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Archlyte

Overloaded Background & Expectations

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1 minute ago, Vondy said:

Which gives you an instant pretext for a regnant-waive of your negatory hand....

If the other players hate it, he needs to edit or drop it.

Vocabulus the Roman God of Denotation, I bow before you. Holy crap do you have some interesting words Vondy. I'm impressed. :)

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1 hour ago, Archlyte said:

Yeah and they rarely do. Every once in a while I find someone who wants to just swing for the fences and is actually ok with the stakes of the game. More often I get this sort who want the title of badass but not the responsibility. 

Yeah those players miss the point and it irks me too. It's the Fallout 4 school of doing a "roleplaying" game. All power, no consequences. You see other examples, such as Kyle Katarn having dark side powers consequence free in Jedi Outcast.

If they don't want it though, make them. I don't think Charles Lindbergh wanted his fame and glory to lead to the kidnapping of Charles Jnr, but it did. People will want to take a powerful person down. To humble them. To replace them. To avenge a wrong or injustice in the past.

If you want to be the cardboard cutout hero powerhouse princess spy billionaire philanthropist powerbroker, ok. I will allow it. And 25 contacts eh? More like 25 conspirators to your downfall... because your rival - oh, here's 20 obligation btw, for maintaining your empire, since the sister disappeared mysteriously - has turned all your allies against you. Do appreciate the effort in fleshing them out though, means I don't have to.

 

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3 hours ago, Archlyte said:

I would like to say that everyone in the hobby is a Nobel laureate and a well adjusted person, but the incidence of unusual personalities seems to be to be pretty high just judging from the average person you run into in the stores and at gathering for Tabletop Role-Playing. I'm sure I meet somebody's description of a weirdo though, and so I try to give people the benefit of the doubt until they remove my optimism. Also I feel like very often someone I play with will really be a nice person, but not be up to snuff on RP manners and skills. 

Its not the wierdo, we are all a wierdo of some form or another. Or many forms for that matter. It is the people who dont know how to play properly. By properly I mean play in a way that doesnt cause major headaches for the other players (that includes the GM).

To be honest, I may be seeing more than is their with the description of your player in this thread. It may just be a case of wildly carried away and not a case of trying to get advantages undeserved at character creation. If she is works with you that could be dozens of plot hooks and adventure threads gift wrapped for the GM. 

Its just I would like to think that the couple dozen or so people I have taught to play in the last 30 years were good players in whatever groups they ended up with. It just seems like you are getting a large percentage of less that well adjusted games. Could still be perception on my part tho.

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46 minutes ago, korjik said:

Its not the wierdo, we are all a wierdo of some form or another. Or many forms for that matter. It is the people who dont know how to play properly. By properly I mean play in a way that doesnt cause major headaches for the other players (that includes the GM).

To be honest, I may be seeing more than is their with the description of your player in this thread. It may just be a case of wildly carried away and not a case of trying to get advantages undeserved at character creation. If she is works with you that could be dozens of plot hooks and adventure threads gift wrapped for the GM. 

Its just I would like to think that the couple dozen or so people I have taught to play in the last 30 years were good players in whatever groups they ended up with. It just seems like you are getting a large percentage of less that well adjusted games. Could still be perception on my part tho.

If I can be Frank and/or Garth here (cookies for those who get the reference):

Ours is a hobby for outsiders. You may have never let go of your love of story-telling as a kid, or you may struggle to form normal relationships... it doesn't matter. Like a lot of actors we bring baggage to the table. And by virtue of being an outsider's game we get the ones that we nerdy weirdos think "ok mate, you? You are weird." Every group has at least one person who's probably surfing the autism spectrum on a daily basis and therefore can't interact "normally". Every group has the frustrated actor, or the guy who wants to be the Most Exciting Character At The Table. Every group has at least one person who just enjoys needs to be right and prove it by showing others their grasp of rules or minutae.

