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What are some things that are not magical...
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What are some things that are not magical realm or That DM, but will make you NOPE the fuck out of a game anyway?

I'll start: Requiring me to write more than two paragraphs of character biography.
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DMPCs
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>>45351613
Do you have some kind of allergy to writing or do you only write in colon lists of contacts and family?

You can't write 15 sentences about your character's background? I can understand noping out at a 2 page requirement but unless you're playing a by-the-numbers murderhobo 2 paragraphs is a fine minimum.
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>>45351683
Honestly, a level 1 character shouldn't have a lot of backstory.

And the more backstory, the more it seems like it should read as a higher level character (usually).

So him wanting to write the bare minimum makes sense in some regards, minus the exceptional part of having class levels.
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>>45351712
Because the only notable parts of a person's life is the things he's killed, and all games start at level 1.
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>>45351683
let's be perfectly honest, the most interesting times of their lives, and what others will remember them for should happen DURING the course to the campaign itself, their past before should be touched-upon yes, but it should be treated as a footnote. Requiring an extraordinary past (which at 15 sentences, you are basically asking for that) diminishes the weight and importance of your [the GM's] own adventures in these character's lives.
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All the things I really hate came from a guy I'd definitely describe as That DM, so I'm not sure if I have anything valid.

I do hate the idea of exp and levels being awarded when the DM arbitrarily feels like it instead of when the party kills monsters. I haven't played with any DM that does that yet but I would probably leave without giving it a chance if I found one.
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>>45351784
If it takes you an hour to list off the highlights of your life, that's an album of things you done, not a highlight reel.

Moreover, under the assumption it is a level one character, but I did not say that all backstories need to be short, nor did I imply it, I even stated that "more stuff typically means higher level" to acknowledge the fact that not all campaigns start at first level, even so you shouldn't need pages of backstory unless you are starting in the double digits.

Jesus fuck, dude. Do I need to spell out everything I say with an entire sentence when you can infer meaning from less? I guess I should say "do not" instead of "don't" so I can write more so that you can feel better?

It is far too late for this shit.
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>>45351834
I did. It sucked. It basically became a big show of players doing shit the DM thought was cool and basically pandering to him.

And the DM was really into anime, so the rest of the PCs did their damnedest to fit anime quotes and references into their dialogue or behave in such a way that resembled some anime protagonist or character somewhere.
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>>45351712

A level 1 PC should have at least some stories like who trained him why he took the training and what set him out on his adventures

Otherwise wise he is level zero or a nonspecific class like warrior or aristocrat you had to pick up your skills somewhere.

I understand some don't really care about backstory they would rather just make it as you go or be a loaner but some GMs like to play with it use your past to make sessions or entire arcs out of it.
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>>45351834
I can understand objecting to the arbitrariness but it seems odd to limit acceptable things to be rewarded with advancement for to monster-slaying rather than dealing with discrete challenges and goals in general.
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>>45351803
15 sentences could just be used to describe their family history and where they came from and even their thoughts on the matter. You don't really need anything extraordinary with something that short.
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>>45351803
Sir Jack of Lothingheim was born in spring in the land of Albyion, third son of Duke Charles of Winchester. He was educated by his uncle Bartholemew, who taught the young page swordplay and military strategy, ultimately conferring upon him his signature zweihander, Althrust. He was knighted on the tenth of Autumn by his father in the presence of the Bishop of Luth, peace by upon him. His hobbies include hunting and chess. He is a brash, strong young man with dreams of obtaining a title for himself.

He stands at roughly 5'8, is of a thin muscled build, and has short black hair with a thin mustache. He is twenty three years old. He is devoutly religious, and keeps a copy of the Celestine Scroll upon him at all times, for invoking his people's god, Helhelios the Noon-Day Sun. He wears a suit of chainmail with a tabard bearing the symbol of his household, a white lion holding a rose in its paw. This symbol calls back to the houses founding, when his ancestor, the Earl of Alfnor won this land from the elves.

He joined the campaign to find his uncle, who has defected to the BBEG, and demand answers. He rides a brown horse named Dorothy who is equipped with leather barding. He is a superstitious man with an unusual distaste for magic. He sleeps in the nude. His alcohol tolerance is low. His best friend is his old archery buddy, [the party Ranger], who is an Elf. There is some minor hostility between them, since the Ranger's father is still old enough to remember Jack's ancestor stealing their land.

He smokes pipweed on occassion, a hobby he picked up when he spent one summer with the Small Folk up in the hills, learning manners.

I could go on. Get your shit together nigga, if you can't write 15 sentences.
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>>45351943
>. You don't really need anything extraordinary with something that short.
then you are asking them to write in 15 sentences what can be summed-up in 1 word, "uneventful".

Frankly, if you just want a rough idea of their past, that can be done in half the length you demand.
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>>45351613
Rolled stats or abstracted wealth.
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>>45351988
You can have an eventful life that isn't extraordinary and describe it in such a way that you can learn more about the character and his place in the world.

And again, 15 sentences isn't that long, I'm sure you can write at least a paper about your life and I'm sure you aren't some nth level adventurer.
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>>45351613
Fucking this.

IM NOT CREATIVE ENOUGH TO WRITE THINGS THAT DIDNT HAPPEN YET. I HATE WRITING STUFF OUT OF THIN AIR AND SAY ITS FACT BECAUSE I KNOW IT'S NOT.

Fuck this autism of mine
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>>45351988
If you think 15 sentences is a lot to basically say who is this character and why is he here, you must have really boring cookie cutter characters.
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>>45352029

15 sentences is all the life path generator would give them
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>>45351683
5 sentences is both the minimum and maximum length that a backstory should be.
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>>45351613

Fuck OP for making this bait thread. He knew what was going to happen. It always devolves into arguments between people who hate to read and people who want to write. The exact same thread breaks out whenever anybody posts this comic.
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>>45351986
really boring and unnecessary.

