Author Topic: AMA for everyone: What goals do you have for a backstory?  (Read 756 times)


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AMA for everyone: What goals do you have for a backstory?
« on: November 25, 2018, 12:00:05 PM »
All my threads have halted a bit (may need to join another one soon) and I had a question that has been jumping around in my brain since the recent voice chat. Whilst I don't like my characters to have a massively tragic backstory I do realize that I do want them to have something I can play off of to give them some personality flaws. For example, Diana is essentially afraid of her own semblance, which over time has given her a really poor view of herself. So rather than a tragic backstory, I try to have characters that have lived pretty well but have some personal emotional trauma.

So the question is: when you're writing a character's backstory what do you try to achieve with that story?
« Last Edit: November 25, 2018, 12:02:58 PM by Vision »

Diana Farran - Beacon First year - Leader and Medic of team Digital (DGTL)
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Bastet Nin - Haven First year - Blinking Glaive Skirmisher of team Rewind (RWND)
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Re: AMA for everyone: What goals do you have for a backstory?
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2018, 02:30:02 PM »
My primary motive for writing backstories is to give purpose behind my charactersí actions.  For instance, Smokey wants to hunt big Grimm so he can collect bounties and pay off his fatherís contract.  Essentially, it should be a beginning point for a character arc.

In general, though, I feel backstories are somewhat overrated in RPGs like this.  The most interesting part of any given characterís story is the part that takes place during play.  Thatís my opinion, at least.
Smokey Emberstone Beacon 1st Year and the Immovable Gunslinger of Team BSSM "I've got more than enough firepower to beat you" "You've only got one bullet!" "Like I said, more than enough"

Aurelia Lumen Beacon 3rd year and the Warhorse of Team (TBD)  "Lay down your weapons, lest you wish to taste my steel!"

Wabul "Toast" Paka Shade 1st year and the Acrobatic Swashbuckler of Team (TBD)  "Hey, I'm gonna go jump off a bridge, who's with me?"

Lucas Meridiem Haven 4th year and the Hermit of Team (TBD)  "What's so great about 'bittersweet'?"

Clara Meridiem Beacon 1st year and the Blast Magician of Team (TBD) "No one likes just plain ol' bitter"



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Re: AMA for everyone: What goals do you have for a backstory?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2018, 11:14:24 PM »
It depends on the character. For Cerulean I wanted the most standard backstory ever after Rust was so edgey. But for the most part I have a personality in mind and then think up a backstory that would cause a person to behave that way.
Using Rust as an example again I knew I wanted an unapologetically violent character to act as a villain for others so I gave him a backstory in which he used extreme violence as a way to be left alone.

That said for a lot of characters I come up with a weapon first, which due to weapons being an extension of the user I ask myself "What kind of person would use this weapon?" and then I come up with a backstory that would lead someone to behave in that manner.

Then there is Gray, who is just my negative traits from when I was younger amplified.
1st year reckless idiot of team LGGR- Gray Saggio- "oh screw it. I'll just hit it till it dies!" 660066

psychotic mercenary- Alizarin rust "make me your enemy and they won't be able to identify your corpse"1C6BA0[/url]

lone wolf huntsman. ex member of team SAND cerulean steel "You are welcome to accompany me but if something goes wrong I'll deal with it myself." 2B3B44

1st year glass canon of team TBD Fallow Russet  "I may have been forced into this but that doesn't mean i don't like it." 50c878

2nd year drunken gearhead(teamless) Revya Vermillion "If you were to change to a lighter metal and add gears here, here and here you could greatly- I've entirely lost you haven't I?" Orange

1st year nimble tank of team CRSA Sandy Smoke "I've been told I'm a right bastard to fight against. Care to try ya luck?"355e3b[/color]

Guardian huntsman and drummer for Grimm Omen Ceramite Gunmetal "A barfight? alright then. SHOWTIME!" 800020 WIP[/u]

White Fang power couple. Ignis and Glacies. [url=] Partners in crime


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Re: AMA for everyone: What goals do you have for a backstory?
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2018, 05:48:10 AM »
I just try to make it work with the present character.
Nathan Eau, De Facto Jetpack Guy and Leader of Team INKK
Camelia Sol, Miss Magnetic Personality and Leader of Team CAST
Anna Fall, Insightful Visionary of Team ASTC
Brock Greenwood, Human Titan of Team DGTL
Helena Chlophyll, Ray of Sunshine of Team CHES (dead team)
Scarlett/Corinth,Korynn,etc. Briggart/Topaz (In the works)
Max (mp)
Chloe (mp)
Maena Nadir, Coherent Beam of Team SSMR
Europa/Encela(dus)/Io/Callisto/Calypso (In the works)
Hannah Glass
Mark Cassini
Carlson Ferram
"Definitely not Johnny"
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"I swear it's not my fault"
"s m o l"
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"Living Weapon"
AAAA (a.k.a. AMAA)


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Re: AMA for everyone: What goals do you have for a backstory?
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2018, 06:10:00 AM »
A strong foundation for the rest of the character, compelling character motivation for plot development and out of character interest in seeing their arc completed.
No criticism is too harsh so hit me with your best shot.

Calen Shrike - ASTC - First Year Beacon.

Saffron de Cortez - SALT - Third Year Atlas.

Amarant Lovis - (formerly of)ACCE - Headmaster of Atlas Academy

Ramalia - RASB - First Year Shade

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Re: AMA for everyone: What goals do you have for a backstory?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2018, 07:48:06 AM »
Themes, motivation, depth, and consistency.

Though not all my characters possess solid factors in all of these (I seriously need to rewrite some of this crap) I do believe they hold a lot of importance.

RWBY, though not needed on site, has a lot of theme based stuff canonically with their characters, even if it's not all too obvious at first. Though that doesn't mean they can't stray from it. Cookie cutter protagonists feel generic on paper so throwing something new here and there help spice things up.

Motivation plays a lot in determining how a character would turn out in the long run. What happens if their motivation is challenged? What happens if they lose that motivation? Do they lose their drive? Or do they go through the fire and temper themselves into a stronger person?

Depth. Self explanatory. Having a fighter be good because they're good is boring. Having them be good because they trained to attain a certain goal or hope to attain one is more interesting. Having a fighter train to be good because they feel self-loathing because they feel powerless in the face of all those skilled people around them and to prove they're not just comic relief in the eyes of the audience. Well that's Jaune. And that's not bad  at all. On paper at least.

Consistency. At least flow-wise. Writing how cool they are in one sentence then jumping straight to how they're quiet and shy is jarring. Giving the character a certain speech pattern or tendency or a neat quirk is interesting, if they don't overdo it at least.

Wisteria Lockheart - 1st Year student at Beacon. "Don't make me throw a book at you"
Shiroe Pendragon - 1st Year Student at beacon - "This is my monochrome reality" - Team MARS
Lavender du Lac - 1st Year Student at Haven -  "The harder I try the further things drift away." Team RWND
Ayaka Miyamoto - 1st Year student at Beacon. "Tsubame Gaeshi!" - Team ALIA
Vermilion Desdemona - 3rd Year Student at Beacon - "Only time you'd be above me is when your head rests on my pike"
Talen de L'eglantine - 3rd Year Student at Beacon
Kei Almas - 4th Year Student at Beacon - "Everything is ripe for the taking!"
Aurum LeBlanc - 3rd Year Student at Atlas - "Lay back, take it easy, and watch the comedy unfold"

Professor William Nox - "To contain the world in a grain of dust *EXPOROSION*