1. ewearne
    Offline

    ewearne New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1

    What to consider when making an immortal character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ewearne, Jun 15, 2016.

    Any advice on what to consider when creating an immortal character?
    How do I "age" a characters personality to suit their age?
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  2. I.A. By the Barn
    Offline

    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2015
    Messages:
    965
    Likes Received:
    730
    Well it all depends, like any other character, what experiences they go through, which will slowly (or quickly depending on how big the moment is) change someone's personality. It also depends on whether they were always immortal and what point of their life they are at. For example if they are young and know they can't die they may be reckless or have an extended childhood. Dunno if that helps
     
  3. Shadowfax
    Online

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,521
    Likes Received:
    1,346
    1/ Is he born to immortal parents? As in, is his whole race immortal, or is he some kind of freak, genetic or otherwise?

    If his race is immortal, they've probably evolved a fair degree of responsibility (although, possibly not - see how frivolous those immortal Greek gods were!) and will bring their children up to embrace this responsibility.

    If he's some sort of freak, he MAY realize how much good he could do...or how much harm, and nobody can stop me!!!

    2/ Personality doesn't age...if you're some sort of show-off, you'll still be some sort of show-off, just with less to show off.

    It is a fact that the older you get, the less physically able you become. (About 3-5% every 5 years from 35 to 65, then 5-8% every 5 years). Typically, this will mean you cease or reduce physical activity...my father quit football at 40, was down to just walking by 70, pretty much quit all exercise from about 80. There are exceptions and variations, but this is a good baseline.

    This reduced ability may manifest itself in reduced activity; it may manifest in increased activity - as you try to complete that bucket list before you can no longer manage white-water rafting down the Grand Canyon, especially as you no longer have the kids around to slow you down!


    Short story, go whichever way you want; just have a rationale for whatever you do.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  4. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    Um, I'm pretty sure immortal characters don't age. Otherwise they would die, because that's what age leads to, you know? Death.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
  5. Shadowfax
    Online

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,521
    Likes Received:
    1,346
    This reminds me of something I read...

    Positions vacant. Short-order fry cook. Topless waitress. These jobs are NOT the same position.

    In the same way, I'm thinking that the OP was asking two different questions for two different characters.

     
  6. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    I think it would probably do two main things you can rely on to be present. Two things that would be general.

    1. Weariness. Immortals are going to be bored. They'll have done a lot of stuff.

    2. Unimpressed. When you've lived three thousand years, winning the lottery just won't impress, you know? Especially if you're a powerful god being, so this applies particularly to them.

    3. Confidence. Same reasons, similar feel to it. When you've seen it all, you're going to have developed a lot of skill and knowledge (probably) and that's going to mean your not too nervous.
     
    Vandor76 and Buttered Toast like this.
  7. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    I don't think so. I think they just mean what they said for the title, it's about the relevance of immortality to the character. I'm pretty sure.
     
  8. hawls
    Offline

    hawls Active Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2016
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    199
    Location:
    Melbourne
    How old does the character appear? Why?

    How long have they looked this way?

    In what sense are they immortal? Is it just that they don't expire naturally, or are they impervious to harm? Can they be killed by conventional means? Do they feel pain? Do they regenerate?

    What historical events have they been through?

    How many close relationships have they had?

    How have past experiences shaped the person they are today?
     
    I.A. By the Barn and Oscar Leigh like this.
  9. Mocheo Timo
    Offline

    Mocheo Timo Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2015
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    114
    Location:
    World of Bob
    I think the question here would be how to suit the character's personality to the age he lives in.
    Because it depends on how long the character has lived.
    Decades? Centuries? Millennia? Has existed since the beginning of time?...
    That could change a lot how he/she will behave and react to events in the present.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  10. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    Oh yes, loss. Everyone you know dying. That's going to be tough.
     
  11. Sack-a-Doo!
    Offline

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,231
    Likes Received:
    1,511
    Location:
    [unspecified]
    My antagonists aren't necessarily the best examples, but...

    Intention is first to be considered. Take Adolf Hitler, for instance. Most will agree he's just about the best example of immorality we've had in quite some time. But, his initial intention was to free the German people from debt, unemployment and the immoral influences of the media. But he went too far with it.
     
  12. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    The question was about being immortal not immoral. Missed a t.:bigoops:
     
  13. ChaosReigns
    Offline

    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Messages:
    1,090
    Likes Received:
    455
    Location:
    Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom
    I had do answer this aeon old question myself, when a character I have found out that his father's line are immortal... suffice to say he was like "of for fooks sake, thats too much time" and has had do devise a way of making sure he doesnt get too bored, Maybe have the person in question age slightly each year (not much as well, that would defeat the point, but you also need to consider what job they have, my main character looks a little older than he would otherwise do, because he has a job that causes him to be like that.

    there is a lot to think about with which others have covered
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  14. Buttered Toast
    Offline

    Buttered Toast Active Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    67
    If you have seen the film called 'Watchmen' then you will know a bit about doctor manhattan who was human and became immortal and all powerful like a God, but you can see throughout the film and comics how he changes in personality to not careing! It's interesting to watch and might give you some ideas :)
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  15. newjerseyrunner
    Offline

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    227
    The character Q from Star Trek is a lot what I imagine an immortal creature to be like.
     
