Around half to two pages of background should be sufficient, and it should be somewhat interesting. Look around at this wiki, try to find things that you like and connect them to your character. I came up with the organizations with partially this in mind, but if you have a great idea for a different organization or origin for your character, I would be happy to work with you. Some useful information on coming up with interesting and detailed backgrounds can be found here and here.
Some things to consider when making a background:
- There are no ‘Adventurers’ in this campaign. In fact, I find the idea of wandering murders, thieves and religious freaks insulting to every logical person’s suspension of disbelief. Make sure that your character has a day job. The start of the campaign will have you all becoming involved in events beyond your control; basically you will be forced into adventure (instead of choosing it as for example in generic games).
- Make sure your character has interesting and specific motives. If your paladin wants to fight evil that’s ok, but you have to specify his goals (what evil? how? etc).
- Make sure you detail the character’s relationship with his family, friends and lover(s). I plan to start with an “origins” story for each character, depending on each PC’s starting city, which will include such NPCs (more on that below).
- Use the background to also connect your character with the rest of the PCs. You do not have to have close relationships with them (e.g. family members), but I expect you to at least know each other. This will make my life easier when I try to explain how the party got together.
- Finally, present a rough draft of your character’s appearance and personality. This does not have to be that detailed, as it should develop over the game.
Based on every player’s background, I plan to run an “origins” story for everyone. In addition, I would like to introduce recurring characters in the “origins”, that are the PC’s family, friends or lover(s). You are free to sketch those characters in the amount of detail that you want, but they will ultimately be NPCs.
(Thanks for going through this long post!)