The issues are when those One Persons act as outliers. Talking about the non-outlier stuff is rarer.

 

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Yeah and I dipped into the community pool for that batch of players and I suspect I may have gotten a hold of some of the ones that had been eliminated from more discriminating groups. To be fair that was the first character that the player gave me, and the second one was much more toned down (although the player worked in his original character in the background of his next character, sigh). I do think that it defied the odds though, you have me on that one. 

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14 hours ago, Archlyte said:

Example: I recently had a player build a character who was a royal princess on her home planet but who left that behind to become a smuggler and then a slicer and then a spy. The character had a financial empire that she had walked away from (but that the player said was still out there), as well as a vast spy network and information brokerage that would put the Bothans to shame. The character also had a list of 25+ contacts who could be called upon to perform various services and functions. The player built in associations with most of the known crime organizations, and had apparently had been neutral, then joined the Empire, and then joined the Rebellion but didn't really consider herself a part of the Rebellion and the player told me "The Rebellion doesn't really trust my character." The character also could build any modification or technical device, and had planted data collection devices like Johnny Appleseed. There was a sister of the character that was the only person who knew where the character had gone but was basically holding the assets of the corporation and smuggling operations for the character. The character was equal parts celebrity and secret person as they had numerous fake identities. 

Players who pull this stuff make my twisted, Sith GM heart sing.  Everything that this player is doing is just one more thing that a good GM can turn on them, if needs be.  Character was a princess?  One run in with pirates that recognize her, and daddy will be shelling out all the sheckels to get his daughter back.  Then, of course, daughter has to deal with daddy who just lost a lot of money....  Walked away from a financial empire, but the money is still there?  Have her tagged as a Rebel sympathizer or agent by the Empire.  Now her accounts are marked and tagged, and should she try to access even one credit, the alarms go off and the local garrison is called in to detain her.  A list of contacts, huh?  Better hope none of them get arrested by the Empire.  They might sell her up the river in exchange for leniency from the ISB.  Criminal organizations don't typically like their friends associating with other syndicates.  Black Sun tedns to get a little irked when one of their associates is seen hanging out with the Zann Consortium.  As far as the Hutts...well...they don't even put up with their underlings working for another Hutt, much less another syndicate.  Who knows what secrets the associate has shared with other organizations.  The line between 'friend' and 'traitor' is shockingly thin when it comes to criminal organizations.  Especially when they find out that the character is good at planting data collection devices...
Pretty much, this character has given you loads of ammunition to make their life as interesting as possible.  When the time comes, Fire for effect!

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5 hours ago, LugWrench said:

Players who pull this stuff make my twisted, Sith GM heart sing.  Everything that this player is doing is just one more thing that a good GM can turn on them, if needs be.  Character was a princess?  One run in with pirates that recognize her, and daddy will be shelling out all the sheckels to get his daughter back.  Then, of course, daughter has to deal with daddy who just lost a lot of money....  Walked away from a financial empire, but the money is still there?  Have her tagged as a Rebel sympathizer or agent by the Empire.  Now her accounts are marked and tagged, and should she try to access even one credit, the alarms go off and the local garrison is called in to detain her.  A list of contacts, huh?  Better hope none of them get arrested by the Empire.  They might sell her up the river in exchange for leniency from the ISB.  Criminal organizations don't typically like their friends associating with other syndicates.  Black Sun tedns to get a little irked when one of their associates is seen hanging out with the Zann Consortium.  As far as the Hutts...well...they don't even put up with their underlings working for another Hutt, much less another syndicate.  Who knows what secrets the associate has shared with other organizations.  The line between 'friend' and 'traitor' is shockingly thin when it comes to criminal organizations.  Especially when they find out that the character is good at planting data collection devices...
Pretty much, this character has given you loads of ammunition to make their life as interesting as possible.  When the time comes, Fire for effect!

