View Full Version : Character Psychology 101 (W&W)

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-12-31, 11:36 AM
I've recently begun making a character for Warriors and Warlocks (the fantasy version of Mutants and Masterminds). The character's already been built, statwise:
Name: Artegall
PL : 8
Strength: 14 (4ppts)
Dexterity: 10
Constitution: 16 (6ppts)
Intelligence: 12 (2ppts)
Wisdom: 16 (6ppts)
Charisma: 18 (8ppts)

Attack Bonus: +4 melee, +6 sword
Defense: 16 (12ppts)
Toughness: +3 (+7 with armor)
Fortitude: +10 (7ppts)
Reflex: +10 (10ppts)
Will: +13 (10ppts)

Feats: (17ppts)
Attack Focus Melee 4, Attack Specialization Sword, Benefit: Status (4), Defensive Attack, Leadership, Master Plan, Power Attack, Seize Initiative, Dedication, Lionheart, Rallying Cry,

Skills: (13ppts)
Diplomacy +12 (+16), Intimidate +8 (+12), Knowledge: Theoligy and Philosophy +12 (+13), Notice +8 (+11), Sense Motive +12 (+15)

Powers: (31ppts)
Healing 8 (Alternate Powers: Exorcism 4 [Full Round], Ward 4, plus choose 3 others)
Strike 4 (Smite) Mighty
Light Control 7 (Alternate Powers: Dazzle 3, Obscure 3)

Sword: +3 damage, Penetrating 2
Breastplate: +4 Toughness
But now that I have that, I'm trying to figure out how I should be roleplaying him. Here's the backstory I've written for him:

Artegall was the only son of King Gorlois Astern of Asternian. Asternian was the longest standing of the so-called Bandit Kingdoms. The Bandit Kingdoms are a tumultuous area where petty warlords rise and carve out small fiefdoms that more often than not collapse following the deaths of their would-be kings. Asternian has the distinction of being the only Bandit Kingdom that has never suffered such a collapse, having been ruled by the house of Astern since Astern rose up from his bandit origin and became a just and fair king. From birth, Artegall had been primed to take his father's place as king upon his death. But then a prophecy changed everything.

A strange wise-woman predicted that a fatherless child would be born who would take the throne from the house of Astern, with a mark on his hand that would identify him. Gorlois, like any king would do in this situation, had his men search for the child. Sure enough, a boy was born in a small village not far from the Asterns' castle with such a mark. The child's father had apparently been killed by wild animals some time between the conception and birth, and the child's mother died giving birth to him. But unlike other kings, Gorlois did not try to kill this child of prophecy. Rather, he took the child back to the castle, adopted the child and officially named him heir to the throne.

Gorlois' decree changed everything for Artegall. Because this new prince, named Guyon, was now heir, Artegall was left without an inheritance. To prevent quarreling over succession and ensure Guyon's transition to the throne was as smooth as possible, Artegall was sent to the temple of Astraea, the goddess of justice and chivalry. Once he took his sacred vows tying him to the church and the goddess' service, he shed his family name, and thus any claim to the Asternian throne he might have had.

To be continued...

2009-12-31, 12:46 PM
Well, there's the one hand where he has an intense disgust for fate and destiny and such due to it robbing him of his birthright and forcing him into being nothing more than a glorified errand boy or lackey. And then from there it can fork.

Then there's the other hand where he has gone whole hog for destiny and prophecy and fate and such leading him to where he is today in the service of the goddess. From this fork one can get either a very fatalistic sort of outlook or a completely goddess-focused outlook, in which he interprets his experience as a literal call to service/be a hero/etc..

But those are the two main branches I see. Depends on how old he was when it went down, which influences how much of his upbringing was as a royal and how much of it was as an altarboy/cleric.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-12-31, 01:12 PM
I wasn't finished yet because my mother ordered me to go work out with my sister. :smallmad:

Anyway, Artegall went to learn at the temple, and full of anger at the hand the gods dealt him, threw himself into his studies like a madman. His rigorous studies, coupled with the leadership skills he learned from his father, allowed him to quickly ascend to a leadership position among Astraea's templars. He was eventually named Astraea's champion, granted divine powers and given the holy sword Chrysaor as his badge of office. His first act as Divine Champion was to travel to the city state of Freedom's Reach, where the church of Astraea is ailing. (This is where the game will begin)

Meanwhile back in Asternian, Gorlois has passed away and Guyon has grown to become a good king, ruling with temperance and wisdom. However, he's sickly and some are worried that he won't last long on the throne, despite his solid leadership. Also, his marriage to Britomart is an unhappy one because for some reason she has been unable to concieve Guyon's heir. If Guyon dies, the noble houses of Asternian (descendents of the members of Astern's bandit clan) will begin struggling against one another to take the throne, and if that happens, Asternian will likely go the way all other "Bandit Kingdoms" have gone, and collapse back into anarchy and roving bands of marauders raiding to survive. And in the background, war is brewing between the two most powerful nations in the world, the Empire of the Azure Throne (a theocracy) and the Land of the Witchqueens (a magocracy), and there are whispers of demons being sighted.

That's Artegall's story.

What I'm trying to figuree out is how to roleplay his personality. On the one hand, I want him to be bitter about how he's been treated, especially because he was never asked how he felt about any of this destiny stuff. He was shunted off and expected not to complain. However, I don't think Astraea would have granted him divine powers if he was still holding on to a selfish grudge like that. Gorlois' decision saved many lives because Guyon probably would have led a rebel army against the Asterns and killed them all to become king had Gorlois not made Guyon the legitimate heir.

