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 Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror

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argosail

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PostSubject: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:40 am

Let's get cranking on a new sorceror type of character. Dr. Strange has played a pivotal role in many major stories in the Marvel Universe, just as The Specter has in DC. Let's develop our own open source modern succesor to Merlin....the ultimate modern sorceror...that can fit nicely into anyone's universe...

How about a name and a basic theme to begin with?
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:19 pm

Maybe The Mysteriarch, or Dr. Mysteriarch. (It means "one who presides over mysteries." I heard it in a heavy metal song recently. Metal can be surprisingly educational!) I have some vague ideas floating around in my head, and I'll wait for them to cohere a little bit more before I post them.
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:33 am

This may sound kind of weird, but how about "Major Arcana," and give him a military look and basis in the Tarot?
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:23 am

Hmm...

I like the word Mysteriarch, but I think it has too many sylables to make a good name. I would possibly consider it as the character's title, like, Dr. Strange, the Mysteriarch.

Major Arcana....a military sorceror would certainly be unique...the Arcana themselves have a lot of government and military connotations themselves (Knight, Chariot, King, Queen, Emperor, Traitor, etc), so there might be some ideas to play off of. Military usually has very scientific tactics, so I'm having a hard time picturing how military and magic would combine, but it would be interesting...I suppose Merlin could be considered a precedent for a mage in the service of a military force.

Now if we didn't go with one of the above names, we could also pay some homeage to Strange, Occult and Van Helsing with "Dr." or "Prof." We could also pay homage to Specter with something like Wraith, Geist, Phantom, etc. Any more ideas?
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:27 am

I knew that "Major Arcana" might be out there, but it was the first thing that came into my mind.

Another possibility might be something using Acacia (Dr. Acacia, Professor Acacia...). The acacia tree was the first tree identified as the "tree of life" (by the Egyptians), and this is a concept shared by many magical/spiritual traditions (check "Tree of Life" on Wikipedia). He could use a staff or wand made of acacia wood.

You also asked for a basic concept, so let me throw this out there: I recently started reading The Dresden Files, and I kind of like the idea of our hero being a bit more in the urban fantasy feel than the traditional superhero/fantasy mold. Like, maybe he'd wear dark pants, a long-sleeve shirt with some kind of magical symbol on it, and a black trench coat (perhaps with more mystic symbols on it). I can even see him carrying his wand in a "holster" under his arm under the trench coat, like a p.i. carrying his gun in a shoulder holster.

Other name possibilities that occurred to me might be to use a color: Crimson Wizard, Sable Magi, etc.
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:47 am

Hmmm....I'm really digging the Acacia thing. How about Dr. Acacia, The Mysteriarch? The wand or staff made of Acacia sounds cool, but might suggest he is powerless without it, so I'm not sure if we should go that route...maybe with it, he is nearly capable of anything...a powerful weapon he has been chosen to protect.

The thing I don't like about pop cultures recent "black trench coat" trend, is that the heroes all start to look the same. It may work in movies, but not as much in comics, where you want things to be colorful and easy to distinguish. I would maybe go with a greenish outfit here, maybe something a little tree-like or reminiscent of tolkien elves...

Your other ideas do fit the "Major Arcana" theme. Maybe Major Arcana is Acacia's arch nemesis...trying to gather magic power for military conquest? Maybe Dr. Doom mixed with Voldemort? Now that idea I like! Black trench coat on him, and an underarm "wand holster."
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:39 am

I can understand your feelings on the black trenchcoat. How would you feel about something like a bomber jacket or with the lines of a denim jacket?

I like the idea of a mystic character having an outfit that's different from the traditional superhero outfit (think like Phantom Stranger's outfit or the Green Lama). And, like I said, I thought it might be neat to have an "urban fantasy" feel, to make our character stand out a bit from the standard comic book magician.

And I'm cool with Dr. Acacia, The Mysteriarch, so if nobody has any objections or other suggestions, I say let's roll with that!
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:33 pm

Nice idea guys.

I like the denim/bomber jacket idea. Sets him in this world but with one foot firmly planted in magic. He can walk among us every day without being noticed.

The name is pretty cool too.
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:52 pm

I'd have to see some visual designs for the costume because while a bomber jacket sounds great it also sounds incredibly dull for a comic-style character. Having said that, there are ways to spice up normal clothing. For instance, my suggestion would be that this guy is completely bald, and has runic tattoos on the crown of his head, which he hides in everyday life with a beanie or sports cap. In addition, I'd suggest his eyes being magically altered, so that the parts that are normally white are violet or black, or something. Then for everyday he can wear sunglasses over it. Also, if his staff were hidden in the illusion of a walking stick then he could totally pretend to be a blind man in his everyday life with dark shades and the blindness cane hiding his strange eyes and actually being his staff when the illusion is lifted.
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:44 pm

Interesting Vagrant. Not sure about the bald thing (I'm not dismissing it out of hand, but I'm going to have to think about that one some more). But I really like the idea of the altered eyes hidden by shades. It sounds really cool, and I don't think it's something I've seen before.

