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The Douchey DM » Entries tagged with "backstories"

PC Back Story Example

Tweet A little more on PC backstories. I like them short, concise and packed with ideas. To illustrate, I’ll give you an example backstory for a cosmic horror PC. The son of a respected professor father from a prestigious university and a renown physician mother, Dr. Arthur Stillman lived a comfortable life, attending the best schools and universities. After finishing his post graduate work, he struggled finding employment until he received a position at Rhinefall University in west Pennsylvania as a professor of parapsychology. While respected by most of his colleagues, his unconventional theories have drawn criticism and ridicule from several prominent academicians in his field, most notably,  the coldly skeptical Dr. Henry Turn from Carrow College in upstate New York. Within these two paragraphs and three sentences, we have plenty of plot hooks … Read entire article »

Filed under: Adventure Design, Advice

The Perfect Backstory

Tweet Tomorrow night on Happy Jacks RPG Podcast, sponsored by Crone, the RPG, by the way, we’re going to talk player character backstories. Specifically, we’re going to talk about the sorts of item in backstories that GMs love to see. So in preparation of that discussion, I’d like to detail a few things that I love to see in PC backstories. One: Generates NPCs When gearing up a game, one of the most time-consuming tasks is developing a cast of non-player characters. Crowd sourcing this to your players is a great way to lighten the work load. It doesn’t just have to be parents and other family members, though those can be fun too. And it doesn’t have to be mortal enemies either. It might be a local fence that a thief knows and trusts. Perhaps … Read entire article »

Filed under: Advice

Why Are You an Adventurer?

Tweet In our last episode of Happy Jacks RPG Podcast, we discussed player character backgrounds, what we want from them, what we use them for, etc. I put out the question: What do you as a GM want from a PC background — what question do you want answered. The most common response was, “why are you an adventurer?” And it makes sense. We as GMs are trying to understand the PCs and what makes them tick. More importantly, if we know why the PCs quit their 9-to-5s, left their families and road off into the sunset, we also know what the players are expecting or hoping for from the game. I started thinking of some reasons why someone would drop everything and go looking for adventurer. Some are common, some aren’t. Revenge. He says with a gravelly … Read entire article »

Filed under: Advice, General Gaming

One GM’s Perspective: What I Want from a PC Backstory

Tweet In the next episode of Happy Jacks RPG Podcast, we’re going to discuss PC backstories and the GMs who ignore them. As an adjunct to this discussion, I like to talk about my expectations and preferences for PC backstories. Obviously, since all GMs are different, have differing play styles, etc., this is my own list of things I like in backstories. It might not be a bad idea to get such a list from your own GM. Part One: Presentation Brevity. I prefer paragraphs to pages when it comes to backstory. Don’t write a novel — or even a novella or short story. Instead, give me a couple paragraphs I can breeze through. Even bullet points or number lists would be fine. General rather than Specific. The more general the information is in your backstory, the better chance … Read entire article »

Filed under: Adventure Design, Alternate Views