So, my party and I are currently on sword of valor, just after having finished the first wave of mass combat stuff. At the start of this campaign I decided to play a 75 year old (the equivalent of about twelve or thirteen for a human) elvish wizard prodigy whose parents were exiled from the city on account of Lord Hulrun's pogroms and was afterwards sold into slavery by the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth. After two years of demonic torment, he was rescued and raised by the dragon Terendelev for 30 more years, which is when he discovered his intuitive knack for wizardry. So far, Malakai has been responsible for the deaths of many of the servitors of the Ivory Labyrinth, and has a personal vendetta against all the demon cults and demons for slaying his adopted mother and enslaving him in his youth. It's been very difficult striking the balance between playing as a wizard and playing as a child, with the mythic rules only further increasing the complexity. Additionally, as an elf he's actually older than all of the other adult characters in the party by several centuries.
Already, the character has an intelligence of 24, a mythic tier, and six class levels, and they gained that all in about a month of adventuring. How do I roleplay this character so the fact that he's a child still shines through, when I have this ungodly amount of power and intellect at my disposal? How should I factor in his elvish heritage and his newfound mythic power in this equation? How do I deal with the fact that as the equivalent of a 12 or 13 year old, this kid is personally responsible for the death of scores of cultists and demons? How would you handle playing a character like this?
Let's face it. After what he went through, he's PHYSICALLY a child. But he's no kid. He's a child of war and suffered from intense trauma. Think of him as more akin to children who are 12 or 13 who live on farms even 50 years ago - they did hard work and don't really have childhoods. They occasionally have fun but they have chores and the like and work hard.
A more depressing thing to look at are stories of children who are child soldiers and the like.
These are just a few thoughts:
Don't forget the simple acceptance that is typical of the nature of children. His higher intelligence allows him to grasp complex ideas that he then can accept and go on like it has always been or will always be.
You might also play his grasp of time differently than the others. Between his age, his race, and his rearing both as a slave and by the dragon he's bound to be more in the now than thinking to other times particularly the future.
Also, let him take simple joy in things. He may be super intelligent but there is still much he has not seen and many things are new. Sure a normal kid may experiment with building things from loose material lying around and he may experiment with his great arcane might but the reasons behind it might be the same.
His taste in foods might be a bit simplistic as well.
|Alexander Augunas Contributor|
Be careful of childhood stereotypes; I liked how someone else in the thread referred to your character as a "child soldier," because that's undoubtedly true. When playing your wizard, remember that as a child, he's inexperienced. His Intelligence means that he knows a lot of stuff, but he likely doesn't have street smarts or a world-worn attitude. He's likely bad at saving his money, doesn't plan very far ahead in the future (you might want to reflect this by choosing a list of favorite spells and only preparing them, varying gradually as he starts to wisen up to the fact that a fireball is not the best spell for every situation).
You need to let his personality determine which spells you prepare. If you have a controlling child, prepare mostly charm, dominate, and battlefield control spells. If your child is light-hearted and giddy, maybe he won't prepare as many "fiery death" spells. Stuff like that.
He will likely be very dead-set in his own ideas and not think of other people's point of view. He might have an incredible Intelligence, but he might have trouble using that Intelligence in abstract, out-of-the-boss way. Stuff like that will help the feel of a young character.
Supra-genius spell-slinging children with preternatural power coursing through their veins wouldn't act like kids. Not in any identifiable fram of reference. We have none. What would be more memorable is that he acts decidedly none-childlike. Besides, if he had experienced extreme trauma like that so young, his childhood is definitely over. Why isn't he a sociopath btw?
Actually, yes we do have a frame of reference. Look at child geniuses who entered into the sciences and started college while still young. There's one who ended up building his own nuclear device and irradiated a section of his house (at which point he called the Feds, whose swooped in and cleaned up stuff before taking away the radioactive materials and basically banning him from nuclear science).
There's another kid who did something similar except that rather that irradiating the area he designed a detector to find radioactive materials that are hidden (even in lead) without using a massive expensive machine to do the detecting.
So super-intelligent types aren't necessarily psychopaths. They do look at the world differently. Add in magical powers... well, it's not too different. After all, there ARE some differences between a 12-year-old and an elf who is biologically 12 but has lived over 50 years.
