Seeking advice on backstory

World’s End Tavern: Role-play and Fan Fiction
Ok, so I just started playing the game a few days ago, and I want to get into rp. Now, I have a general knowledge about the forsaken from in game quests, but I am not all that up to date on every piece of lore and whatnot. With that in mind, I wrote a basic backstory for my guy, which I will expand later on as I get better with the lore. So, I seek outside advice about my backstory. Any and all constructive criticism is welcome.

Character's Name: Gaream (Hides last name (read, have not come up with one yet))
Race: Undead (Formally human)
Faction: Forsaken
Age: 32 at time of death
Current Residence: Undercity
Short Back Story: A former assassin for hire, Gaream made a nice living off his job, until the day one of the relatives of one of his former victims tracked him down and exacted a bloody vengeance. After being brought back to life as an undead, Gaream quickly adjusted to his new life. no longer forced to hide what he is, he has found a new role among the forsaken, now using his skills as an assassin to kill any who oppose them
Feels too generic.

Gaream could have been given a bounty to assassinate the leader of a cult outside (insert city name here). BUT IT WAS A TRAP. One of the high ranking members in the (city name) government could have hada personal vendetta against Gaream, and notified the cult before hand. Gaream was brutally murdered, and then turned undead through some horrific cult ritual. He would have been used as a thrall by the cult leader, before regaining his personality after however many years imprisoned. Now being an angry, undead sociopath, he could have proceeded to murder the cult barehanded, and joined the Forsaken.

Of course, this is only an example and you have no obligation to use it, but you need to let your imagination wander more. Back stories are what make our characters people, and if you keep your story generic, then your character will be generic.
huh, yours is much better them mine. I kinda knew it was generic, but I was trying to keep it simple, diden't want to go overboard and break some lore I did not know about. Like I said, I was planing to expand on the backsotry later
It does feel a bit generic, but for me at least, simple back stories are better for a lot of reasons.

The most important one is that they are easier to keep straight in your head.

Secondly, an elaborate back story has the problem of potentially breaking lore, becoming a 'special snowflake' or worse, a Mary Sue/Gary Stu. Which then means you would be in danger of not getting any rp, ignored, ridiculed/made fun of and there are members of this community that would tear an elaborate back story to shreds if they felt it was lore breaking enough. (A fair warning, I've been known to do it as well, but I'm a lot nicer than some in how I put things)

The people you should listen to most are Ashokk and Hallinton and don't listen to people when they say a simple back story is bad. It's not. I actually prefer to rp with people that have a simple back story. The farm boy who wants to go to the city and find work, but his father keeps him at home, helping to raise crops that feed the army. The talented engineer who sometimes has his experiments fail. The young warrior who was still in training but would sneak out at night for a few drinks at the local inn. Kass herself is just a battle medic that has her twin sister as her only surviving relative after the crash of the Exodar.

My suggestion is go to wowpedia and read everything you can get your hands on to do with the forsaken. Here's a link to get you started: http://www.wowpedia.org/Forsaken. Anything in blue on a wowpedia page is a link to another article so it's easy to spend hours on the site. Use that to give you ideas you could use for your back story, but don't stress too much.

My characters usually start with a personality first. The back story just explains how they got to be who they are.
I've always found that, when brainstorming a character, coming up with something generic is absolutely acceptable; actually I'd probably recommend it for the sake of getting the idea of your character down. The real trick is then to banish their generic backdrop by coming up with the extra details that create whatever circumstance that our characters, our people, find themselves in.

For starters: do you know what got Gaream into the assassination field?
When I started RP Ashok here had a generic backstory that has become more elaborate as I have expanded his character and hammered out the details. Simple normally means good.
If you give your character a more colorful background, it gives them a better reason to get involved with more colorful activities. Unless your character is a farmer who's a victim of coincidence and circumstance, he more than likely won't be part of the S:7.

I believe we have a confusion between simplicity and genericness. Simplicity is fine, but I tend to find a generic story to be lackluster at best.
A generic back story is usually the point to start with, you can build on it as you go. My problem with colourful backgrounds is that they can tend toward the special snowflake side of things. They tend to scream 'look at me, aren't I special?'

