One thing I like about LOTFP is that it keeps the four classes very distinct, where each excels at a particular thing, and has a particular niche in the game. Yet, at the same time, the classes are ambiguous enough that the archetype your character embodies is handled through role-playing rather than little nitty-bitty +1 to things rule changes.
In this manner you could conceivably have two different fighters, one very barbaric, a Conanesque figure, and the other a chivalrous knight. This ambiguity I feel really helps players characterize their characters however they want without the rules getting in the way or trying to dictate things. It allows character to grow and change and become more nuanced.
To this end I have written up 10 questions to ask players about their character in order to get them imagining and thinking about, not just the back-story about their fighter or magic-user, but what kind of fighter or magic-user their character is. These questions are meant to prompt a true sense of characterization and are as follows:
- Do I have a signature weapon and what is it?
- Who taught me how to fight?
- Do I enjoy violence?
- What vice do I most commonly spend my ill-gotten gains on?
- Have I served in any armies and been involved in armed conflicts?
- Have I ever fought for a cause I believe in? Do I still believe in that cause?
- Have I committed any atrocities?
- Do I seek vengeance for any reason?
- Do I feel guilty about those I kill?
- What is the name of the person who bested me in combat?
- What does my spell book look like?
- Who taught me magic?
- Why did I decide to learn magic?
- Which do I enjoy more: the company of people or books?
- What am I curious about?
- What great mystery would I like to solve?
- Am I afraid for my soul because of the dark powers I deal with?
- Did I live a sheltered life before adventuring?
- What spell would I sacrifice everything to obtain?
- Which magic-user is my rival arch-nemesis?
- Who is the ‘Bishop’ or what authority to I answer to in my religion?
- What local community am I from? How did it shape my religious beliefs?
- Do I truly believe in the higher power I represent?
- Have I committed any mortal sins?
- Do I feel the presence and inspiration of my god? How does it manifest?
- Do I agree with all the tenets of the church I serve?
- Did I always follow my religion? Or was I converted, ‘saved’, or ‘born again’?
- Have I taken any holy vows (poverty, silence, abstinence, etc.)?
- Is religion a personal matter to me or do I seek to spread the word?
- What is the name of the authority figure who I know is corrupt but cannot prove?
- Did I grow up rich or poor? And if so am I proud of my heritage?
- Have I ever murdered anyone in cold blood?
- Do I trust others easily? Do I have anyone I truly love/care for?
- Do I pride myself in my skills or is it just a means to make money?
- What great treasure would I like to steal?
- Am I a sociopath or compulsive liar?
- Do I know any great secrets about anyone? About other party members?
- Do I ever wish to retire? What would I do?
- Do I have any vices? What are they?
- Who would I really like revenge on for something in the past?