But he's not a child by any stretch of the imagination. He's a young elf likely suffering PTSD even now who went into magic for what reason? And from that reason you can then develop his personality, be it seeking revenge, looking for answers, or whatever.
(As an aside, I had a difficult time trying to figure out how a Sylph would act. Current rules (which I actually like) have them being "adult" at age 60. I realized that meant she grew up with two human parents... who had to cope with this child who ages so much slower... and that she in turn had to deal with the fact her parents died of old age. But she's 60 years old and barely an adult physically. It makes for an interesting mindset... and trying to balance how someone can be 60 years old and yet just in their late teens biologically.)
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Watch Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist (whichever works) is my opinion. Painfully mature in some ways... but quite possibly idealistic in others. And potentially has a Beserk Button about being called shor- *is destroyed by Alchemy*
On the other hand, you beat him quite handily for 'trauma at young age', so... yeah.
First off, thanks everyone for posting. It's been very useful to get the advice of other RPers on this one. At first, I kind of recoiled at the idea of playing this character as a child soldier because I had the idea of playing a hopeless, jumbled mess in my head that would be nothing but depressing to my fellow players... then it got put in perspective when the idea of Full Metal Alchemist came up. Learning to be an Alchemist in a warlike nation, working for the state, being forced to fight for your life/the lives of others while also maintaining childlike traits... it all kind of fell into place.
The character initially became a wizard, specifically a conjurer, in order to create new things in a broken world, in order to escape from trauma through self amusement, but now they're being forced to use their talents in order to protect themself, and eventually to effect the world at large. Also, their magical talent was cultivated in a decidedly idyllic place; raised in safety by the dragon Terendelev. The wounds of the past still remain, but they're not the only memories... there are also happy memories of a genuinely loving and caring guardian, of safety and education. And those are the memories that are most vivid, the memories that are most recent. His drive to do good, to make the world a better place, are predicated on the basis that the system didn't fail him... it managed to rescue him in the nick of time.
This character I don't think really understands what it means to take a life. Magic is such a removed way of threatening someone else. Shooting someone from a distance with magic missiles isn't the same as gutting them with a sword. And most of his methods of combat are decidedly non-violent (trapping people in pits, disarming them with grease, ext). He's been able to obtain some distance from combat by thinking of it as a game, and acts accordingly.
This stretches into the way he treats the party. As soon as he's threatened, he tends to teleport away and drop a battlefield control spell immediately regardless of who's in the vicinity. He gets scared and pulls the panic button. I think that might be consistent with his childishness, and it's how I plan to continue to play him from here on out.
The character is fundamentally good at heart, and very crafty, capable of thinking out very complex courses of action in order to surmount obstacles, but he may not always think out the longterm consequences of those actions. (This is fitting, as divination is one of his barred schools)
I also like the idea that he might take his own intelligence for granted. Like, getting annoyed with his party because he thinks that it's normal for people to be as smart as he is. He might think that his level of magical prowess is normal for people he is, and assume that the people he runs into know as much as he does.
Also, during the interaction with Queen Galfrey, I played it as though the character had a small crush on her but was embarrassed by it. He's on the cusp of puberty and feelings he doesn't understand, and I plan to play around with that a bit (without making it too too inappropriate).
And ultimately, I plan to roleplay a moment in which he finally realizes what death means... that he's been using his powers to kill people. The gravity of that realization should be pretty interesting, but I think that's a while down the road.
He's also the manager of the money in the party, and uses it to manufacture a variety of different items for use in the adventure. I plan to have a lot of fun playing up his care for the rest of the party, given the fact that he's making all these custom items for them, but also the fact that he's pretty financially terrible at planning except when it comes to magic items.
I want to emphasize his childlike wonder, but also the fact that now that he's a part of the crusade, he's a willing participant that no one is forcing to fight. His relationships to the party, eventually the only people he'll really be able to regard as peers, his desires for revenge, for the death of Terendelev and his parents, and his desire to see the world a better place and rescue other people, just as he himself was rescued, continue to motivate him to put his own life in danger. And while he may not quite understand everything he's putting at stake by putting his life in danger, he's still an active participant with the desire and the drive to do good.
There's this also: he might not think of demons as alive as other things are alive.
His interactions with a certain reformed succubus might cause him to start changing those views. After all, if SHE can become something so much greater... then does not that spark exist in all demons? Are they not then, instead of monsters, something tragic? All that potential and creativity and change, gone to waste?