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5E Which of these backstories do you think could be most interesting to play?

DarkMoon250

Villager
(Not sure if this is the right forum for this, but here goes nothin') Hey, noob here. I want to play some DnD, and I'm working on getting prepared for my first campaign. After having read some all the necessary books, I've settled on either making a Sorcerer or a Warlock for my first character, particularly a Shadow Magic Sorcerer or a Hexblade Warlock (I like the Shadowfell lore and the monsters associated with it; sue me).

I've been mixing and matching various possible PC's for either class, trying to come to a decision, but with all the ideas I came up with, I only became more indecisive. So, I want to know what y'all more experienced players think sounds the most interesting or unique.

Sorcerer:
  1. The great-grandson of a sly and power-hungry necromancy scholar, who was the only survivor of a nightwalker attack that his great-granddad had released in an attempt to cheat death. A group of adventurers came to destroy the beast, but at the end, only he and the cleric who dealt the final blow were left. She adopted the boy and raised him in her home-city's church of Selune, and he became well known by the congregation members. However, as he grew older, the taint of the nightwalker began to reveal itself more and more, and he was feared by the congregation as a "child of Shar." As the priestess received more and more demands to destroy the darkness in their midst, the lad's adopted mother instead secreted him out of the city, gave him equipment and rations, and told him to walk by the moon to find a place to call home. And so, in this new town he has settled down in, his adventure will soon begin...
  2. A member of a clan of dragonborn living in the Shadowfell, under the watch of a great Shadow Dragon who sees them as kin. This clan goes out into the gray wastes of the Shadowfell to hunt the undead for sport, serving a double purpose of bringing oneself glory within the clan and creating safer travel for all inhabitants of the plane. Being blessed by the Shadow Dragon, Draconic and Shadow Sorcerers are rather common occurrences among these dragonborn, and the emergence of these abilities signifies that a young dragonborn is now ready to join the hunt. On this particular Shadow DB's first undead hunt, he forsook all the glory-tales his elder clansmen had told him about the hunt as he realized firsthand just how terrifying the undead hordes could be. So, in his fear, he deserted his hunting party, and wound up stumbling into a shadow crossing that led to the Prime. It is in this bright new world that he must learn courage, find a way back home, and atone for his cowardice.
Warlock:
  1. A young noble set to inherit his late father's estate. During the time he spent trying to nurse his father back to health, he heard the duke often speaking of "sealing the blade" and "the Dread One." While this lad knew nothing of the latter, he suspected the blade his father spoke of to be Tyrantsfall, the glaive his legendary ancestor had allegedly used to slay the evil mage-lord that once terrorized the land his family now governed. On the night before he was to be coronated as duke, he visited the treasury where Tyrantsfall was held, pondering what about the dull and dusty glaive that so bewitched his father. What happened next, he only has fractured memories of: an eye in the glaive's base, a chorus of whispers, a land of shadow and mist, and a dark form referring to him as "the inheritor of the pact." He doesn't know what this figure is, or what it wants (yet), but he knows that his fate is no longer his to decide.

Sorry if this is long or over-detailed for a backstory. I'm just excited to get into this game :)
 

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Tonguez

Legend
Child of Shar is definitely what I’d pick, its got nice history, dark powers, uncertain relationship with the church and a path that could lead to either redemption or corruption.

The other two are okay either way but they involve a degree of being forced into things, whereas the first speaks more to epic destiny....
 

Unwise

Adventurer
They all sound good to me.

Regarding the dragonborn one, I really like the idea of having to atone for cowardess, however, I have a golden rule that "The most interesting thing to happen to your character must not have already happened". Hunting undead in the Shadowfell under the guidance of a Shadow Dragon sounds a bit too interesting.

I like the Shar one as it adds something extra. The glaive one is pretty much just what you would expect from a pact of the blade guy.
 

BlivetWidget

Explorer
IMHO it doesn't matter what anyone but you finds interesting about your character(s). You'll be the one playing, you need to pick the one you want to play most by whatever arbitrary criteria suits your whims. You'll have opportunities to try all of them eventually.
 

DarkMoon250

Villager
I appreciate the feedback. Sounds like people think the Nightwalker/Shar Sorcerer to be the most interesting. I'll keep this in mind when I meet with the DM for Session 0. Thanks :)
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Please remember that it helps yourself AND your DM greatly to not be beholden to a particular character BEFORE knowing what the campaign is going to be about. Many character ideas just don't fit with the story the DM is presenting, and the DM may very well have a list of races/classes/concepts that they aren't going to use or be at all useful, because they don't fit thematically with that story. And on top of that, you might have thought of ideas for how your background might be reincorporated into the story but is so disparate from the DM's story that it will never be able to be fully embraced.

Now maybe you will get lucky for this first game and your DM will be open to any and all ideas and fit them into their campaign story without issue. If so, then awesome! Run with it and have a blast! But it's always possible that you'll discover at your Session 0 that this is going to be a "pirate adventure" for example and that none of your character ideas seem to fit the theme all that well (or that you don't want to try and jerry-rig any of these three ideas into a "piracy" theme.) By waiting until after you have the Session 0, you get a better chance of finding an idea that works as best as it can possibly be.

The lesson here is don't don't pigeonhole yourself unnecessarily. There are millions of character ideas, and there are thousands that are going to fit in wonderfully for whatever story the DM is going to tell. So for your first game, take it from me that you will ultimately be much happier to create a character that works within that story, then trying to play your "unlinked" idea that you created beforehand that you thought was cool, but which at the end of the day will never achieve its true greatness. There will be a time and a game that your unlinked idea WILL slot into to a particular campaign beautifully... so to do that idea justice, make sure to save it for that game and instead create a character for this game that make all the sense in that world. You'll be so glad you did.
 

aco175

Hero
Welcome to the boards, come back often.

