It’s no secret that the majority of us here at FemHype are rather enthusiastic RPG fans, myself included. But for all we’ve written on open world games, we haven’t shared the customizable characters who shaped our experiences and defined our interest. So I posed the suggestion to our team: share a screenshot of your playable character and the story you helped create for them! That goes for our community, too. Who was the protagonist that brought your love of RPGs to life?
Beware: Image-heavy post with kickass ladies and light in-game spoilers herein.
Sanju Malarky III: is she descended from the legendary Oblivion Crisis hero of the same name? Who knows. You can never trust anything a thief says anyway. Sanju spent her first few weeks in Skyrim flirting with everyone she came across, but soon found she got a lot more entertainment from stealing pewter tankards and pawning them off by the dozen to baffled shopkeepers. She eventually joined the Thieves’ Guild out of boredom and swiftly did away with the reigning guild master, partly because he annoyed her and partly because she wanted her own Nightingale uniform.
Having seen firsthand just how ineffective law enforcement is in Skyrim these days, especially with the brewing civil war, Sanju now travels the land with her bad-cop partner Lydia and their rookie sidekick J’zargo, collecting bounties and taking names. Rumor has it she was last sighted in the mountains near Winterhold, trying unsuccessfully to balance three people and a horse on top of an airborne dragon. Trust me: you were never an adventurer like her. Even before she put that arrow in your knee.
Hawk the Redguard is a quiet sort, who woke up with amnesia on the border of Cyrodiil and Skyrim. Since escaping the disaster at Helgen, she prefers to keep her face covered so as to pass unmolested from town to town. She does not take kindly to poachers and bullies, and tends to make quick work of them as she searches for her lost identity. She is a hunter, first and foremost, though she is beginning to develop a scholarly interest in the anthropology of Skyrim.
You can follow her story as it unfurls on Tumblr!
Right now I’m really into customizing my DayZ character. Character creation is very limited (it’s all the same silhouette and very few skin color and face options) but there are so many clothing options! Hats, scarves, pants, jackets, now even dresses (ugly dresses, but dresses indeed). You start with a nondescript pair of jeans, a shirt, and some shoes, and it’s fairly easy to find newer, better things to wear. The colors range from purple to green and black to—wait for it—pink. I always go with the pink option and spend a lot of time seeking out what pink things I can find. There always seems to be a lack of pink sneakers, but I can normally get a pink cap, jacket, and pants fairly quickly.
There’s something to be said for running around during the apocalypse, fighting both zombies and human survivors in a pink dress that’s so very gratifying.
This is Kurzon, the Orc I made when someone finally talked me into giving Skyrim a try. I really appreciated Skyrim’s character creator letting me make a woman who 1. clearly looked like an Orc, and 2. wore battle scars and warpaint. But the game wasn’t quite clicking for me when I got started. I’d never played such an open world fantasy RPG before, and I didn’t know what to do with all the choices I had. I would get to the Jarl of Whiterun’s palace and raid his kitchen and use it to make a ton of food just because I could, and by then I would start to go “… what am I doing with my life?”
This became Kurzon’s backstory. She was a vegetarian chef, led to adventuring for the sake of collecting rare ingredients, and she did not want anything to do with this Dragonborn ridiculousness. She didn’t really think she was going to save the world, but reluctantly, she continued on—mostly to get everyone to shut up about it already. Along the way, she got better with dual-wielding axes and maces, and was more than happy to shout fire at her enemies as she approached. But when Alduin was finally killed, she immediately settled down with her wife Mjoll to get back to her culinary talents. I really enjoyed the change of pace that came with roleplaying a very reluctant, sour hero.
Hands down my favorite customizable character is my Inquisitor from Dragon Age: Inquisition. Her name is Alessandra, a rogue archer who’s fully committed to her relationship with Iron Bull. Hobbies include taking damage from carelessly jumping off cliffs, obsessively speaking with her companions in hopes of getting a cutscene, and dying. A lot. She’s proud to be a Dalish elf and refuses to put up with discrimination for it! And she never passes up the opportunity to bring some comic relief to tense situations.
When I last wrote about Dragon Age, I made it sound as though I only like Origins for terribly unromantic reasons (i.e. its combat mechanics). I entirely glossed over the fact that I am in actual love with my Warden, Kallian Tabris (a city elf). I think it’s because the way I consider her can be quite divergent from the way other people think about their Wardens. Her origin and relationships and decisions, and my own choice to read things into the story and the gameplay, made Kallian come to life as a vaguely unique character. She was more than my window into the world.
Physically, she’s a blonde elf girl with plaited hair. She’s good with a bow. Yes, that’s fairly unoriginal. But this girl, man, this girl has been through the ringer. She’s had her ups, a threesome involving a pirate lady being among them, and some spectacular downs. She made friends, but ended up alone. She fought gods and monsters and they’re all dead now. She often attended battle in armor that exposed her entire midriff presumably because she’s a fearless warrior. She sacrificed her relationship for pragmatism. She advocated for her people and gave them political power. She kind of saved the world. She struck a bargain for her life, without real knowledge of the true cost. The last person she formed a meaningful connection with was Anders. And now she journeys into the west in search of a cure for her blighted blood.
You know how Buffy or Korra are these amazing, inspiring characters to many people? Kallian’s like that to me, except I played a part in forming her. It’s so cool. Role playing games!
Shel Shepard (✎)
Behold! The most powerful Knight-Enchanter-slash-Inquisitor-slash-elf in the history of Thedas! Or, you know, just ol’ Kariss Lavellan. After the incident at Haven and being proclaimed the Herald of Andraste, Kariss’ life changed radically. Although being First to her clan, she despised the Dalish due to a memory that she does not like to talk about but is always in the back of her mind. She threw herself into her skills as a mage, becoming a powerful user of elemental magic. Conjuring ice and fire was child’s play for young Kariss.
She joined the Inquisition, having no other alternative and not wanting to return to her clan. Let them sort out their lives on their own, she thought. Her decisions were somewhat rash at times, and not everyone agreed with her. But she did follow the advice of a certain Antivan lady by the name of Josephine Montilyet. Her becoming of Knight-Enchanter and saving Lady Montilyet from assassination (and engagement with another) changed her angry view of the world somewhat. She began seeing the good, little things in life that keep you going, despite the world crumbling around you.
After Coryphispit (it’s easier than Corypheus) was defeated, our hero and Josephine lived together happily ever after because damn it, I love happy endings!