Although I'd like to make these new open source characters open to interpretation by anyone (I think that's one of the reasons that I like the jacket idea for the outfit, so that Dr. Acacia could work in a superhero milieu or a detective milieu just as well), I'd also like to make them stand out a bit and not just be the same-old thing we've seen before ... otherwise, why bother creating new characters when someone could easily use one of the numerous public domain characters listed in the wiki or on The Free Universe site?

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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:55 am

Hmmm...well, I definitely think it's pointless to create a character too similar to an existing PD character, but in the case of a character like Dr. Strange, it's nice to have a proxy that's a little closer than the existing PD characters, becuase there isn't one that is really spot on. Then again, I don't mind going off the reservation and creating something totally different either...people can always re-interpret the character how they see fit.

I like these ideas...one thought that crosses my mind about the cane...if he can magically disguise that, why can't he magically disguise his strangely colored eyes and tatoos? Spending your life wearing hats and pretending to be blind seems drastic when you are nearly all powerful. But here's an idea! What if he really is blind when his eyes are not glowing a strange color? In his blind state, the cain is disguised and he is essentially powerless, except that he can see the magical creatures and forces that are hidden from normal site, for his true eyes are in the magic realm. When he activates the stick, he can summon new protoplasmic eyes to see the "normal" world that we see.

Not sure about the tatoos on the bald head...have to be careful of making a distinction between him and the last airbender kid (I believe there are a number of other characters like this, including one I made up for a fantasy novel. I'm thinking...what if he had like green hair or something? Plant hair...in keeping with the tree motif? Does that sound too crazy?

I'm okay with a slightly more jenny Everywhere, plain clothes motif for the sake of keeping him genre neutral, but maybe in the comics, when his cane transforms, so do his clothes...maybe some luminous runic symbols or highlights? Tree themed of course....
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:27 pm

Oh, Argosail, I think you're on to something with the actually being blind thing. Keeping with the "tree of life" theme, Odin lost his eye after hanging on the Norse tree of life and gained infinite knowledge as a result. I really like that connection!

I can see the green hair thing, too, but that might be a bit much. How about brown hair with a green stripe or streak?
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:19 pm

I would like to use this character as a 'main' character in a new story I'm developing. Can I just use an image of him based on this description? If so are any artists available to breathe some life in to him please?
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:08 pm

Of course you're free to use him, Transmooky; that's the point! I have to say, though, that I didn't really consider the character finalized yet, so there's a possibility that he will change from the version you use.

Of course, that's true of many of the older PD characters, too. I've been playing around with the "Space Smith" character, and as I read the stories I realized that they must have changed writers and art teams along the way, because the Space Smith and Diana of the first half of the series are VERY different from the Space Smith and Diana of the second half of the series (with no explanation for the change, the reader was supposed to just go along with it).

If you want, I can use the Fabrica di Herois hero creator site to whip up an image of how I envisioned Dr. Acacia, but that would just my view, hardly cannon.
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:42 am

I have some ideas, and have been thinking of doing a concept drawing, but I was hoping for some more ideas...I'm kinda stuck on what to do with his head...bald with tatoos, green "grass" hair or brown hair with green streak? Or maybe something else entirely? Can't make up my mind.

Otherwise, my concept ideas are something like this: black or hispanic male in a dark green trench coat, with ski cap, sunglasses and cane. Transformed, his coat develops glowing yellow celtic knot and runic symbols. Eyes glow, and cane becomes a twisted wooden staff. I'm thinking he should have some kind of medallion around his neck as well. Hair/head TBD. That is how I am imagining him right now. Anyone else have ideas or addiitonal details?

Transmooky, if you have some ideas, do you want to share and help us solidify the "base" or "cannon" concept of the character?

We haven't talked much about Acacia's origin or motivation. Any thoughts on that?
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:42 pm

I like where you're going with this, Argosail. Instead of a ski cap, I'd go with a riding cap (a ski cap might be hard to explain in the summer!), and I like the brown hair with green streak idea...

