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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Background Stories

    I've always had trouble writing compelling background stories from the perspective of the individual, so i decided to try something else. let me know what you guys think of this one... still a work in progress but its mostly done. this is a rifts character that i had help building from you guys here at GITP. written in the form of a preliminary investigation of the character, in the hopes of contracting them for being part of a forward team used to investigate rifts.

    Name: Sergeant Anthony Tiger (No Middle Name)
    Known Aliases: None
    DOB: July 1, 2060 Age: 123
    Height: 7’5” Weight: 289 lbs.
    Eyes: Blue/Grey Hair: Orange/White w/ Black Stripes Covering Body
    Sex: Male Race: Panthera Tigris Nationality: Unknown
    Current Occupation: Employed by the military
    Other Marks: Various Combat Scars, Hidden by fur
    Magical Abilities: None
    Psionic Abilities: None
    Cybernetic Enhancements: Neural Implants (Unknown Purpose)

    Educational Background: The military file I received, stated “Anthony Tiger was educated from a very early age by and for the military.” With no references or other details I am afraid I am unable to say much for his intelligence. This being said, the military programs are well taught, and individual knowledge is tested on a regular basis.

    Medical Background: It required myself and two interns to retrieve Sgt. Tiger’s medical recordS. Supposedly the product of Illegal biological experimentation, he seems to be a cross between a human and a tiger. Despite being a mutated in such a drastic manner, he maintains the ability to be treated medically as a human, including many drugs as well as most, if not all, life extending technologies, assuming of course, he does not die in the line of duty. I spent many days reading of different injuries he has suffered while in combat. Page after page of gunshot wounds, and various stab wounds. The man has had more metal in him then a Steel mill. No matter how bad his injuries seamed, aside from a few cases, he always walked himself to care, refused any anesthetics, and walked out same day. I do not yet know of how he obtained most of these injuries, I will need to find his classified files if he is still on the list of possible candidates.

    Military Background: Much of his military career is highly classified and will required further research, however the files I currently have state he was “found” in laboratory near what used to be Anne Arber, Michigan, with 5 others like him, early in 2067. From there they were then sent to the moon to be studied for 20 years before being released back to the military. They were then trained to be an elite group of soldiers to eliminate possible threats and uprisings against the three families. With only two mission failures over 75 years they were very effective in their efforts. Unfortunately, due to bad Intel, the second failure led to most of the team K.I.A. Sgt. Tiger and his Commander S Sgt. Nora Leopard where the only ones who made it to the extraction point and Leopard died from her injuries while in transit. Sgt. Tiger was left in critical care for two months after the mission and was on medical leave for another year while he recovered from physical and psychological trauma.

    Psychological Review: Although Sgt. Tiger does not show the typical signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder he did display a change in behavior after the failed mission that ended the life of his original squad members. He has been described as reckless by other squad members he has been matched with, often putting his own life in serious jeopardy in an effort to save the life of the team or make it easier for them to advance. There is one report of Tiger running through a street, firing wildly in the air, in an attempt to draw fire away from pinned allies, being shot a total of 17 times in the process. His efforts have not been in vein though, since recovering he has not lost a single squad mate while deployed. However, more concerning then the rash behavior, is the possible thoughts of suicide. Although not an issue in any psychiatric report, he carries a .45 Caliber pistol that used to belong to S Sgt. Leopard, and a single .45 Caliber bullet inscribed with “UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN” around his neck.

    General Overview: (finishing this up as you read this)
    Signet, the eternal.

    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Background Stories

    as Backstories go, it seems functional.

    My general guidelines for backstory writing are as follows.

    1: Don't Tell a Story. A lot of backstories are written like the plot synopsis of a full length novel. That's not the point. The purpose of a backstory is to give the character a place to start the campaign.
    You've done pretty well on this one. You've got some stuff in there, but it's good background fodder.
    2: The purpose of a backstory is to make you who you are now. How did these events shape the character's personality.
    Once again, you've done pretty well here. "Dead squad" is a tried and true personality-fodder. Meanwhile, you've kept things simple enough that your character's personality traits can come through in play.
    3: Give the GM toys. Plant a few hooks into your backstory for the GM to use.
    You've got the dead squad angle, plus the "Product of experiments" angle for the GM to explore.
    4: Don't oversell your character. The backstory should produce a character of the power-level appropriate for the campaign. If you are starting as low-ranking grunts, you're backstory shouldn't say you were trained by an ancient society of master dragonslayers in their secret mountain monastery, and you were not allowed to leave until you could singlehandedly defeat the dracolich that lives at the peak of the mountain.
    This is the one area I'm worried in. I don't know much about RIFTS, or the rest of the party, but a skilled commando with seventy five years experience and only two mission failures could easily be overselling yourself.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Delwugor's Avatar

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    Default Re: Background Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    4: Don't oversell your character. The backstory should produce a character of the power-level appropriate for the campaign. If you are starting as low-ranking grunts, you're backstory shouldn't say you were trained by an ancient society of master dragonslayers in their secret mountain monastery, and you were not allowed to leave until you could singlehandedly defeat the dracolich that lives at the peak of the mountain.
    This is the one area I'm worried in. I don't know much about RIFTS, or the rest of the party, but a skilled commando with seventy five years experience and only two mission failures could easily be overselling yourself.
    You've just given an example of a low level RIFTS game.

