d20 Character Icebreaker Questions

When playing Trophy Gold with my friend Alex of To Distant Lands as the referee, I was delighted at how he subverted a classic D&D trope. Instead of "starting at a tavern", going through the motions of meeting each other and stumbling onto some quest or other prospect—Alex asked us each how our player-characters act when drunk as part of introducing them. Are they a raging drunk, or a sleepy one? Do they go all out or do even they drink at all? The icebreaker was like alcohol, distilling and exaggerating our characters' personalities to their very base.

It was so fun! After introductions, we had a good idea of our characters, and could go straight into the adventure proper. Whereas the tavern starter feels very played-out and insincere, the icebreaker hones in on what is really important for a first session: getting to know each other's characters and how it feels to play with them. It could also serve as a prompt for role-play if characters already know each other, like "Ziggy always blacks out and needs Hellbie to drive them home."

I wrote these icebreaker questions based on my experience. Initially they were all tavern-inspired, but I liked the idea of them being broader as well. So, maybe try d10 for tavern-specific questions and d20 for more general ones!

  1. What's your character's favorite cocktail (or other drink) and why?
  2. What does your character try to hide from others? Do others find out?
  3. How does your character act while drunk versus sober?
  4. What's the craziest thing to have happened to your character one night?
  5. Whom does your character trust to take them back home?
  6. What genre of music does your character dance to?
  7. What attracts your character? How would they like to be approached?
  8. What's your character's favorite street or tavern food?
  9. How does your character dress to impress? Whom do they want to impress?
  10. What kinds of places does your character seek out? Why?
  11. How does your character start their day? Do they like coffee or tea?
  12. What hobbies does your character have? Do they share them with others?
  13. What unsubstantiated things do your character believe? Do they want to?
  14. What does your character want, or expect, out of old age?
  15. What is your character's family like? With whom are they closest?
  16. What about your character is invisible yet conspicuous?
  17. Who was your character's childhood friend? What happened to them?
  18. Does your character like to read? If so, what?
  19. Who was your character's role model? What was good or bad?
  20. What one word describes your character's motive? Why?

I think it's fun to consider, too, that a "tavern" doesn't just have to be a literal tavern—why not a cafe, a club, a tearoom, a hookah lounge, a temple, or any other place for social gathering? I remember starting one campaign in a sort of alcoholics anonymous meeting, although I think I made it an arcanics anonymous because there was some sort of magic drug?


Popular posts from this blog

Plagiarism in Unconquered (2022)

OSR Rules Families

Bite-Sized Dungeons