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Need Character Ideas for a 2D RPG

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I am helping an indie development group create a 2D RPG. I am helping to write the story and Game Design Document. In my laboring I'm having a bit of creative blockage and have started this thread in hopes that you can help with that and also to have the added bonus of incorporating Character types that will make a very dynamic cast for the Game. I want to create a light and humourous enviroment for the PC to be able to play the game in. Meaning that I want characters who would become his friends in his quests and have those characters portray a friendly and genuinly comedic attitude toward one another. Also, I need a cast of mysterious evil villians mainly their stereotypes and some custom quirks. If you also happen to have an idea for creatures that would go well as minions to these mysterious villians who use them to rape, pilliage, and maime poor villagers then by all means; Post! Some thought provokers to answer: 1. Think of your friends and if there is a perticular one who acts in a very uplifting and funny manner. How would you describe that person? 2. Think of someone you absolutely loath (we all should be good at this). Post what traits or actions that they did that really made you despise them? (and me posting this thread shouldn't be one of them!) 3. Think of a group of friends that get along very well. They have their own inside jokes and means of acting toward one another. How would you classify each of them? What is one of their favorite qoutes? How do they treat each of their other friends and why do you think so? Be as detailed and long or as short as you want!

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I'm just going to talk about the good guys here, since villains aren't my specialty.

To create comedy, one effective method is to pair two characters who have opposite exaggerated personality traits. For example: one talkative and one close-mouthed, one cheerful and one grumpy, one practical and one melodramatic, etc. Then again, you can have two characters who are very similar but don't get a long at all, constantly criticizing in the other traits they never question in themselves. Or, in a single character you can give them a conflicting goal and weakness - like a goal to appear elegant or stoic or coldhearted, but this is defeated when their gluttony or silly phobia or weakness for cute fluffy animals is triggered. Funny nicknames and catchphrases are also good.

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Unlike the previous poster, I think I do better with villains as opposed to heros, so here's my two sense:

The best villains to go up against a comedic troupe of intrepid adventurers is one who is REALLY BAD at being a villain. Its not that they need to fail at causing trouble for the adventurers, just that they should be bad at being bad. Im working on some plot ideas for my own RPG, and one of the side-plots is ANOTHER intrepid group of adventurers who have similar roles but fairly opposing character traits (anyone ever seen the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine meets the alternative Jerry, George, and Kramer?). The other group keeps trying to help out, but every time they do, something horrible happens.

A group of people who, in general, I dislike, is self-help authors who talk about personal growth and emotional maturity, etc. Maybe it would be worth exploring the creation of a recurring villain who gave really obnoxious (positive) advice after each encounter:

"That was REALLY great you guys. MUCH better than last time, but honestly.. where was the spirit? Its not all hack & slash!"

"I'll be destroying this village now, but don't look at this as a failure. Think of it as an opportunity to grow closer as a team!"

"Oh, this is also an opportunity to flee for your lives! Exercise is good for the soul!"

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Good Suggestions so far keep them coming.

While I want to create a lite comedic atmosphere among the main PC and his/her companions. My villians must be mature villians. But I agree with wildhalcyon that a villian who is bad at being a villian adds to a comedy. Also if the villian appears blatently to be trying to hard to be an evil villian then that too adds more laughs to the plot(s).

Some examples that I am considering using as my group of hereos...
One of my friends is the type of person who is a little dumb at times and gets addicted easily to things. He has the sort of bad boy attitude which pairs him well with the ladies. He is a really good friend and knows how friends should stick together though he stole a woman from me. I should have known that everytime he said he was falling for her he was talking out of his arse. She was pretty wierd though but anyway...
Another one of my friends is a flirtaious girl who has no trouble getting attention she's beautiful, smart, and she can dance definitely hot. She is a bit of a tease cause she seems to like everyone and then allow noone in to her heart...
So you always need the funny man...I knew this kid once who had the funniest personality, one of those people who just made you laugh just by talking that an always had a smile on, kind of lifted up the atmosphere a lot I remember we did a project in school and it was pick a programming language to sort of show and tell thing, he chose Brainf*ck his presentation was hilarious anyway.

