Yeah violence and death is an inevitable part of every character’s backstory but i’m gonna tell y’all somethin about character development:
Arbitrary violence doesn’t make your story or characters more interesting!
Yes Yes YES! I will admit, as most people who play with me in WoW know, I am cruel to my characters and most of them have sad things in the backstory but it still effects them. In fact most of the horrors I inflict upon characters are done in story rather than backstory. “Show, don’t tell” is an important writers message; this isn’t ancient greek theater with the messenger arriving to tell us about the horror that is occurring offstage.
And what good is having your character regaling the tragic tale of how they or their family was murdered/raped/tortured/whatever… there’s very little for others to react to other than offer sympathy and then its just a pity contest. That’s not fun to rp. Especially if there is no affect on the character other than “Woe is me, see how much tragedy has occurred in my life”. Eventually too much and it’ll lose its impact.
Make your character react and evolve from violence in the backstory, don’t just put it there to make your character look tragic and to be wheeled out when you remember about it.
I 100% agree with all of this, it’s one of the most infuriating things in RP when people start competing for who has the most tragic life one minute and then the next their horrific experiences fade into the background. You need to be able to show how anything in your character’s past has effected them and how they’ve evolved from it (or in some cases how they haven’t been able to move on at all).
One of my favourite things to do as an RPer is to slowly discover your character’s backstory by noticing the little things about your character that alludes to their past. Like if a character suddenly can’t look mine in the eye when the subject of torture comes up, I want to know more. If we’ve just met and your character starts monologuing about how their entire family was murdered I just get so damn bored.
When creating your character you need to think about how much bad shit they’re dealing with and the inevitable bad shit they’re going to deal with in the future. If I could go back I’d definitely change a few things in my main character’s story to make room for the tragedy to come that I couldn’t control (other people’s character deaths, war, torture at the hands of other people’s characters, etc). Fantasy world or not if all your character knows is death and horror, it’s going to take its toll and that character will stop being fun to play. Or fun for others to RP with.