Serpent in Shadow
You are encouraged to write a background for your character that describes their motivation for being on the ship. Your background does not have to be spectacularly detailed, but you will probably enjoy the game more if it is. Writing a background doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming if you pay attention to motivation, background and a narrative hook.
Start with a simple statement of your motivation. Then, write a few sentences describing what led your character to leave behind their past and travel thousands of miles from home. For example, you could write, “My character, Twilren, is motivated to kill monsters and take their gold.”
Now try to think of a background that might cause a character to behave in that manner. Continuing with the previous example, you might write, “Twilren grew up destitute in the slums. He seeks to escape from poverty.” That’s a great reason to be on the boat, but there’s not enough in that statement to fully pull that character into the story.
Here is where the narrative hook comes in. A hook is a literary technique to grab the reader’s attention. In this case, you want to write a hook to grab the dungeon master’s attention and create a compelling story that can be worked into the plot. Moving forward with the previous example, you could write, “Twilren grew up destitute in the slums. He owes an enormous gambling debt to Farg Fenton, a local crime boss. He stowed away in a shipping crate to escape Farg’s men and the bounty on his head.” That’s a much more interesting background story. Did Farg’s men find Twilren’s trail and book passage on the next ship? Did Farg send word ahead to another crime boss at the outpost?
Roleplaying games work best as a narrative by consensus. Let the dungeon master know what kind of game you want to play with an interesting background.