So, I was looking for some examples from people lives for a group of people, don't have to know each other just describe their personalities or things you remember about them traits they had ya know things like that.

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I don't really see it working well with your protagonists being comedic and the antagonists being serious. If you're going to mix it up, you need a little comedy and a little drama on both sides of the fence. Look at some classic comedic dramas like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or House (television shows) or over-budget action movies like The Mummy, or even something less action-oriented like About A Boy which is funny (assuming you like that sort of thing) but deals with serious issues like suicide.

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Wait did you say! "The Mummy" there was a serious villian I mean he had a stupid servant but as a villian he really didn't seem at all funny in fact he was very creepy and Benni as a side kick to the evil villian much like Shmi in "Peter Pan" was to Captain Hook, didn't really add that much comedy.

I will since you insist that it doesn't do to have comedy on one side but to have it on both sides, incorporate some comedy into a few villians.

however, the game in itself is not meant to be a comedy that you will simply laugh your arse off at while playing. But really it's to try and make a likeable atmosphere through comedic relationships.

For instance, The main character would be picked on by his closest friend, and then in turn he will get a chance to make a few jokes in return. Just the general friendly atmosphere. Having a comic villian makes a story less mature being that there is more focus on just making everything meaningless and trivial. I still want the events that occur to retain some sort of meaningful notice to the player. Instead of making the villians silly and horrible at what they do. They are supposed to bring out fear as a response from the player. The fear that at each word the villian says the player feels that his character might loose his stats or some valuable artifact or that he might even be killed in a cutscene and the game will end right there. His friends and companions will act in a way that will counter this and in the end you are left with a feeling of admirration for your friends and a type of love for the characters. I know that this is a big to do from a small project and an unknown 2d rpg but I feel that if those things could exist in gameplay then the gaming experience will be an enjoyable one.

I'm looking for "real life" examples of characters who exhibit a comic friendly attitude and villians who will really strike fear into you or that you learn to despise. Real life situations and examples are one of my best sources for characters since Television shows and computer games cannot capture all the aspects of a persons character in reality.

I thank you for all your ideas our discussions have given me many things to consider that I would not have otherwise which ultimately will make for a better more enjoyable game with the end product. I look forward to your replies.

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Re: Character Design

Many designs build comic on top of a serious thread, or vice versa. The reason is to create vulnerbility. The context of your design is unclear, but it is hard to discuss character out of its context.

[Strange, overthecounter, fascicle]
In this RPG, the villain is attempting to create the best fairy tale ever by combining the forces of the legendary villains. This time around, they had fixed their mistakes and captured all the cocky heroes that had beaten them previously. The protagonists are the group of sidekicks and support characters that never made it to the big screen.


1. Think of your friends and if there is a perticular one who acts in a very uplifting and funny manner. How would you describe that person?

In this context, there are many character that are like this. They are the former support roles, all they could do was to get beaten first and cheer the main hero on. This time the can no longer hide behind their cheers to hope that the heroes will fix everything. They need to learn that cheering themselves can be hard too.


2. Think of someone you absolutely loath (we all should be good at this). Post what traits or actions that they did that really made you despise them? (and me posting this thread shouldn't be one of them!)

In this context, the villain that the protagonists hate can be those that had restricted their role or belittled them. It could be a hero who believed that support roles would always be support roles. So, on one hand the protagonists are 'destined' to save the real heroes, the real heroes are also the ones they depise, maybe more so then the actual villain. Are they willing to bring back the heroes just so that they can outshine them? What is the meaning of destined to be the seconds? It might be too complicated for your sake, but this design does not happen to support a despicable villain. The despicion is used by the villain to manipulate the protagonists, and the protagonists have to make sense out of it.


3. Think of a group of friends that get along very well. They have their own inside jokes and means of acting toward one another. How would you classify each of them? What is one of their favorite qoutes? How do they treat each of their other friends and why do you think so?