He's a knight guy with a horse from a semi important family.

Everything else should be revealed on the tabletop. Show don't tell. his chess hobby means shit if there's no chess games in game anywhere.
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>>45352164
Characters, much like people, are more than their BAB and Skills points.
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>>45352164
Nobody said you force the other players to read it. But writing shit down ahead of time, for yourself and the DM, gives you information besides "i'm a barbarian I hit things"
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>>45352164
All those character traits are things that can come up naturally in game or things the GM can use to make the game more interesting for the player because they actually like to roleplay a character instead of a set of skills.
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>>45351784
Level 1 ranger
She was walking along trying to find some flowers for her pet snake when a monster dragged her underneath the earth, she barely managed to beat it to death with her decorative umbrella and emerge from the hole beaten and bloody.
The next day, she gathered her gear and pet snake and set off to adventure since she no longer felt she could just sit around.
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>>45352177
and just like people "hidden depths" is fucking pointless. You get what you put in and what you show for it.
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>>45352164
>really boring and unnecessary

Pretty much sums up your characters
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>>45352209
Hidden depth is important because it can reveal itself in unexpected situations. Just asspulling traits for the situation is generally pretty lame.
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>>45351986
>was born in spring
not important

>>45351986
>in the presence of the Bishop of Luth, peace by upon him
don't care
>>45351986
>His hobbies include hunting and chess
I'll figure that out during the campaign, I don't need that spelled out here.
>>45351986
>He stands at roughly 5'8,
>He is twenty three years old
again that is already stated elsewhere on the Character sheet I don't need it repeated.
>>45351986
>and keeps a copy of the Celestine Scroll upon him at all times, for invoking his people's god, Helhelios the Noon-Day Sun.
I can see the item in his inventory, don't need that repeated. Also the GM already knows the setting's pantheon he does not need to be reminded who Helhelios is.
>>45351986
>This symbol calls back to the houses founding
again, don't care
>>45351986
>He sleeps in the nude
I really didn't need to know that.
>>45351986
>a hobby he picked up when he spent one summer with the Small Folk up in the hills, learning manners.
not important.

like I said before, if you want to elaborate on your character's life story, power to you; but expecting the same of everyone else is unreasonable.

for example,

I had a character who I liked who's life story could be said in a fraction of the time.

Hector Aardvall was born in a small village to parents of no renown. growing up he was a bookworm and he eventually taught himself magic as a result. Now as an adult, he decided to travel the world as an adventurer to experience it first-hand.

there's plenty more to tell but it's not important at the campaign's start and could be touched on AS it becomes relevant. or not, if it's not going to become important to the plot then I save the GM time reading a backstory that's not going to be relevant.

Keeping the backstory brief at the beginning gives players who maybe put a character together but hadn't thought up much else a chance to figure out their character, who they are, and their history as their adventures unfold.
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>>45352209
>Hidden depths is pointless

And just like people, they are more than what they appear to be on the surface. Except yours. Your characters sound pretty bland.
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>>45352239
only difference between asspulling and hidden depth is whether you saw it coming or not.
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>>45352253
Your characters backstory was so boring couldn't even finish reading it you can really tell you put minimum effort into it
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>>45352253
>"I don't care"

It shows.
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>>45352276
The only way you can let someone know something coming is by having is planned in the first place. Having traits in mind for a character and reasons for them makes for a better understanding of the character and the ability to see opportunities to make those traits show.
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>>45352253
>DM's suppose to run a campaign knowing nothing about Hector except he knows magic.

Dude your character's suck. I get that "how much backstory is required" is sort of a 'by table' thing, but anybody can do more then 2 fucking sentences.

I know a guy who showed up to a campaign with a human barbarian named Himcules whose character pitch was "Hercules but manlier" and even he put more thought in his backstory than that.
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>>45352301
character planning is fine. There is absolutely no fucking need for a GM to know what those plans are unless it affects actual plot points or the player is going to do something controversial like a mole or a secret identity.
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>>45352320
>but anybody can do more then 2 fucking sentences.
I purposefully dialed it back to make a point.
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>>45352336
Or if the GM plans on putting more input into the game beyond "Your PC is the thing-killer"

I get for like, a casual game or a one-shot, but for a long-running campaign I can't imagine a two sentence backstory.
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>>45352336
>There is absolutely no fucking need for a GM to know what those plans are unless it affects actual plot points or the player is going to do something controversial like a mole or a secret identity.

Playing with your DM is much more rewarding than playing against them. There is no reason to withhold information from your DM unless you are one of those players who likes to "beat" the DM at tabletop.
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>>45352336
The GM can use all this information to worldbuild and additionally it let's the GM know that the players are actually thinking about their characters and will have something to work with from the start rather than being lazy murderhobo shits.
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>>45351613

Players or GMs who think backstories like this
>>45351986
are the hallmark of a good roleplayer and not an autistic tryhard
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>>45352365
>>45352365
again, if it's important it will be shown on the tabletop. If it actually matters where this dude hails from, the GM will ask "I do not recognize your crest, although I can see that you are noble of birth. Where do you hail from?"

If it's not important, then move the fuck on.
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>>45352382
What's really wrong with having information that can be used in the game?

Like comparing
>>45351986
to
>>45352253

I could make like 10 easy scenarios to keep a party entertained from the first person's profile, compared to like nothing with the second.
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>>45351613
I play on roll20, so seeing that the DM can't fucking spell makes me lose all interest.
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>>45352428
There's nothing objectively "wrong" with it
Have fun with your boring games
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>>45352404
You realize the GM is making shit up as he goes too right having something to reference to get things predictable situations going is really helpful.

