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  1. #31
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    Failed DnD Character #1: Snizzik the Goblin Barbarian

    The ferocity of a cornered lynx, the power of a trapped squirrel.

    Tried to give him some snake features but ended up with a blizzard-ish goblin... ugh... next.

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  4. #32
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    All right, this is the direction I think we should go in. Weird. Tribal. Colorful. Humanoid, but blending the characteristics of many different types of animals. NOT a simple human-animal hybrid, but a new, unique species. I do not think we should go with plain humans.
    Perhaps the technology is too much in the stone age to fit with the high fantasy genre, but that can easily be fixed by incorporating some metal objects, I think.

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  6. #33
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    I think we are getting somewhere now. I actually like the idea of their weapons and such being more primitive than the other races. They are orcs after all. Orcs are stupid. Same for magic, I'd like to see them take a shamanistic/spiritual and/or music-based approach to magic rather than brainy high wizard magic.

    I also love the idea of natural armor! So that their clothing-based armor is more for show and light than the other races because they are naturally hardy.

    Orc. +10 natural armor. -5 intelligence. Matches cliche high fantasy feel for the race. But this way is unique!



    I would like to see them perhaps a little more bulky so that they feel more orcish. Also maybe a little more clothing/armor even though they are naturally armored. I think it overall needs to be a little more orc-like to sell it as an Orc. How to do that while keeping the originality I'm not sure. It will be difficult to find the right balance but I think you're on the right path. Now I'm getting excited about this project again.

    Last edited by Burtzum; August 3rd, 2009 at 02:41 AM.
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  7. #34
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    I'm thinking maybe we should work out a story, rather than putting too much focus on making new races. We could even use some of the original high fantasy races, just make sure the way they dress is weird enough to match the odd new ones.

    This is a character design assignment after all - heavy on personality, personal history, and all that. Race is part of the identity, but imo it's just as challenging to create unique/new characters with conventional races as making cool new races that make logical sense.

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  8. #35
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    Thanks, Burtzum!

    I would like to see them perhaps a little more bulky so that they feel more orcish. Also maybe a little more clothing/armor even though they are naturally armored. I think it overall needs to be a little more orc-like to sell it as an Orc. How to do that while keeping the originality I'm not sure. It will be difficult to find the right balance but I think you're on the right path. Now I'm getting excited about this project again.
    Nightblue felt the same way. I'll play around with the design some more, especially the head.

    Edit: Nightblue posted while I was looking at the thread.

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  9. #36
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    I'm not a good writer, but here's a frame of a story. Feel free to ditch it and write better ones

    Four character A, B, C, and D - and their dark versions -A, -B, -C and -D. one for each of us.

    In his early adventures, Character A has once come in contact with the dark mirror and seen another dark, terrible world through it. Terrified, he goes into hiding and lived like a regular villager for a few years, until Character B, seeking the secret that's hiddin in the mage's tower, tracked Character A down. Character A was reluctant to help at first, but was compelled to do so by character B through charm/reason/whatever. As A and B make their way to the tower, they met characters -C and -D, who tried repeatedly to stop them. A and B eventually found the dark mirror in the mage's tower, but had to fight -C and -D in front of it. A and B both got pushed into the mirror, and they came out in a darkened world, where they found their bizzaro versions -A and -B being the dark lord that is seeking to destroy the land completely. They also gained unexpected help from C and D, the good version of the villains they met in their world, and the four banded together to ultimately defeat -A and -B.

    A and B can be traditional high fantasy races, and C and D can be new races. These characters can and should be different, but there need to be unifying elements on A, B, -C, -D as well as -A, -B, C, D to make them look like they are from the same worlds. (for example - say the real world has a color theme of bright-ish red and yellow, the shadow world could be less saturated or cooler colors, etc)

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  10. #37
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    I did some more sketch, based on insect/sea creature silhouette.

    I agree with grace, I think we need to focus on the general background and personality here, instead of creating an exotic looking race. We're doing "characters", not "creatures". If we could come up with a story that we all find interesting, then we might be able to create characters with strong personality.

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  11. #38
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    Ok, I read Nightblue's story several times. It's a pretty good frame so far, and fits into Moai's light/dark parallel universe setting.

