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Full Version: To all you writers: help me flesh out this guy!
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Hi guys!

After years of GMing I finally get to play again for once! Whoot!
So, this whole things was rather spontaneous. I was fed up with GMing for my group and a friend of mine offered to take the place. I agreed and thus was cast in the role of a player while he took my seat. Now I quickly had to get my hands on a character. I didn't really have any inspiration or time to build one at that time so I took a look at what I had done in the past. The only character that I found to be fitting for this group (not too melodramatic, not overlapping too much with the other characters, etc.) was Jack Frost, a guy that I created for a game on Dumpshock a good while back which never really got started. So this guy was practically unplayed and I really wanted to try him out since he's really different from what I usually play.

Here's a short rundown of him and his history for reference. I put it in spoilers in order to keep the post short and to avoid scrolling for those who have already read it.
[ Spoiler ]

Now to my problem:
I've been playing this character for about three sessions now and I'm starting to stumble a bit. The first run was a survival run, thus being atypical. The second run is just starting. The preparation for it took up all of the last session.
There are a few logistical problems but I'm not really worried about them. They make things a bit inconvenient but they also stress that he's a pretty far-out guy. For example he doesn't have a phone. The only way to contact him is to actually go and visit him and hope that he's at home. It can also be problematic that he basically can't handle any modern weaponry. As I said, it keeps things interesting and I'm not really wanting to change these things. Maybe I'll train him some more in firearm skills some time.
My real problem lies in his personality. The way it is now he's totally boring. He has no long- or shortterm goals, he has nobody and nothing he cares for. He has bascially no personal agenda.
It's hard to soften him up without leaving the path of Fenrir (which would make him totally useless in the game). There's nothing really sympathetic to him. Unlike Dog, Fenrir is not a pack animal, so I can not play him as the protector of the pack. I thought that he could maybe adopt a girl but I can't see that meshing well with Fenrir and I also don't really see how he could provide a good life for a little girl. After all he lives in the forest in a small 1-room hut without electricity or running water and he rather likes it that way (and so do I).
I thought of him maybe regretting his past and trying to make up for it now but I believe that this would offend Fenrir.
Back in the day I consciously decided to not give him any hobbies because I thought it wouldn't fit into the image of an animalistic hunting machine. The only thing that comes close to a hobby would be his woodworking skill, which he picked up from his father as a kid. However, I played it in a way that he only uses it for practical reasons and doesn't enjoy it much since it comes from a time that he doesn't really like to remember.

It's obvious that his psychological profile is pretty twisted. He's trying not to think about his past too much and is covering all his "soft" emotions in rage (pain of being a cast out of society and for not being loved, doubt about his deeds, pain of the loss of his family, self-hatred, etc.)
Fenrir doesn't really allow for this kind of softness. I thought I could maybe build something out of this. It could be a pretty epical battle when Jack tries to shake of the demon that possesses him, struggling with himself and his animalistic drives, thriving to be a better man. However, should he be successfull, it would result in him loosing all his magic, making him just a (strong) guy with antiquated skills.

Usually I don't really have a problem coming up with interesting character but I'm really stumped on this one because of the ties to Fenrir.
So, the question goes out to you creative people: any ideas on how to give this character more depth and make him more interesting to play for me and more interesting to experience for the other players as well?
My first coment is give him a phone. At the very least his fixer would hand him a 3 year old out of date phone and instruct him on how answer a call because a fixer isnít going to leav town to find a runner.

In spit of the harshness of his existence he probably seas it as perfectly adequate and would have no problem with the idea of bringing in a little girl, at least not because of what it would deny her, after all he grew up in not such dissimilar circumstances and he turned out ok, didnít he,

You could extend the woodworking into a hobby, something he enjoyed doing before things got bad in the village but it wouldnít ad much in the way of motivation, maintenance on a woodworking shop is pretty cheep, especially is its all hand tools (I would allow a hand woodworking shop, sheep but would multiply bas production times by 2-10 depending on eth sides of the item.)

There are elements of softness that can almost mesh with Fenrir, limiting aggression for minor slights buy ďfriendsĒ to nasty looks (evident that violence is just below the surface) provided they donít keep pushing and you can adopt the opinion that some people are so weak you can afford to let them posture and be rood to you because they are just not a threat (I can just see you turning up to a meet with a J that has been warned about your aggressive tendencies and he makes a disparaging remark and you just scoff at him and go on.)

Lastly there are the situations when you really want to cave somebodyís skull in but your intelligence reminds you that they still havenít given you the information/payment yet, ie being forced to accept a power other than strength.


