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The Background Generator

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Many people on RP servers choose not to immerse themselves in roleplay and play the game as if they were on a “normal” server. There's a variety of reasons for this kind of behaviour: lack of interest, lack of time, lack of contacts, lack of experience, lack of skill, lack of knowledge, but above all lack of creativity.

The thing that probably suffers most from the last one is a character's background. No RP character in an established setting has ever fallen from space, popped into existence as a grown man without past and childhood. Except the Draenei, they did fall from space, both figuratively and literally...

To cut a long story short, an RP character needs a background. Causa finita. A background doesn't only serve as a purely aesthetic gimmick, it is an explanation of how the character became who he is now and why the character landed in the spot the player chose for him. Last but not least, a background usually contains plot hooks for future RP. A character's background is difficult to create and easy to mess up, anyone who ever saw websites like Rotten Apples or Warcraft Sues will readily agree. Making a good character with a solid background requires at least rudimentary knowledge of the setting's lore and an underlying idea of the character. Not everyone is capable of producing the latter at the drop of a hat.

This article is meant to help such people – often RP newbies – come up with believable roleplay characters by providing them with simple ideas that can be combined and modified according to one's tastes and desires. From my experience most people only need a push in the right direction to get the hang of things. The ideas below are meant to be such a push.

Usage Edit

The backgrounds presented below are divided into one general section for backgrounds which can easily be applied to all or most races in WoW and racial sections (in alphabetical order) for ideas that fit only to this particular race. Each section consists of three parts: the Past, an important event that helped make the character who he is; the Present, the character's situation at the start of his RP "career" and the Future, an event that is approaching and the character should be prepared for.

You, the player, provided you don't have a unique idea on your own, simply pick one event from each category (Past, Present and Future) by whatever method you want to use: you can pick, you can roll a dice, you can use cards, it does not matter. Use ideas in the general section and the section designed for your race. However, if you feel like experimenting and know what you're doing don't hesitate from using ideas meant for races other than your character's. Be creative, but be reasonable.

“Sketches” is an important word. You don't just pick three ideas, you also need to stuff them with fluff of your choosing, names, characters, places, modify and expand them. Many of them seem to require the presence of an another player character to work out. This is intended, it's meant to bring you closer to the Sha'tar's RP community, most of which resides on the channels /LFRP and /LFRPOOC on Alliance side, Horde equivalents being /HordeRP and /WARDEF. Join them, talk it over, make arrangements. A new roleplayer is very likely to receive much goodwill and help with characterisation, all he needs to do is to ask. Everyone will help a newbie roleplayer.

General Edit

Past Edit

These are events that have shaped your character and made him what he is today. Some of them may still hang over his head.

  • Your father had a long and distinguished service in the military. You follow in his footsteps.
  • When you were young, you broke your arm. It healed, but you still can predict weather with ease.
  • When you were young you were seriously injured due to a careless mistake. Since then you are very cautious in everything you do.
  • You have had an encounter with a Thing so terrifying that it altered the course of your life forever. You still wake up screaming in the night when you dream about its shadowy tentacles twisting at your soul.
  • Your family has always been devoutly religious and you are no exception.
  • You have spent a year as a hermit, trying to make some sense of the world's injustice.

Present Edit

These are events your character might find himself entangled in at the start of his RP “career.” They best be dealt with soon, else you might find yourself in a real pandemonium.

