Nah it’s really not much. But obviously I’m not going to use real names here, so let’s go with... May, Jen, Patty, and Jane (which is the one who reads UM). Coolio.
So at some point July, when we were getting ready for one of our many vacations, my dad heard from May that Jane had been gossiping around the office, saying that he was in a secret relationship with Patty, and cheating on our mom. Of course, that wasn’t true, but it stirred up a whole lot of gossip and drama, and my dad soon, of course, wanted to put an end to it as quick as possible.
So in and out of our vacation, he would take moments to call a few of the workers (aka May to pledge for more details, and someone who wasn’t even involved). And apparently, he saw it as Jane being toast. But he didn’t even call her to see what she had to say about the matter, and he already started making conclusions.
So at our last supper on the vacation, he basically told us he was going to fire her. And Bovi, well she wasn’t having any of that. We’ve known Jane for a long time now, and know that this wasn’t like something she would ever do; she’s a very faithful employee. So she tried to rebuttal against our dad, to at least let him have a word with her. But our dad, being the arrogant whine that he is, won. Said that there’s not doubt that Jane’s making shit up, even though there’s nothing from the other side, and said she has to go. Bovi didn’t speak with him for the rest of the trip.
So I’m going to skip some stuff because it isn’t that relevant to this. Basically, we got back, word got back to Jane, and she began to act kind of strange. Week or two goes by, and my dad holds a meeting with her, basically saying he’s going to take only a little bit of time to decide whether she should go or not (even he didn’t really want her to leave because she’s real good). So there wasn’t much space to act.
Meanwhile, Bovi had been hoping that something would happen, and would constantly rant about it with both me and my mom (we all stood on Jane being innocent). She had pleaded my mom to try and hold a meeting with Jane, May, and whoever else, to try and get a grasp on this, which she (kinda) really wanted to do too. And by week two, they held the meeting. What did we learn?
Apparently, her spreading rumors was indeed a lie, and May even confessed to it. And Jen, someone who my dad didn’t even bother to speak with about the matter, was able to tell how the whole thing was started, which had also been confirmed by both Jane and May. And when my mom told my dad about this, he was floored, couldn’t believe it. In fact, he even met with May the next day to hear about this all. The end, May got fired.
So yeah, had Bovi not pressed this more, Jane would’ve been outta there.
It is long but also thanks for sharing something so personal with me. let me return the favour with a shorter recounting of tonight's events. So in short I may have prevented a dog from becoming a stain of the road and causing a mass traffic accident.
I iz a good child or at least I try. Can't say I always get it right but the cute doggo I could not let go splat and potentally take many drivers with him. Thank God his owner arrived, I had to hold the rascal's collar to make sure he didn't wander into the road whilst trying to type the number on his collar in the dark.
Yeah, I really do just want to take the time to be grateful that I got to experience this game in my life time and how even now with Delta Rune Toby Fox continually surprises me. The RPG where nobody has to die, the franchise that created a fandom that created a multiverse, the game of songs now instantly recognisable and with characters whose lines and personalities are embedded in the memes and minds of many.
Took some time to think about it, and looking back I don't think there's a reason for CC to become anyone after all. Plus, doesn't FNaF World provide some form of closure for CC with that Clock Ending?
As for Shadow Freddy, well, I got my answer for this one from TTO. Due to him being on the cover(sort of) and how he is portrayed, I'm willing to accept he's some form of illusion or trick. I mean, given how 4's gameplay is hinted to have illusions in it of a similar nature, Shadow Freddy's appearance in that game makes a bit more sense, along with his behaviour in 3's minigames. Hell, it explains his constant design changes throughout the games, as it's different perceptions of the same thing.
Actually, couldn't you extend this to the Phantoms? They all have Springtrap's eyes, and only appear when he is brought inside. Plus, TTO makes a point of William being able to control illusions and hallucinations after getting springlocked, so their presence along with Shadow Freddy's makes sense. Like, SF has kept on coming back each time William makes an appearance(discounting SL as that was a cutscene), which makes little sense if he's a spirit. Nightmare says "I am your wickedness, made of flesh." so they're connected somehow.
Look, what I'm trying to say is... I was wrong to write your explanation off so quickly. Sorry about that.
I'd like to apologise to you too. I was too quick to get defensive and you didn't deserve that. Anyway yes I agree that the protagonist of 3 should ideally be someone important like a former night guard if the Phantoms really are in our mind as the FNAF 3 teasers suggested. Of course it largely depends on what you think the true nature of the Phantoms are.
I mean, let's think logically; Phone Dude emphasises the importance of keeping the ventilation running, saying "you'll see some crazy stuff" if we don't. That explains things like the multiple Springtraps when ventilation goes down, as our lack of oxygen is causing us to hallucinate and even black out. Surely that would mean the Phantoms are hallucinations caused by faulty systems, right?
But there's a problem. The Phantoms can appear if the ventilation is still on, and are very clearly affecting our systems, causing ventilation to go offline when the jumpscare us.