Like as a GM you could bring a npc who's related to the pantheon mentioned to get things going. That's much more helpful than having to make something up on the spot that might not grab the character's attention or force them down a hole they aren't interested in.
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>>45352404
Its important because a character's history and background will facilitate better roleplay and a more consistent representation of a player's character. It fleshes them out into people instead of reducing them to a race/class with no prior motivations, experiences, or history until they became a level one adventurer.
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>>45352428
info to use is fine, but if the excuse is that you can't think of plots for generic wizard boy for the game that you are in charge of, you should get out of the GM seat. Plot element is the one thing the GM is most definitely in charge of preparing and if you can't do that basic of a job then you don't need to waste anyone's time.
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>>45352460
So you're basically admitting to having no argument except for your own shitty opinion
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>>45352471
One can bullshit a plot with a bullshit character, but why should the DM put forth any effort or care if the player clearly doesn't give two shits about his character to make it anything more than a stat block?
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>>45352480
I don't need an argument to not want to play in your unfun games
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>>45352463
info is fine, I'm saying that the 15 sentence version is extremely boring and unnecessary. As a GM I don't need to know whether he's rash. If he acts rash, I will see that he's rash. Players will see that he's rash. No need for any mention of his personality.
If the horse's name is important, the PC will call for it.
If the sword's name is important, PC will make a big deal of it.
I will gauge interest on what the PCs are actually doing.
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>>45352428
>I could make like 10 easy scenarios to keep a party entertained from the first person's profile,
Why on earth did you not have secenarios planned-out ahead of time?

Look, when I ran an AoR campaign, I asked my players for two Big Backstory questions. "where are they from originally", and "why did you Join the Alliance to Restore the Republic? and don't say for money."

This way they had something to build off of for their history. I already had their first adventure (which was a relatively brief 4-session adventure) outlined so if it came up it was completely coincidental. By the end they had their characters fully fleshed out, which was right in time to start integrating it into future adventures.
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>>45352471
Who would want to make generic plots for generic characters though? It becomes less of a commutative game and more of a I have to do everything to make sure you have fun, which is just a shitty place to be as a GM.
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>>45352497
Because I'm running a game. My efforts and work are independent of the challenges of the PC's

If one's a problem, as a GM I will deal with that one person on a case per case basis, that does not however hinder my ability to run a campaign or focus on my other players.
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>>45352138
I actually enjoyed reading this. It's retarded to put it into a comic format but it wasn't bad by any means.
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>>45352521
Knowing if the character has traits you aren't okay with before hand is pretty important too. Like if someone described their character as a dickrogue which became clear through their description, it's something you'd have to address. The description serves multiple purposes in screening the character and their development from there.

Going with the bare minimum opens doors to games going really badly.
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>>45351613
"We'll be using a 7th stat, sanity"

Was in DnD 5e, was actually excited for the group because I had a sweet level 10 character made up, but the DM disallowed all feats (lame) and added sanity for some reason (lamer).

Plus the players were weird as hell, one was way too much a fa/tg/uy for me, another was a tranny that I had no idea if it was a he or she, and a third kept mentioning all the corpses he fucked. The other 2 didn't speak much so that didn't help matters.
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>>45352530
You do generic open plots to gauge interest. If PCs are just moths to a flame going toward what's the latest info, I will just string them along whatever plot point works. It's my task to be flexible.

if anyone shows interest or any self motivation, I will either talk to that player or have enough info on that section of the world for me to write some plots on.
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>>45352522
Well I was talking in the perspective of planning scenarios since longer sheets like that would presumable be given before the actual game. Ideally scenarios should be tailored to the characters once they get a personality set so being able to get to that point faster seems like a net positive to me.
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>>45352568
That should be announced at the start of the campaign and the premise.

If the person can't control themselves to match what was already agreed on from the start, then the person is that guy.
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>>45352614
>That should be announced at the start of the campaign and the premise.

Isn't that what the biography is effectively accomplishing?
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>>45352521
That's my friggin point!
yes, I wrote >>45352253 and yes "boring wizard boy" has more backstory that could be expanded upon, how his dad is the town gravedigger so he's not bothered by being around dead bodies. Or how he is completely naive about the world at large, that he is a complete sucker for stories of chivalrous knights rescuing damsels-in-distress and as a result can act foolhardy at the prospect of being like the heroes in his stories. But I purposely omitted all that because most of it will be figured out AS THE ADVENTURE PROGRESSES and as such does not need to be stated in his initial character Bio.

it's all about the "show, don't tell" if he's actually going to act a certain way, I don't need it explained to me ahead of time, I'll see it for myself.
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XP awards for "good roleplaying" without having any prior discussion between the players and GM about who the character is, because it usually turns into the GM giving the award to whoever did the most memorable things that session. Either you're screwed if it's not in-character to do those things, or you're rewarded for acting out of character. Worse still is when the players and GMs idea of what is in-character disagree.

XP for kills. Too often have I seen games with this lead to situations of "we all have good in-character reasons to not kill this NPC. Some of us lack in-character reasons to kill him. But if we don't kill him, we don't get xp, so he must die".

Too much randomness in character creation. I change which system I'm playing a lot. There are times where I have a character idea that, if I don't play it now, I might never get a chance to because I don't know if I'll ever play another campaign where that character would fit. Too much randomness in character creation runs a significant risk of the dice saying no to the character I want to run.

GMs who try to attract players by talking a lot about how good the system is, but never mentioning anything about the campaign they plan to run.