    I like the background and the approach as military records. But I only see one aspect of Tiger and would recommend adding something that is not strictly military.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    May 2014

    Default Re: Background Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    1: Don't Tell a Story. A lot of backstories are written like the plot synopsis of a full length novel. That's not the point. The purpose of a backstory is to give the character a place to start the campaign.
    This one. This one SO MUCH.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Aug 2014

    Default Re: Background Stories

    This is good for an intro, but I'm concerned about the unknown bits. Are those just things that character wouldn't know, or things you haven't figured out yet? It's fine if the guy writing the intro doesn't know this stuff, but as the person player Tiger, you definitely need to know that stuff.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Background Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Ettina View Post
    This is good for an intro, but I'm concerned about the unknown bits. Are those just things that character wouldn't know, or things you haven't figured out yet? It's fine if the guy writing the intro doesn't know this stuff, but as the person player Tiger, you definitely need to know that stuff.
    The person writing does not know yet. It's a preliminary investigation into the character and he hasn't been given access to the classified files yet. I myself know some of the stories to be told during role play but ill make most of them up as i go. I have about 90% of the important bits in my head and scattered amongst post-its in my room.
    Signet, the eternal.

    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

    Where did you start yours?

    On an island where many NPCs were slaughtered by ooze monsters while the party tried desperately to escape. Ah, Memories.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Background Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Flashy View Post
    This one. This one SO MUCH.
    Agreed.

    I can't tell you how many times I've had a player send me a backstory and half the way through they have already dealt with their backstory to a suitable conclusion.

    Backgrounds are ment to have the DM understand your character as well as have plot hooks to work from.

    Side rant: one player had his character be a deviled in Dark Sun. He had no family because his mentor killed them. Good plot hook right? No because he had killed his mentor already. Well maybe the authorities are after him? Well no because the mentor was a hermit with no other apprentices than him.

    Recently I asked what my players' old characters might have gotten into. One of them sent me a complete 5 page short story about how the character's lost family were nobles and how all her plot hooks were completed cleanly. I wanted the next five years so I could figure out for the next campaign where their characters ended up. Felt like the backstory was too clean. And if I wanted them to take the characters back up again I'd have nothing to work with. So I had them roll up new characters instead.

    Was I being petty? Maybe, but I had nothing to work with from what I had planned.
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    My blog "Awkward GM"

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    May 2014

    Default Re: Background Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by KnotKnormal View Post
    The person writing does not know yet. It's a preliminary investigation into the character and he hasn't been given access to the classified files yet. I myself know some of the stories to be told during role play but ill make most of them up as i go. I have about 90% of the important bits in my head and scattered amongst post-its in my room.
    I so agree with this approach. Indeed, I personally almost never write much in the way of backstory down in advance at all. It seems way more fun to write down interesting details and a high concept and then let everything else flow from there.

    This page explains it better than I ever could. http://lookrobot.co.uk/2013/06/29/my...gs-big-echoes/

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
     
    PersonMan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Background Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by DontEatRawHagis View Post
    Backgrounds are ment to have the DM understand your character as well as have plot hooks to work from.
    The bolded bit does vary, actually. If I write a backstory for a game in which I expect the DM to have a plot made in advance, and maybe a character-based sidequest or two, I won't fill it with hooks but rather make sure there won't be any annoying issues in game like 'you go into city X...oh wait you can't because the guard is looking for you'.

    A sandboxy character-based game, though, is better served by hook-filled backstories.

    My own backgrounds generally end with the character having a vague goal or reason to travel, because I 1. tend to assume I'll be fitting the character into a plot and not vice versa 2. prefer more linear games anyways.
    Not Person_Man, don't thank me for things he did.

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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Blackhawk748's Avatar

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    Default Re: Background Stories

    Im generally in the same boat as PersonMan, so my backstories are usually wrapped up except for one or two things that the DM may slip in.

    In the case of Sgt Tiger i think your good for a general background, you've got a few minor hooks that the GM can play with and you have at least a basic outline of his personality. On top of this you have covered why he does what he does quite well.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Orc in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Background Stories

    Thank you for the input everyone. I'll update the back story when i get the chance to finish it
    Signet, the eternal.

    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

    Where did you start yours?

    On an island where many NPCs were slaughtered by ooze monsters while the party tried desperately to escape. Ah, Memories.

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