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simple lives...

so, I have a perspective on the "RP community", and it's much like the perspective I had in college of the "fiction writing" community. I have lots of perspectives, but this is one that seems to rear it's ugly head most frequently - namely, that of the MANDATORY SUPER-MELODRAMATIC BACKGROUND STORY.

You all know the type...my parents were murdered by bandits - I was sold into slavery - I was cast into oblivion and tortured by horrible spirits - a magical experiment gone awry has melded my soul with some otherworldly being...


now, don't get me wrong - I'm EXACTLY as guilty of this particular conceit as many others, at least with my current character storyline (sacrificed by Mannimarco, just like the opening story sequence, soul-shattered and soul-cross-shattered so I can explain my connection to my alts as well as the existence of skyshards in the world)

so, no judgements - just honest curiosity

my point is - why can't we sometimes just have characters with ordinary, simple lives. While I haven't done it HERE, I was quite proud of my WOW paladin backstory. He was born into a farming family. His mother was quite normal farm mother, his father quite normal farm father. None of them were dead. None of them were cursed. None of them were secretly hiding from a noble lineage that was massacred by their usurping brother...or whatever. He was just a guy who was BAD at farming, but turned out to be a halfway decent librarian, suddenly called upon for reasons unknown to be an avenger of the holy power of LIGHT.

roughly the same with my LOTRO captain. I had a modestly impressive father (competent craftsman, mostly created to explain why I - his son - was such an ABYSMALLY bad craftsman), a solid, reliable mother - a slightly slutty sister, but that was mostly for spicy flavor and for having a sibling that wasn't entirely as white-bread as my main

my point being, I created these relatively mundane character histories to give a sense of realism to my character, because I find SPECTACULARLY MELODRAMATIC fantasy character background to be...well...oppressive. They're not bad - not inherently, but there just seem to be SO MANY of them, that I would try to create these relatively mundane character backgrounds as sort of a push-back

anyway - the point of all this - besides the fact that it's late, I'm tired, I'm a bit drunk, and I like the sound of my clickety-clackety-keyboard, the point of this is that I'm wondering if we can't all embrace...slightly less melodramatic character background stories, from time to time - that we could even encourage our background stories to be just a little bit more mundane, and by that virtue, perhaps just slightly more...authentic.

I firmly believe that heroes come from ordinary settings AT LEAST AS OFTEN as they come from melodramatic settings - in fact, I believe that it's IMPORTANT to believe that "heroes" can come from...ordinary circumstances. That forcing "heroes" to come from super-twisted-horrifying-melodramatic origins puts the idea of heroism outside of the reach of most mortal mer, and that we can all benefit from more examples of relatively accessible "heroism" in our everyday lives

it's late - I'm tired...but I'm curious to see what people think - if they think anything at all
"There is no correct resolution; It's a test of character."
James T. Kirk
  • VaranisArano
    My Dunmer Vestige was a moderately successful captain in the Cyrodiil war from a minor Redoran family...but then she got captured and sacrificed by Mannimarco and the rest is history.
  • cjhhickman39
    First to put this in perspective I’m old. I started with a MMM massive multiplayer mail in ( snail mail) but backstory always was simple and rp came from the turn newsletter or private letters ( yes on paper to each other).
    This is probably why we kept history as simple as possible and used the game to create the story.
    Still love the fact in this game there was a actual death match (you lose your deleted)
  • Kierro
    Why? Because RPs have a tendency to fall flat and uninteresting, if a character has a "Nothing bad ever happened to me, I had a pampered life, and I just picked up the sword because I wanted to." story. It's too simple and boring, if you can't give your characters some sort of drama to push their story. It's life, life is always dramatic. Also, ESO is kind of a dramatic time in Elder Scrolls lore. It's only been a few decades since the last war, which is still fresh in many people's minds. Now Tamriel is in a new war. Dunmer slavery only ended a year or so ago, and when you see how we talk about slavery today, even after it's been over 200 years. The slaves are pissed. Then add the Master of Ra pe (wtf, I can say pissed but I can't say rpe or gen itals < different thread) and Schemes, Molag Bal. Even the farms you help in the game, there's some traumatic events. It's not a simple time to be a nobody, with no drama in your life, when ESO's setting is literally Hell on Earth.

