Wednesday 11 December 2013

She Wields the Powers of Narrativism

Work on my megadungeon project proceeds at a snail's pace but with frequent rewards. Here's my favorite NPC from a group of scheming remnants trapped in the upper works, Castle Amber-style.

Thelma, the Perpetual Student. Age: 31.
Level 3 Wizard (Narrativist), 5 HP. INT++, CON-, CHA-

Portrait: Jeff Preston
Thelma wandered here from her studies at a great and advanced academy, having heard about the strange situation in the castle from some visitors who managed to escape. As a philosopher she became a convert to Narrativism, the idea that almost everyone in the world is a secondary character in an elaborate fiction, with memories whose fallibility and vagueness betrays their false nature.

The Narrativist obsession is to identify point-of-view characters, people whose experience seems too vivid and fortunate to be true, and who may in fact assist in making contact with the Author through self-referential and meta-textual occurrences. Thelma thinks that Myrseau may be one such character, and is certain that she herself is but a secondary character, who will cease to exist once she leaves the fiction’s main setting, the Castle.

Of course, Thelma is ultimately correct, although wrong in the particulars. The characters she seeks belong to the players, and with enough exposure to their fortunes and ambitions, Thelma will eventually realize that the work she is in is not a novel, but a game. This may even lead her to develop a Narrativist heresy: that there is a Game Master who responds to the free will of multiple, self-narrating characters rather than ordaining their fates. On making this realization, she will decide to leave the castle, and never be heard from again, her meta-textual work done.

Thelma is an aloof and enigmatic character who sometimes gives the impression of being as detached from the concerns and intrigues of the Remnants as the players are. She once thought Imogen was the point of view character, but having seen her grow through adolescence, pities her as an obvious inversion of the fictional ingénue trope. Her philosophy gives her a certain ability similar to knowledge magic, with the following “spells” that she may cast, silently and without gesture, once each per day: hear internal monologue (ESP); interpret symbolism (Know Alignment); foreshadowing (Detect Evil); predict plot (Augury).


  1. Okay, that is really frikkin cool. I must now analyze my life for signs of Narrativism.

    - Ark

  2. .... sweet.

    I need to do a post on Plot Cultists some time... it sounds similar to Narrativists.