I know that there are people here that like the things I dislike. That's fine. I'll just avoid the campaigns with such things in them so that we can all be happy.
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This whole thread really is moot since the play styles of the players/GM (and the enjoyment they glean from it) is subjective. But this thread is going to go for at least 100 more posts before falling off page 10.
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>>45352568
>Knowing if the character has traits you aren't okay with before hand is pretty important too.
that is one nice thing about DnD's alignment tree, if you say something like, say, "no evil characters" at character generation, you've already kinda put the kibosh on most "Asshole character" archetypes. Since now you know that any characters built under that premise are going to have moral lines they will not cross, which is a good thing.
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>>45352650
that's step 2. Bio is review for whether he fits the game or not. If everyone's bio doesn't fit then my premise is flawed and I go to step 1 of establishing a game again.
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>>45352655
If you don't have any of these things decided on from the start, how do you decide for them to be relevant? Aren't you just effectively making things up as you go? If you do have them decided, why not share with the GM, it is information that can be useful to him.

I like stories where characters are pretty well defined from the start and you can see their traits interact with the world around them and change them with the trials they face.

Making a character without anything from the start and can effectively be whatever is best for the situation just comes off as dull or lazy. You aren't invested because they aren't really anything and even if they become a more solid image by the end, it isn't quite the same as seeing a already developed image become something completely different.

Maybe it's a matter of taste, but I don't think having a 15 sentence bio from the start is a bad thing.
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>>45352655
why did you quote me like you are arguing against me?
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>>45352726
>>45352738

Let's say a character's premise is that they're a charismatic bard who is really dedicated to a cause.

when you expand on it, it becomes clear that they spent their whole life manipulating everyone they came into supporting the cause as well, but through questionable means. That's put them in chaotic good or neutral good depending on how you want to look about it, but you'd have no way of knowing just how bad they are from the initial blurb, or even the second description I made here.

Having more detail just makes it easier to judge.
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>>45352739
>If you do have them decided, why not share with the GM
if you have it already worked out, then sure, definitely, your GM will certainly appreciate it, but it's unfair to demand that of the players.

Not everyone is good at working out backstories on-the-spot, so if the player only has "I kinda wanted to try out a druid this time; Backstory? Uhh..." telling him to piss off because he hasn't worked out the character that far is pretty dickish.

wouldn't it be far better to, say, help him out with developing his character, and building on his backstory as the adventure progresses? or even, maybe, before and/or after each session?

but no, you put him on the spot right at Character creation, he fumbled and produced nothing more than a name and a class so you kicked him out.

way to go dick.
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>>45352802
that's just being vague. Because all it does is raise the question of "what's the cause"

It doesn't matter how many pages and pages of bio it has if it's all vague meaningless shit like that.

Quality matters over quantity. The 15 sentence was garbage because it's just a long string of specific nothing while and the bard example of one sentence of nothing.
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>>45352765
>why did you quote me like you are arguing against me?
sometimes it's frustrating trying to get a point across. For clarification, I'm not mad a you, I'm actually agreeing with you.
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>>45352841
People handle character creation differently. I imagine if someone wanted something more in depth they'd give them more time than just a character creation meet up to come up with ideas.
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>>45352850
I feel like there was more quality from the knight example since you had an understanding of where he was come from.

The problem with short blurbs is that they are going to end up being vague because it takes space to develop concepts. If you bother to describe a cause, you can easily build a paragraph or two.

As an orphaned child the bard was forced to find his ways on the streets. He developed a philosophy that in order to get what he wants, he'd have to convince people to agree with whatever he has to say, by whatever means necessary. Though limited by his own circumstance, he did everything in his power to learn the art of convincing others and through his training he began to realize that sometimes you need to lie in order to get people to do what you want.

I could go on about how he got better at lying, how he came to become dedicated to a good cause and how being a manipulator links to that, but the idea is that you can't really just simplify things too much because it'll make things vague and full of nothingness.
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>>45352948
>The problem with short blurbs is that they are going to end up being vague because it takes space to develop concepts. If you bother to describe a cause, you can easily build a paragraph or two.
or, leave it out to save space and if the GM asks you about it, then you go into detail about it.

you DO realize the GM is not a robot and is free to ask follow-up questions of the player.

if you are being vague because you are trying to sneak something past him, it's going to show and he's going to ask you about it. and then you will have to come clean on what you were trying to hide, or get your character rejected.

If it's vauge because you haven't worked out the character's history that far, then that too is going to show.

A Good GM should be able to tell when a player is struggling with a character concept, and when the player is trying to pull a 'fast-one' to get some little psycho into the game without anyone's notice until it's too late.
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>>45352948
Reason I hate the knight one is that it jumps all over the fucking place with the name drop and I simply can't give a shit. So he's religious, is that the important thing? Is he going to abandon his shot at his dream of getting a title if it goes against his oath? He smokes pipweed, does he play chess to relax or does he smoke pipweed? I keep on getting bits from the knight that means nothing.

at least your bard is a liar that's got a clear reason to lie and it's important.

