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View Poll Results: What's your favorite stereotypical fantasy character?
Wizard/Wise old guy serving as mentor 9 23.68%
Grumpy warrior/fighter 6 15.79%
Teenage Princess 2 5.26%
Teenage boy of apparently humble birth 2 5.26%
Capable Captain or Mercenary 7 18.42%
Nerdy Cleric or Religious Devotee 1 2.63%
Amazon 1 2.63%
Other? 10 26.32%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-24-2008, 10:41 PM   #1
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What's your favorite stereotypical fantasy character?

Fantasy and most genres have stereotypical characters associated with them. Almost all stories, for better or for worse, tend to include these character types. Just for fun, I've tried to label a few character types associated with fantasy and thought I'd see which ones are the most popular/enjoyable. Your comments I'm sure will be illuminating.

Will the results of this poll influence the series I'm current writing? Doubtful. I write what I want to write, and I try to give my characters some interesting traits that aren't typically over-employed within the genre.

1. Wizard/Wise old guy serving as mentor - Traits: prone to impatient outbursts, refuses to properly explain anything, insensitive to the needs of youth, cryptic deathbed confessions, can really kick some ass sometimes.

2. Grumpy warrior/fighter - Traits: Usually a supporting character who serves as a battle tank and can really hold his own against the bad guys. Never seems to get a girlfriend, relishes battle, good hearted but often harbors racial prejudices.

3. Teenage Princess - Traits: Hates her corset, depends on her trusted handmaiden, struggles for respect and authority, might have magic power and profound destiny, lives in a world controlled by men who are absent, insane, or working very hard to make her marry someone gross. Almost always has to sacrifice love because of duties to the State. Loves to ride horses.

4. Teenage boy of apparently humble birth - Traits: Dead parents (if living, they must die soon), rural life, mysterious past, suddenly hunted by monsters or other evil forces, inherits magic weapon and/or learns to use magic, awkward around women, develops impressive martial arts skills almost spontaneously, destined to be great hero and save kingdom from doom.

5. Capable Captain or Mercenary - Traits: Usually a supporting character but sometimes the hero, has practical experience, wordly outlook, tends to be ladies' man, good fighter, good heart with a twist of corruption when necessary, sarcastic, strategic, and not as idealistic as the teenage hero type.

6. Nerdy Cleric or Religious Devotee - Traits: Might have magic, can translate obscure languages, clever, can talk his way out of tough situation, tendency to lapse into trances at bad time, knows how to open tombs, good or evil? He can go either way.

7. Amazon - Traits: She is armed and will hurt you. Intensely defensive, sexually desirable but unapproachable, usually trying to avenge a sister that was raped and murdered.

8. Other?
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:26 PM   #2
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Sidekick - traits: Usually humourous, sometimes harmless and possibly vulnerable. Often an animal. Sometimes unexpectedly strong/powerful, but slow to anger. Unbreakably devoted to protagonist (often item 4 or 2). Will sometimes unexpectedly die, usually saving protagonist's life thus reaffirming protagonist's will, or by coming out of left field at the end as a sort-of deus ex machina to kill the main antagonist and resolve everything. Often makes for a popular merchandising character from films. Often main role: light relief.

Cheers,
Marc
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:43 PM   #3
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Observer: Often hidden behind a rock or tree, never gets involved in the story and understands less about what is going on than the reader. A revolution could be going on in their front yard and they are more worried about what is for lunch. Sometimes used as a foil by the hero to explain why he/she did something or what some action means.

I like this character because whenever he/she is in the story I know that I can quit reading because the book is going downhill quickly as the plot has gotten away from the writer.

This is not to be confused with the standard device of setting the story as if it is being told by one to another.
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montsnmags View Post
Sidekick - traits: Usually humourous, sometimes harmless and possibly vulnerable. Often an animal. Sometimes unexpectedly strong/powerful, but slow to anger. Unbreakably devoted to protagonist (often item 4 or 2). Will sometimes unexpectedly die, usually saving protagonist's life thus reaffirming protagonist's will, or by coming out of left field at the end as a sort-of deus ex machina to kill the main antagonist and resolve everything. Often makes for a popular merchandising character from films. Often main role: light relief.

