Two Character Concepts

This post consists of two character concepts that I’ve been kicking around in my head for quite some time. They’re both fantasy concepts, for no particular game system. Either would work very well in a Capes or FATE variant (but then, what doesn’t?). Both of these are extremely… er… swordy girls but are quite different from one another beyond that detail.

The Gorgon Duelist

I’ll name her if I play her.

Gorgon Duelist
This character is, somewhat obviously, a gorgon/medusa/whatever they’re called in the setting where the character exists. Feeling that she wants to prove that her kind can indeed coexist with the outside world without turning random folks into stone, she has donned a blindfold to protect others from her deadly gaze and taken to the road to see what the wider world has to offer. She’s also determined to prove that she is quite deadly enough to take on any adversary in a fair fight (in this instance, fair being defined as “won’t up and turn to stone just as things start to get interesting”). Accordingly, she has carefully and exhaustively honed her skills at swordsmanship as well as archery – she’s a lot like the kensai character archetype, except she’s green. This inherently poisonous but beautiful, regal and dignified lady goes about seeking out opportunities to demonstrate her worth, perhaps trying to secure a noble or royal patron or to found a school of swordplay.

With her white gown and her blindfold, she’s got a bit of a “zen swordsman/archer” vibe going on. Her fighting style is graceful and stately, making use of two slender serpentine-bladed swords. So how does she fight with a blindfold on? Well, she’s not actually blind: the blindfold is sheer enough that she can see well enough to function, plus she has a whole bunch of live snakes growing out of her head. While the snakes’ vision isn’t especially sharp, there are a lot of them and they readily make up the difference.

The War Sword

Der Zorn der Risse der Witwen (“The Fury of  the Widows’ Tears”)
Der Zorn der Risse der Witwen

This lovely little lady has a lovely little name that is definitely worthy of Exalted. Heck, I suppose that she would work as a character in that game too, though I don’t care for the mechanics and so I’ll never bring her there.

This character is a sword. That’s right, she’s a sentient sword capable of shapeshifting into a more-or-less human shape. After all of the men of a certain town were wiped out in some sort of pogrom, the widows left behind gathered together what they could and persuaded a master bladesmith to assist them with forging a special sword. Several of these bitter widows were witches, and as the forging was completed they breathed out their curses upon the powerful forces that had left them bereaved. It was a sword of war, what gamers tend to call a bastard sword, but which medieval persons referred to by a variety of names such as longsword/langschwert, greatsword and war sword, but whatever one might have called it, it was magnificent. The masterfully crafted weapon heard their cries and awakened to wreak their bloody vengeance.

Now it walks the world of men in a woman’s form, seeking a warrior not only worthy to wield it, but whose hate for its enemies burns as bright as its own. As a weapon itself, it is cunning indeed in the ways of swordsmanship, and it knows and accepts that it is a finely crafted instrument of death and revenge without reservation. While it is perfectly capable of fighting on its own, either in its native bladed form or in its female form wielding some lesser weapon, it is most comfortable wearing its original shape and clasped in the hands of a brave and resolute warrior. Such a man as Zorn considers worthy will find the blade beautifully adorned yet not gaudy, well balanced, keen edged and capable of guiding his hands into swift and certain killing strokes. It never seems to dull or nick, and it gleams with a mirror polish.

Her human form is a beautiful (it is the product of masterful craftsmanship, after all) woman of greyish complexion and steely colored hair, with eyes as hard, sharp and gleaming as the gems that adorn the crossguard of her sword form. Her scabbard and grip wrappings transform as well, becoming a set of tight-fitting leather breeches and a bustier as well as leg and arm armor (the metal-capped two ends of the scabbard forming that, of course, with the middle filled in with the leathery parts). A sash and headband formed from the strapping complete her ensemble.

I could have gone with the weapon’s human form being either male or female. Swords are totally a phallic symbol, after all… but female just “felt right” for this one. She’s an avatar of woman’s wrath, and is an help meet for the warrior of her choice, a companion more faithful than any lover so long as he remains on her ordained path… and more fickle than the wandering wind if he’s less dedicated. I think that I’d play her as utterly inhuman and obsessively driven to fulfill her mission, though she would develop more of an actual personality as well as becoming more feminine as she had life experiences and dealt with people in a context other than just battle. How disturbing would it be for a warrior to have his sword fall in love with him? Oh, I’d pay to see the look on his face when he realized that was going on.

This character concept was originally conceived for use in my homebrewed game Warhammer: Dark Fantasy system a number of years ago, but could very easily see use elsewhere. This is why her name listed above is Germanesque. That project was never quite completed, but it was advanced enough that I played it successfully several times. I never played poor Zorn, however, though I did write up a provisional set of stats for her. Anyway here she/it is waiting to be converted into some other system.

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4 Responses to “Two Character Concepts”

  1. seaofstarsrpg Says:

    Great character ideas. It would require fairly high-powered games to play them in but both could be a lot of fun.

    • casewerk Says:

      Thank you! About the power levels thing, a lot of the systems that I’m into nowadays don’t really have power levels: they’re about relative narrative significance (all PCs actually being on a theoretically even power level in narrative terms because they’re all at the “player character” narrative degree even if one’s a beggar and one’s an archmage) and conflict resolution rather than objective comparison and task resolution so that’s less of an issue for me than it used to be.

      That said, yeah in any task resolution game like D&D or most mainstream RPGs, these two could be a bit of a headache. Heck, I don’t even know how we’d model the War Sword in D&D game terms.

  2. seaofstarsrpg Says:

    Fair enough. Though both just have a ton of story potential. I can easily see weaving them into a campaign.

    Even as a background elements, they would be pretty fantastic.
    “Who taught you that style?”

    “The Green Mistress of the Striking Snake School.”

    And, “This sword is forged after the sword that killed the Lord of Chaos, the Fury of the Widows’ Tears, and bears an echo of its duty.”

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