30
Apr
09

four faces from the ancient gallery

Inspired by Ravyn’s post about archetypes on Exchange of Realities. Title from The Doors track “The End” which is on rotation as I write the old World of Darkness Mage game I’m currently running (multi-tasking is one of those things I practice) as well as this blog. If you want writing music, head to Finetune and program your soundtrack for a project.

I’m conscious of employing the following archetypes from time to time; this isn’t a confession of guilt or predictability (honestly, if you feel like that, back off a step) but the archetypes interest me – not just because of their apparent incongruence but because it is difficult for any protagonist not to have a feeling about them.

  1. The False Psychic – There is no power. There is a gift for reading people, for getting their trust and leading them into particular routes meeting a particular need (guilt, greed and loneliness are but three instances) which they or a friend can meet. They can cure what ails you for a price and build a illusion. Inevitably, there is a comeuppance and what happens next may be tragic or something even stranger…
    Examples:
    Patrick Jane in Mentalist, Oda Mae Brown in Ghost.
  2. The Heartless Carer – You have looked after your charges and are given responsibility for their health and welfare. There is an order, a routine to be followed – you will follow it regardless of the human cost, compassion just gets in the way of your duties. Why you don’t want or need to show an ounce of care may vary – perhaps you’re just burnt out or you secretly thrive on your cruelties. In any event, pity those in your tender mercies.
    Examples: Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

  3. The Minor-League Miser – It’s theirs. Never mind the fact they don’t use it, that they’ll probably never use it. That’s not the point. They’ll never move from saying ‘No’ unless they get something of greater value in return. Their place in the scheme of things may not be so great yet when it comes to their thing, they will defend their rights with the tenacity of a junkyard dog – sometimes to absurd or tragic levels.
    Examples: George Costanza in Seinfeld, Fagin in Oliver Twist.

  4. The Out of Towner – Some business you don’t do locally – if it’s dirty enough, an outsider is brought in. Someone noted by a lack of friends and slightly awkward with it. When the time is right they are a different person – lethally competent, situationally aware and focused on the job at hand. Always travelling light, unwilling to engage in long conversation and ready to leave quickly once the job is done, that last exit isn’t guaranteed.
    Examples: Nikita from La Femme Nikita, Navajas from Desperado
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