nWOD / 2.0 CHARACTER BACKGROUNDS

a.k.a. "THE BIG FOUR"

 

LAST UPDATED:

1-31-10

 


- CHARACTER CREATION (FOR ALL GENRES) - BACKGROUNDS

(THE "BIG FOUR")

 

1. Beginnings

2. Learning & Skills

3. Purpose/Agenda

4. Usefulness/Relevance

 

- BACKGROUNDS AND ENTERING THE STORYLINE

 

- FORBIDDEN BG ITEMS

 

- GETTING STUCK ON YOUR BG DETAILS

 

- LENGTH OF BG

 

- QUALITY OF BG

 

- NAME OF BG FILE


  

    

 



 

 

This page contains information on how to create a Background (character history.)

 

Everything on this page applies to all PCs in all Genres, regardless of what type of character you are making. 

 

This does not include specific restrictions for individual genres. Anything specific to only one genre is on the individual Genres Rules Page. Be sure to read both this page and your genre page before submitting a sheet.

BACKGROUNDS: THE "BIG FOUR" QUESTIONS 

 

Backgrounds are mandatory. They do not have to be long. They are not a creative writing exercise. Just the facts.

 

Your background must clearly answer the four questions below in the format specified, or it will be refused. If we can't quickly find your answers, it will be sent back.

 

Some genres are required to provide more information than this, check the sub-genres rules pages for info.

 

Do not send us another game's background questions or forms, just because you think it answers these. We want it in our format. Backgrounds that do not follow this will be refused.

 

Please don't send in your background until the character sheet is also completed. Please send them both together. 

 

Also, please understand that Backgrounds are OOC, for ST use. Do not skip questions because your character does not IC know or remember the answers. We need OOC to know and approve of what the facts are from an ST perspective.

 


 

Please copy the following four questions onto a *.doc, *.rtf or *.txt document and include it 

separately from your character sheet. Please answer each section separately, exactly as formatted below. 

Do not send an unformatted freeform paragraph and make us have to fish through it for relevant data.

If we cannot clearly and quickly match your answers to the questions below, your BG will be returned to be redone.

 

 

[1] BEGINNINGS (HOW DID YOU BECOME WHAT YOU ARE?): 

Brief synopsis of how your character came to be what they are, from Childhood to now. (e.g.: A Vampire's Embrace, a Werewolf's first change, a Mage's Awakening, or simply how a mortal was raised and why.) 

 

EXAMPLES:

  • Where did you grow up? With who? Are you still in touch?

  • How did this influence your character? Why are you not there now? 

  • Who were your friends, family, mentors?

  • How were you educated? What was school like, if your PC attended? If they didn't, why not?

  • How were you Embraced (Kindred), Awakened (Mage), what was your First Shift like (Uratha), How were you created (Promethean), etc.?

  • If you're a mortal, how did you end up wherever you are now?

NOTE: It is REQUIRED that you put your character's actual age as well as perceived age on the BG. If there is a large enough discrepancy to be a problem, you must explain realistically (meaning being capable according to the stats you bought) how you dealt with this. (Driver's license, Resources, Jobs, Banking, Living Family or Friends, etc.) If you did things that require certain stats, you must buy them at creation.)

 


[2] LEARNING (HOW DID YOU LEARN WHAT YOU KNOW?): 

Brief explanation of any dots you have in skills that would obviously have been taught, learned or earned (languages, weapons, academic subjects, etc.) Also, provide explanation of SKILLS you have with 3+ dots. 

EXAMPLES: 

  • Where'd you get streetwise from? Were you a runaway? A Thief?

  • What exact languages do you speak? If you know more than 2, how'd you pick up so many?  

  • Who exactly are your Allies/Contacts and what do they do for you?

  • How did you learn to use weapons, and what kinds?

  • What monetary source are your Resources from? What do you do to protect and grow that income?

  • If you put Fame, where's it from? Are you known on sight, through reputation, or what? (Example: I haven't got a clue what Salvador Dali looks like, though I know and love his art.) 

  • If you have a fake ID or fake Mortal Identity, what criminal do you know that got it for you, or what Gov't lackey do you control who edited your paperwork, etc.)


[3] PURPOSE/AGENDA (WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO BE DOING IN DC?): 

  • Why are you coming to DC?

  • Out of anywhere in the world that you could be going, why here in specific?

  • What draws you here? And what's going to hold you here?