    1, character A used to be a famous wizard/warrior/cleric (whatever class you want to put her) from a good family (maybe even royalty). She's a good friend with the Mage who processed the dark mirror, a portal connects the dark side. They grow up together, and eventually fall in love. The Mage however, processed the dark mirror for too long and eventually turns evil. Little by little she felt that something is wrong with the Mage, and eventually witness his crazy experiment. Disgusted she tried to run away, but instead hit something resulting the experiment goes wrong, and the Mage got sucked in to that dark, terrifying world. and because of the unexpected event, the mage's tower and the villages around that area was destroyed, inhabitable, filled with monsters (good place to level up~) Feeling betrayed, guilty, personally responsible for Mage's the tragedy and the death of all those people, she went into hiding, throw away her fame and wealth, living amongst common people. Character A is the normal hero type, his AD&D alignment is Lawful good, which makes him suitable for Paladin or Ranger. Her counter part -A is Lawful Evil.

    2, The reason character B was searching for the dark mirror wasn't revealed in the beginning. He was constantly changing the story. I pictured this person was lay back and cynical on the surface, cracking inappropriate jokes at the most inappropriate moments, as if he doesn't care anything or anyone, especially himself. He build a war around himself, and always disguises his feeling with jokes. But deep down, he's holding a terrible secret and obsessed with the idea that only the dark mirror can help him with it. (and no...I haven't figure out what exactly is this dark secret). A and B would be a complete opposite in personality. A is the hero type, honorable, respectful, caring, sympathetic, always willing to help others. B is practical with street smarts, looking after only his own interests. the Only reason B team up with A is because she's the only one who actually see the dark mirror and presumably know how to make it work. B's alignment is neutral good. his counter part -B is neutral evil.

    during the course of the game, A and B will have some chemistry. B doesn't know A is the Mage's Lover.

    3, Character C and D was created by the Mage who used to own dark mirror. When he fall to the other side, C and D, serving as his slaves were left behind to guard the mirror, after knowing A and B's plan, they work relentlessly to stop A and B from reaching the Tower.

    4, On the other side, the Mage first seek out his own counter part, trying to distroy him, but the first attempt failed. The good mage with his good minion +C and +D run away. Knowing A and B is going after his mirror, the Evil Mage seeks out their counter part -A and -B, hoping they will stop A and B's course.

    5, the Evil Mage eventually managed to kill the Good mage. +C and +D escaped.

    6, loosing their home and Master, C and D went on a revenge trip towards the Evil Mage and his minions. and on their way, they ran into A and B. after some initial confusing (even fight), they end up combine forces.

    7, the 4 eventually defeat the evil ABCD plus the Mage, witness the merging of 2 worlds, and become new gods ... YEAH~~~totally Baldur's Gate Style!

    8, if the 4 characters are supposed to form a team, they should carry out traditional AD&D classes:

    -A front line fighter/Paladin/Barbarian,

    -A offensive Wizard/Sorcerer,

    -A defensive Cleric/Druid (healer)

    -A Long range/sneak attack Thief/rouge/ranger (also responsible for unlocking treasure chest and disable traps)

    Last edited by fluorine; August 3rd, 2009 at 04:52 AM.
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  12. #39
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    So, here are my thoughts on the story and character outline that Nightblue posted. I've already shared these with her on MSN.

    -Character A is now an older character. His discovery of the dark mirror took place many years ago, when he was much younger. He is past his prime and perhaps a bit grave and haunted by what he saw in the mirror. Despite his age, he is still very powerful. Perhaps a spell caster of some sort?
    -Character -A is also old and powerful, but evil. I haven't really figured him out yet, though.
    -Character B is young and ambitious, forceful and persuasive. I imagine character B as female.
    -Just as character B persuaded character A to seek out the mirror again, so did character -B pursuade -A to make use of the mirror. She acts as his adviser, but is actually quite manipulative. The villainous plot, whatever it is, that revolves around the mirror is probably her idea.

    I'm still thinking about how C and D and their counterparts fit into this.

    And now some thoughts about the issue of designing a strange new race and focusing on the story.
    Of course the story is important. Of course creating strong characters to go with that story is important. That's the main point of this activity, as we all know. However, it is my assertion that the goals of creating a solid backdrop and interesting personalities and of creating interesting new races are not mutually exclusive. Nor do I agree that what I'm doing in creating these new races is simply creature design, rather than character design. I'll admit it, the "swamp orc" I created up there is more of a generic member of his race than a unique individual. However, once I have the look of the race established, then I can modify that base to create any kind of character I please. I can make a young, wistful, traveling swamp orc. I can create an old, weary, bitter swamp orc. Or any other character type you want. Creating the look of the race is just the initial stage of designing the character.
    Plus, since this team was formed (or at least since I joined it and started partaking in the discussions), or idea was to create a new race and then make characters from that race. Before the topic was released, we planned to create a new alien species and have our characters be members of that species. Once we got the topic, we decided to take the generic high fantasy archetype and tweak it, changing the races to make them more interesting and unique.
    I was really excited about that idea. Burtzum has made it no secret that he also wants to go strange and unique and different for this activity. Why the about face? We of course need to focus on the backdrop and the roles the characters will play in the story. But does that mean we need to abandon the direction we were going in earlier? I don't think so. I think our earlier idea, the creation of new races or modifying existing fantasy races in interesting was, was what made this project fun, and what made our approach different from the rest.
    I say we stay with it.

