Forging a character: Kraasian Darkwood

Today, I’m trying something different: a look back on the development of a specific character in my work-in-progress story. I’d like this to be a small series of possibly monthly posts. To start, I chose one of the most prominent characters: the experienced warrior Kraasian Darkwood.

Name origin

The name’s origin is, in a way, typical for characters named in the early drafting. Struggling with imagination on names, I reused (with slight adjustments) a name I used for one of my World of Warcraft characters.

Early concepts: merely a mention

In most concept stages, Kraasian did not live long enough to make it into the story, dying in battle when his son was young. The age varied with the last concepts putting his death somewhere around his son’s early teen years. Unfortunately, the story failed to work the way I wanted with him dying off-screen. By the time I got to writing the demo, Kraasian was captured instead of dying.

Father and son

After writing the demo, I understood the potential of personal development for both father and son. The way I approached the character changed much and the changes made several aspects of the story hold together much better than it was with him either dead or captured before the story started. Instead of having most of the relationship between his son and other characters to be ‘inherited’, they’re extended naturally as his son meets those people.

Personality

Kraasian was originally to be a barbarian-type of character but I eventually strayed a bit from that, showing that he had a gentler side. While he’s straightforward and stubborn among friends and foes alike, he has a weak spot: his family, of which only his wife and son remain now. Kraasian’s not someone who’d show his affection much – and if he does, it’s usually with few words and even fewer gestures. Yet, those close to him know that he’s not the stone-cold brute many think him to be.

His stubborn and direct nature is something I wanted to be a double-edged blade: it made him several enemies in the upper castes who consider him a rude man without any sense of respect. On the other hand, it’s what allows him to go on with his plans even when others would consider them impossible or foolish. Once he makes a decision, he won’t change his mind easily. He won’t forgive anyone who wrongs him or those he cares for.

As I drafted the story, I eventually made changes that show much more than I initially intended – how he reacts when someone challenges his plans, when he disagrees with those close to him, what values he instills in his son, and what values he seeks in others.

Other

There’s one more thing I’ll mention about Kraasian: his weapon of choice. Aiming for a brutal warrior, he wields a massive two-handed, double-headed axe to cut his way through any enemy standing in his way. Its look is loosely based on an item from World of Warcraft – though similarly shaped weapon also appears in Diablo 3 or in the hands of Optimus Prime in the final battle of the third Transformers movie.


Kraasian Darkwood is a character that was originally nothing but a name on a tombstone and evolved into one of the main characters. If you’d want to ‘see’ him, he’s one of the characters appearing in the prologue, which can (in its current draft) be read here. The events he mentions in the prologue, as well as some other bits of his backstory before that prologue, are shown at his profile page.

I’d also really like showing something more than words but I am terrible at drawing even simple sketches so it’s down to reader’s imagination.

As said, I’d like to make this a small series of posts I’d make when I believe I am ready to reveal those things. I’ll welcome any comments on this matter – whether related to the character or to the way I decided to approach revealing the characters of my to-be story through this kind of posts. Or any other related insight.

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