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View Full Version : Writing your background. . . Autobiographical or just fiction?



kane40k
16-10-2012, 12:36
Hey guys, I'm currently writing up the background to my Chaos Marines, including alsorts of things, old memorable games, campaigns and Epic moments . . all the usual kind of stuff, but im trying to get in the character of my chaos lord too. However in doing this, i realize the Old background i wrote years ago and how he behaves now is very different. . . So i have a bit of character developing to do in my story. I want to keep the whole thing in 'Cannon' with my old background. I have realized that actually i do put a little of me in my writing, my attitude has changed over the years, Azazel (My Chaos Lord) has always behaved a little like i probably would in his shoes.

This got me wondering, do you guys do this too? Do your personality, Ideology and political beliefs come through in your writing? Before you all think I'm some kind of mental Narcissistic Cannibalistic (yes he eats people . . Especially Marines) Hedonist, i exaggerate and add in lots of little bits, but when you rationalize it . . actually i'm in there. . Including my vices too . . .

Or do you entirely make it up as you go along, with a different kind of method?

Cheers Guys!
Ash

ColShaw
16-10-2012, 14:03
I usually use either history or other works of fiction as a starting point and build off those.

Col. Dash
16-10-2012, 14:49
I elaborate on things a bit but yes he is still the same Tropheus Dash he was 20 years ago as an Autocannon gunner in my Nightlords warband the day he got promoted to sergeant for one shotting a Hive Tyrant(in those days ACs inflicted multiple wounds) for the first shot of the game causing the Tyranid horde to run away(player quit when his synapse creature died, in those days bugs would just randomly walk around when out of synapse). I have tried RPing him a bit going as far as shooting my own heavy weapons gunners for continually missing to teach a lesson. Now he wears terminator armor and carries a big axe(I use Logan's rules for him).

I havent thought about his background much of late, I ought to write more backstory, thanks for reminding me.

Theocracity
16-10-2012, 15:25
My Warboss is a variation on the type of character I always play in pen and paper RPGs - canny but but a little bit dumb, boisterous and bullheaded but focused on a goal. It's the complete opposite of my personality but I enjoy getting into the role, so it crops up in my writing.

Str10_hurts
16-10-2012, 16:44
This link has different examples on renegade chapters.
http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Renegade_Chapters#.UH2AiMUxqSq

It might be a useful guideline and inspiration on writing background.

Edit: an extensive list with renegade/excommuniate traitors. http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Chaos_Space_Marine_Legions_and_Warbands_(List)#.UH 2A3sUxqSo

Nurgling Chieftain
16-10-2012, 18:44
I find it hard to get attached when my characters die almost every game. :p

KharnTheBetrayer01
16-10-2012, 18:57
I have a few mainstay characters than I can shoehorn into every fiction one way or another. Plus, now and then, something just clicks and you end up with the best character or chapter to date. It's the way of creation I'm afraid.

agurus1
16-10-2012, 19:22
I am writing some background for my Iron Warriors leader, Warsmith Hyperion (counts as Kharn). I am having a lot of fun with it, and I am basically creating a fiction for him against the greater backdrop of the 40k universes history. I am trying to create a reason for his fall from grace, and how he came by his powerful weapons, artifacts. So far its great fun, and is inspiring me to create detailed information about the system his Grand Company have conquered and taken over. So far it is complete fiction, but I like to think that Hyperion has a little bit of me in him (however subtle).

Sexiest_hero
16-10-2012, 19:35
My characters, are usually some play of people I know, or something that is completely alien. My DE archon is based on a pimp I knew named King Cole (he was old). My Dark Apostle is based on a fire and brimestone preacher. Don'y be afriad of taking a big risk and letting the story naturally develope.

jeffzcubfan
16-10-2012, 20:12
See. That's where you need the old percentile tables from Rogue Trader. At a time when your fig could gain experience and actually gain skills the longer it survived, they had a table when you became a casualty. It would determine if you were knocked out...injured or actually dead. If injured there were other tables to determine how badly and so on.

Yes, there was alot more detail available if you chose to use it in the Rogue Trader days.

Jeff

Theocracity
16-10-2012, 20:43
Nothing to stop you from recreating something similar for a campaign with friends.

agurus1
16-10-2012, 21:12
Yeah, for one off games of 40k just assume a "casualty" ie: not dead yet ;) for a campaign would be much more interesting to do an experience chart like in the back of the last 40k rulebook and maybe mix that with one of those casualty Hero charts from fantasy.

jeffzcubfan
16-10-2012, 21:16
Luckily I still have my Rogue Trader and was looking at those charts just the other night. I could REALLY see that working using the FW Heresy campaign books.

agurus1
16-10-2012, 21:36
hmmm maybe I should try and find a pdf online somewhere. would like to take a look at that.

TheDungen
16-10-2012, 22:51
My fallen commander Raphael Truthseeker have a lot of me in him, but then again so does his nemesis (who i have yet to think up a good name for). Basically Raphael is all my not so charming sides while his nemesis is my better attributes. or at least that's what it would seem. when it comes to the fallen things arent always what they appear to be.

