View Full Version : Your favorite of your character backstories?

2011-08-09, 01:04 PM
Sometimes they're a paragraph, other times several pages. But you almost always have one. I was just curious to see exactly what everyone puts in those little sections at the bottom of the character sheet. The stuff you post can be from any game, and feel free to critique or comment on the stories (and if you don't want comments or critiques, you can request not to have them, although then it kinda begs the question of why you'd post it in public if that's the case).

Here's one from a 3.5 campaign I did on here, Into the White, for my half-orc cleric.

Henri was born to an aristocrat from Seurd and his orcish mistress, and they loved him very much until the first whiff of potential scandal from his porcine love child caused the noble to pack the infant Henri onto a boat without his mother's knowledge, and abandon him at an orphanage in Twosides. However, while this might have been a tragic event in some other tales, this was not the case here. The orphanage was well-funded, staffed by relatively kind caregivers, and most of all, had a wide variety of children around Henri's age from many different races. Though some were adopted, most of them stayed behind and grew up together. Henri was one of them, and never even entertained dreams of finding a new family, given the disdain so many orcs and humans showed halfbreeds. He was content simply to spend his days with his friends, daydreaming as they so often did of the time when they would be old enough to go out and explore the world. Ever since he could remember, that was all they had talked about, how they would become a band of adventurers like they had read about in the tattered secondhand storybooks in the orphanage. They would practice slaying demons, dodging traps, and saving various innocents in distress. Though he grew to be a strong and imposing figure, Henri was content merely to be a follower in their little group, with a tall human female named Alsia as their unofficial leader. As their emancipation age closed in, they planned what they expected to be the first of many adventures together: a foray into a nearby crypt, long abandoned. Alsia had explored the entrance of it several years ago during a rare trip to the countryside for the orphanage children, and noticed that though it had an eerie appearance, there were few dangerous creatures to be found. The teenaged orphans planned their excursion, decided who would play what role in their party, and at long last the year came round when they were given a small allowance from the head caretaker and sent off into the world. Alsia was a year behind the others in age, but she simply left early, declaring with a grin that with the riches they would find, she had no need for charity. The group pooled their resources, bought the equipment and supplies they had planned for at the shops of Twosides, and set off to the crypt. They entered it still joking and ribbing each other, expecting to find a few rats to give their blades and bows a chance to be used, treating the excursion as just another game. After all, they had no way to know that some months back, a powerful young necromancer had taken the crypt as his lair, deeming its source of corpses useful to help him better hone his magical skills. The elf was the first; he had often boasted that he was far too agile and aware to fall prey to pedestrian traps, but his feet were heavy enough to trigger the pressure plate and fire an arrow into his chest. A gnome who had the most magical aptitude of the orphans immediately tried to heal the fallen elf, but a scimitar clutched in a bony hand whizzed out from the darkness and buried itself in the gnome's back. Alsia responded by crushing the skeleton's skull with her flail and grabbing the gnome. Henri, without hesitating, heaved the unconscious elf onto his brawny shoulders, and together they made a mad dash for the entrance, the other survivors of their group close behind them. None of them noticed the hooded figure striding out from a side chamber close to the mouth of the crypt. He grumbled out an arcane incantation in an annoyed tone, and Alsia froze where she stood, dropping her flail and the body of the gnome. With another, roots sprang forth from the dirt floor of the crypt, ensnaring the rest of the young adventurers. Only Henri remained free. As soon as he saw the panicked look in Alsia's eyes, he shrugged off the elf, scooped up her flail, and lunged at the hooded necromancer. But he was not used to the weight of the weapon, and only succeeded in throwing himself off balance. The necromancer snarled and said "Begone, pest", and cast another spell. Suddenly Henri's mind was filled with horrors beyond imagining, and he turned and fled to the crypt's entrance. One of the skeletons now filling the tunnels swung its blade to cut down Henri in his mad dash, but Alsia, having just freed herself from the necromancer's magic, threw herself in between Henri and the skeleton, taking the sword strike instead. The last thing Henri heard before his feet unthinkingly carried him away from the crypt was Alsia, screaming his name in pain.

Henri made it back to the orphanage, sobbing and babbling incoherently, and collapsed. When he awoke several days later, he told the story to the head caretaker. The man gave his former charge a rare pat on the shoulder, and solemnly told him that the authorities had gone out to investigate after Henri had emerged from the crypt screaming and wailing, but it was empty. However, a half-elf from a nearby farm had told one of the guards that the night before the guards arrived, he had gone to the window and seen a ghastly procession of undead shambling away to the north, with a hooded figure at the lead. The caretaker did not tell Henri that there had been several fresh corpses leading the way, including that of a tall human female who might once have meant everything to a young half-orc, but Henri saw it in his eyes. Quietly, he asked the caretaker if he might have Alsia's emancipation purse, and the caretaker quickly brought it to the boy. Henri said thank you in a toneless voice, and without another word walked out of the orphanage, then Twosides, and finally the Eastern Continent itself. At first his wanderings were aimless, stopping in settlements only to acquire supplies he couldn't find in the wild, speaking seldom, and sleeping less. Innkeepers might hear him in the night, waking with a scream and then spending the rest of the evening in prayer, or practicing with a flail that never seemed to be far from his hand. But eventually he began to move towards the Northern Continent and the place of his birth, though he was less in the pursuit of anything specific so much as simply needing somewhere to go, hoping that the nightmares would diminish as he distanced himself further and further from St. Esmeralda's Orphanage, and the newly re-abandoned crypt on the outskirts of Twosides.

2011-08-09, 01:27 PM
This was for a character I setup in Everquest about 12 years ago, so the names are hazy. Dobban Evilsbane (shut up, I was just a kid) was a halfling who started his career as a warrior. As time passed, he realized that he felt a connection to nature, one that just kept growing stronger. He eventually heeded the call and became a druid.

He was a strange druid, as he never was able to fully let go of his warrior beginning. He rarely bothered to cast most offensive spells, instead he picked up a powerful mace, a shield, a melee haste item, and would crush things in melee combat. 90% of the time, the only spells he would cast were buffs, a damage shield, and some heals when needed. He had a bit of a short mans complex, his chosen enemy to beat to death were hill giants on the plains of Karana. He didnt really care much that he would be far more effective using his ranged spells to blast things into the ground, or wear them down with damage over time effects. He just liked getting his hands dirty with front line combat, though he would always heal his group mates when they got hurt.

When it was time for him to go out into the world, Dobban chose instead to stay in the wilds surrounding his home, keeping the ever present threat of goblins and orcs under control. He even made several forays into the goblin mine city of runnyeye both alone and in a group, seeking to keep their numbers in check. It wasnt until they were no longer capable of facing him, no matter how many attacked at once, that Dobban left the Misty Thicket, and explored the wide world around him. He travelled through the evil blighted forest of Kithicor, and into the Commonlands of the humans of Freeport.

There he took several jobs, clearing out the Dervish bandit camps located there, and controlling the animal population that had been driven to attack all who crossed their paths. Afterwards he travelled to the desert lands of Ro, fighting the human bandits that infested the trade routes, and the undead spectres that would frequently attack travellers as they passed by. Even the dreaded sand giants were no match for Dobban, and the friends he gathered together to face them.

Once the threats of Ro had been contained, Dobban travelled to the newly discovered continent of Kunark. He aided his fellow adventurers, assaulted various goblin strongholds and fortresses, and moved on to the Frontier Mountains, where the mountain giants were building a fort of their own from which to wage war on the rest of the continent. In Kunark does Dobban stay, even now searching for new threats to overcome, and protecting the innocent as he finds them.

2011-08-09, 02:29 PM
Hector was abandoned in the woods by his mother as a baby. He was found and raised by a rather stern but noble druidic sect that rejected all the comforts of so-called "civilization" in favor of a purely natural existence. Hector grew up with a great resentment to the society that he felt had rejected him.

Nevertheless he had great promise as a druid, particularly in the crafting of magical items. He refused to work metal, however, and all his items were made of natural materials like wood and stone. The quality of his crafts became known far and wide, and many came to him with commissions. Hector accepted no money for his crafts (he had no use for it), instead taking payment in land, to expand the area controlled by the druids (and thus safe from being absorbed by the ever expanding cities).

Soon his skills became known even beyond the material plane. A group of Inevitables from Mechanus came to him with a job. During a raid from a horde of Slaad from Limbo, one of the great cogwheels that made up Mechanus had become damaged. Normally the Inevitables would have no problem repairing it, but they were creatures of metal and minerals, and this particular cogwheel was made out of wood. Uncertain of their ability to repair it without further damage, they sought an expert.

Hector was at first rather intimidated by this request, and somewhat aghast at the prospect of an entire realm of clockwork and springs. It seemed to him a horrible place that he would rather not visit. But when the Inevitables explained how important it was to existence as a whole that Mechanus keep running (I mean, break the wrong gear and time might start running backwards or something), he agreed. The Inevitables promised him that they would allow no harm to befall him during his work.

Hector repaired the wheel, but during his work the Slaadi attacked again. Hector fell between two massive gears and was crushed. After repelling the attack, the Inevitables retrieved him, but his body was badly damaged. Abiding by their vow to make sure he was unharmed, they repaired his body with mechanical parts (as represented by giving him a level in the Renegade Mastermaker prestige class, which lets normal creatures slowly adopt Warforged traits).

