Backed Story

Backstory is a finicky, variable thing. I’ve had players show up with a small novel, with most of it focusing on their family and several past generations and almost no attention on the character themselves, let alone why they became an adventurer. Other players have their 1st level character performing numerous heroic deeds of legend in the past before the start of their campaign. Some backstories feel like the set-up to the campaign, as the player character has a well defined goal and quest that may not align with the plans of the Dungeon Master. The standard “I will not rest until I find the one-armed dragon that killed my family.” Which becomes awkward if the Dungeon Master is running Curse of Strahd

Spending too much time on a backstory does feels potentially wasted. Low level characters are squishy and easily killed; devoting too much energy into their backstory and character arc is potentially unnecessary. Doubly so when playing with a new group, where you’re uncertain if everyone will mesh and be able to play together. You could spend an hour planning a masterful backstory only to have it cease to matter because the group implodes after the second session. 

I’m playing in a Roll20 game right now and rather enjoying it. But my character is paper thin with very little motivation and backstory. In part because I assumed my Roll20 game would fail and I didn’t want to spend too much time on a one-shot. In fairness, I had attempted a couple games prior that never made it passed the first session.



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