1. StarFyre

    StarFyre Member

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    Sea Tribes, Returning Princess and Accidental Harem

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by StarFyre, Aug 13, 2019.

    So in my current story, I have this girl, Audry, who thought she was human, never once did she think that her servers, her scanners or any other natural cybernetic she has was unusual. She also didn't realize that it was weird to hold her breath for minutes on end, something she enjoyed scaring her only friend with. Turns out, though, she's of an underwater race of technology-based merpeople, the Metoids, or at least she's half of one, her dad having sent her away to be with her human mother due to the tribes wanting her to be engaged to their princes and no one able to decide who exactly to put her with. When she's 'kidnapped' by her younger brother (age difference of a few months, apparently mermen are players), and an Orn bodyguard, who both ended up dragging her friend along when he tried to help her. After she (sorta) gets used to what's going on, her dad asks her to choose a prince from the fellow tribes, listing different benefits and risks of each of them, not just for the kingdom but for her. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) she's half-asleep and ends up saying something along the lines of 'why not marry all of them?'.


    There are six current tribes and each one has several clans spread out around the world.
    Dophi: A peaceful race, they enjoy music and playing and are often very social.

    Metoids: They’re good with technology and are, in fact, a race of semiaquatic cybernetic mer-creatures

    Orn: A tribe of mer-orcas who focus on strength above everything but family, they are exceplant spear-hunters and, alongside the Xain, consider themselves to be more cultivated and better-mannered than most tribes, especially the Shaik, their natural enemies who most Orn see as savages. The members of this group are commonly hired as bodyguards for other tribes.

    Selk: A tribe that is good at the arts, especially sewing, they are the most human of any tribe and wear their sealskins in many varied ways, from the standard ‘tail’ to dresses and suits, as long as the skin is mostly intact, clearly from a seal and enchanted properly, it will protect from the most basic dangers of the deep, allowing the bearer to breathe underwater and, in some cases, control the water itself. It’s been said that the first Selk was a human that a Xain took a liking to.

    Shaik: A group of fast and strong mersharks, they are somewhat brutish in how they do things but, those who are allowed to get close to one often find hearts of gold, or at least bronze. They care deeply for those in their herds but anyone else is generally disliked. If they take a liking to someone, it’s more than likely that they will then kidnap the person, or persons should that be the case.

    Soina: A tribe made up of many merpeople, those within it are good at a variety of trades. These merpeople are the standard fish-human combination but each group within is not numerous enough to form their own tribe.

    Xain: The tribe that is best at magick, they tend to be more peaceful in nature and prefer a diet that harms as few creatures as possible and whatever they do not eat is traded, stored or crafted with as they do not wish to waste anything. They are also somewhat obsessed with beauty and jewels which means that they will accept payments of those in exchange for spells or potions, but if one suspects or learns that what you gave them was fake, whatever they gave you will backfire.​


    The princes are as pictured in the attached image.

    Daerin: A Dophi who enjoys socialization and helping, he's often found wandering the areas around the castle, talking to his subjects and aiding them should they need it.

    Fai
    :
    A Xaina who is curious about many things, he is always asking his mother, the shaman of the tribe, questions.

    Finn: A Selk who enjoys watching humans and pointing out the odd things they do and eat, meeting Audry is quite possibly the best thing that could happen to him.

    Nearo: A Soina who is curious about wildlife but somewhat of a troublemaker, though he'll usually say it was an accident.

    Orlio: A Orn who enjoys hanging out with the orcas that often circle the clan cities, he is a fierce hunter and one of the best in the tribe, perhaps better than even his father.

    Zjorn: A Shaik who enjoys racing and hunting and who considers actions to be a first resort, only talking when he needs to or when he's around those he considers to be in his inner circle.​

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------​

    I just want some feedback on the general plot and maybe the characters.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  2. Mish

    Mish Active Member

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    I think it's a good question for you to answer. So why not?

