Monday, February 12, 2007

Antaria: Visual Characterization

Back when I was working on Anito: Defend a Land Enraged, I was required not only to outline a general progression of events for the story, but also to put together a cast of characters that could be used throughout the entire game. After putting together a basic description of these characters (both design-wise and personality-wise), I was supposed to hand them off to a staff artist who would then produce the initial pencil sketches.

Considering that large-scale contemporary RPGs like Anito can often run into about a hundred different characters (or maybe even more), however, this task wasn't as easy as it sounded. I eventually resolved the problem by organizing the game's locales into four separate townships and then tackling their respective populations one by one, but it was still hard going at times. If anything, it even got a little harder once I found out that the game's resident artist was somehow turning all of my female characters into sexy, fanservice-oriented models.

Anito's been a long time gone, of course, and I've since lost pretty much all the character descriptions that were once tucked away in my computer. I probably still have a CD copy of them lying around here somewhere, although I'm too lazy to look for it at the moment.

In the meantime, I've mulled doing the same thing for the population of Antaria; There's the possibility that I can have the story cross over into a more visual medium, after all. In addition, there's obviously no lack of talented artistic ability out there, and I've always liked seeing other peoples' takes on the setting. On the other hand, however, I find it easier to express the setting purely through words at the moment, and I'll obviously need some time to get used to a visual approach. Moreover, why write up a visual description of each character when you can just feature them in a story? Why 'show' when you can just as easily 'tell'?

Nevertheless, I need something to occupy my mind while I screen possible story ideas for Psicom. Besides, it'll be nice to see who needs more screen time and who doesn't.

Kharandon Greybane
Male Galenic Noble, Master Healer, Political Representative
From: The Celebration, Of Memories Beyond, What Lies Beneath
Appearance: Early 30s. Kharandon is a man of average height and imperious bearing; His posture and mannerisms give people the impression that he's taller than he looks. Kharandon sports natural gray hair (which is a family feature), cut short in a formal, traditional style. He also wears a mustache that tends to bristle whenever he gets impatient.
Clothes / Accessories: Kharandon can most often be seen wearing formal white robes suitable for his position among the Galenic councils.
Demeanor: Kharandon Greybane is the kind of person who makes certain that things get done, and believes that he's one of the few people who actually keeps the Galenic sect running. He doesn't focus on background details as much as he focuses on pertinent ones. He collects reports and makes decisions for the organization of Galenic healers, and advises the indecisive Satine Whitestone on developments. He constantly despairs over how slow and inefficient things are, although he keeps these opinions to himself.

Rhias Swordcaster
Female Masquer Bodyguard
From: Knives, The Celebration, High Fashion
Appearance: Mid-20s. Rhias is slightly shorter than average height, with long jet-black hair tied back so as not to interfere with her movements. She is trim and muscular (the product of constant athletic training since childhood), and gives the impression of a coiled spring ready to give way at any moment. She never smiles.
Clothes / Accessories: Rhias always wears simple robes with little variance in style (an odd practice, for a Masquer), but which are highly conducive to quick movement. She shows a marked preference for black boots, for some reason. She conceals a generous supply of throwing knives in everything she wears (although these are almost never noticeable).
Demeanor: Rhias is tasked to protect Grandmaster Gallos with her life, and virtually never leaves his side. She has no goals or aspirations beyond this duty, maintains no friends and relatives, and takes no other orders. She sticks to Gallos so closely that some wonder if she's having an affair with him behind closed doors.
Notes: A few months before this blog started, I commissioned a piece of artwork from Jac Ting Lim for this character. I don't have any more copies of this piece from my end, though.

Female Metrian Apprentice
From: Amalthea, What Lies Beneath
Appearance: 20 years old, more or less. Amalthea is short and wiry, having explored a good portion of the Antarian terrain on her own two feet. She has thick red hair, which she ties up into a ponytail with multiple braids (think Lara Croft if you wish).
Clothes / Accessories: Amalthea often wears a long brown coat over her traveling clothes. She also has a tendency to pick up sticks that are lying around, if only because you can think of so many uses for a long stick.
Demeanor: Amalthea has this irresistible urge to head out and explore places, which tends to conflict with her studies under Atharus. If anything, she most represents the type of person who will go ahead and do something if you tell her otherwise. She maintains a healthy dose of cynicism over matters that don't change to the point of complacency, and is altogether willing to try a lot of new and different things.
Notes: David previously produced a piece of artwork featuring this character.

Female Vestal of Antaria, former Metrian
From: Of Memories Beyond
Appearance: Late 60s to early 70s. Lianesse is a short person (although it's more a product of age than anything else) who nevertheless looks pretty good for a septuagenarian. Her face is relatively free of wrinkles, save for those that turn up at the corners of her smile. Her short white hair is usually set in a very simple style.
Clothes / Accessories: Lianesse always wears the white ceremonial robes of the Vestal of Antaria, a symbolic position in accordance with the population's faith in the Aranist deity.
Demeanor: Lianesse is the grandmother figure who everybody likes. Her duties involve providing solace and inspiration to a religious population, but this honestly doesn't translate into a lot of actual work. She is generally pleasant and patient with people, she gets tired quite easily, and holds a lot of passion towards books, scrolls, and learning in general.

Male Unaligned Mage
From: Idle Conversation
Appearance: Late 30s to mid-40s. Auros is a scruffy-looking man with dirty blond hair and a perpetually businesslike expression. He is slightly taller than average height, and doesn't care if this combination of factors makes him stand out in the middle of a crowd.
Clothes / Accessories: Auros wears an old set of robes with a matching vest, both of which smell as though they haven't been washed for a while. He also wields a six-foot-long wooden staff, which he inherited from his previous teacher.
Demeanor: Auros is a self-made man, and makes this perfectly clear to anyone he meets. He prizes scholastic research above all other things, and despises the constant politics that suffuse the mage sects' everyday dealings. While he has friends, he chooses to hold no affiliations whatsoever. Nothing enrages him as much as anyone who insinuates that his services can be bought for money (despite the fact that he's willing to make a few small trades here and there).

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