Or... are they?
Let me explain; On the off chance ventilation goes offline by itself, it actually takes longer for the place to start flashing red and the alarm to go off. As well as this, blackouts are way less frequent. But when a Phantom gets you, it's chaos. The alarm is blazing, our breathing is highly rapid, and we black out frequently. So, what's going on? Simple. The ventilation has already failed, and our loss of oxygen is causing us to hallucinate the Phantoms, and fail to notice the error. When we're jumpscared, it snaps us back to reality, and we find ourselves clamouring for oxygen due to the ventilation being out. It may seem like these things are trying to get us by messing our systems up, but in truth they were offline already. It's like the hallucinations in Man of Medan; yes, stuff is going on, but what you're seeing isn't what's causing it.
And yeah, I know it sounds like a cheap explanation given the nature of Phantom Mangle and Puppet, but to portray what's really going on without breaking the gameplay would be really difficult. Sometimes you can't look into everything, as you'd come to some crazy conclusion like Phantom Mangle being physical or something.
And yeah, the fact they come from our mind is important too. Only two guards saw all of the animatronics shown, and those are Jeremy and Michael(assuming he's Fritz.) I personally think it was Jeremy as he's actually got a good record(Mike gets sacked twice) making him a good candidate for FF, and it may explain HW including FNaF 3 stuff(Mike should be dead by then.) Given Mike's... experience in 4 his hallucinations should be rather different from the regular animatronics, but then again 4 wasn't planned back then.
However, I will point out that due to the Phantoms looking burnt it's not impossible the player caused the fire, as these things came from their mind.
Seriously, how do you not notice a corpse in that thing? I mean, if you look at the original design, you can actually see dark spots around the teeth and left eye of the suit, likely from blood or moisture. Given the MCI, surely you'd notice something was up? I understand desperation, but Jesus.
Either Phone Dude's brain was addled by questionably legal substances, is just genuinely a bit of a moron or is incredibly thoughtless. Then again it's a little disrespectful to begin with to make a horror attraction based around real life murders so really you could retitle FNAF 3 as Phone Dude's one bad idea after another.
I mean they did call up the designer of one of the FFP buildings and FE was still a corporate entity at the time of FNAF 3 so I think Phone Dude would legally have to get permission from FE to go through with building Fazbear's Fright. What I think FE did is they greenlit Phone Dude's project but made sure to emphasise he was completely liable for anything that went wrong. Or in short let me borrow a quote from Phone Guy: "Fazbear Entertainment denies any wrong doing."
So, I'm going to try and explain him, so uh, yeah.
Okay, so going by the Shadow Freddy = Illusion idea, then Nightmare is just Mike's perception of him. However, Mike's probably never seen Shadow Freddy prior to this, so he's not sure what the hell he's seeing. His mind makes the connection to Fredbear, but besides looking like him and the colour yellow the entity is a complete mystery to him. That's why he's just called Nightmare. Mike doesn't know anything like him, so there's nothing to associate him with. It's like if you could only remember a few details from a character similar to one you knew, so used the character you did know as a template and worked on things from there. It's also why he's semi transparent; the illusions are supposed to show what you expect to see, but how can that work when you yourself don't know just what it is you're seeing? It could be anything, from a representation of death to the to the spirit of your brother. Hell, maybe it's a manifestation of your dad's wickedness, hell if you know.
So, because I trust you, and because I want to see your opinion on them, I want to introduce to you the Etheridge family, the main antagonists (with one exception) that I created for my own original story that has no relation to anything at all; it is my own unique work that's not DoTM. The Etheridges are inspired by the Aftons to some degree, but hopefully they're not too similar to them. I won't really cover Maxwell and Penelope (the parents), because they don't have as large a role as their children.
Some Worldbuilding: When the Earth came into existence, the angels of Harmonia and the demons of Oblivia were locked in a war to claim the planet for themselves. Harmonia and Oblivia had crystals in their central temples, which the gods used to create their forces. However, the war was brought to an abrupt end when the goddess of creation intervened and decided to use this planet for a new race that she would create, which was, well, humanity. Originally, humans obeyed the goddess without question and couldn't think for themselves, which earned her sympathy and she gave them the gift of free will, also allowing them to be influenced by concepts such as good and evil. The gods that ruled over Harmonia and Oblivia were pleased with their influence on the world, though they warned the goddess that if humanity were to ever grow to pose a threat to either of the realms, they'd resume their war and kill off all of mankind. The goddess acknowledged this and was content to retreat to her own realm and basically peaced out of the story. Meanwhile, many of the angels and demons who fought in the war turned into a new race known as the Husks as a result of losing their crystal fragments, which were their connection to light and/or darkness. With them came the existence of the Nihilscape, which was basically the void. The Husks were cast out by both Harmonia and Oblivia, so they tried to live peacefully alongside humanity on Earth. You can guess how well that went down. The Husks retreated back into the Nihilscape and were basically confined there for the rest of their existences.
