Today we are going to talk about characters possessions, this means the items that your character owns. A characters possessions can say a lot about them as people and can tell you a lot about their lives. So we’re going to explore why it is important and working it out today. If you want to catch up with any of the other posts in the From The Ground Up series on character creation you can find the index page Here.
Why Are A Characters Possessions Important
What does your character’s bedroom look like? If someone saw it without knowing your character what would they think?
The things we own say a lot about us as people in several ways. Firstly there is the base value and quantity, do we own a little or a lot? Intentionally or unintentionally? What does each of those things say about the characters and their personality and circumstances? Both will feed into helping you ground out where their motivations come from and what might be driving them.
When you look deeper at a characters possessions it can give you an even more detailed picture. Do they prefer expensive things over cheap things? Are they a collector or hoarder? Or do they keep it simple? Do they keep momentoes and sentimental items? What colours do they prefer in decoration? What materials?
Working Out What Your Character Owns
Think of it like an episode of cribs. What’s inside their fridge and what does it tell you about their life?
To work out what your characters possessions are; I would start with where they live. That is where we keep most of the things we own. Think about how it is decorated, what kind of furniture pieces are there. Did they come with the place or has the character imprinted his own touch to it? How long have they been there? Is his fridge stocked or do they eat out a lot? Do they do laundry or outsource it? Do they tidy or hire help? What’s in their wardrobe? What do they keep in terms of sentimental items? Do they have artwork? Music? Plants?
Do they own their home or rent? Do they own a mount or rent? Or walk? Do they own a lot of trinkets or jewellery? Does your character own other property? Do they throw things out regularly or hold on to them just in case? Does anyone else live with them and do their possessions influence the space or lifestyle of your character? Do they impulse shop for items or save up for things?
Working Out What That Means
So what do your characters possessions have to do with who they are? Good question. Working out what your character owns works two fold. Firstly it helps you work out more about the kind of person they are and the kind of life they have. And secondly, it allows you to use it in RP to create nods and hooks and possibly even plot devices as noted below. But first, let’s look at what it says about them as people.
If you answered the collection of questions above now I want you to go back and explore why. Why do they not keep items surplus to requirement? Are the militaristic in their approach to home-keeping as well as a career? Or is their home a mess because their career is regimented? Do they buy lots of things now because they are accustomed to a certain lifestyle? Or because they had less as children? Explore the reasons behind the choices your character has made in terms of possessions and you will find you know them and their situation better.
Using A Characters Possessions In Roleplay
When it comes to knowing your character better that is always going to be useful in roleplay, and will allow you to make decisions for them from their mindset much easier. But a character’s possessions can be more useful even in roleplay scenarios. They can most commonly be used for adding characterful insight and thematic setting to any scenes you might be doing in their home, be that in the game or in a third party service.
You can also spill that into their work environment. Do they have a desk or locker? Do they use a tent regularly? What kind of possessions are they likely to carry with them beyond their kit? You can use this to add colour and flavour to emotes and to subtly show and highlight aspects of your character for others in the setting.
You can also outright use this as a direct plot hook. If your character is the sort to pick up trinkets from thrift shops or ruins, maybe they chanced upon something Not Quite Right.
Knowing about your character’s possessions and why they work that way can both give you a deeper more grounded understanding of them as a character and help you add a lot more simple depth to their roleplay, even down to what’s in their pockets. Which will, in turn, help you stand apart from the crowd. If you have any thoughts or ideas to add I would love to hear them!
What does your character possess? Where on the scale of material value are they? I’m always interested to hear about your characters and your thoughts, so drop me a line below!