Getting to Know Your Character 5 – Relationships

This series of character development posts is loosely organized around different themes or facets of life, and are designed to offer role players and writers prompts to consider as they develop characters. In this fifth set we turn our minds’ eye to relationships, and how your character relates to others.

For those developing role-playing characters, relationships are an indicator toward how the character sees the world through interaction with others. As with the other question sets, consider the kind of people, places, and events your character is connected to, or repulsed from, work with your game master to put specific labels on them.

Friends and Allies

“A good friend will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body.”
― Steven J. Daniels, Weeds in The Garden of Love

  • How close are you to your friends?
  • What do they know about you?
  • What do they not know about you?
  • What do you know, and not know, about your friends?
  • If there’s a significant gap in your knowledge about a friend, how do you feel about it?
  • Do you have any close friends?
    • If so, what are they like? Are they friendships of similarity, history, or contrast?
      (Similarity – you share traits or experiences in common;
      History – you have known each other a long time;
      Contrast – opposites attract, and sometimes you shore up each others’ weaknesses)
    • What is the history of your relationship to each other?
  • Do you have a best friend whom you would protect with your reputation or your life?
    • If so, who are they and what caused you to feel so close to them?
    • What would have to happen for you to end this relationship?
  • Who is your most trusted ally?
  • Who do you trust, in general?
  • Who would you “move a body” for?
  • Who do you turn to when you’re in trouble?
  • Who might protect you?

Enemies and Injuries

  • Do you have any bitter enemies?
    • If so, who are they, what are they like, and what made them enemies?
    • Have you defeated them before?
    • How might these enemies seek to cause you problems in the future?
  • Are there any particular folk you detest?
    • Do you know them personally, or is there another reason for your animosity?
  • Name five traits or behaviors you hate about other folk.
    (The things that instantly set your teeth on edge, or provokes an immediate angry response.)
  • What are your blind spots? That is, how could you be, or have been, blackmailed, bested, or tricked?
  • What is the worst thing someone has done to you?
    • How did you react to it then, or later?
  • Who might be convinced to sell you out?
  • If someone crossed your path now, what would you do?

Contacts and Associations

  • How do you get along with others in the same field and/or work environment?
  • What valuable or important contacts do you have?
    • How did you come to know them?
  • Which folks or factions are you most loyal to?
  • Are you a member of any factions, guilds, or associations?
  • How involved are you in their activities? How committed? Do your levels of involvement and commitment differ?
  • Do you live with anyone?
    (house mates, roommates, relatives, friends, near-strangers, family friend, spouse, romantic interest)

Loves and Losses

  • What are your general reactions to folks who let you know they are available?
  • What serious relationships have you had, and what happened?
    • Where are they now?
  • Have you lost any loves?
    • If so, how did you handle the situation (short & long term)?
  • Who would miss you, should you go missing?

The Law

  • What is your status with local law-enforcement?
  • Do you have a record of cooperation or non-cooperation with authorities?
  • Do you have a file with local, national or international law enforcement?

Future Relationships

  • How do you think others generally perceive you?
  • Is your image consistent?
  • Do people generally see you in similar ways?
  • Do you deliberately present yourself differently in different situations?
    • If so, how does it differ for the audiences?