Cheers,
Marc
Oh, one of my favourite sidekicks of all times is Mudge from the Spellsinger books! He's awesome!
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:56 AM   #5
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Oh, one of my favourite sidekicks of all times is Mudge from the Spellsinger books! He's awesome!
Mine is Oy, the billy-bumbler from Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. I haven't read Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger series (in fact, I got the "Alan Dean Foster" bit only moments ago through googling).

Cheers,
Marc
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Old 11-25-2008, 03:01 AM   #6
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Mine is Oy, the billy-bumbler from Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. I haven't read Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger series (in fact, I got the "Alan Dean Foster" bit only moments ago through googling).

Cheers,
Marc
I found them quite enjoyable, they are in the "zany" kind of Fantasy.genre. Not quite as whacky as Discworld. You can however never go wrong with a promiscuous otter who steals everything that isn't nailed down! I did enjoy them a lot, though it is quite a few years ago since I read them. Time for a re-read maybe, as I have them in dead-tree edition at home.
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Old 11-25-2008, 03:43 AM   #7
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is there also a (either caustic or sarcastic depending on whether world-hating or just oft-abused) deformed guy (be it a humpback, dwarf or whatever)? :P (Sorry, don't have time to flesh him out properly.. work to do)
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Old 11-25-2008, 04:04 AM   #8
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What about that shady, slightly criminal kind of guys that decidedly seems to know alot more than the rest of them but whose goals are not really clear.

In the end he shows up being one of the good guys that just has gone in hiding or has lost his target while making his living.

Typically he dies nearly at the end of our story doing some heroic deed that might be decisive for the outturn. Love them "bad" guys!
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Old 11-25-2008, 04:07 AM   #9
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What about that shady, slightly criminal kind of guys that decidedly seems to know alot more than the rest of them but whose goals are not really clear.
Oh, yes, I love the shady criminal underworld types. I should have had that on the poll.
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Old 11-25-2008, 04:21 AM   #10
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What about that shady, slightly criminal kind of guys that decidedly seems to know alot more than the rest of them but whose goals are not really clear.

In the end he shows up being one of the good guys that just has gone in hiding or has lost his target while making his living.

Typically he dies nearly at the end of our story doing some heroic deed that might be decisive for the outturn. Love them "bad" guys!
Hmmm, examples? You mean someone like Silk from Eddings Belgariad and Malloereon? Though he doesnt die.
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Old 11-25-2008, 08:44 AM   #11
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Oh, this thread reminds me of Diana Wynne Jones' incredibly funny The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, a ruthless dissection of the generic quest fantasy. Alas, there's no ebook version.

Here's a simultaneous sendup of Tolkien and Eddings:
"ANGLO-SAXON COSSACKS live in the Steppes and breed HORSES. They try to look like HORSES themselves by wearing their hair in ponytails. They ride often, expertly and acrobatically. In fact, they show off rather."

Last edited by wayrad; 11-25-2008 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 11-25-2008, 01:14 PM   #12
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I had to chose Amazon -- it was the closest I could find to Xena. I have other favorites in other stories, but a powerful female (approachable or UN) is at the top.
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Old 11-25-2008, 01:52 PM   #13
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Villain: Self-serving egomaniac with strong work ethic. Usually a misunderstood younger brother to the king or a greedy bishop hoping to cash in on the position. Almost always male. Environmentally unfriendly and sometimes lays waste to entire dominions in order to further his nefarious plans. Can often be located in seeminly impregnable mountain fortresses with easily accessible secret entrances known only to servants and heroes. Prone to kidnapping princesses. Capable of bringing entire nations under his command, yet unable to defend against above-mentioned young boy, sidekick, and/or amazon.

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Old 11-25-2008, 02:56 PM   #14
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I put "other", as I prefer a cahracter of normal origins and normal skills who gets caught up in the whole fantasy plot. This can be done as comedy, vis: Rincewind, or as straight, vis: Frodo Baggins. There is much to be said for either having the sense to run away, or to have the urge to do so, but staying on because of the moral character needed to do so.
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Old 11-25-2008, 05:13 PM   #15
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I picked "other". My favorite fantasy character is the Tavern Wench.
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