Using the background as a weapon against the player is what gave us the Risk Averse PCs thread

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9 hours ago, Endersai said:

If I can be Frank and/or Garth here (cookies for those who get the reference):

Ours is a hobby for outsiders. You may have never let go of your love of story-telling as a kid, or you may struggle to form normal relationships... it doesn't matter. Like a lot of actors we bring baggage to the table. And by virtue of being an outsider's game we get the ones that we nerdy weirdos think "ok mate, you? You are weird." Every group has at least one person who's probably surfing the autism spectrum on a daily basis and therefore can't interact "normally". Every group has the frustrated actor, or the guy who wants to be the Most Exciting Character At The Table. Every group has at least one person who just enjoys needs to be right and prove it by showing others their grasp of rules or minutae.

The issues are when those One Persons act as outliers. Talking about the non-outlier stuff is rarer.

 

A good group will teach the person to turn the needs back into enjoys.

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We are here to TELL A STORY. If you provuide interesting hooks the GM should be using them. And you should look forward to it. You background tells the table the kind of stories you find cool to have through your PC, so I would be surpriised if spies, mafia, rebellion and slicing stories is not what the player wants. Now, since the PC is just a lowly starting character, he might get more to chew than he asked for when all those really cool factors and background come out and swamp him, but that is his own choice. In any case it wuill look GREAT and be something to remember as a cool gaming experience. 

My players always remember fondly when they get inserted in grand adventures, even if they are not a key piece there. meeting a young Prince Theoden 2 years ago when their dunedain were pursuing an orc party is something they still talk about. They also talk about how they blew the rebellion, but that is anoyther matter :P

 

Anyway, the point is that the EPIC JOURNEY is what you are giving your GM to play with. it is what you want totalk and experience? Well, let's go and do it :)

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23 hours ago, Archlyte said:

Discussion: How do you handle this?

I did something similar-ish. Kind of. She was a core world princess who had to run from her people when she accidentally killed the person she was suppose to marry (a fellow from a neighboring planet, where a state of cold war had existed between the two for years and years). Oh, and her culture generally hated Jedi, and she killed him with the Force by TKing him out a 10th story window when he started getting grabby-hands.

On the surface, something like that could lend itself to abuse. Saleena was a billionaire with resources and servants and vast empire. But then she had somewhere to go - straightening out the accidental death, forging peace between the two worlds and winning over her people - so a powerful background is not necessarily a bad thing. Eventually she did wind up putting everything right and got back in her family's good graces, so  the campaign did have an end game that revolved around power and money, but man did she have to work for it!

So a player with an extensive game imbalancing background is not necessarily a game breaker. It just has to be handled with a game plan in mind.

Edited by Desslok

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2 hours ago, korjik said:

Using the background as a weapon against the player is what gave us the Risk Averse PCs thread

Note my statement "As needs be", Korjik.  If it would help a plot or storyline, then yes, I would use it.  What I would NOT do is use a characters background against them simply because its Thursday.

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6 hours ago, korjik said:

Using the background as a weapon against the player is what gave us the Risk Averse PCs thread

So it turns out not every situation is the same, and one size rarely - if ever - fits all.

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3 hours ago, LugWrench said:

Note my statement "As needs be", Korjik.  If it would help a plot or storyline, then yes, I would use it.  What I would NOT do is use a characters background against them simply because its Thursday.

A 'twisted, Sith GM heart'?

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1 minute ago, Endersai said:

So it turns out not every situation is the same, and one size rarely - if ever - fits all.

by 'a weapon' I mean using it against the player, not with the player. I mean to use it to aggrivate the player and make their life miserable. A bit unfair to Lug probably, but it did get me a way to refer to the other thread. :)

If the players buy into the GMs ideas, then that is fine. Playing on impossible mode may be what they want. Using it to screw over the players without them buying in is not fine.

