Character design + demos

I’ve spent a while getting all the systems I want in my ChoiceScript project working - stats, game end conditions like health, a way to get around the limitations of *gosub_scene… But I am having an issue in writing the actual story.

To sum up my story idea: You’re a magic trainee in the fantasyland equivilant of the ROTC. I have ideas aplenty for the plot, but I think I need more characters to carry it.

I realize that no good story is complete without some good side characters. Problem is, I’m having trouble thinking of characters. Currently the count is 3 ‘main’ NPCs and a few side characters. The energetic roommate, the stern drill instructor, the eager magic nerd, the quiet studious classmate. I feel like I need at least one more ‘main’ NPC to round out the player’s interactions with the world and its people. Do you guys agree or disagree?

On that note, does anyone think I should upload a ‘demo version’ of my WIP game? I would only want to show the sections that are fairly typo-free, but that’s about 5-10k words I would guess.

You forgot about the jock/alpha bitch character. The one who always looks down on the MC for whatever petty reasons and who is the head of his/her clique.

Add someone who doesn’t actually like magic or want to use it, but was either drafted or had to go into magic military service because they had no other options. I think that would be interesting, and it fits the concept pretty well, plus it gives you a more balanced viewpoint!


SL, I like your suggestion. Thanks! Grape, I think the overbearing DI already has that covered.

I actually disagree with you. I don’t think you need any more NPCs to round off interactions. Is writing different characters something you enjoy doing or are you more plot-focused?

Incidentally it could help if you tell us a little more about your existing characters, just as if you spill something about the plot. Do you find that characters develop themselves, for instance when you’re writing? I’d say if you can’t think of anyone else leave it blank and just introduce characters as appropriate to the plot, not just adding them for the sake of having more people. Or add in a character if you want to explore certain themes.

Incidentally, that stern drill instructor, I take it there’s more to them than that? If you’re dealing with something as deadly as magic, and people have the chance of dying, then of course they’re going to have to be strict. One small mistake and people die. Magic’s not a toy to play with (unless it is). I’d say be sure to step outside of the stereotypes and flesh out those characters you do have.

It can’t hurt to polish your game a bit before you upload it, can it? Run a spell-checker through your game first. Fix the typos then upload everything that you’ve got.

1 Like

I think you need one or two other “teacher” characters in addition to the drill instructor. Perhaps one who is more friendly with the trainees and the principal?

as for the students, you could add any of these:

  • a delinquent, always breaking rules and casuing michief. Perhaps a whole gang of them.
  • the sneaky sly guy/girl who seems to have some secret reasons for joining.
  • the “spoiled rich brat” who has money and either wants to use them for good or thinks s/he’s better then the rest.
  • the child of a famous hero who joined because of this.
  • a stalker with a secret crush for the MC. Might be either a RO or an obnoxious creep.

EDIT: I’ve changed a term after the discussion below.

I’m all for one of those friendly teachers that everybody likes, who’s extremely relaxed in regards to everything, always cracking jokes, and serves as an object lesson as to why the drill instructors ways are better. The friendly teacher messes up so completely, perhaps they forget an important part of casting a demonstration spell and let loose a demon, or blow themselves up, or do some sort of other show-offy thing that has drastic consequences. Or maybe they play favourites. Or some sort of crisis hits the class and everyone’s unprepared for it,most of all the teacher.

I’m going to call attention to this since it’s not cool using a gendered slur for women, and more neutral terms for men. Men get called assertive and ambitious whereas women who portray the same traits get called pushy, bitchy and abrasive.

I’m going to drop a link in to this since I find it an interesting insight into the different ways women are judged compared to men. Performance review gender bias: High-achieving women are 'abrasive' | Fortune


I didn’t want to offend anybody and used “rich bitch” only because it rhymes. I think I’ll change “guy” into “spoiled brat”, do you think it sounds better, @FairyGodfeather?

@Crotale and one more idea for a “teacher”: a healer/medic/nurse who heals those wounded during training if it happes and teaching healing spells/light magic.

I wasn’t offended. I was just calling attention to it as something problematic. Lots of people do it, and I think better to point things out so at least if you’re choosing to use the term you’re also aware of the issues in doing so.

Brat’s not gendered, it can apply to either men or women.

You could go with rich dick/bitch but even then not quite the same.

well, my idea is a student from a very rich family who initially believes to be superior to the other trainees. If s/he’s gonna be a villain, s/he’d treat everyone from less wealthy families like shit, but if s/he should be good and only spoiled by the upbringing, s/he’d be using his/her wealth to help the others and possibly develop into being less snobbish. How would you callsuch a person (male and female

Note that all of my student proposals could be of either gender and be written both as friends/allies or outright enemies of the MC, as @Crotale decides.

I think what FairyGodfeather is suggesting is to NOT call the girl counterpart a bitch, just call them both snobs or brats. There is nothing you could call a man that equates quite to ‘bitch’. Most insults towards women are this way.

All right, I’ll change it into “rich brat”, since I’ve never heard a woman called a snob and the character proposal isn’t supposed to be gendered.

Snob. Spoiled elitist. Or brat, for both men and women. No reason to bring in gendered terms at all, and especially not (as FG says) for just one side. Even if it rhymes.

“Bitch” doesn’t have any of the specific connotations you lay out in your explanation – it gets used for any woman toward whom the speaker feels outrage, resentment, or hurt.

And because it’s regularly used to denigrate behavior that wouldn’t be condemned in a man (see also: “slut”) the word has accumulated enough sexist baggage that it’s hard to use well.

I’ve heard it plenty of times, and Google offers no shortage of examples. But go for brat, by all means. (:

@Havenstone already done! :wink:

What do you think of my proposals, anything you’d like to add except the better term?

And do you have any own character ideas?

It’s interesting that you don’t consider ‘jock’ to be a slur.

In any case, I think I’ll sit down and write some more before uploading a demo, since honestly most of what I have written so far is world building and not plot or character building. Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

And edited to add a little info about the plot and world since someone sounded interested:

In this world, magic comes in colors. Red- elemental power, fire and lightning. Blue- shields, illusions, breaking other magic. Green- healing and altering bodies. White- ‘thinking magic,’ like a tripwire waiting to go off on a particular person, or a stone that does math with magic. Black- permanence. Traps, wards, buildings, anything that is not done instantly has some amount of Black magic in it.

The plot I have in mind starts out as schoolyard hijinx, but quickly turns to a foreign plot against the Empire you live in, which is the only nation with a well-organized magical military force. You may choose to help or hinder the conspiracy. In the latter half of the story, a war starts. You find yourself in charge after taking casualties, and after winning some battles you’re an Important Person in the empire.

The conspiracy comes to fruition. At the height of the war, many of the Empire’s mages are killed by a group of enemy mages. Without magical superiority, the Empire’s armies stand little chance against overwhelming numbers of enemies. As the mighty empire crumbles all around, you rush to the Castle Soverius… Either to kill the Emperor, or save him. The story ends soon after.

Jock isn’t a word I’d consider a slur when used in that context. It’s certainly not in line with using the word bitch. I see jock, when used to describe someone who has athletic skill, as a word with positive connotations. Has it’s meaning changed so it’s used solely as an insult now? I’d thought it is on par with geek, or nerd, both of which could be used as an insult, but that’s really reliant on context.

Incidentally, Jock can be used as an insult, but for me that’s in a completely different context. Calling someone from Scotland, Jock, is a (mildly) racist insult, same as Paddy for an Irishman and Taffy for Welsh but that’s not the context we’re using here.

I wasn’t saying what you think I was saying.

Not bad, not demeaning and sexist, just interesting.