    Consider:

    1. The attitude of your tribes to Polyandry. (sounds like the tribes are competing for influence is that something they would find acceptable?)
    2. Harem is a place where multiple wives of a man live, is she going to become another wife of one of the princes instead? (so much for Polyandry!)
    3. How much agency is she going to have in this story? Is she a strong independent female character or a damsel in distress? (so far between being kidnapped and influenced into what looks like a potential forced marriage she seems like the later)

    P.S. On the side note I would be interested to read how these mer-tribes deal with the plastics polluting their habitat.
     
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  3. StarFyre

    StarFyre Member

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    Most fish end up fertilizing multiple eggs or getting their eggs fertilized by many others and the royals tend to have several wives anyway, it might even be that they show their power by having more lovers than other folks.

    I didn't know what you would call the female version but, no, she'll be the only female, all the princes like her anyway so they don't really care as long as they get roughly equal time.

    It's not exactly forced, her dad sent her away so she wouldn't be forced into it and then her brother decided he wanted his older sister back, after a few weeks of living there, she got to meet each prince to figure out who she liked best and then the morning after was when she was supposed to decide, sleepy brain pulled an oopsies though.

    That would honestly make a nice little addition, I can already see how the princes would react.

    Daerin would want to fight the humans and make them stop.
    Fai would probably do a spell to send it back.
    Finn would be curious and try and figure out what the humans used it for.
    Nearo would probably try and make something out of it and do his best to keep the wildlife from getting hurt.
    Zjorn would do like Daerin, probably one of the few things they would agree on.
     
  4. GrJs

    GrJs Active Member

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    Plot:
    If she was sent to live with her mother and has a whole life on solid ground, why is she not fighting this development? I'd assume that this is a marry and stay forever kind of deal. Anyone, when just told they need to choose someone to marry out of several people they don't know, would balk at the idea.

    Why send her away? Why not keep her and make sure she knows all of the guys before she has to decide which one to tie herself to for the rest of her life?

    Why is she the specific target of all of the clans? You haven't said much to her status amongst the tribes but you haven't got a Metoid suitor. Is she a Metoid princess? Is she the only Metoid princess? Is she the only princess among the 7 tribes? If so, why and how is that the case? Surely there's other members of royalty suited to being the wife of the princes.

    Why did the tribe leaders hold out hope for her return to their world despite not knowing if the father would allow her to return? Do they know he sent her away or did he lie to them about what happened? Do they have cause to hold out of marrying off their kids for this one person to come back who may never come back?


    On the princes:
    Daerin looks like the only one who would take an interest in her romantically. Purely because he's all about communication and getting to know the person.
    Finn would only be interested in her because she's lived with the humans, but outside of that probably wouldn't be all that interested in being with her.

    Fai, Nearo, Orlio and Zjorn have no reason to be interested in her at all. At most they'd be fulfilling their duties of courtship but be otherwise uninterested. None of them have interests that coincide with anything to do with Audry.

    Not only that but Zjorn is a character you have to be very careful with, that type of personality would easily lend itself to an eventual sexual assault considering Audry is not of his inner circle. Unless he has no interest in her in which case he'd just be blowing her off as much as he can.

    As far as the romantic side of your story goes, the ball is in Audry's court to sell herself to one of these princes, not the other way around. These princes have no reason to all be interested in her, or interested in a relationship in general past concerns of having to carry on the bloodline. Which means Audry has to be putting in the most effort to see who she wants to be with. But that all circles back around to the initial questions of why would she not fight this development? Why does it have to be her? And why have the other tribes not just gone and found someone else to marry their sons off to?

    Also, why is her dad suddenly okay to marry her off after having removed her from the world previously to avoid doing so? Why not just send her back, reprimand the son and go on with life? He has a son he can marry off now, it doesn't have to be Audry. In fact, you could cut Audry out of the story all together make the brother the MC, make daddy overprotective (as a reason as to why he hasn't married him off yet) and have their biology allow reproduction over both genders or just have one gender for them. That way brother has lived their his whole life, they already have established relationships and you can make a case for all of the princes already having a crush on the brother. Or course, you could just swap brother for Audry in this scenario as well.

