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Spitshine and Elbow Grease: Character Rewrites #1




The knight in sour armor.


When he was written, Virtue was a prototype for knight-themed ponies and the order that they were to be part of called the Destriers. This was all well and good, save that creating an organization for him to be a part of caused some issues with board lore and primed several character concepts for drama later. The original intent for the Destriers were to be paragons of good, an order that upheld chivalry and discipline in both mental and physical forms. But along with that noble intent came the restrictions of race and of class. To be honest, the proposal should never have been allowed to stand, but times were different back then.

Virtue's core character was that of an individual with a hard edge who had suffered defamation of his character for the choices that he made in life; choices that he thought were morally righteous at the time. In terms of WOE canon, this would never pass muster today. The backstory is tragic, but upheld Virtue as a paragon and the world as the aggressor. When I write and critique characters now, I make sure that the character is held accountable for the choices that he or she makes. He or she should not simply be the victim of happenstance. There were a number of other issues with the character sheet, such as lack of a cutie mark story, possession of a deadly weapon, and martial training in the absence of conflict, but those could be ironed out with work while the character development flaws would require a fundamental rewrite.

I'm juggling new concepts in my head for Virtue for a pending rewrite. I've been listening to a lot of Johnny Cash and Brother Dege lately and I think I have some idea of what I want to do with Virtue. Virtue's core character is that of a hard-edged survivor and determinator. His legendary will to succeed will remain a part of the character. The things that will change will be the history. I can see him growing up in a dingy town like Beakbreak City in the working class. He earns a working wage helping his family make ends meet, but eventually decides he needs to move on to bigger and better things. He leaves the family behind to pursue his own fortunes, which he succeeds at. But when he returns, the family's fortunes have faltered because of his abandonment. Virtue will be held accountable for his decisions, decisions that benefited him, but damaged his relationships. Heartbroken, but determined to make things right, Virtue hits the road, seeking to both bring his family back together and help others be happy. His journeys take him to a Destrier monastery, where he figuratively "finds religion" and a renewed sense of purpose.

All these concepts are obviously subject to change, but character development is neither linear nor deterministic. Hopefully, this gives you guys some insight into my character creation process and how my views on it have changed over time.

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That's very interesting!

I don't have much in specific in the way of commentary; most of my character development tends to happen in RP's; a lot of the time simply interacting with other players will bring out facets of a character that I hadn't considered much in profile writing, or suggest routes of development that I would never have thought of on my own. What sort of things Virtue's travel companions would bring out of him might prove interesting. Perhaps a nakama would give him guidance towards operating in a family?

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