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Do you create backgrounds\biographies for your PCs?

Discussion in 'Playground' started by diagnull, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. diagnull Gems: 5/31
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    This question goes for any RPG I suppose, but what brought me to this point was playing NWN.

    I'll admit, I never thought to much about my PCs beyond class and alignment until recently. In fact, many RPGs are crafted in such a way that it's not easy to create your own biography without interfering with the game's internal logic, so I didn't really think of it.

    When I started playing NWN and especially when I started playing community MODs, I felt like something was lacking, but I couldn't put my finger on it. It was the same kind of feeling that I felt while playing Icewind Dale, but I didn't know what it was.

    Then I decide to try some NWN PW's, specifically Layonara and A Land far Away. Both of those PW require you to submit a biography and history for the character you intend to play, and they take it seriously.

    For example, I've created 3 PCs in Layonara and each one required a few edits to the PC history before they were approved to play.

    They asked questions like "What makes this PC this alignment?", "How did they discover their link to nature (as a druid.)", "How did this wannabe mercenary feel the first time she killed someone, or has she yet?"

    Going through this process led to my Layonara PCs being more "alive" than my other NWN PCs. Suddenly, I had characters that had a past, they had parents, they had issues, motives, fears, etc.

    but why stop there I thought? So, I went back and started writing Bios for my Single Player PCs, and you know what...now they seem more alive too.

    Even more than that, my campaigns seem more alive now.

    For example, using the OHS Henchmen system, I create a party of 3 adventurers to run through the conversion of the Secrets of Saltmarsh modules U1-U3). At first, they were just kind of generic Paladin, Cleric, and Rogue characters.

    But now, I've gone back and create a history for each of them leadind up to when they met and why they went to Saltmarsh. Suddenly, their fates are now intertwined and they each have a life of their own, and a specific goal. My "generic" cleric is now a Priest of Tempus, who is multiclassing as a bard so he can sing the praises of Tempus and enlighten the unbelievers.

    So, my question for you is...do you create a history for your PC's? Am I the only one who wasn't doing it? Or am I the only weirdo doing it?

    :)

    -D
     
  2. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    Sometimes. Sometimes a campaign calls for it. Other times I just need a character quickly, and can go from there.

    If I ever get a Ravenloft group together, I will require a background for each character to properly convey the horror that the setting relies on.
     
  3. Aldazar Gems: 24/31
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    Well, generally for me, I very often tend to have a history of some sort floating around my head for ANY character I create in ANY game I play where it's possible to create your own character, even with my SDvRAW created wrestlers. It just makes me feel more attached to the character in question. It kind of adds to my motivation to achieve whatever I'm setting out to achieve if you get what I mean...and particularly now with my WoW avatar, I still find myself pondering his full history at the oddest times :nuts: perhaps?
     
  4. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    Never. They become heroes during the game, what they did before doesn't matter and I even don't want to know it.
     
  5. Nakia

    Nakia The night is mine Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Depends on the game but if possible I do try to create a history for my character. Just makes the RP game seem more real to me.
     
  6. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Never. Alignment and class are good enough for me to roleplay. I'll choose different feats and skills to make the character unique and give it personality.
     
  7. cmorgan Gems: 6/31
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    Always. With any game that it can remotely be done with. Even in Civ III, Rome:Total War, or Railroad Tycoon.
     
  8. Felinoid

    Felinoid Who did the what now? ★ SPS Account Holder

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    I typically go with some very basic stuff, and then let the character develop further on his/her own. Sometimes even in ways that require some sort of breaking point for a change. It's fun to go along for the ride. ^_^
     
  9. Aikanaro Gems: 31/31
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    Regarding cPRGs: never. If it's the right sort of game, I might come up with a basic personality and ethical stance - but only if the game is going to support that. On first playthrough I'd just use my own, anyway.

    If it was supported in the game I would, and would consider it awesome. I don't see much point in doing it if it's just going to be completely ignored.
     
