What is the worst roleplaying / backstory you have ever seen?


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I have to admit to something like this when I joined a LONG running campaign as it switched over to 3.0. Most of the players were converting character they had been playing for years and I made a character without coming up with any backstory for him. 3.x Elf Fighter/Wizard/Shadowdancer/Bladesinger with the Shadow Template, a shortbus special snowflake. Randomly Plane Shifts into a party they were having to celebrate a party member's ascension to godhood. I then kind of end up living in this party member's mansion like Klipspringer from the Great Gatsby, freeloading and no one knew why.

Things quickly improved as my character would bite on any shiny plot hook placed in his vision.

I've made quite a number of characters that were defined not by their backstory, but by their story.


Haladir wrote:

I really once had a player show up to an open game with the following character (AD&D 1e):

The character was named Bill. He was a fighter. His name was "Bill the Fighter."

His back story was: "Bill is a fighter who likes to fight stuff."

This is BRILLIANT, I love it, (perfect background if you have a very low intelligence I think)

Shadow Lodge

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blood_kite wrote:
I've made quite a number of characters that were defined not by their backstory, but by their story.

A bad backstory really can be redeemed by making the character interesting or fun to play with.

Some of my players (and I, to an extent) are the types who can come up with something extremely basic at character creation, but as the forward plot fleshes the character out and they see play time, it helps them work things out in more detail backwards as well. I regularly got backstory updates and revisions from my players as far in as Chapter Three of Kingmaker. I think it's at last tapered off, from those I'm going to get anything from, but the characters who did so now have much more thorough backstories than they originally started with.


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@Orthos I have done that as well. The part that probably annoys GMs is that I will do that and not do a good job of informing them of this.

I was in a sci-fi game playing an aristocratic pilot. Near the end of the series the GM has come up with a story line of my king needing to step down and wants my character to replace him by marrying his daughter. Two problems, first my character is female. The look he gave me was priceless before going back through his notes and realizing that this was an established fact from character generation. I blame myself for not playing her as having much sexuality during the campaign, which was becuase of the second problem. The second problem was that my character was married and had two children, which I didn't get to see or interact with much because of interstellar travel. I'm pretty sure he thought I was just screwing with him at that point, but I at least remember saying I was going home to visit family every time we returned to our homeworld.

Plot derailed NPCs the GM didn't know about.


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Lord Synos:

Spoiler:

Lord Synos wrote:
Charisma/Diplomacy is the only skill set where GM's punish you for not having those skills in real life. Of course no one is inclined to take them.
Arnwyn wrote:

Absolutely false.

Do you let players make decisions for their characters at the table? Oh, you do? Even if the player playing a fighter isn't a tactical genius/great warrior? Even if the player playing the wizard isn't a spell-casting genius who has never cast spells in combat or even chosen spells before? You let them make those decisions on their own?

Uh huh.

So you do allow real life Intelligence and Wisdom to play at least some role.

The suggestion that Charisma is somehow separate (and that making people at least say 'how' they're talking to someone else - just like making people say 'how' they're combating those monsters) is inconsistent laughable nonsense.

Lord Synos wrote:

I can't say what I let players do. (A) I wouldn't use the phrase "I let my players do this", because it speaks to a kind of condescending, arrogance that I dislike, and (B) I've GM'ed all of 2 times. I don't really consider myself as having "players". However, yes, a player's attributes do affect their characters to some extent, mainly their mental attributes. However, you're arguing the reverse of my position, which isn't the same as my position. A strawman, effectively.

I am saying, if a player is less skilled than their character, their character should still be able to use their skills. If a player can't cast Magic Missile, the appropriate character still can. If the player can't wield a Greataxe, the appropriate character still can. In this, we completely agree, it appears.

However, if a player isn't very Wise, I won't prevent them from playing a character with high Wisdom, or restrict their Cleric's spells because their real life Wisdom isn't that high. If a player isn't the brightest, I won't prevent them from playing a character with a high Int score, or limit their Wizard's spellcasting. This is a different point from the above. This is the point I am making about Charisma. If someone isn't a great talker, isn't particularly social, doesn't read social cues the best, I wouldn't punish their high Charisma, high Diplomacy character for that, because the character can still do those things, even if the player can't.

Thanks for arguing against a strawman and then calling my actually point inconsistent, laughable nonsense on that basis though. That was a very pleasant thing to do."

Since this topic is still being covered...

