Page 1383 - Can't Go Home Again

28th May 2020, 6:00 AM in A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1
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Can't Go Home Again
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Newbiespud 28th May 2020, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
How do you personally like to do backstories with your GM/players for long-term campaigns? Myself, as a player, ever the diplomancer, I tend to like having connections that I can potentially leverage in clever ways. As a GM, I like to ask my players directly what they're looking for emotionally from the current campaign experience and their current character, and try to build the campaign with those goals in mind.

23 Comments:

BackSet 28th May 2020, 6:06 AM edit delete reply
Well there's your answer.
FanOfMostEverything 28th May 2020, 6:37 AM edit delete reply
I admit, character backstories are one of my weaknesses when it comes to world building. I spend so much time just figuring out what to throw at the party next, I rarely consider how their pasts might figure into it.

Granted, the amount of backstory my players create can vary wildly. As can the amount they think to tell me.
Digo 28th May 2020, 6:41 AM edit delete reply
Similar stance with me; I like working directly with the GM and listing past connections and family that could come up in the game. I like these background points to work both as a boon and hinderance, because a bit of both makes for a very rich background and can make for really good character development.
Malroth 28th May 2020, 7:00 AM edit delete reply
Malroth
This is when you give Fluttershy and Rarity bonus XP.
GD 28th May 2020, 7:16 AM edit delete reply
The Pinkie doth protest too much, methinks...
Wulfraed 28th May 2020, 7:55 AM edit delete reply
Given that grin, she must be on something borderline illegal... Pure Demerara Sugar, maybe?
CrowMagnon 28th May 2020, 8:20 AM edit delete reply
I have a bit of a history with backstories. When I was playing Hell's Rebels, I went a bit overboard with backstory, crafting this whole series of events and family drama that led Brenna Sloane to being the level 1 constable with undercover skills that she started the AP as. The rest of the players went with more simplified, general backgrounds that were occasionally touched upon, and none of them really pushed their personal stories into the narrative like I did (though our brawler opened up a bit toward the end of the campaign). Not that they weren't into it, it's just that their character arcs were more reactive to the present story at hand.

This disparity felt a little weird at times because on the one hand, I felt my character had a very strong presence and I was incredibly happy when an NPC who had been an enigma for many, MANY sessions revealed a connection with Brenna that filled in some of the gaps of her own backstory and presented a very interesting 'what might have been'. On the other, putting in that level of investment made me worry at times that A) there wouldn't be a meaninful payoff, and B) that I had "Main Character Syndrome" and would end up putting off the other players.
Eroraf 30th May 2020, 1:42 AM edit delete reply
Yo dawg, I heard you like backstories, so I gave my backstories a backstory.
CrowMagnon 30th May 2020, 10:19 AM edit delete reply
Considering that after Hell's Rebels ended, my next character (Tyrant's Grasp) is secretly Brenna's grifter uncle who abandoned the city when a brutal tyrant took over instead of trying to help... your meme isn't exactly wrong.
Dakkath 28th May 2020, 9:14 AM edit delete reply
I keep giving my characters nice backstories with family living "just over there" and so far none of my GMs have ever bothered going after them.
Story Time 28th May 2020, 10:31 AM edit delete reply
Any story when the GM remember you that someone from your backstory could be in danger?
vegetalss4 28th May 2020, 11:57 AM edit delete reply
As a GM, stuff like this is why I try to keep family, and friendships and connections in general a source of strength, rather than of weakness.
I consciously try to focus on ways family can be helpful, or possibly ask for favors that aren't too obtrusive rather than putting them in danger.
I do this because I want backstories connecting the characters to the setting, and if that becomes only a punishment then it just push people towards opinions like Rainbow Dash here, which is such a damn shame.
The loner orphan archetype that is so common in our hobby seem to me to be born from families only being used as a source of the bad-feels instead of something making the game a more enjoyable experience for the players whose characters have them.

