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Help! I'm stuck on a character growth spot.

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by ShadeZ, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Maester

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    So one of my mc's is a human mage named Coleson. He is 15 at the start and ages into 23 over the span of the books. He is an aspiring young mage and originally a student of the mages guild of Exodia. At the start if the book he has the ability to cast small elemental magics such as a small fireball or icicles or makes a light gale to cool off. He has a bow and knife but is not competent with either.

    Coleson at the start of the books arrives at Vígarís a hostile northern tundra home to dozens of species and monsters found no where else, he is there to study a race called demídúr a supernatural predator of human origin most commonly called the dragon slayers. He meets Zeke, Keara, Robin, and Vanya here all of whom are demídúr. It is decided that if he wants to 1. Live for seeing them and 2. Study them. He will travel with them on their missions. Shortly into travelling and being around them it is decided he needs to be trained on combat he learns to fight with any weapon from Zeke, learns stealth tactics and hand to hand combat from Robin, survival skills and hunting from Vanya, and magic and leadership from Keara.

    One of the things Robin is assigned by Keara is to get Coleson to a warrior mindset where he won't be so in shock over killing that it becomes a disadvantage. It is worth nothing demídúr entierly lack most emotions particularly guilt and shame feelings though toward their enemies, however this a a race trait (they all used to be human though so the concept isnt foreign to them)

    I am at a loss as to how Robin would teach him this though? Ideally he could manipulate a situation such as he might frequent a known raider spot so they get attacked forcing Coleson to defend himself. Ideas?

    A brief description of each for character mindset ideas.

    Coleson-The native intellectual type.
    Keara-Observant, caring, mysterious leader
    Zeke- Optimistic and gentle warlord
    Robin- Anti-hero, bad boy, broken hero type
    Vanya- wild card. Ball of pure childish energy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
  2. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Troubadour

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    Tell me, why do you think shock over killing someone is a disadvantage? The reason I'm asking is because in my experiences of combat you don't worry too much about what happens to your opponent when you're fighting for your life. It's only afterwards that you (sometimes) sit there and wonder what you've done. It also isn't something you can teach, it's something your learn to deal with, usually wth support from your colleagues.
     
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  3. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

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    There's a few ways I can think of.

    The first is just explaining your point of view / indoctrinating the other that you are right and they are wrong. If you are feeling morally superior to the persona attacking you then you will have less problems with fighting them.

    Another is relentless training to the point where the motions become automatic. Train him to fight with a sword to the point where if someone swings it at him, his body will react in such a way that he defends himself without thinking about it too much. From that point, you can rely on his survival instinct to at least make sure he doesn't get killed by some random bloke swiging a weapon at him.

    And indeed, just getting him in a situation where he sees a lot of fights or has to fight a lot helps. The first combat you get into (especially untrained) will be chaotic and frightning. But if you've done something dozens of times, then you start to get a feel for it.
     
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  4. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Maester

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    A good point. When Robin is training him the first time Coleson walks up to him and Robin tosses a knife that cuts his ear. Coleson freezes and Robin tells "Dead." And pretty much does simalar sneak attacks throughout their sessions.
     
  5. K.S. Crooks

    K.S. Crooks Inkling

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    Robin could start by teaching Coleson how to hunt animals. They could start with spear fishing, catching rabbits then move to larger things like deer before getting to having to kill people. Yes this is very similar to the progression of a serial killer, but perhaps you need the same mindset. Robin could emphasize that his killing the animals is for survival, to eat, and when he needs to kill other people it also is for survival, not to be killed himself. Robin can also show/explain all the bad things their enemies have done and why those people need to die.

    Another option to to train to immobilize or incapacitate an opponent. If Coleson has various methods to win a fight killing becomes an unneeded option. I remember reading an issue of Batman where he's in a fight and thinks "There are eight ways to finish this fight, three kill." and then he goes with one of the other five.
     
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  6. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Troubadour

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    There's something else you should think of. In longer campaigns, soldiers/warriors can build up a tolerance for what levels of violence are acceptable. In reality, this can and all too often does lead to some fairly unpleasant war crimes where soldiers do some horrific things to other people. I've seen some of the results, and I have to be honest and say that I have a bit of a problem with those authors who gleefully create characters who are supposed to be emotionless killing machines. To me, that ignores the consequences of such behaviour.