    (Cool designs, fluorine. I like the moth girl!)

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  14. #40
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    Once again, someone posted while I was looking at the threat and writing up my own post. I'll have to compare fluorine's ideas on the story with my own. But now it's time for sleep.

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  15. #41
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    [Edit]:

    I just read Moai's post. Sorry if I sounded bossy from time to time, I didn't mean it to come out in such a demanding way.

    I understand you feel strongly about creating a new race, and none of us here suggesting that we couldn't go with that direction. It's just from time to time, we kind of get too excited and carried away with lobster org or frog goblin or insect elf and such. That's why I think what Nightblue did is great, come up with a story, so we can be more focused.

    I like your version of the story, an older mentor male + a young eager female; a young manipulative evil princess + an older equality manipulative advisor both with their own agenda. I think this would work.

    But I also think the Mage and his minions would work. I make C and D "man made" creature/character, so that we can have a more plausible and logic reason for one or two "new race", so you guys can have fun, and we can still stick with the high fantasy rules.

    I guess one possible scenario could be: -C and -D is actually creation from A, the older mage when he's still young and adventurous. But -C and -D come out evil, so the older Mage A try to destroy them, but they run away. So on the flip side, we could have the evil version of Mage -A, created 2 good characters +C and +D, and wants to destroy them because they're useless wimps LOL...but +C and +D run away...or something.

    [end edit]

    More thoughts regarding the personality and possible class:

    1, Character A is probably either a paladin or a cleric. Like Lady Aribeth from neverwinter nights. one of those truly goody two-shoes character. I'd probably find a character like this annoying...but hey, every RPG has one of these, don't ask me why... Because of her high class family background, she lived the well provided life. Even when she went on hiding, she still lives pretty good. So she doesn't really approve of B's "low class" manners. She's genuinely good hearted and caring, but she does has some aristocratic arrogance and self-righteousness (which makes her even more annoying...GEE....how stereotypic!)

    Character -A would also be from a noble house (or royalty) of the dark world. She probably process great wealth and power. I guess part of the reason the Evil mage seek her out is going after her money and influence in the dark world.

    2. Character B is probably the Thief/Rouge/Ranger type. now that I read his story, he looks a lot like Prince in the new Prince of Persia. The practical cynical, joke cracking, insecure type. He's charming in a Han Solo kind of way. He's probably a womanizer as well, running into "old girlfriends" almost everywhere they go. A wouldn't be happy with it....LOL

    -B is some bandits leader of sort, or a mercenary, he got hired by A or by the Mage. The practical nature in B became an obsession for wealth and procession for -B. the cynical became cruelty, and insecurity became ego-centric.

    3, OK, if I'm an evil mage and I want to create 2 minions...what I'll do.....hum....I guess I'll first create a brute, carry heavy stuff, guarding my treasure chest, beat up prisoners, and terrifying the village around. Mwahahaha~~~~~

    Then I'll create a beautiful obedient servant taking care of more delicate tasks, such as clean the house, cook dinner, do the laundry, and ...*Beep*... in the night. You know the sexy evil secretary/french maid type.

    I guess that pretty much sum up C and D, beauty and the Brute. Because they're created creature, you creature guys can have some fun here.

    Last edited by fluorine; August 3rd, 2009 at 05:49 AM.
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  17. #42
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    I completely agree with you, Maoi - having new races would make it much easier to be unique. What we didn't realize before the topic was revealed was that (to my understanding) the characters should be as diverse in race as possible. Creating 4 new and viable races is a tall task to fill, and having them to be too out there will make it hard for them to look like they are from the same world (this could be solved by making them from related species).

    I have no problem if we want some or all of the races to completely depart from the traditional humanoid races either, but let's just go ahead and make up new names for them - it'll only open up comments like "that doesnt look orcish enough for me" etc if we do.

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  19. #43
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    Thanks for your posts, fluorine and Nightblue. I appreciate what you have to say and agree with most of it, and I'm glad you both still think it's a good idea to create some new races for at least a couple of the characters.

