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Characters based on mythology

Discussion in 'World Building' started by DassaultMirage, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. DassaultMirage

    DassaultMirage Minstrel

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    Hi, I just want to hear opinions regarding basing one's character from an existing characters from whatever mythology. My example would be this, a team of my world's most powerful earth practitioners :

    Narkiso - From Narcissus, the guy who was transfixed and starved to death by staring at his own reflection - I have no idea yet what he would look like, but he would be beautiful. His magic was flower-based, particularly summoning giant flowers from the riftlands that secretes gasses with euphoric properties, transfixing everyone within the area of effect by injecting illusions of seeing oneself redoing their darkest deeds.

    Erhickton - From Erysichthon, the man who cut down a tree and cursed to be forever hungry - He's a barbarian with tattered armor, mouth sewn shot and the overall image of poor hygiene. He wields a battle axe with arcanic inscriptions all over it that would summon ensnaring vines and/or triple the weapon's size. This weapon earned him the title "Earth Tearer” (the actual meaning of his name). Erhickton has a huge mouth on his belly that has to be shut down by magical threads, otherwise it's hunger would never be satiated and would force Erhickton to feed his own limbs into it by impulse. Whatever corpse he killed would eventually be fed to this other mouth.

    Zicksyfuz - From Sisyphus, cursed to forever carry a boulder - Zick was a yet-to-be-given-an-avatar character, but he would have four arms, two of which would be constantly carrying a boulder made entirely of diamonds. His other two arms would be the one doing the spell circles. Unlike the rest of the earth practitioners, Zick's magic could only control this boulder and he was the only one who could somehow control diamonds. However, every after battle, the diamond boulder would reform and could never be put down. I'm going to work on the diamond being some sort of a royal artifact entrusted only to Zick, hence he would never put it down to his last breath.

    Prokcrstes - Procrustes (just look him up xD) - Prokcrstes also has no image just yet, but his weapons would be the most unorthodox: thirteen slabs of bed-shaped rock of various sizes. These rocks travel underground and has dormant spell circles in them. When activated, these circles would suck, position and glue the nearest human unto the bed in a crucified position. However, controlling the thirteen beds would be taxing enough that Prokcrstes would not be able to move. Prokcrstes main job was to capture outlaws or high-profile targets, so he would not do actual fighting.

    Madis - Midas, please don't tell me you have no idea who Midas is - Madis would be a woman, no image yet, but she would have the ability to shoot streams of burning gold from her hands. I would not want her to be the stereotypical touch-and-turn-gold Midas. Madis would complement Prokcsrstes, after that medieval form of torture where they pour burning gold over prisoner’s mouth.


    Please just please tell me wucha all think
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  2. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Taking inspiration, drawing references to, and basing characters on real-world mythology can be a very powerful tool. Mythology and religion (seeing as they are the same, give or take a couple thousand years) are crammed full of symbols that resonate with people. Siphoning off some of that profoundly-felt meaning for your own work is a time-honored tool of the writing trade. Using these points of reference well even pushes a primarily SFF author further towards the literary camp in general esteem, which can be good for their reputation.
     
  3. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    In my opinion, using inspiration from real world myths and legends is almost always a plus. Done right, it can lend the story both a sense of familiarity and gravitas. However, I think your names here are a bit too... "on the nose". If your version looks or feels too much like the original, it'll come off as uncreative or like you're trying too hard to be clever.
     
  4. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

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    Got to throw in with Mindfire here. Taking inspiration and making some references is a good bonus. But you should probably not be to obvious about it.
     
  5. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    My one complaint is directed more at fantasy in general than at you, but I have never been a fan of changing the spelling of words. Like going Majyyk or something instead of Magic. It's really never done right except in the case of parody. I think you'd be better served by just playing it straight up and calling them by their true names. Make Midas actually Midas instead of Madis. I think it would end up easier to read that way and because people could be potentially familiar with the legends you're basing them off of, well, hey that's half the work done for you. Remember that the reader is as much an element of the story as anything else and the more work you can get the reader to do for you, the less work you have to do.
     
  6. robosnake

    robosnake New Member

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    I agree with the spelling issue, and I would say it depends on how you are using the mythological figures. What you describe has an almost anime feel, with mythological characters wielding powers related to their attendant myths. If, however, you want the name to just be a source of inspiration, and maybe an oblique reference, from which you will jump off and do something quite different with the character, then perhaps spelling changes could be appropriate. Or, another idea I've used before is to use a name in translation. Instead of Narcissus, maybe Mr. Bloom, for a poor example off the top of my head. But names in their original languages are usually just names for natural features, events, places or professions, and maybe you can use that.
     
  7. DassaultMirage

    DassaultMirage Minstrel

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    Thanks for the suggestion on the names. I would appreciate more opinions on the abilities though :)

    And their names?

    Nark Blooms
    Erik Tore
    Zick Fourpalms
    Prok Tresejudge
    Madi Aus

    Will these work better?
     