The Family In General: So, like the Aftons, they have a lot of insanity, and they experiment on souls. Unlike the Aftons however, the Etheridges actually do that as a career. Maxwell and Penelope, the parents of the family, are the founders of EtherTech Labs, a private organization funded by the US government, which is tasked with the experimentation of the angels and demons of Harmonia and Oblivia. They literally experiment on heaven and hell. The Etheridge bloodline also has a long history with mental illness, and while it skipped over Maxwell, it manifested in three out of four of his children (though I can't guarantee that their portrayals of their illnesses are 100% accurate). The Etheridge children were also all victims of parental abuse, bullying, and human experimentation, because Maxwell and Penelope were psychotic assholes (I have an explanation for why they're crazy but I'm not too sure about it) who saw their kids as "damaged" for their imperfections. They're also all geniuses. The kids were all taken to the central facility at some point, where crystal fragments were melted and injected into their bodies, which gave them all magical powers.
Caleb Etheridge: The eldest of the Etheridge children, and the overall main antagonist. He's the mastermind behind all of the events in the present story. He was born with schizoid personality disorder, and he also has alexithymia, which is a personality construct that is defined as a lack of emotional awareness and difficulty in expressing and identifying emotions. As a result of his alexithymia, Caleb always felt empty inside, which resulted in him often behaving robotically, such as speaking in a monotone. With Caleb specifically, he’s capable of identifying emotions in other people and can certainly pretend to be a “normal” person, but he lacks understanding of his own emotions, and comes off as hollow and emotionless at times. When Caleb was around 16, he became administrator for EtherTech Labs, and was in charge of many of the experiments that took place in the facility located in the Nihilscape, including those involving Timothy and Hannah. Like his younger siblings, Caleb was experimented on by his parents, and his parents, who are also out of their mind, figured that his apparently emotionless nature would make him useful, as they thought that their son wouldn't care about what they did to him. Due to his time spent in the Nihilscape, the Husks noticed Caleb's presence and they actually empathized and identifed with him because of his own "empty" nature. As creatures associated with the void who also faced discrimination and drifted through life without a purpose, Caleb also empathized with them and was the first human to accept them instead of reject them. Over time, the Husks began to see Caleb as a parental figure, and he mutually saw them as his own children. The Husks also told him of their history with Harmonia and Oblivia, including the war to claim Earth and the whole "humanity posing a threat to the realms means a second war" thing. It was then that Caleb formed the Android Soldier Program, which involved the kidnapping and execution of innocents in order to transfer their souls into robotic vessels specifically designed to access the same magic that angels and demons had (to be clear, Android Soldier vessels start out looking like plastic mannequins, but when they have a soul implanted in them, they take on the exact appearance of the human soul residinng within). When Caleb proposed this to his parents, he told them that the purpose of the program was to give the US military an advantage over other nations by reviving fallen soldiers and giving them magical abilities; however, his actual intention for the project was to create a subservient army to lay siege to both Harmonia and Oblivia in order to seize the crystals and bring them back to the Nihilscape, with his younger siblings, Timothy and Hannah, leading them as their generals. As a result, Caleb would orchestrate a second war between Harmonia and Oblivia, which would not only result in many humans being slaughtered, but also a lot of angel and demon casualties. Given that the angels and demons were created using the crystals, their souls would return to them, which would give the Etheridges access to all these souls. Caleb's goal is to transform himself and his younger siblings into deities who could rule the universe, usurping the previous gods and bringing upon the destruction of the angel, demon, and human races, allowing the Husks to migrate out of the cold, dark void that was the Nihilscape and live in whatever realm they desired. Caleb basically wants to commit universal genocide so that the alien race he sees as his children can thrive without any discrimination towards them.
Serena Etheridge: The second-oldest of the Etheridge children, and the leader of the Android Soldier recruitment party. Serena was actually the only child of Maxwell and Penelope's born without any sort of mental illness; instead, she was actually born with physical deformities, and while her siblings are hated by their parents for being mentally ill, she was hated by them simply because of her appearance. Because of her parents' treatment of her, she was very insecure about how she looked, and hated going outside because she was ashamed of herself. When Serena was transferred over to the facility as a test subject, she eventually broke down and committed suicide not long after the Android Soldier Program began. Caleb witnessed Serena's death, and out of sympathy, he built her her own android vessel to host her soul, which allowed Serena to magically alter her appearance however she wanted. She was able to finally look at her reflection in the mirror without shame, and she felt beautiful for the first time. However, with her newfound beauty came extreme vanity, and given the programming of the Android Soldiers, Serena became loyal to her older brother's cause. She became the head scientist for EtherTech, and as the leader of the recruitment party, her main role was to basically kidnap and/or kill people off the streets and bring their souls back to create more Android Soldiers. Her reason for assisting Caleb was because she became obsessed with her own beauty and felt that others didn't deserve it, so she wanted to rid the world of humanity so that she could remain as the only beautiful one (aside from her sister Hannah) left alive, while the Husks, who were considered ugly by human standards, would bow down to her as one of their goddesses.
