Now that I've exposed the various species in Arelite Core, I can properly present the rest of the playable cast of characters in the game. I made sure to present everyone in the first third of the game, which enabled me to better show how they evolve as they face various challenges. The characters had to be intimately tied with the story, I didn't just want to have a pack of adventurers looking to be heroes, but rather they needed to have convictions, emotions and something to lose.
Ibram is one of those characters which required a lot of work to become properly useful. He comes from the thalasai monastery, where monks are trained in the art of fighting, but which fell during a monster invasion. With a great number of monks dead, Ibram assumes command as best he can, but the remaining monks are left listless and soon begin wasting away. Feeling that he has nothing left to lose, Ibram returns to the monastery to either clear the monsters or die trying.
The thalasai area is used to give a first glimpse to the player of what the world has become. Lush forests have turned to sand, sacred monks have fallen to monsters, and in the middle of it all stands Ibram, who represents all that loss and sacrifice in general. He loses his home, his friends, his wife and over time his feeling of powerlessness turns to rage. He is on the road for revenge against the disciples of Talamek who have taken everything from him, and follows Karden only as a means to an end.
In battle, Ibram wields two daggers, but also can use magic which makes him a more versatile character. Specifically, although his magic does deal direct damage, I also provided him with various status effets such as poison and slow. I felt that these kinds of effect, something which would stay on his adversaries, would well represent his increasingly violent nature. Additionally, status ailments are meant to all be meaningful and add a layer of strategy to level the playing field, rather than be quick victory makers.
As the player leaves the human centric northern continent in favor of the south, he encounters Aurek, a madox shaman with the power to communicate with spirits. Spirits play a big role in Arelite Core which made Aurek an important character from his inception, and as I fleshed out his purpose he soon became my favorite character of the game.
In a way, Aurek became the culmination of various tropes and counter tropes. As a madox, he's powerful, using his fists in battle along with a few wrestling moves, but he's also a shaman, very calm in nature, very understanding of people's natures as he can see deep within their souls. His purpose is simple: to help Karden along his journey and to fight Talamek.
It's difficult to say much more about Aurek at this time since although he is very useful early in the game, he really comes into his own later on as wel. Suffice to say that it was not happenstance that I would establish a character who has such a tight connection with spirits.
Since I needed another female character, it became convenient to make her captain of the holarii guard, creating a more drect connection between the human Karden, and the holarii empire. She starts off the game a bit reserved, militaristic and blindly loyal, but eventually grows to not take everything at face value and especially politics.
Unlike most other characters, Pharj is meant to have a very established life. She isn't only a soldier, she also has a family and responsibilities, traits which I assigned to her since for a long time she felt too much like a Final Fantasy character, the strong woman soldier and since she can take to the air and wields spears, she also felt a bit close to dragoon.
That being said, Pharj also has her own story arc which is a bit more political in nature and I'm hoping she can stand out from the rest that way. She feels confronted to a level of apathy from the holarii council which she serves, which becomes the impetus to her growth. I didn't want her to become the typical angry soldier since I already had Ibram to fill that role, and instead she became one character who runs through the gammat of emotions and hopefully, ends up being one of the stronger characters in that way.
That completes the overview of the playable characters for the game. I've tried to put as much thought and opportunities to grow into some of the secondary characters as well, though I'll only address those at a later date. They may not cover all of the species I imcluded in the game, but ultimately my objective was to ensure that the various species don't simply become background characters for the world and I feel the way I use Lleana, Aurek and Pharj accomplishes this.
The character descriptions have become very long posts and starting with the next I will return to shorter snippets of my mind. After all, I do need to take that time to actually complete the game. Hopefully they were interesting enough to read and convey my hopes with the setting of Arelite Core, with its characters but also the world at large itself. After all, a strong story can only become stronger with the right environments and protagonists.