  • You have finished a year's stint as a fortress builder in Northrend. You spent all day breaking rocks in harsh sun or icy wind and you were bruised and sore every evening. However, you are now much more resistant to pain and weariness than before.
  • You have been relatively inactive as of late and had time to catch up on your reading.
  • After recently joining the military you developed a stubborn streak that made you very unpopular with officers.
  • Your home country convicted you of something terrible. You were dragged through the streets, people shouting curses and throwing rotten vegetables at you. Then the sentence fell... exile.
  • Just recently you have joined the Alliance or Horde military. Your duties are simple, but clear.
  • As a wandering mercenary you have lately been bound to serve a powerful family. In addition to your other duties you have been charged with a long-term mission: discovering the fate of the family's heir who disappeared years ago.
  • A short while ago you found a shard of strange metal while wandering. You picked it up, only to find it dissolving in your hand. As it did, the world around you slowed to a halt for the blink of an eye. Once you shrugged the shock off, you noticed that everything was moving a little slower slower than before and that you have reflexes like a cat's. However, the shard had some unpleasant side effects as well: you find yourself twitching constantly and unable to sit still. Furthermore, you worry that you may be ageing at an accelerated rate.

Future Edit

These are events looming in your character's future. They may be caused by the character's actions in the past or choices he has yet to make. The predictions are intentionally vague.

Blood Elf Edit

Past Edit

  • As a child you always shunned your noble playmates, preferring the zeal and innocence of peasant children over shallow machinations. You would bring them food, toys and when you were older, money. You are known to be charitable and honourable, with everyone' best interests at heart.
  • During the Second War your entire village has been wiped out by Orcs. You have tracked down the commander who was responsible for your carnage, but he defeated you single-handedly. You haven't seen him since then to extract vengeance and your only consolation is that he isn't getting any younger.
  • Your great-aunt, a powerful archmage while she was still alive, presented you with a beautiful sword when you were young. Since then it has saved your life countless times, twisting in your hand to deflect incoming blows as if it had a life on its own.
  • Long ago, you have found yourself in love with an another bright-eyed High Elf. However, it all fell to pieces when she left Quel'thalas to seek refuge in the Human lands.

Present Edit

  • Your father was recently accused of a heinous crime and executed. Since then your name carries the stain of his dishonour. You have sworn that you will clear your family name.
  • You were recently caught in the Ghostlands after dark. You lost track of time and you only noticed the dimming light as the sun was disappearing. You ran along the trails in an effort to get out of the forest before it became too late to dark and see, but along the way you were bitten by a snake that seemed to be made of shadows. Feeling ill, you managed to stumble and stagger back to a safe haven. Since then, you have found that the touch of your bare skin caused slight but very noticeable pain to others. You are worried that this was only the first effect of the snake's venom and that other, more pronounced effects may occur.
  • Your animosity with one of your High Elven "brothers" has escalated into a personal feud.

Future Edit

Draenei Edit

Past Edit

  • Long ago, you have found yourself in love with an another bright-eyed Eredar-Draenei. However, it all fell to pieces when your sweetheart chose to follow Archimonde and Kil'jaeden.
  • Early on, one of the Triumvirate saw potential in you and allowed you to become a member of the Hand of Argus. On one occasion you saved a fellow hand's life while risking your own and the organisation does not forget such deeds.

Present Edit

  • As a political favour you received membership in an order of Paladins. However, you will always be treated as a joke until you prove your worth.
  • While travelling in Ashenvale last year, you found a very small man pinned underneath a fallen tree. Straining, you lifted the heavy trunk just enough for the little man to wriggle free. As a reward, he waved his hand and you felt dizzy for a moment. Then he said: "There. Now you may become one of the strongest people on Azeroth if you so desire." Then, right before your eyes, he turned into a deer and ran into the woods.
  • You were recently caught on Bloodmyst Isle after dark. You lost track of time and you only noticed the dimming light as the sun was disappearing. You ran along the trails in an effort to get out of the forest before it became too late to dark and see, but along the way you were bitten by a snake that seemed to be made of shadows. Feeling ill, you managed to stumble and stagger back to a safe haven. Since then, you have found that the touch of your bare skin caused slight but very noticeable pain to others. You are worried that this was only the first effect of the snake's venom and that other, more pronounced effects may occur.

Future Edit

Dwarf Edit

Past Edit

  • One night you were having a drink with some friendly men in dashing uniforms. The next day you found out that you have joined the army!
  • As a political favour you received membership in an order of Paladins. However, you will always be treated as a joke until you prove your worth.