    Really the whole sending Audry off to dry land creates a plot hole if he's just going to accept her brother's kidnapping of her and marry her off anyway.


    Something good:
    Despite all of that, I think it's a good general idea that just needs a lot of work as all good ideas do.
     
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  5. StarFyre

    StarFyre Member

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    Thank you for the questions, they'll help flesh out my story.

    I did forget to mention that she is indeed the princess of the Metoid and the first in line, maybe to solve the issue of staying she'll have remembered parts of her life underwater, the king only sent her away because he wanted her to be able to choose instead of being forced into anything. Also, some of the tribes do have abilities to let them walk on land, most just don't do it because they don't want to be found out, but having a princess who had lived on land for so long would be a great opportunity and would let her return to land now and again.

    She was five when the tribes were trying to set up arranged marriage and the princes' personalities weren't what they are today. Also, the queen (she's Audry's Stepmom and unfortunately failed at giving an heir) detests humans so he kinda had to keep her away until the queen would be willing to accept a halfbreed (ouch).

    Yes, she's Royalty. Her brother is actually adopted meaning he can't claim the throne unless a last resort so she's the only one able to.

    Going with what I said above, if they want to have their child allied with the Metoid throne, they have to actually marry to someone in line, preferably immediately in line. And yes they knew, he said he would bring her back when she was of age and, if anything went awry, he planned to send her back to land to hide for a few more years or forever.


    About the princes, you're slightly right.

    As for Zjorn, he does want her, mostly to look at though so he's mainly okay with the others as long as he gets to see Audry but he's willing to find out exactly what his feelings translate to (to say it in a cheesy way). Actually, he's been wanting to add her to his collection for a while anyway, even only knowing what she looked like as a kid, he tried to think of what she would look like in the future, he's basically a 'look don't touch' guy, most Shaik are, it's usually up to the one they take to get them to actually understand and love them, in more ways than one.

    And it might make a good plot point for her to show the others land - Fai can use a spell so that Orlio, Zjorn and Daerin can temporarily gain human forms and learn about land cultures and he would fall in love with her intelligence (she's a book-nerd who loves swimming), Finn would initially only like her for what she knows but he also wouldn't just drop her and go to someone else if they show more knowledge, showing that he does care for her as more than a google, though it wouldn't be immediately clear. Zjorn would probably just enjoy watching her (Shaik are kinda creeps but that's because most of them don't even understand the concept of love and translate it to "I want this so it's mine" since that's what they know). As for Orlio, if she got a chance, he'd likely be amazed at how well she can fight (protective mommy) and want to help her be able to do the same underwater since "such grace can't be confined to land".

    I can also see Audry saying to Orlio "You can't just carry around a spear, it's not allowed here!"


    As another point, Audry's mother was told about what was going on.

    I think somewhat of a solution to the plot hole would be if she remembers a bit of what life was like but passes them off as dreams until she returns home, maybe those 'dreams' will be why she loves swimming so, maybe, she'll be happy to know she wasn't actually imagining crazy things, it could cause her to be happy once she realizes that this palace is the one she used to dream about, never having known a father on land, perhaps she would be happy to finally find out who he is, always having thought that she had imagined him as such a creature, trying to say it was a metaphor for running, him 'swimming off and leaving her mother alone'. But no, she has a father, and a brother, she just has to be careful about her stepmom, thankfully the stepmom usually sticks to the throne room and her bedroom chambers so it's easier than expected to keep out of her hair.
    And that line of thought is making me tear up, oof.
     
  6. GrJs

    GrJs Active Member

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    So I have more questions and things for you to consider

    If the queen is her stepmother and she hates humans then one would have to assume that the stepmother came after the child yes? Otherwise you have a king committing infidelity with a race the queen despises which is a generally a relationship breaking event.