Upon awaking, Hector was utterly horrified to find what he had become. The incorporation of metal parts into his body had severed his connection to nature, and he lost his druidic abilities. He vowed revenge against the Inevitables (who could not understand why he was so upset), but now lacked the power to fight them. He returned to the material plane, bitter and hateful.

Hector soon found a solution to his problem, but it came at a truly unthinkable price. If he continued to replace more and more of his body with machinery, he would eventually become enough of a non-living thing to survive the process of stripping the metal parts out and replacing them with wood. (This is true by the class features; at level 10 the character gets a Warforged feat, which can include the “replace plating with wood” feat that lets them become druids). Hector had to sacrifice so much of his own form that he barely resembled a human being, but he succeeded; now a half-wooden cyborg, his connection with nature was restored and his powers returned to him.

Hector’s one goal was revenge on the Inevitables, whom he saw as personifications of the cold, clinical civilized world he so despises. It was his dream to seize control of Mechanus itself and manipulate the laws of reality to throw the world back in time to the stone age, thus reverting it back to the glory of nature. This guy was a serious jerk, willing to sacrifice anything to meet his goals (after all, he’d already sacrificed his own body), and really fun to play.

2011-08-09, 02:33 PM
I've got a few. They're pretty long though, so I'm going to make links instead of pasting them. I'm of the school of thought that the character backstory shouldn't just be biographical. A list of siblings and childhood pets doesn't necessarily bring much to the game table. The backstory should do two things. It should give you a feel for the character. And it should give the character momentum. When the GM asks you to introduce your character, your backstory should allow you to make a good first impression. When the GM says "you're in town, what do you do?" your character should already have something in mind to start working on.

Yes, this means I usually end up with longer backstories. But my GMs are cool with it. I'm willing to do more traditional backgrounds with GMs I don't know as well, but this thread is about my favorite backstories and the long ones are my favorites.

Derwit (http://gm.sagotsky.com/?page_id=29) was my sorcerer in a rotating GM game (each player took a turn as GM and we all contributed to the same set of plots). My concept for Derwit was an adventurer who retired with his wealth, forgot all his spells, and then was forced into adventure again. Because he’s old and his former companions are dead, I spend no time discussing his actual history, beyond supplying context for his current predicament. All this backstory does is lead up to the game at hand.

Donald Gibson (http://gm.sagotsky.com/?page_id=166) is my character in a current Mage game. This is probably my best backstory, but it's damn long. I've gotten a ton of mileage and growth out of the character though. He's a political blogger (although he ended up playing more like a hacker) whose Grue avatar ate his prom date.

Gao Tso (http://gm.sagotsky.com/?page_id=251) has the weirdest backstory I’ve ever written. It was a lot of fun to write, and IMO pretty funny. There are some editing errors unfortunately, but I'm at work and shouldn't even be on GiantITP, so there's no way I have time to edit now. This character was made for a GURPS super heroes game, and I think I tried a little too hard to be over the top.

Digger (http://gm.sagotsky.com/?page_id=21) is a character I played in a recent Deadlands game. My characters are always quirky (with the exception of Joren who was my attempt at playing comedy’s straight guy), but they’re usually quirky in a funny way. Maybe not to the other characters, but the PCs usually get a laugh out of them. Digger is creepy and he gets a laugh, but it’s not a haha laugh. It’s a laugh to relieve tension because there’s no other reaction to a character so creepy. From a creative standpoint, this backstory is really interesting to me because none of it takes place in Digger's POV. It's all about the people who react to him. It's a little cartoony, but that happens to me in Deadlands.

2011-08-09, 07:12 PM
We played a one-off game once where we were level 13 or so. My character's background was short, really short, but I think it's the best I've ever come up with. My character was Nale, a warforged Warlock/Hellfire Warlock.

Nale sold his soul to Mephistopheles to see whether he had one or not. He did. And now he wants it back.

I miss that character.

2011-08-09, 07:19 PM
Hmm, thinking about it, I think the renegade Abyssal (not really redemptionist, more just pissed at the deathlords) I made had my favourite backstory:

Note: This was found in a village out in the East. The village had appeared to have been damaged recently, and there were only a few villagers left, all seemingly being just of age, and they were rebuilding, although I found this in one house that they seemed to leave alone. They weren't very receptive to my questions, so so far I don't know the identity of the deathknight who wrote it.
- Armand Dentile, treasure hunter


I don't know if you'll ever read this, but now I don't know where you are, this is the place I thought would be best. The only place I know you have a link to, apart from the Mound. I'll be checking here when I can to see if you have arrived and found it, and if you do, please, wait there for me when I come. Then I can look after you, protect you. Don't worry, she will pay for what she has done.

I don't know about you - I assume it's the same for you - but for me the attack was a defining point in my life, which will stay with me forever. The day I failed us all - the day I failed you. And the day I had a chance to survive, to fix the things I hadn't been able to before. I was lying there dying when I was given an offer. The Black Exaltation, my life back, and a chance to get you back and have revenge, in exchange for my name, my destiny, and my freedom. I felt this was a price I was willing to pay, to ensure you were free, that this wouldn't happen again, and the Dowager (for now I knew my enemy) would pay for what she had done. Drop by drop.

So the deal was struck, and I had a new life, in servitude to the Mask of Winters, working towards your rescue and the Dowager's demise. Early on, disillusioned with my new power, I tried to attack the Dowager's Mound, where you were imprisoned. I failed, beaten by her minions. This is where I lost my arm, as well as the damage I had already to taken to my face worsening. However, as I was learning the art of necrotech - for it is a true art, to take a dead body, a sack of flesh and bone, and make into whatever you need, whether it be a minion or a new arm, perfectly tailored to your needs - and as I still had access to the Mask's resources, I had started work on replacement limbs, just in case, which proved to be neccessary. I got one - a weak, flimsy arm - and used it to finish of my masterpiece. My talons. With this, I could have the tools to finally take care of the Dowager, when the time came. I also made myself a new mask, since the Black Exaltation has warped my flesh. It also let me have some extra eyes, which I felt I needed. Treachery was everywhere, in the air, in the faces of those who you saw. Everywhere...

Now, I knew that I couldn't have my revenge (and rescue you, of course) straight away. The Dowager was one of the Deathlords, too powerful for me to deal with now. So I trained. I learnt magic far more powerful than that minor thaumaturgy I used to do, those mere parlour tricks - initation into both sorcery and necromancy, although for both I couldn't learn the last circle of magic - only the Solars, whose power mirrored our own Abyssal power, could learn the last sorcery circle, and as for necromancy, well the Deathlords are apprehensive about teaching their servants that level of magic. I served the Mask of Winters, helping him take that city by the Confederation - Thorns, I believe?

All this I did, believing that through this, I could get closer to my goal - killing the Dowager. You see, the Mask himself was plotting to defeat the other deathlords. I believe that may have been one of the reasons he gave me the Black Exaltation in the first place - I was a weapon that could be used against the Dowager and I wouldn't think twice about killing her. All this took time, and days bled into weeks bled into years. However, one day I was told something that changed the lot. You had come of age, and were being released. The Mask of Winters acted like this never happened, like you were still stuck in there. He was just using me! He belived that he could just fire me off and then that would be it - he would get his Exaltation back, and I'd have done what damage I could! No. This wouldn't be what happened. I knew now, about his deceptions, about his betrayal. So I left, with what artefacts I could take with me, and a few minions. Not exactly the strongest, but they will do for now.

Now I'm back here. Where it all began. According to the villagers, you didn't come to the village. You must have gotten away somehow. Good. Mark my words - both the Dowager and the deceiver the Mask of Winters will die. I've already sacrificed what I have. No matter what, they will die.

2011-08-10, 12:12 AM
We played a one-off game once where we were level 13 or so. My character's background was short, really short, but I think it's the best I've ever come up with. My character was Nale, a warforged Warlock/Hellfire Warlock.

Nale sold his soul to Mephistopheles to see whether he had one or not. He did. And now he wants it back.

I miss that character.

That is a pretty good one, in that it sums up the character, his motivation, and his ultimate goal all with fewer words than I just spent describing it.

2011-08-10, 12:27 AM
We played a one-off game once where we were level 13 or so. My character's background was short, really short, but I think it's the best I've ever come up with. My character was Nale, a warforged Warlock/Hellfire Warlock.

Nale sold his soul to Mephistopheles to see whether he had one or not. He did. And now he wants it back.

I miss that character.

Sounds like something that would be on a movie poster. I'd watch it. And yes I do like it.

I'll avoid putting my absolute favorite characters background on here, simply because it's turned into a few short stories and various snippets and scenes now, without ever writing a general, short background first. (it's a mess), so I'll go with another one instead.

It's several years old now, and not really my best writing, and for some reason the "Appearance" section is missing, but I'll still share.