I do really like the idea of asking the players directly what they want emotionally from their characters that Spud mentions. I'll consider incorperating that in the future.
Hariman 28th May 2020, 5:08 PM edit delete reply
There's also the joked about "Main Character Syndrome" and "Player Character Family Protection Initiative".

The syndrome is when parents drop dead the instant a character becomes a main character.

The protection initiative spirits parents of main characters away to prevent them from being killed by their child becoming a main character.
Warlock 29th May 2020, 8:43 PM edit delete reply
Personally, it's really nice to have a good thought out backstory, but it's better with *events* and memories of how those events came out, rather than listing things resume-style.

My biggest holdup as a player isn't making backstories so much as few GMs really can make the family dynamic seem to come to life correctly. I'd say something like, "I have a lukewarm relation with my brother" and it turns out he's the big bad's dragon set to convert me to the dark side, or something. somehow, the simple act of just being 'there' isn't enough, it's always scaled to extremes. :/

But I'm sure there are those better than others at it too.
Guest 28th May 2020, 12:46 PM edit delete reply
I'm just starting up a new campaign where not only does my character have a family, she has a wife and kids.

So, you know, I'm not telling anyone where they are.
Winged Cat 28th May 2020, 2:19 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
When you spend entire arcs thinking the BBEG has kidnapped your family, only to ultimately find out your family is the BBEGs and this was all one big inheritance dispute (specifically, wanting you out of the will)...
Hariman 28th May 2020, 5:05 PM edit delete reply
"I have a complicated backstory... that involves being a loner who never had parents, whose mentors are heroically or peacefully dead, and has no connections beyond the party members who are nice to pal around with."
Khyrin 30th May 2020, 1:52 AM edit delete reply
"mentors are heroically or peacefully dead"

Congrats on 'conflicted feelings as your mentors have been True Resurrected and are just going feral under the BBEG's influence.
Guest 28th May 2020, 8:14 PM edit delete reply
"Sheepie Belle" will never not be both amusing and adorable.
DM's Choice 29th May 2020, 1:08 AM edit delete reply
The risk with not doing backstories, however, is: If you don't do it yourself, chances are the gamemaster will.
And that's how you end up with an evil twin - or at least an annoying brother.
Swest 29th May 2020, 3:39 AM edit delete reply
As a new character creator (not really been in any games yet), I have thought up backstories, but some campaigns I have seen literally kill off everyone that is close to the character. I'm not much into the feeling of "Hey let's fall back to my parent's house..." then "Surprise, they are dead and you got more problems!" type thing. With the Fallout is Dragons stories, I did love how Filly Flotsum had her family backing her up, and even coming to aid her. :) <3 That tends to be rare though, so I'm just making the typical "no family" backgrounds for now.
Wulfraed 29th May 2020, 9:20 AM edit delete reply
Heh... You should spend a day generating a character in "RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha" (vs RQ2 or RQ3, from the 80s/90s).

The generation starts with your favored grandparents (strangely, the form only has space for /a/ grandfather and /a/ grandmother -- but whether paternal or maternal is up to you), runs through some 20 years of Glorantha history [starting a few years /after/ your parents were born], THEN transitions to your parents [again after /your/ birth] for another 20 years, and FINALLY transfers to you for some 5 years of history.

During those years, there is a chance of death -- one may then finish that section using the other (grand)parent (who may also be killed; some years were quite deadly).

NOTE: RQ:RiG is set up so that all characters are the same age, in the same [defined in rules] year, at the start of a campaign (there are rules for how to shift a character -- in summary one shifts the parents and grandparents by a suitable number of years and transition between generations by the shift).
Scissors Rock Paper 29th May 2020, 4:44 AM edit delete reply
There's an old book called Heroes of Legend. I used it as a basis for my players to roll their history. If all else fails, there's drunk uncle Baccus (no relation) to come swooping in at random. Always good for a guilt trip.