Fantasy Development – Osoron 1
Time for me to launch the public development effort! Please jump in and let’s discuss and see where we can go with this.
The first character I’m going to work with right now is Osoron. Here’s an old picture of him.
In prior incarnations, Osoron had a lot of issues. He followed the “runaway princess” model. Had a fight with his dad (who was the caliph and an old djinni) ran away from home, never came back. Then his father died, the caliph’s loyal followers found him and dragged him back home to become the new caliph. Once installed, the new caliph faced a number of challenges. He never anticipated becoming caliph after leaving, and he’d undergone several lifestyle changes over the years. So there was a very difficult adjustment period as Osoron attempted to deal with the conflicts between his old life and his new one.
Not only that, Osoron was suddenly beset from intrigue on all sides. A number of djinni bristled at the fact that a half-blood was their new ruler. And insidious enemies of the caliph’s court infiltrated the court with intent to overthrow Aremshah from within. All this combined with a hostile army of cloud giants waiting on his border was a lot for a newly-crowned caliph to take in.
In the fantasy story, Osoron will represent the “view from the top” storyline. I plan to address the matters he deals with as a ruler and as a man conflicted between his own desires and yearnings and the needs of his station. There will be intrigue and diplomacy, though his side of the story will also have plenty of action. Many elements will need to be changed. In the actual sessions, Osoron was an air genasi and a druid of the elements who lived on the Plane of Air. Obviously, this will be retooled to fit the world I’m creating. The details of the world will come in a future post, but some elements of the character design help me identify what I need to develop in the world, and vice versa.
Okay! The intro is out of the way, so check behind the cut for the workshop part.
First, a few guidelines:
- Any idea is useful as long as it’s in the spirit of the discussion. Even if it seems boring or cliche, it could actually be useful, or it could lead to other ideas.
- Please don’t quote or send tons of TVTropes links and references. I know the site exists and it serves a purpose. During development, I find it a hindrance to see people say every this, that, and the other is a trope. Quite frankly, I don’t care if the idea is a trope, because 99% of the ideas that come across the desk (so to speak) are a trope of some kind.
- Have fun! I hope you all enjoy this workshopping.
Now, onto the workshop!
Here’s the stuff about Osoron that I’d currently like to keep.
- Unsuited/untrained for rulership – Osy can get by with practical experience, but for one reason or another, he was never well-primed for rulership. The most obvious reason is he wasn’t home, but I plan to undo the worst of the “spoiled runaway princess” stuff. See below.
- Magic power – I have some plans to create a magic system for this world. I’ll detail this in another post, but here are the relevant parts. Magic is something not everyone has the knack for, and of those that are eligible, only a small percentage have the “spark” that lets them become true sorcerers. Because magic is so rare, it is kind of a big deal that Osoron is a spellcaster-caliph.
- Half-breed – Originally, Osoron was considered unsuited for leadership by many of his vassals because he was only half-djinni. Part of the intrigue was going to involve him convincing as many of those vassals as possible that he was a qualified ruler. While I don’t want him to be half-djinni, per se (djinn in this world are believed extinct), I do want him to have some kind of in-born stigma that creates tension between him and his vassals. Whether it’s racial (there will be a few different fantasy races in this world) or class-based (maybe his mother is of common stock) or something else is up for debate. However, I want it to be a major source of contention as Osoron tries to consolidate his power.
The Do-Away List
These are things that I want to change, do away with, or futs in a big way.
- Runaway Princess – Originally Osy had a fight with his father and, being the spoiled brat he was, ran away from home, and never returned til after his father died. While that does make a story, I feel like it will turn readers off — even if the character growth between then and now is made apparent. What do you think?
- If I ditch the “runaway princess,” I’d still like to find a reason why Osy is not at home enough to be properly groomed for his role as crown prince and, eventually, caliph. Maybe he decided he needed to strike out on his own for a while, go on a soul-searching trip. Maybe he decided to become an adventurer for a while. Whatever he did, he got some real-world experience over the course of many years. This experience helped him survive as an individual, but is not necessarily conducive to ruling a city. It is also a lifestyle he’s grown accustomed to, and creates a mentality that conflicts with his obligations as caliph.
- Who is his mother? If his heritage is creating problems, the nature of his mother should be identified. Originally, she was a harem girl. That in itself is not enough to disqualify a prince from ascension in many cultures. The Emperor of China traditionally had many wives, and children born from any of them were eligible to become the next Emperor. What caused the tension before was that his mother was human. Osy was not a full-blood djinni, and therefore his claim came into question. It makes a good source of tension, but the real reason can be reconsidered. Should she be the same race, but lower social class? Did the former caliph have a dalliance with, say, a chambermaid? Was she a harem girl, but of a different race? That could mean Osoron looks different, too, and visual differences create a tension as much as anything. Something else? What do you think?
- How long has he been caliph when the story starts? Would it be preferred to start in media res or have him being found and brought back by the caliph’s guard? I can see merits in both styles.
Osy’s appearance hasn’t changed at all since he was first created. While his look is not bad, it could be refined and updated. Plus, as caliph, he’ll need a number of royal outfits. My aim is to give him a few stock royal outfits, some casual clothes, and maybe a set or two of adventurer’s duds for when he’s doing something more adventurer-ish.
I’d like to see any resources you know of that could work for him. I’m looking to keep a djinni-esque theme, so attire that is inspired by the Middle East is preferred. That being said, I am willing to work with other ideas, too, preferably more eastern than western. Some kind of fusion with unique aspects would be kinda cool.
If you have art skills and want to play around, I’ve made a small paper doll you can mess with. Feel free to download this image and put some clothes on him and show me what you’ve come up with. I love inspiration!
I plan to keep his wind-blown look. It gives him a certain uniqueness that many of the other characters probably won’t have. I’m also probably going to keep the rounder features and the leaner build. I want to make him less well-cut than, say, Drake was, but give him definition to reflect his life away from the palace. The blue skin/white hair combination is very neat, and I’m still deciding if I’m going to keep that or not.
In any case, feel free to suggest anything and everything from jewelry to tattoos to full elaborate attire for this fellow’s royal, casual, and adventuring gear!
The Open-Ended Question(s)
So I’ve listed a few directed questions and comments above. These are all things I’d like to work on, and as answers are fleshed out, I’ll make a new post detailing some of the ideas that came up. I do want to leave some open-ended questions on each post to encourage a little extra discussion. Here’s the big one for this post.
Osoron is meant to represent the “view from the top.” His storyline will showcase the lifestyle of the city’s elite. It will use his life as caliph, as well as his past to highlight the ways of the upper class and the life of the adventurer within this setting. So my open-ended question is this: What aspects of Aremshah’s upper class life would you find most interesting to know about?
It can be small details like food preferences that can be inserted as off-hand remarks. Or maybe you want to see something that could be covered as part of a story arc, like how Aremshah conducts its warfare. But I’m curious to know what you’d most like to see during the course of Osoron’s story.
That’s all for this post. I hope you all feel encouraged to jump in and talk about this with me. I’d really like to hear thoughts and ideas (the more the better!) and collaborate with you all on developing an awesome webcomic story.