Backstory Cards for Sea Shanty Recording Session

Hello Readers,

I thought about making a little something for a recording session I’ll be having again with a bunch of friends. Something to add some wonder, or just something extra to a recording session.

I was thinking that I’d hand people backstory cards of my own devising. These cards would have one sentence, formatted like this - “You can out-drink anyone… after the death of your wife.”

Each mini-story would have a light and dark sentence fragment, each separated by “…” .
A sentence could start with either a light or dark fragment, followed by the opposite.
“You broke out of prison… with the help of a talking mouse”


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I think that sounds interesting, it’s got a bit of that ‘For the Queen’ prompting going on. Top of my head my worry is that the two examples you provided feel like they come from different games. I’d make sure to have a tone discussion before deploying these.

I really like the idea of using background cards. So, :+1: on that idea!

I’m a bit less sold on the light/dark thing. I might try to leave the prompts a bit more open-ended, maybe instead have a statement and then a question. For example:

  • You can out-drink anyone. What sorrow do you drown in drink?
  • You broke out of prison. What unexpected ally aided your escape?
  • You are a professional soldier. What regret do you carry between your battles?
  • You have a distinctive injury or scar. What lesson did it teach you?

Just my 2¢ but I feel like these give the player a bit more latitude with character/theme while still being evocative.


This sounds cool, and I love open questions for character background, but I’m a little confused about context. You say “Sea Shanty recording session.” Will you be recording a musical performance, and this is to give some color to the performance? Like, people will be singing in character? That sounds super cool, if so. If not, what exactly is it?

Yes, it’s just to add spice to a choir of friends who’ll sing. Nothing more.
I thought about randomly giving them a card afterwards, that maybe told their futures?

It’s not really intended to be a game, but just something that might flavor the experience, or might not!

I’ve played pretend games with three out of seven of them.

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If it were meant as something more than just a layer of wonder, to a recording session, I’d be in agreement.

We’ll be recording vocals, so their minds’ll be on that, hopefully.
Maybe I could end the recording session with a leading not-yet-happened question?
Let them ponder their future on their own time, or not.

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Got it! Yeah I think I misunderstood what you were asking.

I think asking someone a question, a leading one, is asking them to give me something. In this situation, I’d be asking for something from them, besides their voices. It just seems like a bit much.
So, I know that giving them something can feel limiting, boxing them in, I thought that by giving them one thing that’s kind of both light and dark, they could choose what aspect of that to use or ignore.
I mean, at some point you have to take a prompt from someone else and go with it, in any sort of collaboration.
I get that proposing questions are good material for story-forward play.

I’d maybe leave them with a story as well, proposed as an open-ended question?