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I'm about to start playing a Mind's Eye Theatre Vampire the Masquerade game using the rules from the "Blood & Betrayal: Secrets of the Grey Ghost" preview packet, and I need some help to create my character's backstory.

I don't really know how to use the player packet or what exactly I need to put into the character's backstory. My character is a Toreador who loves dance, but I don't know where to go from there?

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closed as too broad by Tritium21, DuckTapeAl, doppelgreener, Oblivious Sage, nitsua60 Dec 24 '15 at 20:13

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Hi and welcome. We're happy to help you workshop specific details about working out your character's backstory, but helping you with the whole thing is out of scope for this site. Please edit to add the details you've established and to ask about specific issues you've encountered in trying to develop your character. Thanks! – wax eagle Jan 14 '14 at 15:16
Ok, thanks, I've edited :) – user59377 Jan 14 '14 at 15:31
This depends a lot on your Storyteller. Are you going to write up through your Embrace, or is that part of when you start playing your character? Camarilla, Sabbat, Independant, other? Ask the ST what they want from the story and perhaps we can give better guidance. – Professor Caprion Jan 14 '14 at 15:38
Ah ook, so i will talk with the ST. – user59377 Jan 14 '14 at 15:46
Have you read the whole player packet yet? I took a look and it's almost 400 pages long, so, wow, I don't blame you if you haven't. But judging from the Table of Contents, it has a step-by-step walkthrough of how to create your character. That might still not be enough if you're not familiar with the game's rulebook though, so if you're not, that's where you'll need to contact a ST or buddy up with someone who does know the game better, to give you a hand. – SevenSidedDie Jan 14 '14 at 18:11

Talk to your Storyteller is certainly the best advice.

However, there are some resources you might want to examine before you do that. I don't own the final release, but in the Blood & Betrayal Starter Packet preview there is an entire section dedicated to answering just this question called Step One: Inspiration (p. 50). It includes a large number of sample archtypes that can give you an approach to more details in your backstory. For example, since your character likes dance, perhaps some of these character concepts might be appropriate:

  • Artist – You focus on inspiration, emotion, and the creative drive. You exist for your art.
  • Competitor – You love a challenge. Victory's only worthwhile if there is a risk involved.
  • Cultured – You are refined, and accept only the finest. You belong with the elite.
  • Free Spirit – You're uncontrollable and unpredictable, and that's how you like it. You hate rules.

It also includes a few questions to get you started. You can think of them like you are interviewing your character.

  • Who were you before you became a vampire?
    • Was the character prosperous in her mortal life?
    • Did she enjoy her mortal life, or hate it?
    • Did the character know anything about vampires before she was Embraced?
  • Why were you Embraced?
    • Was she considered "worthy?"
    • Was it a mistake?
  • Who have you become as a vampire?
    • How did the character adapt to the Embrace?
    • Did she accept her sire's tutelage, or did she rebel?

Questions like these are helpful in the way that story prompts are: they give you a starting point to nail down years of otherwise blank backstory. I've also used more generic lists of questions such as The 100 Most Important Things To Know About Your Character. If you can answer all (or most) of those questions, then even if you don't remember every detail during the game, you'll start to have a well-rounded impression of your character that will help you respond to new situations appropriately.

Talking to your Storyteller after you have the bulk of your backstory sketched out will lead to a more fruitful discussion. She can focus on the parts of your story that concern the theme and setting of the game, and you will have a good idea of how to mold your character to fit the Storyteller's requirements while maintaining a character that is fun to play.

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From playing and running many years of MET VtM I've seen some outlandish characters and backgrounds (3rd in Line to the English Throne?!) so here's some advice I'd recommend.

Speak to the Storyteller

Especially for games that are already running there are trip-ups when you start play, but this can happen for new games as well as the land-grab of resources and backgrounds, feeding grounds, places to live, etc etc start.

Before decided anything about your character that isn't trivially mundane consider how it might affect the story. Are you claiming ownership/control of a local resource? Someone else in play might already control it - ooops!

Are you creating a famous nightclub in an established game? Why might no-one have heard of it before? These things don't pop out of nowhere.

Good advice if you want something for your character (Such as a Theatre) as what's available in the city/region/etc for your character to control, this gives you real game resources to link into and use.

In larger (worldwide) games people can make outlandish claims that they don't consider other things going on - we had one player in Boston USA whose character was apparently prince of Cambridge (UK) for ten years - without ever asking or checking with the people who were running a game there!

Speak to the other players

Politics is the primary force in most VtM games, connections and links are key, you can get a lot by asking other players for link ins or background crossovers.

Maybe you worked with another vampire a while ago on something that they've already got

Maybe you are the prodigy of an existing character (a great tie in)

In VtM this will primarily be members of your own clan, speak to the Storyteller and they may be able to get you some people to talk to; often games like these have mailing lists and even newsletters for clans and/or domains to keep the atmosphere rolling.

Never use anyone famous

This happens again and again in backgrounds and it's just annoying to Storytellers; unless you have permission don't name check anyone that is famous in the REAL world, they may not even EXIST in the VtM world or may even be dead/a werewolf, who knows! If you want a link, again, speak to the storyteller.

@ladenedge has some excellent advice for generating character background, so I'm not going to cover that.

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