In this context, the group does not have a leader. Their inside jokes may previously involve the main heroes and are now incomplete. So for some time each of them might pretend that they were the heroes themselves, but as time goes on they all find each other to be imposters. From there they are supposed to find their own paths instead of chasing their masters' footsteps. So, in this dynamic, they would all joke about one another when they discover that all of them were fake. So to the 'outsiders' (those that didn't know that they were not the true heroes), their 'inside jokes' are those that poke at their shortcomings compared to the qualities that the real heroes are supposed to have, and how they fake their masters' skills and their unconventional ways of using their masters' equipments. They can also talk about how 'what the hero really did' wasn't how it was told. So they would brag about how much each of them were involved, but at the same time they had also hid behind the heroes' fames.


The comedy in a design is independent to its maturity and meaning. Having a comic villain does not imply making things meaningless and trivial. It can be meaningless when the comedy are out of context of the meaning of the design. The jokes can be designed to be non-trivial.



Quote:
They are supposed to bring out fear as a response from the player. The fear that at each word the villian says the player feels that his character might loose his stats or some valuable artifact or that he might even be killed in a cutscene and the game will end right there.
This can be done easier without showing the villain. Like Blair Witch Project 1. Depending on what kind of fear you are trying to induce. Fear can be induced through the fact that the form, identity, and motivation of the murderer are unknown. The darker you guess, the darker it gets.

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You want comic characters? You want a PAIR of comic characters? Two pairs spring to my mind:
Jay and Silent Bob. This one is an easy one, if you can decypher the physical attitude of the characters. If not, then just turn it to "melodramatic and practical", remember that scene in Indiana Jones: Raiders of the lost Arch, in which Indy is desperately searching for his kidnapped girlfriend? A bad guy springs at the back of the crowd and starts waving his swords back and fro in a very theatrical and threatening manner, then Indy ust shoots him to sotp te sheer annoyance. In the original scenario, they were supposed to fight, but the day the scene was to be shot, "Herr Chones" was feeling a little on the "ill" side, and decided the scene had to be much shorter. It ended in this way. Use someone to cut ALL the melodramatic scenes into a very brief solution, often involving unnecessary amounts of violence.

Second pair: Terry Pratchett's "Colon and Nobbs" watchmen.
These two are just the lousiest watchmen anyone ever came up with. Nobbs is suposed to bear a card, somewhere about him, that declares that "against better evidence and judgment, C. W. St. J. de Nobbs is declared belonging to the human race", and have a collection of boils on his face. He is known to do tricks with them "let's just say that you don't want to find yourself between him and a mirror". And he is supposed to be as frank and honest as a four-pence coin. The silver shilling he wears on a string around his neck is said to have corroded on his contact.
Whereas Colon is the old fat sergeant, always knowing every trick to keep himself far away from trouble, waving and shouting, although not in a very threatening manner, and not always in an unfriendly manner, to any burglar or wrongdoer that he might happen to spot on the other side of a street.
Pair them, and you've got something of a Laurel and hardy, only this time, the fat is the soft one, and the small, skinny and vaguely human is the mean one.

As for the other team making an appearance, I think you should try and get a copy of "Tales of Symphonia", in which most of the beginning of the plot revolves around a team of copycats, copying the group of the PCs...

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Thanks! Fournicolas I'll have to take a look at "Tales of Symphonia". Comedy has been absolutely saturated with PAIRED characters. Bud Abott and Lou Castello come to mind. While remote Calvin and Hobbs also come to mind. Certainly Jay and Silent Bob as well. Of course I could with a pair of amuzing characters with conflicting traits that sparks a lot of comedy.

All of your suggestions have been really helpfully.

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Here are some ideas

The Grim Barrower-
In an RPG where adventurers have the habit of dying at the hands of monsters, this is the guy whose job it is to haul them back to a priest to be revived. He is often scene pulling a cart and carrying other aventurers around. He does his job with the knowledge that there really is no prospect of promotion in this line of work. He sometimes complains about not getting enough tips and asks the adventures to lose weight after hauling them from remote locations. He also dislikes homeless bums because he can rarely tell if they are dead or not, the same goes for undead monsters and goths.