Present Edit

  • Your father was recently accused of a heinous crime and executed. Since then your name carries the stain of his dishonour. You have sworn that you will clear your family name.
  • A brawl in an inn turned out to be more violent than anyone could expect and now you're wanted for the person you killed.

Future Edit

Forsaken Edit

Past Edit

Present Edit

Future Edit

Gnome Edit

Past Edit

  • When you were a child you were cursed to "live in interesting times". Since then, events have swirled around you, usually out of your control.

Present Edit

  • You have always been an intelligent and versatile person and recently these traits have come to the forefront of your personality.

Future Edit

Human Edit

Past Edit

  • As a child you always shunned your noble playmates, preferring the zeal and innocence of peasant children over shallow machinations. You would bring them food, toys and when you were older, money. You are known to be charitable and honourable, with everyone' best interests at heart.
  • One night you were having a drink with some friendly men in dashing uniforms. The next day you found out that you have joined the army!
  • As a political favour you received membership in an order of Paladins. However, you will always be treated as a joke until you prove your worth.
  • During the First (or Second) War your entire village has been wiped out by Orcs. You have tracked down the commander who was responsible for your carnage, but he defeated you single-handedly. You haven't seen him since then to extract vengeance and your only consolation is that he isn't getting any younger.

Present Edit

  • Your father was recently accused of a heinous crime and executed. Since then your name carries the stain of his dishonour. You have sworn that you will clear your family name.
  • A brawl in an inn turned out to be more violent than anyone could expect and now you're wanted for the person you killed.

Future Edit

Night Elf Edit

Past Edit

  • Your animosity with your eastern Elf "cousins" has escalated into a personal feud.
  • The Orcs have taken your land from you. You stood up to them, but they beat you within an inch of your life and threw you out into the cold.
  • During the First (or Second) War your entire village has been wiped out by Orcs. You have tracked down the commander who was responsible for your carnage, but he defeated you single-handedly. You haven't seen him since then to extract vengeance and your only consolation is that he isn't getting any younger.
  • In your youth you have learned all about the spirits of nature and their ways and you've learned how to appease them. But recently your quick mind and sharp wit drew the attention of a wandering priest of the Holy Light who tried to teach you about its glories and offered you a chance at priesthood. Since then your soul has been a battleground between the Holy Light and the old druidic ways.
  • You've always had an affinity with the outdoors and nature, so nobody was surprised when you chose to become a druid.

Present Edit

  • After many years of study, hard work and dedication, you have finally earned a place in the Cenarion Circle.
  • While travelling in Ashenvale last year, you found a very small man pinned underneath a fallen tree. Straining, you lifted the heavy trunk just enough for the little man to wriggle free. As a reward, he waved his hand and you felt dizzy for a moment. Then he said: "There. Now you may become one of the strongest people on Azeroth if you so desire." Then, right before your eyes, he turned into a deer and ran into the woods.
  • You were recently caught in Darkshore after dark. You lost track of time and you only noticed the dimming light as the sun was disappearing. You ran along the trails in an effort to get out of the forest before it became too late to dark and see, but along the way you were bitten by a snake that seemed to be made of shadows. Feeling ill, you managed to stumble and stagger back to a safe haven. Since then, you have found that the touch of your bare skin caused slight but very noticeable pain to others. You are worried that this was only the first effect of the snake's venom and that other, more pronounced effects may occur.

Future Edit

Orc Edit

PastEdit

Present Edit

  • Your father was recently accused of a heinous crime and executed. Since then your name carries the stain of his dishonour. You have sworn that you will clear your family name.
  • While travelling in Ashenvale last year, you found a very small man pinned underneath a fallen tree. Straining, you lifted the heavy trunk just enough for the little man to wriggle free. As a reward, he waved his hand and you felt dizzy for a moment. Then he said: "There. Now you may become one of the strongest people on Azeroth if you so desire." Then, right before your eyes, he turned into a deer and ran into the woods.
  • A brawl in an inn turned out to be more violent than anyone could expect and now you're wanted for the person you killed.

