New Person

Discuss our dark fantasy adventure tabletop roleplaying game based on BioWare's computer game, Dragon Age Origins.

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New Person

Postby Knightwolf64 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:39 pm

I have finaly logged in after some trouble. I am very new to this board and have bought and played both sets for Dragonage RPG. I love them both it was hard for the players in the group to switch from Dungeons and Dragons but careful prodding made it happen now they are happy playing this system and some of the people even whent out and bought there own books for the game. :D . I hope to contribute much to this board. I am already working on comversions for fariy,vampire and werewolf racial background. I have been playing RPG games since i was 12 and now i 35 just turnt on the 17th yeah me. My name is TJ but you can call me either TJ or Knightwolf.

I would like to ask a question for everyone in the board. Is character concept and background story a nessesity in the game or does it just slow the game down. I aks this becasue there is has been many a debate between two long standing systems. Whitewolf with the storytelling system which is story and, character focused and, Dungeons and Dragons which is based of chainmail a wargame system and seems to have a vidoe game like mentality especally in 4th ED. So which do you think is more important creating a concept and backdrop story for the character or just pick a pack and just play.
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Re: New Person

Postby RenoGM » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:21 pm

I think that completely depends on your group.

My current group doesn't even consider starting a campaign without detailed character backgrounds, relationships, and fleshed-out personalities; regardless of game system or setting. In fact, I usually plan on a one or two game sessions just for the players to create characters and do a little "free-form" roleplaying to create connections between the characters and connections to the setting. On the other hand I've also played with groups that can define their entire character history in a sentence or two.

As far as which approach is better? Ask your players. If some of them like creating rich backgrounds let them and reward them for their efforts by having their background come into play occasionally. If other players don't create much in the way of background that's fine too. For those players I, as GM, simply take some liberties with their character's history; nothing drastic but if a player makes a successful Lore-type check I might say something like, "You remember and old woman talking about that from your time in Redcliffe."

I've always felt that it's important for characters to "feel" like they have rich histories and complex back-stories, but the keyword here is "feel". It isn't always necessary to actually spell out their background but that being said, background is one of the best ways to create "connection" between character and setting. Characters that are connected to a setting (and players connected to their characters) almost always enriches the experience.
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Re: New Person

Postby Knightwolf64 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:17 pm

I was just wondering what other people thoughts are on this topic. I agree that character concept and background should be a group decision. thank you for your input.
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Re: New Person

Postby Ghostdanser » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:16 pm

Howdy and welcome to the forums...

Personally (and your mileage may vary) I want my players to think about their characters history for a week or so before we sit down to start a campaign, and this is pretty much the way I handle it for almost every rpg. I don't need all of the details worked out, but I want them to have sufficient depth that the character has something to build off of. We then play a session or two and check to see if there are any major tweaks that need to be done, as in a piece of history that just doesn't work...after that the history becomes pretty firm and we work on fleshing out the characters as time goes by.

There is one major rpg exception to this for me...Paranoia...I love it as a one-shot break from a regular campaign, but I see no reason to waste time with character history in a game where the pc's will die (multiple times, in hopefully entertaining ways). So in the case of Paranoia I pre-generate a bunch of characters and let the players pick the one they want, a tweak here and there, pick a name, and playing within 30 minutes.
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Re: New Person

Postby MacGrein » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:18 pm

Background and Short Biography are very useful tools in the right hands. Or even cooler, in the wrong hands >:)
In my last (actually most enduring) group, everybody started with almost empty characters, which personality only developed 3 sessions later.
And this was for good, for now we have:
a Human-eater Elf Blood Mage
a roguish Dragon-Choosen Warrior
a brute Shadow/Rogue
a paranoid ex-Dalish ex-Crow Archer
an angry Druid-like (with a humour of an old bear!)
a trying-to-control-himself Berzerker
a monster-shapeshifter reckless mage
a classic Dwarf Fight and his sidekick, the Coward Dwarf - now turned into NPCs as the players are gone...

