Forums » Elder Scrolls

CB Backstories

    • 249 posts
    October 19, 2013 8:51 PM EDT
    Some builds have them, some don't. Some backstories are short, some long. Some are specific, some vague.

    I just want some opinions on this aspect of Character Building. I feel like people don't even take the time to read them. Are they worth the effort or not?
    • 13 posts
    October 19, 2013 8:57 PM EDT

    They are worth the effort! :P

    I love CB Backstories they make the person feel as if they are roleplaying as another character whilst ingame.

    • 249 posts
    October 19, 2013 9:02 PM EDT
    How in-depth should they be though? Just enough to understand their motives?
    • 13 posts
    October 19, 2013 9:05 PM EDT

    It doesn't matter. Personally I like it when its really in-depth. However, It's unto you how far you want to take your back story.

    • 249 posts
    October 19, 2013 9:12 PM EDT
    I'm pretty flexible with my writing though, I can get pretty detailed or, contrarily, I can sum up a backstory in a small paragraph. I just wanna know what my audience prefers :)

    So far I've got 1 for detailed.
    • 48 posts
    October 19, 2013 11:23 PM EDT
    Worth the effort, if done well. To me, they should be a brief but detailed description of the character's motives and beliefs. The need to catch the reader's attention quickly, and be succinct. Nothing worse than a backstory that goes on and on and on, or repeats the same thing several times. Mercilessly cut the fluff until all that's left is exactly what's needed to tell me who the character is and how he thinks. Nothing more. Nothing less.
    • 55 posts
    October 19, 2013 11:31 PM EDT

    I have always asked about this very topic! In my opinion, they're not really necessary. But it depends on the build. If it is heavy gameplay mechanics or heavy roleplay. I think if you are going to have one, it can't overwhelm the build and it actually has to be enough to inform the reader and set up the rest of build. But the best advice I've gotten was from Vazgen. He said "Just have one and leave it up to the reader because so people may read them and some won't." This matters because if you don't have one, then no one can read it, but if you do then anyone who doesn't want to read it can merely scroll past.

    • 48 posts
    October 19, 2013 11:37 PM EDT

    As long as its not so long that it fills up several pages.  Personally, if it takes me more than one "page down" to scroll past it, I'm most likely moving on and not reading the build at all.

    • 249 posts
    October 19, 2013 11:37 PM EDT
    Brief but detailed can be a tough balance to find. I look at builds like Mason's Obsidian Sentinel which has no backstory and other builds like Ponty's Nightguard which has a longer, journal-like intro and love both builds. I suppose it just depends on the build and author.
    • 55 posts
    October 19, 2013 11:39 PM EDT

    I agree. Unless it is essential to the build I don't read it. But it is nice for the others to read if they want.

    • 48 posts
    October 19, 2013 11:49 PM EDT

    The Obsidian Sentinel has backstory.  It's masterfully woven into the build itself, which is just the type of short but detailed description that I'm talking about.  He starts off with:

    Deep in Skyrims most frozen labyrinth, entombed within the heart of a mighty glacier, sleeps the Obsidian Sentinel.

    Few know what forbidden sorcery went into its creation or recall the name of the hero enslaved within the dark joints of the symbiotic black armor.

    Now a growing evil far to the east of Skyrim has roused this silent guardian from slumber, and as the ice breaks a disturbing tremor is felt throughout the minds of every mage in Tamriel...

    That's some basic flavour text to whet your appetite.  With a few sentences, he's conveyed that this is some sort of silent stalker who was roused from an eternal sleep.  Then in the build itself:

    The Obsidian Sentinel is a character that has ultimately become trapped by its own power. The build allows for 100% absorption of all spells, poison and disease but such strength comes at a high price in the form of stunted magicka (0% magical regeneration). This terrible curse forces the Sentinel to be what I always intended it to be…a parasite, a being that is drawn unstoppably to magical energy.

    And there he completes the description. A power-hungry stalker with a curse. Single-mindedly drawn to all sources of power.

    This "story" is exactly detailed enough, without going into tons of specifics.  I immediately know how this guy is supposed to be played (silent, unstoppable stalker) and how he thinks (power... must have POWER...).  I also know how he got that way (cursed).

    The Nightguard's backstory is far too long for me.  I like the idea of it, and it really sets the stage for what the build is about, but it could be tightened up and the same story written in about half as many words.