Dragon Scales – A Brief Interlude of Backstories

January 29, 2018

One thing that I secretly love is making a character with the most horrible, cliched, Mary Sue sob story of a backstory I can possibly think of, and then try to play them as a decent character I, and my fellow players, don’t hate. So without further ado, here are some of my favorite ridiculous as yet unused backstories.

  • Two households, both alike in dignity:

Your father and mother were hit men for opposing factions. Ordered to take each other out, each attempted to lure the other into a false sense of security by setting each other up on a date, but wound up hitting it off and actually falling in love. They escaped that night, and ran to a different city, where they lived happily for 10 years, until at last their former employers caught up with them. In the chaos that followed, you escaped with your heavily pregnant mother, while your father stayed behind to give you time to get away. But your mother was fatally wounded, and died just after giving birth to your baby brother. You raised your brother alone in the wilds, until adolescent rebellion led him to explore further and farther afield, and one day he did not return. So you left your wilderness refuge to search for him, armed only with the clue you found along his tracks: a symbol of one of the factions that your parents once came from.

  • Be careful what you wish for:

You grew up as a simple sheep farmer in the quiet countryside. One day, a traveling caravan stopped through on their way to a nearby town, and you got to speaking with the leader, a slimy individual who gave off somewhat shifty vibes. They told you stories of magical wish-granting spirits trapped in small amber bottles, and then revealed they had one of those very bottles. Bamboozled by their stories, you eagerly parted with your few coins in exchange for the proffered bottle, and shortly thereafter the caravan moved on. That night, alone in your room, you opened you bottle, mind full of the wish you would ask, only to have your joy turned to horror as from the bottle emerged not a wish-granting spirit, but an outraged demon who swore eternal vengeance on you. You managed to escape, but the demon destroyed you home and family, and has dogged your steps as you flee from place to place, never staying too long anywhere, lest it should catch up.

  • Yes, all stepmothers:

You are the eldest child of Lord of a small mountain estate. When his first wife died, being his only child, the two of you grew very close, and he raised you to be his heir. Unfortunately he remarried, and his new wife hated you from the minute she crossed the threshold as a bride. Frustrated with her failure to drive a wedge between you and your father, her hatred grew deadly when he refused to rescind your position as heir in favor of one of her own children. In secret she cast a spell on you that drove you briefly mad, causing you to kill your father and one of her 4 children, as well as several guards. You were scheduled to be executed, but were snuck away by an old servant who believed you to be innocent. You fled far, far from home, vowing never to return, and carrying the guilt of your crime with you forever.

  • The sun will come out tomorrow:

You were abandoned in an orphanage at birth. Whoever your parents were, they left you with nothing. Partway through your miserable childhood, you began to display signs of magic that terrified the children and orphanage staff, making you an outcast. An unscrupulous and wealthy magic user passing though saw your potential and purchased you from the orphanage, turning you into their factotum and using you as a source of power for things they couldn’t do on their own. They treated you cruelly, and so when a ritual began to awry you seized your chance and killed them, earning your freedom. After looting their belongings thoroughly, you fled into the night. You have traveled around ever since, using the skills you learned from their grudging tutelage to make a living for yourself as a purveyor of the arcane arts.

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