But in the Game of Thrones side-campaign we're planning to play, we are already building up our characters in advance, cause we all know it better (scenario) and want more roleplaying-able PCs
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Re: New Person

Postby kronovan » Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:41 am

I think it depends on the players and GM and whether you plan on only using pre-written adventures. Using existing adventures you can get away with less developed PC backgrounds, as it's a bit easier to have PC's evolve them through their adventuring. Of coures that depends on whether there's enough choices and challenges for good RP'ing in the adventures - IMO the offical ones have that as well as some of the fan-made.There's enough adventures out there -offical and homebrewed- that you could run a campaign based solely on them and if you're clever about it you can have signficant plot points along the way. ;) Some players are also much better at making it up as they go, so if those types of players are in your party evolving character personalities will probably work better.

Otherwise, if you want to create all of your own adventures, not having strong PC backgrounds is going to make it more difficult you as the GM. The first thing to realize is there's no play mechanic in DAGE for player quirks. IMO that makes it even more important to follow the lead in boxset 1's books of creating detailed backgrounds with 2 things in common amongst each PC in the party. Without some good details and links for the PC's backgrounds', you'll be missing a lot of good sources for adventure hooks. IME a strong background also encourages good RP'ing, so if you have some newbie PnP players, having a detailed background can help nudge them in that direction.
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Re: New Person

Postby Knightwolf64 » Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:25 pm

I thank everyone for there very clear cut input. This is very helpful indeed.
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Re: New Person

Postby Loswaith » Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:22 pm

Personaly as a GM I like characters to have a background as it can make them more solidified into the world (it also helps tailor the games to said characters). I even go so far as to give rewards to players that actually give me written backgrounds in the form of some bonus XP. Usualy I have a cut off point on the reward after a few sessions.

Though while I like it it doesnt mean there needs to be one (nore do I always make one as a player) so long as the player has an idea of the character within play. That idea can come about even just from the random making up of a character with no idea or concept to realy begin with, to fillinf a 'hole' in the group makeup, to just a basic concept of what kind of character a player wants.
Both the background and a simple idea or concept fromm how the random part has in various games has resulted in some very memorable and unique characters.

So to your question, I dont think either is more important so long as a good idea of the character is a result. The good idea often leads to quicker decisions as to what a character will or wont do in certain situations. While a bad idea/concept/background can be destructive to the game at hand if it realy doesnt fit the style of game that is intended to be played.

Afterall you are trying to play a character (atleast thats the point I see of an RPG) and the more real a character is the better it will be, though if it is disruptive in the way it plays out the game it wont be fun. So sometimes a concept/background or even the character itself (not the numbers on paper) needs tweaking to make sure the game is still going to be fun.
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Re: New Person

Postby Knightwolf64 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:46 pm

From my experence as a player i almost have a background description even if i just say the backgorund out loud to the other players and the GM. But more often than not (not to pick on D&D) :roll: people that i have played with either dont undertand how to incorpperate there background with the character they want to make. Or they really dont care and just wnat to min max the numbers and be the god of all they survey and kill eveything the come upon. Most of them are young age and with this hobby younger people sometimes dont care about the role playing and more the video game aspect and just crunch the numbers out. But age does make the hobby sweeter most of the time. But how to I encourage other players to at least read a little about what they are about to play such as mannersisms of the race or even how they veiw others in the world. Or even to encourage them to care a little more about the getting character by developing a personality for there character. This is not disrepect anyone if they do not act this nor am I bashing anyones age both young or old and game experence. It is just from my personal experence and the pereception of people that i have played with over the years. Present company excepted which means all people in this forum. So please don't take this personaly anyone. :oops:
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Re: New Person

Postby Etarnon » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:10 pm

I make sure each character has a connection at least in some way to two others in the group. Could be a relative, or they worked for, or the comrade worked for each others parents. Survived a dangerous mission or event together some time ago.

Then I say "You all have known each other at least in passing, for at least 6 months." This avoids that let's meet in the tavern, and look around town and answer ads for interviews to join the group, then do those interviews that we all know will succeed. I just avoid that and start the first scene, in media res:

"This year is cold, colder than many you all remember. Heavy snow fills the forest of pines as you travel north to the barren peaks, which lie ahead. But now, trudging through the snow...you hear a low noise. A mournful gutteral howl, of the Beast you have stalked for most of the month. Now you approach its lair, perhaps a hundred yards ahead, just through the trees."

I lay out the map, they place their figures and then I ask what they want to do.
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