Backgrounds. Some folks like them, some folks hate them. The claim has been made that the details covered in the background are the most interesting times of a character's life and that all the RP is what happens after the interesting things. The claim has been made that the details covered in the background are the formative events that allow the Staff to work up possible hooks for the character as well as allow the player to explore aspects of the character that might not normally come to mind. The claim has been made that backgrounds are busy-work to keep the lazy folks from playing limited-population characters that more chatty players could occupy.

One person has claimed that a background should be like a lady's skirt — long enough to cover everything decently, but short enough to still be interesting. Another has claimed that it should be of the size and content of the 'about this book' on the inside front and back covers of a paperback. Yet another has claimed that it should be 'just this side of publishable literary art'. Still another has set it against the ruler of 'after reading the Background, you should be able to safely say if you'd want to have this character as a room-mate or not'.

In theory, if your character ever has to run into a previously unknown character in a featureless room, one should be able to look at your own background and find at least -something- that one could use as an RP hook to work with.

Long or short, detailed or abstract, first person or third person, what we at WindyCity would like to see in a background are enough details to at least get a feel for the character. Where and when were they born? What were they like as a kid? Who were their parents and what did they do for a living? Did they like school? Did they go to college? What did they major in? What sorts of friends/dates/ex-marriages did they have in the past? Why are those friends/dates/ex-marriages now in the past? What do they do for a living? What do they do for a hobby? What would they do for a living if they could do something else for a living than what they do? What turns them on? What turns them off? What is their favorite word or sound? What is their least favorite word or sound? How do they feel about what their life has been like so far, about how it is now, and about how it could be in the future?

If one is aiming for a vampire or were-thing, we request that one also mentions exactly how long ago the person underwent the change (and the details thereof), how long they've been involved in Vampire/Werething culture (learning from peers and/or superiors), and how long they -haven't- been tied down to their Preter culture and just skylarking about. Exact dates aren't needed, but years (either naming the year, or saying how many years since birth, or years before present day (see +time), or years since the last dated event are all hunky-dory). The rough cap on 'Preter Points' is based on how long they've been preternatural and how long they've studied under peers and/or superiors; years for Were-things, decades for Vampires.

For exact case examples, when it comes to "how long should my Background be?", 13,000 word backgrounds have been considered "way way way too long". 500 to 2,000 word backgrounds are relatively common, but 100 to 200 word backgrounds have often done the trick.

Please See: Applications & Chargen

If you haven't read the Anita Blake series, don't fret! There is basic thematic stuff you do need to be aware of; but not only do we have staff and shiny mentors (see +mentors) to help you along the way, there are also plenty of news files and various links you should check out. Here are some news files you should read:

Master Vampires
Vampires bloodlines

There are many other useful news files to discover along the way. Here are some links to help you, too.

One of the first things we hope to see is, as a player, what sort of RP do you hope to create with this character? (Also, keep in mind that you can bring plot hooks to the table via your background, which we love!) We also have other topics we would like to see in backgrounds. While writing your background, please try to address each of these as they apply to your character. It seems like a lot of work, but we aren't looking for a novel or even slick prose. However, we need to know you have a firm grasp of your character concept and a basis for theme. These questions outline the bare minimum information to be provided in a background; however, some backgrounds go above and beyond these basic requirements, which are welcomed, too. Please keep in mind that although the process of writing a background can be tiresome, this is the most important part of character generation. It's the foundation for development of your character. As such, a thoughtful background for a good character footing should engage and interest you, the player. If you are having any difficulty and need help or just want to bounce ideas, please contact +mentors, anyone on channel CharGen, or a member of staff. We'll be happy to help!

Topics for All New Characters (from earliest childhood to present):

  1. When and where was your character born?
  2. Tell us about your character's immediate family: parents, siblings, friends.
  3. How was your character's childhood and adolescence? Any tragedies, or was it bland? Please expound.
  4. Where was character and his/her family off financially? Class-wise?
  5. If any, what sort of education did your character receive - private academy, public school, college? What sort of grades did your character receive? Did your character learn it all in a different environment such as the streets?
  6. What were your character's hobbies? What areas did your character excel in?
  7. Was your character ever military? Did your character receive any special training? Keep in mind this will bear additional scrutiny during the approval process.
  8. Did your character have any experiences with or impressions of the preternatural? If so, what were they? How did your character feel about it? Keep in mind that most people have interacted with the preternatural in this world - at least in some small way. Although it was not always this way, vampires are living openly and legally, knowledge of shifters is commonplace, although rumors and innuendo still persist.
  9. Was your character popular or above such trivialities? Any lovers? Rivals?
  10. Did your character practice any criminal activities? If so, was he/she caught? Does he/she have a record with anyone?
  11. What is your character's religious background, if any? What religion does your character currently practice? How important is your character's religious practice to you? (see: 'news faith')
  12. If your character has not lived here his/her whole life, what brings him/her to Chicago? How long has your character been in Chicago? Is he/she a US citizen? If not, is he/she here legally?
  13. What does your character do for a living? How well off is he/she?
  14. How does your character feel about preternaturals at this point in his/her life?
  15. Personality-wise, would you describe your character as a leader, a follower, or somewhere in between?
  16. Is your character married? Has he/she ever been? Do your character have children? Where is the rest of your character's family and friends now? Mention to us about any recent friends, co-workers, or lovers of note. (These make for excellent NPCs.) Does your character have any enemies or rivals?

