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On Creating a "Broken Bird"

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So during one of my returned visits to Tera, I had decided to create a "broken bird" of a character. She was a character that lived a good life until a tragic choice left a deep impact upon her. The result was the repression of her memories and a childlike and innocent personality. I had planned that as her story continued, events would take place that would trigger momentary flashbacks to the event that caused her repressions, eventually leading to her mind fragmenting and becoming unable to cope with what she had done, and realize all that she had done over the years was a far cry to what she believed it to be. 


I never got around to getting too far with this story, after 2 entries I became distracted by school and work and was unable to pick it up back, thanks to a loss of interest in the game. 


This time around I would like to try my hand at this again. My character; A'Kuri Kota, would have a, well, not easy life but not a hard one during her first few years of life. Her mother had been a whore by choice that used her body to pay for her travels through the land. Eventually she would settle down after becoming pregnant, however the tribe she settled down with saw her as an outsider who practiced dark magics (she was a thaumaturge). Spoilers, her mother was killed in front of her at an early age along with the male that protected them (the current nunh and leader of the tribe). As a result the new nunh took control of the tribe and saw to it that her new life was a miserable one where she was now his slave. I plan on making this tribe a secluded branch that had fallen into desperate times, thanks to the events of the cataclysm (not sure what's it's  called, the big bad moment) they became all but locked off from the world, the region they settled in becoming land locked with diminishing resources.  


Over the years that followed she would become emotionally repressed and completely subservient. She has little will of her own save for the fact that she can remember what it was like to be free and she desires it. Through years of abuse however, she does not believe it is a goal she can achieve. 


Through playing with job classes, I would be using her first summon, the carbuncle looking creature to be her crutch early on. When she was younger she had the ability to summon it, but thanks to the trauma of seeing her mother die, and thanks to the constant abuse she lost the power to bring it forth. A sort of mental block on her abilities. As the years go by her magical aptitude would continue to grow, eventually leading to her seeing the creature in her dreams. The overflow of repressed powers would bring a forced summon of the creature, which would trigger the events that lead to her escape. 


What I want to do, is make her a believable character. I do not by any means wish to keep her such a broken character, but I want her to gain the ability to think for herself and even if just a little be able to be independent. To do this I would love to hear the thoughts of you all. What do you think of this idea? Is it too ambitious? Is it plausible? 


Suggestions and criticism are welcome of course and I'll try and answer any questions to the best of my ability, I don't have any of A'Kuri's story actually written yet.

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 I plan on making this tribe a secluded branch that had fallen into desperate times, thanks to the events of the cataclysm (not sure what's it's  called, the big bad moment) they became all but locked off from the world, the region they settled in becoming land locked with diminishing resources.  


In ARR the event is referred to as "The Calamity".


I don't think your story is too ambitious. I think it does leave you a lot of room to grow as a character, which is a good thing. I love good dynamic characters that evolve over time. I also think the plausibility factor is there from what you presented.


I wish you luck in your endeavors and I will always be open to joining in any RP you bring with this character.

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I don't think the story is too ambitious; IMO, the trick is walking the fine line between having her overcome her challenges implausibly quickly and having the plot drag out. My recommendation would be to put everything up to her escape in backstory, then focus your RP in game on having her reach your desired goals for her growth. While I normally advocate fully organic, dynamic RP, for something like this, it might not be a bad idea to have a rough timeline of what characteristics she'll develop (a better self-image, more independence, etc.) and roughly how long you expect that to take. I wouldn't stick completely to this timeline (depending on IC circumstances), but it at least provides a guideline for gradual developments in the character.


The reason I recommend this approach is because it focuses on the "hopeful" element of the character -- the broken bird relearning to fly, as it were -- and not on the brutality of her life up to that point. I don't want to minimize or denigrate that RP, but it does make for a character that'd have difficulty joining most IC groups (why would her "master" permit it?) and that might be off-putting for others. It also complicates things, as PCs will try to "save" her, and you'll have to figure out how to handle that. Finally, it provides a good reason why she's learning Arcana ICly (she escaped and wants to learn it, or she hooks up with a group that insists that she does for whatever reason).