Garaem, here's some things to think about

10/02/2012 09:49 AMPosted by Jesterdeed
For starters: do you know what got Gaream into the assassination field?


Second: What was his initial reaction to being forsaken? In the undead start zone there's a quest to help 3 newly risen forsaken, only one is immediately accepting of it,

Thirdly, what did he do to gain acceptance among the forsaken and what was his reaction to that acceptance?

@Mattymatt? WTF is S:7? SI:7 is an exclusively alliance group, I've yet to see a horde member of SI:7, that is made up of predominantly rogues (don't ask me to explain Mishka, I can't). Some SI:7 may have been former farmers etc or even undercover as a farmer but really? Where do you get the information that supports your claim that
10/02/2012 11:25 AMPosted by Mattymatt
Unless your character is a farmer who's a victim of coincidence and circumstance, he more than likely won't be part of the S:7.
?
ok, so I have been doing some thinking on my backstory, and have disided to make a few changes, based on feedback I have recived (thanks to those who have provided it) so, here we go again

In life, Gaream was at the lowest rung of society. Born with a birth defect that made him hideous, Gaream was ridiculed and hated wherever he went. He was eventually forced to kill and steal in order to feed himself. One day, he was unlucky enough to be caught up in a riot. He knew nothing about why there was a riot, but he was caught by a guard, who assumed he was part of it, and locked up. The captain on duty, seeking a scapegoat, placed the blame on Gaream, and had him tried and sentenced as a traitor who was "Disturbing the peace", and executed.

Next thing he knew, Gaream was being raised as an undead. Fearful and confused, he ran and hid. Eventually, he calmed down a bit, and came to terms with the fact that he was now undead. Not seeing much choice, Gaream joined up with the forsaken. Now, finally among people who do did not hate him on sight, he trains as a rogue, seeking to aid his new people however he could.

edit-opps, missed that rouge misspelling, my bad
I just have to say this... ROGUE. ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE ROGUE..... ROGUE. ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUGE.
Dots chill ok? Not everyone has perfect spelling and I know I've been known to make spelling mistakes.

Gaream that's starting to sound great. I really like how he's really just an average, ordinary guy that got caught up in something beyond his control.

Don't be surprised if he changes over time. When I first started playing Kass all I knew about her was that she was on the Exodar when it crashed, that she was a battle medic, her favourite colour (red) and her basic personality. I know a lot more about her now and I'm still getting to know her.
Sorry, I'm just... I HATE bad grammar, especially when the document or whatever in question puts apostrophes in every single word that ends in s.
WTF is S:7? SI:7 is an exclusively alliance group, I've yet to see a horde member of SI:7, that is made up of predominantly rogues (don't ask me to explain Mishka, I can't). Some SI:7 may have been former farmers etc or even undercover as a farmer but really? Where do you get the information that supports your claim?


Excuse me for being one letter off, I'm a member of the Horde, if you haven't noticed.

I wasn't using the example in accordance with Gaream, it was only an example.

Without a major military background, it is more than likely that a farmer wouldn't wander in and join your SI:7.
I would honestly just stick to the simple backstory since you're new. Really, a backstory just gives you an idea about where you come from and how it affects how your character thinks/acts. Where your character has been really isn't that important. It's what your character does now and will do that will define him.
A birth defect is good to have in the mix; it's certainly something that would have had to be overcome someway in life depending on how others took it, and in Gaream's case it seems that it forced him to become fairly self-reliant. How did Gaream's parents tolerate having deformed offspring?

Depending on Gaream's upbringing while he was still alive that would also tie into how he felt at the time he had to face the world on his own. Was it necessary for him to take life in order to get by, or could he have scraped together a meager living through thieving? How did he feel during his first kill; was it incidental or was he fully aware of what he was going to do? Figuring out those sort of past feelings will help determine the the character's mindset in the present, and his upbringing will no doubt play a large part in his psychology. As hideous as Gaream sounds to have been, did his parents abandon him as a child? Should he have gone down that route then there are also the questions of whether or not he was a baby and somebody else found and raised him, or if he was a child old enough to know that he had to take what he needed. Perhaps Gaream actually had loving parents who looked past his deformity, but, despite all their love, nothing could have prepared the young man for the hatred he would face from the world and he didn't know how to deal with it - thus stealing and murder became his only options.

