Character Building – Azareth

I thought I’d do the next of my series of character building posts on Azareth. He’s the magic using member of the team and the character which I had the most trouble rounding out. I’ll explain why that is in a moment. The approach that I used to arrive at Azareth differs significantly from the one used for Craven. The reason for that is simple. Craven was my character in the game, so I was able to create him from the ground up, while Azareth, and the rest of the main characters, wasn’t.

I wanted to try and remain true to the way the character was in the game. Plus by doing this I would be sure that I won’t end up with a set of main characters that are simply versions of Craven. This allowed me to step outside my comfort zone and attempt to give life to a character that is different from one I would have come up with. In short, Azareth was played in a way that was at odds with my own personality. Because of this, understanding him has been much more difficult for me than with the other characters. I hope that makes sense…

Now, to business.

What is Azareth. He his human, male and about 25 years old. He is highly intelligent, but lacks somewhat in terms of charisma. He is a wizard, which is something that is quite rare and on top of that he is an Aether Mage. A rare type of wizard.

When I developed Craven I used his statistics to determine something about his past. In this case I already had some information about Azareth’s past from the original game. Azareth was the son of a retired navy admiral. He didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps preferring is books to a life at sea.

In the game Azareth was always a very timid character. He typically stayed at the edges of any of the action within the game. For anyone reading this who has played a wizard in 2nd Edition Dungeons and Dragons this type of character play would make sense. Unlike a combat oriented character, who’s core capabilities never ran out, a wizard was limited in the number of things they could do in a day. Thus when a wizard first begins his adventuring career he cannot afford to waste his one and only spell on the first thing that comes up in the adventure.

This restriction has no relevance in the world of my story but I wanted to try and translate that hesitancy to the Azareth in the book.

From these anchor points I developed a background story Goran Zidar – Azareth – A Mother’s Love that describes how he came to be one of The Family.

From that story we see a number of things:

  • His relationship with his father isn’t good – though he still saught his approval.
  • His mother always believed in him – perhaps clouding him to some of his genuine failings.
  • He doesn’t shy away from difficult situations – though he struggles when faced with the unknown.
  • His major life decisions were made for him – he hasn’t formed his own set of goals.

So now to the all important personality traits that drive his goals, values and motivations.

Azareth retains knowledge. It is something that he is good at and therefore is something that he falls back to when he can’t think what else to do. He is able to recall facts and figures well but he isn’t always able to apply that knowledge to best advantage.

Because he is a rare type of rare wizard, he is valuable. Therefore his training could have been geared to avoid too much risk. This combined with his natural insecurities means that he doesn’t handle conflict well. Put simply, he doesn’t think well on his feet.

He listens to authority figures even when it may not be in his personal best interests to do so. His father had expectatons that he couldn’t meet yet he kept on trying. His mother sent him away and he went simply because she told him to go. Azareth has been striving toward goals set for him by others for so long he may not even realise it anymore. He doesn’t really have a clear idea of what he wants, which means he might be influenced easily.

Being a wizard is something of a solitary pursuit so he is not very adept at forming relationships. He will tend to be very formal in his dealings with other people. He will rely on what he knows of proper ettiquette and forns of address. Also, given his academic bent he will forget that other people aren’t as well educated as he is and this could reduce the effectiveness of his communication.

Well, that’s Azareth. As I said he’s not a character I would have made on my own but he’s one that I’m going to try very hard to bring to life.

If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions – after reading this post and his background – I would love to hear it. I think Azareth will be very important to the success of the story so I don’t want to ruin him. Nor do I want to create yet another generic wizard character.

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