Monday, June 24, 2013

Creating An Origin Story

Doc Torpots' last post got me thinking.  I too, in my youth, sometime in jr. high, began the process of writing video game fan fiction.  Not in the traditional sense of fanfiction, but I took the existing storyline from Final Fantasy and intended to flesh out characters and places that already existed within the game.  I think the characters I used were my go-to group for whenever I created a party: Fighter, Black Belt, White Mage & Black Mage.  I think I even went so far with artistic licensing to make the Black Belt blind from some event that happened before the events of the game and that the Fighter had been his companion, probably since the incident that took the Black Belt's sight.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is interesting in how many different storylines exist within the game.  There are any number of plots that will take you in one of two directions, such as the Stormcloak/Imperial civil war quests, the Dawnguard Vampire quests, each having you choose one of two sides.  That alone, if you want to complete requires at least two characters.  With my initial character, I couldn't see them joining either side in the civil war and while I did start the Dawnguard quests (and even the Black Brotherhood quests), I can't don't think I will finish them.

With that in mind, I decided to create a new character for the sole purpose of joining the Stormcloak side of the civil war against the Imperials.  At the same time, I also wanted to create a tank.  Then I started thinking, what's a tanks general weakness?  Magic.  So how would I create a tank that wasn't as susceptible to magic?  I would make them a Breton.  That was when story mode kicked in for me.  I needed to have a reason as to why a Breton tank was captured and taken to Helgen to be executed with the leader of the Stormcloaks, which is how Skyrim begins.  I then created my Breton tank but upon looking him over, all bearded and scraggly, I felt that I didn't know the character.  I had this image of what I wanted him to be, but I wanted to know where this guy came from.  Who was he before he became all bearded?  Over the course of the next day at work, I managed to come up with the following story:

In the 4E 184, a noble from the city of Farrun in the High Rock province of Tamriel is sent to the city of Whiterun in Skryim  as a dignitary for a now unknown event, possibly a wedding.  This male noble is sent because he is not well liked by the reigning king of Farrun but it is expected that a noble be sent to Whiterun nonetheless.  The unnamed male noble, while he doesn't like the cold of the Skyrim province, is eager to gain favor with the King, accepts the "honor" of representing Farrun.

While travelling through Skyrim, the noble's caravan made stops in Rorikstead on the initial trip before arriving in Whiterun and Dragon Bridge on the return trip before arriving back in Farrun.  At some point, the noble slept with an unnamed woman who worked in one of the taverns of Rorikstead or Dragon Bridge.  Some months later when the woman realized she was pregnant and fearing being outcast by her parents, the woman leaves to work/live on a farm owned by her aunt and uncle some miles away.  Her aunt and uncle have not issue with their pregnant niece.  

In 4E 185, the woman has her child, but dies during childbirth.  The uncle swears to the woman before she dies that he will take the child to Farrun (since the mother knew of the father's originating location) so that the child could live with and be taken care of by the father.  The following morning, the uncle leaves for Farrun.

The evening that the uncle crosses the border into High Rock, the farm is attacked by Forsworn and the aunt is killed while the crops are looted.  Upon reaching Farrun, the uncle and child request an audience with any of the nobles.  Word gets around to the unnamed male noble that a man from Skyrim is looking for a Farrun noble who had visited Skyrim the following year; there is no word of a child.  The noble sends out a hitman to kill the uncle.  The assassin is sent to the inn to kill the uncle and in the process finds a baby.  The assassin follows through with his contract, but takes the baby to an orphanage, leaving it on the doorstep and disappearing into the night.

The child, a boy, is raised in the orphanage.  Unlike his fellow Breton children, the child has red hair and is frequently made fun of, most likely because of a negative stereotype that Bretons of Farrun hold toward the Nords of Skyrim.  The child, taking the name of Gherard after a ferrier/blacksmith in Farrun whom the boy begins an apprenticeship with in 4E 193.  While growing up, Gherard embraces his rumoured Nord heritage as a way of hardening himself against the taunts of the children of the orphanage and the citizens of Farrun.

In 4E 198, Gherard vows to leave Farrun for Skyrim to search for his heritage.  He has an ornamental beard tattooed to each side of his face, still being too young to actually grow a beard.  Gherard also begins having his hair fashioned in a very un-Brenton fashion which only brings about more ridicule from other Bretons, but strengthens his resolve to leave.

In 4E 201, when Gherard is 17, he has saved enough money from his work and buys his way out of the orphanage.  Upon crossing the border into Skyrim, Gherard is caught up in an ambush between Imperial Legion soldiers and members of the Stormcloak rebellion.  Gherard is captured by the Imperial Legion and is taken to Helgen, in the south of Skyrim to await his execution.

Yes, I felt I needed all of that to justify creating a Breton tank who would join with the Stormcloaks for that one, single, quest line.  And now, I present to you young Gherard of Farrun:
At the moment, I do not have a picture of Gherard in his developed state as I have yet to make it to Riften to  see the Face Sculptor, but after I feel that he's actually grown enough, I will make him all bearded and rugged like.  His future is written, just not played out yet.


[P.S. I just found (6/28/2013) some pictures that I took while composing Gherard's story while at work:
I thought I was finished after coming up with this.  During the remainder of the day, I kept having more ideas for Gherard's story.  As you can see, originally I had the father originating from Hammerfell due to it's proximity to the western edge of Skyrim, but I later decided that High Rock would work better for the strong vs. magic tank.  You can also see that early on, Gherard's mother would be alive for part of his life rather than dying during child birth.  I ended up further developing it on the back of my work schedule-sheet until it looked like this by the end of the day:
This is probably an accurate depiction of what it looks like inside my brain.]

1 comment:

  1. Nice. Very good.

    Can we get a picture of him in the daylight as well? That pic doesn't show his red hair.