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Friends, Associates, and Companions

Source Ultimate Campaign pg. 15
It’s not necessary for you to know all of your adventuring companions when you start a campaign, but establishing prior connections within the group facilitates party and story cohesion. In campaigns where all the characters start as strangers, the story can feel disjointed or the game unbalanced since the party consists of independent individuals with little reason to cooperate or care about one another. In contrast, campaigns that begin with one or two characters knowing each another are easier to get moving, since those characters have history—a set of shared memories that ties them together. In drama, scenes between people who know one another, even if only by reputation, tend to be more compelling than scenes between people with no prior relationship.

Consider the other characters in your group. Pick one or more of them and establish a prior acquaintance or connection. Did you meet once in the past while working for the same employer? Have you been lifelong friends? Were you competitors for the love of someone else? Did you have a past or current rivalry? Are you related? Do you know one another by reputation? If so, what have you heard?

Finally, no character is an island; even evil characters interact with people outside their immediate friend group from time to time. Think of someone outside your party who you come into regular contact with. Who is this person, and what does he or she mean to you? Are you friends? Lovers? Enemies? What influence might this person have over you? What’s your influence over this person? Share this NPC with your GM as a contact for story development and future adventures.