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Can the mentor role work as the main character?

I have an idea for a story that I need some input on. The story (which is a litrpg. Where the world works and operates through rules and mechanics similar to tabletop rpgs or video games and characters are aware and understand this as a normal thing in life) starts with the MC who is a max level character and through shenanigans ends up losing all of his powers and ends up having worse stats than a lv 1 adventurer due to a curse. He wants to form an adventuring party to find a way to fix the curse but because he was a complete cutthroat butthole and stabbed everyone in the back, and the fact that since he's such a high level he would essentially nullify all xp gained from anyone who parties with him, absolutely no one wants to join his party. So he ends up forming a party of the rejects, the worst of the worst adventurers that no one else wants on their team either. His team members are absolute trash and each one has specific reasons as to why they are so bad at their roles. For example, there is Reynolds, a paladin that died in his first battle and was raised by a necromancer. Since he is undead, he can't gain xp as a paladin and all his holy abilities hurt himself too.

So the idea of this story is that he's taking these terrible adventurers and through wit and luck has to try to get them to survive since all the cards are stacked against them. He goes through a character arc of being a selfish backstabbing jerk to someone who is compassionate and values friendship of others. But I'm wondering how to pull of having a MC who essentially is the mentor role of the story? Usually it is the mc that has to learn from the mentor and it works because the protagonist is inexperienced and doesn't have the knowledge and wisdom that the mentor has. But in my case the mc is the mentor with all the experience and knowledge, since he was a near max level adventurer before being cursed. I really want to lean into the comedy and absurdity of this story but I want to take great care to make my characters work.


Myth Weaver
Certainly can be done.

Some examples I can think of include Puss n Boots, which was recently released. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Lui Mu Bia was kind of a mentor to a lot of characters. Batman is kind of the mentor to Robin, and you might want to check out The Dirty Dozen as a type of homework.

Anyway...if you are looking for comedy, I might look to the many DreamWorks movies for the type of template they use. They generally have a scoundrel who wrestles with his own trustworthiness before coming around and being a true team player. The recent Dungeons and Dragon's movie also had some elements of that.

As to how to pull it off...well, he has experience and the plan. He just needs to take people under his wings and shape them into what he needs, while at the same time, wrestling with his one questionable aims and motivations.


toujours gai, archie
Since he's bad at everything else, he could be bad at mentoring. But he gets one thing right at a critical moment. He shows genuine compassion at another moment, though mostly he's rude and self-centered. And so on.

You might consider throwing out the word. Consider that he's not a mentor. He's just this guy. He forms an adventuring party so of course he's the leader of the party, regardless of how bad he is at it. They stick with him because misery loves company and anyway they've tried pretty much everything else. Your MC is learning how to be a leader. The story doesn't have a mentor, it just has a character. Problem sovled!


The concept sounds hilarious. I'd read that. But the way you describe it, I don't really see that guy as a mentor from the start. He might turn into one along the journey, but in the beginning he's just a self-centered jerk who wants his powers back, and to do that assembles a group he doesn't really care for, right?


you can have this be part of some sort of character arc which could cause him to choose between these people and what he is trying to achieve by doing this. There is a lot of potential in this story.


I'm currently at it and I wish you's see it more often in stories.
I do it both in the school setting where my protagonist is the director of said school (which is a prequel with some cute daily life scenes) and now mentoring a warlock girl together with their new partner.

Don't be afraid to portray a well-known setting from another perspective, like magic schools from the perspective of the director and the teacher, or a typical high fantasy story like Eragon portrayed from the perspective of the mentor for example.

On the other hand, if I'm very honest with you, this sounds very much like a wishfulfillment light novel, with or without the isekai setting.
If he's not actually playing a game, I also wouldn't talk about xps or stats in a writing setting either. For him, his world is real and real people don't have stats. I don't know about "they are aware of their xps"-thing, even for a comedy... but it also might work well?

Also try to put a bit more competence, skillwise and socially, into these people, since comedies too can override the suspense of disbelief.
Personally, I don't know if it would be fun to read a cast full of those. Most bad teachers I had also had some skills, but they were just awful at teaching or bad people overall. Usually you can't learn from people like that (or it's much harder to).