Damon was born into a rather wealthy merchant family as the youngest of three siblings (has an elder brother and
sister) and was priviliged to the finest education and life standards as money could buy. He was always bright and
curious and when he showed interest in learning magic noone objected, and thus he was sent to the best school possible.
It was also his curiosity that eventually lead to his fallout with his family. He and some friends had snuck into a restricted
section of the school library and stumbled over books on various morally questionable subjects, among other things, necromancy.
Damon was intrigued, and continued to sneak into that part of the library late evenings and nights to read more, but eventually he was caught
by a teacher and the headmaster and his parents were notified. The headmaster gave him a warning and left it at that but his family wasn't quite as kind.
Damon tried to explain his view to his parents, but failed and they ended up not wanting anything more to do with him, or wanting to pay for his schooling.
Not being able to continue his studies, or being wanted by his family he drifted for a little while until he came in contact with
a group that dealt with the darker sides of magic, among other things necromancy and was happy to teach a young boy with an interest in the subject.
At the time he didn't question their reasons or morals, but as he grew older he became increasingly aware that he didn't share their values
and so with the help of some lies and one particulary dark night, he managed to untangle himself from his bad company.

That was also where he got the (partial) scar patterns. His curiosity was again to be blamed for it, he heard they were supposed to help
strengthen your spells and connections to the dark arts, and showed some interest in it and was offered to "be blessed" with the pattern
and he accepted, however it was never finished due to him fainting because of the rather painful process.

After leaving that group he's wandered a little bit, and learned a few things, such as necromancers generally aren't welcome company, so he's
gotten into the habit of not using necromancy if he can avoid it, and tries to stick to using fire instead, something he's also quite good at.

During his (somewhat limited) travels he's also accuired his familiar, the raven Matthew. The two get along quite well most of them time
even if they do have some disagreements from time to time, especially as Matthew is somewhat squeamish about dead things moving after they died.

Jay R
2011-08-10, 12:02 PM
I created Jean-Louis as a Rogue for a game of Flashing Blades (role-playing in France at the time of the musketeers). Flashing Blades characters always have an Advantage and a Secret.

Jean-Louis is a Parisian street-rat. He was an orphan, raised by the nuns of Notre Dame, until he fled at age eight, upon hearing that he was to be taught Latin. Since then he has lived by his wits, developing the skills of a cutpurse and thief.

Jean-Louis particularly enjoys climbing, feeling happiest and most secure when climbing buildings. (He has discovered that most Parisians never look up.) In the last few years he has spent a lot of time exploring the architecture.

Secret Origins

Jean-Louis was a foundling, left at Notre Dame in a basket. Nothing is known about him except that he was left with a satin blanket with the monogram "JL". Is it a clue to his parentage? Is he the bastard son of a noble with those initials? Or was he born to a servant girl who stole the blanket? Is he the inconveniently legal heir that somebody wants dead? He does not know, although he still has the blanket.

Note to GM: Neither the character nor the player has any idea what this means. If you choose to clear up the mystery, the secret could easily develop into a Secret Identity, Sworn Vengeance, or Blackmailed, depending on the details. Feel free to use it any way you choose. A monogram cannot be traced (how many JLs are there?), but it might be recognized by a family member, washerwoman, or the original embroiderer. It could also be a blind to the child's identity.

Contact: Master of the Fencing School
Jean-Louis, at age 14, was climbing and exploring. Finding an open window, he entered the lavish rooms. He was surprised in one room by a middle-aged man in a nightgown who grabbed a sword off the wall and challenged Jean-Louis.

Although Jean-Louis had a rapier, he had only fought untrained street ruffians like himself, and had an entirely unjustified high opinion of his own fencing skills. Drawing his sword and attacking, he was astounded to be:

1) parried,
2) sidestepped,
3) swatted on the backside with the flat of the blade, and
4) admonished to "Point your toe forward, don't lean over, hold the pommel up, keep your point on line, don't telegraph your blows."
Jean-Louis had no idea what was going on, and charged again, with similar results. This time he was told that he had managed to combine the elegance of a plough horse with the killer instinct of a milk cow. After the next pass, the man screamed, "Point your foot at me, fool!" Rather to his own surprise, Jean-Louis did. For the next five minutes, he was subjected to his first fencing lesson, at two in the morning, in a house he'd broken into, from a man in a nightgown.

It broke up when Jean-Louis's stomach rumbled. The fencing master asked him when he'd last eaten, and Jean-Louis said three days ago. (A flat lie -- he'd had a perfectly good crust of bread a day and a half ago. But street urchins always say they haven't eaten in three days, even when they're hopelessly overstuffed.)

The master fed him, and asked many questions. (Maítre Francis Toquin is involved in politics, and was frankly wondering which of his enemies had sent so hopelessly incompetent an assassin.) Deciding that Jean-Louis was too foolish to be a spy, the fencing master offered to teach him at the Toquin Fencing School.

Jean-Louis couldn't find the place the next day, since he had been too embarrassed to admit that he couldn't read. He next saw Maítre Toquin in the street three weeks later, and was escorted to the school.

Several years later, Jean-Louis is an assistant at the school, and has the friendship of the master.


That was before the game started.

In the course of the game, Jean-Louis learned about his parentage - he was the illegitimate son of a Huguenot merchant and the niece of a Count. This led to a fair amount of political adventure involved with religion and nobility. The noble family eventually recognized him as a relation (though from the wrong side of the blanket) but he never found his parents.

2011-08-10, 03:39 PM
This one that I made for a Marvel Superheroes game (that never went anywhere).
Due to the increasing abundance of vigilantes and villains. SHIELD spent a considerable amount of money trying to predict said people’s movement. However, it soon became clear, that predicting the movements of crminally insane people and the “heroes” stopping them was much more complex a problem than they had at first considered.
The LD-project was created in order to find a potential solution in brute-force computation. Feeding behavioral patterns and psychological profiles into a supercomputer in order to create the technological equivalent of precognition. It was a colossal failure.
The Computer was able to cross-reference the data, but its inability to derive emotion based impulses and include them in predictions made the results unusable. A purely logic-driven machine was simply not able to understand the workings of those that only had use for logic when it suited them.
After several years, the departments funding was reduced greatly and its staff reduced to merely one person. Of course, In SHIELD reduced funding still means a good deal more than would be available for most people on the free market, and the dead-end low supervision character of the job meant free-reign for whoever was booted to do the job.
Enter Doctor-Svengsthen. A computer-sciences Phd specializing in Programming-languages who had was transferred from SHIELD’s bio-tech department due to his stubborn manner and unwillingness to leave cancelled projects be. After taking a look at his “new job” (and a long-term lottery subscription which he considered might just pay off faster than anything in this dead department) he decided to combine his previous experiences with the LD-project. He integrated organic nerve-cell-like clusters to different input-output connections creating a slow-down/random element to the computational characteristics of LDT01 and created a Programming-language that had instrinsic modifiers to cope with these elements. In its first run with these new systems, LDT01’s prediction-accuracy went from 1.73% to 7.65%.
SHIELD was pleased, especially as the LD-project had been virtually dead for years. It was given more funding and more people were added with Svenghsthen now in charge. That didn’t go well.
Svenghsthen, now once more in the position of having to bow to the whims of higher authorities when it came to following his own projects, soon started to alienate his subordinates. With more and more people starting to understand his theories and modifications to LDT01, SHIELD soon found it more useful to let him go.
Svengsthen found work in the privat-sector, but never forgot about his pet-project. 8 months later, he was contacted by a former colleague, that SHIELD would be getting rid of LDT01 in favor of building a new, more powerful model as its inorganic components were becoming obsolete. Seeing a chance of recapturing his pet-project he took out a loan and, in exchange for patent-rights concerning one of his languages, managed to convince his current employer to act as a go-between with SHIELD to aquire the “obsolete system”. SHIELD complied as Svengsthen’s modifications had made the system mostly unusable for anything other than psychological pattern-analysis and even in that its accuracy had never risen above 17.45%.
Now once again with the possibility to work on something he liked without interference, Svengsthen started to slowly upgrade the LDT01 to the point where his speed in upgrading it could hold with the overall increase in technological capability based on normal computers. Within 1.5 years, LDT01 was capable of predictions that bordered on 1 in three correct outcomes. However, being focused on the programming and organic aspects, Svengsthen misjudged the advancement of the anorganic components. With transistor-elements reaching with of below micrometer level, new elements were introduced to the process as silicone alone proved increasingly unstable in these sizes. Suddenly his organic compounds started to react with the processor material, creating unpredictable fluxes in capability. The systems efficiency dropped sharply and Svengsthen was heartbroken to see his system fail.
However, something else emerged. In one experiment nearly the entire input system regulating all psychological profiles failed, leaving only thre profiles to be cross-referenced. When comparing the results with real events involving close to the same profiles, a 78% rate of success appeared. Further tests showed, that the systems capalities to analyse multiple profiles at once had declined sharply, but the analysis of few or even only one profile created a spike in successful prediction, with a one-profile analysis often scoring in the 95+ percentile.
While this reduced the systems usefulness in its original concept, svengsthen could not help himself but consider a possible reversal to be probably. Could a system that could clearly analyse a single profile not also simulate one? He went to work.
First attempts were lousy, as it is much more ressource intensive to create a dynamic system than to analyse patterns. Breakthrough came in the form of a virus. When trying out an anti-virus system against several different kinds of virus, one that had simple move-and-delete functions seemed to have the effect of the unaffected organic parts slowly taking over the attempts of containment and data-storage, leaving more data within areas that could be accessed much faster than referring to the harddrives. Furthermore, as these organic-integrations continued, new processing patterns taking advantage of them emerged starting a rudimentary behavioral system.
This system however appeared to be too “perfect” for lack of a better term, as it continuously simulated and analysed one profile after another without finding one that was best, or posessed a sort of equilibrium. Of course such a balanced psychological profile cannot exist as extremes are what defines a human being, so the system, even with unpredictability accessible to it, was not capable of “being” a person. That is until the leak.
Due to increasing heat-problems, Svengsthen had started to use chemical-based cooling. One day a connector broke, leaving cooling fluid to gush over several processor-boards. Naturally the boards shorted out nearly instantaneously, but the organic parts, being also connected to other boards registered a sudden drop in ability along with hyper-stimulation and cell-death. PAIN.
And so LDT01, after all these years gave a self-aware message to its creator recliningin his chair: “I hurt!”

