Two Edges, Same Blade.
Each persons life is made up of moments of conflict and calm. A normal person might go for years in the calm and only ever deal with minor annoyances. But YOU are a Hero. Your life is not just a leaf to be tossed about in the Gail of life, or passed over by observers as some part of the background. Your Life is a force to shape history. You need not be a great general or High King to leave your mark in life. You could be the creator of something wondrous, the negotiator of a lasting peace between nations, or the silent force behind any other historic event.
At the start of your Characters heroic journey you will need to pick some event that is a driving force behind their actions. There may be more than one but for now lets focus on just one. The reason for having a background is two fold. The first is that characters need a goal in life. (Sometimes many.) We all have some degree of motivation to achieve in life, but a hero is driven. Is it more heroic to say that Miguel is going to become a grand master swordsman because he wants to impress the Ladies or because he is trying to honor the memory of his father who died at the hands of an evil swordsman? (Even if you goal is to create a legendary lover, Inigo Montoya still wins.)The second part is much more utilitarian. When a Game master sits down to create an adventure, your backgrounds can be woven into the fabric of the story. Thus making it much more interesting to you. This in turn allows the other players to organically get to know your character and feel more invested in their story. (On a completely systemic level, when your backgrounds come up you also gain more experience toward advancing your character. Just a foot note really…)
Here is a brief list of possible Backgrounds that may apply to your character. In choosing one please try to aid for something that ensures that your character is going to want to go somewhere and do something. (Being stagnant is the job of NPC’s)
Amnesia- as cliche as it sounds, the quest to find yourself can be literal.
Animal Animosity- In Theah it is possible to piss off elder spirits for any kind of animals. You may be running away from them or trying to figure out who to make them stop.
Assassin- When you anger someone powerful enough they don’t even bother sending their own men, they just hire assassins.
Betrothed- If you have an arranged marriage it is likely that either your family or their family is powerful enough to make life interesting, even if you want to be married.
Bloodsworn (Vesten only)- You have sworn a blood oath to do something. Succeed or die trying.
Contentious Theory- You discovered something and brought it public. Now you have angered the general public, the Inquisition, the Invisible College, or any combination therein.
Crisis of Faith- You used to be religious but now doubt your faith. Return or abandon them?
Cursed- You may not know the Curse exists or may/may not accept its inevitability, but something bad is going to happen…
Dead to the World- You faced your death and it would be a tragic idea to let your family and friends know about it.
Defeated- You were defeated and live with the shame of it. You put yourself in similar situations to one day prove yourself.
Dispossessed- Someone has taken your home and lands and you want them back. Amount spent indicates size/value of lands and the strength of those holding them. You lose 1/2 you monthly income to personal upkeep til this resolves.
Exiled- You are forbidden to return home. If you go you or someone you care about could be Executed.
Fascination- You led a sheltered existence as a youth and when you met strangers you became fascinated by something about them. (Perfume, accent, lifestyle.)
Hunted- Someone wants you. The more points spent the more intently they are hunting you.
Hunting- You lost something or someone you must get back. The more points spent the more important it is or the more dangerous it will be to recover.
Lost Relative- A close relative disappeared or was kidnapped. You dedicated your life to finding them or at least what happened to them.
Mistaken Identity- They are convinced you are someone you are not or that you know something that you don’t.
Moment of Awe- You saw something so incredible that you have dedicated your life to finding it again. (A woman, the 7th Sea, an uncharted Island.)
Nemesis- Someone out there hates you and wants to ruin your life, not simply kill you.
Obligation- You owe someone something and must return the favor.
Out on the Streets- You have no home and must pay for you living expenses. (Unlike other heroes.)
Orphaned- Separated from your family. You won’t rest until you find out what happened.
Pressed Into Service- You are currently serving someone unwillingly and are waiting for a chance to escape.
Rivalry- Someone else wants what you want. It may be a friend or an acquaintance but you both want it badly.
True Identity- You did something in you past you want to hide and took on a new identity. You must strive to keep your identity hidden.
Vow- You have made a promise that you won’t break, even if it costs you you life.
Wanted- There is a price on you head.
This is not a complete list of the possible backgrounds and any of these can be modified to make them meaningful to you character.