Love At First Sight

Some Game Masters will ask you for a backstory because they want to torture you by making you write one. Torturing players is kind of our gig, so you really have no right to blame us for it.

Some Game Masters will ask you for a backstory because they are trying to get a feel for what the table is looking for in a game. If, as GM, you receive a bunch of backstories that basically amount to “I pick things up and put them down” you will probably not want to run a game of political intrigue with this group.

Some Game Masters will actually use and abuse your backstories in the worst ways imaginable. For the record, I am one of those Game Masters.

My campaign had lost two players, bringing us down to a party of 5:

  • Aenaiyah: Acanthus Mysterium
  • Argus: Obrimos Guardian of the Veil
  • Neils: Obrimos Free Council
  • Nokoni: Thyrsus Adamantine Arrow
  • Rex: Moros Free Council

This was not an incredibly easy group of people to deal with. It was rather like herding cats. My Guardian of the Veil had already been broken by his fellow players: Rex the curmudgeonly old man who is deliberately contrary, Nokoni the Adamantine Thyrsus who can turn into a bird and fly away when the going gets annoying, Neils the mad scientist in the basement, and Aenaiyah the purple haired bane to my existence. Yet, as I lost two players I had two more chomping at the bit to join the troupe, and somehow or other I had already lost enough sanity to agree to this. One of these is someone I have played with before. He is an excellent player who decided that his character is an ex-police officer Adamantine Moros who had seen some bad things and may or may not have gone slightly insane causing him to “think” he can talk to ghosts. (Spoiler: He can.) I had hoped that he might decide to step up and help the Guardian get folks under control. The second new player was a mystery to me. I had never met him, but I had heard good things about his play style… from Aenaiyah’s player. Now, she’s a great player don’t get me wrong… but she lives to make me weep. I am on the fence about this.

And then I receive the backstory of Damien Goetz: Mastigos Free Council.

It is, perhaps, the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen. We aren’t just talking about the two page well written story of his Awakening, I think he may even have spell checked, but the bulleted list of important figures in Damien’s life.  For the first time in this campaign I was weeping tears of joy. This guy is a scum-bag lawyer who defends people he knows damn well are guilty as hell for the good of his own wallet, has an ex-wife he cheated on, was a rising star in his ex-father-in-law’s well connected law firm, has parents he doesn’t particularly get along with, and someone plunged an enormous knife into his chest recently and left it there. Oh, and he doesn’t know who tried to kill him or why. I get to make that up. And…and… when I tell him straight up that in the places where he has people’s motivations written down I figure that’s only Damien’s impressions of what their motivations were because at the time he couldn’t have known… he says: “I like that!”

Foolish, foolish, man.

This is a guy who voluntarily took the Narcissism derangement because it fit the character. This is a guy who prefaced various things he did in his early days of joining the campaign by saying “I hope you guys realize that I’m not an asshole. Damien is an asshole, but I swear I’m a really nice guy!” And what a glorious sphincter Damien is! He is perhaps one of the most vainglorious bastards I’ve ever seen.

Yes, over the course of the campaign since then I have had great fun letting Damien’s player know exactly how badly he screwed himself by giving me so much license with his backstory. His fellow Mages trust him less and less with each and every reveal.

It makes that dark little hole where my heart should have been all happy.

Mages Make Me Cry


Posted on June 1, 2012, in Games, Gaming, Mage Awakening, MtAw, RPG, WoD, World of Darkness and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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