Now that the 30 characters challenge is over, I find I’ve got a surplus of artistic ambition. Which is awesome, ‘cos that’s the whole reason I started doing it in the first place!
At any rate, I’m going to try to do a theme every month from now on, but since this blog was only meant to archive work from the 30 characters challenge, I thought it’d be a good idea to start a new one. So if you’re interested in the further adventures of “stick it in a blender and art what comes out,” take a wander over to http://thematicconversion.tumblr.com/ and enjoy. ^^
Also, I’d like to thank everyone who followed/liked/reblogged/threw kittens at my artistic fumblings this month. You’re all awesome. :D
#30 - Theodore Roosevelt - Red Mage
Full disclosure time! Teddy here was actually the spark that started this whole concept, and he’s switched back and forth between a number of classes during this month. At first, I thought his wide-ranging and adventurous personality would make him an excellent Ranger; then, after seeing his gleeful attitude towards war, I almost gave him the Berserker class; ultimately, what dissuaded me from either of these classes was the fact that Teddy wasn’t *just* a war president, or *just* an adventurer, he also had a voracious intellect and an interest in doing what was right for the people around him. Theodore was such a wide-ranging personality that, for a while, I considered abandoning him just because I couldn’t think of any one class that could possibly fit him.
That’s when I remembered the Red Mage. The ultimate jack of all trades, the Red Mage can use physical attacks, offensive magic, defensive magic, and even healing, all at once. The Red Mage will never be as powerful as any class that specializes in just one of these things, but it doesn’t often need to; just being able to do them all at once can be a massive asset. And in the end, that flexibility is what made Teddy such a great president; the ability to do what the situation required.
#29 - Carrie Nation - Berserker
A tireless fighter for Prohibition, Carrie Nation was, to put it mildly, quite a character. Her big shtick was storming into bars with her hatchet and breaking the bar open — and keep in mind that when Mrs. Nation started doing this, she was already in her early fifties. She was arrested no less than 30 times for her vandalism — she called the attacks “hatchetations” — and fined a pretty hefty amount. If nothing else, Carrie had a massive flair for the dramatic. Heck, later in life she legally changed her name so that she could introduce herself as, and this is true, “Carry A. Nation.” Eventually she moved on to less violent means to spread her views, including a newspaper called “the Hatchet” and an abortive tour in Vaudeville, but she never lost that fire.
Similarly, the Berserker is the closest thing RPGs have to a single-minded class. Berserkers are traditionally a special brand of the Warrior class that sacrifices the ability to control the character in question in return for a massive boost in attack strength. Berserkers can be very useful, but the player usually needs a fair amount of luck, and the lack of control can make it difficult to strategize. Given that Carrie had one cause, and viewed everything in life through the lense of that cause, putting her in the Berserker class was an easy choice.
#28 - Peter Jennings - Scout
I have a definite soft spot for Peter Jennings. When I was a kid, he was my Edward R. Murrow, the epitome of respect, trustworthiness, and class. In many ways, seeing him doing the news every night really kindled my interest in history, politics, and current events. As a reporter, Mr. Jennings was a pretty impressive guy; a high school dropout, he rose through the ranks to become one of the big three newscasters of the 1980s and 90s.
Personally, though, I think the best work Mr. Jennings did was as a foreign correspondent. He cut a dashing figure in a tan vest, and his utter unflinchability was amazing. Its this skill in unfamiliar terrain that led me to cast Mr. Jennings in the role of Scout. Though more common to Real-Time Strategy than RPGs, the Scout tends to be a fast, frail character, sort of a midpoint between the Ranger and the Rogue, and often uses terrain-based skills.
#27 - Irma Grese - Dark Hunter
I actually waffled back and forth quite a bit on whether or not to include this particular nutjob in the project, buuuuut… Well, for a start, she’s a Nazi, and by all accounts, a rather sadistic one. But she was sadistic in such a stereotypical, almost comically Nazi way. Y’see, Irma was an officer stationed at a concentration camp, and apparently liked to wander around the place wearing heavy boots and carrying a whip. Throw in a bass-heavy soundtrack and she could’ve been a BDSM film, albeit a particularly tasteless one. I mean, her nickname was “the Beautiful Beast,” which is one step away from being a professional wrestler.
Although I normally try to pick broadly used classes, in this case, the Dark Hunter was just such a perfect fit that I couldn’t help but choose it. Dark Hunters are unique to the Etrian Odyssey series, where they perform the role of status mage and debuffer, using swords and whips to inflict status effects and restrict the enemy’s movements. They have a very serious BDSM vibe, being clad in mostly leather; heck, their strongest attack — which can only be used when the enemy is completely restricted — is called Ecstasy. I guess that’s why it’s such a good fit for Irma here; they’re both a bit on the nose. ^^;
#26 - Ernst Haeckel - Druid
In general, the Druid is usually presented as a weird sort of combination between the practical and the spiritual. Yes, says your basic Druid, I believe in the fundamental oneness of all things and the undying beauty and power of nature, but it just so happens that I use that belief to sic bears on marauding monsters. In the same way, Ernst Haeckel was an amazing artist, but he used his skills to describe something like 150 new species, a feat which included the majority of the Kingdom Protista.
