Saturday, October 20, 2012

Character Overview: Elarr

As I was writing The Depths of Despair, I knew that I needed to add a second character. Dialogue is pretty limited if you only have one character...unless he is crazy. In my original concept I had a female aranea. For those unfamiliar, they are a type of shapeshifting spider from D&D that can cast spells. I've always been a big fan of them. However, since I am trying to avoid using things trademarked to D&D that idea had to be nixed.

I needed a character that was different from Fland, but decided I did not want something so strange that it would overshadow the intended main character. I also knew that I wanted the character to still be a spellcaster. I settled on an elf. A fantasy classic that got me something that was not human, but not completely alien either. An elf really fit the roll of spellcaster as well. In the world that I am developing and in which the story was set, one of the three races of elves is all about the arcane arts.

Because he was somewhat a spur of the moment character, I did not have a lot of personality planned out for Elarr. I did not even have a concept for him until it was time to introduce him to the story. For that reason, I started out mainly playing off his differences between him and Fland. Where Fland is reckless and direct, Elarr is cautious and methodical. In a lot of ways he is a very cliche elf wizard, aloof and arrogant.

As the story developed, though, he began to take on a life of his own. He started to take on professorial role. He was the knowledgeable one. I realized that Elarr was an academic at his core. However, later on he shows that he knows how to fight. So maybe he is a bit like Indiana Jones, though more on the professor side than the adventurer side. One of the earliest developments for him was early on when he was demanding formality from his partner. I started thinking about it and determined, this guy has to be a noble. That never really came out in the story though.

A lot of Elarr's dialogue was affected by characters I had played in a D&D game, who was in turn influenced by the characters Black Mage and Fighter from 8-bit theater. I was at Origins one year and ended up in a game where I had to play two characters, a human fighter and an elf wizard. To have fun with them, the fighter was always wanting to talk with anything they met or blunder into every situation. The whole time, his wizard friend was cursing him for getting them into trouble.

Designing his appearance was fun. I knew that he had to be wearing something that shouted, "Not a warrior!" but showed off some flair. At first I was going to do a robe, but that seemed a bit to like the usual, not to mention robes are not really the best garb for adventuring. A long tunic, however, gives the same impression. I thought it could be what elf mages wear instead of robes like a human mage. It needed color. Blue seemed to shout that Elarr was not a woodsman, while some green also was a reminder that he is an elf and is at home with nature. It was the crystalline walking staff that I considered genius. Its not the regular old wizard's staff and is very suggestive of power. At the time, I was envisioning the elves being very fond of crystal, living in castles with crystal roofs to let in sunlight.

While Elarr did not start out with much of a plan, he has grown on me. I have more than a few things to do with him still. He will be playing a big role in the novel I am hoping to get done next month. So if you are fan of Elarr, I am glad you enjoy and let me know what it is that you've liked about him.

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