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Advice Needed For Writing A Miscivious Hero

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by ShadeZ, Apr 5, 2020.

  1. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Sage

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    Hello all,

    I need some help working with a hero character who has a number of morally chaotic aligned behaviors. I am trying to find a good way to balance his heroism with his chaotic nature. He is known for being charismatic, politically suave, sensitive to the feelings of his friends, and incredibly smart and in control. However on the downsides he is also know to be sadistic, bloodthirsty, and violent towards his percieved enemies and threats to his family or himself and will often use his charms on his enemies. He is very close with a dragon slayer who is a ferocious warlord and another dragon slayer who is a very dangerous assassin. The three of them grew up together with each other and they often saved each other's lives.
     
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  2. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Inkling

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    Interweave examples of the character's mostly good behaviors that are both good for the sake of good, and other examples where mischief is surgically applied. If the character does great and terrible (violent) things, but keeps to a strict self-imposed moral code, then the choice for violence is not erratic or unpredictable. It's cold, precise, and calculating. Patience would be a good quality to have in this character. Provocations might need to really escalate, but make no mistake, violence is always an option.

    Just because you are proficient at inflicting harm, doesn't mean you have to take yourself so seriously while you're doing it. That could come across as slightly unhinged or sadistic to outside observers.

    You can have empathy, charisma, intelligence and still beat somebody senseless if they cross a line, and go back to having a good sunshiney day afterwards.
     
    ShadeZ likes this.
  3. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Sage

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    This character is extremely patient and calm it goes with the political and smart part. Nearly every action he commits he thinks out regarding possible outcomes. He is decisive about everything he does and one of the effects he gets for being a dragon slayer is he doesn't feel guilt or emotional recoil of any kind over killing, harming, or threatening his enemies. The question is how to have him not come of as a bit of a psychopath for intentionally committing very violent actions often in a very cruel way. It is common for this character to kill members of the cult that hunts dragon slayers who decided to fund raiders to attack villages to weaken them for draconic or cult take over.

    However the issue is he will for example charm a cultist woman to a private place so he can kill her, plant incriminating evidence on cultists knowing they will be executed by the kings men when caught, he will hunt cultist and make no attempt to conceal that he is after them and kill any bodyguards in his way leaving a massive carnage in his wake, he will send his assassin friend after targets and she will be equally obvious and brutal for the same reason as to why he is obvious about it.

    His reasoning for this is to scare the cult and deter their efforts as well as to protect his friends and family since their all dragon slayers or related to dragon slayers. I could add his reasoning such as how he has seen villages with thousands of dead and tortured people merely because the cult heard they harbored a dragon slayer or knew the location of one.
     
  4. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Inkling

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    ^ that scenario sounds like espionage-operative type personas. I don't see the problem with putting that character on paper at all. I still recommend strategic interweaving of other examples of the character's ethos and proclivities into your work.
     
    ShadeZ likes this.
  5. The question for me is "does it actually matter if he is a bit of a psychopath?"

    There's plenty of books and tv series where the protagonist is a psychopath, murderer or thief. Most people were rooting for Dexter (who is a serial killer after all) or the thiefs in Ocean's 11. Nothing wrong with having a psychopath as a protagonist. You just have to make sure that whatever he's fighting is worse and that he has some morals or redeeming qualities
     
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  6. Nirak

    Nirak Minstrel

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    Night Gardener hit it - when you were describing him it immediately made me think of James Bond. Most spies HAVE to have a dark side to survive, so check out some of those characters for ways to make them flawed but likable. Humor is always a big one, but also show their soft side right off the bat. If the readers' initial impression is positive, that's what they'll take with them while you explore the rest of the character.
     
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  7. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Sage

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    Well the intro to this character is that he holds a blade to a boy mages neck to flush out an opponent then shortly after protects the same boy he was seemingly going to kill. Not sure if that's positive or not haha.
     
  8. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Inkling

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    If you have your MC terrorize the boy, but then give the boy a nice bit of coin (after he gets who he's really after) and high-fives the kid on the way out with a "that was even better than last time, much more convincing!" I would personally laugh my a$$ off.
     
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  9. The Dark One

    The Dark One Archmage

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  10. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Sage

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    So the kid was talking to his warlord friend and saw the warlord crouch like he was going to fight/sneak attack Robin. He runs to warn Robin and Robin holds a knife to the kids neck to call out the warlord so he won't sneak attack him. It was all in play as Robin later explains. The mage came to study dragon slayers and dragon slayers male one particularly tend to greet each other by play attacking each other. He explains later there was no actual threat to the mage as the blade is enchanted to not harm the innocent. The kid makes the mistake of saying half elves lives are worth nothing (warlord was in love with a half elf who was murdered by his enemies to get at him) this sets the warlord off a bit and Robin defends the kid to his friend explaining humans keep elf hybrids as slaves and are taught to think of them as worthless and that attacking him for his ignorance isn't the way to go about it but that they should calmly explain that half elves matter too and are equal to humans.

    So it covers a lot about Robin key bits are 1, he will use someone to flush out a stronger opponent, 2, he doesnt believe in attacking people over differences in belief, 3, he is strongly against slavery and views all races as equals. While it has a rocky start I think this is a good intro for him because it shows a lot about his personality.
     
    Night Gardener likes this.
  11. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Sage

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    This is very interesting. So in this story dragon slayers aren't very popular with humans because they are so strong laws can't really be enforced on them. They do have limits that are part of them as a species, certain things that they are unable to do not matter what simalar to how a vampire can not enter an abode unless invited in. For example, they can not take the life of an innocent human, if someone grabs them because they are begging for help or seeking answers then they become unable to pull away from the human's grip, it is near impossible for them to not intervene if someone is being wrongly robbed, attacked, or even executed for something their guiltless of, etc, they can not lie to a good human, they can not severely wound a good human. But they keep this secret from humans obviously. Since laws can't be enforced on them and since they are incapable of human things such as group thinking and they lack the civilization component almost entirely humans tend to hate and fear them and view them as vicious cold blooded predators. There is a scene where Robin is in a bar with is warlord friend and a cult assassin runs past them. They can tell he is an assasin of their enemy and the warlord in second gets up and slits the assassin's neck then sits back down and goes right back to drinking ale and talking to Robin despite there being a man he killed dying at his feet, the villagers in the tavern are both appalled by this and at the same time most are too scared of him to react with hostility and act very submissive till he leaves the most that happens is that the barkeeper asks why he did that and the warlord says that the human he killed was a wolf is sheeps clothing because he kills others for money and that killing him is no different in the warlords mind than how you would kill a wolf that was hunting your sheep. This is a prime example of how they pick nature and the humans often pick nurture.
     
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