Haeckel himself was an intriguing combination of spiritual and practical. He was an expert biologist, naturalist, and physician, but was also a world class philosopher and artist. He supported the then-new theory of evolution, and yet also supported the German Romantic movement. Heck, Haeckel coined a large number of the terms we use for basic biological concepts (including “phylum,” “ecology,” and “stem cell”), and yet he founded a group called the Monist League whose only purpose was to spread his religious and philosophical beliefs. I suppose half the reason he’s included here is just because I find him an endlessly fascinating contradiction.
#25 - J. Robert Oppenheimer - Black Mage
Physicist, political activist, and father of the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer has become a kind of modern Faust figure. Though he participated in the construction of the most destructive weapon ever used in war, Mr. Oppenheimer felt that the proliferation of nuclear weapons could be prevented by the United Nations; in fact, he believed that he could control where his invention went next, and who used it. As many inventors have found, there simply is no way to put the genie back in the bottle.
Black Mages tend to be the go-to damage class in RPGs, using elemental affinities and raw strength of stats to nuke enemies from afar. In general, the Black Mage can be seen as an equivalent to the Sorceror or Wizard, but much more straightforward in its approach to dealing damage. Given the way Mr. Oppenheimer’s research was applied, and his own ecclectic and often unsubtle means of expressing himself, I felt a Black Mage would be appropriate for him.
#24 - Matthew Henson - Geomancer
In general, history isn’t always fair. God only knows how many significant figures in human history have been forgotten, or worse, glossed over in favor of more socially acceptable figures. Matthew Henson is a good example of this; even though Mr. Henson was indisputably the first human to reach the North Pole, for years he was ignored in favor of the more socially acceptable Robert Peary, who was credited with being the first person to set foot on the North Pole despite being unable to actually walk at the time. It’s all a bit ironic, given that Henson was first hired for his skill in seamanship and navigation, and was considered to be little more than a servant by Peary. Frankly, I’d give anything to see what Peary’s face looked like when he found that Mr. Henson was to be honored by the US Congress with a duplicate of the silver medal awarded to Peary for being the first man to the Pole, let alone the speaking tour that followed.
Geomancers hold the unique and dubious honor of being both an extremely useful class and an extremely limited class. Geomancers rely on their surroundings for their attacks; a Geomancer standing on stone, for example, would be able to use an Earth-elemental attack, or an Ice-elemental attack while standing on snow or ice. Though limited in flexibility, Geomancers usually compensate for this by being well above average in attack strength, or even causing status effects with their abilities. Unfortunately, there’s a rather dangerous downside to this, in that monsters that appear in a specific area usually follow its elemental theme. Monsters found in a snow field, for example, will usually resist or absorb Ice-elemental attacks, and the Geomancer’s lack of flexibility means there isn’t normally much that can be done about it.
23 - Egon Schiele - Necromancer
I’ve purposefully tried to avoid doing too many artists during this challenge, just because I didn’t want to turn this into Art History Classes, but Egon Schiele fit the Necromancer mold so well that I just couldn’t help myself. Mr. Schiele was one of the earliest Expressionists, and his work straddles the line between erotic and grotesque, with a definite theme of death. Mr. Schiele’s life was full of unpleasant things — war, and the early death of his father from syphilis, amongst other things — and it obviously had a very strong impact on his work.
A bit more common as enemies than as player classes, the Necromancer is the class of choice for the morbid manipulation of the dead. Console RPGs tend to also have Necromancers using powerful enemy debuffs and control magic. Given the quality of motion and lifelike appearance of Egon Schiele’s work, I find it entirely possible that he would have animated the dead if he’d had the ability to.
22 - Jim Henson - Puppeteer
The death of Jim Henson actually came as quite a shock to my younger self. I was barely 7 years old at the time, and so Mr. Henson’s creations were still a big, big part of my life. I think a part of me was just terrified that all of the characters he had created would simply poof out of existance along with him, but of course they didn’t. It took me a while to understand that the really great artists leave behind work that lives well beyond their lifetime, and this was true of Jim Henson’s work in a very literal sense.
Puppeteers, also called Puppetmasters, are a rather rare class in RPGs. They tend to fill the same gamespace as either Monster Tamers — sending critters into battle while they hang back — or Black Mages — using their creepy critters to cast offensive magic — so Puppetmasters don’t tend to show up unless the roster of classes is genuinely huge. Mr. Henson’s design here is actually against the grain of most Puppetmasters, too, since this class tends to emphasize the creepy puppet aspect. And Muppets could certainly do creepy (I point you to the Skeksis of The Dark Crystal for examples), but Mr. Henson himself was basically a big puppy dog.