D&Dish: Questions to ask players about their character’s Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma

Asking good questions is such a big part of being a good librarian that it was a shock when Apocalypse World first made me really think about questions as a tool at the table. Of course gamers asked each other questions before Apocalypse World; I’m not saying the Bakers invented questions or the question mark. But naming the tools in one’s toolbox makes it easier to reach for said tool and makes it easier to discuss how to use them well.

The questions here go back and forth between questions for high stats and questions for low stats. They can easily be changed a bit for the middle of the road results.

Below are the pretty versions with world bubbles and character sheets but below that is just the text.


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DnD Sheet Questions


Strength

Were you born strong or did you work hard to become strong?

 

What is/was the worst part about not being the strongest?

 

What feat of strength have you always wanted to accomplish?

 

How did you survive without physical strength?

 

When you locked up with the strongest person you’ve ever wrestled, what happened that made you realize they were stronger than you?

 

Dexterity

When did you realize you were faster/more graceful than everyone around you?

 

What is your worst nightmare about being clumsy?

 

What feat of grace have you always wanted to accomplish?

 

What did you almost drop?

 

Which monster was the children’s game you were so great at named after?

 

Constitution

What did being hale and healthy allow you to accomplish?

 

What was your haven during your sickest days?

 

What did you survive because you are so durable and healthy?

 

When were you most sick and who took care of you?

 

What did you attribute your great health to? Ancestors? Deities? The crystal clear water in the streams where you grew up?

 

Intelligence

When did you first realize you were the smartest person you knew?

 

How did you deal with the written word being so difficult for you?

 

What was the first problem you solved with your intellect?

 

How do you react to being called dumb?

 

What was the first problem you could not think your way out of?

 

Wisdom

What did you realize about the adults around you at a young age because of your incredible perception?

 

What problem in your community did you not see because of your lack of wisdom?

 

When did you first give wise advice to a friend and how did their problem find resolution?

 

What personal shortcoming did you fail to see until it was too late and damaged your life?

 

Which prayer has the most personal meaning for you?

 

Charisma

Who were some of the first people you remember charming?

 

How do you recover from bad first impressions?

 

When was the first time you realized the power you wielded in front of a large audience?

 

Who did your lack of charm and social grace push away that you really regret?

 

What was the best performance of your life so far?

12 Nearby Cities

You’ve got that fantasy city you made up on the map – here are some neighbors beyond the map’s edges:

1

Asmodeen: former capital of the Tiefling empire, back when there was an empire. Made to honor the God-Tyrant, Asmodeus but was never officially recognized as His unholy capital city. The city is guarded by the 13 Altar-Fortresses, each commanded by a warlock-commander.

Exports: goats, obsidian, indentured devil tutors


2

Bahamudad: holy city of the Dragonborn, where it is said that Bahamut and Tiamat’s high priests and priestesses made a peace accord and gathered to create the species after the first Dragon War.

Exports: lumber, ancient coins, accountants


3

The Walking Cathedral: an ancient, lumbering machine said to be built in a collaboration between saints, sorcerers, devils and gods before the world knew of war and blood. The path it lumbers along is completed once every season, said to be on guard against the Tarrasque.

Exports: buffalo, holy books, oracles and scribes


4

Pentacle: a new and growing metropolis made by a cabal of five mages who have built a merchant house from their money made from stolen dragon’s hoards and looted lich’s tombs, surrounded by five towers that are still under construction and stout walls.

Exports: vellum, ink, map-makers


5

High Fell: a city in the middle of the Bright Bay, built atop the skyships, airships and spelljammers that fell to the earth during the Storm Wars. The ships are connected via tunnels and gangplanks, purchasing a ship entangles one into complicated relationships with one’s neighbors.

There are Lower Fells all over the Bright Sea.

Exports: fish, otherworldly artifacts, artifact appraisers


6

Corvuston: the holy city of the Raven Queen with necropolis walls and many murders.

Exports: marble, embalmers, morticians and undead hunters


7

Ulula: the city that clings to the fortress built by the owl god is known for its giant owl steeds and the city’s knights who ride them – delivering messages and slaying monsters that haunt the night.

Exports: wool, flying steeds and astonishingly recent news from afar


8

Endë-Osto: the deepest city of the Drow is ruled by a matriach whose throne is said to float in the center of the earth. Her queensguard is made of the palest of the drow sword-maidens who have never seen sun, moon nor stars; they ride dinosaurs bred for traversing tunnels. 

Exports: mushrooms, ore, gems and Underdark guides


9

 
Three Giants Dam: Before the Curse fell upon the Giants and damned them to mindless savagery, they used their magics to raise a dam that stretched miles wide and half a mile thick and high, sealing the Sunset Ocean off from the Inner Sea, and creating the lush Valley of Indris. The dam still stands inviolate, the three carved giants on its face standing testament to their once-mighty craft. The smaller races have built a city of interlocking platforms, scaffolds, and houses all along its inner face, with the world’s greatest and most dangerous harborage spilling over the top.
 
Exports: wine from scaffold-grown grapes, old Giantish machina from the access tunnels, magebred messenger monkeys.
 
By Jim DelRosso
 

 10

J’arr: also know as the City of a 1000 ports it is said to have been created in a single night by a djinn of the first order. J’arr sits at the mouth of the mighty river All’taugh, the Sweet, known for its refreshing and soothing waters.  High minarets and brightly colored palaces speckle the skyline and merchants and creatures of all sorts walk its streets.  It has been thousands of years since the city’s founding but the mage with ruby eyes still rules as he always has. It is said that in the dunes that surround the city a giant insect god with glittering eyes watches from beneath the surface. 

Exports: olives, diplomats, (there is a school for diplomatic and negotiating skills within the city), and pepper.

by Anthony Loinaz


11

Big Shire: a sprawling series of hills inter-connected with hobbit holes, weed dens and sabbatical hostels for over-stressed wizards. The Big Shire is governed by a complicated morass of mayors and sheriffs.
 
Exports: pipe weed, cabbage, fireworks, burglars

12

Labyrinth: an urban maze created by and constantly kept up and altered by minotaur architects and masons. The city is a philosophical statement about choice and free will and is said to be slowly dying along with the minotaur species.
 
Exports: bricks, architects, book-binders

 
NOTE: When it came time to use this, Endë-Osto didn’t fit, so I used the following:
 
Vault: in the wake of terrible wars, feuds and kinstrife, the dwarven merchant class has taken over its society and Vault is the ultimate expression of that. This holdfast is a mountain carved into a work of art, where dwarven crafts are constantly exported in armored caravans, guarded by dwarven soldiers.
 
Exports: Dwarven Crafts (iron, gem, stone), guards, banking
 

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