1. randomme1
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    randomme1 Member

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    Need Advice for animal side character/ companion

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by randomme1, Aug 22, 2012.

    Hi,
    I am writing a post-apocalyptic story. I won't bog everyone down in the details of how the world came to end in this post, but suffice it to say that this is not a generic nuclear wasteland that so many people have already used. I am having trouble with a companion for my main character. I am trying to give him an animal companion that he picks up along the way that travels with him for a VERY long time. My first thought was to use a dog, but I think that a dog is too expected when referring to animal companions. Are there any other animals that spring to mind besides dogs? I want it to be something roughly the size that a man can handle. Not something gerbil sized, but not something bear sized either. I want it to be an animal that can be made loyal, and can be used in a fight if need be. Something even remotely useful to a survivor/wanderer. Here are some details regarding my main character:

    -He is, ofcourse, an orphan
    -He is around 18 years of age.
    -He is a trained killer
    -He used to run with a gang of raiders (sorry for the Fallout reference) but left when the group turned to cannibalism
    -He does not have much experience in dealing with normal people socially
    -He is a very good marksman, but prefers either hand-to-hand combat or up close and personal kills
    -He is very clever, resourceful and tactical
    -Although he is very adult and mature, he has a sneaking immaturity about him, something left from childhood that he could not express in such an unforgiving and death-filled world

    I need an animal that I can give a personality to that would fit in well with this main character. There are ofcourse deeper traits to my protagonist than I listed here, but this is a short summary of him, not at all detailed. If I can't find another animal besides a dog, then I have no problem with dogs at all, in fact I love them personally. I just think that dogs are overused in the whole "Man's best friend" department. Thanks in advance!!!
     
  2. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    How about a horse? They're loyal...ish. And kinda smart... it could provide transportation as well. Only downside is then you'd have to figure a way to feed it.
     
  3. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    If he is a trained killer you can think of using a wolf. Can either be a mother attacking him to feed her young or him trying to eat her for food. He could take the only pup left alive, or something different. It was just a thought. You would want an animal good a hunting or killing.

    If you want to use a wild animal it would have to be found as a pup or baby so that it can be trained to be near him. Think of animals known to be trained to be somewhat domestic.

    P.S. absolutely nothing wrong with the fallout reference. Great game and storyline.
     
  4. ArtWander
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    ArtWander Contributing Member

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    I have one question for you before you decide what animal to use for this character.

    Do you want him to have this animal to protect and hunt/kill with, or is that not important?
    I think it might be interesting (given your character you have set up there) to consider an animal that is somewhat helpless in this new world. Maybe the character has to grow as a person by caring for his companion, as it is not something he would like to be doing. Maybe even poke fun at it.
    "Why couldn't I have found a bear or something?"

    That being said, maybe a fox, or housecat?
     
  5. adampjr
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    adampjr Member

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    How about a lamb or something like that?
    A pig?
     
  6. luna claire
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    luna claire Senior Member

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    A bird, perhaps, like a hawk or crow.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    a falcon
     
  8. Psychotrshman
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    Psychotrshman Member

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    Can I ask why? I fully understand the "No Gerbil" part as in a wasteland a pocket size pet will obviously get smashed at some point. The bear however seems to fit the bill rather nicely.

    Bears are extremely protective of what is "Theirs" so a bear would be very loyal to your character and more than willing to help out if he/she was in a pinch.

    Bears are large, agile, great swimmers, great climbers, and they could easily carry anything your MC needed to bring along in a saddle bag type apparatus. Plus, their rather warm when its cold outside.

    Have you ever tasted bear meat? Its rather tasty, so your MC could easily have killed a bear for food only to realise later that oh crap, it has a cub who now needs cared for. Being an orphan him/her self, the desire to protect this orphan could easily be made believable.

    That sounds just like the "fighting-style" of a bear. Although it could push a large rock or tree over on top of you, it would rather maul you and tear you to pieces.

    Thats just my two-cents worth, but to me it seems like the bear is the perfect companion for what you are looking for. Since its post-apocalyptic, you could even make it a polar bear just for flare.
     
  9. Ms_Tex
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    Ms_Tex New Member

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    My first thought was some sort of hawk that could hunt for food (rabbits, etc.) and could help in a fight (attacking others from above). However, a polar bear would be really cool (but that's just me).
     
  10. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    honey badger maybe, like Stanly!!!!!!!
    ask the Pols, Bears make great companions.
    hawks, egals, and other birds of pray are usefull
    but i think a big cat whould be where its at. maybe he got a tiger, lion, or other large cat cub at a abandoned zoo. their is a reason that mankillers are/where feared in africa and asia. these things are killing machines
     
  11. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Why not some mutated hybrid creature?
    that would give you almost free reign as to his personality and reactions.
     
  12. randomme1
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    randomme1 Member

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    I never considered using birds of prey, that's a pretty good idea. I also liked the whole muntant hybrid thing idea, I can work with that. I never really considered lions/tigers because I thought that they were almost impossible to train/domesticate but this is fiction so I guess I could work around that.

    Psychotrshmn you bring up some really good points about bears, I am almost considering it now! Who am I kidding, it would be bada** to have a ten foot grizzly walking behind me! Who would want to mess with that!

    So I am kinda split between these awesome ideas. I guess I could just write a couple different versions of my story each with a different animal and see which one better appeals to me. But thank you all for the amazing ideas! I would appreciate it if anyone who had anymore would throw them my way!! :)
     
  13. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    some one trains them for the movies. granted it whould probably be a little more unpridictable. also it is your world.
     
  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't dismiss a dog or a cat too quickly. Yes, they may be overused, but there's a good reason for that - they, especially dogs, are by far the primary companion animals for humans, and they've evolved as companions to humans. Most other domesticated animals were bred or, I've seen it argued, evolved to be with humans as food. (Even if you're going to be eaten after you breed, it's an evolutionary advantage for your children to be protected and fed.) Most other animals didn't evolve to live with humans.

    If you definitely don't want a dog or cat, I'd suggest researching for other animals that have evolved or were bred to be with humans, for purposes other than food/milk/fur - purposes that involve interacting with those humans. As others have suggested, there are pack and riding animals like horses, and hunting birds, and birds that do other jobs, like carrier pigeons. Ferrets are another possibility. No doubt there are others.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    chimps can be ferocious killers... just google news reports for damage done to their owners/keepers for the gory details...
     
  16. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    A bird like a hawk or a raven. Definitely not a parrot :D
     
  17. nephlm
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    nephlm Member

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    I'm with chickfreak on this one. I'm not sure what level of realism you're looking for, but the reality is that dogs evolved with us. If you want a true companion it'll be a dog. A hunting cat who formed a relationship with the protag would express it caring by going off and hunting by itself and leaving a dead carcass by the tent in the night.
     
  18. jid
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    jid Member

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    I was thinking something along the lines of a giant rat. Some rats can grow pretty huge even without any mutations, they're fairly smart and personally I think a creature that is more or less despised by some folks could fit a character that has troubles of fitting in with normal people.
     

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