    I like your version of the story, an older mentor male + a young eager female; a young manipulative evil princess + an older equality manipulative advisor both with their own agenda. I think this would work.

    But I also think the Mage and his minions would work. I make C and D "man made" creature/character, so that we can have a more plausible and logic reason for one or two "new race", so you guys can have fun, and we can still stick with the high fantasy rules.

    I guess one possible scenario could be: -C and -D is actually creation from A, the older mage when he's still young and adventurous. But -C and -D come out evil, so the older Mage A try to destroy them, but they run away. So on the flip side, we could have the evil version of Mage -A, created 2 good characters +C and +D, and wants to destroy them because they're useless wimps LOL...but +C and +D run away...or something.
    3, OK, if I'm an evil mage and I want to create 2 minions...what I'll do.....hum....I guess I'll first create a brute, carry heavy stuff, guarding my treasure chest, beat up prisoners, and terrifying the village around. Mwahahaha~~~~~

    Then I'll create a beautiful obedient servant taking care of more delicate tasks, such as clean the house, cook dinner, do the laundry, and ...*Beep*... in the night. You know the sexy evil secretary/french maid type.

    I guess that pretty much sum up C and D, beauty and the Brute. Because they're created creature, you creature guys can have some fun here.
    I was actually coming to the same conclusions about C and D, in that one should be a smaller female character and the other should be a large and brutish character (that'd give me a chance to use my 'orc,' hehe!). If they are man-made, that would also explain why they are still around, even after many, many years have passed and character A is now old.

    So, now that I've read that you like my version of the story, fluorine, here's some more thoughts on it. I've incorporated a few elements of your version, as well.

    Character A is of the spell-caster archetype. Unlike most spell-casters we see, though, he is young, adventurous, and tough, and always on the move. Traveling from place to place can be lonely and dangerous, though, so he decides to create/summon some companions for himself. He creates C and D. C and D are members of certain 'types' of beings that spell-casters can create in this world, just like there are certain specific types of golem in other fantasy worlds that spell-casters can create. There are precedents and procedures for successfully creating these types of beings.

    A creates C as a female companion and lover. She is small and beautiful, but he also created her to be quick, stealthy, and fierce if necessary, since his traveling lifestyle is a dangerous one. D is a much larger and more monstrous type of entity, high on physical strength but not too high in intelligence. Despite his fearsome appearance, though, he very loyal to his creator and is more of a gentle giant, though he will of course fight to protect either A or C.

    In his travels, A hears rumors of an old ruin, a dark and ancient tower, standing solitary out in the rocky wastelands. At the top of this tower is an extraordinary artifact, a mirror of black crystal that allows one to travel between worlds, provided one knows how to operate it. Over the years of his travels, A has amassed a good amount of knowledge of this mysterious tower and mirror, and believes he knows where to find it, and how to operate the mirror once he gets there. A, C, and D set out on a quest for the tower.

    They arrive at the tower--probably with lots of sidetracks and misadventures in the meantime. Because it is a place of old, dark magic, strange creatures populate it, and they must be battled before the party reaches the top floor, just like in any decent RPG. They reach the top floor, and come face to face with the black crystal mirror. It is large, a perfect sphere eight feet in diameter, and built strangely. A wonders if this is a creation of man, or of some other force. The runes lining the mirror are just as he'd heard described, so he begins the spells and incantations to activate the mirror. C and D stand by, ready to enter the other world and see what is there.

    Meanwhile, in the dark world, character -A is a young and adventurous spell-caster, ruthless and uncaring. He travels from place to place, seeking power. He creates two companions to aid him on his quests. He creates -C has his sex slave, basically. She is just as ruthless and heartless as he, and would gladly kill -A if he did not hold such power over her. -D is a monstrous brute, vicious and hardly even sentient, at times barely under the control of his master. Despite their cold and murderous natures, though, -C and -D share a sort of bond, probably because they are both creations of the same master.

    In his travels, -A hears rumors of an old ruined tower, out in the rocky wastelands, with an extraordinary artifact at its top. He brutally interrogates scholars and raids libraries for clues on how to find this place. Eventually, once he has a good idea of where the tower is and how to activate the mirror at its top, he and his slaves venture out to find it. Some time later, they do, and battle to its top floor. -A sees the mirror, black and menacing, somehow inhuman. Its runes and features match its description, so he begins the spells and incantations to open it.

    Because the light and the dark work are equal and opposite, A and -A's quests occur at the same time, and they open the portal at the same instant.

