Author Topic: Biographies and You: Not Another Guide  (Read 1214 times)

deskoft

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Biographies and You: Not Another Guide
« on: August 24, 2018, 03:42:39 AM »
This is another guide on biographies, yes. Unlike the others, though, I intend to post my own thoughts and my own usage of the biography tool for my character's good, in hopes it helps you take advantage of this tool which I believe is absolutely fantastic. So more than a guide, consider this a proposal. This is my way. Maybe it's time for you to figure out your own!

Why use biographies? You can access them in-game with the BIO tool. This gives you a quick in-game assessment of where your character is at. At the same time, staff seems to prefer them over verbose character reports - which I personally keep for things my clan staff will find directly pertinent (requests, plots, important political connections vs romantic drama, emotional stability drops and minor goals).
How to use biographies? What I personally do is I use notepad++ to format my biographies: I make them 80 characters in length and format them in a particular way that I will explain. But you can write biographies any way you want: in-game, on the website, with a format or without a format.

 a) How does your format work?
     This is how I format my biographies. It's usually three paragraphs with a final line in the end. It is pretty much inspired on the opening
     crawls of Star Wars episodes. For me, each biography is my character's canon. If it's there, it's there. To change it would mean trouble,
     drama. What I like to call 'fun.' Let me give you an example:

Quote
    The first year of political drama between Lord Templar Deskoft Tor and Lord
Twinky Tor continue. The two relatives have been at each other's back for quite
some time, and the Lord Templar is beginning to get exhausted from his repeated
assassinations attempts, each one failed after the last one.

    His closest companion has been executed in the Arena. Witnessing the deaths
with a grim face, the battle-weary Lord Templar promises himself and the memory
of his father to avenge all the ill done to him by Lord Twinky, and has
gathered his servants and the Arm of the Dragon for a secretive plot to arrange
his execution - accusing him of treason.

    Unfortunately, Lord Templar Deskoft Tor has faced opposition from
unsympathetic political peers. In an attempt to win their favor, he has bribed
each and every one of them with a guide on biographies, hoping this will
suffice.
    Desperate times bring desperate measures.

 b) Yeah, cool, but how does this format work? You mentioned canon?
     In a nutshell, for Deskoft to stop trying to murder Twinky, something big must happen that will likely be written about in his next biography in paragraph one. As a player, this limits my character's license: I have to act. Even if I hate it. Even if I think I might die. It's my character's canon. His personality. Can it change? Yes. Maybe something more pressing happens and it makes him heavily frustrated that he cannot focus on his murder attempts. Maybe Deskoft gets pressured by opposition into not murdering Twinky and it changes his personality, making him more reserved, more distant, more cooly - and a cutthroat bastard in a traumatic attempt to avenge that never-avenged loss to Twinky years ago.

It also serves as a second tool. Anything written in here will be remembered by my PC. You see how I don't mention what political peers were pressuring him? It's not an important detail. What matters is that Twinky was an elusive B and he couldn't really kill him because some bunch of idiots were pressuring him - his peers. If it was something like: 'Lord BackstabPro Borsail and other political peers'; it would mean that my PC's canon is to remember that Lord BackstabPro honored his name, backstabbing him.

But perhaps the most useful reason to use this is because it helps me get in character immediately. I read the biography entry - which is notoriously short as you might see - and I have chosen a particular wording to evoke what I was feeling playing that moment.


When to use bios? I write bios whenever something I consider should go into my PC's canon. Sometimes I can write two bios per day if my PC is particularly good and dynamic. Sometimes, I write a bio per month. I also write combat bios (they detail what ever happened in a combat scene as my PC would remember it - serves for catharsis after combat scenes and as a way to decide how my PC will react to them) and memories (for example: to remember a route in the mindset of a particular PC, with specific landmarks, as taught by X PC in what ever scenario; to remember bits of lore taught by X or Y to you).

Where to use bios? Everywhere, chap.

So, what are bios? A good tool for you and a good tool for me.

So what about you? What are bios to you? Do you use them? Do you need ideas on how to use them? Have you any tips to share on how to use them?

Athalos

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Re: Biographies and You: Not Another Guide
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2018, 04:25:45 AM »
I've found - during my brief beginning with Armageddon, that I use and intend to use biographies simply anytime an event happens that will change my characters personality or outlook.

But, more than that, when I make a character they're pretty... bland. They have a set of defining characteristics and I prefer to grow into them. As I'm playing a character I come up with more and more what their background is - why they are who they are. When I do, I write a little biography on the event in the past, so I end up with a list of quirks and the events that made them arise.

I prefer to change the format to suit each character, one may be particularly verbose with very expressive language, another... short, stabby sentences, starting each one with their own name like they're some kind of half-giant. I find it helps me get in-character doing it that way.

That said, I'm still growing into the system, but I love that it's there!

azuriolinist

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Re: Biographies and You: Not Another Guide
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2018, 04:47:31 AM »
Oooh, this is great. I love the insight you've given for your format, and the example you've given. Plus, I like the idea of writing up bios for combat and memories so that the PC's reactions remain consistent. That's an interesting concept. I'll have to give that a try.

Personally, I write character bios to further flesh and figure out my PC's personality. After an important, critical scene, I try to write up a bio with the goal of analyzing my PC's mindset and their thoughts throughout the scene. Naturally, I tend to write bios in my PC's 'voice' to further ground myself into their way of thinking.

deskoft

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Re: Biographies and You: Not Another Guide
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2018, 10:55:38 AM »
I've found - during my brief beginning with Armageddon, that I use and intend to use biographies simply anytime an event happens that will change my characters personality or outlook.