Whatever you do, you are going to have to something, how do you play a deposed despot dictator who enjoys violence without hurting the game? Or atleast turning every simple socal interaction into a feasico. Wonce you have ruled with terror and an iron fist, you are going to long for it. The power, the tangable fear of your subjects, unlimited breading rights (or at least that is what he would call it), It would be hard to give up just like that.

Something could have changed in him to make him less aggresive, and suspend his desire of conguest. Perhaps he can have a revolation that there is more to power than bashing in skulls. Perhaps being kicked out of his village and destroying everyone he ever cared for has tought him something about moderation. Or at least to wait untill the time is right and he is powerfull enough to truly rule with an iron fist.
Well, I don't think I explicitly stated it in the history but I did have quite a few "discouraging" events in mind for the time he came to the shadows. Ravaging a hillbilly village is one thing, making it in the Shadows is something completely different. He quickly learned that he'd have to work in a team and that violence doesn't get him too far since he's not the strongest guy around any more. Taking such a plunge was a hard thing to swallow for him but I'm not quite sure what to do with that yet. Making him all mellow and reasonable just because of that seems to be pretty un-natural to me.

One thing he did learn is to keep his mouth shut and stay in the background in most social circumstances. It keeps him from getting attacked, thus there is no urge for retaliation. He also knows that there isn't much he could do anyways. He doesn't know much about talking and he is aware of that.

The problem about giving him a phone is that he doesn't have electricity - and I want to keep it that way. He is used to it and it adds some nice flavor. He does know how to operate a generator but running a generator in order to recharge a cellphone seems to be a bit over the top for me...
I actually had to check to make sure he even had a fixer. It never came up in the game. Actually, quite against my habbit, I haven't fleshed out a single of his contacts since they didn't seem particularly important to his character or backstory.
I thought of maybe having his fixer be a guy who regularly hangs out at a nearby truckstop or something. Maybe even the owner of that joint. He oftentimes (like, every other day) goes there to have a few pints and maybe indulge in a nice little brawl with a few trolls, should the opportunity arise. Maybe that truckstop even has a boxing ring. That way he could earn some money and wouldn't wreck the truckstop every time. I imagine his fixer to be some sleazy Wormtongue-like guy who just hangs out at the place and knows how to take advantage of people. He saw that Jack has some "potential" and decided to hang on to him. He buys some of Jacks woodwork in order to sell it. Or so he tells him. He really does it to keep the contact. Jack would probably outright kill him if he found out that he doesn't sell them but throws them away or burns them for heating. I'm not sure about that last part though, that seems pretty harsh. Maybe he does really sell them. It's money after all. Yea, lets just say he rips Jack of and sells them as original Amerindian art for more than three times what he paid Jack. Jack would still kill him if he found out. Just not as slowly.
That fixer is really starting to take shape. He doesn't like Jack at all and thinks he's a bit daft, which is a mistake. Luckily he is good enough of an actor to not let it show while he is around Jack. He actually makes him feel like he admires him. As I said, Wormtongue. Jack did make the mistake of trusting him as he was the first guy to help him get around this "new world" (new hunting grounds?).

The woodworking could indeed be some nice hobby. I can imagine the narrow muddy road leading to his hut being "decorated" with all these eerie little statuettes and figures - kinda like in Blairwitch Project! And two big contorted statues of Fenrir right in front of his hut!

Oh yea and I just wanted to add that I'm not playing Jack to the limit anyways. If I did that I'd also have to play him grabbing a random woman and raping her in a back alley. We have a player in the group who is, well, a little on the soft side. She already gives me angry looks whenever I hint at the canibalistic tendencies and stuff like that. Also, I am not exactly comfortable with that topic either. Jack is already pushing my moral boundaries pretty far but playing a rapist doesn't work for me at all, even though I like to explore those dark abysses of the human soul in RPGs and I'm known for doing pretty freaky things, both as a GM as well as a player.
Just thought I'd mention that so you don't get any wrong ideas. Had to think about that as wagnern mentioned the "exclusive breeding rights".

About having a girl with him... well... He's not totally dumb and adopting a girl would presume that he does have a soft spot. I believe that he would see how everyone around him is totally different than he is and that he sees how this might be the right way of life for him but that it wouldn't be adequate at all for a little girl. I believe he would not want her to be an outcast but instead would want her to have the childhood he never had: good education, lots of friends, etc. Living out there in the woods would be a major hindrance to that. It would be an interesting story twist if that girl was to get to that soft spot inside him and somehow "domesticate" him, so that he moves into the city and learns how to do all the stuff that is needed in a city - like operate a phone, use an electric oven, talk to people, etc. However, I believe that is pretty far fetched and would take the character into a direction that I don't want him to go for these games.

