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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Please critique my character's Backstory/Concept

    I've written a backstory for my character, leaving out names of specific places and individuals in order to let it fit into the DM's setting more easily. I'd like the Playground's opinions on it. I suppose in some ways it's more of an exposition on the character's personality and beliefs than a backstory, but I'm still quite pleased with it. Any opinions would be greatly valued.

    Spoiler: System and Build
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    D&D 3.5e, homebrew setting. Character is a Changeling Rogue 3/Warlock 2 focused on Diplomacy, Bluff and Disguise, who permanently carries a Heward's Handy Haversack filled with most of the mundane items in the Player's Handbook.


    Spoiler: Actual Backstory
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    Well met.

    If you are reading this, I have almost certainly passed into the next world. It is not such a great loss, I suppose: I never contributed much, I have no friends (but ah, my enemies...). Perhaps this sounds needlessly self-deprecating. I assure you I am not exaggerating. I walk alone on a path no-one else has trodden. Nor would they want to.

    You are wondering why I would choose to do so. From the start I knew what I wanted to be. I had destiny. I would change the world, that much I knew - of course, I couldn't have told you why. I was different from the other children. I was a hero.

    Then I discovered I was right, and it was the saddest day of my life.

    I was different. I didn't belong. And they hated me for it. I could be anyone! Any being among them was no match for me, for I could become them. A hero? No. I was an outcast. Oh, I had destiny, and for the first time I knew what it was. I would remain on the fringes, forever and ever and ever - these words I would repeat to myself constantly. I cried many times as a child, more than most - not that I ever showed this to the others - for I was different. My destiny was a blessing that was a curse that was an immutable fact of life. It took me a long time to understand this.

    I had no-one. But loneliness did not bother me. If they did not want me I would not want them. Instead, I would observe. I saw what made the delicate clockwork mechanisms that were the other children go, and I learned how to change them. The tiniest flick of a spring or turning of a gear off its path would give me utter control. Complete dominion over them. They never knew what I was doing. I simply knew how to push their buttons skilfully. I was not a negotiator. I am not the sort of person who gives things away. I took and made them think they were giving. Perhaps they thought I had changed my soul like I change my skin every day. They amused me.

    Beings are not worthy of me. They bore me. Things are important. They define you. Beings can be converted with a word. They are tools to be used. You have to fight for wealth. Nothing is superior.

    Some beings are irrational. They don't understand that their wealth would be better off in the hands of someone more worthy. These people are little more than wraiths in a world of solid things. They cannot truly understand the reality of what goes on every day, and they are easy, oh so easy to deceive. A change of skin, a switch of outfit, and they are convinced you are someone else. And changing my appearance is my forte.

    But don't ask me to be someone else. I will never truly change. It's an act, a tool and nothing more. Becoming attached to your other forms is dangerous. My fellow changelings - the only true people among the beings - for all their greatness do not understand this. Despite their name they can never truly change. If they do they lose the freedom that makes us better than the people-beasts that surround us on all sides. They must remain between states like a coin in the air, for this is what lets us survive. We deceive, we lie, we cheat, and we constantly appear to be other than what we really are. Letting them see your true form is suicide. They will try to change you.

    My mother was the only true person I knew. Among all the feeble mockeries of personhood, these humans and elves and dwarves and all the other thin variations on the same pathetic theme - only she was superior. She was human, but she was a person. And by virtue of it mightier than a thousand legions of shallow beings. She knew the true value of things. Thief? Liberator! Saviour of those creations of the world that actually have value from the tyranny of the scraps of parchment that are those beings who think they're people.

    So I take her bag wherever I go. A thing to remind me of a person. A true person, not an imitation. In its depths her soul resides - the thing that makes us different from the trompe l'oeil paintings on the walls of life.

    Maybe if I met another true person, or a changeling who knew the worth of things, I could have a friend. But I do not hold out much hope. We are rare, and those who would have you think they are us cover the face of the world.

    You may be wondering why I wrote this. Perhaps you are a person who understands the value of things. If so, you will know the worth of this little piece of parchment - a thing to remember me by, a way to ensure what I have learned of the world does not die out entirely. Take it with you, take me with you. Remember me as the person who saw clearly and sought out fortune. And always know the people from the imitations.

    Yours faithfully,

    Metsa
    Knitting my way through life, one purl of wisdom at a time.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Valefor Rathan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Please critique my character's Backstory/Concept

    I like the idea. I understand not wanting to put too many details in, but I'd be interested in reading more.
    ...look at all the pretty lights...

    Trying to cut my D&D teeth after years of other games...

    Awesome avatar thanks to Chd!


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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Please critique my character's Backstory/Concept

    I don't like it. Looks like a cheep way for you to get the Haversack with a story. And I'm sure it will work: some DM's will like the story so much and fall for the idea that ''you just have the magic item for storytelling.''

    I'd disallow this backstory in my game. You get the note ''no haversack'' and ''rewrite''.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Please critique my character's Backstory/Concept

    Quote Originally Posted by jedipotter View Post
    I don't like it. Looks like a cheep way for you to get the Haversack with a story. And I'm sure it will work: some DM's will like the story so much and fall for the idea that ''you just have the magic item for storytelling.''

    I'd disallow this backstory in my game. You get the note ''no haversack'' and ''rewrite''.
    Eh, I see where you're coming from, but the DM explicitly allowed us to choose magic items within certain parameters (within which the haversack falls) before I ever thought of the vaguest element of the story. It's not so much getting the haversack as justifying me having it as per previous guidelines. I find it dull to just write Wondrous Item X on my character sheet without having some in-universe reason behind it.

    Also, just curious, why the rewrite? I mean, I get that you don't like the magic-item-justification part of it, which is perfectly reasonable, but is any other part at fault? I'm genuinely inquisitive, and looking for all the feedback I can get.
    Last edited by Septimus Faber; 2014-12-02 at 02:08 PM. Reason: Typo, fixed now.
    Knitting my way through life, one purl of wisdom at a time.

  5. - Top - End - #5
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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Please critique my character's Backstory/Concept

    Well, if the DM approved the item then the story is fine. I would have asked for a rewrite to stop the obvious come back of ''but I can't have the story without the magic item''. Often when you tell someone to ''rewrite'' they will figure out a way to keep most of the story, but change the item to ''a normal sack''. It saves days of back and forth.

    The story gets an ok by me.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Jeff the Green's Avatar

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    Default Re: Please critique my character's Backstory/Concept

    Quote Originally Posted by jedipotter View Post
    I don't like it. Looks like a cheep way for you to get the Haversack with a story. And I'm sure it will work: some DM's will like the story so much and fall for the idea that ''you just have the magic item for storytelling.''

    I'd disallow this backstory in my game. You get the note ''no haversack'' and ''rewrite''.
    That's much more easily fixed with the rule: "No, you can't get equipment beyond whatever I set by including it in your backstory. If your backstory requires more equipment than is allowed, it was stolen/lost/destroyed/confiscated before the start of the game."

    Really, that should be obvious. Have you really encountered players who do this?
    Author of The Auspician's Handbook and The Tempestarian's Handbook for Spheres of Power.
    Ask me (or the other authors) anything.
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    Well, of course I'm paranoid about everything. Hell, with Jeff as DM, I'd be paranoid even if we were playing a game set in The Magic Kiddie Funland of Perfectly Flat Planes and Sugar Plums.
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