Hannah Etheridge: The youngest of the Etheridge children, and one of Caleb's intended vassal rulers, alongside Timothy. Hannah is Timothy's younger twin sister, and she was born with borderline personality disorder, meaning that she has difficulty regulating her own emotions, and often has intense mood-swings. After all of the strenuous experiments, she began to develop a hatred for humanity itself (with the only exception being her older sister and twin brother), which only increased after Serena's temporary death. "Splitting" is one of the symptoms of BPD, where people separate good and bad people into two different categories and often view it as all-or-nothing; either you're all good or you're all bad, with no middle ground, and Hannah definietely struggles with that. Hannah is also one of the few characters who I have a specific ability for, and hers is very important to the plot. Her primary ability is memory manipulation, which both Caleb and Hannah herself only discovered after she was transformed into an Android Soldier. Hannah and Timothy both attempted to escape the EtherTech facility at one point, but they were unsuccessful, which would resulted in the former's current status. While her misanthropy was amplified due to the corruptive Android Soldier programming, she did still retain some humanity in her; despite all of the messed-up shit that goes on in the Etheridge family, Caleb, Serena, and Hannah did love Timothy, so they decided to alter his memories to give him a chance at living a normal life instead of forcefully turning him into an Android Soldier. Hannah's goal with her involvement in Caleb's plot is essentially the desire to see all of humanity suffer a slow and painful death because of her misanthropy. She and Chara would probably be good friends.
Timothy Etheridge: The second-youngest of the Etheridge children, and the main protagonist of the story. Timothy was born with paranoid schizophrenia, and has suffered episodes of psychosis, which only worsened due to his family. The present story begins when he returns after being admitted to a mental hospital because of one of his episodes. Timothy is shy and reclusive, and also has social anxiety; he's often paranoid and distrustful of others, but people who are close to him get to his true personality, where he's sweet, polite, and quirky, if not a tad childish at times. While his memories are heavily altered, Timothy still suffers from visual and auditory hallucinations, including those involving events from the past. His biggest fear is that everyone he loves will grow tired of him and eventually abandon him because of his psychotic episodes. It's also because of his schizophrenia that he's basically an outcast at school, with people spreading rumors about him and giving him a bad reputation. While he's not a saint and has his own issues, he is basically the white sheep of the Etheridge family, and he gets wrapped up in the machinations of his siblings.
If you've somehow reached the end, I applaud you, and I hope they don't sound too bad.
First of all I'm once again humbled that you trust me enough to share this with me. Secondly this sounds very promising with the whole angel/demon war concept. A concept I myself was fascinated with during my time at Uni this year. The worldbuilding is solid and simple and the Etheridge's while they share the same literary DNA as your version of the Aftons they're also unique enough I wouldn't call them expies per say. I can't wait to see how this story evolves. What are you going for in terms of the overall plot/story?
The story opens with Timothy returning after receiving treatment at a mental hospital. He's just trying to get back to his regular life, but he's also heard of the alarming number of disappearances lately. The plot kind of starts off like a murder-mystery (the killer in question being Serena) where Timothy's just trying to survive, but then it escalates to Caleb's genocide plot.
Is there a particular member of the Etheridge family you're interested in?
All 3 of the siblings sound like they're going to be the main triumvirate that's going to move this plot along. It's basically a family drama except with supernatural elements and plans for mass genocide tossed in.
There's also the Aylward family, who I never mentioned before, but they're actually quite important characters in their own right.
When Timothy and Hannah were 5 years old, Maxwell and Penelope hired Tobias and Natalie Aylward as live-in household servants, while also allowing their son Elliot (who's the same age as the twins) to live with them as well. Tobias and Natalie actually had Elliot when they were only 17, and Natalie's parents happened to be Catholic, so a shotgun wedding was arranged. Penelope actually knew Tobias's parents, so she and her husband decided to hire Tobias and Natalie with no salary in exchange for them paying off their college tuition as well as paying any expenses needed for Elliot's care. They were fairly close with the Etheridge kids. Unfortunately, they met their demise in a car crash, but their souls were preserved by the Etheridges out of fondness.
With Tobias and Natalie gone, Elliot was also transferred to the facility as a test subject. And he's actually killed by Timothy when he goes through another psychotic episode during a test. Of course, once Timothy snaps out of it, it's too late, and he gets to look at Elliot's corpse in horror. Caleb has Elliot's soul extracted from his body, and together, the three Aylwards end up being the first Android Soldiers created by him, but with all memories of their human lives erased.