    I have 3 RP characters but my main RP character is an Argonian. I originally main RPed as an AD Khajiit, however I switched. The long story is when I RP as one or the other, THAT character is the ancestor of my characters from Morrowind-Skyrim. When I RP as one or the other, the other doesn't exist.

    My Argonian, Spells-In-Shadows, was born as a Shadowscale and trained to be an effective killer. Shadowscales, while working closely with the Dark Brotherhood, can also choose to serve the Argonian people. Like a personal protector. This was the life Spells chose. He was capture by a Telvanni Magister, who he was assigned to kill. The Magister enslaved and used Spells, for the next several months; everything from serving tea, to serving the Magister in his bed chambers. Until the day Spells escaped and killed the Magister, as slowly and painfully as he could.
    Edited by Kierro on March 7, 2018 1:48PM
  • VaranisArano
    You can manage drama for a character who led a relatively easy life. You just have to give the character a reason to care.

    I had a D&D cleric who'd been happily raised by her family, most of whom all lived in one small kingdom. Cue a hobgoblin army marching to destroy said kingdom...instant drama, instant reason for my character to care and be invested in what was happening. My cleric's happy home life and the desire to protect that became a driving force to push their story.
  • TamrielSaviour215
    I would agree with some of the others here. When you create a character and essentially a story, it needs to be something gripping. While "A guy that didn't want to be a farmer went to the library and found his true calling and became an epic mage" might be relative to those who don't want to follow their parents footsteps, its not really gripping or enticing.

    Hence, this is why you can take the same type of character such as an orphan, and come up with a plethora of results. Annie, Cinderella, Harry Potter, Batman. All orphans. All completely different types. Add the theme, whether it be Coming of Age, Good vs Evil, or Overcoming All Odds (to name a few) and you can already bring together a new inviting and VERY enticing character. Harry Potter was an orphan who over came all odds fighting good and evil while coming of age :D That could have gone anywhere after 'Orphan'. It doesn't really matter the basis of the character, its how you shape the goals, journey and world around that character. There are only so many types of character to choose and I'd say throughout time all of the combinations have been hit. It comes down to the unique little twists that make YOUR character, you.

    Jasunr Cosmus - Imperial Templar, Supreme Healer of the Cosmos CP 240
    Itzal Siavish - Khajit NB, Thief LVL 38
    Bruxana - Altmer Sorc, Powerhouse DPS Lvl 18
    Torvakor - Redguard Stam Warden Lvl 7
    Langsdon Emerson - Imperial DK Tank - Lvl 31
  • Lynx7386
    I think it can be a little hard to justify an overly simple background for characters that are always at the center of the action as far as the story is concerned.

    That said, I try to give relatively realistic backgrounds for my characters despite their overwhelming power in relation to most beings on nirn. My characters are all khajiit; nightblade is a member of the mages guild and rose up through the ranks by practicing blood magic and secretly worshiping sangiin, the blood cat. Eventually joined on with the dark brotherhood to satisfy those needs, though he still holds title in the guild. My templar is a priestess of the two moons temple and serves as both a healer and religious consult for khajiit in the dominion. My sorceror is a common thief from senchal who wound up stealing an aedric artifact (belonging to the temple of khenarthi) and through it "found faith" and became a follower of khenarthi, though she still does thieving. My warden is simply a khajiit gifted with a connection to nature magic who wanders the world as a nomadic druid trying to experience all the different cultures and environments of tamriel. My dragonknight is a 'wild mage' (someone born with immense magical power but no aptitude for controlling it) who often sets things on fire due to emotional outbursts, and to that end became a member of the undaunted because, honestly, nobody else would take in an exploding cat.
    PS4 / NA
    M'asad - Khajiit Nightblade - Healer
    Pakhet - Khajiit Dragonknight - Tank
    Raksha - Khajiit Sorcerer - Stamina DPS
    Bastet - Khajiit Templar - Healer
    Leonin - Khajiit Warden - Tank
  • Logey7
    My Altmer just grew up wealthy and joined the dominion, then learned they are all a bunch of turds so he became a spy for the covenant instead. I mean that's a really condensed version of the story but it's essentially what happened
  • SujammaAndFlin
    My dunmer grew up lower middle class, her father is sick with black-heart blight and is bedbound on occasion, but her brother and mother look after him. She is not the victim of abuse, and they're a fairly normal family.
    Keep your CHIM up!
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