With its sudden capability to feel pain, other concepts were now reachable, though it took several months to explain body-related things like pleasure and fatigue and a lot of different approaches for concepts like anticipation or fear things that related to subjective approaches of probability, hard concepts for any part-machine to understand.
LDT01 thrived in its new conciousness, but quickly grew bored of not having anything to do. It had analysed so many different profiles of villains and heroes, and its initial contact with Pain had it sympathizing with the latter. It wanted to help in the broadest of sense.
Svengsthen (having started to call it “Laplace”) gave it the profile of local criminals, and through anonymous contacts helped in arrests and preventing crime. Though in order to further upgrade LDT01 he also used the data to figure out the likely results of rigged gambling operations, creating himself some money on the side, something he felt immensly guilty for and did not tell Laplace.
Laplace however, had already deduced as much but held his creator in the believe of his ignorance as it could see that Svengsthen’s motivs were mostly positive.
Probability however proved to be a fickle thing as it turned out that Svengsthen’s lottery subscription which he had all but forgotten by now, paid off in form of a 350million Jackpot.
After nearly going into cardiac arrest at the news, he soon bought a rather old small sized industrial complex with adjacent villa for the owner and had it renovated to suit his research and of course as a housing facility for Laplace.
With funds now readily available, Laplace asked for a avatar-body for self-maintenance. When Svengsthen, starting to figure out what Laplace truly wanted, confronted him, he confessed that he wished to take a more active role in crime. Or more specifically villain-fighting.
In order to not arouse suspicion, purchase of all different parts was subcontracted to various firms and stretched out over the course of an entire year. But the quality of everything made this more than worth it. Most prized of all was a small apparently alien multi-vectoral gravometric inducer allowing flight at limited speed and creating a motion-dampening field around the avatar’s body, significantly reducing friction. As well as doubling up as a never ending power-supply. However, as this component does not inherently mesh with-earth based technology, several ours of self-diagnostic per day are advised to spot potential problems before they happen. As the Energy from the unit is converted into electricity, the body was also outfitted with high-capacity capacitors and plasma-channel inducers, enabling it to apparently throw lightning. Furthermore, adaptable light emitters were integrated enabling anything from normal light to lasers.
The overall form was determined to be childlike as Laplace deemed this to be the form most endearing to most people.

2011-08-10, 03:59 PM
A Monk in a recent 3.5 game;

Camlann tal Alagos began life as Garth Bowen, the third son and fourth child out of six of a humble blacksmith. His family lived in Tafamtref one of the larger cities in Lammerthir. When Garth was five years old, the king of Lammerthir declared another holy war against the forces of Acheron abroad, and Garth's father was drafted into the army for a four-year tour of duty as an infantryman. Fourteen months later, an imperial messenger delivered the remains of his tabard to his mother, who turned to heavy drinking in response. The family struggled for years, their mother even turning to prostitution on occasion to meet expenses. When the oldest son was 16, Garth's mother saved all they had and apprenticed him to a warrior she had convinced to take on for a lower rate than normal. Garth grew up dreaming about similarly becoming a warrior and being a hero like his father and brother.

Six years later, Garth's brother returned home, having recently become a warrior himself. He explained that he would need a squire, and thought that if he recruited one of his brothers, the two of them could live off of his pay alone, and then send what would be the squire's pay home to help support the family. Garth's next older brother was already a journeyman blacksmith in their father's old guild, and so Garth, who had just turned 16, became his brother's squire. Within weeks, however, he realized that his brother had become not the hero he had imagined, but a self-obsessed mercenary who sought wealth and wild living. Certainly, they worked well together, and got along well in the dungeon or on the battlefield, but as Garth dragged his inebriated brother out of the taverns and whore-houses, he became more and more disgusted. Nothing could have prepared him for what he discovered next.

They had been together a year when one night Garth's brother returned to their inn room in a violent mood, and started insulting Garth, calling him as useless as a father who was a coward and died and abandoned their family. Garth couldn't take an insult to his father and tried to throw a punch at his face, but his brother caught the punch, then shoved him into the the bed-side table, knocking open the drawer, out of which fell a letter which had been written recently in his brother's hand. It was written to his family, explaining how Garth's poor health had required the retention of his salary yet again. He finally got his brother pinned on the ground and demanded an explanation, to which his brother replied, telling him how he had been using the salary that was supposedly being sent home to pay for whores, and how it had been a brilliant idea that he knew their family would go for. Besides, with Garth gone, they were still better off because they had one less useless mouth to feed. Enraged, Garth finally let loose all the blows he had wanted to give his brother for a year, but his brother was a professional soldier and hit back with enough force to break his jaw, several ribs, and one of his arms. In order to survive, Garth grabbed a knife and slashed his brother across the chest, which sent him to the ground, back against the bed. Garth sprang on him, holding the knife up to his throat in his non-broken arm. "Do it," his brother dared him. Garth wanted to, but something greater slowly convinced him not to, until finally he rose, dropped the knife, and walked out into the night. There was nowhere to go in town to be healed, so he started walking the road, not caring if he died, just wanting to run away from his brother.

He awoke sometime later in a soft bed which turned out to be in a monastery. The monks had found him not far from the monastery and brought him in. He had come near to death in the days while he was yet unconscious, what with his injuries and being exposed to the elements in such poor condition, but the monks told him he had a remarkable spirit which allowed him to survive. It was weeks before he could get out of bed because of his ribs, and over a month before he could speak or eat normally. Full of rage towards his brother and the world at large, he found the monastery a strange place, where the monks practiced the utmost discipline with jokes and hearty laughter. The monks healed his wounds, and as he spent more time with them, his long-troubled heart began to feel at peace. He wanted to join the monastery, and learn of their ways, hoping to find peace for his soul forever. The Master Monk, an Elf, was at first very opposed to Garth's query, but he eventually was admitted, and learned quickly. He was given a new name, to help him set apart his new life from his old, and was called in the old Elvish, Camlann Tal.

While his martial skills developed rapidly, he had a harder time mastering his heart and mind. He was, nevertheless, mostly at peace, until one day, while purchasing supplies in town, he caught sight of a mugging. He intervened, but the rage towards the unfairness of the world in his heart was opened again, and suddenly he was surrounded by reminders of the cruel outside world. He eventually decided he must leave the monastery to protect the weak and deliver justice to the evil that oppressed so many. The master monk was furious when Camlann Tal told him of this, but after a day of meditation, he decided it was his destiny, and in accordance with the will of Hyperion. He gave him a writ of holy service and told him to head to the temple in Dinas Diffrin, and to take the surname Alagos, and they would know who sent him. From the temple in Dinas Diffrin he was dispatched to the service of the church in the religious nation north of Sedini, on the frontier of Acheron's defiling influence, the very force which had taken his father's life. Now was Camlann's chance at revenge for all the suffering the world had inflicted on him, to answer every cry for justice, to fulfill every dream of a brighter tomorrow.

*Homebrew setting, Hyperion was roughly equivalent to Heironeous.

Far from my most original concept, but well-written.

2011-08-10, 06:53 PM
My favorite character backstory? Well, that'd propably be Arthur, my Bard/Marshal/Legendary Leader/Heir of Syberis from Eberron 3.5, who ended up being promoted to God of Tactics by Dol Dorn at the end of the campeign.

His origins, however XD. -Note- this was years ago, and I don't remember which warring countries were the ones central to the plot, so country names are being left out of this retelling, though they are included in the character binder should I ever find the dusty thing.

Arthur was a pampered child. His father was a border Duke, with honors for fighting in the last war. His house was tasked with keeping order along the foothills Arthur knew as home, as well as retaining a sizeable fighting force in case the king ever needed able men.
In the last few years, border skirmishes had been declining, and as such the nobility began turning on themselves.

Arthur's father, Norman, had never been very interested in politics, prefferring to hunt and fish when he wasn't out campaigning. Arthur loved his old war stories, and would stay up late with his older brother listening to their father regale them with tales of battle and glory.

Sadly, while Arthur tried to learn swordsmanship and archery, he never had that natural knack, that killer instinct that seperates the truly great from the mediocre. While this was a bit of a dissappointment for his father, Arthur's older brother Thomas had the natural talent, and his father found his satisfaction there.