It's when Tobias and Natalie manage to gain their memories back that they help Timothy and Hannah escape, but Caleb reacts by restoring Elliot's memory of Timothy killing him, which causes Elliot to turn on the twins. This results in a scuffle that ends with Maxwell and Penelope dead, and everyone except Caleb and Serena unconscious. After Hannah's transformation, she not only alters Timothy's memories, but also Tobias and Natalie's memories. The whole story that was fabricated was that they had adopted all four of the Etheridge kids, without a single trace of Elliot's existence in their memories. Afterwards, Caleb has Elliot wake up to find his parents and Timothy missing. Caleb informs him that they don't remember who he is, but that their memories can be restored if Elliot becomes one of his enforcers; Elliot is told that Timothy "stole" his parents away from him, but he can get them back if he assists in Caleb's plot. It helps that they also tell Elliot that he and his parents will be spared if he becomes one of Caleb's enforcers.
One way I thought of foreshadowing the twist concerning Timothy and Elliot was to give Hannah a fairy motif while Elliot would dress up in iron armor. In changeling tales, fairies would go to people's houses, steal their children, and replace them with their own fairy children. In Hannah's room, there's a picture frame of her wearing a fairy costume for Halloween, and she has a bunch of fairy dolls around her bed, and after her villainous reveal, she's able to manifest fairy wings on her back. I also recall that people would leave iron charms nearby their children to ward off the fairies and prevent them from being taken, hence why Elliot wears iron armor. One trait that changelings have is showing intellect far beyond their years, and the Etheridges are pretty much a family of geniuses.
So, in this metaphorical changeling tale, Hannah is the fairy who "stole" Elliot (by replacing him with Timothy in Tobias and Natalie's memories) and switched him with Timothy, the "changeling" in question.
I've only really got the backstory figured out, with the present story essentially being fair game. I'm also nervous about the plot starting out as a murder-mystery plot with fantasy elements and transitioning into the overarching plot of trying to prevent a second war between Harmonia and Oblivia. Timothy's siblings are also supposed to be surprise villains, so I also have to worry about executing their reveals well. I kind of planned it for be a sort of Life is Strange-esque or Persona-esque story where Timothy's dealing with his own mental issues, hanging out with his two friends (who are also main characters), and also trying to avoid getting killed. The fantasy elements start coming to the forefront when a masked Elliot attacks him and Timothy instinctually uses magic to defend himself. Then the Husks also start entering the fray as hostile creatures.
I can't really even decide if Timothy's final opponent should be Caleb or Hannah.
One thing about the Etheridges is that despite being surprise villains, their interactions with Timothy prior to their reveal weren't a complete facade; originally, the reason why Caleb, Serena, and Hannah decided to stick around as Tobias and Natalie's adopted children was to keep close watch on Timothy to prevent his interference, but over time, they actually valued the time spent with their brother. Their lives as Tobias and Natalie's children instead of Maxwell and Penelope's actually made them all have second thoughts about Caleb's plan, with even Caleb himself being stuck in a dilemma between wanting to create a new world for the Husks or to allow Timothy to live and be content with his life. Unfortunately, they still went with the former, and their twisted justification for attempting to kill him is that they can simply revive him after their goals have been met.
In a way, being able to live in a stable household for once instead of being test subjects made them doubt their own judgments against humanity in general, at least to an extent.
Aside from being inspired by the Aftons, I actually intended for the Etheridge family to be examples of how people with mental illnesses are discriminated against. Caleb and Hannah are both evil, but instead of their evil being inherently due to their disorders, they became twisted because of how they were treated due to that false notion. Serena, despite not being born with any mental disorders herself, ultimately became just as insane as Caleb and Hannah did. And Timothy, despite his paranoid schizophrenia and having killed someone during a paranoia-fueled psychotic break, isn't a malicious person and cares for other people.
I don't know if it's the best idea, but it's something I was going for.
Timothy: Actually, we all went a little crazy, not just him. I'm just the only one without ill intent.
Michael: So you have a crazy sister too?
Timothy: Two, actually.
Michael: Huh. So we're both Brits with crazy families.
Timothy: What does your family even do, anyway?
Michael: Well... my dad's a serial killer who likes killing kids for fun and a scientist experimenting with immortality, my sister became a crazy robot clown who wants to make him proud by helping him kill kids, and my brother went crazy from being tortured by my dad and also became a deranged scientist full of hatred against the lady who got into a car crash that killed our mum, as well as said lady's family. Yours?
Timothy: My family experiments on heaven and hell... my parents are also scientists, they, uh, experimented on all of us because they didn't value our lives, they said that we were all "broken"... my older brother wants to start a second war between heaven and hell in order to commit genocide on pretty much every race that's not the Husks... my older sister's obsessed with her looks and wants everyone that looks prettier than her to die because she thinks that she's the only one who deserves to be beautiful... and my twin sister just hates all of humanity in general and just wants everyone to die... they all pretty much want to usurp the gods and rule over the universe...
What do you think about the plot point of Timothy unintentionally killing Elliot in the past? Does it add to his character? Because a central part of Timothy's character is a person that struggles with his mental illness but is also genuinely a good kid at heart. Would that make his character send mixed messages? Because he's supposed to be an example of why people shouldn't be prejudiced against people with mental illness, and while no one knows about the whole messed-up history of the Etheridge family until after Caleb, Serena and Hannah reveal themselves as villains, people would have a reason to fear Timothy if they knew he killed someone in the past, even though he was absolutely horrified by Elliot's death and continues to be horrified about it after regaining his actual memories.
