Sample Application: Alice Margatroid

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Sample Application: Alice Margatroid

Postby Alice Margatroid » 26 Apr 2011 09:55

-Basic information about the character-
Name (Full name please): Alice Margatroid
Canon Appearances (e.g. Game or Book):
• Mystic Square (Cover, Stage 3 Boss, Extra Boss)
• Perfect Cherry Blossom (Stage 3 Midboss, Stage 3 Boss)
• Immaterial and Missing Power (Playable Character, Possible Opponent)
• Imperishable Night (Playable Character)
• Shoot the Bullet (Stage 3-1, 3-3, 3-5, 3-7 Boss)
• Scarlet Weather Rhapsody (Playable Character, Possible Opponent)
• Subterranean Animism (Playable Partner)
• Touhou Hisoutensoku standalone (Playable Character, Possible Opponent)
• Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red
• Strange and Bright Nature Deity (Secondary Character)
• Silent Sinner in Blue (Cameo)
• Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth (Minor Character)

Species (e.g. Faerie, youkai, human etc.): Youkai Magician

-Your interpretation of the character-
In answering these questions you are free to cite canonical source material as long as you don’t plagiarize. Please try to portray a rounded view of the character you’re applying for.

What interests you about this character? Is there anything specific you would like to do with them? Examples include exploring their relationship with specific characters, hold a drinking contest with one of the oni or hosting a grand party for all of Gensokyo.
Although Alice isn’t quite one of my favorite characters, there is something fascinating to her variation on the archetype of the crazy cat lady. I also feel that she has a great deal of potential to be an interesting character if you can steer clear of her stereotypical portrayals as borderline sociopathic and murderous or an overly cliché tsundere of the most boring and generic kind. She would most likely also present an interesting difference and contrast to Keine, without being so far removed from what I’m comfortable with that I wouldn’t know what to do with her. She has this feeling of obsession, a lack of social grace and a narrow focus on her own goals and needs, while still clearly being intelligent and articulate.

For more specific things I want to do, there are a few I have thought about. One is a simple, silly little idea for a thread where she researches voodoo dolls after hearing about them in a book she either got from Kourindou or the Voile, if she has access to it. Nothing major, and obviously strongly inspired by her entry in Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red, but I could see it being fun. A wider, more diffuse desire is to try to get into her mindset and understand how her mind works. It is pretty remarkable that she both shows up at festivals and market days to entertain the children and enthusiastically curses people just to learn more about the magic of dolls.

Describe your interpretation of the character's history. If known where did they come from and how did they grow up? Does their past have any notable events or important people?
Alice’s background presents some challenges. She didn’t seem to be human in Mystic Square, but rather a demon from Makai, while in the Windows era it’s made clear that she’s a youkai magician who used to be human. The two simplest solutions appear to be to either retcon Mystic Square, which can’t be done here; or determine that she was a human in the game and just raised like an inhabitant of Makai. So rather than doing something more elaborate, the latter is the basis for my interpretation of her background, something I believe the first Alice on the site did as well. My specific interpretation of her background is as follows.

Apart from her birth to human parents, something that can naturally be inferred given that she was born a human, the first definite event in Alice’s life was being brought to Makai by Shinki. While it is possible that she was kidnapped, given Shinki’s personality and ability to create life on her own, it is much more likely that she was abandoned and the goddess simply took her in rather than let her die. Raised in the demon world, she naturally took to magic to try to gain an equal footing with the rest of its inhabitants, not to mention becoming able to protect herself from the miasma rather than rely on others for it.

The power and skill with this magic came to be tested when tourism to Gensokyo began and four inhabitants of that realm invaded her home in retaliation. While Alice was incapable of repelling them or even take revenge later, she could at least convince herself that she was useful and really did have a talent for magic, only spurring her on to further magical training and research.

Eventually, she grew up and like most people growing up wanted to move out and stop living with her mother. The strength of the inhabitants of Gensokyo and the variety of magical phenomena of that world also proved a powerful lure; it would be a much easier place for her to continue magical training and research. Once there, she settled in what appeared to be the most magical region and dove into her research in solitude and eventually completing the magic to leave her humanity behind and become a true magician. This solitary lifestyle lasted until a succession of incidents dragged her back into contact with others, most notably the black-white witch who had once been one of the people who invaded her former home in Makai.