Okay, so we have just given him somewhat of a life. That's a good start... now for the goals, motivations and "spice", to make him more interesting...
Hmm. Maybe a variation on adopting would work then?

He takes someone under his wing.. they don't move, he just prowls by every few days. Warns off the people who cause problems, "straightens out" (read: adds a few bendy places where there shouldn't be) landlords who want to throw the family out.. that sort of thing. Maybe he sees something of himself in her, and wants her to have the life he didn't -- so he teaches her. Tries to make her understand the things he views as mistakes.

Even adds an interesting twist with the family. Could be just a single mother -- maybe not. How would they react to this "savage" taking an interest in their daughter's life?
Eyeless Blond
QUOTE (MrSandman666 @ May 14 2005, 11:42 PM)
The problem about giving him a phone is that he doesn't have electricity - and I want to keep it that way. He is used to it and it adds some nice flavor. He does know how to operate a generator but running a generator in order to recharge a cellphone seems to be a bit over the top for me...

Solar cells. He doesn't really need a generator, just some solar cells on his roof, hooked up to a battery in his house. It's a small concession to the modern world, but it's an important one as it opens the door to stuff like lighting and a water pump later on.

As for adopting a daughter or something... nah, that sounds a little cliche, and too strikingly different from what he's about. Give him a dog instead, How about this: Jack shoots a wolf who was trespassing on his property. He finds out she's a mother of three small cubs, and decides to raise them. He justifies it to himself as getting three free guard animals, but in reality he actually feels a bit guilty for killing a wolf who was just taking care of its cubs.

Later on, when you get tired of "just" having wolf cubs around, have him initiate and make one of 'em his familiar (or have the familiar Materialize as another wolf or something, even that little girl dea you're playing around with biggrin.gif). That seems more this guy's MO than adopting a kid, unless the kid's his neice or something, and even then it's a bit of a strech.
Oops, there have been replies and I didn't even notice it - again... spam filters are such a nice thing but sometimes they just get in the way *sigh*.

Well... I like both of your ideas, the pets as well as the protector. Since the pets are easier to do I'll probably get them into the game first. The protector seems to have too much potential to me to just throw it in without much thought. The next game is tomorrow, so I probably won't make it until then. i want to make this girl/family something special.
It's a tricky point though. He somewhat of a local celebrety. Well, not really but he does stick out. He has a few hang-outs and all the regulars know him and they know that he's a bit weird and that you better don't mess with him. As I said, he does show fights and he has killed more than one enemy in the ring "by accident".
Nobody really knows where he lives and those who do can't really tell the tale any more (except for a few people he trusts, a.k.a. his fellow runners)
So, making aquaintance with anyone who knows about him will be hard. Children will be the only persons who might actually let him near them - if they are not intimidated by his mere appearance, that is. And even people (i.e. adults) who don't know him will try to keep away from him simply because he looks, well, dangerous. Not in the sense of being armed or anything but he looks like the classical chainsaw murderer. Scarred, badly shaved, long and slightly fatty hair, hulkish, etc.

well, I'll keep thinking about it. If anyone has any more ideas, let me know! smile.gif
I'd say that if the GM lets you, there's a serious possibility of this guy going down the Twisted Way. More power, and do-gooders trying to kill you. biggrin.gif wink.gif

Anyway, if he decided to go into Seattle after being kicked out of a village in the countryside, he probably is Amerindian, so the fixer probably isn't lying when he's selling it as 'original Amerindian art'.

As for the adoption, well, maybe she is a corporate heiress whose famly was traveling, but their plane crashed (shot down?). She was the only survivor, and wandered the wilderness until, half dead from exposure, she had a vision of a massive wolf telling her to follow him. So she does, and she is led to your guy. When he hears her story, he decides to take her under his wing, so to speak. And so he gained his second contact, who is either a very weak shaman, a totem path magician, or a shamanistc magician's way adept (any of the above following Fenrir).
I have another potential take on adopting a girl, one that might fit better with a Fenrir Shaman.
She could be an urchin, the sinless daughter of a sinless BTLhead who left her in a dumpster just hours after she was born. She would have spent her entire life on the streets, barely surviving, eating out of dumpsters, begging for scraps, stealing, narrowly avoiding victimization at the hands of countless predators and sometimes not avoiding it.

