View Full Version : Roleplaying Behaviour of Immortal humans

2014-07-15, 05:33 PM
In my current campaign the PCs will eventually have to go against an immortal man due to inevitable cross of interests. Now, since the guy is the regenerting type of immortal, I think it would be good to establish a deeper personality due to probable repeated enounters. Unfortunately, I am not exactly that familiar with the mindset of fictional immortal people and as such would like to as your help on the matter. What kind of personality nuances and habits would an immortal man develop given the following conditions:

- Lawful good idealist.
- PCs try to undo the work of his daughter, who died doing said work.
- Life has repeatedly and without mercy kicked him in the crotch whenever it looks like he has started to find happiness.
- The man's greatest skill is his absurdly fast learning.

I will give the whole story if so required, but would prefer to keep it generalized for now.

Mark Hall
2014-07-15, 07:01 PM
Well, he's Lawful Good, and watching them not only cause evil, but disrespect his daughter's work. So, the question becomes, what's his opinion on individual lives?

He may come to view them as evil, and therefore disposable... they've made their choice to be evil, and so he gets rid of them... perhaps killing them himself, or maybe using the mechanics of government to do it.

He also may be of the opinion that they can be saved, or at least useful. If they seem mercenary rather than simply evil, why not hire them? Hire them to do good, or hire them to simply go away and let things get back to normal.

2014-07-15, 07:59 PM
How old is he? That's probably one of the most important factors.

Besides that, there's the interplay between being a cosmic chew-toy and yet still being an idealist. He'll definitely start by trying to find out if there's any way to peacefully dissuade the PCs from their current course of action, including personal appeals. If told no enough times, the next step is working behind the scenes to subtly steer them in a different direction. Being an incredibly fast learner, there's probably a lot he can do in this respect and it just might work.

If it becomes clear that nothing short of violence is going to stop the party, though... I can see him getting nasty. Really nasty. He may be doomed to live out a miserable life for all eternity, but god(s) be damned if he's going to let his daughter's legacy be tarnished. Luckily for him, "taking you down with me" is a viable and even repeatable first strategy, which makes him a fearsome opponent given the opportunity to set the terms of engagement. Read up on Durge (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Durge) from Star Wars for the sheer amount of insanity and overkill you can resort to when suicide tactics aren't.

2014-07-15, 10:24 PM
If he's particularly old, I'd imagine I'd roleplay him as somewhat claustrophobic.

Simple probability paired with human limitations means that if you're immortal, one day you're going to get stuck. A boulder falls on you and you can't lift it off, so it's down to the waiting game for gods-know-how-long. Except that you're not just waiting - you're also starving, dying of thirst, and probably in incredible pain from having a boulder pinning you.

Given long enough, it's a torture on par with or greater than anything a mortal can experience.

Just knowing it's possible should color his perspective, I'd think.

And if it's happened to him before, you can imagine the dread he'd feel at the idea of it happening again.

But I'm just spitballing here.

Erik Vale
2014-07-15, 11:43 PM
Need to know his age. Given his regeneration he's probably spent lots of time fighting, so perhaps some sort of PTSD would be good. He's also likely to be a Cynical lawful good. As in, he helps people, he respects the law, but he has two eyes firmly open and on everyone, assuming he hasn't had a major alignment shift.
For killing his daughter though, something along the lines of blood vengeance being sworn.

What age is he 'paused' at, because that will also colour things. If he's a eternal 40 year old, he'll have mastered patience, a eternal 22 year old however may be goaded easily, however he's got some experience in knowing he's been goaded, so he will do stupid things smartly [enjoy that oxymoron].

Cowardly Griffo
2014-07-15, 11:58 PM
I will give the whole story if so required, but would prefer to keep it generalized for now.I'd kind of like the whole story, personally. It would help give advice on how he behaves.

Also: just going off of the narrow window that you're giving us, I'm seeing what appear to be quite a few sue traits. Not saying that's how the guy actually is, I'm just saying that from the limited view so far that that's how he looks, given that:

1. He's described as a lawful good idealist–which makes it sound like you consider him the real hero of the story.
2. The PCs are undoing his daughter's work–which makes them sound like jerks without further context, and further cements his status as the protagonist.
3. He's had the universe pick on him a lot–thus we're supposed to feel sorry for him.
4. He learns absurdly fast–therefore he is Batman. (Also, not to put too fine a point on it, but I'm not sure why an immortal needs to learn absurdly fast. The whole schtick of immortals is that they can overcome any obstacle eventually, not immediately.)

To put it into Dungeon World terms, it sounds like you're more of a fan of this NPC than you are of the PCs. Again, might not actually be true.