Describe your character's personality and beliefs. How do they act around those they trust and around others? What about at social gatherings? What parts of their personality do they keep hidden? Please don't limit yourself to one or two personality traits.
Alice isn’t the most pleasant person in Gensokyo. Having been used to going alone, with little contact from other humans and youkai for years, she tends to forget to really pay attention to others if there isn’t a pressing need; she instead just buries herself in research or other tasks. When she does deal with others, she is also quite lacking in social graces, generally speaking her mind bluntly and directly with little thought to tact. Around friends or people she’s already in a confrontation with, she will usually also adopt a rather sarcastic approach, making fun of the failings of those around, without truly meaning harm by it. It’s just so easy to do so when around foolish or silly people.

Despite this tendency, she’s an extremely serious, almost obsessive person who puts her research and the maintenance of her small army of dolls above most other concerns. This is mostly clearly seen by visitors to her house in the Forest of Magic, who will generally be ignored in favor of her work. It is also seen in how she goes about resolving incidents that she couldn’t make Marisa take care of for her, such as the incident with the constant parties, though throughout this she displays her trademark bluntness.

Despite her poor social skills and tendency to focus exclusively on her own matters, Alice isn’t a bad person per se. Sure, she might curse a few people to better understand how dolls work for sympathetic magic and she might mock Marisa’s gung-ho attitude, seemingly without realizing how belligerent she can often be herself, but that doesn’t mean she wants to hurt them. Research is just research and Marisa is so tiring and thoughtless, so it is hard not to.

Ultimately, however, she does care for others. If someone has the misfortune to get lost in the forest and night was approaching, she lets them stay at her house, even making sure that the dolls provide them with tea and food. In the same vein she often goes to festivals at the village to perform puppetry shows, simply because she enjoys entertaining the villagers, especially their children. Unlike most youkai, she is also willing to actively try to protect Gensokyo should incidents threaten her home. Just don’t expect her to be particularly nice or pleasant about it. But then, perhaps pleasantry would be too much to ask from a crazy doll lady.

What motivates your character? What do they have as long-term goals and what would likely short-term goals be? How do they feel about the ongoing tasks they perform?

Alice is a rather focused person. She wants to create a fully autonomous, self-aware doll and most of her actions are either aimed at that or at preserving her life and living conditions so she can keep researching. The actions she takes to this end can be surprisingly varied, however. Minor goals along the way can be anything from dealing with an incident before it throws all of Gensokyo into chaos (making information and materials hard to come by) to discussing the nature of souls with the yama in order to better understand what she needs to do to achieve true sentience in a doll.

Her only real goal outside her research is caring for her family. For a long time that only meant her adopted mother, but after the breakthrough in her research she also got two daughters, whom she can’t just ignore. Granted, in practical action, this care tends to get less emphasis than her research, but it is still there, especially should an emergency happen that involves any of them.

Describe the daily and weekly life of your character and what they do for a living. What do they like doing, both as a hobby and less frequently?

Despite what could be a reasonable expectation for a person with a goal that narrow and specific, Alice has a rather varied daily life. While she does spend a considerable amount of time making dolls and then enchanting them so she can control them, there are many other aspects to her research. She needs to acquire more books to base her research on and conduct varied experiments, not all relating narrowly to dolls but rather to questions of life and souls. In addition to that, she still has many habits left over from her previous life as a human, so she spends effort acquiring and preparing food.

This is not to say that she has no interests outside her research though they tend to either center on repeating actions relating to human life that she doesn’t actually need or relate to her skill at controlling dolls. In addition to eating despite being a magician who has transcended that need, she generally sleeps at night should she not be caught up in a particularly interesting experiment or book. More rare things the puppeteer enjoys are opportunities to show off her skill at manipulating dolls, whether it is by putting on puppet shows at festivals or village fairs or accepting the challenge of some of the many aggressive youkai of Gensokyo.

Other than these hobbies she occasionally reads books wholly unrelated to her research, simply to unwind or in the hope that the new input might give her new ideas for what angle to approach her goals from.

What is the social standing of your character, such as nobility or homeless rabble and do they even care? How do they interact with those different social standing from themselves?

Despite living alone deep in the woods, seemingly avoiding human and youkai contact while surrounding herself with dolls that mimic servants, Alice isn’t quite as lower class and outcast as you might expect, for one thing she lives in an actual house which already puts her above many youkai and most fairies. However, she’s hardly a member of Gensokyo’s elite, keeping to herself and doing little to win respect among either humans or youkai. However, she doesn’t seem to mind this much. She will usually treat everyone she doesn’t personally know equally, regardless of questions of social class.