I think it's a good plot point, it adds a layer of tragedy to Timothy's character that despite his best efforts the curse of his family still looms over his head. It really adds to the internal struggle of a character as Timothy's story has less to do with what's going on around him but rather what's going on inside of him. A battle to prove he's not destined to the same fate as his parents or the same path his siblings currently walk.
One thing I've been struggling on is coming up with abilities for a lot of the characters: the way humans with magic work is that while they can only obtain it through injection of liquified crystal fragments from angels or demons, every human magic user has an ability that corresponds with aspects of their character.
For example, Hannah wanted to repress the memories of the abuse she and her siblings received from their parents while she was trapped in the EtherTech facility, and her primary ability is memory manipulation. Similarly, Caleb experiments with souls, and manipulates others to achieve his goals, so his primary ability is being able to reanimate dead corpses and control them like puppets.
I'm trying to figure out powers for Serena and Timothy, but I can't quite figure it out. Do you have any suggestions?
It's not so much that Timothy has a split personality, but moreso that he suffers from paranoid delusions. One idea I had was because of his shyness and social anxiety, he has the ability to turn invisible...? Though that's not really central to his character...
Another idea I had was adding that Timothy likes to draw, and often used it as a coping mechanism ever since art therapy was used to help him recover during his treatment. Timothy wields his own diary and uses it as a spellbook, so anything he draws in it, he can bring to life and use it to defend himself. Though I'm not sure if that's OP or not.
There's also another way I thought of balancing this via a universe rule that I forgot to share earlier, which is that human bodies were never meant to withstand magic, so humans can't exert their magic powers too much in a short period of time or they'll start harming themselves and eventually die.
Unfortunately however, Caleb designed the Android Soldiers deliberately to bypass this effect, as the Android Soldiers are robotic vessels designed with crystal fragments in them, which means that the antagonists can use all the magic they want, putting Timothy at a disadvantage.
What’s your opinion of Caleb so far as a main antagonist? He’s essentially the dark messiah of the Nihilscape, where he and the Husks have a parent-child relationship because they both found acceptance in each other, and his reason for wanting to commit genocide is less due to actual hatred and moreso because he believes that humanity will never accept the Husks, so he sees the death of the human race as necessary for the Husks to be able to live peacefully outside the Nihilscape.
On the other hand, however, the Husks originally had no desire to harm anyone and were mainly docile, which means that Caleb also unintentionally corrupted them. Caleb is also fully aware that his actions are considered evil, but simply doesn’t care as long as it gives him the results he wants, with his response being “good and evil are merely words.” He’s also very emotionally manipulative of others, and is not above manipulating Timothy on some level to suit his goals.
I think you've crafted a complex and interesting antagonist, someone who genuinely wants to do right by the Husks but is going about it in completely the wrong fashion that actually works against what he wants.
Do you think Hannah pales in comparison to Caleb and Serena as a character? Caleb desires a new world for the Husks to live in and Serena wants to rid the world of all beauty except for her... Hannah’s character is just pure misanthropy and hate. She just generally has a very black-and-white view of the world at large, and believes that because humanity will always have prejudices against others, because of their xenophobia towards the Husks, she basically appoints herself judge, jury, and especially executioner, and considers the death of the angels, demons, and humanity as “justice” for what she, her siblings, and the Husks went through. Her world lacks any gray spectrum, and she fails to acknowledge that even good people are flawed.
Having such a fragile outlook would actually ironically make her the most susceptible to be influenced positively. Caleb has hidden his emotional burdens well under his plan but Hannah similiar to your rendition of Elizabeth/Baby wears her heart on her sleeve. It's much easier to trace the source of hurt motivating Hannah. So even if she starts out as this very black and white character you can always have her develop as the story progresses.
What's your thoughts about Serena? As the primary "serial killer" of the family, I'm kind of torn between whether I should make her a femme fatale that seduces people, of if she should be more of a menacing and manic killer that strikes at night.
Menacing and manic sounds more interesting to me personally but emphasis on 'personally.' You could combine the two and make it that she does use seductive manipulation but when pushed she goes completely nuts.
Nah, menacing and manic sounds more interesting to me too. I always imagined her as pretending to be the “girl next door” but her true colors show her to be a “cute and psycho” type character.
I’m imagining that Serena actually uses a surgical knife as her weapon, and she tends to brutally mutilate the faces of her victims. She also has rainbow hair, wears Ticci Toby-ish goggles with a black mouth mask that has sharp teeth printed on it, and wears a purple lab coat as her “killer” design.
Elliot kind of makes it clear that while he does have a bone to pick with Timothy for his death, it's not really the reason why he serves the Etheridges; it's because they promised him that he'd be able to reclaim his old life by restoring Tobias and Natalie's memories of him.
