Character Backstories and Changing Them

Wyrmrest Accord
Question: Have any of you had a character whose already-solid backstory you decided to give a complete overhaul for some reason or another?

Side-question: What's the MOST DRASTIC change you've ever done to an established character?

-----
This question was spurred on thanks to a gigantic brain blast I had a few months back, where I decided to take my entire roster of gnomes on Wyrmrest Accord and connect their backstories together. Fortunately, I don't have many current RP connections that necessitated keeping a lot of the old portions of Milladee's backstory, but I understand that certain characters' ongoing stories rely on certain background information as a basis for their current motivation. Milladee herself already had a solid background that was set in stone for a while now (at least until I decided to rewrite it) that I've continuously referenced, so although it may have sounded rash, I didn't take the overhaul too lightly.

In truth, I also wanted to sort of overhaul Milladee's motivations and interpersonal connections, as well as make use of the other three gnomes I had on the server. I found that each of them had portions of their stories that linked well together, and even revived a little plot hook that fell to the wayside not long after I created Milladee herself.

So yeah! Ever just chuck out the whole thing and rewrite your character's background for any reason?

-----
Background:
So a couple months back I literally woke up with a completely new backstory for Milladee. The old backstory was that Milladee was trapped within Gnomeregan after the fall, subsisting on whatever untainted goods that she could scavenge, learning how to sneak around troggs and leper gnome patrols, and whittling the time away by studying Gnomeregan's vast library, until the days after Operation Gnomeregan where she was found and pulled out of her dormitory, kicking and screaming towards the scrubbers.

Her current backstory now has her evacuate the city pre-venting, but running back inside in order to find her parents. She was eventually rescued not long after the radiation venting incident by the last location she saw her parents, completely unscathed in comparison to the three gnomes that delved into the city to save her, who were all attacked by troggs and the first sightings of leper gnomes. Instead of years trapped inside the city, she spent years living one of her rescuers (a family friend and someone she calls her older sister) recuperating and learning to make something of herself in Ironforge. Eventually her "older sister" had to leave for reasons she didn't mention, so Milladee, who didn't feel like staying in one place alone for too long, took up traveling to find her. (She eventually did.) (Milladee's other two rescuers are a happy, loving couple, and they're doing fine as well. In fact, they're expecting a kid!)
oh yeah, all the time. whether it's to write out someone's character (for a variety of reasons--no longer play, turned out to be a dickweasel, etc) or to, as you did, connect backstories. I've also done a bit of copious pruning to facilitate a plot for friends/partners

there's lots of good reasons to retcon or alter, but I notice a bit of stigma with it. IDK why, it's your character--at the end of the day what happens or doesn't happen to it is 500% up to you
https://i.gyazo.com/7a9d257861df7fa06e1738d4a25b4939.png
*raises hand*

Going on 13 years of characterization and development for Nes accrues some baggage that occasionally needs to be threshed like chaff from the wheat. Last year I decided that what I had for Nes through all that time wasn't working out so well in the later years. That brought me to essentially retooling her from the ground up into a character that I liked, but didn't really speak to me the way old!Nes did.

About a year later I'm in the same boat now with how new!Nes feels. She's a good character, but maybe not the right character. And it feels tough when you're trying to redesign someone you've poured effort, blood, sweat, tears into making, fleshing out, not knowing how they'll feel in the end until you put them through their paces and throw them into stories and RP.

Characters be tough fam.
I'm slow to disclose background details so I can change them without anyone noticing. The cool thing about RPing is that other players can inspire better ideas than the ones I came up with on my own.

05/07/2018 04:52 PMPosted by Roan
there's lots of good reasons to retcon or alter, but I notice a bit of stigma with it. IDK why, it's your character--at the end of the day what happens or doesn't happen to it is 500% up to you

I notice a lot of RPers are wary of flaky types, and might mistake a character tweak for a general unwillingness to follow through. That's not how I see it, but then again I am Flake Supreme.
I'm considering that right now.

Huatar has about six years of development, one year of which was spent as "Tremar," his oldest son. Now that Legion is almost over and most people who would have known him are either gone or don't remember much of him, I'm considering a soft "reboot" of sorts.