    All hell breaks loose. With the portal between worlds open, dark energies and air currents swirl around, and strange beings from beyond appear in the tower. A and -A see each other, and being the intelligent men they are, immediately grasp the nature of each other. However, each thinks that the dark energies and creatures appearing in the tower are the work of the other, a malicious attack, when in fact these things are just the natural by-products of opening a portal between worlds. C and D, seeing their master in danger, leap through the portal to attack -A. Meanwhile, -A sends -C and -d to attach A. C, D, -C, and -D cross through the portals at the same time. In the chaos, attacked by both their opposite's creations and the bizarre creatures of the portal, A and -A lose their hold over the energies of the portal, and the portals close. Under the onslaught of (-)C and (-)D, as well as the creatures from beyond, A and -A are forced to flee the tower, using their magic to help them escape.

    A is distraught, for his best friends, his creations--not to mention his lover--are trapped beyond the portal. However, with the creatures from beyond occupying the tower, he cannot go back to free them. -A is infuriated at the loss of his slaves, but knows that he lacks the power to fight off the beyond-creatures and reopen the portal to retrieve them. Both A and -A share the same character flaw: in the face of such insurmountable odds, they give up. His heart broken, A goes back home and leads a simple and lonely life, haunted by what occurred in the tower. -A returns home as well, his confidence broken by what occurred in the tower, and takes up a solitary and bitter existence.

    -C and -D barely make it out of the tower alive. Unable to pursue A, they wander the wastelands for a time. They eventually end up in a sort of marshy country, where they make a living by robbing and killing travelers. Because of their bond, they stick together, and because they are artificial creations, they do not age.

    C and D also barely escape, and also spend some time wandering, lost. They eventually make their home in a sparsely populate marshy country, earning a living by defending travelers in that area from thieves and murderers.

    Many years later...

    B is a young traveler, adventurous and tough, and of an ambitious and forceful nature. In her travels she hears rumors of an old and abandoned tower with a fantastic magic mirror at the top. Though generally good, B is also somewhat greedy, and thinking there must be fantastic treasure in the other world, she decides to seek out this mirror. She also hears of the one man in living memory who had traveled to the tower, A, and seeks him out. After much searching, she finds him living a simple and solitary life. He warns her against attempting to open the portal, telling her of the bizarre creatures that appeared, and how his friends became trapped in the dark world. However, B tells him that the monsters are not a problem, and unsheathes her sword. It is the legendary White Blade, which can smite any dark beast, slicing their flesh and burning them through to the core. She tells A that reopening the portal is his only hope of rescuing his friends from the dark world. A is convinced, and they set out on another quest to the tower.

    News of their journey spreads. -C and -D capture a lone traveler in the marsh. Pleading for his life, he tells them of two other travelers that they could capture and rob, which would bring them much more of a profit than killing him; these travelers are, of course, A and B. -C and -D kill the traveler anyway, and set out for the tower. When A reopens the portal, they plan to kill both him and -A, their previous master.

    -B is, like her counterpart, an adventurous young traveler, but of a manipulative and ruthless nature. She hears of the tower, and of the one man who had been to it, -A. She finds -A living alone, a bitter and angry old man. He tells her that the powers of the mirror are too great for them, but then she unsheathes her sword. It is the legendary Black Blade, which can smite any beast, rending their flesh, poisoning their blood, and blackening and shriveling them to their very heart. She tells -A that reopening the portal is the only way to have his vengeance on A and to regain his slaves. With -A convinced, they set out.

    News spreads. C and D hear from a traveler that they are protecting that a notorious magician and a female warrior with a legendary sword have set out again for the mythical tower. Realizing what this means, C and D also head for the tower, hoping to be reunited with their master.

    A and B reach the tower. B's sword makes short work of the dark creatures living there, and A is delighted to find that, with his greater age and wisdom, his magic returns easily to him, and is more potent than ever. They reach the top, and A begins to open the portal, with B standing at the ready. The exact same thing happens with -A and -B, so I won't write it again.

    -C and -D follow them up the tower, preparing to ambush them as the portal opens. C and D follow -A and -B, ready to escape back into their world.

    The portal opens. A, B, -A, and -B see each other, and immediately know each other. B and -B spot the legendary weapons that each is holding, and their greedy nature kicks in. They move forward to battle each other. At that moment, a new round of dark creatures from beyond floods out of the portal, and C, D, -C, and -D spring into action.

    What happens next? That is for you, the player, to decide.