The only other thing I'd add is I pictured him wearing something like a long-sleeve t-shirt under his coat, on which would be a tree of life symbol: either a Celtic knot tree (http://www.kelticdesigns.com/Pages/CelticTreeofLifebyJenDelyth.html or http://manythingsdonotfly.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/celtic52_large.gif), a simple tree, or a Kabbalistic Tree of Life (http://www.gnosticassociationny.org/kabbalah.htm).
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:35 pm

Well I was thinking that he could have a green stripe through his hair as suggested. A bit of colour etc as he IS a comic book character let's not forget - I would probably go with a black dude - no one would think twice about seeing a black man with a green stripe through his hair, medallion and sunglasses etc. it would just be his street image. Maybe in Acacia guise all his hair turns green.

As for what I was going to use him for, well I have a story that involves the death of a PD hero and Doctor Acacia and the Tree of Life fitted nicely in to how the character's spirit goes on a journey and is reborn at the end under a new image.

As for Acacia's background - what if he was part of a group who learned the dark arts with the goal of enslaving humanity.

On their journey they discover the Tree of Life (a mother nature type figurehead) - maybe it's the first living thing God puts on Earth. The branches and roots are so entwined with the Earth that it feeds superpowered beings who tap in to it's energies.

The group plan to destroy it and watch humanity dwindle and perish but Acacia is having none of that and is turned by the Tree to fight against his one time friends.

That's just a rough 'off the top of my head' background but it's a starting point.
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:43 am

Honestly, I hadn't given any thought to Dr. Acacia's background, but I think you're on the right track, Transmooky. I'm not sure I like the idea of the character starting off being "evil," if that's what you're saying, but I could see him as totally amoral. Like, maybe he started his studies as one of those "knowledge for the sake of knowledge itself" types. He might not have even thought his studies into the magic and the dark arts would amount to anything, until he and his colleagues found the Tree of Life.
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:32 am

Haha...careful transmooky, we don't want anyone thing that we are stereotyping...I'd think twice if a guy had green hair, regardless of ethnicity (and the point is, he tries to hide it). But it sounds like we'll go with black male and the green stripe.

I do like your origin idea. It gives him built in enemies, and his purpose becomes more clear...to protect the tree, which is rooted in all living things. Therefore his purpose is to protect life. I like Bard's idea that he was someonone who was once ambivalent, and without real purpose, who just happened to tag along with the bad guys...someone that the bad guys needed to find the tree. I like the idea of the tree being a source of power for other heroes who protect life. I think that's a lot to work with.

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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:09 pm

Obviously no offence intended to anyone. As for what I mean - in today's society - there is a kid, about 12/13 years old, that walks down my street everyday and he has a punk style mohican (with blue stripes in it from time time time) and it seems like the most normal thing in the world. No one mocks him or gives him any grief because that's his image and he is entitled to dress that way.

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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:15 am

Oh, no worries. I hate being the PC police, but people take things out of context sometimes, so I just wanted to clarify.

That's actually a good point about a green stripe not seeming totally unusual in our society today. But we did kinda want him to hide his hair, so we need to make sure he is in a profession where green hair would be considered "unacceptable."

Speaking of which, what is this guy's profession? He's a doctor, and he does research on the occult, so I'm thinking maybe he is a history professor or something. Obviously, being blind, it would be pretty difficult and unusual for him to be a medical doctor, so a PhD doctor makes more sense.
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:10 pm

I'd really like to play up the astral/other-dimensional/Lovecraftian aspects of the character, since this is something modern superhero comics don't tend to do terribly well, which is one of the reasons no one really knows what to do with Doctor Strange. And it doesn't really fit any of the Golden Age characters, except maybe the Duke of Darkness if you squint. Since Marvel isn't doing it properly, that should leave room for us to do it.

I had thought of an origin for him earlier, which I hadn't had time to post, which turned out to have some overlap with ideas you've been discussing more recently. It might have a few too many elements in common with Doctor Strange's origin, but said origin is one of the best parts of his character. It goes like this: Arturo Cruz was an artist of Mexican descent, who was associated with the fringes of the counterculture in 1960s San Fransisco. A brilliant man whose talent was nonetheless dwarfed by his ego. After a series of failed relationships and personal meltdowns, he became increasingly dissatisfied with his life, longing for something more. And so he fell into the orbit of Justin Crowe, an infamous occultist. He began to dabble in magic and incorporate elements of it in his art--which is just what he wanted. Crowe, who saw the powerful potential for magic within him, led him to work on a new piece of art as part of a secret ritual, a ritual of whose true purpose he was ignorant.

Before long a group of people were gathered to finish the ritual and the painting into which Arturo had poured his heart and soul, a painting of a strange other world. The painting was made as a doorway--and something came through. Seven people died that night. They were the lucky ones. Arturo only lived because the thing he had brought across ate his eyes, hoping it would drive him into despair and suicide.

