Character Background, GM's, and Integrations

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« Reply #60 on: <08-19-13/1606:19> »
Oh I agree, it doesn't have to be written at all. Just the player should have a basic grasp of it, and the GM should usually be aware of any important details, so that they have options to make the game more interesting and personal, should they choose to do so.

I just say written because that way the GM has something to refer back to, but it would also work if the GM himself takes notes to use later.
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« Reply #61 on: <08-24-13/1415:40> »
Well that became an interesting debate.

The biggest points;
-We're here to play a game; it should be fun, not work.
-Background is unique to each person. Some are all about the novels, others are 'figure it out as I go.'
-GM's and Players need to talk to each other so they can reach an understanding before hand. Probably when the GM is giving the rules for the chargen session so everyone can be semi-prepared. Everybody needs to be on the same page, or at least close to it.
-If you don't give anything to the GM, don't expect anything.

Those points said, I'll give my own bit of background development story-
I like a full background if only for my own reference and taste. I really don't care if it's implemented in game or not. If it is, cool. But I'll go the extra mile and research lingo for a specific subculture, traditions, mannerisms for a character and look at subtle things to implement. etc. etc. One of my favorite examples is one of my troll street sams with a background in the UCAS Army. Initially, he was probably as cookie cutter as hundreds of others; badass, quiet, ex-special forces sniper, etc. etc. It was easy to research and play. I made this character several years ago, and I continually tweak my creations (I'm odd like that). Anyways, fast forward to now and now that I'm in the Army, I really re-imagined the character;

He wasn’t just in the Army; he was an 11B who got his Sergeant while he was involved in the Renraku Arcology incident. He’d aspired for the Tower of Power (Airborne, Special Forces, Ranger) when he initially joined, but realizations of how the Army works drove him to just grind through. In speaking to others, he was initially going to be done like most movie characters in the Army (nothing special, except maybe some R. Lee Ermey lines). Now, little things in his lingo changed. Instead of saying “I understand”, it’s replaced with “Tracking” or “Roger.” He still does PT in the morning more as a force of habit. Morning chow time is replaced by a breakfast at his favorite little diner or him sitting down with a bowl of cereal to watch reruns of the Football game he missed the other night due to his run and he couldn’t risk streaming it (actually, he didn’t want the hacker to find out and start bitching). He’s got the understanding of how the Army and similar make-up in corporations take time to maneuver. More of his Army life itself was flushed out. The story of how he got his Rover changed from getting it after he left the Army to ‘As a dumb young private, he took out a loan and got screwed by Briggs Auto Dealership- since then, he takes meticulously good care of it since he had to ‘pay so damn much for it.’’ He has little stories from when he was in the barracks or out drinking with his soldiers (actually based off a lot of stories from my friends doing the same stuff, I’m more of a homebody with my family).

I look at how the Army is changing now and try to apply that same level of changes. I can see how mages would acquire their own MOS, and probably be brought in as Officers right out the gate akin to the way certain degrees are. Deckers/Hackers actually have their own MOS now in our modern day, which makes me laugh.

Character background can make characters immensely memorable in that they can add such a life to the character over it being just ‘John playing a street samurai with a different voice’ to ‘John is Julian King.’
But the depth and level of this background seems to definitely vary by group according to their tastes.


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« Reply #62 on: <08-26-13/0852:41> »
A good background adds a lot to a character. It gives you ideas on how to rp him, and it also helps you tackle questions that you get asked during a campaign. The best times I've had rping were when both myself, and the other players had a rich history. You don't need to write a book, but a little bit helps a lot and it does give the GM ideas that you could decide to incorporate into a the campaign.

One of my players had Chess Theory 6 as a knowledge skill and he mentioned he played competitively in his history page that he sent me. I designed a run that involved him competing and attempting to defeat a yakuza boss in an annual tournament to bring shame to him, and then him and his team had to ransack his room during the intermission before the finals so they could complete some kind of objective(I forget what that was). But they had to discreetly take out his guards and it was a really interesting run. He really enjoyed the fact that I used his history to enrich the game and now he always makes a good history for me to read.

Also, it's just satisfying when you see the GM is clearly using something from your history and it almost always make for a good scene and experience.
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« Reply #63 on: <08-27-13/0702:53> »
I'm getting a chance to be a player character in a different campaign (different system/setting though... Supernatural RPG), and I am trying something different out.  The other players and I are all making our characters related (cousins actually).  So we get to make characters that suit what we want to play, but our background hooks us together.  Thinking it will add a whole new aspect to the game and I am looking forward trying it out.
Perception molds reality
Change perception and reality will follow


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« Reply #64 on: <09-05-13/0839:26> »
If they give you nothing, then just assume they don't want anything in the game specifically tailored to them aside from their skill-set being useful.
I don't consider that acceptable in my games, to just play a set of numbers. I mean, why force players to even have names, if this is just a wargame? To each his own, I guess though. It literally takes 3 seconds to create a vague background. "I'm a former ganger and my parents are both dead." Bam, done. The point isn't to use the background in the game, but to inform character thoughts and actions. If you want to run Shadowrun as just a tactical wargame then I guess it doesn't matter though.

I hate to be a thread necromancer, but I've used the 20 questions with my group and added a few of my own. Mind you, my players are all pretty narrativist, so it doesn't suit all groups. I like having them justify their choices in character because it helps establish who they are.

21) What would you do if you were as untouchable as a Megacorp?
22) What gives you the greatst sense of pride or accomlishment?

23) Have you ever been discriminated against, and have you ever discriminated against others?

24) How would you like people who know you to describe you?

25) How do you fear others might describe you behind your back?
Choose the trait that is more important to you, and explain why.

26) Personal HONOR or a good REPUTATION.

27) Comfort and SECURITY or the power of WEALTH.


30) To be FEARED or LOVED,
31) A band of COMMRADES or a team of COWORKERS.