- Mar 26, 2020
- Reaction score
Okay, last time into the breach.And that is what, exactly
Did you really just call my preference for sketchy backstories "a bit sociopathic?"
Lemme stop you there.
My defined starting point for Eladio Luna is, un vaquero from Nebraska looking to buy a rancho and raise cattle. My defined starting point for Alcide Pasquier is, a law student looking to advance himself through city politics. My defined starting point for Mulkar Farzef is, a free trader trying to keep spacing and make a credit or three doing it.
Depth and believability come from how I play them as they chase their dreams, not some bit of fiction I wrote before I sat at the table and rolled a die. I learned through actual play to what lengths Eladio would go to be the man he thought he wanted to be, and what it was like once he got there. I'm learning through actual play how the rootless life of a space merchant affects Mulkar's ability to form bonds with others. I want to learn through actual play what qualities war and defeat and devastation bring out in Cpt. Tom Ruzicka as he fights to keep himself and his soldiers alive in the ruins of WWIII Poland.
In my experience, nothing informs the direction my characters go better than actually playing them.
It's called Develop-in-Play. DiP eschews lots of background and relationships created whole-cloth out-of-game for 'play to find out,' building relationships in actual play and creating a background through retrospection.
For me, nothing is 'real' until we sit down together and play the game: ask questions, declare actions, roll dice. Those things really happen around the table, and they define my starting point for caring about my character.
And daydreaming isn't playing.
A) The aspect of play you are refusing is two-fold.
1) You are refusing to engage with the game world, refusing to establish where the character came from as a product born to and raised in that world. You are declining to cooperate or "play" with the GM in setting up the game to come. That denies him a whole palette of choices for including elements that otherwise might be relevant to that character, to make it interesting for you. You give him nothing to work with in world-building as regards your character, while at the same time leaving the GM holding the bag in regards to integrating your character into his world when that is his job from the start, Session 0.
2) You are refusing to pre-dispose your character towards any sort of relationship with any of the other PCs in the group. That does nothing but completely hamstring the whole party when it comes to figuring out who you are and where you are going to fit in with them. If you gave a crap about anyone else's character in the group, you would help them anchor and establish their own characters by providing pre-game opportunities for bonding between them. But you don't care about your own character until after play has started, so that is obviously a bridge too far for you.
Yes, players of characters who refuse to allow for any sorts of relationships to their characters (good OR bad, PC or NPC) are starting play with sociopaths. That kind of disassociation is classic. They aren't going to end up as sociopaths after you have played them sufficiently, by your method, but that certainly is where you are starting them.
Oh, no. You don't get to retro-fit your "NO background" stance by re-casting it as "sketchy backstories".
You have made it abundantly clear that you are doing NO backstory creation at all. That isn't a "sketch" of any kind.
No, current occupation/class and an immediate goal directly derived from it do not constitute "background" of any sort. It is a flat statement of their current status and activities.
No, you don't get to "stop [me] there" or anywhere else. (You seem not to understand the limitations of this medium.)
"My defined starting point for Eladio Luna is, un vaquero from Nebraska looking to buy a rancho and raise cattle. My defined starting point for Alcide Pasquier is, a law student looking to advance himself through city politics. My defined starting point for Mulkar Farzef is, a free trader trying to keep spacing and make a credit or three doing it."
Your "starting points" are merely definitions of current occupation/class, i.e., what they can do, and what the immediate objective you derive from it is.
That is by NO stretch of the imagination any sort of attempt to describe where they come from or WHY they chose the class/path you gave them or WHY that starting goal is what it is. At the start, they are as 2-d as they can be. You've cut off their past. They have no origins. I don't care how long you play that character, it never will.
That is exactly the opposite of the "depth and believability" you seem to think is only valid if it occurs spontaneously at the table during play.
Classes/occupations are shallow and uninteresting, pedestrian, quotidian. Backstory is used to give them meaning, to make them somehow more interesting. People are drawn to personal stories, not dry labels. "WHY" intrigues people. Check out Simon Sinek on the subject.
BTW, DiP isn't mutually exclusive of an actual "sketch" of a character's background. They can work hand-in-hand quite nicely. And, your "retrospection" into your own character is not the only PoV that is valid. By definition, the GM knows more than you do about the conditions in their game-world and which locations are more compatible with your character choices. It is beginning to sound like you just resent anyone having any in-put into your character backstory other than that you create yourself. That is a tad bit problematic in a cooperative group activity.
AND, the back-and-forth between players during Session 0/character generation when they discuss the ways in which their characters might relate to one another isn't "daydreaming" (could you have been any more dismissive or condescending towards those who cheerfully embrace the practice? That was rhetorical, in case you didn't notice). It's setting up the game so everyone can enjoy it. Together.
It sounds very much like you assume the first time you meet in play is the first time your character ever met any of the PCs. You might as well start the characters off meeting (for the first time) at a tavern. What fun. Never done that before.
End of line.