Oh, and in terms of lore, you'll need to be careful on the domineering nunh thing. Nunh typically don't have leadership positions in their tribes, so you'll need to have an explanation as to why the rest of the tribe let her be the nunh's possession instead of just killing her as the spawn of a witch. You may already have that explanation in mind, in which case, good. :)

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Hey Hey a fellow TERA player *waves* 


I'm kind of piggy backing off of what Freelance has already said here but just wanted to share a bit as well. My character will be a "lady of the night" and I have a bit of a timeline for her as well. I am going with that whole used to be a slave bit, very much like Magellan there. 


I think the best advise here is to definitely create a start point in the timeline where you want to start and begin there. I plan to at some point have my character become the Head Mistress of the establishment where she currently works as a waitress. And allow the world around you to help push things along. Because different characters will influence your character differently/ Right now I have at least two people who know what I want my end result to be, and I theirs in regards to their characters. In a way we have all agreed to help the other get there via rp.


So I say go for it! And make those lasting connections.

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The only thing I'd like to add is that you should be very, very careful about how you play her. What I often see with this kind of characters is that the player is unsubtle and focuses too much on the tragic angle, making them too angsty and introducing mentions of their tragic past at every opportunity which, most often than not, other players will interpret as attempts at hijacking the scene/conversation/plot.

I don't have a formula to avoid those problems (besides "don't do that", I guess), but you might want to keep as a rule of thumb to not make your past come out more than in passing if the current scene/plot is not specifically about character building.


FreelanceWizard's idea of using some sort of 'schedule' for the character arcs is a good idea. I've roleplayed with characters that became or were very broken and, let me tell you, it's very frustrating to see them never come out of their dramatic state, or only get out of it to drop into yet another that is worse or similar.

Forcing yourself to be under the clock, so to speak, will help with that: you make sure the character is growing at a steady pace, and other players will see there was a development and be encouraged to follow the story.

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Ildur's words are verywise. My slave would never willingly talk about her past because its simply too painful. It would have to be coaxed out of her by someone she deeply trusts, and obviously trust would be an issue for her.


Her past should be evident in her actions and behaviors, not in her words. Everyone can spot a broken bird. Whether or not they get the story behind it depends on how much nurture and love they will put into helping the broken bird heal.


In short; with this sort ofcharacter, its almost entirely up to those around you to draw out your backstory, since broken bird would probably be very uncomfortable doing so herself

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Thanks for the input and replies! I'm lovin you guys and gals more and more! 


Having her past set as the backstory will be a great idea. Going with that I plan to chronicle certain moments of her childhood up to the day of her escape to set up her past and explain the people and events involved. I plan on having them as dreams or flashbacks that she remembers as she goes through her days which eventually will lead to when her live story happens for release. 


For the lead Nunh aspect while it states that normally the breeding nunh is not the leader, that does mean that it can happen at times. If he is strong and smart enough to lead, why not give him the part right? The Bastard nunh (if you read my 100 questions post you'll get a bit of info on him) obtains and keeps his power by way of cruelty and force, or so I plan in my head. 


Creating a timeline might be hard for me right now, but I suspect that mainly because I have not fleshed out who she is or her background. Though this is an idea that I hope to make use of. My ultimate goal is to heal A'Kuri for good and it not be a temporary thing. From the "start" which will be release, I plan on if she meets someone new she will be meek yes, but with the desire to open up. She will have obtained the freedom she so desired, but does not know how to use it or what to do with it. 


To make sure that I bring out this part of her I am going to try and use her carbuncle as the means of prodding her forward when she is unsure. To make sure she does not become attached to the carbuncle making decisions for her I am going to make it a temperamental being,  sometimes it will help, sometimes it just won't feel like helping. 