Topics for Normal Humans:

  1. What are your character's aspirations, his/her goals?
  2. How does your character feel about vampires? Lycanthropes? Witches and psychics? Fae? Homosexuality? Religion? Racism? Sexism? Are they prejudice? How? Why?
  3. What's your character's moral code if any?
  4. Does your character belong to any groups or formal organizations? If so, what?

Topics for Funky Humans:

  1. When and how did your character develop his/her abilities? What was it like for him/her?
  2. How does your character feel about it now? Is it a blessing or a curse? How does it complicate life for him/her? For others?
  3. Is your character publicly known for his/her abilities and power? Who knows? Do human authorities know? Why?
  4. What are your character's aspirations? Goals?
  5. How does your character feel about vampires? Lycanthropes? Witches and psychics? Fae? Homosexuality? Religion? Racism? Sexism? Is your character prejudiced? How? Why?
  6. Does character consider him-/herself human or outcast?
  7. What's your character's moral code if any?
  8. Does your character belong to any groups or formal organizations? If so, what?

Topics for Shapeshifters:

  1. How and when was your character infected? (Cursed, attacked, vaccine, or other?) Did your character consent or not? Please include details.
  2. Does your character hide what he/she is or not? Why?
  3. Does your character loathe his/her beast? Or is it a part he/she has welcomed? How did your character feel about it in the beginning? How does your character feel about it now? Is the character and his/her beast in tandem now?
  4. Is your character a rogue or loner? Does he/she prefer to skirt the edges of the group? Or is your character comfortable with his/her own kind and welcoming of their company? How does your character feel about other kinds of lycanthropes? Is he/she accepting of them? Does your character have any pack involvement?
  5. How does your character feel about vampires? Witches and psychics? Fae? Homosexuality? Religion? Racism? Sexism? Are they prejudiced? How? Why?
  6. What's your character's moral code if any?
  7. What are your character's personal goals? Does your character have any goals for your kind? If so, what?
  8. Does your character belong to any groups or formal organizations? If so, what?
  9. Are humans friends, foes, or food?

Topics for Vampires:

  1. Tell us about the sire/dam/maker of your vampire? When? Where? What bloodline?
  2. Did your character choose to be a vampire or not? What was the situation? How did your character know his/her maker?
  3. How long was your character trained as a fledgling?
  4. What sort of vampire is your character: social, loner or rogue? Has your character ever been a member of the Church of Eternal Life? If so, when? Why the change?
  5. Is your character open about his/her undead condition? Why?
  6. Who knows your character is a vampire?
  7. Does your character enjoy being a vampire? Or would your character rather be human? Does he/she cling to the remnants of his/her humanity?
  8. How does your character feel about humans? Lycanthropes? Fae? Witches and psychics? Homosexuality? Religion? Racism? Sexism? Is your character prejudiced? How? Why?
  9. What are your character's personal goals? What is vampirism about to your character? Power, knowledge, pleasure, etc.? Tell us about your character's views- how he/she views him-/herself, what he/she would like for him-/herself, what your character might like for his/her kind.
  10. As a vampire, does your character personally think vampires are monsters?
  11. Is your character in contact for with any of his/her family's descendants? If so, tell us something about them. If not, does he/she know where they are or may be?

Topics for Fae:

  1. Is your character Unseelie or Seelie? Note, the Seelie have little to do with Unseelie and will do anything to stay at the Seelie fairy mound. To be cast out is like a fate worth than death to Seelie. Also note the Unseelie is one court, although courts such as the goblins have treaties with the Unseelie and are often viewed as part of the Unseelie court.
  2. How does your character feel about vampires? Lycanthropes? Witches and psychics? Homosexuality? Religion? Racism? Sexism? Are they prejudice? How? Why? How about humans, fae, and other fae Courts?
  3. Why isn't your character at one of the fairy mounds or otherwise safe at home? Has he or she been cast out?
  4. If your character spent time at Court, be it Seelie, UnSeelie, or Other, what was his or her role there? Do you visit Court still, even now?
  5. Does your character prefer to be with others of his/her kind? Is your character social or a loner? Please explain.
  6. What does your character feel is the reason for his/her existence? Pleasure, power, knowledge, honoring the Goddess and Her Consort and/or nature, etc.? What does your character hope to gain during his/her existence?
  7. Is your character more human-like or fae-like? This can be personality-wise and appearance-wise. Please explain. This can affect interaction with other fae as their are many rules most follow. Please see the news files for notes and links to information.
  8. If your character has Sidhe blood, does your character have a hand of power? The hand of power will work like the standard fae knack as far as the game is concerned, and please keep in mind that hands of power are very rare. Also, is he or she considered "one of us" by the other Sidhe? (Note that most Sidhe consider having a Hand of Power a prerequisite to /be/ Sidhe…) Or is he or she an outcaste, an unfortunate by-blow of whatever the other parent race is? How much does your character "show" of his or her other heritage, physically and mentally? Does your character consider him- or herself Sidhe, or Other?
  9. What magics other than a hand of power does he or she posses? What does her or she use them for?

News Files

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