Mandatory Question for #3: What is one short-term (immediate) and one long-term goal your character wishes to accomplish? (And steps to do so, if you think you already know them) This question will set up the agenda your character should be up to at all times. This will also give you ideas for things to write in your downtimes. The purpose of this question is to make sure you aren't in a place where you have nothing to do. You should have a goal in mind at all times, even if you don't pursue it every day IC.


[4] USEFULNESS/SIGNIFICANCE (WHY SHOULD OTHER PCs CARE?): 

  • What does your character do that other PCs will care about?

  • Does he know someone here? Work somewhere local? Have a skill to barter with? 

  • What makes your PC care to talk to other PCs?

  • Where will you be hanging out, that other PCs might to run into you or seek you out? (An ST can help you with specifics, if you aren't sure what to say but can name the type of place)

This question will set the stage for the locations your character will use to enter the storyline.


 

Your Background and How It Helps You Enter the Story:

Some PCs, by virtue of their design, can't begin play as already being residents of DC. So they must "arrive."

Not all characters will newly arrive in DC being "in the know" where certain important IC locations are. This especially applies to, for example, knowing where Elysium is, what territories belong to what supernatural group IC so you don't accidentally go where you will be attacked, what clubs are "supernatural-friendly", etc. This knowledge is bought on your sheet, explained in your background, or earned via RP, or you don't have it.

What you should know is expected to be addressed either in your PCís Background (#4: why you came to DC & who you will hang out with), or through finding out IC from other PCs or your Allies & Contacts. If you do not indicate how you should know places or people in advance and have it approved in your background, you will be thrown into play blind and have to RP out combing the city IC to find a PC of relevance to yours.


 

 

FORBIDDEN / RESTRICTED BIG FOUR BACKGROUND ITEMS:

  • You can find a description of the types of PCs we do not want HERE.

  • You can find a description of Merits and other Powers that are forbidden & restricted HERE.

There are also certain background items that we may restrict for our own reasons. You may encounter PCs who already have something from the below list in their background, because they did it before we decided to cap it. They could very well be the reason it got capped.

 

The following Big Four / Background items are PERMANENTLY FORBIDDEN:

  • Abusive Parents (*There will be ST-Discretion exceptions specifically for W:tA PCs because this is in genre for them, but it will be discussed.)

  • Dead Parents/Orphans (*There will be ST-Discretion exceptions specifically for W:tA PCs because this is in genre for them, but it will be discussed.)

  • "Doogie Howser" Backgrounds: A child is an HS dropout, and yet still manages to master martial arts, four languages, feed himself, make a living wage legally, and evade truant officers for years. Another version - underage PC finishes college early and is Mary-Sue perfect at every skill he tries.

  • "Buckaroo Banzai" Backgrounds: A specific type of "Mary Sue" where your character is three or more distinctly different fields of expertise, beyond realism (Buckaroo was a Brain Surgeon AND a Rocket Scientist AND a Rock Star AND his band and he fought to save the world.)

 

The following Big Four / Background items are TEMPORARILY FORBIDDEN (as of 2008):

  • Irish Heritage PCs (especially IRA)

 

The following Big Four / Background items are TEMPORARILY RESTRICTED (as of 2008):

  • Law Enforcement or Private Investigator

  • Media/Reporters/Newspaper/Radio/TV/Film 

  • Medical/EMT/Coroner/CSI

  • Musicians who are not linked directly to another musician PC already in play

 


Being Stuck: 

If you have problems writing a background, please ask your ST for hints and help on answers, but do not omit any questions or dawdle on it for weeks. 


Length of BG: 

If you insist on writing a novel for whatever personal reasons, PLEASE summarize the answers (as in approximately one sentence answers) to the "Big Four" at the top of the sheet. 

We don't give XP for long backgrounds. Backgrounds that are deliberately verbose, in hopes of sucking out extra freebies or XP, will be refused and sent back with a pair of scissors. Long is not always good. Short is not always bad. 


 

Quality of BG:  

 

We know not everyone writes professionally, but we do expect some effort to use adult English.  Players here are at least 18 years old, and are therefore capable of that level of writing. 

 

BGs that are one large paragraph of babble, not spell-checked at least somewhat, or fail to answer ALL FOUR questions will be automatically rejected, so don't even waste anyone's time sending them.


 

FILE NAME: 

 

Also, please donít name your background "background.doc"! You might catch an ST busy or sleepy when you send it, and they end up overwriting someone else's when you send it in, by accident.

 

 

All Gaming Sourcebooks & Materials for this campaign are © 2004-2010 White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.