Research Questions for Developing a Persona
compiled by Baron Modar Neznanich
SCA Persona: The fictional person you
wish to have been, had you lived some time prior to 1600 A.D.
Also referred to as your persona story, it involves your SCA name and the history/background you create.
Many people want to develop a
persona but are unsure where to begin. What information does one
need to obtain to have a good persona story?
Following are a series of questions collected from various sources designed to show what information most people consider needs to collect to
develop a full fleshed-out persona. These questions are by no means all-inclusive, but hopefully will present at least a good starting point.
[Also see: Choosing an SCA Name & Creating a Heraldic Device]
want to grade yourself on how complete your persona story is,
give yourself 2 points for each question you can answer,
then consult the scoring charts at the end of the article.
1. What is your personas name?
2. What year was your persona born?
3. What is your personas native country?
4. What is your personas current country?
5. What are the climates of your persona's native and current countries?
6. What are the terrains of your persona's native and current countries?
7. In what city/town/barn was your persona born?
8. What city does your persona currently claim as "home"?
9. What are/were your personas parents names?
10. What are/were your personas parents occupation(s)?
11. Does your persona have any siblings, and if so, are any still alive?
12. Is your persona married?
13. What are the marriage customs and typical age of marriage for your persona's culture/time-frame?
14. What type of building does your persona currently live in?
15. With whom does your persona live?
16. Are there members of your
persona's household that are not related to your persons
(servants/retainers, wards/fosterlings, guests, etc.)?
17. Were pets kept during your personas culture/time-frame? If so, what kind, if any, does your persona have?
18. What is your personas occupation?
19. How old is your persona?
20. How long do people like your persona tend to live?
21. What is your personas ethnicity?
22. Who is your personas current employer?
23. Would your persona have been literate in your chosen culture/time-frame?
24. What level of education does your persona have?
25. Where was your persona educated?
26. What languages does your persona speak?
27. What units of measure were used by your personas culture/time-frame?
28. What type of money did people of your personas culture/time-frame use?
29. What kind of legal system exists in your personas culture/time-frame, and who make the laws?
30. What is the status of women
among your personas culture/time-frame, and can they own
or conduct business?
31. What major events have
occurred during your personas lifetime?
(Natural catastrophes, wars, revolutions, discoveries, etc.?)
32. Does your persona fight? If so, where did your persona learn to fight?
33 What type of armour and weapons
were used by fighters in your personas culture/time-frame?
And how were such obtained?
34. List your personas skills and hobbies. For each, write down where your persona learned them.
35. What "class" is your persona? (I.e., royalty, nobility, merchant, middle, artisan, slave, etc.)
36. How widely has your persona traveled?
37. In what capacity has your persona traveled? (I.e., military, sailor, rich persons hobby, etc.)
38. Who is your personas current monarch?
39. Who is the current Pope during your persona time?
40. What religion is your persona?
41. What kind of religious duties would be required of your persona?
42. How did people of your personas culture/time-frame deal with trade?
43. With respect to international
relations, does your persona favor colonization, isolationism,
open trade, etc.?
44. How does your persona personally obtain goods (food, drink, clothes, etc.)?
45. How did people of your personas culture/time-frame tell time?
46. How did people of your personas culture/time-frame keep track of days?
47. What type of clothes does your persona normally wear?
48. What type of clothes does your persona wear for special occasions?
49. Are there any (sumptuary) laws restricting what your persona can wear?
50. What does your persona eat in a normal day?
51. How is food prepared and preserved in your personas culture/time-frame?
52. What spices were available to your persona and how expensive were they?
53. What were the eating habits of people of your personas culture/time-frame?
54. What are the cleaning/bathing habits of your personas culture/time-frame?
55. What types of wildlife live in your persona's area?
56. Name your personas favorite musicians/artists/dances.
57. What political figure/party/movement does your persona support?
58. Who is the most significant thinker of your personas time?
59. What does your persona consider to be the greatest social problem their country?
60. What is most likely to cause your personas death?
61. What type of medical aid is available in your personas culture/time-frame, and does your persona have access to it?
62. List at least three of your
personas goals in life. (Learn to write, become apprenticed
to a craftsman, visit the "big city",
take over the family business, go to the Holy Land, usurp the crown, etc.)
63. What does your persona know of history/science/medicine/geography?
64. Whats the most striking scientific achievement of which your persona is aware?
65. Does your persona consider the Earth to be flat, round, or hollow?
66. Does your persona believe that the Earth revolves around the Sun, or vice-versa?
67. What does your persona consider to be the causes of criminal behavior?
68. What does your persona consider to be the true measure of a man?
69. Who has most influenced your personas thoughts on these questions?
70. Did your personas culture/time-frame have heraldry?
|2||-||20||points||§||You have an introductory persona story.|
|22||-||40||points||§||You have a basic persona story.|
|42||-||60||points||§||You have a solid persona story.|
|62||-||80||points||§||You have an advanced persona story.|
|82||-||100||points||§||You have a very advanced persona story.|
|102||-||120||points||§||You have an extremely advanced persona story.|
|122||-||140||points||§||You have a persona story with great insights into the medieval mindset.|
|Raonull Modar, Saker Herald, "Creating a Name/Persona" (original version), consulting table handout.|
|Larkin O'Kane, "Creating a Name/Persona" (Ansteorra version from original version)), Larkin O'Kane's website.|
|Cariadoc of the Bow (David Friedman), "The Little Things", Cariadoc's Miscellany.|
|How to Build a Persona in the SCA by Robert Hole|
|Things Your Persona Might Know by Nicolaa de Bracton of Leicester|
|Valentyns Persona Test by Valentyn Drake|
|Persona Development Sheet by Gwenhwyfar ferch Llewelyn|
Permission to Print
©1998, 1999, 2000,
2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 Ron Knight / Modar Neznanich
Baron Modar Neznanich, Volk Herald Extraordinaire, Order of the Pelican
|For additional persona information, check out:|
|WHO'S WHEN: A History Timeline (An in-progress work)|
|SCA Persona Info Page|
|For assistance in learning how to do research, check out:|
|The Research Page|
|How to Document a Name (to within an inch of its life) by Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvyrn (Heather Rose Jones)|
|Modar's Heraldry Page|
|Modar's SCA Page|
|SCA Interests Page|
|New Member Information|