Against the knight I got nothing but generic check list of things to throw at him. Steal sword, see if he cares, check. Insult his god, check. shoot his horse, check.
The bard, I got a core concept of lying and convincing which I can present scenarios on that theme.

less is more.
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>>45352869
That. I'm pretty horrified to learn that people apparently make their players create characters for a campaign immediately before the game starts. Our process goes normally like
>session-length meet-up with the GM to find out what the character is going to be, with spreading competences across the party etc
>at home everyone writes up the character and invents the fluffy parts of the backstory
>shit's sent to the GM, who makes suggestions how your backstory ties in with the campaign setting (e.g. "It says here you went out to learn under the great swordmaster George McStabby. What would you say if we replace him by John Stabbison, who is also a fleshed-out character whom you'll get to meet and interact with?")
>Final version gets written and approved by the GM

My backstories (except for really experienced characters) also mostly consist of sympathies and antipathies, which is probably the most important part. I don't get how you can play a campaign if you don't know what your characters think of the most important factions in your game. And it's not unfair to your players, just make a fucking list and let them fill that out.
>Where and to whom were you born?
>Where did your learn your job?
>How did you come to the current place in your life?
>What ties do you have to your past?
>Interesting quirks/hobbies?
>Name X NPCs you know and care about (or who cares about you, like debtors) and what ties you have to them
>What do you think about these factions? What do (or would, if they were aware of you) they think about you?
That's it, literally.
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>>45353035
>or, leave it out to save space
Or you could just write it down anyway. Whats the difference? On most character sheets I've seen there is a section for character description and there is always the back of a sheet if you are truly wanting for space.

Also making a bio can help to flesh out a character purely as a writing exercise. You'd be surprised where your pencil takes you when you start jotting down character ideas.
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>>45353037
All you can think if a player introduces a list of stuff the character likes is "How can I take it away?". I'm not even mad, I'm fascinated.
I AM slightly scared to imagine what sort of shit someone like you may imagine as "scenarios on the theme of lying".
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>>45353190
Well, that's all I can really do if all I get is a check list. If I'm not given a priority then it's up to me to figure out one. I hate checklisting characters since it eats up too much time for potentially no gain.
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>>45353176
okay we're getting off-topic here.

YES, having a fleshed-out character is a good thing (within reason, no one want's to see a 4-page essay on a lvl. 1 character, I think we can all agree on that) and yes, as a GM you should encourage that kind of creativity.

What I'm saying is that there is a fine line between encouraging creativity, going the extra mile, and demanding it.

Its unfair to players to require, emphasis on REQUIRE, that they present a full backstory for their characters right at character creation. Not everyone is good at that sort of thing and you shouldn't chastise them for it.

Hell, when I run PF, if a player has no backstory worked out, I will let them roll a random backstory from the "Ultimate Campaign" source book, give them something to work with and flesh-out as the starting adventure progresses.
>>
I think characters work better with concepts than backstories. I like it when the players are asked to come up with a one or two sentence idea of who they are. Something like:

>Disinherited Noble wants to topple the establishment
>Lonely hermit Druid trying to reconnect with society

Basic stuff. Sometimes there'll be a theme (why do you want to do <THING>) but it's always really basic, and really broad.

It's nice for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it's easy. Hey, it's a big plus. Nobody has to reach for the fantasy name generator, there's nobody collaborating to make sure their starting towns are in the same region, none of that. That can be fun (and I've met players who love creating that stuff, and that's totally cool), but it takes time, and it's stuff that can be generated during play.

See, there's nothing preventing a player from spontaneously revealing that the reason his character wants to get the MacGuffin is because his father spent his whole life trying to find it during play, even if his backstory was only a sentence or two long. Maybe he never would have thought of that back at character creation. Front-loading your backstory gives you a lot of stuff to draw on, but it also constrains you. It forces you to decide a whole bunch of important shit about your character before you've had the chance to "live in" him for a while. Everyone's seen the "What I made, what the GM saw, what I actually played" threads--players change their minds about what their character's like all the time, and having a really detailed, in-depth backstory can get in the way. What if you wrote your Paladin as having lived his whole life as this really chivalrous, uptight kind of guy, but after a few sessions you realize you're kind of playing him as a loose canon and enjoying it? Do you re-write all the stuff he did before, or handwave it? It's a lot easier to write on a slate that's already blank.

Is this "the" way to do character generation? No, but I prefer it.
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>>45353274
This.
I haven't been playing pathfinder for too long myself (1/2 to 1 year) and I absolutely love it and my group throughly enjoys playing together, but I'm literal shite when it comes to coming up with a backstory because it's easier for me to build on it as I develop the character and get more familiar with him through playing.
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>>45353332
for crunch heavy games like pathfinder and the likes, I find that making a build and justifying it is easier.
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>>45353270
The only person who says you have to is you. But you really don't.
Shit's immensely practical for stuff like
>Next adventure approaches
>What plot hooks should I give?
And then it's a fucking cornucopia. It can be a quest from his god/church. It can be that his horse gets ill and they have to go to a particular area where the herb against that illness grows, with this area also being where your adventure is about to go down. Shit, he may be volunteering in protecting a caravan of merchants delivering pipweed, for a chance at an especially good contract to get his portions delivered to him regularly.
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>>45351613
Someone gets their IRL politics into a game.
And it's played seriously, rather than for comedy.

Yeah sure I'd love to be an overweight panpolydinongenderbodiedkin smashing patriarchy automatons, privilege golems, and construct constructs. I'd also be cool with being one of those wacky nazis and going on an easter egg hunt for those wascawwy jewws.

But if someone tries to unironically shove IRL politics into a game, nah.
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>>45353353
You mean like >>45353315 says? If so then I agree wholeheartedly
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>>45353315
>spontaneously revealing that the reason his character wants to get the MacGuffin is because his father spent his whole life trying to find it during play
And then it's a big part of the history of the McGuffin that it's not possible. The GM has either to rewrite his campaign or to veto that and by that act reveal some previously unknown fact about the McGuffin.
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>>45353380
>Someone gets their IRL politics into a game.
this 1000 times,

seriously, everyone has know this for over a century now, you do not discuss politics or religion in polite conversation, and for good reason.

the RPG table is no exception.
>>
I'm really bad at putting my thoughts down on paper so I understand op's two paragrapgh limit.

