Inhuman Protagonists

I was discussing this topic for a friend’s podcast this morning and thought I’d throw it open here!

Something I enjoy about inhuman or monster protagonists is that they have a clear issue to cope with - dealing with the weaknesses that come with their identity, and/or keeping it secret from the wider world. Monster protagonists can also provide a way of narrowing down focus to a laser beam - the selkie PC of my IF short story Teeth and Ice is fixated on regaining their seal skin, for example.

So, two things I’m interested to hear about:

How much do you enjoy writing or playing inhuman protagonists, and why/why not?

What games - CoG, HG or elsewhere - do you feel portray a monster or inhuman protagonist particularly well, and why? (This could be something like Choice of the Vampire where they’re a monster straight out, or one where the protagonist can become a monster over time like in The Grand Academy for Future Villains

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I enjoy playing as inhumans mainly because they normally come with a power that that makes them stronger then humans so that 1 I can be stronger and 2 if a human is ever racist I can just use my power in a “who is inferior now” way

I think none of the games here portray a full on monster very well, allmost allways they have a sliver of humanity or their own mind that is not warped but that is what a monster is psychologically not physically. Like if people saw a man with claw hands helping people and giving a lot to charities they would call him nice(most of the time) not a monster. If someone saw a normal man kill his wife for no reason then they would call him a monster

The main problem is that in its roots we still have a choice in every cog/hog here to not be a monster

We just really need to define what type of monster you mean

Start with the easy part! Monsters of New Haven High - last update 4/02

Why? Because it is bloody well written? :sweat_smile: It lets you play a full on monster or a reluctant one, a traditional or rebellious one. But still human enough to be able to relate.

Doubt I could pull off playing Cthulhu, or an utterly alien race (look to Traveller - tabletop RPG - for alien races!) - I do need my colligated foothold. :no_mouth:

Now, Choice of the Vampire - I don’t much like vampires, but the game is so well written it drew me right in. So, uh, I suppose for me that is what it comes down to - a well written game. Now, I would not read a book about vampires, due to lack of interaction, in part from not caring much for vampires (except the classic old BW Dracula style vampire who at best can fake humanity poorly - no neo-goth emo-woe-is-me undead-life-is-so-hard vampires, please - just go out in the bloody sun if it is that hard, geez…).

Er… Side-tracked. Oops. :zipper_mouth_face:

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I’ve always liked the idea of inhuman characters/protagonists. I tend to enjoy playing inhuman characters, whether they be monsters, aliens, robots, whatever. (This fascination of mine has even bled into my WIP a little, considering one of the more major NPCs is a robot.)

Honestly, when I was a kid playing games that let you pick your species, I almost never chose humans. I always considered picking that kind of boring. “Why bother playing something I already am in real life, when I could be something awesome instead?”

That being said, never played any CoGs with inhuman protagonists that I can think of at the moment. There is Monsters of New Haven High, like @Taylor_Enean mentioned, but since it’s still a WIP, I guess I’m hesitant to count it.

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I enjoy the decision to be a monster GAFFV rather than being forced COV because with the first you add a new dimension to the story.

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I love playing inhuman protagonists. In fact, even when the protagonist isn’t intended to be inhuman, I imagine them as simply being an inhuman in disguise. One of my favorite games is the Hero of Kendrickstone, in part because it allows you to choose what to call yourself as a non-binary person (in lieu of the binary man/woman), so I like to type in ‘Eldritch Abomination’.

The reason for this is that I love the detachment of playing a character who is wholly a different person from yourself. Most Choicescript games already allow you to play as someone of a different gender or orientation, and the natural extension of that is a character who is not even human. You can imagine new limbs and muscles and senses for yourself. Your motivations can be completely alien to what a human might be driven by.

This also means that I’m much less interested in playing inhumans like, for example, a vampire, that are just in many respects enhanced humans. I’d rather play something that I can imagine could burst out of its human disguise (if it even had one to begin with) and be revealed to be something truly bizarre.

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I’ve done similar things before. I played Lost Heir once where I imagined my character as a goblin in a heavy cloak, pretending to be a gnome.

That’s one of the upsides of IF. You can make some cool characters just by imagining them.

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Oh, oh, oh! Maybe not monster as such, but certainly not human… Choice of the Cat, for instance. Great fun. Aaaaand, technically speaking, you can indeed be a little monster… :grin:

That’s interesting! Having played a lot of World if Darkness Vampire games in the past, I can definitely see the “essentially superpowered humans that hang out at night” angle for them, and similarly for other supernatural creatures where the flaws are less emphasised. I am fond of the idea of protagonist monsters where there’s a risk of discovery, and people knowing the truth could put you or those you care about at risk!

Looks up. Selkie game? Where?

I think non human MCs can add that extra layer of escapism, and also provide more material to work with to help make for an interesting story (like the selkie that needs her skin to return home). You can add as much extra law/rules/background as you need to suit a story so you get that flexibility to have a character that can be played which isn’t bound to the rules of what it is to be human.

I’m actually surprised there aren’t more animal protagonists in cogs. There’s plenty that can be done with humanizing animals enough to explore why they’re doing what they do, although I think it takes some research and thought to pull off well, instead of making the humans with fur. I mean look at all the movies/tv shows with talking animals in them, Often as one of the main characters. There’s heaps of them, so they’re obviously popular enough to be made.

http://www.imdb.com/list/ls053849584/

Here it is! https://sub-q.com/play-teeth-ice/

I’ve loved selkies since I was about ten years old, so when I wanted to experiment with an unfamiliar interactive fiction tool, what better than to make a game about a creepy selkie retrieving their pelt from a creepier enemy? :smile:

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Cool thanks! I’ll have a look.
Agreed, selkies are way under represented in fiction and they can make for really interesting characters. Somehow mermaids have gotten most of the most of the limelight so you rarely see the other human-like sea creatures around :slight_smile:

Edit: You should put this up in the other interactive fiction area, there’s a few selkie fans lurking around here :slight_smile:

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Well, if you count demons as inhuman, it’s been a lot of fun writing Vex as your reluctant ally for So, You’re Possessed! The second chapter where the MC actually gets possessed by him was REALLY fun to write. Got to play not only with his first person POV switch, but also his thoughts competing with the players for control. Hoping to implement another scene like that in one of the sequels, too. :relaxed:

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I enjoy writing or reading/playing non-human characters, mostly because they can provide a very different perspective to what’s typically possible with human characters. Thus far, the only non-human CoG/HG player characters that have really stuck with me is the dragon in, of course, Choice of the Dragon, and my vampire from the first Choice of Vampire game.

I have really enjoyed a few of the non-human NPCs (Lloyd from Star Captain immediately comes to mind, the House from Heart of the House, and a few of the aliens in the sci-fi titles. Some of the changed/augmented humans have been fun too; Metahuman and Deathless come to mind there.

As to writing them…well, as a joke I once gave my beta testers part of a working game where you play as a table lamp. That was actually quite fun, and some day I’d love to finish it as a free ‘short’.

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Depends on the sociopolitical climate of the setting actually, it would only make much difference if there was some form of discrimination for inhumans.
In a world that’s culturally and racially tolerant, I don’t see how changing the species of a character would alter anything significantly.

I love inhuman characters. I just prefer them wrapped in human skin. True inhumanity lies in behaviour, not phenotype. That’s far more interesting to me than just being any old creature.

Of course these aren’t mutually exclusive.