    Why did the king choose his second partner over his daughter? He'd have to have known she was racist when they were getting together so why would she be in the picture at all? A good parent would remove the stepmother, not the daughter. Also, why not just say he doesn't want to marry his daughter off until she's older and can make the choice herself? Why does he have to send her away to give her a choice? All he's doing is limiting her ability to make an informed choice by not letting her know them and thus know what they're like as people.

    Sending her away to avoid marrying her off only to have her kidnapped and married off anyway still creates a plot hole for you. There's no reasonable explanation for the father to send her away regarding the marriages. Even the racism excuse isn't hitting the mark and both of them together is just confusing and weakening the matter.

    As a halfbreed between races there has to be physical repercussions for that. What if she was sent away for a medical reason only the humans could solve because it had to do with their DNA to begin with and doesn't exist within the Metoids or other tribes? It has to be a fixable condition, so it has the benefit of being a temporary ailment and a reason no one can start a war over for avoiding the marriages in the first place. That way you can keep Audry in the loop with her people as well so it's not so much of a shock when she's kidnapped to be a princess bride.

    Why did the stepmother choose a king with a half breed daughter? He's a sympathiser to those she hates. Does the racism also apply to other underwater races?

    On the other hand, if the king wasn't married to the human then Audry is an illegitimate child. If racism is common in the Metoids then the brother would have more support from the people. Then again, because the brother has been present in their world he'd have more of the people's support anyway.

    Audry will have no idea about the cultural practices of her people.

    Is racism a wide spread thing across the tribes or is it more of a general distaste for the polluting humans with a few extremists? Will any of the princes have reservations about her because she's lived with humans her entire life or because she's a half breed?


    The parents of the princes are pushing this marriage right? That's why they all still know about her so long after the original talks. Think about people you knew when you were five. How many do you know the face of now? How many do you remember? How many do you think you've forgotten?

    Do they have pictures of Audry from when she was a child? If so do they have ones for each year or just from when she was young? Was the father keeping them all up to date to avoid a war because he sent his daughter away which could be seen as a rejection of any kind of alliance?

    And if they have pictures is it like, etched in stone? A glass figure? It's gotta be something that's durable underwater. How do the Metoids works underwater if they're half metal and electronics? Sea water would destroy them over the years, does that make their life span connected to the breakdown of materials? --> Really not that important to know but now I'm curious, how does that work?

    Why would she take the princes to the surface? There's other ways to show her strengths in your underwater setting. It's too easy to impress people with knowledge on your home turf.

    Zjorn, to me, is a distasteful character. These types of characters are generally kind of selfish and demanding, as well as controlling. You can temper that with him just enjoying her company but that leads them down a path of close friendship rather than a romantic relationship, which would probably turn out better for your story to balance out the harem romance with relationships that just end up being platonic. Zjorn also isn't relationship material. The fact that it usually falls to their chosen partner to do all the work in the relationship is something no one in their right mind would put up with.

    Why don't they have a concept for love? If they don't it should be that they're incapable of it. If people can do something, they have a concept for it. Even if they can't then they'd still have to know about it due to mixed marriages that came before them. It could be that it's just a cultural thing and the race only ever marries for political reasons. If that's the case then he would pay no heed to getting to know his spouse anyway...

    Audry has legs right? Does she transform when in the water to be have better ease of movement?



    How much of what five year old her remembers is reliable information? Why isn't she bitter that her dad left her? Why would she be happy to have her father only for him to try and marry her off to people she's never known?

    Does she get culture shock? Her stepmother would only make that worse for her.

    Why does Audry's mother knowing effect the plot at all?

    Plot Question:
    Could you start this story at Audry saying 'why not marry all of them'? What's so important about the starting point (kidnapping) of this story that it needs to be told? Can you start it else where?
     

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