Some time ago I started cobbling together ideas and questions from the Internet for a character questionnaire to give my D&D players. It started off as a nice way for me to organize background info and became a great way to grow my adventures into character focused epic campaigns. Every few adventures I like to read through each of my PCs's completed questionnaires to look for grains of info to mine and use in game.
Its hard to force players to complete it, but usually by offering to give them a few bonus XP or a few freebie potions you can bribe them into completing it.
The following is the questionnaire I currently use: Once again, this is from multiple Internet sources over the years. I claim no credit for any of it. It's been 10 years in the making at least, so I sadly cannot give anyone credit for the questions.
1) Who were the character's parents?
Did they raise the character?
If not why?
If not them who?
2) Did the character have any childhood friends?
Where are they now?
Does the character stay in touch with them or have they become separated?
3) What was childhood like for the character?
Calm and peaceful or turbulent and traumatic?
4) Does the character have any or did the character have any role models?
5) What did the character do before he / she entered the story?
Who trained the character to do what she / he does now?
6) What are the character's moral and religious beliefs?
What lengths will the character go to defend those beliefs?
Who or what taught those beliefs to the character?
7) Does the character have any unusual habits or physical traits?
How do others tend to react to them?
8) What is the general reaction to the character to others?
Why, in the character's opinion, do they act that way?
9) Can the character kill?
Why would the character kill?
Does he / she have any enemies at all?
Would or could the character kill them?
10) What kind of relationships does the character currently have?
Does he / she have any close friends?
If so who?
What are they like?
11) What is the character’s favorite color?
12) How does the character generally treat others?
Does she / he trust easily?
13) What does the character look like?
Does he / she have any scars or tattoos?
If so how did she / he get them?
14) What is the character's normal daily routine?
How does he / she feel when it's interrupted for whatever reason?
15) What are the character's dreams?
16) How does she / he seek to obtain them?
How does adventuring fit into this dream, or does it at all?
17) Does the character ever want to have a family of his / her own someday?
If so with who or what type of person?
18) Has the character ever considered the possibility of his / her own death?
Has he / she made a will?
Look at your PC's character ability scores - does he/she have any high/low
Did these scores result from circumstances in his/her early life?
How did these scores affect the PC's life?
How did they affect him/her in their chosen character class?
Why did the PCs come to choose his/her chosen character class?
Where is the PC's home town?
Look at the PC's weapon and non-weapon proficiencies - how did they
acquire them, especially the unusual ones.For example was fishing just a favourite pastime, or does the PC come from a fishing community?
What are the likes and dislikes of the PC?
Does he/she have any rational or irrational fears or phobias?
What are the origins of or reasons for those fears or phobias?
(There does not have to be a reason!).
Favorite food, style of clothing, of wearing their hair?
Does the PC have any affinity with an animal of some type?
Does the PC have any heroes, either from legend, contemporary, or from
What are the physical characteristics of the PC?
Does he/she have any scars, tattoos or birthmarks?
What are the origins and/or significance of these?
Does he/she have any striking features or dominant personality traits
(definitely should have at least one if the charisma score is above or below average).
Does the PC have any strong opinions about the other sex, people’s habits,
particular types of races/monsters, or politics?
Does the PC have any hobbies?
How did the character become the alignment they have chosen?
Were the people he/she grew up with of similar alignment?
What is the religious persuasion, if any, of the PC?
How is the PC with regard to material wealth?
Is the PC a supporter of the current ruler, or is he/she anti-government?
Is she/he who they claim to be?
1 day ago