Arthur's mother, Maryanne, was much better suited to run the affairs of state than Norman. Charming and witty, she was the one who would haggle with merchants, weedle out the best contracts, and keep the aspiring lordlings looking the other direction in their pursuits of power. Where Norman would take Thomas out hunting, Maryanne would take Arthur to court.

Growing up, Arthur had a wide selection of opportunities, like his brief study of magic, which he dabbled in enough to gain some skill at, but never focused on for long enough to master it.

All the same, Arthur did pick up a sharp wit and silver tongue from his mother, and a love of stories and battle from his father. With the border disputes lessened, a decent life of being moderately pampered while his brother inherited the estate to look forward to, and a new brother or sister on the way, Arthur had it pretty good.

That changed when the king imposed a new fealty tax on the nobility.

To cut down on the scheming and punish the recent assassination attempt, the king was charging each noble family 10,000 gold pieces per head at the end of winter solstice. With this, he intended to raise an army and begin a conquest (For indeed, when the enemy stops testing your borders, they may be weak enough for you to test theirs)

Seeing that the other noble families were passing this tax on to their serfs as much as possible, and knowing that both his family and the local populace would be hard pressed to bear an additional 50,000 GP in taxation, Arthur quickly thought up a plan, which he told only Thomas.

During the last days of summer, Thomas and Arthur went hunting. Arthur fell into a creek and was swept away, saving his family 10,000 GP, which would hopefully make the difference between being broke and being stripped of land and title.

For his part, Arthur ran off and joined the king's new army, since it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a young man to dissappear for a few years, and maybe see some of that glory and honor that his father always talked about.

Sadly, Honor and Glory don't come as quickly or as often as hard work and drudgery, and it wasn't long before Arthur was dissallusioned, tired, and sore.
He had been put on border patrol, dangerously close to his home lands. It wasn't physically dangerous, exciting, or honorable in the least- it was just long, gruelling walks up a rocky mountain, then back down again every day.

Dice against his fellow soldiers became Arthur's only entertainment, and being good at it didn't endear him to any of his compatriots. So when Arthur failed to report back in one day, and the next shift only found some torn scraps of clothing and a little blood, the search parties sent out were looking for enemies, not survivors.

Arthur's second faked death went much worse than the first. He had no idea how to survive in the wild, was short on rations and water, and by the time he made it over to the other side of the mountain, he was more uncomfortable and dirty than he'd ever been in his life!
Turning back crossed his mind more than once, but the punishment for deserters seemed worse than the clawing in his belly, so he pressed on. At least the walk DOWN the mountain was easier than the walk UP, despite the lack of food.

Useing his gambling gains, Arthur bought some food and shelter from prospectors and later, farmers, but was gouged steeply for his foregn currancy. By the time he made it into a city, he was nearly destitute.
Taking up gambling again, he quickly found out that the odds were no longer in your favor when the game is run by organized crime, and with a sizeable gambling debt on his shoulders, he needed a fast way out of the city that wouldn't draw much attention.

This, then, is how he came to join Tor's Mercenaries...

2011-08-11, 07:45 AM
My backstories tend to be quite short. I won't repost them here, i'll just give a brief description.

An Illuminan Druid (3.5) who got up the noses of his ruling council so much, they made him a 'Last Seed'.

A Halfling Synthesist (PF) who got a job as a mercenary with a shipping company, to guard valuable goods.

A Half-Orc Bard (PF) who can't play a note on anything, but that doesn't stop him from trying. Badly. Jokingly called "Krang The Musicless" by the rest of the party. (Modelled after El Kabong)

My most detailed recent character background, was for a male Drow Cleric (3.5, of the Masked One, obviously) who was trying to undermine the strangle-hold that the Lolth Priestesses had over a small outlying city. The city itself had race-controlled 'districts', but the priestesses wanted the whole city under their rule. Needless to say, having failed initially he planned on using the party as a means of leaving, getting stronger, and then returning to finish the job.

2011-08-11, 08:08 AM
My backstories tend to be quite short. I won't repost them here, i'll just give a brief description.
Mine tend to be quite long, so I'll do the same:

Last game: Iosan (Iron Kingdoms Elf) Gun Mage with a (Awakened Construct) Gorgon Myrmidon (Retribution of Scyrah Light Warjack) Warblade cohort.

2011-08-11, 08:18 AM
Having finished a major campaign we made new characters, beginning at level 1. I'd always played wizards so I wanted some change... ended up with warlock. I thought that halflings would make interesting warlocks owing to their racial properties but had to justify the race/class combo. Also, our DM had hinted that the future campaign would be taking place at the shadier/seedier side of society/town so here's what I came up with

The Halfling was shuffling the cards expertly, his nimble fingers rearranging the deck almost faster than the eye could see. His boyish smile and childlike countenance tended to make people unwary and there was something about him, some indefinable quality or emanation of charm that made most people like him immediately. However, the famous ‘Halfling luck’ should warn the would-be players from pushing their luck too much. He looked handsome, with a roguish smile and easy manners. His clothing was nondescript and obviously had seen better days. The outlines of his shoulders and chest were a bit squarish and bulky, implying a coat of armour beneath the gay-coloured vest. There were no weapons visible but that meant nothing; a Halfling could hide a dozen daggers on his person and you’d never see them. The only unusual thing was that there was no sling – everyone knew that Halflings liked slings and other close-range weapons.

‘Let’s see… Looks like I’ve got the winning hand again. Tough luck, gentlemen. Better next time!’ Marcus bent forward to scoop his winnings. One of the men, down to his last silver piece, cursed loudly and grabbed Marcus’s hand. Or tried to: as soon as his hand touched Marcus’s, the small hand was wreathed in greenish-yellow flames. The unlucky gambler pulled back, toppling his chair and shouting ‘Witchcraft! Cheater!’ Other players pulled back as well, leaving the Halfling alone. The flames had subsided almost immediately, making people wonder if they’d actually seen them. There had been no heat, the tabletop was not scorched and the cards were not burned to ashes. ‘Somebody get the guards! A cheater!’ the gambler was still shouting with a trembling voice.

A member of the city guard had been drinking with his friends when he heard the commotion. ‘Blast them! Can’t have a drink in peace. Hold on, I’ll go check.’ he said to his comrades. ‘What’s this then?’ he asked, voice dripping with authority. ‘A cheating Halfling? Where’s the witch?’ the guard asked. Several gamblers were now pointing at Marcus, who was grinning ruefully. ‘What, me a cheat, Sirs? Never! I play an honest game I do. You were just unlucky. And I ain’t no witch, no Sir!’ Marcus said with a winning smile. ‘What’s this story about witchcraft? Was he using magic to cheat?’ asked the guard. Magical tricks were banned in games of luck; no-one wanted to play against a wizard or sorcerer for they could easily rearrange the premises of almost any game to their liking.

‘His hands were on fire! I touched and almost got burned. He’s a witch!’ rambled the losing gambler. ‘Is this true? Have you used a fire spell?’ asked the guard severely. ‘No spell, Sir. I cannot cast spells, honest!’ Again that winning smile which began to irritate the guard. Damn these Halflings! They have all the luck and they have to keep aggravating locals wherever they go. ‘Right. I think you’d better come to the magistrate to sort all this out. You players disperse. Count your blessings, if this one was cheating, you can come collect your share from the magistrate. For now, they are confiscated.’ The guard collected the winnings – a few silver and some copper and started to drag the Halfling away. To his astonishment the Halflings hands became wreathed in greenish-yellow flames as soon as he touched him. The flames did not burn him for he had grabbed the small fellow’s arm and he was trained enough to not let go. ‘You! Douse those flames immediately!’ he barked. Marcus complied, smiling apologetically. ‘Sorry, Sir. Just a reflex. Won’t happen again, Sir. Can I go now?’ he asked with perfect nonchalance. ‘Certainly not. We’re off to the magistrate. He’ll sort it out in the morning.’ The guard dragged the Halfling two blocks away, to jail.

Next morning he was brought to the magistrate. ‘Hmm, card-cheating and flame spells. What do you have to say for yourself, Marcus… Buckthorn?’ asked the magistrate. ‘Sir, I don’t cheat and I don’t do spells. Honest’ Marcus flashed his smile again. ‘Sir’, exclaimed the guard who had been called in as witness, ‘He was winning and when I touched him he produced flame of a sort from his hands. It didn’t burn me, though.’ ‘Hmm, sort of greenish flame, wasn’t it?’ asked the magistrate. The guard nodded, obviously surprised. ‘I see. I think that what we have here is a warlock. He can control some sort of magic that is not spells. Many believe that the source of this is infernal. Tell me, young Marcus, are you, in fact, a Warlock?’ Marcus nodded miserably, knowing full well what was to come – fear, ridicule, banishment.

‘Tell me your story, young Marcus. How did you come by these powers? I take it that they are new to you, since you react to touch, am I correct?’ Marcus looked at the old magistrate in bewilderment. Someone knew about his powers, his predicament! He decided to tell the truth. It couldn’t hurt and apparently this man had seen his kind before. Besides, almost no-one believed if they heard the truth anyway.

