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Author Topic: Character backstories  (Read 5501 times)

CRKrueger

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« Reply #150 on: July 09, 2017, 01:37:30 pm »
Quote from: WillInNewHaven;974137
What is it with the "you're all no one from nowhere" attitude. Being someone from somewhere, even if neither is very important, is part of being a character and how can one play a  character without being one?

--
https://sites.google.com/site/grreference/home/05-the-black-mountain

Because on the one hand Nexus is crying foul at people using an extreme, and with the other hand is doing the exact same thing in an attempt to dismiss something he doesn't like.

Everyone does it really, it's an easy trap to fall into.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2017, 05:15:12 pm by CRKrueger »
Even the the "cutting edge" storygamers for all their talk of narrative, plot, and drama are fucking obsessed with the god damned rules they use. - Estar

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AsenRG

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« Reply #151 on: July 09, 2017, 04:07:39 pm »
Quote from: daniel_ream;974145

People who want to play a character will do so without needing any further prompting.  People who don't, won't, and no amount of encouragement will get them to.

My experience agrees with the former, but disagrees with the latter;).
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WillInNewHaven

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« Reply #152 on: July 09, 2017, 04:58:01 pm »
Quote from: daniel_ream;974145
What, seriously?

The reason "orphaned sociopath with amnesia" is such a common character back story is that a very, very large portion of players are not interested in the slightest in playing a character - they want to kill things, or disturb shit, or just pfaff around in a fictional world without consequences.  A similar portion of players are so emotionally invested in their character that any attempt by the GM to motivate them by leveraging their character's relationships is tantamount to railroading.  This is a trope that goes back to the very beginnings of roleplaying.

People who want to play a character will do so without needing any further prompting.  People who don't, won't, and no amount of encouragement will get them to.  Know which you've got in your group and plan accordingly.

I think that almost everyone I have played with over the years has been a mix of those two attitudes and a group where most of the players lean toward roleplaying will get some roleplay out of the most hardened murder hobos.

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daniel_ream

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« Reply #153 on: July 09, 2017, 08:25:54 pm »
Quote from: CRKrueger;974148
Those types of arguments have been made here.


And yet, miraculously, the world keeps on spinning.

Are you next going to claim that since the Forge and story-games.net are largely moribund you've triumphed over an enemy that never existed?  I think that's next on the checklist.

Quote from: AsenRG;974167
My experience agrees with the former, but disagrees with the latter;).


Well, do expand then.  I've seen quite a lot of theorizing that one can encourage people who don't want to play a character to do so, and I've yet to see it.  I should note that by "playing a character" I mean making at least a modicum of effort to act in accordance with the character's position in the fiction.  Someone who has their character repeatedly insult or jape with someone in a superior position with the demonstrated means and willingness to execute people who behave like that is not "playing a character", in my defintion.  They're pfaffing around in a fictional world without consequence.
D&D is becoming Self-Referential.  It is no longer Setting Referential, where it takes references outside of itself. It is becoming like Ouroboros in its self-gleaning for tropes, no longer attached, let alone needing outside context.
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CRKrueger

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« Reply #154 on: July 09, 2017, 10:34:16 pm »
Quote from: daniel_ream;974202
Well, do expand then.  I've seen quite a lot of theorizing that one can encourage people who don't want to play a character to do so, and I've yet to see it.  I should note that by "playing a character" I mean making at least a modicum of effort to act in accordance with the character's position in the fiction.  Someone who has their character repeatedly insult or jape with someone in a superior position with the demonstrated means and willingness to execute people who behave like that is not "playing a character", in my defintion.  They're pfaffing around in a fictional world without consequence.


Simple. You don't know what you don't know.  Some people who play that way have never tried anything else or even seen anyone play differently.  They come to a table where everyone plays differently and some of them find out they like having consequences for their actions.  They like their actions to have meaning and repercussions.  Some don't, and never will, sure. But, I "converted" 3 out of 5 new gamers in one winter quarter of college gaming alone.  It happens.
Even the the "cutting edge" storygamers for all their talk of narrative, plot, and drama are fucking obsessed with the god damned rules they use. - Estar

Yes, Sean Connery's thumb does indeed do megadamage. - Spinachcat

Isuldur is a badass because he stopped Sauron with a broken sword, but Iluvatar is the badass because he stopped Sauron with a hobbit. -Malleus Arianorum

"Tangency Edition" D&D would have no classes or races, but 17 genders to choose from. -TristramEvans

Gronan of Simmerya

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« Reply #155 on: July 09, 2017, 11:10:28 pm »
The reason "orphan sociopath with amnesia" is such a common character type is that most people are booger-eating morons who are doing well to shit unassisted.
You should go to GaryCon.  Period.

The rules can't cure stupid, and the rules can't cure asshole.

Dumarest

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« Reply #156 on: July 09, 2017, 11:14:26 pm »
Quote from: Gronan of Simmerya;974224
The reason "orphan sociopath with amnesia" is such a common character type is that most people are booger-eating morons who are doing well to shit unassisted.

I don't recall introducing you to my coworkers...?

