Some creative help with a tricky character concept

Sword of Spirit
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Re: Some creative help with a tricky character concept

Postby Sword of Spirit » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:42 pm

Thanks all!

I think I have an idea now I want to go with. I still could use suggestions about parts of it.

The main questions I could use feedback on are:

1. Can glasses count as a mask? Lord Grimdark in Secrets of the Nile Empire seems to be pulling that off, unless the art and text aren’t aligning correctly.
2. What should his business enterprises be?

Now I’ll explain what I’m thinking of, and you can see where those questions fit in.

We’ll call him “Sir Edmond”, since I haven’t really thought about a name yet. Sir Edmond is the owner and supervising CEO (he leaves most of the work to others) of a major business of some sort. In fact, it’s something so major, that the products or services it provides are indispensible to Pharoah Mobius’s war effort and/or empire management. While it is a private business, the Nile Empire is its biggest client. Whether or not it has any other clients will depend on what it is (all things being equal, I think it will be more interesting if there are other clients). His job should allow him to regularly travel all across the empire, and if possible to have access to locations that most civilians wouldn’t. In particular, while not essential, it would be useful if he could get access to excavation sites (perhaps not the sensitive areas).

Now the indispensability of his type of business, in and of itself, doesn’t do a thing to protect Sir Edmond, because if he weren’t willing to dance to Mobius’s strings, he’d just get thrown in a pit and his business taken over by the empire. Or if Mobius were feeling strangely restrained, maybe he’d just go with one of Edmond’s competitors instead. So while the importance of the business, in and of itself, doesn’t keep Sir Edmond’s head on his body, there are reasons why Mobius wants Edmond where he is.

First off, Sir Edmond is, as far as anyone can tell, a loyal subject of the Empire—transformed in the initial axiom wash. He makes lots of money working for the empire, so he has plenty of incentive to do a good job. Which he does.

(As an aside, the reason he doesn’t feel guilty about supporting the empire, is because he knows that Mobius would be able to get these products or services with or without him, so keeping himself in this position doesn’t really affect the Nile Empire’s might, but it does grant him access to people and places.)

Secondly, Sir Edmond occasionally discovers a traitor in Mobius’s regime, and dutifully informs the pharaoh. (Of course, these traitors are all of the competing villain type, rather than actual heroes. And if he thinks he can pull if off, he’ll definitely attempt to frame a villain who isn’t actually a traitor to Mobius.)

Third, and here is where everything comes together—Sir Edmond has a traitorous twin! The only way to tell the difference between Edmond and his brother Marcus is that, unlike Edmond, Marcus is near-sighted! This is where the glasses come in. (We don’t need the Law of Masks for this work, since the concept still seems in-genre, but if it did apply that would give some extra suspicion-padding.) Most of the time it’s really Edmond out and about inspecting his business proceedings, attending events, showing up at random places, etc. But sometimes…it’s actually Marcus disguised as Edmond! (Ie, not wearing his glasses.) Occasionally one might get suspicious due to “Edmond” squinting a couple of times. But that’s not a sure way to identify him, because Edmond sometimes does that when thinking. However, you *know* it is actually Marcus when he pulls out glasses and puts them on, typically while absconding with a priceless relic, information on the war effort, a captured innocent, or something else he shouldn’t.

Of course, there isn’t really a Marcus, though there have been times when tests were performed on both of them (not on the same occasion of course), “verifying” that Marcus is near-sighted but Edmond is not. Edmond likely used some weird science injection to temporarily mess with his vision for those tests. *If* glasses count for the Law of Masks, then this shouldn’t be a problem at all. If they don’t, it just means that suspicions might pop up more often.

Why is this a reason *for* Mobius to let Sir Edmond retain his business (and contract), rather than a reason to remove him? Because Edmond is often able to foil his traitorous twin’s plans! Often when Marcus steals some priceless relic (either by removing it from the possession of Mobius’s underlings, or—the preferred method—getting to it first), Edmond is able to recover it, due to his insight into how to defeat his brother, and dutifully return it to the Pharaoh. Alas, oftentimes those relics turn out to be fakes (at least the replicas that get handed over to Mobius…). But sometimes they are authentic (and Edmond has already gotten the information or use out of them that he needs before returning them).