    Last edited by Moai; August 3rd, 2009 at 05:03 PM.
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  20. #44
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    Character list so far:

    character A

    Assigned to Nightblue

    What I've written so far for A, feel free to take whatever element you think fits in your idea, and disregard the rest (or all of it~~~)

    A could be young and adventurous, honorable, brave, confident (sometimes overly confident) in his talent and ability. He can be arrogance, because he rarely fail. Because he rarely fail, he doesn't take failure too well. That's why He end up hiding after the event on the mirror tower.

    A could also be portrayed as an old cynical mage. Despite being bitter, old A is still honorable and dignified. Deep down he still held that confidence about his talent and capability. When facing lesser people (enemies or friendlies), he has that natural sense of superiority shows.

    A could came from a upper class family, maybe even Royalty. That adds up his superiority complex with a very well controlled aristocratic arrogance. Even in hiding, he lived a rather well provided life. He wouldn't give up any luxury (which he consider to be a necessity).

    Character B

    Assign to Fluorine

    Character personality breakdown:

    character B has a tough life. She was born an orphan, grow up in the mean street. She learn to steal, lie, cheat, mug, rob, escape punishment, and when she can't escape, she learnt to take punishment with some dignity (mostly because she knew tears and begging wouldn't work). She's a surviver, she get by with whatever she can put her hands on. When she's little, the bigger kids of the street gang took care of her; so when she grow older, she take it as a natural responsibility to take care of the younger kids.

    She formed a tight little circle with other street kids and consider all the grow ups and kids with good family as outsiders and therefore enemies. She has a very straight forward black and white good an evil perspective towards the world.

    (still working on it)

    Character C

    Assigned to:

    Character personality breakdown


    Character D

    Assigned to: Moai

    Character personality breakdown

    Keep in mind that we need to have diversity in our characters, so far we're doing pretty good with gender and race, let's keep it diverse in regards to class as well.

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  21. #45
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    Some head design variants for character D. Working out the base anatomy before going into characterization.
    I had an idea about character C also, so I'll post a sketch of her too.

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  22. #46
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    Also, since we seem to want to go Tibetan as far as aesthetics go, here's some refs from my Central Asia folder.

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  24. #47
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    rant:

    I guess I'm the only one who isn't feeling the dark dimension vs light dimension, dark mirror, etc idea. I was never fond of the caricature version of good and evil put fourth by your average fantasy story. Much more interesting to me is something more grounded and based off of reality. A struggle over resources for example. Maybe the "evil" factions are expansionist, destructive to the environment, genocidal, fanatically religious, etc. People who only care for themselves or who care solely for the advancement of their own people, at the expense of everyone else and the environment. Greed. Intolerance. Lack of consideration for others. That is evil to me. And it truly exists. There are varying reasons why people fall into these acts. They are not simply pure evil. That is too simple.

    I can't identify with he who is evil simply because he likes to be. Or the saint in shining armor who helps people whenever he can and who battles the forces of evil because... they're like... evil and stuff... But I can identify with characters who are humanized in that they are not pure evil, they are just flawed in a very human way. Or characters who are not goody two shoes but who end up in a situation which allows for no other option but for them to stand up and defend what they think is right.

    A Nazi officer is more interesting than a 'blood demon god from the darkest more fiery abyss of hell', or, Mr. Assassinpants who assassinates people because hes evil and assassiny.

    /rant

    brainstorm:

    Maybe one faction of one race wants to flood the swamps with salt water for some reason. This would of course kill off Moai's crayfish orcs. Maybe these evil doers even get a faction of orcs to side with them somehow, so you have a faction of orcs who are fighting to destroy their own homelands and their own people. For monetary gain perhaps. Or a promised high position in the aggressor's society.

    Each race could have a faction that wants to exploit the land and other people. These factions coalesce to fight the good guys in an attempt to carve up the world to their own benefits. Divide the worlds riches amongst themselves. Redraw the map.

    /brainstorm

    more rambling:

    I think it would be awesome if you could tell who was good and who was evil, yet there were compelling reasons to join either side.

    Also, I feel like parallel dimensions kind of makes things too extreme. Too black and white. Here is the good dimension where your good self is, here is the evil dimension where your evil self is...

    I always thought the whole idea of alignment was that it was a spectrum, and that anyone can fall if nudged, and sometimes one can even rise if they have the willpower. The good and evil portraits of a character are the same character, just representing how the player wants to chose to play the character. Good and Evil dimensions I feel takes away the choice and the roleplay. The player is no longer evil because of whatever story he has imagined for his character, he is evil simply because he comes from the evil world.