So... yeah, further context might be good? :smallsmile:

2014-07-16, 12:00 AM
One major thing I think needs clarification: Do you intend him to STILL BE a lawful good idealist, or is this what he started out as, but he's no longer such thanks to the constant "kick in the crotch" he gets from the universe?

2014-07-16, 07:27 AM
Thank you for your answers guys, it seems that I came to the right place to ask. Now, I suppose I owe you an apology for being somewhat vague, so sorry about that, I’ll make sure to be more exact in the future. Now, a few clarifications:

- The guy started as a Lawful Good idealist. I intend to keep the alignment, but his ideals changing is the very reason I’m asking for your help.
- This guy is far from the only powerful hero. There are a lot due to the war-heavy world that allows people to become strong. This fellow is just the first one I have difficulty characterizing. And if there are sueish traits, then it just means that there is work to be done on characterizing :smallsmile:.
- The guy's fast learning is his greatest asset and defining characteristic. His physical stats aren’t really anything write home about when comparing to other adversaries. However, his Int is though the roof and his battle style is intended to take advantage of that. And I think having lots of intelligence might affect one’s views of world after a certain amount of time.

Here is a somewhat abridged version of the story and context.

I have two main themes in the campaign: Passing the Torch and Hero of Another story. The world is somewhat high-powered and quite locked in turmoil which causes many heroes and villains to rise, including this guy. Now, the story starts with the nine-members strong adventurer party of the guy’s daughter sealing away a great evil 200 hundred years ago with nine keys. The evil itself is the personification of a contract between the human race and the forces of Hell. The humans were created by them to beat the goody-shoes dwarves and elves. They failed a great war 500 years ago and were enslaved as a result. Evil was their very nature, and at the 200-year mark nine half-breeds started a quest to change that. Long story short, they succeeded while becoming great heroes, and brought down a symbol of contract between humanity from the celestial realms. They put it onto a human child and left it to develop. Ten years later, a Dwarven city was overrun by revolting human slaves serving a great hero that rose to the rebellion. The rest is history as the new kingdom started to conquer everything in its way to create a ‘Good Kingdom for mankind’.

The PCs come in at the present time. Through trial of fire they form an adventurer company and are hired by an NPC to serve as his guards as he looks for the keys. He is actually evil and wants to release the being, but tricked the party by claiming that the seal seems to radiate an aura of good: as such, the old adventurer’s must have made some mistake. Here are the PCs:
- A greedy Barbarian that is kept in the party by the power of money.
- A neutral Inquisitor of Knowledge, something of butt monkey of the group due to his unfocused expertise. The best roleplayer o the group, though.
- A Dwarven Prince, his quest for the throne of the decaying Dwarven Kingdom forms the other main motivation of the group. He hopes to stop the decadence and lead them to new glory.
- A Human Gunslinger, Definition of Chaotic Neutral.
- Lawful Neutral Monk, friend of the Inquisitor.
- Half Orc Witch, another CN.
- Lawful Good Oracle who wishes to destroy evil.
Most of the guys are new, but they are constantly getting better.

Despite their eccentricies, the party wishes to help in ‘saving the world’ now that some parties have started to do some evil-looking thing (complicated, there are many layers of deception, I still can’t believe the Inquisitor didn’t use detect evil on the NPC). The most important of these is the Black Knight, one of the adventurers that fought with the guy’s daughter. Unbeknownst to the party, the three surviving members of the old party wish to now destroy both the evil and good contract permanently due to their presence polarizing the humans too much and causing unnecessary grief. Due to a ‘law of opposite forces’ they can’t just destroy the other one completely… However, due to the good on being more active for 200 years, most humans would start as good-aligned. They are sadly too weak to defeat either one anymore, as the black knight learned the hard way, so they trust and guide the new heroes, PCs, to finish the job they couldn’t. Sadly they didn’t inform anyone, including the guy.

Now for the requested story, I’ll call the guy Will:
Will was born to a family of blacksmiths in a city that got razed to the ground when he was a teen. His parents died there and he was sent t another city as refugee. Through some luck, he managed to land to job as a servant to a nobleman. And most importantly, used that association to study in the local university. Sadly, the noble passed away to plague, and Will had to leave. As such, he started an adventurer’s guild and managed to work to some extent. Unfortunately, they happened to run into a peasant rebellion that surrounded them. Due to coincidences stacking, negotiations didn’t work and it turned into a battle. The adventurers slaughtered the commoners albeit with most of them dying in the process. They disbanded in guilt. A few years later, they guy managed to join the newly formed King’s Knights. This started the one period where he was fairly successful, gaining the appreciation of the more important officials due to his intellectual talents even if he got knocked out in most of the battles.