Even though he's Undead, a lot of these things would still carry through with him beyond the grave; if not the memory, then the feeling he felt. I for one would imagine a fairly seething amount of hatred projected toward the world if I grew up a reviled monstrosity. Maybe when he was alive Gaream desperately wished he could have been born more handsom, but perhaps undeath has helped open his eyes and he realizes that it is the living who are ugly.

Of course, he may not even remember his previous life at all. It's not unheard of for the Undead to have no recollection of their memories at all when they're raised or gain consciousness. You could effectively start off as a clean state: perhaps that means Gaream is impressionable, he could be very curious, or maybe he's simply detached and taking order after order in a search to give his new life some meaning. Of course if you do this then the back story might not even need focus, but rather his present views.

You're starting to get an outline formed for the character, now breathe some life into him...not that a corpse will make much use of it.
10/02/2012 02:33 PMPosted by Kassalla
SI:7 is an exclusively alliance group, I've yet to see a horde member of SI:7

It would be reasonable to assume he had been in the SI:7 before he had been killed and became an undead.
Where your character has been really isn't that important. It's what your character does now and will do that will define him.

Also, where your character has been can be very relevant. The nice thing about being a Forsaken is sometimes you don't even need to create a back story of what happened while they were still alive, because sometimes the Forsaken simply doesn't remember. The past shapes your character just as much as the future does.

So far, I really like both of the back stories you have for him. I would say the second is more interesting, but only because it has a little more "meat" to it. It would be interesting to find out what had happened to his body that it got into the hands of a necromancer and was risen, however your character might not remember it, or might not remember it yet. As I said before, playing a Forsaken can be extremely convenient when it comes to history, because a lot of the history doesn't need to be remembered.

Now that you have your general background finished, what are you going to incorporate into his current history? When was he "ressurected"? Was he a part of the Forsaken when the Dark Portal opened to the Outlands? Was he present for the rein of the Lich King?
firstly, thanks to all who have given their imput so far. Lav, I am honestly not so sure about the whole ressurection thing. As I said, I am still a wow noob, and don't even know what outlands is, and only know about the lich king in vauge terms. I was kinda thinking he was brought back after the whole break from the lich king thing, for simplicty's sake if nothing else, but there is nothing stoping me from changing that I guess, not like I have really started rp'ing with him yet lol. I did get some lol's out of the whole "selective memory" bit, and that will help as I try to figure out the small details of this guy
10/03/2012 05:54 PMPosted by Gaream
I was kinda thinking he was brought back after the whole break from the lich king thing,


Well jsut a heads up...

The Lich King was formerly known as Arthas, a proud prince who was a paladin. After being affected by Frostmourne, a mythical blade that can steal souls, he became increasingly evil and eventually sat on the Lich King's throne with his helmet giving full control to the lih king and now Arthas raises death knights and yada yada yada.
Ihealedyou completely left Ner'zhul out of that Lich King synopsis and he's rather important since that is who he started out as. If you want his full history, I suggest reading this:
http://www.wowpedia.org/Lich_King

In fact all of wowpedia, that site I just linked you to, is a fantastic lore resource for new and old RPers alike and I highly recommend you take a look at it.

And back on topic-
Yes, simple is a good way to start out, especially with your first RP character. Initially you should focus more on the toon's personality and how they feel about/respond to the people and events surrounding them than their history. You can flesh that out more later on. I generally like to start my characters out by having an idea of a personality or a set of traits that I want to use and then working backwards from there; trying to figure out why they are that way and what in their past influenced them into becoming who they are now.
10/03/2012 07:00 PMPosted by Istella
Ihealedyou completely left Ner'zhul out of that Lich King synopsis and he's rather important since that is who he started out as


oooohhhhh.... I forgot about him >.>

Thank you for clarifying Istella I forgot about Ner'zhul forgive meh xD

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