I don't want to focus too much on the tragic angle, I will make every attempt to avoid having A'Kuri speak openly of her past, it would not make sense for her do relive something she sought to escape. 


I guess a good image for what I have in mind is a child lost in a busy crowd. She doesn't know what to do or where to go and is easily forgettable in the vast amounts of people. However there will (hopefully) be people who spot her and try to reach out to her to bring her somewhere that she can be more comfortable.  She is going to try and grab hold of the guiding hands, but there will be people bumping into her and pushing her around. My goal in creating this character is to make sure she grabs firm hold of those helping hands and can reach a safe haven.

Oh I just got a nice idea~


Seeing as how arcanists and scholars get new summons as they level up, I can work that into her timeline. Because of her repressed abilities she can't summon the later minions until she has had some sort of mental growth to "unlock" the creature. The later "unlocks" would be the two fairies or even the last fairy of the scholar job.

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I think you've got a good handle on how to make this work. :thumbsup:


And hey, if you're on Balmung and ICly having issues with magic, the Ivory Tower is always willing to lend a hand to a promising student of the arcane arts. :) For a fellow miqo'te Seeker of the Sun -- especially one abused by a nunh -- L'yhta would be extremely interested in providing succor.

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Bummer, I came here as soon as I saw "-Bird" in the title! :D

turns out not about a chirpy, talon-happy critter after all...


Well that's a pretty grim background for your cat girl, must be a bit tricky to RP, eh?


I myself never had meet / know a person in real life that had an equally painful past like that so I apologize that I can't accurately imagine of how such person live their daily life, or what are her views on the world around her, her perspective on others, on the meaning of happiness, etc.


I guess the worst part isn't being a daughter of a prostitute or becoming a slave, but as a little girl and having to witness her mother murdered right in front of her, now if that didn't leave a deep psychological scar, I don't know what else will. -- I think this event is actually the good starting point to develop her character.


Being a slave, well... IMO is not that heavily-influential for her psychological profile as a whole. I mean, yes I understand a slave have to be downright submissive to survive so a non-submissive person could just play it out to get through it all, and one day when she's finally freed, she could be her normal self again! -- Even if she had abandoned all hope before.

It will probably takes a little while but I believe the thrill of freedom will cure most of the darker past life of a slave.


Now if I may offer my opinion which is essentially the same as what others had wrote; Yes, A'Kuri is a tragic characters but I don't think she's supposed to be very visibly tragic.

It is probably more natural for her to actually hide her tragic past by various means such as faking a smiles maybe, so it is actually the subtle indications you give through A'Kuri's body language or something that give hints of a painful past so that other characters can draw the conclusion themselves.

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I am pretty close to someone in real life who has had a pretty horrible past. Nothing like seeing their mother get killed or being a slave, but still some pretty horrible stuff. the kind of stuff that made them hide it deep down and pretend it didn't happen and feel like they couldn't tell anyone about it, while having certain subject upset them deeply and sometimes giving them panic attacks seemingly for no reason. Only being able to open up to me after knowing each after for a long time and feeling like they could trust me %100 to be even told a little bit.


I'm not saying at all you shouldn't do it. I just thought I would share some personal experience to help you get into the mind of something like that. Hope it helps.

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While it is unfortunate that there are horrible things that happen IRL, I think it is a good thing to keep the IC/OOC separate to prevent bleed-over. I've had a very violent situation happen within my own life actually. However I do not think I should tell someone how to roleplay their character, especially if its not breaking foundation-lore.


If someone wants a dark story then that is fine. I think when it comes down to it, I do not think the OP from what I have read is going to run around giving a whole back-story to everyone they come across. This being said I don't really think that the OP is responsible to cater to other people. Not to say that this is the case here with Ryuu's comment, but rather general comment on my behalf. This can be said with most things, for example; gender and love choices. 


I think overall it is wise to keep an open mind and a mature goal with dark storylines for many reasons. A lot of those reasons have been touched on here, cliches, personal concerns, etc. :)

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