House Rule: Minor or Spontaneous Flashback

I am covering the House Rules in one of my campaigns in a series of posts. We begin with the Minor Flashback-rule. The rule is applied in a D&D-campaign, but it can easily be incorporated in other games.

Minor Flashback or Spontenaous Flashback

  • Describe or play a brief moment from your past, that demonstrates why you have experience with this situation. Afterwards gain +2 skill bonus to your skill check in the Skill Challenge.
  • When describing the player simply tells a brief anekdote, describes an event or plays a monologue, that relates to the situation somehow. When playing the past the player sets the scene and appoints other players to be NPCs and then the scene is played out. Such a scene is played without any dice rolls.
  • The scene is something that have happened in the past and it helps us to learn the backstory of the character.


When I in my youth visited Ochaelea I met a priest who told me about the islanders’ strange habits. The player gains a +2 skill check to a diplomacy check involving Ochaeleans.

I the arean of my home town I once saw the gladiators defeating an owlbear by turning it’s weaknesses against it. The player gains a +2 bonus to a Monster Lore-check about Owl Bears.

Earlier the same day I had planned with the crew, that when we came sailing into the harbor, the crew would perform their show. The player gains a +2 bonus on his next perform check.

Last week our character’s exchanged stories about how to deal with sandstorms. Remembering those stories I use some his ideas on how to protect me against the heat. The player gains a +2 on his Foritude roll.

Using the Rule

The rule is much like an assistance roll, but one that succeeds automatically, and can be used with the character being alone. The purpose of the rule is to have the player introduce elements from the character’s past, developing the back story as we play, and putting it out into the open, where everybody becomes introduced to the story. Now we know where you character comes from. Some players tell different stories, others keep coming back to certain events in their characters’ past – in both cases the rest of the group gains material to work with, because you can as a player use your character to talk about things from the other PC’s past, and you know where to ask, since you as the player heard the flashback, and likewise you can as the GM pick up cues to re-introduce later. If a player keeps mentioning a certain NPC in the flashback, you should consider using the NPC (in some circumstances it is a good idea to ask the player, if it is okay to introduce the NPC in the game).

Next: Major Flashbacks


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