He's also kept unaware that Hannah's responsible for altering his parents' memories.
I imagine that Tobias and Natalie are active participants in the plot as well. Ideally, while Timothy is the main protagonist, I do want every other main character to get some spotlight and a chance to grow. In the first half of the plot, they encounter Serena (unknowingly) and attempt to stop her killings. In the second half, they help defend civilians when Caleb engineers the second Harmonia-Oblivia war, this time with humanity caught in the crossfire.
Imagine living in the same household with three kids legitimately planning for the destruction of humanity and having the capability to do so right under your nose... geez.
Um duh, they're like the Afton kids if you heaped even more issues on top of them. Of course they may need a lot of therapy first and it would be even harder than dealing with the Afton kids but none of them are inherently evil. Hannah needs to learn how to love again, Serena needs to love herself more, Caleb just needs to be informed of the harm he's doing otherwise he's actually not that bad as he is and Timothy...Timothy needs a god damn hug...and a shrink.
I'd say Caleb is aware of all the harm he's inflicting on the world, but is extremely apathetic about it. The Husks gave him love and acceptance when his parents denied him that, hence his devotion to them. Of course, Caleb becomes not so confident in his belief that humanity is incapable of accepting others, but still latches onto the belief that they'll never welcome the Husks in particular.
Another factor is that around other human beings, Caleb pretends to express emotions like a regular person, while he never had to pretend around the Husks. Due to his alexithymia, Caleb lacks awareness of what his own emotions are, so he believes that if he dropped the mask, people would turn on him for his robotic demeanor. In other words, he thinks he has to hide his illness to be loved. It didn't help that Maxwell and Penelope actively encouraged him to mask it.
Oh, and if you're wondering how Maxwell and Penelope's deaths haven't had an impact on EtherTech as a company, or why there hasn't been any investigation, it's actually because no one except for Caleb, Serena, and Hannah know that Maxwell and Penelope are dead.
Remember how I said that Caleb was able to reanimate dead corpses and control them like puppets? That's why Caleb's been able to proceed with the Android Soldier Program without the death of his parents causing any major problems; because he's literally been running EtherTech through impersonating his parents via their dead bodies.
There's also Timothy's friends that I mentioned who are main characters, and since I introduced the Aylwards, hopefully you don't mind meeting Noah and Erin. With Timothy, they make up the "weirdo trio" in their school. They were also once test subjects for the Etheridges, and their memories were also altered by Hannah instead of being turned into Android Soldiers, since they became close with Timothy.
Noah Kepler: Adopted son of Danielle Kepler, Timothy's psychiatrist. He wears a lotof black, has messy, unkempt black hair, has clinical depression, and gets extra snarky when he's tired. He generally doesn't really give a sh*t about much of anything, and aside from enjoying Timothy and Erin's company, he's pretty much a loner. He has the "bad boy" look, but isn't really interested in doing much other than sleep, and he's blunt and pessimistic. The reason why he's an orphan in the first place is because his mom died giving birth to him, and his dad died in the same car crash that killed Tobias and Natalie. Thankfully, unlike a certain Lucas Afton, Elliot actually has enough sanity to not hold anything against Noah for that. He also can be flippant and kind of a troll sometimes (especially if you get on his nerves). In spite of this however, he tends to be more level-headed and rational when Timothy and Erin are under stress, and he gives decent advice to some of the characters. Even though he may not act like it, he's smarter than people think he is. Noah also smiles more when he's in Timothy's presence. (He may or may not be based off of Nico di Angelo from the Camp Half-Blood series)
Erin Holloway: Daughter of scientists Ephraim and Lana Holloway (who are actually kept in the dark about EtherTech's unethical experiments), and younger sister of Lewis Holloway. She has Asperger's Syndrome, so she does struggle with social interactions at times, and has suffered from sensory overload and meltdowns before. She's also exceptionally talented in programming, and, well, kind of a nerd, but surprisingly enough, not a straight-A student. Also loves cats and happens to be claustrophobic. Whereas Noah is cynical and flippant, Erin has a bit of a more positive outlook on life, and tends to be more sensitive. She looks up to her parents a lot, and is also fairly close with Hannah prior to her betrayal. Erin also gets distracted easily, and is more of a cloudcuckoolander. She even admits to being interested in the Android Soldiers to some degree. She's a redhead with braided hair, and wears a lot of wool sweaters, with bright colors to contrast Noah's dark attire. Erin and Caleb are also the only two characters to wear glasses.
I wonder if Serena would treat Noah and Erin with kiddie gloves just like she does when Timothy encounters her? Prior to the grand reveal, Serena tends to teleport away when Timothy's within the area of her killings, but would it make more sense if she'd be willing to harm her brother's friends (since they're not family, after all), or would she keep them alive since they're close with Timothy?
Yeah but it'd be interesting if at one moment they think they've killed him (but not really) and when they go to collect his soul or something it shatters in front of them. It'd be interesting to see their reactions to that.
