Is character backstory external to the character? I realize that you would say, resoundingly, yes, it is. I'm not sure it's so cut and dried as that though. For a lot of groups, or at least mine , character background extends beyond the skin of that character. Things like friends, mentors, family, etc, is part of creating a character and I frequently extend authority to the players to do things like this. It is pretty understood at my table that we can all do this, with the understanding that we will try to do this to make the game more interesting for everyone at the table.Celebrim said:Just because you have authority over your character, does not mean you have a right to add things that are by definition external to the character. I'm at a loss to see how you don't understand that.
I would add the line, "at my table" to the above to make it true for you. It most certainly isn't true at my table. I don't own my setting and I strongly invite players to fold, spindle and maul my setting to their hearts content. On the other side, the players don't really have a problem with me getting my sticky fingers on their characters because they trust that I won't abuse the situation. ((And, generally, I'll ask first, but, not always))The player can't introduce a new character to the setting without permission of the GM (because the GM absolutely owns the setting), and the GM can't decide something happened to the player's character in the past without permission from the player (because the player absolute owns the PC).
Not really disagreeing with you [MENTION=4937]Celebrim[/MENTION], just cautioning against making too broad a statement about "the game".