Future Edit

Tauren Edit

Past Edit

  • What started as an amusing contest of wits turned out embarrassing to your father when you were outsmarted by someone of lower status. As a result you were sent away from home for more “education.”
  • A quarrel during a Barrens sandstorm cost you the heart of your loved one.
  • As a child you became lost in the wilderness in spite of your parents' warnings against wandering off too far from home. You were found by a very old Tauren woman. At first you were terrified – you thought the Earthmother herself came to punish you! It turned out, however, that the Tauren was from a wandering clan. She and her people took you in. You have been wandering with them until your people finally came together in Thunder Bluff and you found your family again, but ever since you have a touch of wanderlust in your heart.
  • When you were but a child, your clan used to say that you were always dreaming. You've always found it easy to be on your own, and creativity flows through you.
  • As a youth you loved hunting. It was while hunting that you met a ravishing young Tauren. Your friendship grew into love, but when you suggested that your lover leave his/her clan and live with yours, it all fell to pieces.
  • You've always had an affinity with the outdoors and nature, so nobody was surprised when you chose to become a druid.
  • When you were but a child, your sister disappeared. No one talks about it much – your clan says the Earthmother took her – but you are determined to find her ever since.
  • You were adopted. Your parents and clan never told you, but you know this anyway. Someday you will venture out to seek your true family.

Present Edit

  • You spent your last winter serving in Outland. It was a gruelling experience, but it has thickened your skin.
  • Six months ago you woke up in the middle of Thunder Bluff with no memory of your past. The Bloodhoof clan took you in, but they have no idea who you were.
  • Artistry was always your passion. Recently you have been commissioned to come up with an impressive story for the weekly Thunder Bluff Storytelling (every Friday, 8 PM). It's a great honour and you have been given some money up front for your troubles.
  • You never used to have problems drinking liquor, but a short while ago you woke up on a street with a terrible hangover and no knowledge of how you got there. Worse, someone took your purse and an important family heirloom.
  • You have a gift of making mountains out of molehills that even the Earthmother might envy.
  • Recently your beloved tried to murder you and it isn't the first crazy thing life has thrown at you.
  • You spent this last winter with a wandering Tauren tribe. They had an interesting outlook on life and you've gained quite a rapport with them before returning to Thunder Bluff.
  • After many years of study, hard work and dedication, you have finally earned a place in the Cenarion Circle.
  • While travelling in Ashenvale last year, you found a very small man pinned underneath a fallen tree. Straining, you lifted the heavy trunk just enough for the little man to wriggle free. As a reward, he waved his hand and you felt dizzy for a moment. Then he said: "There. Now you may become one of the strongest people on Azeroth if you so desire." Then, right before your eyes, he turned into a deer and ran into the woods.

Future Edit

Troll Edit

Past Edit

  • As an infant, you have been taken in by Dalaran magocrats as a slave-manservant. In time, you picked up some arcane knowledge and learned to cast a few cantrips. Your master noticed and began to teach you magic so that he might impress his colleagues with an "oddity". You excelled at the Art and were granted freedom which you used to act as an intermediary between the Horde and the Violet City. You are well-educated and the polite, courtly manner of Dalaran mages rubbed off you. You might also speak without the usual Trollish accent.

Present Edit

  • While travelling in Ashenvale last year, you found a very small man pinned underneath a fallen tree. Straining, you lifted the heavy trunk just enough for the little man to wriggle free. As a reward, he waved his hand and you felt dizzy for a moment. Then he said: "There. Now you may become one of the strongest people on Azeroth if you so desire." Then, right before your eyes, he turned into a deer and ran into the woods.

Future Edit

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