Sorry for coming off way too strong. Do you know how you mentioned how you have "frustration" with the above and that it "bothers you intensely"? Ditto on my side. I'm not a big fan of erroneously conflating and comparing physical actions and mental actions within a mental game. It doesn't make sense, and is unhelpful. No one explains climbing because that's a physical action - this isn't a LARP... it's sitting around a table playing a 'mental-based' game making 'mental' decisions. Anything physical is entirely and completely irrelevant. It should never even be brought up. If one allows players to make their own decisions (regardless of their actual real-life knowledge), then the line is already drawn.

With that said, I do understand your position of advocating for those who are new (an understandable situation) and those who aren't as eloquent as others. I can certainly see making some concessions for a new person (assuming they want to keep said player) and even on those who are less eloquent who might want to maybe try out a character with high diplomacy/charisma. It's definitely important to give those people a break.

But it is dependent on the group - I'm not sure I entirely appreciate the suggestion - or even faint implication - that those who expect a little bit more out of certain game interactions are somehow doing it wrong (rearing its head in the questionable comment [among others] "of course no one is inclined to take them" - Oh? No one? A strong statement indeed). It may not be a good fit for everyone, of course, but it is a good fit for certain groups who want to have fun a certain way. In those groups, a shy/non-eloquent person always playing a "face" and always saying "I diplomacize!" instead of any attempt at further interaction may wear thin somewhat quickly. In the end, some players are simply not a good fit for some groups.


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"My character is a beautiful blonde with big t*~!.
.
.
.She's a lesbian."


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Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

"My character is a beautiful blonde with big t@@&.

.
.
.She's a lesbian."

If this player is a woman, does her first name start with a "D"? If so, I probably dated her in the 80s. Her character description fits every character she ever rolled up.


Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

"My character is a beautiful blonde with big t~*~.

.
.
.She's a lesbian."

Ah yes, I've seen that too many times to count. I'd say 99% of the time the characters are either a barbarian or a sorceress as well. Someone playing that character (the sorceress variant) was a major contributing factor to my folding my Skulls & Shackles game (they weren't the only thing, the fact that the player was a rules lawyer who didn't know the rules, another player was a vocal misogynist who made the one female player so uncomfortable that she left the group, and yet another player was playing a character designed to derail the game by simply trying to kill every single non-half orc NPC on sight also helped the decision along).


Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

"My character is a beautiful blonde with big t~+%.

.
.
.She's a lesbian."

i never played one of those

but i have played adorable pint sized blakes with a youthful figure who use their appearant youth and a variation of innocent charm to win the hearts of others through acting sweet, friendly and amiable. usually Asexual and innocently exploring a budding development of maturity over the course of the campaign. but they were never well endowed and didn't have anything to fit the beautiful blonde with flesh pumpkins steriotype. most of the time smart and charming, or smart and wise, but never excessively seductive. with weekly william, i'm playing my first character to take the hedonistic hindrance for a literally perverse character and not somebody who does something like use a vivid imagination for perverse reading stimulation or whatever.

usually, some of mine and my boyfriends characters might have a dark past involving certain NSFW situations, but i admit that with very few exceptions, most of my characters are either blakes, small framed, or both. but most of them act in a series of animesque tropes considered cute by the weeaboo fandom.


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Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

"My character is a beautiful blonde with big t@!*.

.
.
.She's a lesbian."

A friend and former roommate's (now long-ex) girlfriend, over the course of the few games run by him that she played with us, always - and I do mean always - decreed her characters to be some kind of "fuzzy maraca," and if there wasn't an animal/furry-esque race in the game world, she'd whine and wheedle him until he caved.

At which point, she would remind us - frequently - that she was a Fuzzy Maraca.

It was never cute.


i never played a furry in the perverse way, but i played an Anthropomorphic Smilodon using a modified catfolk, he was a war lion trainer using a modified houndmaster cavalier. he trained tribal warbeasts and hated being called "kitty" he answered to "Basten" or whatever the masculine equivalent to Bastet was. he had a bonus to strength instead of a bonus to charisma and a penalty to charisma instead of a penalty to wisdom, to make a gruff martial race of smilodons.

he was smart and wise, he wasn't the worst character, but he was a generic warbeast trainer who followed the pokemon trainer steriotype, except he fought alongside his pack of 5 large equal leveled lions


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Fuzzy Maraca?

Like the mexican hand-held percussion instrument? But with fur? Huh?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm assuming it was a Furry with really big boobies and an impossibly thin waistline. Or it could possibly be an awakened Maraca wrapped with fur, which seems slightly more interesting.

Silver Crusade

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Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

"My character is a beautiful blonde with big t@*$.

.
.
.She's a lesbian."

This reminds me of a friends character. A halfling monk named Titika (or something like that). Guess which part of her body she used for unarmed strikes.


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Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:

Fuzzy Maraca?

Like the mexican hand-held percussion instrument? But with fur? Huh?

Rysky wrote:
I'm assuming it was a Furry with really big boobies and an impossibly thin waistline.

Both of these are correct. The latter, with an appellation regarding the former of "something to be used in your hands to make interesting noises."

All the showers in the world can't clean me of this.

Rysky wrote:
Or it could possibly be an awakened Maraca wrapped with fur, which seems slightly more interesting.

That would have been amazing and so, so much better.

Shadow Lodge

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O_o


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Well, this went off a particularly squicky cliff.

Liberty's Edge

Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

"My character is a beautiful blonde with big t+$&.

.
.
.She's a lesbian."

I've had enough of this from "dudebros" in my games that I am now reflexively opposed to players playing cross sex/gender. I know that that is the wrong reaction, and I try to suppress my suspicion of new players who want to play cross sex/gender, but it is very difficult.

Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Well, this went off a particularly squicky cliff.

Agreed

So changing the subject back to bad/ridiculous characters:

I played in a game where the DM used the 2nd Ed table for Reincarnate. When the bard/rogue† died, we had him reincarnated and the DM rolled…Bear.

The player decided he was going to keep playing the now bear bard/rogue. For inspire courage he pranced. For thieve's tools, he had one of his claws carved into a lock pick. The game took a decidedly silly turn, but it was a lot of fun.

†This player played the bard end of his bard/rogue as though he thought that Elan from Order of the Stick was the apotheosis of bard-dom, vice a mockery of it. Luckily, we had 6 players, so some extra weight didn't hurt us. :-)

yes, I know, this isn't a back-story story, but hey, it's better than maracas

Lord Synos:
I plan on responding to your response, it's just taking me a bit to formulate my answer. Thank you for the awesome and thoughtful repartee.


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To drag us back from the cliff and help get us back on the road (Thank you, TSF), I give you: The Ranger.

That was his name. "Ranger."

That was also his class. "Ranger."

Are you sure you want to name your character Ranger? "Why does he need a name? He's a Ranger. He fights with two swords and he wears studded leather armor and he's got a bow."

Yes, but what do we call him? When he introduces himself, what does he say? "Hello. I'm a Ranger. I'm here to help."

Okay. Fast forward to the party finding themselves in what they did not realize at the time was Ravenloft. They have come across a village being "terrorized" by a mechanical minotaur that is cutting down all of the trees in the nearby forest and using them to make... *ominous noise* something.

"I attack the Minotaur," he says.

I roll some dice and explain that the Minotaur has turned and thrown several of its sharpened metal-slat ribs at him. They have struck and easily pierced his leather armor, and have left him with deep lacerations, bruises and cuts. He is having trouble breathing, and there's a liquid sucking sound coming from his lungs when he breathes.

In other words, three critical hits that have just dealt him 3/4 of his hit points.

"There's no way you can take another hit like that," I tell him. "Your animal companion flies down in your face and tries to get you to stop."

"I keep running after it and shooting at it with my bow."

Long story short, I argued with him as the spirit of his Crow (whom he actually killed in a fit of rage) that to continue was madness and he should wait for the rest of the party to come and help him. Cue up ten minutes of "But I'm a Ranger! I must protect the woods!" and "You can't protect them when you're DEAD!" back and forth.

Duck Season.

Rabbit Season.

You get the idea.

Suffice to say, that is how The Ranger died.

-edit to add-

I want to point out that while all of my interactions with him were in character, complete with Crow telling him to be careful, his responses were entirely mechanical.

"You will *die* if it hits you like that again!"

"Oh come on. What are the odds of it getting three more critical hits in a row? I still have twenty HP left!"

If we were playing a genre-savvy game, he'd have been perfect for it, I gotta say.


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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

For truly bad characters, I'd heard about Lord Bearington, a bear with such an obscenely high bluff that nobody can tell he's a bear.

I've actually played a session with that character. It was intensely depressing. I think the character was some sort of cleric, but really the only things that mattered were:
1. He was a bear, but everyone had to treat him as a normal human; I believe he actually couldn't speak, but could bluff so hard that we thought a bear growling was a human speaking common.
2. He and his friend, neither of whom we had back, made every single "bear" pun they could for the entire session.

Scarab Sages

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I dunno, in the right situation Lord Bearington could be a great character.

Bears thinking about, at least.

Silver Crusade

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I'm not sure htis quallifies so much as a bad backstory as just a disconnect between two people.

A friend was trying to model his character off some movie where he was a member of this order of killers with two friends (also members), one of whom was a girl he was in love with. His love was considered a weakness and he either had to kill the woman or his other friend would kill him. So he killed her, but then left the order out of guilt and trying to escape this order of killers who are now after him.

So enter my other friend who listened to this, and realizing the character was a monk who only fought unarmed, pointed out that to kill her he would have had to beat her to death with his fists. And he was kind of appalled by this. He tries to point it out to him, and there's just this disconnect. Not on that it's horrible, they both seemed to understand that. Just not quite meeting on whether this would be a good character to play in the group or not. On one side it was 'guy who beat woman he loved to death I don't want evil pcs in this game' versus 'guy who did horrible thing wracked with guilt and seeking redemption'.

Eventually they came to some kind of terms with it, but sadly the game ended before it could really be explored.

The Exchange

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Belabras wrote:

I dunno, in the right situation Lord Bearington could be a great character.

Bears thinking about, at least.

Ba dum tish!

.... sorry, I'll go now.


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The worst backstory I ever heard was this, "Backstory?!? I've never had to do one of those before."

:-)


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PhelanArcetus wrote:

For truly bad characters, I'd heard about Lord Bearington, a bear with such an obscenely high bluff that nobody can tell he's a bear.

I've actually played a session with that character. It was intensely depressing. I think the character was some sort of cleric, but really the only things that mattered were:
1. He was a bear, but everyone had to treat him as a normal human; I believe he actually couldn't speak, but could bluff so hard that we thought a bear growling was a human speaking common.
2. He and his friend, neither of whom we had back, made every single "bear" pun they could for the entire session.

How did a bear get to put ranks in bluff? Was this an awakened bear? If so, I think awakened animals get a language, don't they? *checks* Yes they do.


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Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

"My character is a beautiful blonde with big t$%#.

.
.
.She's a lesbian."

How appropriate that your avatar is a hand.


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There's this article in an old thread I res'd here that I want all my players to read. At least point 1 and 2 anyway. I can't stand it when folks make up a PC with a backstory and then are passive and expect the GM to play it all into the game for them.

I had a dwarf cleric of Desna - an interesting choice but hear me out. His backstory was a little different than stereotype dwarves. The setting we were using had a really rugged hills/cliffs area along a big river that had once been dwarven territory. My guy was part of a mercenary band of dwarves that were once from the area but had no illusions of retaking it for their people.

They were mercenaries. They wandered the wilds doing jobs for anyone, including goblinoids. My PC was born into bondage when his father, a merc soldier took a young dwarven girl as a slave. She was, *ahem* useful to the others in the clan until I came of age at which point she murdered her pimp/husband and staked herself as a soldier of the crew.

So my guy is raised by his fiercely independent mom but within this crew of mercenaries. His "uncle", boss Thane was the leader and kind of a reprobate (LN) who had honor but would literally take any job. My guy grows up trying to dissuade the guy from taking certain bounties all the while learning to be a soldier.

The last job the crew takes is working for a hobgoblin warlord. My guy attempts to abstain, gets nearly killed for insubordination and eventually finds himself afield. The dwarves win but while they're recovering the warlord sends in more troops to kill them. With the double cross on Uncle Thane gets shoulder to shoulder w/me and repents for his terrible decision saying we're all free if we survive.

My guy dies on the field. He's saved by Desna and becomes a cleric after coming back to life. A few other mercs and my mom are still alive; Uncle Thane held to his promise and they all now live in towns around the area.

The whole point of this detailed background is to explain my skill in Profession: Soldier, my feats and traits around endurance and armor training and also my faith in Desna. My from the backstory I also played up that, in towns and villages I might "know a guy."

So we start playing and I go into soldier mode. I talked like my brother did when he got out of basic saying things like "We need to get squared away" or calling it KP instead of cooking. Then we get into town and I'm asking about dwarves who might live in the area to see if I "know a guy" that might help. Finally I almost got the party to force march simply because that's what I'm used to.

My thing is, like point 2 in the article above you can't put something in a backstory you're not willing to play. Also try to actually RP your guy and don't just say "it's in my backstory" or whatever. I'm not saying that you have to be an expert orator to have a Diplomacy skill or that you even need to talk in character to use said skill but don't give your PC that skill if you're not prepared to at least describe using it. Just saying you have/are something isn't enough in my book to say you STILL have/are it.


Two paladins who were of different but allied faiths and raised in the same household as brothers. The two paladins basically acted like frat brothers and carefully walked the line of falling so they could do certain things. They were honest and honorable wingmen to each other (swearing an oath of bros before hos), never lied, drank but only enough that their judgements were never clouded, and fought in the name of both their own and each others deity when such a time would call for it. The two players played it really well, never fell, and kept the game going. I have never seen a game with two paladins since.


Allow me to introduce to you: Deden Elslayer. This guy's first character (brother to one of my best buds) I sat down and tried to make a backstory with this guy. I informed him that its good for the character to not just be a badass but have negative traits too, fears, insecurities etc.

So he's like "yeah alright, my level 4 ranger has a wolf companion and sort of understands animals better than humans (how trite lol but that's not what makes it bad) he has a crippling fear of whales and bees."

"Why?"

"Oh @#$% ummmmm... Because his whole family was on a boat and he watched a whale eat it. And he hunted some stuff for this dude and he payed him with a handyhaversack.... Full of BEES!"

Then he proceeded to be nothing but a hindrance to the group, refused to fight with the group because "I'm chaotic neutral and I think about myself and only myself". Very disruptive, and I won't be asking for him to return.


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Ausk Valrosh wrote:
"And he hunted some stuff for this dude and he payed him with a handyhaversack.... Full of BEES!"

I want to keep bees. I don't want them to get away, I want to KEEP them. They have too much freedom.


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Ausk Valrosh wrote:

Allow me to introduce to you: Deden Elslayer. This guy's first character (brother to one of my best buds) I sat down and tried to make a backstory with this guy. I informed him that its good for the character to not just be a badass but have negative traits too, fears, insecurities etc.

So he's like "yeah alright, my level 4 ranger has a wolf companion and sort of understands animals better than humans (how trite lol but that's not what makes it bad) he has a crippling fear of whales and bees."

"Why?"

"Oh @#$% ummmmm... Because his whole family was on a boat and he watched a whale eat it. And he hunted some stuff for this dude and he payed him with a handyhaversack.... Full of BEES!"

Then he proceeded to be nothing but a hindrance to the group, refused to fight with the group because "I'm chaotic neutral and I think about myself and only myself". Very disruptive, and I won't be asking for him to return.

GM Answer: You hear a horrible sound all around you, and realize you have been surrounded by a pack of... whale-bees.

:P

Dark Archive

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
But what made it even funnier (and he does it to this day) is how he uses the wrong words to mean something else. For instance, his back stories all centered around (in his words) the character's personal bandanna. What he meant was "vendetta". But he didn't know the right word so he picked one that sounded a little like it.

That's called a malapropism. If you've played Arcanum, Lucan the Witless does this.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
PhelanArcetus wrote:

For truly bad characters, I'd heard about Lord Bearington, a bear with such an obscenely high bluff that nobody can tell he's a bear.

I've actually played a session with that character. It was intensely depressing. I think the character was some sort of cleric, but really the only things that mattered were:
1. He was a bear, but everyone had to treat him as a normal human; I believe he actually couldn't speak, but could bluff so hard that we thought a bear growling was a human speaking common.
2. He and his friend, neither of whom we had back, made every single "bear" pun they could for the entire session.

How did a bear get to put ranks in bluff? Was this an awakened bear? If so, I think awakened animals get a language, don't they? *checks* Yes they do.

I don't have an answer for this. I assume he was awakened, and I have no idea why the GM let it be played. Well, aside from the following:


  • This particular GM lets almost anything be played, especially if it seems likely to produce interesting inter-party plot.
  • If I recall correctly, the GM didn't know this player was coming at all until he showed up; he basically tagged along with a friend who had been invited. Neither was invited back.

Scarab Sages

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Beary interesting.


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Belabras wrote:
Beary interesting.

Heh, I see what you did there :P

Ah Sir Bearington, truly a classic story.

I'm also a big fan of Lord Crabbington, the druid with a giant crab companion. Played as if the crab is the actual character, and the druid is just his translator/assistant/servant (the crab communicates by clicking its claws).

*Click click* "Very good sir, right away"

"Uh, why are you talking to that crab?"

*Click click clack* "No my lord, I'm sure they didn't mean any offense"

*CLICK CLICK* I'm not entirely sure that killing them is justified sir"

*Click clack click* "Please Lord Crabbington, show mercy!


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Jaçinto wrote:
That brings up something I have told people at our table. If you didn't want to actually do any talking and play out your diplomatic actions, why did you put your points into diplomacy and essentially build a face man?

For the same reason that I created a guy who can summon demons from extradimensional planes of existance and tear holes in the fabric of reality... because I can't do it in real life...


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Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

"My character is a beautiful blonde with big t~&!.

.
.
.She's a lesbian."

I never understand this...

Then again I may be biased...

(Im a total of 5'2" and weigh all of 110 lbs... and pretty much the poster child of girl who missed puberty -.-)


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K177Y C47 wrote:
Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

"My character is a beautiful blonde with big t~&!.

.
.
.She's a lesbian."
I never understand this...

There was a guy in one of my long-running groups who, regardless of game, almost always played a six-foot-two, blue-eyed, blond-haired, amazonian-proportioned woman who was described as "incredibly beautiful," and "deeply innocent." He would go out of his way to describe how gorgeous she was, many times describing her as "Angelic."

And then point out that she was completely asexual and had no interest in anything of the sort.

His characters also usually had to be convinced to join the group and do heroic things. Even in super hero games.

...

I'm beginning to suspect that the bulk of my old groups were composed of at least 50% problem players.

K177Y C47 wrote:

Then again I may be biased...

(Im a total of 5'2" and weigh all of 110 lbs... and pretty much the poster child of girl who missed puberty -.-)

Run with that! Get yourself some wings and a glitter-wand and take over conventions as a cookie fairy or something. :)


Pan wrote:


Fast forward about a dozen sessions and they finally had a falling out. Guy actively worked to derail every plot. When the party faced a difficult situation or foe, guy just wanted to quit the quest and just farm beets and raise chickens. He was finally asked to leave.

This was a serious LOL.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
Tinkergoth wrote:
Belabras wrote:
Beary interesting.

Heh, I see what you did there :P

Ah Sir Bearington, truly a classic story.

I'm also a big fan of Lord Crabbington, the druid with a giant crab companion. Played as if the crab is the actual character, and the druid is just his translator/assistant/servant (the crab communicates by clicking its claws).

*Click click* "Very good sir, right away"

"Uh, why are you talking to that crab?"

*Click click clack* "No my lord, I'm sure they didn't mean any offense"

*CLICK CLICK* I'm not entirely sure that killing them is justified sir"

*Click clack click* "Please Lord Crabbington, show mercy!

I guess I did something sort of similar to this in a one-shot; I played a summoner who believed that his eidolon was a servant of the Great Old Ones, and he was there to serve the eidolon, not in an equal partnership. I'd made a pretty messed up creature; quadraped that I'd given arms (and weapon proficiency) to, a few tentacle attacks, and I'm pretty sure I'd added acid to the bite. So this crazy mad prophet type rode around on a slavering insanity beast seeking to bring his dread masters home.

Amusingly, the GM actually had a way-out-of-CR Lovecraft monster, a Mu Spore, I think, in the adventure, not as an enemy, but more as flavor. It was trapped in some Desnan priest's dream. After the climax, I went back and killed the sleeping priest, releasing a CR 21 monster on an unsuspecting world. It killed me immediately, of course, but that didn't matter. I'd done what my dread master obviously wanted.

I've seen more of the opposite, though; my fiance semi-recently played a summoner whose eidolon functioned as her butler (yes, it was inspired, heavily, by Black Butler). And I have a PFS summoner whose eidolon is a bodyguard / advisor (assuming I ever wander back to PFS games; might use them as a springboard to meeting some more people).


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Wyntr wrote:
Ausk Valrosh wrote:

Allow me to introduce to you: Deden Elslayer. This guy's first character (brother to one of my best buds) I sat down and tried to make a backstory with this guy. I informed him that its good for the character to not just be a badass but have negative traits too, fears, insecurities etc.

So he's like "yeah alright, my level 4 ranger has a wolf companion and sort of understands animals better than humans (how trite lol but that's not what makes it bad) he has a crippling fear of whales and bees."

"Why?"

"Oh @#$% ummmmm... Because his whole family was on a boat and he watched a whale eat it. And he hunted some stuff for this dude and he payed him with a handyhaversack.... Full of BEES!"

Then he proceeded to be nothing but a hindrance to the group, refused to fight with the group because "I'm chaotic neutral and I think about myself and only myself". Very disruptive, and I won't be asking for him to return.

GM Answer: You hear a horrible sound all around you, and realize you have been surrounded by a pack of... whale-bees.

:P

You can't do that! That would Bee unfair!

Scarab Sages

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Would it be a pod of Whale-Bees or a swarm?


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Everyone knows a cluster of Whale-Bees is called a "Ouch."

Dark Archive

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Arnwyn:
Arnwyn wrote:
Lord Synos:
LordSynos wrote:
Charisma/Diplomacy is the only skill set where GM's punish you for not having those skills in real life. Of course no one is inclined to take them.
Arnwyn wrote:

Absolutely false.