It's mostly because while I get how characters think and act, I write like a child.
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>>45353402
>>45353380
You have a rather specific conception of politics. I mean, the question of what is considered "good" in a game is very much political.
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>>45353453

And Captain Semantic appears to make another post with no point.
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>>45353361
only thing of note there is the pipweed guarding since he's volunteered for it. From that post I've gathered that pipweed>everything else.

Also I don't see how your examples are different from my check list. All you are doing is going down the same list and picking pronouns from the character assuming that character cares about all of this with equal level of excitement.

>>45353401
why veto it? if the McGuffin came into existence only recently then I can easily fluff it so that other's interest in it made it so that some actually tried to create it.If the McGuffin was a largely unknown item, then I can fluff it that the father found it and lost it on accident.
If there's a discrepency then I can make a conspiracy to distort the true of the item. Come on people, limber the fuck up.
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>>45353453
Yeah, but alignments are bullshit.

You are the protags, antagonist hid the Plot Coupon at the bottom of the dungeon behind the combat encounters. Go fetch.

Yeah people expect there to be a narrative in your game but it's not really necessary. Just so long as you've got a task to do and a means to do it, the story is not necessary.
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>>45353491
>All you are doing is going down the same list and picking pronouns from the character assuming that character cares about all of this with equal level of excitement.
Not exactly. Your suggestion was going "Let's see how he reacts if I fuck with him for no reason except that he's written a backstory". It also leads to nothing, as you may have mentioned.
My suggestion was using the information you were given to a) predict character behaviours (yes, I know it's only possible to a certain extent) and b) to fucking making the campaign interesting to both the player and the character, all the while making it look like it was written specifically for your players while you only change a minor detail once in a while.
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>>45352216
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>>45353595
I'm "fucking with him" because he's written a meaningless back story. Only thing different between you and me is that you are optimistic that you will predict his behavior and that doing so will make the campaign interesting.

If it goes well, it will be interesting. Considering that you and I both suggested the incapacitation of a pet I'm not sure where the difference lies beyond semantics and attitude. TLDR: Shit's happening regardless. If you are lucky the character cares, if not you've wasted time.
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>>45351683
ONLY BACKSTORY I NEED IS NAME, RANK AND SERIAL NUMBER!

HOORA!
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>>45353683
Playing in a clone wars game I see
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>>45352177
Yes they are also there personality's

I dont need to know about your characters past I need to know about there values and there interests

Just give me a hometown and where you trained and I'm happy.
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>>45352000
I'm sure I'm forgetting 1 other thing but I'm not sure what.
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>>45351986
Most of this is really just filler, no effect or relevance to the character or backstory.

Usually short is best. ~100 words is my groups average.
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>>45353671
Ok, I guess we both have had to do with very different players. If the people you play with are seriously expected to put shit they care about in their backstories and then shit on what is apparently a core principle of their character… I dunno, I'm very sorry for you. I actually wanted to write something about the plot feeling personal, but in this case it really makes not much sense.

Also I didn't suggest to incapacitate the horse. I mean, you could do that, or you could just say some shit like "it's getting slowly weaker and will die in 2 months if it doesn't get to McGuffinville". Both are legitimate, even if the first one can cause the player just say 'fuck it' and just buy a new horse.
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>>45353792
>death is the ultimate cc

A person's character is judged based on their adversities and their choices. You can write me 50 pages on how your character is a pacifist if you want, but it won't change the fact that you punched someone in the game. If there's no adversity then there is no story. Now it doesn't mean that everything that can go wrong has to go wrong, but people are pussies if they can't foresee risks in their action and investments. Apathy will cost nothing and will earn nothing.
>>
People in this thread should really try focusing their backstories to answer concrete useful questions like what the characters goals and beliefs are in just a couple of sentences.

"Chess and hunting has thought me the value of patiance and planning, I wont rush anything in this venture."

See? Short and really easy to use during play. It informs you about what the character cares about and why.
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>>45353860
It may be because of my lack of sleep, but I see literally nothing in my post that relates to yours. Would you mind reformulating?
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>>45353865
Funnily enough, if I write something like that in my backstory, I will probably be incapable of adhering to it. I tend to play my characters organically, and only if I'm not sure what the character would do in a given moment I go "What would a typical chess player/certain god worshipper/member of my social class/etc do?". So if my character concept isn't built around being (im)patient, I won't know how patient I will behave until I have to.
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>>45353880
I suspected that you were operating on low sleep since the conversation does seem to be going in circles.

You are basically saying that I'm a bad gm for shitting on things characters on stuff they care about. I'm saying that that's where the narrative is formed because there's conflict.

Players should be challenged
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>>45352000

abstracted wealth a best
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>>45351613
males playing females. every time i have been in a game and a male played a female character they either do it so cringe worthy that i cant even look them in the eye or they try to sex up other PCs for personal gain.
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>>45353934
But I didn't say, or at least mean that. I mean, yes, it's suspicious, but we're on /tg/, here everything's suspicious. I meant to say that shitting on stuff they care about is only ONE of many possible ways to treat this stuff, and if you walk this way you have to be especially cautious to make the loss actually mean something. Otherwise it's just cheap and also trains the players to not have anything they care about, since they learn that all that stuff will just be shat on.

Don't get me wrong, conflict's great and probably the most important element in RPG storytelling. But it has to lead somewhere instead of just being directionless thrashing around.

(but you know what? i really will get myself some sleep now. Sorry if I've been shitty, it's the lack of sleep making me not notice it)
>>
I've never, ever had a GM that required me to write anything for character background, but if I did I would probably write something short and sweet, but as evocative as possible.