He wouldn't be taking her away from a normal life. He would be giving her a better life than she would have any hope for otherwise. At the same time, he isn't just getting a dependant. She is street smart. She knows her way around this modern world that is so foreign to him. She can be his eyes, ears, and mouth on the streets of Seatle. And, as she learns from him, she can become his sword.
Perhaps she is an adept whose magical tanent would be forever wasted. She has a few powers that have kept her alive on the streets, possible social powers that help her get through Jacks gruff exterior and convince him to take her in. Social powers that make her an even greater asset to a man with no social abilities of his own.
Maybe, for her birthday, instead of a sim game or a fancy neckless he gives her a hand-carved doll and the present that just keeps on giving, a finger-tip compartment with a spool of monowire in it.
I see no reason why Jack should have any qualms about twisting her into an ammoral killer like himself. It would be something that she would welcome as well, after such a harsh life. Certainly the streets have already twisted her morality to a breaking point.

Another thing to consider is thak Jack has had a chance to see what real power is. He had a little bit of power but that was fleeting and minor. That power is held by the MegaCorporations. If he still has any longing for power and domination, they should be his ultimate goal. As foreign and confusing as their world is to him it should be obvious that they dominate all. The only way to gain true power is to dominate a Megacorp.

Also, he now knows that there is strength in numbers. Even weaklings can defeat a superior foe if there are enough of them, as he learned the hard way. As much of a loner as Fenrir is the giant wolf understands about the importance of having allies. He does fight alongside his father Loki at the battle of Ragnarok.
Nice, very nice!

While I don't want to play a truely evil guy (which is what the twisted way represents) I really like your take on the corporate orphan, nick.

It also meshes really well with the stuff that hyzmarca wrote, which was brilliant as usual. The concept of allies is pretty well known to Jack as he has been defeated a few times before by simply being outnumbered.

I also really like the idea of how dominating a megacorp would be the ultimate goal, though I don't see how that would work just yet. For one he probably wouldn't know how to weild that power. It's a power that is totally alien to him. One needs to be smart and social in order to use a megacorp, even if you're only controling it indirectly by intimidating important chairmen.
It's something I'll keep in mind though.

Another problem is that I'm still not quite sure in which direction to take him. I'm still flirting with the concept of softening him up a bit, which wouldn't mesh well with ultimate power being his goal. Maybe I'll carry it through more consequently though and keep him on the evil side. I guess I need to "explore my feelings", to quote Star Wars.

Great input though, guys! Keep it coming!
The great thing about ultimate goals is that the character doesn't have to have a realistic chance of accomplishing them now. It is something that he could spend decades working toward.
If murdering his parents and being drivin out of his home didn't bring Jack to a cathartic rejection of Fenrir it may have been a catalyst for a reinterperitation of what Fenrir is about. Perhaps he failed because he wasn't following his totem correctly and will strive to remedy this error. This, of course, requires a great change in him. It would be very slow as he beigins to devolp skills and attitudes that will help him be dominant in the Sixth World. As he starts looking at the big picture terrorizing individuals becomes less and less important than gaining respect. This could be seen as softening but Fenrir wouldn't see it that way, so long as his brutality rises to a grander scale. Of course, that beserker rage would always be lurking in the background, waiting to be unleashed.

History and Greek tragidies have shown us that those who persue power of power's sake still have soft spots. Everyone needs love, even a tyrant. Alexander killed his best friend in a drunken argument but he did have a best friend. Agememnon loved his daughter deerly, which is why he used her as a blood sacrifice to get good winds on his way to sack Troy. And he still needed the love of his wife when he returned home. Unfortunatly, Agememnon was too stupid to think that his wife would have held a grudge over the murder of their daughter.

Although these examples don't seem to bode well my point is that he can pursue power and have friendships. Business need not interfere with personal life and Fenrir shamen don't take a vow against love.

One important question is who patient is he. If he has the patience of a craftsman and a hunter then he could quite well work toward gaining real power and develop real friendships. If he simply an impulsive bully who needs instant gratification then he is already dead.

The important thing to keep him on the path of Fenrir is to retain his brutality. That brutality doesn't have to be wild and unfocused like it was in the village. Rather he would have to learn to keep it in check around most people but could gleefully unleash it against enemies. As time progresses it doesn't even have to manifest as physical violence. Twenty years in the future he may gain the same visceral pleasure from destroying a rival financially that he gains from throwing a pencil through a rival's head today. But, it probably won't be any time soon. It probably won't be before he retires.
Hyzmarca, you're brilliant!
Sorry sandman no suggestions, but I am SO GLAD YOU GET TO PLAY WOOHOO!!!

So am I! smile.gif

BTW: when's that promised sequel to Threat and Favor going to happen? wink.gif
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