Describe the powers, abilities, and skills of your character, both magical and mundane. How do they make use of their powers, and what are their limits?
As a youkai magician Alice’s primary powers and talents lie within the field of magic. However, compared to most magicians she keeps an unusually narrow focus, with none of the breadth displayed by the likes of Patchouli Knowledge. She knows how to use her magic offensively to create danmaku or for simple tasks, just like she mastered the spells needed to shed her humanity and become a youkai in the first place. However, Alice’ skills both magical and mundane center around dolls, whether it is making them, controlling them, or even using them as effigies for people in sympathetic magic.

The clearest and most visible manifestation of this skill is her ability to control dozens of dolls at once, controlled by invisible magical strings to make them seem autonomous. This allows her to not only put on a display of having an army of loyal followers, but also gets mundane tasks around the house done more easily. They also allow for some quite complex maneuvers in a fight as she essentially brings a small army with her whenever she expects trouble.

However, her affinity for dolls stretches far beyond that, as shown in the mundane puppetry that she uses to entertain the children of the human village at market days or the fact that most of the dolls found in her cottage was made by her unaided by magic. As a side effect, or possibly a cause, of her skill with these delicate tasks she has developed a superhuman manual dexterity, a feature quite uncommon among the normally bookish and unhealthy magicians.

This narrow focus comes with its weaknesses, though. In any situation that cannot be solved with physical force, whether applied to battle or peaceful tasks, she finds her at a considerably weakness by being forced to rely on her more mundane and less developed magic. It also gives her quite a reliance on physical tools to accomplish her tasks, leaving her markedly less skilled should she be deprived of the dolls that she rely on in so many cases.

Describe a short scene of your choosing involving your character. This scene must include at least one line of dialogue originating from your character, and must have at least one other character present.
Deep within the bamboo forest a strange scene was unfolding. What could best be described as a work crew of small, elaborate dolls was scurrying about. Some carried tiny spades they used to purposefully dig holes at seemingly random spots, only to carry out oddly ordinary objects like roots, mushrooms or small, superficially normal stones. Others instead carried knives that they used to selectively cut the stems of local plants that were apparently too tough for their stubby hands to pull out.

Whenever a doll found what it was looking for it turned around to head to a small clearing near the center of the area they ranged through, where they handed what they had found over to a young, blond woman, who smiled at them and patted them on the head before they returned to their task. This went on for several hours, with the woman and the dolls occasionally moving a bit further to keep the search going in a new location once the previous one had been exhausted.

“That’s enough, everyone. We’ll go back now.” Having gotten what she came for, Alice began leading the dolls back towards the exit to the forest. It would be a short trip, the forest wasn’t that big and she didn’t have the time to walk slowly anyway.

A while later no end to the rows of bamboo was in sight. In fact, it appeared that the bamboo had gotten denser and it was harder to see the sun. She didn’t have time for this; her samples weren’t going to use themselves. Alice stopped and quickly muttered an incantation, before hurrying on. Not like a non-magical forest would be more than an annoyance to her.

“Enjoying the scenery so much you just have to see it over and over?” An annoyingly cheerful voice rang out from a nearby cluster of bamboo. It was quickly joined to a body as a small girl with white rabbit ears and a mischievous grin appeared from the cluster. “Been watching you for a while, such a hurry to walk in circles. If I didn’t know better, I’d imagine you were lost.” Tewi grinned at the magician, striking her trademark pose with her hands behind her back.

“Because stopping random travelers to mock of them is so much more worthwhile. Do you have a point or what?” Alice’ eyes narrowed as she looked the bunny over. Shrimpy little thing, not much more than a road bump if it didn’t get out of the way or say its piece. “Well…I was thinking about showing you the way out, but I don’t know. It was rather amusing to see you run in circles and be so confident in your magic and you did just suggest you wanted to get rid of me…” With those words the rabbit turned and began ever so slowly to walk away, seemingly just to underscore her opinion.

“I see. You really must be bored if this is the best you can think of for amusement. Just tell me or do I have to beat you up first?” At the last word the dolls began swarming forwards, several of them raising their knives to prepare for stabbing. “I was offering you out of the goodness of my heart and this is how you repay me? I’m so hurt. And here I was planning on just letting you follow me as I walked away and just happened to go by the entrance. Haven’t you ever heard how it goes when people meet youkai in the forest?” Tewi stopped and grinned once again, just needing a carrot to make the image complete, before turning and walking away.

Nothing to do but to follow the rabbit, at least some kind of goal would be at the end at clearly walking on her own didn’t work. She could always use force later if Tewi was leading her in circles, not like the scrawny little bunny could do anything about it. Good to know that this wouldn’t be cliché or anything either. After all, who had heard about a blond girl named Alice following a white rabbit in a magical world? That kind of thing was just too improbable to ever crop up in literature.
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Alice Margatroid
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