I like the Shar angle one. Keep in mind what @DEFCON 1 siad about being able to modify it when you sit for session 0. Maybe the DM has another evil god playing a bigger part and could use the whole backstory for a mid-level adventure where your g-grandfather comes back in undead form and things would fit better with Malar or another god. I like the Shar backstory best since it opens up more ideas for integrating into the campaign.
 




Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Not every character needs to be a non-typical class-race combo with bespoke rules and a tragic backstory where everyone dies. The son of blacksmith who sets out into the world to find his fortune is still a great character.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I completely agree with @DEFCON 1 - you need to talk to you DM. There may be reasons why your character concepts completely don't work for your DM's campaign (or they might fit perfectly, this can happen too!).
 

Tonguez

Legend
It's like nobody is just the son/daughter of a blacksmith any more...:cry:.
But come on, all those Blacksmiths sons were adopted and are really heirs to Wizard or kings and all have the skill to forge their own magic swords

why cant we just get some nice simple pig-farmers ;P
 

ccs

40th lv DM
I like the Dragonborn one.
Only id drop the cowardice bit & simply have had them fall through a rift during a hunt/combat. Or maybe he failed to follow instructions/stay on the path etc. "No! Don't touch that!" {Poof & the rookie is gone....}
To his clan he's an unrecoverable casualty. :(
Unbeknownst to them though his adventures have only begun....
 

Unwise

Adventurer
@DarkMoon250 If I might suggest a variation/extension of the Shar theme. This is one I used in my game for an NPC.

A prophecy states that in the 'shadow of Candlekeep' (presumably in the village outside of it) there will be born a pair of twins. One will be born fair, one dark. One will have the power of life and light, one of shadow and death. One will be the purest soul, the other an unbound evil.

The girl was born with dark hair and counternance (a Wednessday Adams look). People said that shadows tended to cling to her. Hearthfires never burnt as bright while she was near. She will seen as an ill omen. She was fascinated by death and was often 'caught' with dead small furry animals. In reality, she was offering them peaceful rest. You see, she was a kind soul. Her brother however, was a monster.

He was born with the fairest countenance, a winning smile and the light seemed to almost dance in his blonde hair. He could heal the injured by simply laying his hands on them. He would ask for nothing but favours in return (think Needful Things) , but of course people lavished gifts upon him. It was a good omen even for him to linger in your house. He was however, unimaginably cruel. He would torment those smaller and weaker than himself, those unable to tell others. He would even use his healing abilities to torment animals past the point of death. He tormented his sister worst of all. People hated her and beat her for daring to besmirch this 'fine and blessed young man'.

She wanted to flee the village, but she was the only counterpoint to his cruelty. He wanted to keep her nearby to suffer. He promised to do unspeakable acts on the people that trusted him if she ever left. Eventually, after a few ill omens and mysterious deaths, she was driven from the village. Forced to find her own way in the world.

Years later, she is still scarred by always being told she is cursed and evil, but she still has a good and kind heart. She alone sees the evil of her brother, but she has not seen him in years. She has heard worrying reports that the Lord of Neverwinter was recently ill and was cured by a travelling saint when no others could. The saint has been offering blessings and healing amongst the court and has gained in influence and fortune. He is a rising star at court.

It is fun to think of how one could use the power of healing, blessing and charisma if one was an evil psychopath. Whatever his end-game is it cannot be good. She alone sees him for what he is, but nobody trusts her. Nobody except her handful of companions who have learnt to over the years. Maybe in time she can share her concerns with them and they will be the first to not dismiss her as an evil girl slighting a saint.
 

Eltab

Hero
I think the Dragonborn is most adaptable for an as-yet-unknown plot arc.
The Sharchild, the least so (because too mired in her own misery and threatens to overshadow the rest of the group).
 


DarkMoon250

Villager
The Sharchild, the least so (because too mired in her own misery and threatens to overshadow the rest of the group).
The latter I certainly want to avoid, but the former was actually never something I intended. I figured that a Shadow Sorcerer should try to play up their creepy/eerie factor, and I wanted the Sharchild in that regard to have an almost unnatural calmness about them. Things that should call for a strong emotional reaction just don't; to him, the loss of his hometown is a shame, but not really too big a deal. Things like joy, misery, terror, excitement, romantic love, etc... he just can't feel them anymore.
 

Tonguez

Legend
I think the Dragonborn is most adaptable for an as-yet-unknown plot arc.
The Sharchild, the least so (because too mired in her own misery and threatens to overshadow the rest of the group).

I'm with Unwise on the Dragonborn backstory - it means that the most exciting stuff in the characters life has already happened. afterall "Hunting undead in the Shadowfell for a Shadow Dragon patron" could be an entire campaign arc. Where does the PC go from there? As a GM I'm forced to think okay how does this PCs life in the shadowfell with a Dragon affect his current knowledge? The same thing applies to the Dread Inheritance thing as a GM I'm now having to decide what this Pact is and what the Glaive can do

The Shar Child on the otherhand has had childhood happen to them, he's a Church orphan who has subsequently been kicked out of his home due to controversy. The Great-granddaddy story is someone elses adventure, the Nightwalker is history and the left over taint could just be a strange birthmark in the shape of a purple disk. As a GM I'm not forced to consider any of the backstory as directly relevant - and the PC gets to decide his own attitude to the Church.
 
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