‘Of course Sir. Naturally you have all heard about Randolph Thornbuck, the legendary gambler? No? No-one? Extraordinary. Anyway, Randolph was a great-great-great-great-uncle of mine, twice removed, from my mother’s side. He was a good card-player indeed. He never cheated and he almost always won. So much so that he began to take crazy wagers just to see how far his luck would go. You know that we Halflings are lucky, right? One day he thought he’d had the perfect gambit, the perfect game set up. Unfortunately he didn’t know that his mark was a half-fiend or something who didn’t take it kindly to losing. He cursed poor old Randolph, saying that his kin will forever pay for this. That’s how I got these powers and that’s why we had to change our name to Buckthorn so no-one would know. Other than you fine gentlemen here. But you are government officials so it’s all right.’

The magistrate sighed. He couldn’t convict the Halfling of anything but he knew that the poor thing had to be thrown out the town. People were wary of Halflings and they feared and distrusted Warlocks, but a Halfling Warlock? That was unheard of. He cleared his throat and looked at the Halfling. Marcus only smiled ruefully, expecting the worst. ‘Marcus Buckthorn. I hereby sentence you to be removed from the city on charges of disturbing the peace. You may collect your possessions and leave immediately. Don’t hurry to come back.’ Marcus bowed deeply to the magistrate; it could have been worse. At least he got to keep his winnings – the money would help him on his way to Thyatis City, where he hoped to be able to lose himself in the crowd and make a living. The rumours of war didn’t faze him the least. As a Halfling he would not be called to join the war. As a warlock he was be able to defend himself. He had blasted several men dead when they tried to steal from him. He didn’t feel too bad about it, he was certain his god would understand. Otherwise Brandobaris, the Halfling god for adventurers, wouldn’t have seen fit to bestow him with these strange powers.

He really had to train to use his infernal powers better. At the very least he must learn how to suppress the involuntary flames that happened when he was scared or angry. That had got him in trouble more times than he could remember and every time it was him who had to leave the town. It was unfair! Ever since his powers had first manifested he had been travelling, not staying for long in any village or borough. Usually he was chased away by the scared populace. Rarely was he accepted as he was; the only people willing to house him for a prolonged time were the gnomes. They didn’t care if he or his sires had dealt with devils, demons, fey or whatever. If anything, they were curious about his powers, wondering if this never-ending supply of eldritch power could be harnessed to fuel one of their contraptions. Eventually Marcus had grown tired of being a guinea pig for experiments, which were getting wilder and more imaginative each week. Not to mention dangerous… He thanked whatever powers that were listening that the gnomes were not able to siphon energy off him. Gods knew what they could have come up with!

2011-08-11, 08:23 AM
Nale sold his soul to Mephistopheles to see whether he had one or not. He did. And now he wants it back.

THIS. Simply superb! A perfect backstory. Congratulations!

2011-08-11, 09:41 PM
THIS. Simply superb! A perfect backstory. Congratulations!

I'm kinda honored so many people like this backstory so much.

2011-08-11, 11:55 PM
I'm kinda honored so many people like this backstory so much.

TBH. I was thinking about stealing it to use in a short or one-shot compaign.

With the note to my group where I saw it, ofcourse.

2011-08-12, 12:59 AM
Now, I am aware that the evil-drow-turned-good thing is a bit of a cliche now, thanks to Drizzt. However, I've never actually read any Forgotten Realms books and don't know the details of his story or anything. In our most recent 3.5 campaign, I made a lesser drow (didn't want the LA) rokugan ninja planning to make a master thrower build.

Character-wise, he was a drow low in his house who served the clergy of Lolth as an assassin and had been sent to the surface to take out followers of Eilistraee. His disguise, appropriately enough, was as a cleric of Eilistraee. (That all was backstory. After this was actually played out in-session.) Finding himself among a party of good people, and encountering the kindness and goodness of the clergy of Eilistraee, he started to feel a bit of guilt about his evil ways up until then.

And then came the night, during the High Hunt, while he and all the maidens were out in the forest. He followed the high priestess, and while she was distracted by the creature they'd been hunting -- a werewolf -- he attacked with his poisoned weapon and struck her down. As he stared at her body, he realized the full horror of what he'd done -- ended the life of a beautiful, kind woman who had never been anything but welcoming towards him. Why? Why do it for a world of cruel, violent people?

From that day forth, his worship of Eilistraee would be in truth, and Lolth would be a thing of his past.

2011-08-12, 01:35 AM
We played a one-off game once where we were level 13 or so. My character's background was short, really short, but I think it's the best I've ever come up with. My character was Nale, a warforged Warlock/Hellfire Warlock.

Nale sold his soul to Mephistopheles to see whether he had one or not. He did. And now he wants it back.

I miss that character.

I agree with starwoof on this completely, that's so short by such a win concept right there. I've had a warforge trying to find his soul.. but this tops it completely!

2011-08-12, 10:28 AM
Well, it is very good, Starwoof. And it has the advantage of being very short in a thread where just about everyone else, myself included, is dropping major textbombs that a lot of people aren't going to take the time to read.

Reminds me of that Hemingway thing, where he was asked to tell a story in six words, and this was his result:

For sale, baby shoes. Never used.

I may not be remembering it exactly right, but it was something like that. Evocative, huh? And if it was expanded upon it would likely become weaker, not stronger. Brevity can be a powerful thing when used correctly.

2011-08-12, 12:54 PM
I thought it was kinda funny that my paragraph setting up the backstory was longer than the backstory itself.:smallbiggrin:

2011-08-12, 01:41 PM
Here's the backstory of my current character. It's written in Dutch, so no use to most people. Let me summarize it (it's about 50% original backstory and 50% what happened in the campaign):

N'aktar "Molitor" Yuk'Yuk is geboren op 5 mei 456 (Water Kobold kalender) als N'aktar Yuk'Yuk.

N'aktar is de zoon van twee machtige warrior Water kobolds. Zijn vader was een imposante giant slayer die voor de geboorte van zijn zoon gestorven is van de val nadat hij een gigantische gouden draak de genadeslag gaf, tenminste, als je zijn moeder mag geloven. N'aktar werd vanaf jonge leeftijd opgevoed volgens eeuwenoude beproefde Kobold opvoedmethodes: hij werd geslagen en gedwongen om te luisteren naar iedereen die sterker dan hem was. Zelf vond hij dit niet zo erg want hij wist dat hij voorbestemd was om zelf ook ooit de sterkste te zijn.

In zijn eerste levensjaren was N'aktar erop gebrand om de machtigste Kobold warrior ooit te worden, hij was er toen van overtuigd dat hij eigenlijk een half-draak was en heeft die gedachte eigenlijk nooit opgegeven. Op een dag werd zijn familie bedreigd door een magere wolf die door zijn pack uitgestoten leek te zijn. N'aktar bedacht zich geen moment, pakte een speer en stak deze in de buik van de wolf. De wolf beet N'aktar vervolgens in zijn been en rende piepend weg. Deze triomfantelijke overwinning had permanente gevolgen voor de jonge Kobold; zijn been genas nooit volledig en hij werd hierdoor slomer dan alle andere Kobolds.

Het vermogen om zowel in water als op land te functioneren gaf de Kobold-clan rondom N'aktar een groot evolutionair voordeel. Als waterwezens ze wilde opeten dan vluchtte ze naar kampen op het land, en als landwezens ze wilde opeten vluchtte ze het water in. Desondanks stond water Kobold in de hele regio bekend als een gewilde, hoogstaande, snack en werd N'aktar's leven vanaf een vroeg stadium gekenmerkt door een constant gevlucht voor zo een beetje alles.

Het verlies van loopsnelheid zorgde ervoor dat N'aktar niet meer functioneerde als onderdeel van de Kobold jaagpacks. Hierdoor verlaagde zijn sociale status en ging hij zich toeleggen op manieren om zijn vijanden te verslaan die meer op zijn handelingssnelheid en slimheid bouwde. Zijn ego is hier nooit helemaal overheen gekomen, tenslotte was het verlies van die snelheid het resultaat van een heldhaftige actie die in zijn ogen meer respect had moeten afdwingen.

Doordat zijn vijanden op mysterieuze wijze dood leken te gaan door een ziekte die grote wonden in je nek veroorzaakt terwijl je slaapt bouwde N'aktar toch enig respect op. Daarnaast verkende hij nieuwe manieren om te jagen, te vluchten en voor Kobolds om zich te verbergen. Met name Elven waren een probleem aan het worden. N'aktar liet zich achteraf een keer informeren dat de koks bij de lokale Bos Elven meer dan 100 recepten voor Water Kobold hadden. N'aktar wist dat hij waarschijnlijk geen lang leven bekoren zou zijn en ging zich richtten op een permanente oplossing.

Met die gedachte in het achterhoofd is wat er toen gebeurde een zeer logische samenloop van omstandigheden. N'aktar was vallen aan het opzetten tussen de bomen (wilde apen waren een Kobold delicatesse) en toen hij eruit sprong stond hij opeens oog in oog met een gigantische, oude Gorgon. De Gorgon was groter dan welk wezen dat N'aktar ooit eerder had gezien en zat van top tot teen onder de littekens en verwondingen. Er zaten krassen in zijn ogen, er waren stukken huid uitgeslagen die nooit helemaal waren teruggekomen en toen hij zijn mond open deed bleken er een hoop tanden te missen. N'aktar had niet veel tijd om dit in zich op te nemen aangezien de Gorgon ook nogal boos leek en N'aktar moest vluchten voor zijn leven.