What I want to know is if it'd be possible for a Kalimdor Tauren to somehow accept the Blessing of Eche'ro as a "reward" for some incredible task they'd have to overcome. If that's not possible, then I'd have to do a complete reboot of the character.
Avers here has gone through at least three separate rebootings in this expansion alone. Hell, I was a Warrior for a week.
05/07/2018 05:19 PMPosted by Huatar
What I want to know is if it'd be possible for a Kalimdor Tauren to somehow accept the Blessing of Eche'ro as a "reward" for some incredible task they'd have to overcome. If that's not possible, then I'd have to do a complete reboot of the character.


Soft derail here but no it's not really a feasible thing to happen. Unless you say you were the one to bring together all of bone fragments of Eche'ro for the Archaeology related quest, which resulted in being blessed then maybe? That would be the only half baked way to be a Kalimdor Tauren to get the blessing.
05/07/2018 04:48 PMPosted by Milladee
Ever just chuck out the whole thing and rewrite your character's background for any reason?

Literally all the time, without shame. It usually takes me awhile to find something that sticks, and the concept I start with is rarely ever the one I finish with.

Sometimes it takes me a few weeks to realize that my original idea for a character just isn't all that fun, engaging, whatever. And when that happens I switch it up.
I usually don't do massive overhauls all at once, but all of my characters, if they last, end up evolving through a continuous series of smaller tweaks over time. Backstories get altered here and there, details fall into place through RP interactions, important background characters are discovered now and then, connections to other characters on my roster come up and get written in, sometimes retroactively. Refining a character is something of a never-ending process.

I try to start out with vague and bare-bones character histories partly for this reason. It's more fun to discover them over time, and starting out with a bunch of details isn't very useful because they'll only change anyway.
Of course. My reason was a RPing partner and I grew apart and I did a reboot when we came back together.
*stares at Pandaren Wolf*

Yeah... yeah, I've done pure overhauls of background for my characters.

I usually, like Kaz, start with a new one and then slowly realize I hate it and mold it to something I genuinely like better.

I am of the opinion that if something stops being fun, just change it. People who get upset that you changed your character into something else or a different person are forgetting the whole reason for having the character to exist at all: for the character's owner to enjoy them.

IMO the people who get upset over other's choices to retcon their characters are the types to get overly possessive of characters not of their own.
For Ji I've rewritten her entire TRP maybe... five times in this expansion. The base concept was the same, but I was altering it heavily over time. As for my necromancer Ralera, she went from an astromancer with a living family and strong Nightborne connections to a necromancer with a living family but exiled and disowned. To a necromancer with a family that she killed and an association with the Ebon Blade. Believe me when I say it, changing your TRP is both fun and important. If you don't like the concept or idea, you can change some things without entirely destroying the character.
Tbh depending on what you do or what you want instead of a reboot, why not progress your story as something that did happy currently.

If it’s something like a race change depending on how you played them could have been a spell like playing with the Orb of Deception gone wrong.

Beyond that it’s your character do as yah want.
Going to echo what a lot of people here have said.

I have changed nearly every single aspect of a character (without going so far as to race/name change), without any hesitation or shame in the slightest. It's a game, and if you are not having fun with it? Change things up until you are.
Yeah, I get the whole "it's your character" thing, I just wanted to know if anyone else has done so.

I literally changed the backstory of one of my gnomes to be a dragon because I was petty, and it stuck!
Unpopular opinion, but I extremely rarely change backstories as I go. That's something I decide upfront and add details/small tweaks to up until the character's eventual death or the end of their story and I move on. The longest I've ever written a single character has been a year, and then that story ended and I moved on.

Your backstory is your experiences, and your experiences define your personality.

When one changes, everything changes. That isn't the same character.

Which, in all truth, might be what some people're going for. That just isn't me.
I don't change backgrounds on existing characters who have been around long enough to develop. If I have a character who's only a few weeks old, those are fair game. For long-lived characters, I can't see a good way to do that without changing the entirety of the character.

What I will do is stop mentioning parts of their history to others. Kirsy's very early roots are somewhat lore-bendy. Very few people know her earliest history because of this, but her history is completely responsible for who she is ICly so....
My paladin was a soldier serving in the Alliance army, part of Bravo Company under John J Keeshan

Now recently i found Scarlet RP fascinating, so i decided to join a Scarlet Crusade based RP Guild where i role play a paladin member of Scarlet Crusade

So that required a very Drastic change which i did recently xD
If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum