Friday, January 13, 2012

What I want 5e to do.

Simple.  I want support, however measly that is, for interesting backgrounds that makes a character live and breathe.

Last night, one of my players had fun with Central Casting.  It was Paul Jaquays' book on generating character backgrounds for fantasy characters, first edition.  We spent more time on building his character's father's career than his.

As a result, we got an interesting background for a nezumi or ratkin, or skavin character.  The results were simple.  Here's a conversation between a 4e character and this Pathfinder Nezumi.

4e Character: "Hello, happy world!  Hello, happy tree, hello happy bunny, hello happy squirrel!"

Pathfinder Character (who looks like a rat): "Hello, clueless one."

4e Character: "Oh hi!  Can we be friends?"

Pathfinder Nezumi character: "Maybe.  Tell me about yourself."

4e Character: "Well, my name's George.  I'm a house Deneith Mercenary and I fought in the Last War."

Pathfinder Nezumi Character. "Well, you're certainly acting pretty one dimensional, what was your military experience?"

George Deneith (4e): "I don't know.  I'm just a veteran of the Last War.  But I have Intimidate as an associated skill!"

The Nezumi does a face palm.  George. "What?"

"Your player is a gamist, right?"


"Thought so.  My player took the trouble generating my background, but my exploits pale in comparison to my father's."

"Oh?  What happened?"

"First of all, we were kicked out of Nezumi lands for being different.  My father found work as a fisherman and joined the Home Guard so we can have some money.  At first, he saw little action, ran away from some, and joined up to prove himself.

"There was a major war with a neighboring kingdom and his actions got him promoted to corporal.  There was many battles, and he was finally decorated for his bravery and became an officer.  He was so good that he signed on for another five years and was assigned to special forces -- in the Ranger division.  Another war broke out with Drow and he kills one of their generals!  There were major battles, where he lost most of his forces, but he proved himself and became a knight!  A KNIGHT!

"There was another war that broke out, and his stint was increased.  I never saw him but I knew he was doing well.  When he returned, he taught me some of his swordcraft, and taught me sword fighting the soldiering way.  Finally, there was a major coup on our kingdom and he led it.  He slew the king and took over the kingdom."

George looked at the Nezumi with his jaw open.

"And you think you have problems.  I've been adventuring in my father's shadow ever since!"

The difference between 4e and 3e is that 4e has little Roleplaying support.  You get backgrounds and you get themes, so what?  Tell me more about your character.  Give him a reason that he's alive, that he fought in the Last War and returned a hardened veteran.  After all, Roleplaying is ROLEPLAYING!  4e has little of that.

If you want to pick up a character sheet, write down some figures, and play; there's nothing wrong with that.  Character creation in 5e at the start should be quick and easy and fun.  However, if you want depth with your character, there should be options to build an interesting background for your character.  Some of us don't want to pick up and play, we want to know everything about that character so we can just get started.

It's as simple as that.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...