Impractical Applications (Tuyet and Adult Influences)

This week, I talked about the older characters most likely to have shaped a character’s growth, and how they interact with the character and each other. As an example, I’m going to use one of my old characters and the process of extrapolating the adults with whom she had been closest.

Tuyet herself was an interesting case; she had three such adult-figures, two of whom could be argued to be just as much adult with distance as parent. What we’d known in the beginning was that she was of a line known for its participation in dirty politics and spywork (a set of activities members of the family generally referred to as “The Game”), that because of circumstances relating to that fact her father was usually somewhere else entirely, that she had had a very strong connection to her aunt before said aunt’s untimely death (or rather, feigned untimely death, not that I knew that for a while), and that it was only after such that she had gone into the Game herself.

That first gave us the aunt in question. Gisel was one of the two who was something of a blend of parent and adult with distance; she served as primary role model and partial guardian for both Tuyet and her younger sister Chumani. When I’d created her, I’d mainly known that she’d be more open to new friends than Tuyet’s mother would, and left it at that; my GM added to this an event she’d regretted that had driven her out of the Game and given her an enmity towards their head of household that Tuyet’s mother had not mirrored, and explained Gisel’s closeness with her two nieces as being in part a result of her own infertility and surfeit of maternal instinct.

The parents themselves were brought in much later in the game, and were more of a collaborative effort between the two of us. Tuyet’s father, Pasel, was an adult with distance under just about any definition; he appeared ever so often when he was permitted to come visit the family, and there was always something rather melancholy about his time with them. One of his primary character points we extrapolated from a couple of Tuyet’s characterization points; despite not having a natural knack for it, she was highly skilled in performance art and oratory. Between that and her flair for the dramatic, I concluded that she’d clearly been guided to that hobby by one of her parents, and her usually-absent father seemed like the best choice.

Her mother, Runa, on the other hand, was a more significant influence, having been there the whole time. Since Gisel did so much of the childcare, Runa might be thought of as an adult with distance—but on the other hand, it was her household, and while she wasn’t the most close of parents she was active in raising her daughters. In and of herself, Runa was a dyed-in-the-wool Gamesmistress, seemingly emotionless and utterly loyal to the head of her household; while I never had it confirmed, I got the impression that the only reason why Gisel was given as much latitude as she was in raising Tuyet and Chumani was that Runa was determined not to show any sort of attachment to the girls so as to avoid their being used to influence her the way her husband was, as otherwise the parent/adult with distance rivalry would likely have gone past the point of tolerance. (Certainly, it was later confirmed in-game that avoiding fostering or showing dependence had been very important to how Runa dealt with her daughters.) The distance also explained a thing or two about Tuyet’s otherwise incongruous interest in her impact on people whom she saw as admirable; can we say parent issues?

In the end, this extrapolation gave us three characters and a complicated set of relationships that I still haven’t finished learning the details of.

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