Time to time, I write up an explication of characters I’ve played in RPGs or made for my own purpose. This is an exercise in character building and creative writing.
Just a boy in a bar with a beer.
Oh boy, this feels like it’s going to be a big one. Or more specifically, it feels like this is one that I could go long on, and I’m going to need to reign myself in a lot on the way.
Lachlann Piers, Lock to most, is by all appearances, a fairly ordinary guy with a Kings Row accent. He’s in his mid thirties, seemingly, he’s fit in a way that doesn’t show it off, he’s usually wearing something second hand, and he in true millenial tradition, is pretty often on his phone.
The Carmody Group’s owner controls the enormous multinational organisation of industries across Paragon and its associated territory. In recent years, the immense business has taken to near-constant works of philanthropy and public investment, but even then it’s still been growing.
Cearmaid, the registered superhero entity under Paragon City’s Citizen Crimefighting Ordinance, looks like a lot of fire themed superheroes. Muted red and black, he’s almost never seen deployed in crimefighting or hero work. His main purpose is working for Portal Corps on what they refer to as Perimeter Inspection.
Cottus, the hecatoncheries, was a thing discovered in ancient Greece, one of three, an inhuman entity that didn’t have a body or a shape, and was brought to bear by the gods as a weapon of mass destruction against other gods. Poorly understood, it was reshaped in myth and retold as a thing, as it rose up, was slain, and returned from the dead, over and over, each time being remade against the thing that killed them last time. Known only as an ‘abomination’ by those who study such things, it was there when the gods made war and even they could not train it, only give it prey.
And all these of them are the same person.
Lock was an ordinary dude, who was having one of his worst days. He was a bricklayer from Kings Row, whose main body of work was repairing buildings damaged by superheroes. His mother was recovering from cancer treatment, and his emotionally distant father was bringing them both home, when they died in car wreck, leaving Lock with medical debt and nobody to support him.
Then, the next morning, he woke up to find that he had inherited the Carmody Group from a long-lost great-uncle. Then the next morning, he woke up to find that he had received the power of Cottus from the first incarnation of the Hecatoncheires, a forebear that had decided to finally, after a literal endless life, give up its power and hand it on to all the human offspring it had, figuring it would distribute out into a huge number of people. Lock was surprised to find he was literally it.
What remains is Lock; the end of Gods. One of the great secrets of Paragon City, of Portal Corps, a predatory threat that Portal Corps puts at the edge of reality to deal with the potential threat of encroaching extradimensional gods. He doesn’t fight in the city, because his destructive power is immense. Time spent in the city is spent doing his best to use the Carmody group to make things better, particularly by dismantling things his family spent their time building.
Cearmaid is an old character of mine. He started out on Live as a Fire/Fire blaster, then became a Fire/Willpower Brute, then when Homecoming started, I used him to be the identity of my Fire Farmer.
And now a thorny issue: Farming! What’s Farming, and is it okay?
Farming is when you commit to a stable, reliable no-risk game pattern for specific results. A farmer character is in this context, a character that can do a consistent, reliable type of content and in the process get other characters XP, influence, and drops (like recipes and enhancements and stuff). Farming back on live was a behaviour the devs tried to keep under control – not stop, but keep under control. If farming was the best way to get XP, and it was the most convenient way to get XP, people would stop engaging with the game in all other ways, so the developers did things to discourage that. If farming relied on an exploit of some variety, then that got dealt with too.
Homecoming is a little more loose. There are plenty of ways to level and people engage with the game differently. We can farm, though we have been asked to take it easy on farming when the server time is peak. And having a farmer on an account is useful, as it helps me level other characters when I’m on my own that might need teammates.
I think that it’s useful to show people who want a farmer how to have one, how it’s attainable, and how they don’t need to be afraid of, or worried about it. Farming is something you can understand, and you can practice, and if you want to do it, or you find it fun or soothing or calming, then you should be aware of it. I also feel that knowing about this can help dissolve resentment of players who do enjoy it, because it suddenly looks less like something an elite class with money can do and more something that anyone can do.
He’s a Radiation Melee/Fire Armour brute. Lock uses two builds, which you can access by talking to any trainer. One is his primary, PVE build, which he uses for non-farm missions, which is a pretty standard build that wants good recharge and melee defense. It’s fine. Notably, because he’s a farmer, he has lots of Incarnate threads and lots of options there. He’s also always worth putting money into, because he helps levelling other characters. Still, I did level him and earn his build on my own, making his expensive build by starting with a range of cheap builds.
To farm fire mobs, you want a character who has, in this order of priority:
- Maximum fire resistance
- 45% fire defense
- As high regeneration as you can manage
- As high a HP pool as you can manage
The first two are extremely important; the third and fourth less so. They make it easier and better, but they aren’t essential.
You can use inspirations to get you through most of the way levelling. And you can even farm yourself, in low level AOE situations – find large spawns in hazard zones that are blue to you, and buy inspirations from the vendors in the hazard zone to keep you healthy. You want to leverage defeating large numbers of mobs so you get more inspirations.
Here are the three builds I made for Lock, as my budget increased:
Hopefully this makes farming look a bit less ridiculously expensive and a little more attainable.
Last year, in Smooch Month I wrote about Iron Angel, a supervillain turned superheroine. She, back in 2011, started a relationship with Cearmaid, and, uh…
It’s coming up on their 10 year anniversary?
Cearmaid is a character I’ve been very fond of. He started out as a Formspring character, someone who existed on a question-and-answer website. The culture around superheroes on that website was, uh, terrible? Like it was being written by some people who were just awful at creating superheroes, and like, I know it’s not nice to make a value judgment like that, but I like, had to have a conversation about how ‘a girl saying no and telling you to leave is not an ambiguous thing’ in that space. I remember when a character wanted to prove he wasn’t ‘mentally unstable’ was expressed by him sending harrassing messages for a week, which was just plain out bad behaviour. I made Lock, and I made him the way he was, to ask the question ‘what if someone became powerful, and didn’t immediately behave like an immense shithead?’
In that space, he made friends with Zex (and a number of other friends).
Lock has this line of connection through all these big ideas, but the thing I find the most fun about him, as a character, is that he doesn’t need much to do anything to work. He’s this constantly driven, always working character who has at his heart, this hopeful message that has been more and more part of my life and more and more important in my writing: That depicting good things as possible is important in our media.
“What if a good person got access to the powers of a god?” Well, he’d still be a good person. That’s it. That’s the plan. He’d be doing his best to do his best, he wouldn’t be turning cynical or the burden of power making it so he couldn’t bring himself to do good things. He’s too powerful to be deployed in this story space around like, beating up muggers – he needs to be dealing with really big threats.
So he is.
Part of what’s going on with Carmody group is Lock showing the way that the structures for the super-rich are set up that it’s hard to stop being rich. When he asks people what they’d do with money like that, they tend to say they’d give it to charity – which, he then points out, charity donations, at his scale, would make him money. What he has to do then, and what the Carmody group is constantly doing, is dismantling itself, trying to put its value back into the world, and trying to fix big problems. Since ‘replacing global capitalism’ is outside of the scope of this character in a shared space, then, the point of Lock’s Carmody work is that he’s rebuilding things that have been destroyed by the scope of old money like he inherited.
And so, he’s working.
Lock is one half of this couple, with the Iron Angel, with Zex, with his wife. And Zex and Lock are one of my favourite fictional couples I’ve ever seen.