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For anyone who has played a lot of roleplaying games, there is much more to characters than what is on the character sheet. We weave a wonderful backstory of successes, failures, achievements and sacrifices but there really isn’t a way to track the inherent nature of who they are and how they were raised except for Gifts and Faults. What if we introduced a new slot called Background?

A gift (to quote the 10th anniversary Fudge rulebook), “is a positive trait that doesn’t seem to fit the Terrible…Fair…Superb scale that attributes and skills fall into.”. Many times Game masters use the gifts and faults to describe character personality that isn’t covered by the rest of the skills and attributes available.

If Attributes are who a character is, Skills are what they learned, and gifts and faults cover their personality. What about the way they were raised? The influence family, friends, and environment influence. Yes, gifts and faults can be used for this but it will limit characters to have to use a background trait for that information.

A background trait is something that is chosen by the GM based on the information provided by the player. The GM would read the background or listen to what they have to say and then come up with a trait that will fit. Is the character grow up in the forest because their dad was a carpenter? This character could get a background trait like “Woodsman (+1 survival in forests) or Carpenter (+1 in bargaining).”

This type of setup would work very well for campaigns where player characters would be more in-depth and played much more often than a one-shot session or a short little group. It is a way to give more life to a character on the sheet and not just in the player’s mind.

Do you have any opinions on how you could expand a character’s background with more than just gifts and faults? Stop by the Fudge RPG forums and tell us!

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