1. Kanine

    Kanine Member

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    Creating a likeable band of adventurers

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Kanine, Jan 18, 2017.

    So in my fantasy story the main character, a veteran adventurer (Late 20s half elf) is forced to go on one last question before he can put his life of adventure behind him and live at peace with his wife.
    He must recruit others for his mission however, where he meets:
    Ash, a teenage Elf from a tribe of wolf worshipping elves. He is trained in powerful magics and is accompanied by a tamed wolf.
    Giles, a pirate- err I mean, 'opperotunist' who 'makes a good living at sea'. Giles is simply a man with a drinking problem and a sharp cutlass, or so he says.
    Kriegler, a skilled alchemist who served in the king's court. It is rumored that he fought in the Borderlands campaign in which the races of man repelled the master horde from the north. He's never confirmed or denied the myth but it would explain the scars, limp and missing eye...
    Laskja, the daughter of our hero's neighbor. She isaid more or less our hero's Apprentice in the art of swordsmanship and when she learns that her masterling is going out on one more grand adventure she refuses to let him leave without her. She might be young but she is strong and skilled.
    And last but not least there is the one simply called 'Draug'. No one is sure where he came from or why he is helping our hero in his mission, he is a very mysterious Drow from some distant land, but as long as he is helping our hero he must be on his side, right?...

    Anyways, these are just what I'm thinking of at this point. I'm wondering if you guys had any suggestions or thoughts on what would make this adventuring party more dynamic and interesting.
     
  2. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    When I heard "veteran adventurer on one last quest before retirement" One really doesn't expect a kid in his late 20's. o_O
     
  3. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Though that does raise the question of whether veteran adventurers generally expect to live longer than that ;)
     
  4. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Banned Contributor

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    It's very hard to write a lovable drunk. They tend to be self absorbed even if they're harmless. It's even harder to find a group of folks who will let them drink, I know (not necessarily about the writing part.)
     
  5. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

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    Canis lupus is getting tired. Why not a coyote or a marten?
     
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Reads too much like a D&D party for my tastes. I think the drow really sends it over the top in that regard.
     
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  7. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    One last question before retirement...
    Must be one tough question if he needs all the extra help.:p
     
  8. Vern of Fortree

    Vern of Fortree New Member

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    I think the party in general makes sense, although it's sorta generic, not that that's a problem. I can't exactly speak for anyone else, but these are my thoughts on some of your characters.

    I can't really say anything about Ash, considering you basically describe him as 'guy with a wolf'. What's his personality like?

    With Giles, the best way to make a character like that likeable (at least in my opinion) is to make him funny. People like him may not be 'good people who do good things', but as long as his antics are amusing, people will like him. Well, at least I'd like him.

    Draug pretty much screams 'PLOT TWIST' at the top of his lungs. If you are going to have some sort of plot twist with him, it's best to make him seem more innocuous and integrated with the party. It's okay to have an aloof, mysterious guy, but if you try too hard to set him up for a plot twist or something, people will see it coming from a mile away. Of course, if there actually is no plot twist, that's a different matter.

    Just my two (or three) cents.
     
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  9. Kanine

    Kanine Member

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    Well, to answer a few questions, the reason he is 'retiring' so early is because he has spent his whole life fighting. Born as a bastard in an Elven tribe to a human father, he was kind of an outcast. Around age 7 his village was razed by templars and he was forced out on his own where he was eventually captured by a group of mercenaries calling themselves the 'Crowes'. They put him to work, training him as a violent killer. It wasnt until his adolescence that he finally wised up to the fact that he was being used and he escaped. Countless adventures followed as he built up a reputation and a small fortune before getting married. Now after so many years of fighting he simply wants to settle down and start a family. But his old mercenary guild is planning something big, going after more 'political' targets. They know about Alek (protagonist) and fear that he will give out important info about the guild so they attempt to silence him. They fail and Alek is summoned up by a local lord to hunt down and exterminate his old employers.
     
  10. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    Countless adventures in about ten years in a fantasy setting. I'd only believe that if he chose to go on adventures year round, every year. That sounds like someone with a great need to adventure. The suddenly he stops at 20 something, in the prime of his life - and just wants to live in peace. Something traumatising even by adventurer standards must have happened?
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017
  11. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    A. Shortly after he's 7, he's apprenticed to a group of mercenaries, who train him as a killer...and when he reaches adolescence (say, 14) he "wises" up, and escapes.
    1/ How successful a killer can a child be? Especially when we're talking pre-sub-machine gun. And there's the time it takes to train him up.
    2/ Why would these mercenaries think he'd be worth investing all that training in? He didn't show any hint of his abilities when his village was razed.

    B. His old guild is planning something big.
    3/ They're mercenaries. They fulfil other people's plans.

    C. The guild fears that Alek with give out important info about them, so they try to silence him.
    4/ He's been out of the guild for ten years, so what info could he hold?
    5/ He's been out for ten years, and hasn't twitted them yet, so why would he now?
    6/ He's a violent killer, whom they trained, and who's since added ten years of work experience to hone his skills. How do they think it's going to be cost-effective, or even possible, for them to kill him?

    ETA: And Laskja is so implausible...she just screams "I want some under-age nubility in this story! Someone to hero-worship the hero, but whom he must nobly ignore, and occasionally save. While not nobly telling her to do what her parents want, and go home and stay safe."
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017
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  12. Kanine

    Kanine Member

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    Well what would be some suggestions to make the story less generic and mare more sence? While keeping to the base outline of the plot.
    'Hero takes down Rouge mercenaries with unlikely companions'
     
  13. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    You mentioned about who they are, but what are their purposes? What plot reason do you need the alchemist, or the drunk?
     
