DMs Guild Review – How Do I Know You?

15 tables for generating history and connections between player characters.

A review copy of “How Do I Know You?” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Justyn JohnstonKen CarcasBen Milligan

Creating intertwined backstories between player characters is highly recommended for every RPG campaign, as just about anything beats randomly meeting at tavern looking for work.

How Do I Know You?” offers nearly 200 relationship ideas that can be generated at character creation, including individual tables for each class – though I found many of the ideas lacking.

The supplement adds a new step to character creation: each player rolls a d20 (re-rolling ties). Starting with the highest roller, that player then decides which relationship table they’ll use, either General or the table that matches their class, and rolls a d12 to determine the result. Then they pick a single player to be the shared recipient of that relationship by handing them a physical token.

The tokens symbolize that player already having a connection to another player. No player can have more than one token, ensuring everyone is connected to one other player at the table. It’s a solid little system that feels fun and engaging without being too complex, though I might let players roll twice and choose their favorite option.

Unfortunately, I’d need to roll about five or six times before I found something interesting. While I love the concept behind this supplement — starting relationships are an important and fun to way start a campaign — most of the ideas presented here are boring and coincidental, creating tenuous connections to past ancestors or hometowns rather than the characters themselves.

For example, Paladin 3 (I’ll be referring to each result as Class # on its respective d12 table) reveals that the Paladin’s order gets supplies from the area near a town associated with another character. Barbarian 11 says that their tribe trades their furs at an outpost that another character recently passed through. Druid 7 states that they and another character both love the same animal.

These aren’t exactly compelling relationship hooks! More like awkward small talk that you would engage with someone you just met to help break the ice. “Oh my gods, I love foxes too!” or “Oh you’re from Neverwinter? My company imports wood from the Neverwinter Woods for our chairs.” That’s great, Steve, now let’s go kill some goblins.

how do i know bard

In many examples, the result could be vastly improved by more directly involving the players. Rogue 4 pits the rogue as an assassin or thief against someone from another PC’s village, but why not just make it the PC themselves? Same with Ranger 1 winning a tournament against a relative of another PC.

Creating more direct (but mostly friendly) rivalries between party members is an awesome dynamic — think Legolas and Gimli in the Lord of the Rings, or even Gamora and Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy (more the sequel than the first film, unless PvP is a thing in your campaign).

They aren’t all lost causes. There are a few results that do a great job creating interesting, direct connections between player characters, though the odds still aren’t great.

Bard 8 is infatuated with one PC in a professional capacity, hoping to tell stories of their heroic deeds. Rogue 8 presumes the Rogue is childhood friends with another PC but since grew apart due to their skullduggery. And Cleric, Warlock, and Wizard all have different variants of “your god/patron/magic itself tells you that this PC is important for some reason,” which can definitely be a cool storytelling device.

I was excited about all the possible backstory and relationship ideas in “How Do I Know You?,” but like the tables themselves, I mostly came away disappointed by the results.

 Pros:

  • 15 d12 tables for generating intra-party relationship ideas, tailored for all 13 classes.
  • Turns the relationship generator into a fun mini-game during character creation.

Cons:

  • Most relationship ideas are vague, uninteresting, and ultimately coincidental.

The Verdict: “How Do I know You?” fills a helpful hole in creating initial connections between party members, but the number of truly interesting hooks and relationships is shockingly low.

A review copy of “How Do I Know You?” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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