But over the course of his studies, Arturo had heard a strange rumor that seemed to offer hope. Somewhere in Mexico there stood a vast tree in the middle of the desert, invisible to the eyes of all but a few, in whose branches was a lost city whose ruler had the power to heal any injuries. He crossed the border alone and went into the desert to seek that city. For three days and three nights he waited until he heard the singing of the birds in the trees and the chanting of the city's protectors--and for one brief moment, he saw it.

The city exists to guard the remains of the Tree of Life. When it is fully healed it will bring about a new rebirth for the world, but if it is destroyed all hope for the future of humanity will be lost. Several times the Tree has been burned down but its roots have been preserved and taken elsewhere to grow a new city. Before it came to Mexico it was located in a now-sunken island off the coast of Ireland (thus the Celtic knot) and before that in Israel.

As Arturo entered into the city he was met with disappointment. Its guardian, the Mysteriarch, claimed that they could not cure him. They could only offer him wisdom. He was ready to leave until he found that the Tree of Life was threatened by the thing he had brought across. He knew that it was time, for once, to make up for his past failures. And he genuinely wanted to learn what the city had to offer. So he became an apprentice of the Mysteriarch and joined the defenders of the city.

As Apprentice he was given a seed of the Tree of Life to eat. Eating the seed gave him new eyes--literally. He could now see into other worlds, the Astral Plane, and the Beyond. It also increased his lifespan and slowed his aging considerably. But there was a cost because he could not see the normal world during the daytime. He could never return to who he was. He had become something new: Dr. Acacia.

Today he has himself become the Mysteriarch and taken on apprentices of his own. Among his greatest enemies is Justin Crowe, who the ritual transformed into something more and less than human: the Revenant.
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:29 pm

Characters who may be connected to him:

The Duke of Darkness: Danny Sullivan is one of the Guardians of the Pale, known to some as the Shinigami, who keep watch on the borders between our world and the Beyond. The Guardians of the Pale and the Keepers of the Tree of Life often have an uneasy relationship, because their magic is conceptually opposed, but Danny and Acacia have a strong professional respect. They are quite opposite in personality, with Danny being very straightforward and grounded, easily the most human of the Shinigami.

Doctor Know: Weirdly enough, someone else came up with a Doctor Strange/Doctor Who-like open-source character while all this is going on. Maybe he's one of his apprentices? Doctor Know has more of a focus on space-time magic. Perhaps he uses the coffin-shaped clock of Through the Gates of the Silver Key as his TARDIS of sorts.

Captain Prodigy: Can he help her master the Heart of Chaos before it masters her?

Jenny Everywhere: As a dimension traveler, her portfolio overlaps a lot with his. Dr. Acacia has been romantically evolved with the Jenny Everywhere of the Fifth Ancient Abyss, which makes his interactions with the main world's Jenny a little awkward at times. But this is the kind of awkwardness a dimensional traveler learns to get used to.

Useful resources:

Why I Should Write Doctor Strange by Mightygodking: this is someone who really does get Doctor Strange. He suggests a lot of fruitful approaches, including a focus on interdimensional politics and having several apprentices both human and otherwise.

A fine article on what makes Lee and Ditko's original Doctor Strange tick

Seventh Sanctum generators: Dark Ritual Generator (examples: Deadly Rite of the Screaming Bane of Solitude, Devouring Kings' Ceremony of Decay)

Magical Invocation Generator (examples: By The Ancestral Doors Of Leartana! By The Eight Tomes Of Luminous Otaresic!)

Outer Plane Generator (examples: One-hundred Emerald Depths, Eighth Spectral Cities of the Unnamed)
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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:11 am

Wow, Knight...those are some awesome ideas. I'm digging that story. I like the tree moving, because that could be used to tie it into a lot of different mythologies, from cultures throughout the world. Gaining power by eating a seed...very original. I'm not sure about making him originate in the 60's (the idea of a Jenny dating a 70 year old guy is a little gag worthy...I picture Jenny being 18-25 years old), but it would give him some story flexibility, as he could be active in a lot of time periods.

For verious reasons, this story really makes me think of the movie, The Fountain. Was that an inspiration for you?

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PostSubject: Re: Open Source Arch-Type 3: Modern Sorceror   Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:48 am

I kind of touched on the idea that, much like Dr. Strange (who is acutally over a thousnad years old from when he went outside of time to fight in the VIshanti War) he pracitcally doesn't age. Physically he would appear to be in his late 30s/early 40s. Also, Jenny is kind of very "young" and also very "old" in mentality because of the memories of other lives she has, much like Matt Smith's Doctor.
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