    My question to you is what effect you think that sort of warrior "training" would have on Coleson and those around him in the long term?
     
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  7. Don Coyote

    Don Coyote Scribe

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    This. Coleson needs to learn how to deal with his emotional reaction and the only way to do that is by experience.

    Hunting is not a "gateway drug" to homicide. I've never been in combat or fought a life or death battle, but I've done a lot of hunting. There's nothing about hunting to prepare me in the least for taking a human life.
     
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  8. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Maester

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    Coleson's primary relation among the demídúr is Zeke whom he meets by accidentally shooting him in the knee. Coleson learns early on Zeke was previously a human warrior from the Savagelands of the north, he endured the painful process to become a demídúr for the purpose of protecting those who had no defense. Zeke takes Coleson under his wing and jokingly calls him únkapí which Coleson learns later means young warrior and is a demídúr term of endearment often used to refer to a little brother. Zeke is a legendary warlord, he is known for his sheer ruthlessness toward his enemies and his fierce protectiveness toward his allies, he is also known for his ability to train skilled steady minded warriors who are able to come to terms with the fact they do what they do to survive and or protect those who can not do so for themselves. Zeke is the one who primarily helps Coleson cope with the idea of fighting. Through the books progression Coleson goes from a teen and aspiring mage to a young adult who has more that adequate fighting skills and knowledge to an adult who controls any situation he is in with masterful skill.

    Coleson close to the late middle and end of the books easily does things that he never would have been able to do as a teenager. His personality also changes from an unsure and scaredy teen to a calm and controlled adult. His adult form is not entierly dissimilar to Zeke in personality with exception of he shows quite a bit more "humanity" where Zeke doesn't because he isn't human. All versions of Coleson are not a war quality warrior. While he sees war a few times and is forced to fight for his survival in it. More frequently he and Robin are tasked with assassinating enemy spies, he and Vanya are hunting or they encounter villagers being attacked by raiders, he and Keara go to mediate peace between a monster and village and it does south, or he and Zeke are tasked with taking on an enemy group that are in the area ambushing allied groups. His adult form also speaks a number of languages and is able to speak to most monster species.
     
  9. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Maester

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    Agreed, being a hunter doesn't make you a killer by default. However I do think hunters such as you and me have a much clearer idea of if they could kill a human in self defense or in defense of another. It gives you a look at your own capabilities regarding taking life that non-hunters simply lack. I have known guys who talk all kinds of tough about hunting but are deeply hurt and shocked by an actual kill and I have met people who hesitate initially but come to be very skilled at hunting. I am amazed by the way hunting affects your psychology, it seems like you just see the world clearer from it.
     
  10. Don Coyote

    Don Coyote Scribe

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    Yes. Because I've hunted, killed and cleaned animals for food, I understand what an animal sacrifices that my family may eat and why it bothers me when someone wastes food.

    Hunting and shooting has had a profound affect on my development. Safety is important. You can't unshoot someone.
     
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  11. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Maester

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    Exactly. Versus people who as mad swede pointed out think you could have a (assuming normal human psyche here) character who could just kill and not feel something about it.
     
  12. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Troubadour

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    Assassination? I've read quite a lot of stories where characters assassinate other people. What no-one seems to consider is what that implies: pre-meditated cold blooded killing, some would say cold blooded murder. That takes a very "special" kind of person, someone who really can switch off their emotions. I've never met anyone like that in the military - in fact, we usually do our outmost to keep them out, because they are a problem on the battlefield and in the barracks.

    I'm not sure you understand what I'm trying to say, and maybe I'm not being very clear. One of the issues with being involved in a lot of combat is that you can build up a "tolerance" to violence, and not in a good way. It can and very often does lead to excessive violence (overkill) which can have some very nasty consequences at all levels. Those been on the receiving end of that sort of violence tend to be a lot less willing to forgive and forget, and it can lead to long running feuds and conflicts - the Balkans are a very good and very tragic example. The perpetrators often have real problems adjusting back into "normal" life, and some never do. That can in turn lead to things like drug addiction, domestic violence etc.

    I'd be very cautious about creating yet another warrior character who gets into fights, assassinations etc without any long lasting ill-effects on their mental health. If you want a character like that then I think a really interesting aspect to explore would be how they fit into society after a number of years being a warrior.
     
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