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3 minutes ago, korjik said:

by 'a weapon' I mean using it against the player, not with the player. I mean to use it to aggrivate the player and make their life miserable. A bit unfair to Lug probably, but it did get me a way to refer to the other thread. :)

If the players buy into the GMs ideas, then that is fine. Playing on impossible mode may be what they want. Using it to screw over the players without them buying in is not fine.

I think the point is more you need to be dynamic as a GM and make sure you're setting expectations with the players upfront. If they're overcompensating for their personal baggage with a bit of a munchkin, first step is always to address them with it. Second step, if they're immune to any chat around the first, is to do basic causality.

The game is a compact between players and GM that no one player will try and break the balance; if they do, the GM is free to show who wields true power at that table. And not in a contest of egos, but in terms of "I have to balance this for a table of people; I will not let you disrupt that balance."

I don't see using Uber Munchkin Baroness Princess Captain of Industry Double-Oh Agent Fairydust's background against her as anything less than necessary. :S

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The biggest problem with that backstory is that she sounds like she should have 500-1000 XP or more already.  A lot needs to be toned down, or more thoroughly severed from the character.  If she wants 25 contacts, possible limitless wealth, ties to everyone, she either needs to pay for it (XP or obligation), or those are ties she used to have, but lost somehow.

In other systems I have had players pull crap like that, and suddenly whip out the backstory and try to hijack the game with some mechanical benefit.  I usually step on it pretty hard and fast, and they get the message.  Like the one guy who wanted to play a magical rock that hovers and casts spells.  When we talked about it, I was okay, because I was going to treat him as any other race, just with minor cosmetic differences.  When he tried to say he got advantages in combat because he was stone and small, and that by hovering he didn't trigger traps, I gave him a choice of being what I expected, or I would bust out a pile of disadvantages to go with his advantages (vulnerable to blunt weapons, etc).  Or the "paladin" that tried to justify insane starting equipment (1st level paladin with warhorse, platemail, sword, shield & longbow) as having inherited it from his murdered father.  We ran a "prequel" episode (20-30 min) where he not only didn't succeed at getting the equipment but had paladinhood stripped from him for murdering people, then lying to the town guard about it.

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6 hours ago, Endersai said:

I think the point is more you need to be dynamic as a GM and make sure you're setting expectations with the players upfront. If they're overcompensating for their personal baggage with a bit of a munchkin, first step is always to address them with it. Second step, if they're immune to any chat around the first, is to do basic causality.

The game is a compact between players and GM that no one player will try and break the balance; if they do, the GM is free to show who wields true power at that table. And not in a contest of egos, but in terms of "I have to balance this for a table of people; I will not let you disrupt that balance."

I don't see using Uber Munchkin Baroness Princess Captain of Industry Double-Oh Agent Fairydust's background against her as anything less than necessary. :S

If Uber Munchkin Baroness Princess Captain of Industry Double-Oh Agent Fairydust insists that she be allowed to be all that and a bag of chips, and refuses to budge a bit before the game starts, the game would be far better off not starting with her at all, instead of it becoming how can I screw with her today.

Thats the upfront part of it. If the game would become a pissing match, then just dont play the game. It should be the characters in the game that are antagonistic, not the players and the GM

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Agreed. But let's also be honest; sometimes people are there absent a suitability test.

 

For example, we have one guy who's so one dimensional he could be a Prequel character, and spends large portion of the session disinterested or trying to get weapons. So he's 20-30mins behind the plot and not furthering it when he's involved.

 

He's also been friends with the (current; we rotate, and I'm currently playing) GM for nearly 30 years.

So yeah, sometimes you have to have those people there and teach them the boundaries and consequences?

 

 

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5 hours ago, Edgookin said:

The biggest problem with that backstory is that she sounds like she should have 500-1000 XP or more already.  A lot needs to be toned down, or more thoroughly severed from the character.  If she wants 25 contacts, possible limitless wealth, ties to everyone, she either needs to pay for it (XP or obligation), or those are ties she used to have, but lost somehow.

