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1HeroMaker

So you're starting a new Player Character, where do you come from?

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Vomit. Spew chunks. Ralph. Hurl.

 

Barf.  Gack.  Yell in color.  Talk into the big white telephone.  Drive the white porcelain bus to Europe with Ralph and Earl.

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Now you have me wondering how to make playing an unconscious character fun....Lucius AlexanderThe palindromedary says I should sleep on it

Uncontrolled reality-altering dreaming. Like The Lathe of Heaven but less lucid.

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Coming up with a background for new characters I create is fun, so my history tends to run 1-3 sheets long. It gives alot of specifics and lots for the GM to use. I don't mind a general background but as GM, if someone has a bland background, I'm going to keep asking you to write one up even if it's only 1 paragraph long.

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Family and friends are weaknesses that might be used by the GM to establish control over your character!  Isn't that why everyone played chaotic neutral in middle school?

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hmmmm.... where to start 😉

 

Skimming through the thread there are lots of cherry picked postions exhorting one side or another. 

 

In a novel, movie or TV show it is easy to wrap just about any background because the author writes not only the plot but all tge characters.  In a role playing game too much backstory is more deadly to a game than too little.  Sure, in a solo game this wouldn't be true, but with 4 to 6 players it usually is. 

 

Why? Because the intrepid "Lookie! I have a six page backstory" player never coordinates with the other  3 players backstories.   Or usually bothers to get the games plot/storyline first. 

 

Yes yes, I know there are a lot of players on here that have small circles that have gamed together for years.  But there are more that have to contend with players that have not reached that level of understanding.

 

Here is what happens more often then not. Assume a D&D like setting.

 

GM: The game is high chivalry and will center around the members of the Order of the Silver Rose on a quest.  This is a low magic world and nonhumans are rare and mysterious so the party will be human with no more than one Merkin'like magical type.

We'll get together, talk about the setting and build up backgrounds Saturday.

 

On Saturday....

Player 1: I think I'd like to play  a Rsnger type supporting the Knights

Player 2: A Knight for me.  Onward to glory!

Player 3: I've decided I want to be a Half Orc shaman from the dark jungles of Kush. Here is my 16 page detailed backstory with all my relatives and 34 major enemies listed.  Just to make things easy....

 

Instead of the preferred, "Hey Bob, the game doesn't interest me.  I'll skip this one".

 

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The problem in your scenario has nothing to do with a "16 page backstory" or even the lack of one, but is instead an issue of a player deciding to pull a Drizzt.

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On 12/8/2017 at 1:17 AM, MLMII said:

The problem in your scenario has nothing to do with a "16 page backstory" or even the lack of one, but is instead an issue of a player deciding to pull a Drizzt.

 

I have to disagree.

 

Unless you are a telepath or have read through the GMs secret notes for his campaign, a detailed backstory is impossible as many of the details you would be inventing probably don't exist.  If there was only one player, the GM can probably deal with it.  But the problem would grow exponentially with each players personal description of the game world. 

 

I fully understand the current "GMs are slaves of the players and only exist so they may be cool" mentality these days.  But I ascribe to the idea GMs are allowed to have fun too, and if a player doesn't want to actually play in a specific campaign they should be mature enough to say so and just sit out.

 

These days 2017, if you propose a campaign setting and style.  Even if you stress that setting style, there is always one or two that will nod and then make a murder hobo.  And then cry when the GM says no to their feverish story.

 

Detailed backstories can be a good tool.  As long as they are written once play starts and take cues from the world in play. 

 

Instead of walking into the first character building session with a fully created PC and a 4-10 page history, enter like you are supposed to.  Blank character sheet in hand and one page of notes and ideas for a background.  Something to assist in melding your PC ideas with the GMs campaign.  Then after the character is stat'd out, you can build up a backstory using GM supplied NPCs and locations.

 

 

 

Edited by Spence
I really hate posting via moble.

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I'm going to ignore your snide little jab because its ... well, silly as no one has said anything even remotely close to DMs being slaves to the Players.

 

 

Players making "Murder Hobos" and "Drizzts" that don't fit into the campaign has nothing to do with backstories as quite frankly, your Ork Shaman wouldn't fit whether the player came in with a 100 pages of backstory or simply a character sheet with a scribbled name so that isn't really a valid point for your argument.

 

Now with that said, I tend to agree with the process you described, start with a broad backstory with enough wiggle room to fit in the campaign as opposed to simply inventing stuff that doesn't fit into the world. (Although quite frankly, when I run a campaign, I'll gladly steal a player's idea -IF- it fits into my world, although I'll probably tweak it so just because you created a NPC in your backstory, it doesn't mean you know everything about that person.)

 

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1 hour ago, MLMII said:

I'm going to ignore your snide little jab because its ... well, silly as no one has said anything even remotely close to DMs being slaves to the Players.

 

 

Players making "Murder Hobos" and "Drizzts" that don't fit into the campaign has nothing to do with backstories as quite frankly, your Ork Shaman wouldn't fit whether the player came in with a 100 pages of backstory or simply a character sheet with a scribbled name so that isn't really a valid point for your argument.

 

 

 

There wasn't a jab, though feel free take it as such if it is important. 

And an an exaggerated example is used to illustrate a point by being ridicules. 

 

But never mind.  Carry on and all that, as it just isn't worth it.

 

Have a glorious day and I hope you find the agreement you are looking for....:) 

 

 

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