  8. buyjupiter

    buyjupiter Maester

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    With names you kind of have to think like an evil kid. We all know the one that made the cutesy nicknames that were just plain horrible if you happened to be on the receiving end. That said take another look at Madi's last name. It's missing a letter, isn't it? Or is that just me?

    Madi Goldfire might work better. As for Prok Tresejudge, I think it's the addition of judge at the end that throws me. It reads kind of like a hyphenated name, which could work if that fits in with the world.

    As for the abilities, I think they all sound like fairly awful things to be done to you. I would like to give you a couple of things in general to think about though.

    First, what is the cost of performing this magic?

    Second, how do they protect themselves from their own magic? I'm specifically thinking of Nark Blooms and Madi Aus here. It'd be a real pain in the neck to have to revisit your own dark deeds every time you needed to slip away from your enemies. And I imagine the trauma ward would be tired of seeing your face if you burnt yourself with your own magic every time you used it.

    As to specifics, I think you've thought through the whole insatiable hunger thing pretty thoroughly. Although I was a bit confused if he had two mouths or just the one on his belly. It'd be interesting if he did have two and only the one on his belly was sewn shut, so that he'd be blabbering constantly about being hungry. Things like "I'd kill for a nice juicy steak. I wouldn't even wait for it to cook..."

    Zick's magic with the boulder might need a bit of tinkering with still. I'm not quite sure if the diamonds fly out and harm people or what his magic does exactly. I definitely get the whole can't put the boulder down thing.

    Prok can't really travel if he's monitoring the rock slabs, right? While they can travel around, correct? So...the slabs suck people onto them and travel back to Prok? Otherwise I'm a bit confused as to what he can do.

    If these are the five main characters you want to focus on, I think that would work. Thinking about this a bit, however, I realized that earth magic was something you went a bit heavy on. If you think of Nark Blooms as "air" magic, Madi is fire, Prok and Zick are earth, and I guess that leaves Erik as "spirit"? I was looking for a water mage. I don't know if that is something you even want to address, but it bears thinking about a bit.

    I hope this helps a bit with your thought process and character creation.
     
  9. DassaultMirage

    DassaultMirage Minstrel

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    Madi Goldfire might work better. As for Prok Tresejudge, I think it's the addition of judge at the end that throws me. It reads kind of like a hyphenated name, which could work if that fits in with the world.
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    Trese = 13 in spanish and filipino xD
    And yes I am strongly considering goldfire, but Au is sorta the chemical name of gold :D



    Second, how do they protect themselves from their own magic? I'm specifically thinking of Nark Blooms and Madi Aus here. It'd be a real pain in the neck to have to revisit your own dark deeds every time you needed to slip away from your enemies. And I imagine the trauma ward would be tired of seeing your face if you burnt yourself with your own magic every time you used it.
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    Madi's hands could be bound, I will work on her more. As for Nark, I'm torn between making him "immune" to his own poison, the flower rises up high and bends down before releasing the gas as Nark stands above it, or making him wear some mask but that will not make him look beautiful


    As to specifics, I think you've thought through the whole insatiable hunger thing pretty thoroughly. Although I was a bit confused if he had two mouths or just the one on his belly. It'd be interesting if he did have two and only the one on his belly was sewn shut, so that he'd be blabbering constantly about being hungry. Things like "I'd kill for a nice juicy steak. I wouldn't even wait for it to cook..."
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    Yeahp, one mouth shut, one always blabbers


    Zick's magic with the boulder might need a bit of tinkering with still. I'm not quite sure if the diamonds fly out and harm people or what his magic does exactly. I definitely get the whole can't put the boulder down thing.
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    He shapes it the way an earth practitioner shapes earth, but he's the only one capable of bending diamonds. I was thinking it was sort of magically bound by the king to be shaped only by him, and his immense loyalty forbids him to put it down.


    Prok can't really travel if he's monitoring the rock slabs, right? While they can travel around, correct? So...the slabs suck people onto them and travel back to Prok? Otherwise I'm a bit confused as to what he can do.
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    Yes! Yes he just stays in one place. I'm trying to decide if he'll be crippled.


    If these are the five main characters you want to focus on, I think that would work. Thinking about this a bit, however, I
    realized that earth magic was something you went a bit heavy on. If you think of Nark Blooms as "air" magic, Madi is fire, Prok and Zick are earth, and I guess that leaves Erik as "spirit"? I was looking for a water mage. I don't know if that is something you even want to address, but it bears thinking about a bit.
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    Nark's earth. He could aim the "nozzle" of the flower, but not the dispersion of the gas. Madi is tricky, probably semantics, but she's all earth after all gold is more earth than fire, at least in the context of earth magic. Erik is brawns, more earth than spirit. He devours the flesh and not the spirit, and it fuels his axe and glutton even more.


    THANKS MUCH! ANOTHER SET OF EYES CAN INDEED SEE THINGS I COULD NOT ON ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW. I would appreciate more views! :D
     
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