The Farm lad-
After a disaster destroyed his families home and farm, he has had to get money to help them get by in the meantime. He bright, helpful and works hard but is not a social person and people tend to think poorly of him because of that. He can join the group on their quest and does a great deal of work (cooking, cleaning, a bit of enemy fighting etc.) and first seems to be just a servant or something, but as he warms up to the group they learn more about him and consider him more of a member of their group.

Mr. Wanna-be-Smarts-
A wanna-be Dark Wizard who spent most of his time studying ancient texts on Dark Magic, reading of the exploits of other villains, and other things. Because of this, he has great book smarts but little street smarts. So he "knows" how to cast all the powerful spells but hasn't practiced them enough to actually cast them. He joins the heros because they need his knowledge of magic and the ancient events they are dealing with. He's very egotistical and thinks everyone else is stupid because they don't know all this obscure knowledge.
Annoying traits are that he critisises others abilities when everyone knows he can't do any better, goes into lengthy rembling explainations on obscure theories on magic that nobody cares about and he barely understands himself, and always thinks that he knows best (kind of like Brainy Smurf). After a while, he finally realises that he isn't as important as he thought he was and helps the team. He also learns that to get things done he actually has to turn his knowledge into useful skills.

The Monkey Mage-
A minor villain who controls a small forest. He's a mage who controls a tribe of monkeys to steal from travelers he just likes getting free stuff and making others miserable, he also says the word "monkey" a lot for some reason.

===
Okay, I'm not sure if these things can work but here they are

The Brunasaur-
A peaceful plant eater that looks a lot like a horse-sized brontosaurus with fur. Herds of them roam the countryside. They are not fast movers, can be easily used as beasts of burden because of their small brains, and taste delicious, which is why many animals prey on them and humans like to raise them.

The Zarcrophogas-
A bizarre and dangerous carnivore that looks almost exactly like a Brunasaur, although it is more elephantine. Its powerful trunk can thrash unsuspecting creatures and its sports a huge mouth of razor sharp teeth. More importantly, when it closes it's eyes and folds it ears back, it looks almost exactly like a peaceful Brunasaur. In fact, it's suspected that Zarcrophogases can't even tell the difference between Brunasaurs and eachother. For this reason, they are often a few of them mixed undetectably among herds of Brunasaurs and eat unsuspecting creatures.
Its name is actually derived from the string of obscenities that anciant tribesmen would scream when they find out that the animal they were hunting would turn around and attack them.

[Edited by - The Shadow Nose on August 12, 2005 12:46:46 PM]

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Quote:
Original post by wildhalcyon
Unlike the previous poster, I think I do better with villains as opposed to heros, so here's my two sense:

The best villains to go up against a comedic troupe of intrepid adventurers is one who is REALLY BAD at being a villain. Its not that they need to fail at causing trouble for the adventurers, just that they should be bad at being bad. Im working on some plot ideas for my own RPG, and one of the side-plots is ANOTHER intrepid group of adventurers who have similar roles but fairly opposing character traits (anyone ever seen the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine meets the alternative Jerry, George, and Kramer?). The other group keeps trying to help out, but every time they do, something horrible happens.

A group of people who, in general, I dislike, is self-help authors who talk about personal growth and emotional maturity, etc. Maybe it would be worth exploring the creation of a recurring villain who gave really obnoxious (positive) advice after each encounter:

"That was REALLY great you guys. MUCH better than last time, but honestly.. where was the spirit? Its not all hack & slash!"

"I'll be destroying this village now, but don't look at this as a failure. Think of it as an opportunity to grow closer as a team!"

"Oh, this is also an opportunity to flee for your lives! Exercise is good for the soul!"


That second villian idea is genius. If it appears in a game I make down the line, well, that's what you get for posting gems in a public forum :P

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