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  14. Kanine

    Kanine Member

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    The alchemist because he can craft medicines and other potions for the party, he is also a friend's of Aleks from the Borderlands campaign.
    Alek finds the drunk while searching for one of his oldest friends, another pirate named Shinji. (Maybe Shinji comes along as well bu5 I'm not sure yet) Giles and Shinji are both highly skilled swordsman.
    Alek kind of takes Ash under his wing when he finds him in trouble in a human city. And Laksja is Aleks official Apprentice.
     
  15. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    If you have him going on countless adventures in ten years, it makes your lands seem very small. How is he travelling? Does he know every destination from the outset or is he discovering as he goes along? Is he carrying armour weapons. gold and supplies when he's on his horse? How much rest should the horse need and how fast can it really go? Considering the bounty he gets from each adventure needs to be actually taken home. Are there mercenaries or brigands on the road? If he got married you also need to knock off romance time.

    The whole countles adventures in 10 years comes across like video game logik.
     
  16. Kanine

    Kanine Member

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    Perhaps it would make more sence to say he is older and maybe working for a lord. Mercenaries attack and attempt to kill said lord and aftwards Alek is told he would get granted his sought after knighthood if he could topple the organization and find their employers?
     
  17. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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  18. Phil Mitchell

    Phil Mitchell Banned Contributor

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    If you want to change the character that much you can, but the issue is thats too many adventures in too short a time frame if you think about the logistics of each adventure. Does he really need more than ten adventures to be considered a veteran?
     
  19. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    A raven-haired beauty, something like @CTs avatar, but plumper and with a thousand recipes, always talks about food, cooking all the time, and she services swords when they become blunt, chipped, she can fix them up properly. Her problem is a fear of horses. She walks behind the boys on their horses, through the woods and such-like, and they're always saying 'Oh do hurry up, Beyonka.' A cause of tension, probably a cart is stolen for her usage in chapter two.
     
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  20. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    How long do these creatures live? Late 20s does not seem unreasonable to me for humans who naturally live to be about 45. I assume there is no modern medicine, modern nutrition...?

    I'm 31 now, if I thought I had a total of about 50 years to live, I'd probably be winding down my work. The only reason late 20's is still early to most people responding here is because we all expect to live to be closer to 100, but that isn't natural, that's due to science.
     
  21. Dominique Parker

    Dominique Parker Member

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    As many have already mentioned I think your protagonist needs a better reason for his retirement. Some form of traumatic event prompting him to leave his life of adventuring would make the entire scenario more interesting, believable and compelling. As for his group of companions, there are two things that make me feel like they're a cast of characters in a DnD campaign.

    The first thing is they are all so very physically distinctive. Ash is an elf teenager with a pet wolf, Kriegler is missing an eye and walks with a limp, Draug is a Drow(I'm guessing we're talking about Forgotten Realms kind of Drow here. The white haired grey skinned kind.) and Giles is a pirate. That's one hell of a group. If I was a villein and saw theses guys and girl trundling through my lord's fiefdom I wouldn't be able to stop myself from staring.

    The second thing that kind of jumps out at me is that every member of this group seems like he or she could be an ultimate badass. Now I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with this. You could write a story starring the most badass mother fuckers who've ever lived, mother fuckers so badass that they challenge the very idea of badass motherfuckdom as we know it today. That being said I do think it would feel a little more natural if you threw some average people in. A cook, perhaps a craven or two , a robber knight maybe. At the moment I have no doubt that your main character will win the day. I know his strengths, I want to know more about his weaknesses. I want to doubt him a little bit. I want to feel as if this groups failure is completely possible.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
  22. Kanine

    Kanine Member

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    Well Alek is a veteran mercenary, he has been working in this trade since for as long as he could swing a sword. Now that he is married and starting a family he wants to put the mercenary life behind him and find a stable living. As far as weakness goes, he is still trying to transition from a life of being a hired sword to trying to start a family and maybe find something worth fighting for.
     
  23. Asphyxiates

    Asphyxiates New Member

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    I dont think thats a weakness, and please dont make him whine about what to do the whole story. In all honesty, your back story sounds much more interesting, and plausible. Maybe you should write about that?
     
  24. Kanine

    Kanine Member

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    Well there certainly is a lot of source material there, but what part of his life would I focus on?
     
  25. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy :

    "Life expectancy increases with age as the individual survives the higher mortality rates associated with childhood. For instance, the table above listed the life expectancy at birth among 13th-century English nobles at 30. Having survived until the age of 21, a male member of the English aristocracy in this period could expect to live:[27]

    • 1200–1300: to age 64
    • 1300–1400: to age 45 (because of the bubonic plague)
    • 1400–1500: to age 69
    • 1500–1550: to age 71"
    So, at 31, you'd have expected to reach at least 60...and because some people always died younger to make the low end of the survival curve, you (as a healthy and active hired blade without an ounce of fat on you) would expect to live to a ripe old. Henry VIII was only 55 when he died, but "as he aged, Henry became severely obese and his health suffered, (He was covered with painful, pus-filled boils and possibly suffered from gout; a more recent theory suggests that Henry's medical symptoms are characteristic of untreated type 2 diabetes.) contributing to his death in 1547."

    31 would still be awfully early to be winding down to retirement, especially in a society that, in addition to modern medicine and nutrition (supersize my fries, and put sugar in everything I eat, anyone?) also lacked modern pension funds.
     
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