  10. Lord Domino Gems: 2/31
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    Our PnP group has always tried to have backgrounds for its characters. These tend to start off fairly simple (origins, immediate family, reason for adventuring, appearance and personality, etc.) and get gradually more detailed as the campaign progresses (to include perhaps origins of equipment, influential people in his life, and so on).

    I suppose we've just always been big on the role-playing thing; we've never been all that fond of "2D" characters which are only in it for the class and race. We did end up "recommending" a member to leave when they said that they weren't interested in writing a background or role-playing, because they just didn't really fit in with our style of play.

    That's PnP, anyway. In other things, I can't really say as I haven't had as much experience of them, but I reckon it would still be the case that either would work well, but provide for different styles of play. Either way I don't think you're the only one, so just pick whichever one you prefer!
     
  11. mata5 Gems: 3/31
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    I only have this image of a chaotic neutral half-elf bard and a lawful good priest of ilmater in my mind, but that's just it... I can't seem to develop it further :D
     
  12. Elfen Lied

    Elfen Lied The Bird of Hermes is my name, eating my wings to

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    Yeh, I like to think about that stuff, Makes the character more 3 dimension or whatever. Plus it's fun for me to doing that stuff. I often do it for funzies, no matter the game, even Diablo.

    I even give the multiplayer characters I make on BGII backgrounds and histories. I don't really like that single generic paragraph it makes for your extra MP characters.
     
  13. 8people

    8people 8 is just another way of looking at infinite ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    [​IMG] Every character I create has their own histories, their own personality, I never view them as "CG elf ranger" or whatever I always view them as "Amanusal" or whatever their name is. Whatever game I play, on computer or round a table. I will know everything from their favourite colour to their homelands and relatives, even favourite foods or combinations of spells/attacks will develop differently for each character, even if they are not optimally effective it is what they like to do.

    I've been told I go into abnormal amounts of detail whenever I create something though, so I guess it's not normal. :(
     
  14. Elfen Lied

    Elfen Lied The Bird of Hermes is my name, eating my wings to

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    Sounds normal to me.

    In BG all the NPCs have backgrounds, so why shouldn't the extra characters you make also have their own backstories. They may have been through a lot of stuff with charname, but how did they come to join him or her?

    Did a thief try to pick pocket them and instead of dobbing them in, did charname think of prehaps a better or worse punishment, them serving as charname's scout?

    If charname is a Paladin, and based on a banter between Valygar and Keldorn, it seems some Paladins dislike mages, how did a custom made mage join in charname's adventures.

    This is stuff I like to read, even if I have to make it up myself. I love how BGII give you the oppurtunity to do this, expand on characters, so they aren't quite so bland.

    It's so much to make your characters more three dimensional.
     
  15. Cap'n CJ

    Cap'n CJ Arrr! Veteran

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    I'll do it for PnP, but not CRPGs.
     
  16. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    For a Persistent World I would. For characters I just create but never play (I had a pack once, but didn't submit it), I do. For characters in my singleplayer party games (e.g. IWD1-2), I don't normally. It's in my head if at all.
     
  17. Elfen Lied

    Elfen Lied The Bird of Hermes is my name, eating my wings to

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    Still you cannot deny it's funness, even if it's all in your head. I like doing it so I will continue to do so.
     
  18. iLLusioN' Gems: 16/31
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    I do, but mostly in my head. If nothing else it just gives me a different approach to all the dialog options.
     
  19. Dice

    Dice ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    I don't usually do much with my characters beyond the general physical adjustments and attributes. But I mostly stick to the single player games so it doesn't matter. I think that if I do start playing with a party I will enjoy making a past for my character.
     
  20. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    I often don't bother; my main exception was my IWD II party. However, I do try to have the character with a quirk or two, just in case. In a proper pen&paper game, of course, it's very different - there I try to make actual characters, even if some aspects of their personality don't see much light.
     
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