Having sounded out the gaming hive-mind on the subject of "player-character questionnaires" and gone over the many responses, I've come up with my own six-question questionnaire for my proposed Ghostbusters' campaign.
I felt six questions was a nice balance. Hopefully they'll elicit some useful roleplayable background details for the characters, without feeling like an enormous chore for the players.
The questions are:
- Who would portray your character in a film?
- What is your character's attitude to the supernatural?
- What is your character's greatest passion?
- What is your character's greatest fear?
- What was your character's occupation before they became a Ghostbuster?
- Where's your character's favourite place to hang out? (Is it a bar, book store, strip joint, public park, deli, bodega, Internet cafe etc. What's it called, what type of neighbourhood is it in, who else goes there etc)
Questions two to four: These will, hopefully, give me some character-based material to work with to seed future plot lines. Greatest Passion could - but doesn't have to - tie in to the character's Goal.
Question five: This should bridge the gap between role-playing background material (possible contacts, career knowledge etc) and world-building.
Question six: As with question five, but with even more emphasis on world-building. While I like to have final say and ultimate control over the game setting (primarily our fictional American East Coast city, Knight City), I was intrigued by character creation systems that wove the player-characters into certain locations of the their home town (e.g. The Dresden Files and Beyond The Wall RPGs). This is my simplified take on those ideas.