In Dungeons & Dragons, the setting and plot of your game are important. However, one thing is even more important: the players' characters.
Typically, the Dungeon Master will have an idea of the story they want to tell and will lay down the tracks for it, but it’s the players' duty to move the train. Over time, the players wrest more and more control of the narrative from the Dungeon Master to create their own stories. As a writer, I hear "losing control of the narrative" and have an immediate knee-jerk reaction. However, a loose narrative isn't a bad thing. After all, what would be the point of a story where the main characters are forced to do things they have no interest in?
Fitting in elements of the character's backstory into the game's narrative allows you to create a story that is fun, awesome, and memorable as fuck.
Allow me to regale you with the story of a friend's character, Garrison “Garry” Jones, the Minotaur Bard.
As a Bard, Garry travelled the world performing music for whatever audience would listen. He barely survived on his meagre earnings, but he didn’t care. He took solace in his travels, until one day when he performed for a particularly rowdy crowd. One patron threw a bottle at another, insults were hurled, and fists were raised. Performing mainly in pubs, Garry was no stranger to a good bar fight. This was different; things got truly violent. As a broken bottle met the face of a nearby patron, spraying blood into the air, Garry understood every secret of the universe. Within this brawl he knew chaos and order, creation and destruction. He saw music and poetry. He had found his muse.
From that day, Garry travelled not only the planet, but everywhere he could: the outer realms of the elements, the Nine Hells, even Mount Olympus where the gods of goodness reside. I'll save you the details, but Garry’s story finished with a bar fight on Mount Olympus involving Zeus and Thor, where Zeus punches Thor from the heavens, into the earth, and splits a continent, creating a new ocean dubbed "The Thoristrian Ocean."
Nicholas Wrixon-Wood was born, raised, and is still living in Ottawa, Ontario. Nicholas is a fledgling writer with a primary interest in fantasy and science fiction, though he can appreciate a well-written story of any flavour. Currently studying at Algonquin College, he has an interest in exploring the different options that exist within the professional writing world.