But wait, there’s more! In addition to that, sometimes Sir Edmond is even able to discover information about his brother’s Storm Knight associates—information that leads to their arrests! (Of course, they usually manage to acquire useful information or sabotage something while captured before their inevitable escape/rescue.)

So while Sir Edmond is a complicated “asset” to Mobius, he figures that the pros outweigh the cons. Because of that, his underlings are expected not to be constantly suspicious of whether he is really Marcus, or is just Edmond going about his business. Of course, once Marcus reveals himself, he’ll be fought and pursued just like any other meddling Storm Knight. But even though that sometimes happens, Mobius might actually prefer to have Marcus be the one he has to deal with rather than others. After all, if push comes to shove he can always take his brother Edmond captive and force Marcus to give himself up if he wants to see him alive…

So that’s what I’m thinking of. It should fulfill the initial requirements I was trying to meet. Thoughts? Should “Marcus’s” glasses count as a mask? What business enterprises would work best for Edmond’s goals?

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Re: Some creative help with a tricky character concept

Postby GeniusCodeMonkey » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:43 am

If Clark Kent/Superman can do it, why not?
Question everything.
Politeness costs nothing.

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Re: Some creative help with a tricky character concept

Postby OldCoot » Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:39 am

Possible businesses...
Shipping. Whether by rail, truck, aeroplane, or zeppelin, this gives ready access to just about anywhere. Government contracts provide access to most security installations. With cosm restrictions making long-range travel problematic, he could have arrangements with various major businesses in other realms to handle each other's cross-cosm contracts.

Mining, including oil. Between digs and prospecting, gives an excuse to go anywhere; and supplying vital materials for Mobius' legions gives some cover. Great cover for disappearing into remote areas for no public reason.

Electronics. Radio is the high-tech media of Nile, everybody wants a radio and relay/broadcast towers are needed to reach everyone with approved news and propaganda. Cutting-edge stuff like radar provides acess to military contacts. Not to mention the potential of 'special' electronic devices such as phone taps and listening devices (bugs). Likely connections to media moguls, too.

Publishing. Obvious links to newspapers, even if your guy isn't full owner of a major paper. But also books, pamphlets, music, government manuals and forms. Possible connections to any and every organization that uses paper.
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For fiery praise is fit to raise To the Maker of Heaven and Earth"

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Re: Some creative help with a tricky character concept

Postby mystic101 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:41 am

I like your character concept idea. Good luck with it!

OldCoot had some excellent suggestions about business types. Personally, I'd go with mining, because then you'd be able to leverage that core business expertise directly into your "extracurricular activities". Your employees would know a lot about how to train and supervise workers on digs, which is good not just for removing minerals, but also for becoming an contractor on archeological excavations. Given your character's penchant for finding and obtaining relics, and Mobius' desire to also retrieve them, and the axiom wash's creation of many more opportunities to do so, it seems like your character's business would be booming.

In fact, you might be able to get in on key digs over your competitors, digs where there's a good likelihood of finding something interesting, because you'd be willing to put in a bid for those contracts at a substantial discount, or even at an operating loss. You'd win the bid because it would undercut any competing bids put in by normal businesses just out for a profit; Mobius would be happy that it's costing him a lot less; and you'd be happy that it gives you access. With business booming with your work on other operations, you could afford to take a loss here and there whenever it's strategically important for your hidden purposes.

You could even pass it off as patriotic. "This excavation sounds like it's very important for the war effort, Sire. Why, of course I'll do my part, and even offer my company's services without concern for profit. For the good of the Nile!" The whole while, of course, it's actually giving you an "in" to get the goods for yourself, or for the Delphi Council.

Sounds fun!

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Re: Some creative help with a tricky character concept

Postby Spatula » Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:09 pm

I love the evil twin idea!

Businesses - one of the big limits on mechanized warfare in the early 20th century was oil. Oil extraction and refinement would be a very critical industry for Mobius’ armies, and also gives an excuse for one to be digging in the ground.

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