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Now that you have an idea of what sort of character you want to make, begin thinking about the three background phases. These are blocks of time that occur before the game starts, and they each produce one Aspect. Usually this Aspect arises naturally out of the phase, but it isn't required. The Phases are:

  • Background - Where your character comes from, their family, nationality, culture, anything that is important to their beginnings as a (human?) being.
  • Rising Conflict - The trouble that got them started on the road they're on today. Maybe their powers first appeared. They had to flee a crimelord and got separated from their family. Their parents were murdered in front of their eyes. They were sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit, escaped from a maximum security stockade, and now they survive as soldiers of fortune who can be hired to solve problems when no one else can help.
  • The First Story - This is the most interesting Phase, and one of the elegant solutions DFRPG has come up with to solve a major problem in traditional RPGs. It asks the player to write a brief account of the first adventure the character has. It gives the player full power to decide what the adventure was, how their character acted, and how it came out. This goes a long way toward establishing the character as having a history in the city, and having already accomplished heroic deeds. That really helps with immersion in the game narrative.

In addition, in Phase 4, a different player will contribute to your First Story, telling you how their character helped out. That creates a bond between the two of them. In the last phase (5), your character will aid another player's character in their first story, and you will tell him how your character contributed. This gives your character direct ties to two other characters before the game even starts. No more "You all gather in an inn, meeting for the first time. Now talk." Instead it becomes old friends who have seen battle together reuniting to face a new threat.

Phases 4 and 5 should wait until you and everyone else have their characters done. This is an opportunity for you to look at everyone else's character, and decide what sort of relationships they might have, and who it would suit you to have adventured with in the past. Be cautious about pre-judging these relationships though, some of my favorite stories have grown out of random pairings, when we brainstormed to figure out how the heck these two complete opposites might know each other. EPIC story time.

Phase descriptions can be whatever you want. Some people list the facts. Some people write the story, complete with scenes out of time. They should at least be 5 or 6 lines long, and provide a lot of specific detail. Names, motives, relationships... things the GM can grab onto when he's thinking about what you would like to see in the game. The more specific you are about your character, the more the game will be STARRING: you.

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