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Playing with amending Backstory as the result of insanity

Posted by DAR , in Characters 10 August 2016 · 516 views

CoC 7e

So, I have to say that this is one of the things I've been most looking forward to - the addition of concrete backstory elements in character creation was great, but the suggestion if not mandate to mess with these in some way when characters go insane is a fantastic.

 

So, I had three characters go insane last session (two temporarily and one indefinitely) - so here is how I resolved to amend thier Backstories.

 

Luigi, the Mafia hitman, was the simplest. He's a Honorable as a trait, so I simply added the PC who slew the Opener of Ways (Dimensional Shambler) as an Important Person because he now owed his life to this man. It's basic, kind of boring, but will continue to provide the character a hook to continue with this group once the initial adventure is finished.

 

That man, Henry, the Handyman started off the game with a phobia of zombies and the walking dead (Backstory, as combination of his War Experience and Mythos Experience he witnessed the dead rising in the trenches) so I actually added a scar to his story - a mysterious, large Y-shaped scar that spans his torso. He can't really remember when or where he got it, probably the Great War, he just knows that he doesn't like thinking about it and tries to ignore it all the time...

 

This ties into this characters secret pulp nature that I have not revealed to the player, but that from the look on his face he probably guessed at least part of it when I told him this.

 

Lastly, Helen, the Antiquarian, has gone indefinitely insane. She almost died, but blew all her Luck (ala the Pulp rules) to prevent this from happening, but was also essentially drenched in the blood and ichor from the Opener of the Ways. Her Backstory was amended with the note in Encounters with Strange Entities: "The Opener of the Way, it killed me, but I passed through it and I did not die."

 

For this character this actually lets me start to build up a pulpier character (and/or watch her descend into madness and worse) and I plan to start building up some abilities that riff off her comingling of blood and essence with said Opener of Ways. The player struggles a bit with role-playing, so I'm hoping that this provides some meat for her Investigator/Hero to grow and be more than simply a researcher.

 

TTFN!

 

D.






I really like that game mechanic. I have only used it once where I changed a character's backstory. It was a flapper who idolized her mother for her beauty, but when she got epistemomania (Obsession with aquiring knowledge) as a result of Mythos stuff I amended it to "You used to idolize your mother for her beauty, but you have realized that therre are other qualities in which you surpass her easily" or something like that.

 

I love the idea with the Y shaped scar that is SO creepy. If it was my character I'd be so paranoid :D

I really like that game mechanic. I have only used it once where I changed a character's backstory. It was a flapper who idolized her mother for her beauty, but when she got epistemomania (Obsession with aquiring knowledge) as a result of Mythos stuff I amended it to "You used to idolize your mother for her beauty, but you have realized that therre are other qualities in which you surpass her easily" or something like that.

 

I love the idea with the Y shaped scar that is SO creepy. If it was my character I'd be so paranoid :D

 

Yeah, the player knows that what I'm describing is an autopsy scar, but the character (who has an Edu of 30 - he wanted to play a very uneducated guy so I let him shift some points around) doesn't have a clue. The best part is that I'm planning on having him run into an old member of his unit who he knows is dead - and who has the same scar. I haven't decided if that guy knows any more than this character, but that will be a fun way to continue the thread...

 

D.

This is one of the rules that I'm still on the fence about to be honest, I do like the fact that 7th brings forward the whole backstory element and makes it a more central part of rolling up a character, though it was always there in the previous editions but I suspect like many I only ever filled out the back of the character sheet a couple of times properly and never really remembered to use it it any story benefiting way.

This whole new rule where the Keeper/Group changes parts of a characters background due to an incident of madness just sits badly with me and feels wrong though I do see the story benefits of this mechanic and a certain cool factor to it. 

I guess I'm too protective/precious about my characters to have past events decided by others.   

This is one of the rules that I'm still on the fence about to be honest, I do like the fact that 7th brings forward the whole backstory element and makes it a more central part of rolling up a character, though it was always there in the previous editions but I suspect like many I only ever filled out the back of the character sheet a couple of times properly and never really remembered to use it it any story benefiting way.

This whole new rule where the Keeper/Group changes parts of a characters background due to an incident of madness just sits badly with me and feels wrong though I do see the story benefits of this mechanic and a certain cool factor to it. 

I guess I'm too protective/precious about my characters to have past events decided by others.   

 

Given that CoC Keeper has traditionally had the option to reveal hidden horrors about an Investigator's past, the only new part of this is that there is now a guideline of when such tweaks should happen. I'd give it a try, as long as the Keeper doesn't have a heavy hand (either in the tweaks themselves or in the Sanity losses), my observation is that is a nice way to slowly shift the Investigators perceptions.

 

It's also helpful if you start with a character who is already relatively well-adjusted and "normal" - if you have "built-in" your flawed character, then the downward spiral is steeper and it is a different experience of role-playing.

 

D.