Do you let players make decisions for their characters at the table? Oh, you do? Even if the player playing a fighter isn't a tactical genius/great warrior? Even if the player playing the wizard isn't a spell-casting genius who has never cast spells in combat or even chosen spells before? You let them make those decisions on their own?
Uh huh.
So you do allow real life Intelligence and Wisdom to play at least some role.
The suggestion that Charisma is somehow separate (and that making people at least say 'how' they're talking to someone else - just like making people say 'how' they're combating those monsters) is inconsistent laughable nonsense.
LordSynos wrote:

I can't say what I let players do. (A) I wouldn't use the phrase "I let my players do this", because it speaks to a kind of condescending, arrogance that I dislike, and (B) I've GM'ed all of 2 times. I don't really consider myself as having "players". However, yes, a player's attributes do affect their characters to some extent, mainly their mental attributes. However, you're arguing the reverse of my position, which isn't the same as my position. A strawman, effectively.

I am saying, if a player is less skilled than their character, their character should still be able to use their skills. If a player can't cast Magic Missile, the appropriate character still can. If the player can't wield a Greataxe, the appropriate character still can. In this, we completely agree, it appears.
However, if a player isn't very Wise, I won't prevent them from playing a character with high Wisdom, or restrict their Cleric's spells because their real life Wisdom isn't that high. If a player isn't the brightest, I won't prevent them from playing a character with a high Int score, or limit their Wizard's spellcasting. This is a different point from the above. This is the point I am making about Charisma. If someone isn't a great talker, isn't particularly social, doesn't read social cues the best, I wouldn't punish their high Charisma, high Diplomacy character for that, because the character can still do those things, even if the player can't.
Thanks for arguing against a strawman and then calling my actually point inconsistent, laughable nonsense on that basis though. That was a very pleasant thing to do."

Since this topic is still being covered...

Sorry for coming off way too strong. Do you know how you mentioned how you have "frustration" with the above and that it "bothers you intensely"? Ditto on my side. I'm not a big fan of erroneously conflating and comparing physical actions and mental actions within a mental game. It doesn't make sense, and is unhelpful. No one explains climbing because that's a physical action - this isn't a LARP... it's sitting around a table playing a 'mental-based' game making 'mental' decisions. Anything physical is entirely and completely irrelevant. It should never even be brought up. If one allows players to make their own decisions (regardless of their actual real-life knowledge), then the line is already drawn.

With that said, I do understand your position of advocating for those who are new (an understandable situation) and those who aren't as eloquent as others. I can certainly see making some concessions for a new person (assuming they want to keep said player) and even on those who are less eloquent who might want to maybe try out a character with high diplomacy/charisma. It's definitely important to give those people a break.

But it is dependent on the group - I'm not sure I entirely appreciate the suggestion - or even faint implication - that those who expect a little bit more out of certain game interactions are somehow doing it wrong (rearing its head in the questionable comment [among others] "of course no one is inclined to take them" - Oh? No one? A strong statement indeed). It may not be a good fit for everyone, of course, but it is a good fit for certain groups who want to have fun a certain way. In those groups, a shy/non-eloquent person always playing a "face" and always saying "I diplomacize!" instead of any attempt at further interaction may wear thin somewhat quickly. In the end, some players are simply not a good fit for some groups.

Quite alright, we all get involved in these discussions and tend to err on the side of hyperbole. As you point out yourself, I'm certainly guilt as charged. Of course people still take Diplomacy and the like. Why, just last week there were discussions on these very forums on how "broken" Diplomacy could get, though I won't derail this derail with that topic. Thank you for owning up to your own, and I apologise for mine.

I suppose I disagree on the differentiation between physical stats and mental stats. While, yes, the entire game is a mental exercise, and hence the physical is "converted" to mental representation, at the end of the day, ability scores are ability scores and skills are skills. These things together represent what the character can do, even if the player cannot. However, if I were to restrict myself to purely mental actions, I could still write out a list of all the mental "actions", or skills, such as Disguise (Cha based) or Heal (Wis based) or Use Magic Device (Cha again), and point out that similar restrictions such as the ones commonly seen on Diplomacy/Bluff/Charisma are not applied to them. When was the last time a UMD user had to perform a magic trick with a prop he was unfamiliar with, or he'd face a penalty to his UMD check, eh? (jovial tone) Or, to remove the "physical" action for the comparator, when was the last time a player had to accurately guess the value of an item, or their character would take a penalty to their Appraise skill check? As I said before, I don't believe that someone with possibly lower Int/Wis should be prevented from playing, or be unfairly penalised for playing, a Wizard/Cleric. Comparatively I don't believe that someone with possibly lower Cha should be prevented from playing, or be unfairly penalised for playing, a Diplomacy using character. I'm failing to see the difference between penalising a character making a Heal check for the player not knowing how to treat a particular wound and penalising a character making a Diplomacy check for the player not knowing how to talk someone around to their way of thinking. Certain posters in this discussion have certainly made me think about this more deeply, and I am open to more discussion.