Firaxin
17-10-2012, 00:30
Back when I had the time for this sort of thing, I named and tracked the deeds of every single individual guardsman in my Warrior Weapons regiment. When they were removed as casualties I would roll on the RT table at the end of the game to see if they were 'really' dead. Rather than write their bios myself (which I mainly reserved for HQs), I let the course of each battle drive their narrative. The armories codexes had back then allowed some really fluffy customization options; I could give bionics or a Medallion crimson to officers who were wounded but survived; I could give a Macharian Cross to the sergeant of the squad that passed their leadership test to hold out against the tyranid menace just one turn longer, giving me time to bring my Hellhounds into range; when a man somehow managed to best a marine in close combat, I could reward him with a looted bolter; when a guy with a powerfist managed to kill an Ork Warboss, he could get the Honorifica Imperialis; etc.

Sadly, a combination of a) real life taking precedence and b) the MS Word document where all this was saved getting lost when my hard drive was wiped has led to me discontinuing this practice.

Now I only write narratives for the overall progression of my armies. With the exception of my Nurgle marines. Those I still track individually. :angel:

Nurgling Chieftain
17-10-2012, 01:12
Maybe you have too much free time. :p

Chem-Dog
17-10-2012, 01:18
I find it hard to get attached when my characters die almost every game. :p

Emergency Temporal Shift/It was a double/He was only knocked unconcious. These are ways your Hero/Villain can survive another day. Last minute teleport. Hell, if you have to, the entire battle was a mental exercise by the hero in which he evaluates strategies, perhaps they are visions of a possible future.

My favourite one is the use of "He survived against the odds" My current IG colonel (Col "Banzai" Nekarts) began his career as a platoon commander with a couple of grenade launcher guys in his squad, they were thrown up against anything as a speedbump in endless battles and he invariably died, hence the nickname of Banzai. When the new Codex came along I decided I wanted to run an army using Straken as my overall boss, so Banzai was promoted, the extensive bionics he now bears are a testament to the 1001 curb-stomps he's suffered in his career, yet he always comes back.





Or do you entirely make it up as you go along, with a different kind of method?



Most of the time my characters come out the same and that's a lot to do with characteristics I admire in others or ones I have (or at least like to think I have). Often they are flaws, as paragons are boring.

When given the chance in RPG's I'll pick a tank character, this tends to play out in my characters too, they are either Tanky the way I like it or the exact opposite, stealthy assassin types. Often sexy as hell too
:shifty:

Theocracity
17-10-2012, 01:26
I've used a couple excuses for the Kommanda's losses - an abstraction of his plans failing, teleported away by Warp machinations, or a nasty fight that left him with a bionic eye. It only needs to count if you want it to :).

Nurgling Chieftain
17-10-2012, 01:33
These are ways your Hero/Villain can survive another day.At this point even DC comics would be looking at me askance and saying, "he's dead already, let it go". :cool:

agurus1
17-10-2012, 01:55
lol the awkward thing for CSM players now is if their Lord turns into a spawn or (more fortuitously) a Daemon Prince.

Son of Sanguinius
17-10-2012, 04:45
Hey guys, I'm currently writing up the background to my Chaos Marines, including alsorts of things, old memorable games, campaigns and Epic moments . . all the usual kind of stuff, but im trying to get in the character of my chaos lord too. However in doing this, i realize the Old background i wrote years ago and how he behaves now is very different. . . So i have a bit of character developing to do in my story. I want to keep the whole thing in 'Cannon' with my old background. I have realized that actually i do put a little of me in my writing, my attitude has changed over the years, Azazel (My Chaos Lord) has always behaved a little like i probably would in his shoes.

It's always easier to write from your own perspective, and this is by no means a bad thing. But it's important to note that you don't need to be a character to be able to write it. You just need to understand the character thoroughly (though, admittedly, that understanding can change, sometimes quite drastically).

And I like that you are sticking by your old stuff. It gives you an opportunity to show how the character has evolved in-universe.


This got me wondering, do you guys do this too? Do your personality, Ideology and political beliefs come through in your writing? Before you all think I'm some kind of mental Narcissistic Cannibalistic (yes he eats people . . Especially Marines) Hedonist, i exaggerate and add in lots of little bits, but when you rationalize it . . actually i'm in there. . Including my vices too . . .

It depends on the character. Some characters I write are me. They say what I would say, behave as I would, and sometimes even look like me. Some characters I write could not be more antithetical to me. It's important to use both, and everything between. Otherwise you end up with clones all over the place, and that is just plain boring.


Or do you entirely make it up as you go along, with a different kind of method?

I try to focus on the idea that spawned the character, or the idea that I'm trying to mold my character to. For example, when I created Kelraxus (a Chaos Lord dedicated to Khorne), he was originally just BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD, down to his bones. But now he has evolved into something more like the character Bane from the movie The Dark Knight Rises. When I write for him now, I try to remember Kelraxus's purpose and his overall goal. Not everything needs to be directly related to the goal, but if you don't stray too far it's much easier to make the character compelling.