  16. Shadowfax
    Online

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,521
    Likes Received:
    1,346
    And the way in which he's developed during Star Trek: Voyager shows how many different ways you could portray him!
     
  17. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,893
    Likes Received:
    10,081
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    I would need to know what kind of immortality in order to ponder this further. Biological immortality where the being simply will not die of old age but could die from a car accident, or supernatural immortality where the being is impervious to any sort of death and cannot be killed by any means?
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  18. Vandor76
    Offline

    Vandor76 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2014
    Messages:
    264
    Likes Received:
    189
    Location:
    Hungary
    Some of these are already mentioned, but :
    - Is it that he does not age or is he indestructible (or both)?
    - Does he have superpowers?
    - How old is he? Was he born to be mortal and somehow gained immortality later?
    - Does he have a physical body or is he some kind of spiritual entity? Maybe he changes bodies (either by occupying them or via reincarnation)
    - Is he alive? He might be a zombie, a collective consciousness ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_mind_(science_fiction) ) or an artificial intelligence (robot)
    - How does he look like? If human, what age? Can he change his appearance?
    - Is he human, or belong to an immortal species?
    - Is he alone or are there other immortals? What is their relationship?
    - How does he related to humans? Friendly? Hostile? Does not care?
    - Forever is a very long time. What time-scale does he think or plan his actions? This determines how deep does he get involved in the everyday life.
    - How does he entertain himself?
    - What is the cost of this immortality? The Highlander could not have kids, other immortals may need to sacrifice a virgin at every full moon, etc...

    An immortal character who lived hundreds or thousands of years (or even more) is not necessarily wise. One-celled lifeforms are immortal but they are far from being wise. A kid who gained immortality at the age of 3 could remain in that childish state forever.
    Contrary to that an immortal person could forever develop mentally, reaching a god-like state after a long time.


    If you need a human being become immortal in a plausible way (sci-fi) here is some reading on aging and death : http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/horizon/june98/microbes.htm
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  19. Simpson17866
    Offline

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,742
    Likes Received:
    1,290
    Springhole has a fantastic article about immortals in general, but what kind of immortal are you looking at specifically? Someone who'll never die of old age but who still needs to eat and to avoid injury, somebody who can be hurt but who doesn't need to eat, somebody who can heal from injuries extra quickly, somebody who can't be hurt at all?
     
    Vandor76 and Oscar Leigh like this.
  20. Buttered Toast
    Offline

    Buttered Toast Active Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    67
    But note Q is classed as a child or Young teen of his kind (even though he has taken on the looks of a man) and he only likes to tease Picard because he is immature and in one episode of Star Trek he actually gets told off by his parents or older peers and told to leave Picard and his crew alone...naughty Q! :)
     
  21. SweetOrbMace
    Online

    SweetOrbMace Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2014
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    40
    Assuming your character is a human with some sort of supernatural/sci-fi modification. I think it's interesting to consider some of the debilitating/negative effects of immortality. Think how much your character, personality, beliefs, and interests have changed in your life. Even from pre-teen, through teens, and onto adulthood. Think how much you have forgotten. Now extend that over centuries (or more!) and imagine how confused it might leave someone.

    My WIP has three immortal characters and they have all gone slightly loopy with it. One has become terrified of dying (more than is "normal" anyway) leading to him making a series of terrible decisions, one has become overbearingly arrogant and is constantly winking at secrets he shouldn't, the other has lost all sense of who he is and what he should be doing. I'm simplifying for length obviously...
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  22. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,797
    Likes Received:
    2,412
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Do they have any weaknesses, or are they just OP bad ass? +All the rest of questions already been asked. :)
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  23. Mumble Bee
    Offline

    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    1,307
    I'd bet everything worthwhile has already been said above me, so i'll start with the pointless stuff.

    People looked a lot different ten thousand years ago. How hairy is this character?
    Say you didn't wear cloths for thousands of years, would the character forget they were supposed to? Maybe if they're hairy enough it wouldn't matter.
    The longer we're around, the more DNA flakes off our body. If you've been around long enough, almost every part of the earth might have been part of you. Especially if you shed.
     
    Oscar Leigh and Cave Troll like this.
  24. Sack-a-Doo!
    Offline

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,231
    Likes Received:
    1,511
    Location:
    [unspecified]
    Oops! I misread the OP. I thought it said 'immoral' not 'immortal.'

    Never mind. Forget I posted. Nothing to see here. :)
     
    Cave Troll and Oscar Leigh like this.
  25. Shadowfax
    Online

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,521
    Likes Received:
    1,346
    But, during Voyager, he develops through being essentially a rebellious teenager to a mature parent with a child of his own to raise, with all the challenges to one's own rebellious streak that are inherent in parenthood.

    He even gets to be the voice of maturity during the civil war in the Q continuum in "The Q and the Grey".
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
    Buttered Toast and Oscar Leigh like this.

Share This Page