A background is the origin of a character before they are created and appear in play. Also called backstory or character history. Usually most relevant to player characters.

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Ex-wizard that pretends he still is a wizard

I am pondering creating an epic-level wizard character, who through excessive use of Mordenkainen's Disjunction on artifacts has permanently lost all casting ability as well as all his class levels ...
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10answers
3k views

How do I rein in a character's backstory without discouraging the player?

I'm planning to start a game of Rogue Trader with a number of new players that are new to RPGs. I've helped the players generate their characters and have given them a very very basic backstory to ...
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1answer
568 views

Why does the Folk Hero get a shovel?

Equipment: A set of artisan’s tools (one of your choice), a shovel, an iron pot, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp I get pretty much everything else, but the shovel ...
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3answers
164 views

Character backstory and history development/generation tools

I'm a beginning a new campaign in pathfinder this fall as a player with a few friends. One of the players is brand new to roleplaying. I know that the group we're playing with puts a heavy emphasis ...
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1answer
252 views

Which background and theme fits a Razerclaw Shifter Ranger (Archer) [closed]

Our DM declared that as of Lv11 we will be allowed to choose a BG and Theme - as long as it matches our (still to be written) background story. I am a LV10 Razorclaw DEX Ranger heading towards the ...
19
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2answers
315 views

What are the consequences of letting players be characters from a work of fiction?

What are the consequences of letting players be characters from a book, movie, or other pre-existing work of fiction? For example, how would I handle a campaign based on the X-Files where the PCs are ...
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3answers
299 views

What are the 'civilian' jobs of shamans?

In the Shadowrun setting, I find it hard to envision what a shaman does all day. What do shamans do for a living if they are not shadowrunners or security personnel of one sort or another (be it for a ...
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7answers
484 views

Best way to get players to think about their backgrounds within the game?

I'm a new DM playing with a group of 5 new players. (We're playing D&D 4e but more general answers are acceptable.) So far we have done 3 sessions, where we've mainly focussed on learning the ...
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7answers
612 views

What systems use interesting questions to inspire character backgrounds? [closed]

In another question, it was suggested that the game "Dread" has a number of questions to make players really consider their character's backstory and personality. However, I'm planning to run a ...
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2answers
739 views

Is the Rapier a Superior or Military weapon?

I keep seeing the Gritty Sergeant and Noble Bred for War backgrounds mentioned as ways to gain proficiency with rapier. However rapier is listed in PHB as a superior weapon, and GS/NBfW grant ...
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5answers
318 views

As a GM, how do I encourage PCs to share and play out their backstories?

My players have trouble creating deep backstories for the characters. I have decided to go with that, but provide opportunities in-game for filling out the gaps. I'm considering leading some ...
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Starting a campaign at higher level

It's been difficult for me to start a game at higher level than level 1-4 in Pathfinder. At higher level, the scale of the game changes. In the beginning of level 1-4 you save a village or a clan ...
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703 views

How to handle diverging expectations on “background density”?

Sorry, this is lengthy, but I want to put this into context. After many years (try 15) of not GM'ing a group of my own, I recently made an attempt to return to the head of the table and shake off ...
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3answers
441 views

Fleshing out a background and roleplaying it

I am a big fan of fleshed out, rich, interesting backgrounds, that give the feeling that the character is real. For that reason, I really like to give characters traits that everyday people have, ...
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2answers
212 views

Is there up-to-date (circa 2070) information about the AGS / ADL?

I'm looking for updated (2070) background information about the ADL (Alianz Deutscher Länder, aka whats left of former Germany and its surroundings), I think it's called AGS (Allied German States) in ...
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6answers
1k views

How do I represent a warlock with a background in thievery?

I'm developing a Dwarven Warlock (Hrafnhildur "Fin" Arnarsdottir) for the next 4E campaign I get the chance to join. She left home to join a gang in a city, and after reading a book they were going to ...
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3answers
378 views

How to play a Templar Knight

I am looking to create a character that is a member of a monastic order of Templar Knights. The game setting is a historical one set around the 1200s. Thus, I am looking at source material for ...
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1answer
3k views

What is the difference between themes and backgrounds?

Wizards has fairly recently released character themes for D&D 4th Edition. What is the difference between themes and backgrounds? Can you pick one of each or do you have to choose between the ...
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2answers
937 views

What is the SURGE event in Shadowrun?

The Shadowrun 4E background material mentions an event called SURGE, which seems to be similar to UGE or Goblinization. SURGE is mentioned twice in SR4A, and at least once in the Sixth World Atlas. ...