And on your final point, I completely concur. Each to their own, and every play-style is valid, as long as no one tries to force their play-style on others. I feel sympathy for those whose play-style does not match their group, and whom may lack alternative groups in their area, but I endeavour to not judge groups who enjoy other play-styles on that basis. If I failed in this, implied or otherwise, I do apologise, as it was not my intent. However, on further thought, I do feel I should mentioned that I think it falls into the realm of houseruling and, as such, should be mentioned to players before starting the game.

The Shining Fool:
The Shining Fool wrote:
Lord Synos: I plan on responding to your response, it's just taking me a bit to formulate my answer. Thank you for the awesome and thoughtful repartee.

Quite alright, take your time. I've certainly been slow on this response. You're most welcome, and thank you for the same. :)

Redirection:
While I'm enjoying this discussion, I do feel bad about the derail for those enjoying the combination of horrible/hilarious backstories, so I'm linking on another thread specifically about the discussed topic, here.

The source on Lord Bearington. Similarly, Los Tiburon.


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The Shining Fool wrote:
Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

"My character is a beautiful blonde with big t+$&.

.
.
.She's a lesbian."

I've had enough of this from "dudebros" in my games that I am now reflexively opposed to players playing cross sex/gender. I know that that is the wrong reaction, and I try to suppress my suspicion of new players who want to play cross sex/gender, but it is very difficult.

I've had to pull the lesbian card when playing female characters to stop getting hit on.

Liberty's Edge

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For me it's the I'm a super strong and tough character cursed with a low intelligence and charisma. But really I have a high intelligence and charisma despite my looks. While refusing to roleplay low attributes. Or simply getting by through adding skill points into Diplomacy. Or not be penalized by them. Once or twice I'm fine with that concept after awhile it just feels like taking low attributes and not expecting to be penalized by havvng them. I implemented a house rule where if the person wants to bypass the negatives of a low cha or int they can. At the cost of a lower st and con. So no 20 str and/or con at my table. At most 16 in each. The time spent learning to be more socialble and learning to talk to people better comes at a cost of being stronger and tougher.

The gamer who swears he knows the system from front to back end of the core and knows almost nothing about the game.

The gamer who refuses to put in a few dollars for snacks yet takes the most at the table. Granted every game has one I'm not impressed by them.


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LordSynos wrote:
** spoiler omitted **
...

The whole Sir Bearington brings to mind a ripoff of Chicken Boo from Animaniacs.


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Adjule wrote:
LordSynos wrote:
** spoiler omitted **
... The whole Sir Bearington brings to mind a ripoff of Chicken Boo from Animaniacs.

How do I know your fox mask is not just a clever disguise to conceal your true identity as that same giant chicken? HMM?


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jemstone wrote:
K177Y C47 wrote:
Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

"My character is a beautiful blonde with big t~&!.

.
.
.She's a lesbian."
I never understand this...

There was a guy in one of my long-running groups who, regardless of game, almost always played a six-foot-two, blue-eyed, blond-haired, amazonian-proportioned woman who was described as "incredibly beautiful," and "deeply innocent." He would go out of his way to describe how gorgeous she was, many times describing her as "Angelic."

And then point out that she was completely asexual and had no interest in anything of the sort.

His characters also usually had to be convinced to join the group and do heroic things. Even in super hero games.

...

I'm beginning to suspect that the bulk of my old groups were composed of at least 50% problem players.

K177Y C47 wrote:

Then again I may be biased...

(Im a total of 5'2" and weigh all of 110 lbs... and pretty much the poster child of girl who missed puberty -.-)

Run with that! Get yourself some wings and a glitter-wand and take over conventions as a cookie fairy or something. :)

Except I'm not the cutesy girly girl (in personality)... much to my mother's dismay -.-...


The Indescribable wrote:
The Shining Fool wrote:
Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

"My character is a beautiful blonde with big t+$&.

.
.
.She's a lesbian."

I've had enough of this from "dudebros" in my games that I am now reflexively opposed to players playing cross sex/gender. I know that that is the wrong reaction, and I try to suppress my suspicion of new players who want to play cross sex/gender, but it is very difficult.

I've had to pull the lesbian card when playing female characters to stop getting hit on.

When I started having to do this I stopped playing women. Sometimes its just not worth the trouble with some people.

Worst backstories I've ever experienced are the ones that arent just wildcards but are in specific conflict with the party or campaign theme... The 'kumite' campaign where someone chooses to be a reporter, the paladin in a party of ill repute, the police officer in a cyberpunk criminal campaign...

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