Welcome to Amazing Gaming Productions; my name is Mark.
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Today’s blog is on writing a Negative Character Arc for the protagonist.
In my previous blog on character arcs, I stated that a negative character arc is a tragedy.
The main character acts out in irrational ways because of unresolved wounds. Some people once held the truth to help others and fell from grace into lies. Others were lying to themselves and others and struck out at the world. And a few people lie to themselves about something until they accept a tragic truth.
These arcs are called the Fall Arc, the Corruption Arc, or the Disillusionment Arc.
For this blog, Renegade Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect series is an example of a Corruption or a Fall Arc – depending on how you figure their back story.
Players have two choices when you create your Commander Shepard. For my pure Renegade run, my Shepard is a colonist. Batarians raiders enslaved 100s on Mindoir. Shepard saw people branded like cattle.
He saw that only the Human Alliance cared enough to do something about it, but it was too late. After that, Shepard hated aliens, especially Batarians.
When they were old enough, in 2 years, they joined the Alliance Miltary because Shepard wanted payback. But in every step, the council races only stood in Shepard’s way. She projected her anger at what the Batarians did to all aliens.
In the end, Shepard commanded many soldiers under her command to destroy every slaver and pirate in Torfan. She was out for blood – all the evil they had caused, she was going to give it back twofold. 100s of alliance soldiers may have died, but they wiped out 1000s of pirates and slavers, helping secure safety for humanity.
Shepard was ruthless – and would remain ruthless.
Shepard’s ruthlessness hated Ashley Williams. Williams allowed her unit to be wiped out and did nothing but run. Shepard hated that weakness. Williams needed to do more after the Geth ship almost destroyed Eden Prime.
She respected Kaiden’s performance in the first mission.
When Shepard meets the Citadel Council for the first time, Shepard shows his disrespect – He “knew” they do not care about humans, so he did not waste his voice on losers.
He hears about Garrus and Wrex, gets the information from them, but he does not recruit them for the mission against Saren. Shepard will not recruit aliens to save humanity because humanity needs to stand on its power.
He declines to recruit Tali, but Udina overrides his wishes and forces her into Shepard’s team.
Shepard kills the Rachni Queen on Noveria, kills the colonists on Feros and Shelia, and kills every alien on Virmire. She also lets Ashley die on Virmire – the only worthy end for someone so incompetent.
He finally picks up Liara at Therum, but only because he can not make heads or tails of all the clues he has picked up. Liara is a Prothean expert, so she may be able to help.
After figuring out what Saren wants, Shepard talks to the Council again, and they get in her way again. They ground her, telling her she can not go to Ilos. Shepard hates it.
With the help of Captain Anderson, Shepard gets to Ilos, gets to the Conduit and uses it to get back onto the Citadel.
Shepard gets Saren to kill himself and orders the Alliance Fleet to focus on Sovereign and allow the Council to die with the Destiny Assertion.
In the end, Shepard chooses Udina to create a human council that will dominate galactic politics.
After Shepard wakes up in a Cerberus Base, she vows to get payback for who killed her.
She works with Jacob, Miranda and the Illusive Man to find out who is abducting entire human colonies.
On Freedom’s Progress, she sends Vitor to Cerberus, rejecting Tali’s pleas to give him to her custody, and she will share his Omni tool data instead. They learn that the Collectors may be servants of the Reapers because they can go through the Omega-4 Relay.
Shepard recruits Jack after the mission, who cares about the aliens and meets with Kasumi and Zaeed.
Then she goes to Omega and recruits Garrus and Mordin Solus. If he did not, they would die at the hands of the Collectors.
Finally, he attempts to recruit O’Keer, but he dies. Shepard takes the tank bred Krogan, but he does not wake them up.
Then Shepard hits Horizon and defends it against the Collector attack. They focus on saving the colonists. When confronted by Kaiden, Shepard says that Cerberus is the only group willing to help humanity.
After Horizon, Shepard does the loyalty missions for Jacob, Kasumi, Miranda, Jack and Zaeed. After the loyalty missions, she investigates the disabled Collector vessel and finds out about the Reaper IFF, and the Collectors are altered Protheans enslaved by the Reapers.
Shepard hits the Reaper Husk and sells the Geth to Cerberus after. They get the Reaper IFF installed on the Normandy.
They want to hit the Omega-4 relay, but EDI must test the IFF. The Collectors attack them. Joker unshackles the AI so EDI can control the ship to escape the Collectors.
After Shepard goes through the Omega 4 relay, Kasumi dies after the Normandy hits debris. There was no Tali to give shield upgrades.
Shepard survives the mission, but only by the skin of their teeth. Many of their companions did not make it. Garrus dies during the mission – being the only tech expert.
Shepard also allows the crew to die, leaving them with no escort to get back to the ship.
Shepard keeps the Collector Base intact.
Shepard forgoes any other mission and goes right to the events of Mass Effect 3.
When presented with opportunities to help any other race, they do not.
Shepard does not rescue Javik, but to get reinforcements to take back Earth, they rescue the Turian Primark from Reaper forces and bring them to a summit.
Shepard’s choices for the Krogan/Salarian conflict are – they do not cure the Genophage, kill Mordin Solus, and take the Salarian fleets.
For the Citadel, they kill Kaiden – he is in the way of the mission.
For the Quarian/Geth conflict – Shepard chooses to save the Geth because machines are neutral because they are not aliens. The Geth are just machines, guns to point at the Reapers.
They investigate the Asari Temple – Kai Lang steals the Prothean VI, then Shepard goes to Sanctuary, and then hits the Cerberus Base, thanks to Miranda’s help. They take all the fleets they have amassed to Earth.
Once they activate the Crucible, it is enough to destroy the Reapers, but it was not well enough protected – it destroys the Earth with it.
Shepard dooms the Galaxy because of their hatred of aliens and focuses on just humanity.
Playing Shepard in a pure renegade way, mistrusting aliens and only looking after humanity is a great tragic playthrough. The wounds of Mindoir and the anger they released on Torfan destroy the Earth and set the Galaxy into a dark age.
Another great tragic ends would be the Dishonourable ending of Arthur Morgan, going after the money instead of protecting John Marsden.
When you write a negative character arc, you show the moral of the story by showing the destruction caused by lies and wounds.
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Have a great day!