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When it comes to your main character, do you prefer a Tabula Rasa?

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Maximum freedom in determining my character is certainly ideal.


The only limitations I'd want is my character's own facticity. I.e. their race, sex, culture etc and how they'd influence who they are and how others perceive them. What I don't want is the type of blank slate TES series offers where it gives you complete and total freedom to define who your character is; it just never in any way reacts to anything about your character. You're not an elf, a human or an orc, you're just a brick of death that steamrolls itself across the countryside doing fetch quests.

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I would like background to be part of character creation, through options that would affect your character's abilities (like in Arcanum or Vampire Bloodlines), and possibly the area where he begins the adventure.


This way it would be open enou to avoid feeling railtracked, while offering grounds to imagine the character actual background. I have always felt that offering no hint at all on the PC's origins decrease the immersion

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I've seen a nice idea in darklands. There you had to create a kind of curriculum vitae.


First you'd decide if yourents were farmer, crafter, merchant, noble, ...

Then you had to select which choices he made on profession.


This would change the stats and abilities of your character.


Noble meant you could read/write, more knowledge, less strength, streetwise, ..

Merchant good at bargain, less strength




and so on.


Found this a nice idea. Maybe you could make different modules of character background, that even could influence reaction of npcs.



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I've said it before elsewhere: I prefer a short, relatively simple sort of "choose your background" system - either from a list, or with a series of text-based short segments. Then again, I am a fan of text adventures. Something like Morrowind's questions at the start was nice I thought, but that was geared toward choosing a class. I'd like to see the options to either skip it or randomize, but also to go through and choose from a few choices for a few scenarios. To compensate, it could alter a mix of the PC's starting equipment, as well as maybe some low-end feat equivalents. I would also hope for some plot hooks later on to personalize it - doing this well would probably take a good bit of coding, though. Maybe just a few special dialogs in some encounters? Like one where you choose to leave behind the farm girl in your home town for the sake of adventure, then later happening upon a family carrying wheat from a small town to one of the big cities - and if you had that background, you can talk of the old days. If you didn't choose that background, maybe you can just help escort them to town or something.

Edited by UncleBourbon
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Holy crap, *I* am Revan?!


Oh wait, wrong game. Do I need to add a spoiler tag? :D


I like being able to have a sort of background pre-defined so my choices will have gameplay influence. Maybe a quick history multiple choice selection type option so that if I pick a chanter who was shamed by their community for making up something it'll come back to haunt me in social interations. Or if I'm a noble it will have influence on my homelands and the people I deal with. Or a barbarian said to come from a savage land will automatically get reactions due to the stories of their people.


Give me the bare bones and I'll mentally flesh out the rest. I don't need genealogies and a character's detailed life up until game-start -- just a 'here is who they are and what they're about'. And the game can run with that and give you a more personalized reaction which also lends to replay value.

Don't be like that Constance girl, she's weird - Manager @ Disneyland

RL Bard, Storyteller, and Costumer

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Would be better if the character you play had some form of backstory. The "blank slate" tends to work better in open world free roam games. Just try to stick to a Mass Effect or similar model and give us some level of control on the "details" and make those details matter at some point.

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95% blank slate, 1% brief, generic background, 4% bits of your past life maybe coming out during your dialogues with npc's. eg, "I was married, once. Didn't work out well." with little to no elaboration.

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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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I think the real-life approach would work: people you meet start off making broad, sweeping generalizations about you based on your race, age, sex, religion, etc., and then slowly start getting more personal as they get to know you better. What the NPCs think of your character beyond their original stereotypes depends on the player's words and actions--mostly actions.


I think this has been done. I'm not sure. I haven't played an RPG in a really long time.


Also, if this has been said already, I skipped pages 2 and 3. Sorry.

Edited by Matthew
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In the spirit of old AD&D rules tables... I present the Monte Carlo Dungeon-O-Matic background generation table...


But first:





OK, OK, assume you don't want your character to be a 'ho.


Dice Roll / Character Background


01-10 --- Toothless peasant with body odour, congenital heart problem, rat-like face but epic ability to eat pies and fart like a cabbage-filled bison

11-21 --- Dullard with soul-crushingly menial trade or profession, bovine features, tragic pretensions as to social advancement, acne

22-30 --- Tribal savage, paints face with gore, eats family members, worships a candle, believes that meat products have souls

31-32 --- Dentist

33-40 --- Bourgeois artisan, owns a pair of shoes, shiny complexion, tendency to lie, fatally attracted to dentists

41-50 --- Agricultural in-breed, awesome ability with scythe, strangely attracted to lactating quadrupeds, master of the banjo

51-60 --- Spawn of insane religious cultists, goes from door-to-door with leaflets, wears bloody robes, can chant in twelve languages

61-70 --- Nauseatingly cute and talented child of champion athletes, addicted to performance-enhancing herbs, intellectual capacity of a meat pie

71-80 --- Drunken rake, ironic facial hair, wears velvet codpiece, failed to qualify as a dentist

81-82 --- Accountant

83-90 --- Minor nobility, in-bred, awesome ability with silver cutlery, strangely attracted to lactating domestic servants, master of the lute

91-98 --- Scion of self-made merchant, wears a wig, has minor NPC to tie shoe-laces, wishes he / she was a Drunken Rake (qv) but daddy never went to college

99-00 --- Splintered avatar of Dark God, flashing red eyes, deep voice, electrically charged whip, pet Balrog, wishes he / she was an Accountant (qv)

Edited by Monte Carlo


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Blank slate. I want roleplaying potential to be maximized.

That's my opinion too. Other than the fact that my character witnessed some extraordinary event I'd rather have the rest left up to me. Give me a blank box and let me write my own bio/backstory would be my first choice.

I wonder if there is beer on the sun

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