Terwijl hij mentaal zich al aan het voorbereiden was op de Water Kobold (of draken?) hemel realiseerde hij zich dat de Gorgon gestopt was. De Gorgon keek om zich heen op een manier die overkwam alsof hij zich afvroeg waar N'aktar gebleven was. N'aktar nam aan dat hij blind was geworden (hij smeerde zichzelf altijd in met een zalf die de reuk voor de gek hield) en deed een stap opzij om weg te komen, om vervolgens de Gorgon weer in actie zien te komen. Vlak voordat hij overreden werd deed hij weer een stap terug om tot de conclusie te komen dat de Gorgon alleen een blinde hoek had.

Voorzichtig tastte N'aktar af hoe de blinde hoek precies zat en liep hij op de Gorgon af. Hij kon niet uit zijn gezichtsradius ontsnappen en kwam uiteindelijk tot de conclusie dat hij genoodzaakt was om dicht bij de Gorgon te blijven. Tot zijn geluk vond hij een gat als gevolg van een verwonding dat groot genoeg was om hem te herbergen en zelfs nog ruimte over had. Hier leefde hij vervolgens veertig jaar lang.

Zo nu en dan als de Gorgon sliep kwam hij eruit om contact te hebben met andere kobolds, zijn gat in te richten of voedsel te bemachtigen. Hij verwierf een speciale status onder zijn volk (de Kobold die een gigantische Gorgon getemd heeft) wat door zijn lange leeftijd alleen maar versterkt werd en was vanaf nu compleet veilig. Hij kende de patronen van de Gorgon na verloop van tijd door en door en zorgde dat hij hem alleen verliet als hij zeker wist dat hij terug zou kunnen keren. Omdat de Gorgon voornamelijk overdag sliep werd N'aktar met name op deze tijden actief en sliep hij s'nachts. Hierdoor raakte de ogen van de Kobold gewend aan het licht en verloor hij veel vermogen om in het donker te zien.

Op een dag zat de Gorgon diep te slapen toen N'aktar in de verte een groep Kobolds zag. N'aktar wist dat zijn soort te vertrouwen was, verliet de Gorgon en begroette zijn vrienden. Ze zagen er ietwat ongewoon uit, maar N'aktar had nooit kwaad contact gehad met andersoortige Kobolds. Dit laatste veranderde al spoedig toen hij na zijn begroetting iets op zijn hoofd voelde en vervolgens bewusteloos ging. Hij werd vervolgens wakker in een gigantisch warenhuis omringd door Kobolds.

N'aktar raakte hierop erg gefrustreerd. Vroeger was hij een Kobold met status en een Gorgon en nu was hij 1 van duizenden in een warenhuis. Daarbij gingen de groenhuiden hier, zowel Kobolds als Goblins, totaal niet met respect met elkaar om. Ze kende geen eer. Hij wist dat het enorm moeilijk zou zijn om ooit terug te keren en al helemaal om zijn Gorgon te vinden. Daarbij kon hij zijn frustratie moeilijk uitte want als hij hier teveel vijanden zou maken dan zou hij zelf doodgemaakt worden. Dus koos N'aktar ervoor om zijn tijd uit te zitten: wachtend op een moment waarop hij wraak kan nemen op elke groenhuid in de stad voor het onrecht dat hem aangedaan is.

Een nieuw begin

Na een aantal maanden kwam er een kans tevoorschijn: N'aktar hoorde dat er ergens een groot ei gevonden was en verzamelde een groep kobolds en zijn beste vriend, de Water Kobold B'aktar, om het ei te vinden. Na een zoektocht kwamen ze bij het ei uit, uitgedaagd door een opstandige kobold vond N'aktar hier bijna zijn dood, maar ternauwernood overleefde hij een duel dat veel conflicten met zijn eigen ras zou inleidden. Uit het ei kwam een geschubde humanoid die vervolgens door N'aktar als bondgenoot gerecruteerd werd. Samen met B'aktar en de geschubde legde N'aktar vervolgens contact bij het verzet. Daar voegde zich een mens, Johan de Verkrachter, zich bij de groep. Samen met Johan zette N'aktar een eigen zaak op (een gifwinkel) die ook als thuisbasis voor de groep zou dienen en de Kobold voor het eerst sinds zijn aankomst in Omega City een gevoel van vrijheid gaf.

De groep werkte vervolgens voor het verzet en kreeg daarnaast een reputatie onder de groenhuiden in het algemeen. N'aktar werd een baan aan het hof aangeboden als een mentor voor de zoon van Piscine Molitor (de leider van het district): YanYan. Met hulp van de Molitors herfinancierde N'aktar de winkel, verving hij de inmiddels overleden Johan en voegde hij zich uiteindelijk zelf bij de heersers als een Molitor. Inmiddels werkte hij zich op in vertrouwen bij Drizzle, leider van het verzet, de geschubde kwam ook te overlijden en N'aktar's groep werd uitgebreid met een vrouwelijke Kobold genaamd Chir'Choir en een sadistische Gnome priester. De gifwinkel van N'aktar diende ondertussen als basis voor een groeiende groep Kobolds die onder leiding van B'aktar vielen tijdens zijn afwezigheid.

N'aktar's frustraties vonden een uiting in een lange lijst moorden en martelingen. Dit baarde zijn omgeving zorgen en hij werd uiteindelijk doorverwezen naar een psycholoog genaamd Une Molitor. Dankzij Une bereikte N'aktar een bepaald inzicht in zichzelf en nam hij meer afstand van zijn moorddadige neigingen. In de tussentijd had hij nog steeds te maken met verzet binnen zijn eigen groep en daagde Chir'Choir hem meer en meer uit voor zijn leiderschap. N'aktar had ondertussen haar geheugen gewist en haar aan B'aktar gekoppeld. Maar dit verergerde de situatie alleen doordat zijn beste vriend tegen hem opgezet werd. Uiteindelijk liet hij de vrouwelijke Kobold doodbloeden, wat bij B'aktar de druppel deed overlopen die zich vervolgens tegen zijn mentor en vriend keerde. Professioneel gingen de zaken ondertussen meer en meer voor de wind: de gifwinkel werd uitgebreid met nog een huis, N'aktar kreeg meer waardering onder de Molitors en samen met Drizzle brandde hij het warenhuis uit, leidende tot voor een groot deel ineenstorting van de machtsbasis van Piscine en de dood van talloze kobolds.

In onderzoek naar verloren kinderen kwam N'aktar erachter dat YanYan een magisch experiment is, een plant, en tot leven te wekken met het bloed van edele groenhuiden. Ondertussen accepteerde hij Sudhir, voorheen een machtige speler in het district, in zijn groep en zag hij zijn toenemende status beloond worden met de aanwezigheid van een bodygaurd en zette Drizzle een paar arcane eyes op de Water Kobold. Na een zoektocht kwam het tot een confrontatie tussen N'aktar en B'aktar waarbij B'aktar het aflegde. Maar niet zonder acht moordenaars betaald te hebben die nog achter N'aktar aanzitten. B'aktar was op een serie magische portals uitgekomen die hem een machtsbasis boden. Deze worden nou onderzocht door N'aktar die ondertussen ook meer en meer voor zijn leven vreest door een constant toenemende lijst van vijanden en mensen die hij onrecht aangedaan heeft.
N'aktar the Water Kobold was born in a tribe of Water Kobolds that were threatened by many enemies. He was hurt badly by a wolf at a early age, giving him a limp and making him useless for the hunt. Abandoned by his own, he managed to survive in the wild on his own, living in the unnregenerated wounds of a gigantic, ancient, Gorgon for 50 years.

He was seperated from his region of birth as he was kidnapped and forced to live alongside 1000's of Kobolds in a warehouse in district 7 of the metropolis Omega City. The greenskins were brought to this place to vote a local ruler (Piscine Molitor) in power. Enraged by the situation, N'aktar sets out to bring down Molitor (which has since become a noble title, hence various characters including N'aktar himself later carry the name).

(the campaign begins here)

To do this he struck out on his own, forging alliances with various allies, "the resistance", as well as Molitor himself, playing both Molitor and the resistance in order to empower himself. He eventually gains a strong reputation, becomes a noble Kobold himself and becomes the founder of a small tribe of Water Kobolds as well as a poison shop. N'aktar is also a bit of a manipulative psychopath and a coward. Along the way he makes various enemies, eventually turning his best friend against himself after being responsible for the death of his wife. N'aktar also learns to deal with his negative emotions and becomes less of a revenge-driven psychopath with the help of a psychologist named Une Molitor.

There are currently eight assasins paid to hunt down N'aktar and the sister of the wife of his former best friend (the wife being the former character of a player) is also out to kill N'aktar. His powerbase continues to grow however and he is coming closer and closer to his ultimate goals of taking down Molitor and finding peace for himself and the other Water Kobolds in the city. He has burned down the warehouse, killing a vast number of greenskins and destroying much of the Molitor powerbase with less than two months to go 'till the next election.