    I don't think there even needs to be a very developed story or world personally. You can write a good bit about a characters personality without having to define everything so much. Isn't that what the character blurbs should be about? Personality? Not story... story will play out in the game.

    I always liked the games that didn't overload you with back story. Like Morrowind. You start off on a prison ship. Why are you there? Don't know. Why did they release you? Don't know. Who were you before? Who knows. Who will you be now? You get to decide as you play.

    /more rambling

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    hmm thats a big wall of text. I guess that can be condensed to:

    1) I'd rather draw cool looking characters and then try to figure out what their story is rather than try to construct a story and written descriptions for the characters and then try to stuff the drawings into those corners and make them fit. That approach I feel will just stifle creativity.

    2) I feel you all are trying to define good and evil too much. Leave that up to the game designers and the players. And the writers! We are all visual people here. I don't know about you, but I'm no writer. This is a concept art challenge. Visuals take precedence.

    3) These characters don't even have to have any relationships with each other or exist in the world at the same time. They are templates that the player chooses from. Thats a key difference from the last TCHOW which was very much about relationships.

    Also, in the last TCHOW my team bothered to come up with a story. It was about a cataclysmic event that ruined the Earth and in the process "Seeded" the moon and made it habitable. There was also an atmospheric "bridge" connecting the Earth to the moon that people could travel through via hot air balloons/airships. None of this came across in the character designs or added anything to them that unified them. The only thing that unified them was our decision in the very beginning to give them all some sort of sea shells in their costumes. All time spent working out a grand story was time wasted.

    Last edited by Burtzum; August 3rd, 2009 at 09:13 PM.
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  26. #49
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    Daestwen:I wouldn't worry too much. think about it like joices that the player can make for a character - either they can play the character good, or they can play them evil. Rather than two identical people who happened to be opposites on that spectrum and live in the universe at the same time, they are the same person who could take two different life paths. :]

    So I guess the previous story about two parallel universe is out of the question. Burt suggest that we could just come up with personality, and no story at all. I think I finally get a grasp of what exactly they're looking for in this contest.

    I think it's like in the traditional AD&D forgotten realms games like Baldur's Gate, or Neverwinter Nights, at the very beginning of the game, when the players know little about the game, the player will come to a screen where you either create your own character, or choose from several preset characters. Recent console RPGs tent to give only preset characters to choose from, easier to control during game play, and can add character specified side quests. The preset characters has a default name, but the players can over write it with their own.

    So I think that's our approach for now.

    I think we still need to come up with a character break down, include:

    A default name

    Gender

    Race

    Class

    Brief personal background and personality description. Something we can eventually use for our character description for the final piece.

    [edit] I just realized there characters doesn't need to be related...and they could be from whatever race/class we created, as long as we keep give it a mythical feel. I've been searching images online and there's like whole section of oriental class on wizard of the Coast website. So I guess that's what I'm going to do with my character. I want to combine a Chinese/tibetan mythical creature with my character, create a new race and class. [end edit]

    Last edited by fluorine; August 3rd, 2009 at 11:50 PM.
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  27. #50
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    Hmm.

    This contest is very strange for me so far, to see myself quoted in so many places and my words given so much weight, both in and out of context!

    I took the question posed to me originally as from someone who was worried about the amount of work that they were putting in and wanted to know if they were over complicating things.

    Yes, you can simplify it to what I said, of course.

    That being said, i think creating back story and worlds is wonderful and an important design process that is sadly overlooked by many people, and I would never want to discourage you from that approach.

    Whether or not that backstory will shine through your characters is about how you approach the character creation after that point, not whether or not you create the story at first. Even if you don't write the story down, you can definitely tell when a team has a unified world in mind, an writing stuff down only helps that.

    Both the winning teams last time had very unified designs that really tied the characters into the same world. There are many approaches to this, but I think it's a little early in the contest to be slamming a method to do this.

    Sorry for my interruption guys, but I really hate to be misunderstood this way. :/ I hope I've made myself a bit clearer!


    Ps. Chow is a great place to hone your skills. Just ask Trevor or Poshspice or any of the regulars here, it's a good place to show how well you can work. I am hoping that Team Chow allows you to showcase not only your artistic skills, but also your teamworking and process skills, and to hone them in the meantime.

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  29. #51
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    Thanks daestwen!

    well, at least we have a general design direction - tibetian/tribal style with the japanese patterns etc, if I got that right. Hopefully by the end of the work week we'll have the races/classes figured out so we can move forward.

    here are two mages - human and elf.

