Looking at the life-events for Yusef, I decide (with the DM's aid) that there are four Defining Elements that have shaped Yusef's personality:
- Grandfather's stories and tales about the army and his life as a City Guard: Makes Yusef want to be a guard like Amir, and to see the world outside Dhantazar's walls;
- Grandfather's death: Yusef wants to carve out some fame and fortune of his own, and not die as modestly as his grandfather, but live and die as a rich man;
- Father's arrest and subsequent conviction: Deep-seeded hatred of corruption, and a determination to make his way by his own deeds, not by living off the backs of others, and hates people who bully others like he was when his father was accused;
- Continually overlooked for promotion because of his father's crimes: dislike of bureaucratic overzealousness, and a casual disrespect of authority.
I decide from this that Yusef will be Neutral Good; his grandfather was very Lawful Neutral, and his father was Lawful Neutral with evil tendencies, shifting towards Lawful Evil. Yusef does not have the blind-acceptance of authority as his grandfather, but has a dislike of bureaucratic oppression, thinking more freedom is needed in a society.
After turning some life events into Defining Elements, the character concept originally created is becoming a well-defined template.
Well, by know the player should know where his character is, and where his character came from. Next step is to find out where he is going. This is the step where the player actually chooses a character class, and should be done so using the information created in Steps One and Two.
So far, I have a neutral good city guard, who wants to be a warrior like his grandfather, wants to get rich, but doesn't want to break the law. So, how do I get from 0-level middle class city guard to 1st level Warrior?
The normal way for a character to have become an adventurer is via apprenticeship. Mages study with a learned master, priests study in the clergy, thieves get taken in by a guild, and fighters, well, they learn to fight. The story that needs to be developed here is how these characters either became apprenticed to a teacher, or how they developed their skills. What we need to do here, is to link the fledgling character to a vessel that will give them the "foot in the door" to gaining their class skills.
Creating a character from the apprentice-type background; a Lawful Good city that has a strong church may require that all youths spend their 15th year in service to the church, as an altar boy, page or servant. The characters that can be created from such a campaign setting range from 'noble' thieves, devout priests, fighters, paladins, and also opportunistic clergymen.