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100 Character Goals and Motivations


Every game has a surface reason for the characters to be adventuring together. Goblins are raiding out of the Kormuroth Caverns, a diplomat needs an escort on their way to an important summit, a lost treasure is waiting to be found on an uncharted island and so on, and so forth. But down beneath that surface reason, there should be something the character is trying to achieve as well; some driving motivation that leads them on. Sometimes it's connected to the plot, sometimes to the other members of the party, but this underlying motivation is one of the many forces that guides their action as the story goes on.

While there may be some quibbles about the differences between motivations and goals for some of the following entries, the idea is to get players and Game Masters thinking about what these characters care about, and why they do the things that they do. And if they manage to satisfy a particular motivation, then they should find a fresh reason to stay involved with their companions in order to make sure the character remains a part of the adventure going forward.

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Here are some sample results:

  • You were rejected from membership in a prestigious organization. Whether it was a wizard's college, a knightly order or an elite mercenary company, you took your shot, and just didn't quite make it. Perhaps you're trying to refine your skills so that the next time there's a position, they'd be fools not to ask you to become a member. Maybe you're trying to show them what kind of talent they missed by allowing you to get away. But that organization, for good or ill, is something of a focus for you.
  • You've always been a fearful sort. Not cowardly, per se, but you've always had an overdeveloped sense of danger out in the world. Your hope is that by facing your fears head on that you'll be able to overcome them... maybe while helping others along the way who struggle with the same things you do.
  • You are trying to leave behind an addiction that's really sunk its claws into you. Whether it's poppy smoke, unhealthy gluttony or an even weightier burden, you're trying to pull yourself out of it by getting onto the trail and keeping yourself too busy for it. Of course, it also helps that you have companions by your side who will help give you extra support in case you start to slip. Even if that sometimes means sitting up with you into the wee hours to help make sure you don't pick up the bottle, the dice or any other old habits.
  • You cannot spend time in so-called civilized places for long without representing a danger to yourself, and to those around you. Whether it's the fury that bubbles through your blood that causes you to seek out dangerous creatures to slay, arcane power that is difficult to control at the best of times or you shapeshift uncontrollably, you try to use this part of yourself to solve problems, rather than creating more of them. Often you can only relax when you're miles away from any town or city, and when you are among throngs of people you need to make sure your party members are there to act as an escort so that you don't lose control.
  • You're seeking a lair of your own, and it seems like all the best ones are already taken. Whether it's a ruined castle, a network of hidden caverns, a formerly haunted oasis or a crumbling fort on the edge of the territory, there's always some kind of creature already in residence. Your hope is that, if you take the right job, you can swoop in to snatch up one of these locations for yourself so that you'll have somewhere to train your apprentices, set up a research laboratory or simply keep your growing menagerie of animal companions so you don't have to worry about them being in danger.

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simone S June 03, 2022 7:13 am UTC
Do you have something tied to or pertaining specifically to looks/personalities/goals of constructs and self-aware constructs? clockwork, sculptures, electronic, etc. From old Frankentein's "Why does nobody love me?! I have been spying them at a distance for so long i basically know everything about them! They should totally love me back!" to Coppelia's "am i breathing correctly?" to Mother's "No, seriously, if you leave you die." to outside the wire's "yeah i'm the best AI but i'm still an AI i need a human to think outside the box for me" to basically the rest of the tropes and stuff on the subject.
Customer avatar
Adrian K June 03, 2022 8:19 am UTC
Oh, that's an interesting idea! No, not currently.
Customer avatar
simone S June 03, 2022 8:22 am UTC
Oh. Ok. I am following this series and i have a bunch of these i just thought i had missed it. Ping me here if you do it. Thanks. I am interested both in ideas for the looks and for the personalities and goals.
Customer avatar
Adrian K June 03, 2022 8:29 am UTC
It's definitely been added to the list!
Customer avatar
simone S June 03, 2022 9:16 am UTC
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File Last Updated:
May 18, 2022
This title was added to our catalog on May 22, 2022.