>Thunder-In-Ears
>Humans Barbarian
>Belongs to a horse tribe skilled in mounted archery and combat. Lives off the land and by constant warfare against other neighboring tribes. He uses a greatsword, a symbol of his people, which is used to decapitate and enemy's horse. This is preferred to killing an enemy outright, as they will either have to starve to death on the plain or be rescued, a case of humiliating defeat for either.
>Thunder's first horse died and he has shaved his head in mourning. His second horse, 'Color-of-the-wind' is a fast mare with a steady personality and steadier footing.
>The barbarian was blessed by his Goddess and sent on a mission. (All people in the campaign had 24 in every stat due to fuckery, so when I made a character to join in they told me to make it fair I would be allowed to have that too, hence the blessing.)

I would probably keep things short and simply like the above, but have limited experience in this sort of thing.
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>>45353981
You must be leading a bleak and sad life, with only shitty people around you.

>>45353963
My brother!
Seriously, counting the fucking coins back and forth is the worst possible waste of time at the table. hell, someone looking up the [insert very basic rule] rules for the 10th time is better, at least you can just tell them how it works and it's done until the next time. Fucking wealth has to be tracked permanently and needs actual attention from me.
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>>45352463
I like to treat backstory as an optional thing on both fronts, you don't need to write it and you don't have to read it but if other players ever feel a need to understand where you're coming from, then it's convenient to have on hand.

Especially I find as, in our party at least, not everyone is invested in roleplay (it varies wildly) and also since we're playing over mic, people tend to accidentally talk over each other sometimes or generally feel less comfortable about roleplaying (dunno why but it seems to be that way), so it helps if you can abridge mundane details.

The most important thing though is to know your group. If they don't like writing/reading and just want to kill, don't make them write one or force it on your GM. Likewise, if everyone is comfortable reading a couple pages per character then that's fine too. Like, if it wasn't obvious already, just read the mood of the group and work from there. There isn't any right or wrong answer.
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>>45354017
>and needs actual attention from me.
You sound wonderful.
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>>45353918
The point is just to make clear exactly what you need during play. This is a game and not a fan fiction writing circle.
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>>45353918
As a GM, I would be worried if that was given as a reason for absolutely no backstory. Like, even if you don't adhere to everything you write down, I still think a few lines are a worthwhile investment as a rule of thumb guide (both to let the GM know what to expect and also to help you if you ever do feel stuck).
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>>45354031
Nobody told anything about not paying attention to the actual game. But changing a useless number for the tenth time in the evening is jsut grating and has no pay-off. It's even worse than DnD style XP tracks with their useless granularity. The latter at least have only to be changed once per session.

If I wanted to play a game about who getting the most money I would play fucking Monopoly. Unless Monopoly money comes in smaller and more practical units than most fantasy money.
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>>45354069
>useless granularity
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>>45354078
>my text is green
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>>45354050
No, no, I don't mean "no backstory". I would insert the really central parts of the character's personality (max. 3 traits) and then just lots of fluffy details. The rest would be spontaneously decided during play. I just have made the experience that characters I create play out differently than I imagine them first, partly due to the stuff they are confronted with mid-campaign, partly just because the traits I imagined first don't feel organically fitting to the rest of the personality.
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>>45354106
<2016
<still greentexting
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>>45352138
Goddamn that's a lot of words for a comic.
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>>45354336
Certainly maked order of the stick not seem so bad.
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>>45351834
>I do hate the idea of exp and levels being awarded when the DM arbitrarily feels like it instead of when the party kills monsters.

What if we don't want our games to be based on the stupid meta-concept of chasing levels? What if we don't want our games to be shackled to a very limited timeframe that is imposed on you by an experience track? What if we want the players to not spend time figuring out that combat is the way to more "power", at the expense of roleplaying?

XP is a stupid and childish concept that people only use when they're new DMs because they can't' comprehend that games are much more enjoyable when they're about the experience and the narrative and not "LOL WE KICKIN DOWN DA MONSTER DOORS".

And no, the fact hat you idealize beer-and-pretzel games are the epitome of fun does not change anything.
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>>45352138
I loved that ending.
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>>45351986
I hate this. You're a human... fighter? Paladin? Show me the rest in game, I'll ask for the parts my character cares to learn.
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>>45354406
I feel like this is some sort of pasta, but I've never seen it before. Is this what it's like to be an Italian peasant, confronted with spaghetti for the first time?
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>>45351613
The word "steampunk." FF-style airships.
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>>45354455
>FF-style airships.
Which FF? There's quite a big difference between the Highwind, the Leviathan, the Ragnarok, and the Enterprise.
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>>45354439
I wonder what it's like for the anons who saw the origins of katanas are underpowered in d20
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>>45354481
Any of them.
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>>45354505
Okay, so what's wrong with the Ragnarok? It's basically a space shuttle on roids.
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I get the fuck out of any setting that has any combination of robots, dinosaurs, vampires and ninjas. I need a consistent theme.

That said, I am okay with robot dinosaurs and ninja vampires.
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>>45354526
Exactly.
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>>45354557
How about the Celsius? The Leviathan?
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>>45351613
It really depends on the system. DnD? Yes, all i need is a rough summary of your life if im starting you at level one. Shadowrun? You probobly did a lot before joining the shadows and i want to know why you did. CoC? You fucker beter get me at least a few pages of back story. I want you to be invested in your cherecter when i decide to kill him/her off via unlucky diceroll
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>>45354604
>You fucker beter get me at least a few pages of back story.
Fuck you, you get bullet points like everybody else.
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>>45354531
I feel like in a lot of settings vampires would make poor ninjas

If vampires are easy to tell from a regular human it will be very easy to tell somethings up with that peasent/merchant/whatever

They would be very good at the more directly sneaky parts though mistforms and batforms and shit.
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>>45354612
my game my rules, either you get me that backstory or i fill it in for you, and have some fun with that
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>>45354635
Alright, but it's going to be 72 point.
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>>45354604
>CoC? You fucker beter get me at least a few pages of back story. I want you to be invested in your cherecter when i decide to kill him/her off via unlucky diceroll

OP here. The above is exactly the reason I'd prefer to write shorter bios.