Then he got the grandmaster’s squire killed in a learning trip. And he wasn’t blamed for it. Then Will almost started a war with a rival order, but in combination with said grandmaster barely managed to calm the situation to a Cold War –esque situation. Then he went on a mission to gather information, but got trapped in a cave for a century. He survived due to an age-locking artifact within the chambers of the place (in his early thirties). He eventually escaped after a nasty storm broke several rocks away from the cave’s mouth. With an amnesia. He managed to rejoin his order under an alias he had adopted due to not remembering his name, but was met with mostly scorn and distain due to being seen as an outsider. He also learned his previous self was labeled a traitor of the highest order for deserting. Well, Will didn’t care yet and started doing his work he had vowed as part of joining and managed to get knocked out a lot less. Mainly due to having most of his learning skill channeled to learning fighting. He also eventually managed to regain most of his memories and made some actual friends in the order. Unfortunately, he ran afoul of an outsider who plane shifted him to the campaign world after an unsuccessful battle. 300 years before the main campaign. When the humans were quite evil. (A side note: The landing place is an expy of Britain, an island of magic and all that…)

Will teamed up with some local elves and started a one-man crusade to change the place. Due to help from Elven Clerics, they slowly managed to convert chunks of the population to good in a bloody and long crusade, although it did help that most of the population had some amounts of fey blood in their veins. 230 years before the campaign he married one of the elves and had said daughter. As mentioned before, she died sealing that thing away. At that, the guy decided to **** it and retired to become a librarian in the Island, now conquered by the Extremely-Good-Human-Kingdom. Unfortunately, the PCs are going to disturb his daughter’s legacy and there will be a conflict…

I had to invent a lot just last night, so the quality isn't exactly my best, so sorry about that. Hope it is still readable...

2014-07-16, 01:36 PM
Okay, so if I'm reading this right
1. Humans in this setting are currently Usually Good or Evil, with the Good side enjoying a very hard-fought victory (against both their Evil counterparts and assorted other races) for the time being.
2. The PCs' employer wants them to unlock a MacGuffin so humans will go back to being Always Evil, which the PCs don't know is what will happen.
3. Will's daughter's surviving teammates (whom the PCs haven't met yet) want the PCs to destroy that same MacGuffin so humans will become Alignment: Any. They want this because they think more Neutral people would mean less conflict in the world.
4. Will is one of the first Good humans, due to being from an alternate Material Plane, and basically set off the chain of events leading to (1). He is currently enjoying his ~200th year of peaceful retirement.

Most important question: Does Will know about (3) or could he reasonably find out? If he hears direct from the horse's mouth that "yeah, maybe we goofed" and agrees, then a team-up to ensure the MacGuffin's destruction is in order. At that point the issue becomes how close to let the PCs get to the MacGuffin before trying to convince them to do the opposite of what they're currently planning on doing with it.

If Will disagrees that more Neutral = more better, then there's now a three way battle to steer the PCs in the "right" direction. Pretty much the same thing if he never finds out in the first place that his old buddies have had a change of heart.

Either way, Will seems like the type to want to start with the straightforward approach: "I'm four centuries old, I was there when this whole 'nine keys' business went down, your employer is lying to you, now could you please not destroy everything my daughter gave her life for and plunge humanity back into Evil." If they don't buy it, step two is to try and prove he's telling the truth, which definitely involves tracking down the other witnesses to corroborate his story if he isn't working with them already. If that doesn't work, well... See above about Durge, though the PCs' employer is the logical first target.

2014-07-16, 02:10 PM
1. Yep, although the current scenario that the party is wrapped in is *The Evil Strikes Back, Hard*.
2. Exactly.
3. The surviving members are actually counting on the being to be freed, albeit weakened. And two of them have been met. The black knight guided the party on trail of the keys while another member switched a key to a fake that would weaken the evil contract upon summoning. The plan is to give humans an actual choice in their alignment. The current method is pretty much brainwashing in both ways.
4. Yes and no, the events were set in motion by one the daughter's teammate independently of Will's 'country'.

For the question, probably no. The relationship between Will and the originals is pretty bad I'd think due to his child dying rather permanently during their quest.

Your presented scenarios are quite interesting though, never thought about introducing three-way manipulation... Also, I'm starting to think this is turning into a campaign thread :smalltongue:.

2014-07-16, 02:37 PM
Do the PCs know yet that the Survivor Squad wants the MacGuffin killed/destroyed after it's been released?

2014-07-16, 02:52 PM
Do the PCs know yet that the Survivor Squad wants the MacGuffin killed/destroyed after it's been released?
No, I'm afraid.