Think about your character’s backstory and answer as many of the following questions as you like:
1) How much of the character’s backstory did you know when you started to play them?
I had a basic framework in which to work where Fanny was based off of one of my ancestors that my Grandmother had researched. She just sort of stuck in my head as being interesting and was pretty vocal. There was just the idea that she was Scottish, she was a village healer and that was it. Like most people of Celtic descent, she claims that there are Faery folk in her lineage.
2) How specific or vague do you tend to make a character’s background? Why? I personally like to be very specific. If it takes a bit of time to arrive in that place this is fine.
3) What purpose do you feel backstory serves? It provides motivation for why a character says and does the things they do and reacts the way that they do in a given situation.
4) What have you learned from your character’s backstory? That Fanny / Faelyn is just as fucked up as anyone else. As i was explaining to a friend today Fanny comes from a race of people that much of civilised Europe consider to be barbarian. She has, at every turn tried to divorce herself from being a Scot and even admitting to being human. She can’t even bring herself to form her mouth around the words!. She fought so hard to lose herself of her Scots accent because she saw it barring her way toward acceptance among the noble classes. Enter in Sebastien and he was a man who not only was a nobleman, he understood her. In short, Fanny is a woman at war with herself. You can see this in a great many of her relationships, especially the ones she considers to be close friendships and with how she deals with her daughters – all of them, not just Jocelyn and Caroline but Maeve, whom she gave up four days after the birth of the child. She is just flat out not equipped to be a mother. She has the obvious physical equipment and can do it physiologically, but mentally, emotionally, she just isn’t able t do it. It was her losing her mother, I suspect at such a young age that made it so and instantly having to grow up, not have love and affection and seeing power and manipulation being the way of things in the world. If she wanted to survive, she had to cut herself off from feeling as much as she did. It isn’t that she cannot love. Her devotion to her husband proves otherwise. For the first time in her life she had someone who cared for her and she obsessed on that for four hundred years. No wonder she refused to give it up. But in all that, you come to realise that this woman is indeed broken. Because of these inabilities, she will fall, and in the end, she will stand a very good chance of losing everything she ever thought was important to her.
5) Is it difficult to play with a character who has little/no backstory? Why or why not?
No. Sometimes we can sort of throw out ideas and see what works. Sometimes I get to help the other party brainstorm. If it works, great, if not, that’s ok, too.
6) For canon characters: How do you fill in the gaps canon leaves in your character’s backstory? How do you explain to those unfamiliar with your canon what a character’s backstory is? I usually just deal with it as I go along. It comes up in the story or is in the character notes. Since my main “canon” character is actually an historical muse, I go with the history as much as possible. If I am wrong, there are more than enough people to tell me that I am doing it wrong! 😉
7) For original characters: How much world building do you do in your character’s backstory? Do you establish an entire family / community society in the process of telling your character’s history? The familial relationships etc were already in place and based on reality. Faelyn’s marriage and history evolved over time with her writing and RP partners in various aspects. I do a great deal of world building simply because I am so immersed in folklore and mythology and all of this, it is hard not to think of these things.
8) How much research / work have you put into your character’s backstory so far? Are you finished, or is it an ongoing process?
It is ongoing and it is by no means linear.
Work on your backstory by creating a timeline of events that shaped your character’s life. If you already did the timeline prompt from way back when, now’s a perfect time to update it.
1444 – Frances Moira McKay is born in Dunnlauden Scotland. The babe is born out of wedlock and Frances’ mother is in some ways suspect for having consorted with the Sidhe. Never mind she is a priestess dedicant, it is still considered something that is not exactly kosher.
1448 – Frances’ mother, Maeve dies and she is fostered by Morgienne, the high lady of the fortunate Island. Morgienne does force the issue of Frances’ parentage with the Unseelie Sidhe and the child is acknowledged as being a halfling by the Night Court. She is given the name of Faelyn Nic Gan Caenach, Faelyn daughter of Gan Caenach. She goes by this name as well as Frances.
1460 Faelyn discovers just what role Morgienne played in her mother’s own death just before her rite of becoming at the end of which she must slay the man who takes her maidenhood. Instead of doing this, she conspires to let him go and substitues the heart of a stag in the stead of the young man. Shortly thereafter, near the Summer Solstice, it is apparent that Faelyn is pregnant.
1461 – Faelyn gives birth to Maeve and gives the child to King Nuada and his Queen to raise. Faelyn does not see her daughter again for many centuries. From this point on, Faelyn plots to overthrow and kill her foster mother and usurp the position of High Lady of the Fortunate Island. She succeeds in this and has all record of her foster mother expunged from ever monument and record she possibly can. of course, she never realises for all of the mentioning of the woman, she causes her to continue to be remembered.
1483– Frances meets Hsu Danmei in his guise of James Tyrell in the Court of Richard III.
16th Century, she has kept mostly to the Fortunate Island trying to stay out of being involved in the Inquisition, particularly during the Tudor Period.
1624 – Frances goes to France and is a guest of the Court of Louis XIII. Here she meets her future husband, the Comte de Rochefort, who is the right hand man of Cardinal Richelieu. She also meets Oliver de la Ferre, aka Athos. Things get convoluted and as a part of a series of assumptions and misommunications, she ends up being engaged to Athos. Rochefort vows to kill Athos and to make her a widow before she will ever become a bride. The men challenge each other to a duel, and Rochefort/s men jump the gun and kill Athos. Rochefort in turn kills both the Musketeers and his own men. No one realises that Athos is also an Immortal. Frances is in a state of formal mourning which lasts the proscribed two and a half years.
1627 – Her formal mourning period over, Rochefort comes to Faelyn and they at long last become lovers. He in time asks her to marry him and she accepts. They enjoy a period of happiness and love.
Late 17th century. Athos returns from the dead, kills Sebastien. It is at this time Faelyn realises she is pregnant with Caroline. The child is delivered by Hsu.
Through the centuries, Faelyn tried repeatedly to bring her husband back from the realm of the dead and failed over and over again. With the assistance of the Demon, Azazeal, she finally succeeded. I am still working out the details along the way.