Wednesday, May 15, 2013

On Warlock RP

Wanted to check in today. It's been a bit. I was reading Poneria's little spat of fiction over at Fel Concentration, and fondly remembering my own glory days with RP here on the site. That was a lot of fun, wasn't it? Warlocks make great fictional characters. They are predisposed to walk the good/evil line, and it makes for a very interesting protagonist. How can you make someone who is, essentially, evil be sympathetic? How can a group where "selfishness" is a core value ever go on some sort of epic hero journey?

I watched Iron Man 3 last weekend, and really enjoyed the movie. I had the crazy notion just this morning that, you know, Tony Stark might just be a Warlock. IM3 certainly had the minion thing down. Plus, he is an inherently selfish character.

The cool part about that movie, to me, was the cleverness with which the story was pulled off. In the Avengers movie, the very fabric of the world was in jeopardy what with the alien invasion and Norse gods and all. It was the epitome of a "save the world" plot. How, then, do you create a movie in the same universe, with the same character, and have it retain a high stakes feel? It's like... well, we just saved the world, now what? Sequels in general struggle often with this problem. The stakes were so high in a previous movie and any subsequent plot will fall a bit flat.

There is a neat little trick that I think IM3 nailed. Instead of putting the whole wide world in jeopardy, you need only put the main character's world in jeopardy. If you make a likable character, then threatening things that are important to them can really raise the stakes without needing to resort to threats of a more global variety.

As a Warlock, I appreciate this. Saving the world doesn't always appeal to me. Sometimes, well... let 'em burn, right? Yet, threaten what I love and... it's on! Blizzard has a hard time using this trick, since we'd all be protagonists in Azeroth. Global threats are the only ones that seem to work well, which perhaps is why I feel it gets a bit overdone there. They have some good story threads, but my favorite by far was the Lich King. Fitting, then, that it may be perhaps the most personal of the Azerothian storylines.

I've been working with a character, Damian, on my writing blog that I'm trying to make into a bit of a Warlock. As much fun as WoW RP fiction was, I really enjoy working in my own world as well. It's more challenging, but I can also publish it at the end of the day and don't have to worry about offending any IP lawyers. Still, I'm trying to carry what I've learned over into my fiction. Tortured, somewhat ambiguous characters are fun to write. And, also, don't forge to make it personal.

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