The main conflict I'm trying to establish in Artegall's personality is his anger at his destiny and his acceptance of it, but it doesn't really make sense for him to be a divine champion if he hasn't gotten over his own personal issues already.

Am I making sense?

2009-12-31, 01:44 PM
Hmm... Prince of the Church interpretation?

2009-12-31, 01:55 PM
Idea ... his superiors know that he's still working through the issues, but that the struggle will help him come to terms with his role in the world.

There is a bit of tension between his situation and his order's emphasis on Justice, as well - how would it be just that some random kid shows up and takes the throne away from him? Possible answer: it's only just if taking it away is the only way to make him worthy of keeping it.

2009-12-31, 02:02 PM
I think you need to decide if he (and if you can roleplay him best as):

A. resentful of what has happened. Perhaps he thinks of reclaiming his kingship and forsaking his vow forsaking his family name. Or he truly is devoted, so he has no conception of reclaiming the throne, but he cares about his kingdom and despises the sickly king who is threatening it.

B. accepting of what happens. He sees how the Goddess led him to Her service, and obviously the Prophecy he once abhorred is divine will. The king, though sickly, should be preserved to guide the land as divine will dictates. He cares about his former homeland, so he wishes to help it if he can, but his primary duty is to the Goddess and his current duties for Her.

A lot of 'Scenario A' would be contingent on what qualifies him for being a divine champion. Is it an anointing by magic ritual, and thus something that he might have hidden his grudges against? (After all, a political heir would be shrewd and deceitful when necessary.) Or does the Goddess herself actually choose, or in some what inspect, him? If that, then perhaps he accepts the divine will, but despises how the sickly king is setting up things to fail and wants to preserve the land.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-12-31, 11:39 PM
Hmm... Prince of the Church interpretation?

I don't understand what that means. :smallconfused:

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-01-01, 12:44 PM
So...no further advice? I'm trying to figure out how to make this guy bitter but not whiny.

2010-01-01, 07:25 PM
Also, you should put some serious thought into what his education was like as a child and how it formed his attitudes. As the only son of a feudal system's king, it was likely to be unique and uphold the virtues his father wished to have instilled in him.

What was his relationship with his father? Did his father ever talk with him about this? Did his father approve of him?

In order to understand how this character would react to, effectively, being disowned by his father, you must understand what both of them were like at the time, and what their relationship was like.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-01-01, 09:28 PM
Well, the essential reason his father made this decision was to save lives. You know how it turns out with these sorts of prophecies. The king tries to kill the kid or something but by some miracle the kid survives and grows up to bring justice to the man who tried to kill him, whether by leading a rebel army or simply tricking the king into becoming an immortal ferryman.

Artegall's father wanted to prevent this from happening, because he knew that any of those kinds of results would ruin Asternian. So he did the genre savvy thing and made Guyon his official heir so the prophecy would be fulfilled with a minimum of damage done to the realm.

Artegall would have just been a kid when his father sent him away. The reason Artegall was sent to Astraea's church was because he wanted Artegall to become a just and civic-minded person. To put his own personal concerns aside for the greater good.

Because Artegall was only a child, naturally he reacted angrily to this. He didn't understand the underlying reasons for being sent away and essentially disowned until he was older. Gorlois loved his son very much, and part of the reason he did this was so Artegall wouldn't be hurt in fulfilling the prophecy.

My GM has provided the following information about how religion works in the world to help me a bit:

A Divine Champion is anointed in a special ritual at a young age, normally. But political pressure from his father made the church anoint Artegall when he was much older, in his early teens. Most Champions grow up hearing the voice of their deity whispering to them, to Artegall it's more of an intrusion than a guide. He's not unwilling though. Think of Anakin Skywalker. He wasn't raised as a Jedi, so part of his personality was formed by his experiences on Tatooine. It's part of why he was hard to handle.

I also had an idea that the church could want him to try to take the throne, but the goddess doesn't command him to. It could lead to him taking down the church itself, since he doesn't serve them, he serves Astraea.

Cosmology in summary:

In the beginning there was Teverastas, goddess of time, destiny, and creation. She was alone, so she created Valdhoras, god of light, life, and creation. Together, they made the world. But unknown to her, she created his opposite, Mhoergesith, god of death, darkness, and sorrow.

Teverastas and Valdhoras fell in love, and their union created Astraea, Hedra, and Arameas, deities of justice/freedom/compassion, nature, and art/music/love respectively.

Mhoergesith, jealous of their love, took Teverastas by force, and born of that violent union was Chelgrim, Genicros, and Rhagozh, deities of war/murder/greed, pestilence/madness/deceit, and rage/storms/destruction. All human suffering was born of one act of rape, and humanity knows this. Thus, forcing oneself on another is the most abominable act anyone can commit, making them loathed and hunted by all, even their families.

So because of the things Astraea stands for, Artegall focuses on basically encompasing the three types of Good. Justice (Lawful Good), Freedom (Chaotic Good) and Compassion (Neutral Good). At least, that's what it looks like to me.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-01-02, 01:20 PM
So...no new advice even with this new information?

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-01-03, 12:21 PM

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-01-04, 01:21 AM
I've been advised to play the character in a manner similar to Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars, teetering just on the edge and making his final decision, for good or ill, as the game progresses.

I'm not too sure how to implement that advice though, given that Hayden Christiansen's performance as Anakin was considered a very bad weak point of the prequels (though given what people say about the prequels around here they've nothing BUT weak points), making the character seem whiny and pretentious. I don't want Artegall to be whiny and pretentious.