[RPG] How to rein in a character’s backstory without discouraging the player


I'm planning to start a game of Rogue Trader with a number of new players that are new to RPGs. I've helped the players generate their characters and have given them a very very basic backstory to serve as a scaffolding for them to build.

One of my players is extremely enthusasitic and has come back with quite a lot of backstory — unfortunately, it seems like a lot of it will not fit the setting. For example, his character required a vendetta of some sort, so he wants his vendetta to be against the Emperor of Mankind himself. (I have yet to tell him that the Emperor is back on Holy Terra, ensconced on the Golden Throne, protected by thousands of psykers and that he will lead a very short life should he be found out…)

How do I go about making the appropriate changes without actually discouraging him from coming up with further ideas and feeling that he has lost control of his character's history?

Best Answer

Short answer; don't.

Based on what you've said it's not that his character is a problem, just that his theoretical goal is untenable. Make it clear to him exactly what sort of trouble he'd be in for if he decides to have his character pursue that vendetta. Let him know it would be impossible (or almost impossible, depending on your GM style) to fulfill and what sorts of challenges he might face keeping that secret. Then ask him one simple question.

Do you still want to have a vendetta against the Emperor?

If he says yes, great - problem solved. He knows what he's in for and he's decided that that'll be fun. Heck, it will probably be more fun for both of you. Cr0m makes the suggestion below that if you're looking for goals from players that you have him set a more immediate "first step". If he says no, suggest some more campaign-appropriate people to have a vendetta against or help him think of another character concept if he needs it.