Reworking Fantasy Characters

Sorry that this post keeps coming back in your feed. It was unintended – I’m just trying to finish! But I had hit Publish instead of Save Draft and… well… the rest you can figure out.

I love me some Cracked.com, as you may have noticed. Recently, a new article has tickled my fancy (whatever that means), and it’s right up this blogs alley: “5 Fantasy Characters That Need to be Rebooted.”

We’ve noted on this blog before how Tolkein-esque the fantasy world in general has gotten. Well not gotten. But been. Been since The Hobbit came out. The article suggests 5 ways to sort of de-Tolkeinize fantasy – or at least to bend fantasy “rules” a little bit. The funny thing is, a lot of the suggestions have already been used in video games like in the War Craft and Elder Scrolls series.

What are we doing to add some pizzazz to our world?

1. Elves in our world were discussed more extensively in the link above. Really, I guess Arinnel is kind of a typical “magic girl” of anime even though she – and most others in the game – are not magic. So what makes us different?
Our elves are really not a far stretch off from humans. They are mortal – but are able to live for long periods in good conditions, like plants.
I think it’s a great idea to include non-warriors in their society – I also think it’s a great idea not to make them so fantastically skilled at everything, or so incredibly high above humans.
I think overall, many of our elves are lovers, not fighters. Arinnel, as I’ve pointed out, is an herbalist, primarily a healer. Although there are many elves whose warrior sense has been excited by war, and who are now taking part on the front lines.

2. We don’t really feature any races other than elves and humans. The article kind of facetiously talks about a brittle bone disease-stricken dwarf, racially oppressed goblins, and hordes with personality. I really did like the blurb about the oppressed goblins – after all, our “enemies” probably view us just as we view them.
Our elves and our humans exhibit that as they racially oppress each other. Each holds the other to stereotypes, having a general disgust of each other. Like other racially charged disputes, these biases will be difficult to overcome for some – long-term for many. But overcoming them is the only way to reach peace.

3. Most of the humans that feature in our game are soldiers, trained and battle-ready. The article’s viewpoint is that humans need to be less heroic, arguing that humans really aren’t – that humans suck. I disagree about humans sucking. I disagree about humans lacking heroism – history is full of heroes. But I do agree that humans don’t often live up to the roles we hope they would. I do think, however, that training can help us accomplish that.
So while Ren doesn’t suck by any means, he’s doing what he does because he’s trained, because he’s smart, and because he’s talented. But he’s no Aragorn – he’s not going to lead an army of pirate ghosts. And likely he’ll even be afraid in the face of death. He’s not going to be sliding down the swords of orcs and killing dozens at a time. He’ll do what we all do: rely on the people we trust. Chip at our goal little bit little. And work hard – really hard.

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