S'mon

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« Reply #157 on: July 10, 2017, 05:18:18 am »
Quote from: RPGPundit;972611
The right way to do "backstory", using some, none or all of the following:
-Roll for social class
-Roll for background skills
-Roll for family
-Roll for lifepath or prior significant life events

The wrong way to do "backstory":
-let the players write 25-50 page background novels about how amazing their character is and then have them expect you to integrate that into the campaign.

I agree. We've been using the White Star 'serial' generator (7 rolls of a d6) for life paths & it creates great little single-paragraph backstories with lots of cool stuff. Something like that as a life path generator for D&D would be great (some Googling indicates the only ones around are a lot more complicated). The guy who sneaked a 50 page backstory for his Classic D&D PC past me last year really killed my desire to run that game, I never want to see that again.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2017, 05:22:33 am by S'mon »
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Willie the Duck

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« Reply #158 on: July 10, 2017, 08:04:45 am »
Quote from: WillInNewHaven;974137
What is it with the "you're all no one from nowhere" attitude. Being someone from somewhere, even if neither is very important, is part of being a character and how can one play a  character without being one?


I don't think that's really what people are against (the 'someone from somewhere, even if neither is very important'). Unless the central premise of the game is that your character literally walks out of the mist with no memories or backstory (a really specific premise, mind you), people expect that your character grew up somewhere and got to the campaign's starting point somehow. The point (in those campaigns, in my opinion) is simply that none of that matters remotely as much as what they do now, based on the events that unfold as the campaign progresses. Your character is trustworthy and honest? Only if they show themselves to be. Same with sneaky and suspicious. Brave? Show that based on their actions when ratmen attack the tavern. Outside of forum navel gazing, the important part of the premise is to focus on how the characters behave in the campaign, and that the plot hooks are derived from what happens in the campaign. Having your character write letters to his family back home in podunksville in between adventures is rarely frowned upon.

AsenRG

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« Reply #159 on: July 10, 2017, 03:28:35 pm »
Quote from: daniel_ream;974202
Well, do expand then.  I've seen quite a lot of theorizing that one can encourage people who don't want to play a character to do so, and I've yet to see it.  I should note that by "playing a character" I mean making at least a modicum of effort to act in accordance with the character's position in the fiction.  Someone who has their character repeatedly insult or jape with someone in a superior position with the demonstrated means and willingness to execute people who behave like that is not "playing a character", in my defintion.  They're pfaffing around in a fictional world without consequence.

I'm on my phone, but CRK said it in this post.
Quote from: CRKrueger;974219
Simple. You don't know what you don't know.  Some people who play that way have never tried anything else or even seen anyone play differently.  They come to a table where everyone plays differently and some of them find out they like having consequences for their actions.  They like their actions to have meaning and repercussions.  Some don't, and never will, sure. But, I "converted" 3 out of 5 new gamers in one winter quarter of college gaming alone.  It happens.
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daniel_ream

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« Reply #160 on: July 10, 2017, 03:35:11 pm »
That doesn't sound like people who don't want to play a character; that sounds like people who want to but don't know how.
D&D is becoming Self-Referential.  It is no longer Setting Referential, where it takes references outside of itself. It is becoming like Ouroboros in its self-gleaning for tropes, no longer attached, let alone needing outside context.
~ Opaopajr

CRKrueger

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« Reply #161 on: July 10, 2017, 03:54:19 pm »
Quote from: daniel_ream;974375
That doesn't sound like people who don't want to play a character; that sounds like people who want to but don't know how.

Oh, you mean people who have been there, done that, threw the T-shirt down the toilet and swore on Baby Jesus "NEVER AGAIN!"...

...yeah not much you can do for those folks. :D
Even the the "cutting edge" storygamers for all their talk of narrative, plot, and drama are fucking obsessed with the god damned rules they use. - Estar

Yes, Sean Connery's thumb does indeed do megadamage. - Spinachcat

Isuldur is a badass because he stopped Sauron with a broken sword, but Iluvatar is the badass because he stopped Sauron with a hobbit. -Malleus Arianorum

"Tangency Edition" D&D would have no classes or races, but 17 genders to choose from. -TristramEvans

Christopher Brady

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« Reply #162 on: July 10, 2017, 04:11:35 pm »
Quote from: Gronan of Simmerya;974224
The reason "orphan sociopath with amnesia" is such a common character type is that most people are booger-eating morons who are doing well to shit unassisted.

Why do you keep insulting your table like that? :confused:
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CRKrueger

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« Reply #163 on: July 10, 2017, 04:13:12 pm »
Quote from: Christopher Brady;974385
Why do you keep insulting your table like that? :confused:

That's not his phrase.
Even the the "cutting edge" storygamers for all their talk of narrative, plot, and drama are fucking obsessed with the god damned rules they use. - Estar

Yes, Sean Connery's thumb does indeed do megadamage. - Spinachcat

Isuldur is a badass because he stopped Sauron with a broken sword, but Iluvatar is the badass because he stopped Sauron with a hobbit. -Malleus Arianorum

"Tangency Edition" D&D would have no classes or races, but 17 genders to choose from. -TristramEvans

Gronan of Simmerya

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« Reply #164 on: July 10, 2017, 05:07:33 pm »
* sigh * And you'd been doing so well.
You should go to GaryCon.  Period.

The rules can't cure stupid, and the rules can't cure asshole.