So more to your point, I would keep in mind that Azazel is a supremely arrogant, debased, masochist. Constantly ask yourself "is this what a supremely arrogant, debased, masochist would say or do?" Ask yourself what are the purposes of his arrogance, debauchery, and masochism? Are they there simply for style or is there a goal the character wants to achieve?

Hope this helps.

Chem-Dog
17-10-2012, 05:53
At this point even DC comics would be looking at me askance and saying, "he's dead already, let it go". :cool:

Alternate reality! your hero is a doppelganger from an alternate reality....no? :shifty:


lol the awkward thing for CSM players now is if their Lord turns into a spawn or (more fortuitously) a Daemon Prince.

See, what happens there is the Spawn/Prince and the Lord swap locations simultaneously, The Prince/Spawn just does what come naturally whilst the Lord undergoes his bicentennial performance review. All perfectly plausible. :shifty:

TheDungen
17-10-2012, 11:17
thats where its comforting that you have a sorcerer leading you army you can just say it was an illusion or that he summoned a demon and then went to ground for the rest of the battle... or maybe he didnt kill that character that gave him the roll but forced a demon to posssess him and then go nots on the battlefield.

harder if its a chaos lord though. there was a magic sword in hordes of chaos that could turn enemies into spawn, maybe he has something like that. and the chaos lord is simply knocked out by the shockwaves of the change.

Zenithfleet
17-10-2012, 13:23
See, this is when playing Tyranids is helpful. Hive Tyrant killed in an absolutely definitely unarguable manner? Never mind. There's a thousand more just like him. Descending now. ;)

On a related note, I always liked the aside in the 2nd ed Chaos Codex that said although daemons could be killed by a vortex grenade, "killed" in that case actually meant "sent home". :D

Haunter!
17-10-2012, 13:42
For my characters I tend to look at the existing background and think of a way to fit them in. Any background I write is usually an overview of the character's personality, what their motivations are, and what their (usually unreasonable) goals and ambitions are are. I try to keep as many possibilities open for the characters (and their forces) as possible so no conflict is really implausible. I'm always wary of anchoring them to a planet or even a certain sector so I typically have roving forces or pirate bands.

As for princehood/spawndom for my chaos lord, I usually chalk up them to moments of him losing his loose grasp on sanity and either going into an empowered rage or a blind frenzy for the rest of the battle since I am not a fan of mutations and do not have models for either.

Theocracity
17-10-2012, 15:15
Ooh, I like that as an option. An unstable lord with the propensity for furious rage or crippling seizures (with an interesting story cause to back it up) could be a good way to explain spawn/demonhood.

My Chaos allies are going to get around the problem by having the Lord be a title that an exalted champion assumes, losing his identity in the process. That way he's expendable :).

Grocklock
17-10-2012, 15:43
At this point even DC comics would be looking at me askance and saying, "he's dead already, let it go". :cool:

I do get your point as far a story goes it can take a lot of the fun out of it if the main character keeps getting into trouble and always survives.
Even more so when they keep nearly dieing and then coming back to life, after a while it takes all the suspense from the story/fluff.
In a way killing off a character can be a lot of fun and offers some closure on there time. Then gives you a chance to explore a new character.

what I do and its really fun is to take notes in a battle of highlights or interesting things as they developed. then write something around that. For instance my ork warboss, Bulkracbulk. was hit by a vindicator round in my last game of 4th edition. It wounded him but his cyborg body saved his life. I wanted to explain how a shot like that could of killed the rest of his mob but leave him unscratched. Ever since then I have run him on a warbike. In third edition My warboss got in tomed in a deffdred (or dreadnaught as they where known back then) after the big mek out smarted him. In 4th edition he got sucked into the warp by a vortex grenade, and has not surfaced since in my stories.

Fizzy
17-10-2012, 15:57
Yeah my old geezer used to be in the black legion. Though he had ideas of mutation and experiments he was respected until he started to assault other brother for questioning his ideas. After a long time he and a few other chaos marines who had joined his cause for experiments to enhance them to be able to breathe under water and gain extra arms decided to take those few brothers of his and drop themselves onto a planet with little land. And thats what I have the energy to write for now. There is a more detailed story in my books. But it all leads up to him being a lord with mutations. They specalize in slow powerful attacks but they do pirate raids at some points wich they use dreadclaws and such to surprise the enemy.

They are a small warband of 100 brothers and tons of cultists. They have one ship and got their hands on a warhound titan from their fellow chaos marines. They only trust certain groups of dark eldar that they trade with.
They are dispised by all others. But father Nurgle seems to enjoy them more and more since they are starting to rot and spread diseases attacking. They gain this rot by laying in water chambers when not in battle the water is filled with genetic changing chemicals wich they hope will mutate them into some kind of fish monsters. The water makes them rot when they lay there for longer periods of time. Being sea water and all.

Theocracity
17-10-2012, 16:08
It's interesting to note that a couple recent codexes have specifically included ways for 'named' characters to survive. Dark Eldar have their Haemonculi regeneration, Necrons are ever-living, and Grey Knights have ritual names that get passed down. Nice that they're looking out for us writers and giving us an out :).