It's also why I don't play with CoC.
>>
>>45351834
>I do hate the idea of exp and levels being awarded when the DM arbitrarily feels like it instead of when the party kills monsters. I haven't played with any DM that does that yet but I would probably leave without giving it a chance if I found one.

So what about passing skill checks? You gonna award XP to players every time they do that? Awarding XP when you kill monsters tells me that you're putting a disproportionately heavy focus on combat and telling your players that it's the only thing that matters, which is just as arbitrary if not moreso. Oh, you stabbed a rat in a sewer? 20 XP congrats. You just avoided a boss fight entirely through something like sneaking, diplomacy, or some other nonviolent solution? No XP for you, so what if it was difficult, should have been fighting and grinding for that XP like it's some sort of JRPG!

As far as I'm concerned, unless you're playing out some sort of grindy slugfest, XP should be gained either at the end of a session or after completing quests/encounters, not just after combat.
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>>45352138
This would work as a comic if his story was made into an illustrated flashback, instead of a hugeass wall of text.
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>>45351613
>I'll start: Requiring me to write more than two paragraphs of character biography.
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>>45351613
>I'll start: Requiring me to write more than two paragraphs of character biography.
Meh, some people play roleplaying games, and some people play medieval combat simulators, to each their own, I suppose.

Even though... Personally...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fxkm0NbPEY

Forced party split, almost never ends well...
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>>45351784
Because in what way could an ordinary person's backstory possibly fucking matter?

How many fucking fantasy characters do you know of that god damn walk around with a fucking roadmap of their entire being?

Why can't DMs come up with NPCs to engage the players on aspects of their past so it's actually relevant to the game and not a waste of time and effort. It's as fucking simple as having a bar floozy fall for a PC and ask him personal questions.

Like you're so uncreative you can't build a PCs past based on what he does today? How many shows do you watch that make us sit through 2 paragraphs worth of information about a character instead of revealing it to us as we see his story? Good job OP, you dodged a shit game and niggas mad.
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>>45356119
Fuck that gay ass shit, joining a party dosen't make us married. and fuck DM's who can't handle it.
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>>45356016
Agreed. I feel like this perfectly illustrates OP's point - why is this a comic of him going wordswordswords to a $20/hr prostitute? Why isn't it an epic comic of his weird well of ghosts experience, with the $20/hr hooker as the framing device?

This is what pages of backstory feels like to me. If your character has already done that much, why aren't we playing that instead?
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>>45355843

I think the poster you're responding meant "arbitrarily" in the sense that he's randomly doling out uneven amounts of XP for things he thinks are "cool".

I've had plenty of sessions revolve only around political intrigue, schemes, and he-said-she-said kind of drama. People enjoy it, but they feel especially gypped if you don't award any XP for 3 hours of decent role-play.
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>>45351683
You'd be surprised how easily a backstory can be summarized.

>Daniel was raised by his blacksmith father and his mother in a religious southern village. He learned to be patient and even-tempered from his father, but relations between them grew strained after Daniel found out about his father's affair. Daniel became a paladin and set out wandering to do his god's will, but still writes back to his mother and half-sister.

I could expand that to several pages if I wanted to - half of his backstory really was about his parents - but the other players and the GM only need to know the basics.
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>>45356183
>Shows that make us sit through 2 paragraphs of information
Every anime ever
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>>45356207
>I really like wasting people's time at the table while they listen to my character go through his half of the dungeon
End your life.
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>>45351613
Pathfinder
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>>45351613

D2O systems, D&D, Pathfinder, Alligments or that kind of shit.
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>>45356511
So, shit.
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>>45351613
Whenever the DM has home-brewed more house rules than there are core rules.
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>>45356496
let's see you a missing : village name , paren'ts name , father's mistress' name. ABSOFUCKINGLOTLY NOTHING related to religion until he's suddenly a paladin lmao. random ass half sister suddenly appearing. is she his dad's daughter ? how did they keep in touch since it says he started disliking his father after the affair? Are his parents still living together ? did they get a divorce ? is dad living with his mistress ?

there i've gotten a longer list of questions than the backstory you've written
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>>45352209
>You get what you put in and what you show for it.
Which is precisely why I don't want to play with people who put 0 effort into their characters.
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>>45356183
>I refuse to put any effort into my character and expect to be catered to

You're an entitled piece of shit and you should kill yourself.
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>>45351613

Reminder that backstory is just masturbation and the only way to make it relevant or useful is to condense that shit as much as possible.

http://theangrygm.com/the-memory-game/
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>>45351613
When the gm can't corral the group or gets sidetracked himself alot.

I know keeping a group on task can be like herding cats sometimes but come on dude. Focus.
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>>45363748
This. Usually if I do a background it's purely yo show where I picked up the skills I currently have. If I've got a plot hook I'd like explored I'll mention some shit that can lead to that but that's about it.
It's not hard and honestly if you've got s background that's more than a 100 words odds are you're trying too hard.
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>>45354406
How does experience force a timeframe on your characters in any way?
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>>45364275
He's referring to the party being able to track their own progression instead of being in a blurry limbo of absolute DM level control.
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