want to find them)
  13. Your noble family sheltered from the Blood Mist a great castle with a great name. For generations they protected all inside the walls and were well loved by their people. In the first year after the Blood Mist a violent group of Aslene/Orcs/Wolfkin/Demons/Rust Brothers sieged it and destroyed it. Your life's work will be to rebuild that great home again. (Build a stronghold!)
  14. The old crone who lived in your village would help with healing and advice. She worked tirelessly to save your child from complications during childbirth. When a group of Rust Brothers visited they offered a large sum to betray any followers of Raven. When the crone disspeared that night you realized she was a witch of the Raven Sisters. You wish to find them and learn what you can of their power. (Become a Raven Sister)
  15. You have an aptitude for magic of wind and water. Yet you have never seen a river wider than a horse or a lake that you could not raft across in an hour. But the stories of the endless waters to the East make your thirst to see it. By Wail and Flow you pledge to see this Ocean. (Go west to Pelagia)
  16. (Not Elf) The Elves are a mysterious and alluring kin. Your brothers often teased you for often you would dress up and play "elf" as a child. As you have grown you know the Elves are the one true and great kin. You want to join them and see them take their place at the head of table among all. (Love Elves, maybe join Redrunners)
  17. (Not Dwarf) In your village you are an accomplished craftsman, proud of your work until a small group of Dwarves came through. The masterworks they carried! You must find their teachers and learn from them. (Seek out Dwarves and learn)
  18. Your closest friends went on a hunt last year. You woke up with a sniffle and stayed home. They never returned. When you were well enough you found their last camp, and evidence they were not killed but kidnapped by slavers. Your guilt and honor mean you will find and liberate them. (Save friends from Grindbone)

 
JohanR
Posts: 194
Joined: Tue 02 Mar 2021, 23:34

Re: Character Motivations & Backgrounds for Ravens Purge

Sun 03 Mar 2024, 16:29

They are all very good. Here are some of my thoughts:

1. This could also be "learn blood magic to experiment with it", and/or "transform into a misgrown" (but these might not be life goals the person would know).
8. Maybe they should not just attack Teramalda on sight though? Perhaps they need to learn more first? Cause thats what they might do if not given more advise in their backstory. I would first use her to build tension for a while.
9. It is ok.. but with the real life risk that such a life goal would end with creating a new character after meeting him. Perhaps they have also heard rumors that he isn't the promised champion of Horn and needs to investigate?
10. Well they might see Ariva as an ally, but they should probably not know that? Their main goal should be Vond then?
13. This will build a hatred towards insert [Aslene/Orcs/Wolfkin/Demons/Rust Brothers], and might prioritise that over the Stronghold. Just burnt down by bandits or in accident/forest fire might do? And you want to build a new better home that will never see a similar fate?
 
tripleshot31
Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun 03 Mar 2024, 02:17

Re: Character Motivations & Backgrounds for Ravens Purge

Mon 04 Mar 2024, 18:49

Thank you so much for your feedback!

One thing I didnt clarify is the parenthical notes at the end of each would not be shared with the player, those are to explain to fellow GMs what the intention was.

1 - I like the Blood Magic line enough I might add that.
8 - Good point I will see if there is a way to soften it from insta-kill (which they would likely lose for a while, right?)
9 - I should re-read the Zertorme section then cause I didnt get the sense he would that hostile but a potential ally until the end when things change. I sorta like the idea in my campaign at least of making him a good guy ally they are working for and getting help from. And a player idolizing him and then the potential betrayal would be more heavily felt.
10 - My intention is they dont know her at all, but when they meet her they would have aligned interests even if she is crazy
13 - Yes maybe I should soften the burned down part since this one is to rebuild. But maybe a vengeance sideplot isnt that bad?

Im curious do you think there are hooks I am missing? Any plotlines you think I should try to connect?
They are all very good. Here are some of my thoughts:

1. This could also be "learn blood magic to experiment with it", and/or "transform into a misgrown" (but these might not be life goals the person would know).
8. Maybe they should not just attack Teramalda on sight though? Perhaps they need to learn more first? Cause thats what they might do if not given more advise in their backstory. I would first use her to build tension for a while.
9. It is ok.. but with the real life risk that such a life goal would end with creating a new character after meeting him. Perhaps they have also heard rumors that he isn't the promised champion of Horn and needs to investigate?
10. Well they might see Ariva as an ally, but they should probably not know that? Their main goal should be Vond then?
13. This will build a hatred towards insert [Aslene/Orcs/Wolfkin/Demons/Rust Brothers], and might prioritise that over the Stronghold. Just burnt down by bandits or in accident/forest fire might do? And you want to build a new better home that will never see a similar fate?
 
JohanR
Posts: 194
Joined: Tue 02 Mar 2021, 23:34

Re: Character Motivations & Backgrounds for Ravens Purge

Mon 04 Mar 2024, 20:38

8. I don't think the fight would be that hard IF they know what can kill her. If not, well, she is invulnerable. I didn't let my players know about the spike until they met Virelda. Also, if they manage to pull that spike, that will just turn her into berserker mode for my players (and become a LOT harder), but at least she will be vulnerable then. They still fear her, as she made the very earth shake with her steps. So the first three encounters, even after learning her weakness, have been them fleeing the scene. And i think that adds a lot to the feeling of the world.
9. He is actually a quite a good ally to have. But my players don't really trust him. There are rumors that he kind of is Zertorme (false). He kind of tricks them with the dragon egg (my players are still pissed about that). He kind of runs with the lie that he is the chosen of Horn. He is allied with two demons. He makes questionable fire monster experiments and don't seem remorseful for having them run amok and kill villagers. He will also go mad if he gets the crown (so a flawed personality).
10. Sure.
13. Sure, but it might slip more into vengeance instead of Stronghold then.

As for plot lines. I just gave my players a crisis in which they also met Merigall that helped them and they got the Stanengist major MacGuffin hook from him, and then each where given three different directions to go (each where given a rumor in secret, about some place that could help them with their current crisis). Then they had to try to figure out among themselves where to go, and the game kind of just ran itself from there. As a GM you really need to read up on locations they are about to visit, but that is about it. The rest flows. It is ofc good to also be able to weave small events together, so that the players thinks that things are more connected than they are.
 
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kylkim
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu 12 Jan 2023, 14:25
Location: Finland

Re: Character Motivations & Backgrounds for Ravens Purge

Fri 08 Mar 2024, 15:53

These are well made, though some of them might steer characters towards common heroics than what the "Raiders and Rogues in a Cursed World" tagline would suggest. I would suggest changing the wording slightly so the motive becomes more ambiguous on the actual means for achieving it, whether noble or dishonorable means, e.g. #17 on Dwarven craftsmanship could mean you want to become a student or steal their secrets, or compete with or drive them away from your market-area, etc.

Considering that character death is a constant threat, personal ties to places, factions and characters can also get dropped off suddenly. I would thus suggest these backgrounds have some useful information or motives (benefit, risk-management, etc.) that can be shared with the group from the get-go, so the group's motive or lore doesn't automatically die-off on a PC's death.

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