In other systems I have had players pull crap like that, and suddenly whip out the backstory and try to hijack the game with some mechanical benefit.  I usually step on it pretty hard and fast, and they get the message.  Like the one guy who wanted to play a magical rock that hovers and casts spells.  When we talked about it, I was okay, because I was going to treat him as any other race, just with minor cosmetic differences.  When he tried to say he got advantages in combat because he was stone and small, and that by hovering he didn't trigger traps, I gave him a choice of being what I expected, or I would bust out a pile of disadvantages to go with his advantages (vulnerable to blunt weapons, etc).  Or the "paladin" that tried to justify insane starting equipment (1st level paladin with warhorse, platemail, sword, shield & longbow) as having inherited it from his murdered father.  We ran a "prequel" episode (20-30 min) where he not only didn't succeed at getting the equipment but had paladinhood stripped from him for murdering people, then lying to the town guard about it.

Yeah but the point of it I think was that the player was buying insurance to try and make the game treat him like that Princess. Mechanically he knew what he had to make, but as I didn't specify don't try to head off adversity at the pass with your background, he went ahead and did it. This was the player's first character in one of my games. He led with this as his first impression on a new (to him) GM. 

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I actually stopped asking for back stories because of a similar issue. 

The way I like to deal with it now is to tell players that with starting level characters, you don't have to write the whole Origin Story, because that's where we are starting the game. 

 

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10 hours ago, Archlyte said:

Yeah but the point of it I think was that the player was buying insurance to try and make the game treat him like that Princess. Mechanically he knew what he had to make, but as I didn't specify don't try to head off adversity at the pass with your background, he went ahead and did it. This was the player's first character in one of my games. He led with this as his first impression on a new (to him) GM. 

If he wants the game to treat him like a princess, create a new Obligation: Princess for him.  He'll never forget it then.

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My twelve year old son wanted to start our EotE campaign with a Jedi level force wielding four-armed cyborg ala General Grevious.

I convinced him to work with me to create a story in which his character became that instead.  So his character started as a bounty hunter, learned he was force sensitive (by taking Force Sensitive Emergent around XP 600) learned some basic force powers, came to the attention of the Inquisitors, and was eventually crushed and then dropped into a foundry vat of molten metal (around XP 900).  We rebuilt the character into a Grevious-like Cyborg and shifted some of his XP around to increase his force abilities and he's now beginning to explore this character concept.

Way more dramatic for all the players involved and his character has a major story arc that took a year to achieve and now is a stepping stone for all sorts of new adventures.  Character concept became campaign concept (or a portion of it anyway).  If your players are willing to work with you this is the way I would suggest fixing it.  It would be way more interesting to reestablish the family royal name, forge the intelligence network, build the wealth and resources, etc in game then just mention that they once existed.

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1 hour ago, FinarinPanjoro said:

My twelve year old son wanted to start our EotE campaign with a Jedi level force wielding four-armed cyborg ala General Grevious.

I convinced him to work with me to create a story in which his character became that instead.  So his character started as a bounty hunter, learned he was force sensitive (by taking Force Sensitive Emergent around XP 600) learned some basic force powers, came to the attention of the Inquisitors, and was eventually crushed and then dropped into a foundry vat of molten metal (around XP 900).  We rebuilt the character into a Grevious-like Cyborg and shifted some of his XP around to increase his force abilities and he's now beginning to explore this character concept.

Way more dramatic for all the players involved and his character has a major story arc that took a year to achieve and now is a stepping stone for all sorts of new adventures.  Character concept became campaign concept (or a portion of it anyway).  If your players are willing to work with you this is the way I would suggest fixing it.  It would be way more interesting to reestablish the family royal name, forge the intelligence network, build the wealth and resources, etc in game then just mention that they once existed.

Alas but this guy isn't 12. He's more like 32. :P I did find your solution to be excellent though. 

Edited by Archlyte

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