But, more than that, when I make a character they're pretty... bland. They have a set of defining characteristics and I prefer to grow into them. As I'm playing a character I come up with more and more what their background is - why they are who they are. When I do, I write a little biography on the event in the past, so I end up with a list of quirks and the events that made them arise.

I prefer to change the format to suit each character, one may be particularly verbose with very expressive language, another... short, stabby sentences, starting each one with their own name like they're some kind of half-giant. I find it helps me get in-character doing it that way.

That said, I'm still growing into the system, but I love that it's there!

Like you, I also tend to have my characters develop massively during my play. Using this system, I tend to start reacting to things with my PC's perspective having molded by IC play rather than a background - which still is the most important blurb of canon for my character, but tends to be modified. But that modification means drama, development, struggle, fighting, frustration, and a lot of other things.

I do enjoy a lot the idea of changing format from character to character -- I just might be addicted to the order this system gives me when accessing it in-game. I also tend to be pretty critical of my PC's play, mentioning their errors and lowkey jabbing at them as stupid decisions. It helps a lot to remind me that what matters is the story and not the victory.

Oooh, this is great. I love the insight you've given for your format, and the example you've given. Plus, I like the idea of writing up bios for combat and memories so that the PC's reactions remain consistent. That's an interesting concept. I'll have to give that a try.

Personally, I write character bios to further flesh and figure out my PC's personality. After an important, critical scene, I try to write up a bio with the goal of analyzing my PC's mindset and their thoughts throughout the scene. Naturally, I tend to write bios in my PC's 'voice' to further ground myself into their way of thinking.

Yes, the bios are a great tool in my opinion! I will have to give the 'in-your-character' voice more thought - it would be interesting. As I told Athalos, another key feature to my bios is the ability to throw tomatoes at my PC for their decisions. Specially in PCs that tend to have goals of greatness (and as a player you might end being fond of those goals), it's cathartic and relaxing to have bios that can remind you how cool it is to let your PCs fuck up (sometimes big time), and the kind of stories it tells.

only_plays_tribals

  • Posts: 221
Re: Biographies and You: Not Another Guide
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2018, 10:25:39 AM »
Having just started trying to apply your method to writing bios, I have to say I'm so glad you wrote this.

I'm garbage about bios and inconsistent. But doing it this way... actually kind of enjoy it. It sounds better. It's starting to sound /interesting/. And it's actually very helpful in keeping tabs on character development when you hit murky areas.

Thanks for this.
You begin searching the area intently.
You look around, but don't find any large wood.
You think: "Story of my life."

deskoft

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Re: Biographies and You: Not Another Guide
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2018, 12:02:18 PM »
Having just started trying to apply your method to writing bios, I have to say I'm so glad you wrote this.

I'm garbage about bios and inconsistent. But doing it this way... actually kind of enjoy it. It sounds better. It's starting to sound /interesting/. And it's actually very helpful in keeping tabs on character development when you hit murky areas.

Thanks for this.

I am glad you found this helpful. :) When you have experimented more on it, feel free to post any observations you might have had on it. I still use this and it still helps me a lot.

Lizzie

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Re: Biographies and You: Not Another Guide
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2018, 12:36:35 PM »
I mix my styles up, but I add bios very sporadically. This was a good inspiration to write up a new one, so thanks for that!
Talia said: Notice to all: Do not mess with Lizzie's GDB. She will cut you.
Delirium said: Notice to all: do not mess with Lizzie's soap. She will cut you.

Dar

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Re: Biographies and You: Not Another Guide
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2018, 06:10:19 PM »
Whoa. I likey very much. What templar shall I murder in exchange for this guide?

deskoft

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Re: Biographies and You: Not Another Guide
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2018, 06:20:15 AM »
I mix my styles up, but I add bios very sporadically. This was a good inspiration to write up a new one, so thanks for that!

Yeah, I think every style has its pros and cons, and not all biography writers will write for the same reason (mine being char development, staying in character and storytelling). I'm glad it helped! :)

Whoa. I likey very much. What templar shall I murder in exchange for this guide?

This will surprise you, but none of them! It's free. :D

only_plays_tribals

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Re: Biographies and You: Not Another Guide
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2018, 11:00:40 AM »
That closing statement line is real good. Everytime I finish a bio now and write one I'm like..

You begin searching the area intently.
You look around, but don't find any large wood.
You think: "Story of my life."

only_plays_tribals

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Re: Biographies and You: Not Another Guide
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2018, 01:06:14 PM »
Observation after doing a few: I'm finding first person format just feels way more natural. I'm treating them more like blurbs of internal reflective thought, using this structure. That's really doing it for me.
You begin searching the area intently.
You look around, but don't find any large wood.
You think: "Story of my life."

lostinspace

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Re: Biographies and You: Not Another Guide
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2018, 11:24:33 PM »
I like to write my biographies as conversations or messages to someone important to my character. Such as the woman who ran the orphanage he grew up in.

It let's me easily explain all the important stuff happening to me, gives me a confidant to Express my future plans to, and makes a good future plot hook if needed.

How often are you all doing biographies? I do them pretty and actually haven't even done one in a while. Sounds like there might be something to them though.
3/21/16 Never Forget