Gather a few friends, each person will need something to write with and something to write on. Everyone will take two minutes to develop a character in their head. Write parts of their backstory on the paper if needed. Ask yourself questions about them, like where they came from, what their life was like, and what they believed in. Once the two minutes is up, choose someone to start. When it is your turn, talk to the group about your character, going into their backstory, culture, religion, feats, or anything else you wish to share. During this time, choose three traits of your character, two positive and one negative, that came from their experiences. Then elaborate about each trait, explaining how it connects to your character’s past. After your turn, record your character’s traits on your piece of paper. When everyone has gone, start again, and pick someone else’s trait that you’d like to hear more about, and ask a question about it. After they respond, add that trait to your character’s list. Repeat this step if the group wishes. When the final round ends, release your characters back into their lands, now armed with knowledge of another’s life.
I’ve always liked the idea of thinking about who your character was and where they came from. I started D&D with too many characters that were created without a second thought to what they did before the questing begun. I’d love to work a little bit more on formalizing this, and make a system where your skills are entirely dependent on the backstory that you’ve made for your character.