Posted by: Jess Riley | November 3, 2008

Katafray Project: The Design of Eme

edited in by Blogatelle

Isn't she cute?

I know last time I commented that my discussing character creation was difficult for me, as I found it hard to actually lay down what I had decided on for the character and how I had done so.

Well, creation was hard, but design is harder. How do I actually go about coming up with things like hair colour, hair style, face shape, and so forth? I rarely give a lot of thought to these things, so when I write up my explanation… well, I’m learning as much as you are! So, let’s get detailed. How did I come up with Eme’s design?

Step one, to be honest, is just flipping through all my options to see what strikes me, what grabs me. As I was looking through all these visuals, waiting for something to grab my attention, I came upon the black hair and stopped there. For a start, it makes her look young (as compared to, say, the grey hair), which is fairly intrinsically tied up in the concept of the young, single mother I had planned out. Two, combined with that style, it looks gritty, it looks uncared for, it evokes feelings of rebellious and darkness. I don’t exactly what her to look emo or goth, but facilitating that connection with rebelliousness and (again) youth certainly doesn’t hurt.

I know I didn’t actually choose the robe she’s in – that’s just the stock warlock starter robe – but I like the look of that too, and I intend to keep with a colour scheme of vibrant reds and purples as much as I can – that makes her look a little other-worldly, a little like she should be mistrusted (without falling back on the ‘dark colours to hide in darkness’ or ‘bland colours to fade away in the background’ tropes; I don’t think those really fit the chsracter of Eme, and to me, they’d represent a lack of thought going into the design). Green is too natural, blue carries connotations of goodness… no, vibrant red is where it’s at.

Her face, the cute little one with the big earrings, that was also chosen to encourage that idea of youth. I want to bring to mind pedomorphosis, cuteness, youth, inexperience – the youth and inexperience are essentially true of her character, and you just can’t get by an adorable little child-like thing who pulls out a dagger and inserts it between your ribs.

What? It’s true? You can’t.

Okay, okay, so what I’m getting at here is that it’s partly a matter of what is right for the character and partly what excites you and makes you happy to play. Go with what you’re enthused about. Don’t be afraid to take the time to just sit there and surf through the options until something moves you. You don’t need to able to write it all out ahead of time and plan it. Sometimes, what grabs you in the moment is more important than what you can objectively think out and sensibly apply to your concept.


  1. Good character design for her. Though its a bit expected as going for the black hair and red clothing, is kind of a expected evil look. Which games like Fable, really take to the extreme lol.

    “and you just can’t get by an adorable little child-like thing who pulls out a dagger and inserts it between your ribs.”

    Hey, she could always use her adorableness to distract a foe long enough for her sultry Succubus to become visible and whip him into submission while she then blast him to ash. And I say being in that threesome from hell, is much better than a dagger in the ribs I say haha!

  2. I admit to it freely, although I denounce tropes and cliches like the all-black clothing, I’m very much playing to a trope with the marriage of red and black in her look.

    I guess it comes down to that there are a lot of different types of evil looks – it just depends which one you want to play to!

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