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    here's my design of the night, half elf assassin. I'm not sure what i should do with her ear, so I covered it up...LOL. I'm torn between go with the traditional race, and create my own humanoid race.

    But Tibetan mixed up with Japanese style works pretty well for me.

    PS, I just realized I didn't turn pen pressure on! for all these time, I'm using wacon without pen pressure on!!!! I'm an idiot!!!

    PS2, after seening Nightblue's mage, I start to wondering how primitive we're talking about, because apparently, Nightblue's mage and my assassin is about several hundred years away from each other.

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  31. #53
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    Thought we were doing tribal?

    Honestly, I don't care which direction we are going for. It'd be my challenge to myself to make my character work within whatever time period we decide to go for, as a game concept artist must learn to work within limitations.

    But exactly what are we going for?

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    Hmmm. Good question. Well in high fantasy I usually think of grand sets of full body armor. But you can easily incorporate tribal design aesthetics into that sort of armor and have it look more interesting than a standard plate mail suit. Before the brief was released we were doing high tech sci fi influenced by other cultures, tribal garb, traditional garb, etc. Now we're just doing high fantasy with those same influences.

    I like the rows of horizontal lines running down your second character's clothes. I also like the trinkets and what seems to be furs and grasses in the clothing designs. All of those things can be used in a metallic armor design.

    At the same time I don't think every race needs to have the same tech level or the same design sense. Orcs can be more primitive than everyone else for example. That makes sense to me. They can be more tribal looking while elves are more armored and arabian looking, meanwhile dwarves are even more heavily armored and more tibetan influenced... etc. to reflect the different parts of the world that they are from.

    We were thinking orcs are from the swamps. If we end up using the natural body armor idea Moai came up with (I love it), then their armor can be more sparse and tribal than everyone else. We can even still give them metallic armor sections if we want, maybe make it look like roughly cast metal. beaten metal. you know? not super smooth armor. Orcs don't have patience or dexterity to make beautiful armor with smooth contours.

    We were thinking elves in the desert. Arabian influences would make sense. Dwarves underground and/or in mountains. Tibetan and Mongolian influences maybe? These races can have more fancy pretty armor.

    just my thoughts. On the 9th when we start to figure out exactly who is doing what, we will need to make final decisions about these sorts of things to have everything make sense to the viewer.

    Last edited by Burtzum; August 4th, 2009 at 01:20 PM.
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  33. #55
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    Ahh, tribal in style rather than tribal in tech level - that makes perfect sense.

    It's not difficult to tech up... in fact, i had to force myself to tech down. No complaints here

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    also don't be afraid to use other materials in the armors. I think we were thinking of making one of the races coastal. They could have lots of shell influence. crustacean influence. shark tooth trinkets. etc.

    Right now is the time to be super creative and interesting. I have today and tomorrow off of work. Woot. Time to draw.

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    I'm excited to see where this team goes

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  37. #58
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    also don't be afraid to use other materials in the armors. I think we were thinking of making one of the races coastal. They could have lots of shell influence. crustacean influence. shark tooth trinkets. etc.
    I'm planning on sketching some dwarf-types with stone armor. Not the most practical, but unique, and fitting for a race that prides themselves in their strength and ruggedness.
    Digging your thoughts on the various possible cultural influences.

    Nightblue, cool sketches! The only problem I see is that the twist is too pronounced in the elf's pose.

    Daestwen, thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts!

    Matte_Art, thanks! I hope we don't disappoint.

    Edit: Here's some quick sketches of an elfin character, somewhat mantis-themed. The costume design was fun, which was nice, since I was just talking to Burton yesterday about how difficult costume design can be. A possible problem with the design is that, though she is an armed and combative character, she is also completely unarmored. Another problem is that her portrait looks creepy.
    Also, in flagrant violation of fantasy art tradition, this female character has no breasts to speak of. But that's more because I didn't want to deal with how those protrusions would deform the fabric of her costume than an aesthetic choice.

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  39. #59
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    Another quick sketch of an Female Assassin character. I try to giver her some snake character, and because snake has no visible ears, she doesn't have visible ears either. I'm still no sure how tribal/primitive we are going at, just through in some ideas. I borrowed a lot of different elements for her design. it's really hard to say her period...

    As for the race, I think she's somewhere around an half-elf, between a human and an more snake looking elf kind people. So she's half breed. her body is only partially covered with scales.

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    Last edited by fluorine; August 4th, 2009 at 10:44 PM.
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    taking a shot at crayfish orc.

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