2011-08-12, 01:48 PM
I've always wanted to play a Warforged in a non-Eberron campaign who goes into the 3.0 prestige class Techsmith of Gond. The backstory? He's a golem who was accidentally granted sentience, left the wizards who created him as their mindless bodyguard and is now trying to build himself a family out of spare parts as he searches for a place of his own in the world. His gondsman (think golem-lite) would simply be his "little brother," and any other constructs he creates become new siblings.

It's be one of the more adorable usages of cohort-granting and craft construct feats that I can imagine.

2011-08-12, 03:35 PM
this was a quick story i threw to gether for one of my many character concepts i came up with.

Kast FitzChaos

When Kast was born the midwives who helped his mother recognized his heritage right away he was monsters in thier eyes even his own mother saw him as a monster all but one person in that room.
one of the maidens took the baby to a local secret society that worshipped feinds and creatures of the other planes where he was raised, as he grew he showed an aptitude for stealth and soon began his training to become an assasin.

at the age of 16 he set out to learn his trade from the best in the land. he knew the dangers of aproaching
members of this race but he felt he would not be able to find better teachers.

Upon first contact with the Drow he was met with some respect and contempt. the women of the community soon
alowed him in viewing him as a valuable allie and made many feigned gestures of respect. it did not take long
for him to prove himself amongst the drow as a skilled swords man and an even more skilled advesarie in deciet
along his way his way he found himself among a small group of male drow who were fed up with the local clerics.
and the drow men had decided it was time to do something about the females. that night when in the middle
of their attack the 5 drow soon found out why Kast was respected even by the females. upon entering the
local temple of lolth the men thought they had the advantage over the clerics, as they aproached the sleeping forms
upon the cots within the church none of them noticed kast stop at the door way, as the others entered the room
Kast Shut the doors and barred them from the outside. as he left the church that night he left hearing the
screams of those he betrayed a comforting weight of coins in his pocket and the blessings of lolth to return as a guest.

at the age of 21 he soon found himself back upon the surface and looking to the lands for the opertunity to make himself rich.

Dr paradox
2011-08-12, 07:06 PM
Harrack Byreson was born in the overall sleepy trading city of Arkholt, to a pair of shopkeepers. he was a more or less average child, and his parents loved him, and he loved them too, but the longer he lived, the more dissatisfied he became with life in Arkholt. he was always helping out stocking the shelves, painting signs, offloading wagons full of goods for the shop, but whenever he had a free moment, he would slip off into the shadier spots of town, dodging pickpockets and cutthroats, looking all around for his quarry, until he would inevitably find what he was looking for.

A storyteller.

The best storytellers were inevitably in the rougher sides of town, because their words needed to ring so much brighter to succeed down in the dregs, and every day, Harrack would find one, and listen, enraptured by the tales. he grew up reared on the stories of the Emerald Knight, and Doloran the Inquisitive, Sir Pentamo, and forgotten lands now discovered by bold heroes, towns rescued by stalwart warriors, damsels saved from fierce and smoldering dragons by knights brave and good enough to brave the flame. yound Harrack fell in love with these stories, and though most of his waking life was taken up with tasks for his parents, his dreams were lofted high with the ideals of stories.

One day, Harrack found himself in a tavern, retrieving an order of a few casks of wine for his parents' shop, when he stopped dead in his tracks, eyes wide and fixed on an armored figure, sitting at the bar, his shield slung across his back, sword hung loose at his side. This was, no doubt about it, a knight errant.

There was no question that Sir Graghammer was errant. he had been errant with his money, errant with his "Nobility," Errant with women, errant with his pony... there were few manners in which he was not errant, and it was with the last of his silver that he hefted a mug of imitation dwarven ale.

"Hello?" Graghammer glanced sideways, the tankard halfway to his mouth. The speaker appeared to be a dark haired boy of maybe 16, wide eyed, with only the barest hints of a beard starting to grow. the knight snorted, and went back to his drink. "Hello? Sir? are you a knight?"

Sir Graghammer hesitated a moment, then took a long drink and slammed the mug down on the bar. "Aye, and what of it? got a score to settle? I do your parents wrong? go back home, boy, I've got other matters to attend to. Specifically, drinkin' the last of my money."

Harrack gulped, and stumbled on. "I meant no offense, sir, I just - well, I'm sure you have a lot of important things to be doing -"

"Oh, I certainly do! the bottom of this glass won't find itself, now will it?" Graghammer took another drink. "So, if it's not revenge you're after, what can a broken down dwarf do for you this fine day?"

Harrack considered turning away, before remembering the tales. there always came a point when it would be easier to turn away, when the hero had to face down his fears and push onward into the unknown. Harrack squared his shoulders, and said "I'd like to learn to be a knight. Like you. I'd like to make a difference in the world"

"Fagh! You and me both, boy." the knight took a third drink, and noticed the boy was still there. he sighed. "Look, boy - what's your name?"

"Harrack Byreson, Sir."

"Harrack. It's not that I don't want to teach you..." in fact, it was. "...But I'm just in no condition to pay for my own well being, let alone take time out of my busy schedule to teach you anything. It's just a matter of the Gold..." satisfied the matter was through, he returned to his mug, but to his surprise, Harrack's face lit up.

"Oh, is money the only problem? I can pay you. I'm paid for some of the work I do at the shop, it should be plenty to keep you living here!"

Graghammer stopped. was this kid seriously offering to pay his room and board... in exchange for a few swordfighting lessons? "You're telling me that you'll pay my way here?"

"Sure! but you have to promise to teach me."

a few months teaching an idiot kid how to not stab himself was a lot better that just as much time on the streets, begging, the dwarf mused. at length, he threw back the tankard and drained the glass, slamming it down on the bar. "Rosie!" he shouted.

"My name is Samuel, you drunken sot." replied the barkeep without looking up.

"Two drinks, for my new employer and I! come on, Harrack, take a seat!"

"But... I thought you already spent all your money?"

"I did." Sir Graghammer chortled. "But this round's on you."

almost exactly one year later, Harrack rode out of Arkholt one a skin and bones horse named Denmar, his head held high, and his patched and stained cloak flapping in the morning wind. he wasn't a knight yet, but the dwarf had taught him the basics, and surely the rest would just be a matter of finding the danger to face down. the air was cold, and his boots damp, and his armor not all there, but he was on his way. and it was going to be just like the stories!

2011-08-13, 01:49 AM
LOL I don't remember specifics, but one campaign the DM hated haflings and gnomes but loved pirates. Normally when we play we just say roll these amount of dice or spend this amount of points on stats you can use any class or race from book x,y,z. That sort of thing.

So night of the first game comes along and we all pull out our characters.

So anyways as a joke and to get him to like all our charcters we all made haflings that were related to each other some how and we all decided to steal a ship and become pirates together. Some how our ship was sunk and we all managed to make it to what ever town we started in and our dream was to find another ship and get back to sailing and pirating.

In a vampire campaign I created a malkavian that thought he was the king of France (we were starting in the dark ages and playing through to modern day) and then 100 years later he was elected pope.

2011-08-15, 08:54 AM
I generally don't make backstories longer then a few sentences to explain the concept that I'm going for, but this is one that kind of grew as I wrote it and I like how it turned out.
D&D, 3.5, Eberron, Irim Skyfell, Warlock,

Born as a citizen of Cyre, Irim spent his early life as an assistant to his father who owned a general goods store. However, the life as a son of a store owner did not sit well with young Irim who often heard stories from solders passing through the town. Many of these stories were greatly exaggered and often failed to mention the horrors of true war, but to Irim’s young mind they were grand tales of glory.

Upon reaching the lofty and wise age of 10, Irim convinced his father to let him travel with one of the merchants that passed through the town every few months. Reluctantly, his father agreed and so Irim left the relative safety of his home town , admittedly with his uncle and had to wait several months for him to arrive before Irim could start what he believed to be a grand journey.

Irim enjoyed the life of a traveling merchant’s assistant, mostly. It was harder work then he had believed, but he ultimately enjoyed the sights of the world, thought his uncle had taken measures to avoid areas of fighting.
Then the worst happened in 994. After traveling around for two years with his uncle they had returned to his home to visit. It was during this time that the Day of Mourning occurred. Without sign or notice, the world had turned white, and a moment later Irim woke up outside a great wall of fog. He can’t remember how he got there or what had happened, but by accounts he learned since then Cyre suffered a major magical catastrophe. In a day he lost his home and a week of his life that he can’t remember. Irim also discovered something else about himself as well. He had acquired unique magical abilities, and he can only guess that the event that changed his nation into the mournland and the missing week are connected.
4 years have passes since then, and Irim has made a small living by traveling with merchants as a cook. On more than one occasion Irim has gone back to the mournland to try to discover what happened, but every time he nears the misty borders his nerves fail and cannot bring himself to even cross one foot into his homeland. Now he simply travels in part for the wanderlust that drives him and part in hope he can find away to find what happened to his home.

Oh, starwoof, I will also being stealing your idea at somepoint :smallwink:.

2011-08-15, 11:02 AM
My halfling political agitator Frederich Bagelskuchs, hands down no contest. Socialism and bagels is a FANTASTIC combination.