Wow poor Caleb, he really can't seem to gauge his emotions. I think a lot of the Etheridge siblings' immoral behavior stems from the fact that death seems to lack any permenance. If Timothy were to seemingly 'die' for real it would slap the siblings with the sobering realisation death can be permenant and that there are no take backs. They'll never see their brother again or hear his voice. The closest thing to the white sheep and he's gone, the only Etheridge who wanted so desperately to be a good person now lying motionless and lifeless like a marionette with its strings cut eyes glazed over and dull with no trace of warmth or even madness. Even if he can't understand it Caleb knows he isn't okay with what he's seeing and I don't think even the deeply misanthropic Hannah or the narcisstic Serena are either. It would be the perfect way to rattle the antagonist triumvirate.
Caleb: “Denizens of the void... don’t cry... one day, you’ll get to see the sun... one day, you’ll roam the heavens without the angels to cast you out... one day, you’ll dominate the flames of hell without the demons to chain you down... one day, you’ll walk the earth without the contempt of humanity...”
Caleb: “It’s strange... I know what people expect to see on my face, how people expect me to react... but I still don’t know what I’m feeling. Happiness, rage, depression, fear... emotions have always been foreign to me.”
I mean, they are the main villains... no matter how sympathetic they are, they did leave a trail of death behind them... Caleb's the mastermind who devised the whole thing, Serena's the killer gathering recruits, and Hannah's responsible for tuning everyone's memories to suit her brother's plan.
I'd like to think that Timothy makes an effort to find a way for the Husks to coexist with humans on Earth after Caleb's death, albeit in a more peaceful manner. So, in a way, Caleb did posthumously succeed in his goal, even if it wasn't how he envisioned it.
As a paranoid schizophrenic, Timothy often suffers with the belief that everyone is out to hurt him or constantly judging him for everything he does. During his psychotic episodes, he can’t distinguish what’s real or fake, and tends to perceive everyone as a threat. It’s why Timothy’s afraid that everyone hates him, due to his psychotic breaks. Unfortunately, this is also what led to Elliot’s death, because Timothy heard voices telling him that Elliot wanted to hurt him and was planning on killing him, which wasn’t helped by the environment they were in.
The reason why he was sent to an institution prior to the beginning of the current story was actually because of a suicide attempt due to his psychosis. Since the beginning of the present story, Timothy has gotten better and has been prescribed antipsychotic medication, and although his episodes and other symptoms haven’t completely gone away, they’re much more manageable and less intense, thanks to receiving support from his family and friends.
Yeah a support network would be swell for the guy, plus if this story is going to pit him against his own siblings which will leave him as the sole survivor of his family the dude is going to need all the support he can get.
Noah suffers from depression, which is exacerbated by the death of his father. He also wears long sleeves frequently to hide his self-inflicted cuts, and he outright admits that he only tries to live because he doesn't want to leave Timothy and Erin behind.
Erin, on the other hand, while she not only is painfully shy, she helps her parents take care of her brother Lewis, who has leukemia and is confined to a wheelchair, and she also has to deal with his death over the course of the story. One particularly cruel idea I had was to reveal later on that Hannah actually managed to extract his soul from his body after he died, and to have Erin confront Lewis later on, who has been revived as an Android Soldier with zero trace of his humanity left as a servant of the Etheridges.
I'm torn on whether I should go with it, or if I should just give Lewis a saddening, but peaceful death.
Lewis himself as a character is someone who would try to make you smile even when he was constantly suffering; he'd rather not have you focus on his condition and would try to hang out with his sister and their friends if he could.
A possibility would be that Hannah would actually revive Noah and Erin's loved ones as an attempt to get them on her side, which would also increase the chances of Timothy joining them as well, though I feel like it would get kind of boring if all the protagonists had to fight their own relatives.
Serena is the leader of the Android Soldier recruitment party, so adding them as members would be fitting at least. There's also Noah's sister Beatrice that I had as a planned character in his backstory before scrapping her, so I might bring her back this way. Lewis would be a late addition though, unless I place his death during the time Timothy was institutionalized.
Regardless, if I go down this route, Lewis and Beatrice would probably try to get their siblings to join them so that they can both be part of the Etheridge family's "court." So with the Etheridge children, there's also Elliot, Bea, and Lewis, who directly report to Serena.
To make it all worse, Noah and Beatrice actually got into a fight before she died in the same car accident with their father, with his last words to her being "I hate you." And as an Android Soldier, Bea tries to use this as leverage against Noah.
In Lewis's case, he tells Erin that every single day, he was in so much pain that wanted to die so badly to the point of wanting a morphine overdose, but he never said anything to her or their parents. He basically guilt trips Erin by telling her that this is the first time he's been able to walk in years or not feel any pain, essentially telling his sister "this is a gift and how dare you try to take this away from me."
Beatrice and Erin while I understand their motives are still helping Caleb's plan for mass genocide. It's also a really shitty thing to do to for them to try and guilt trip Noah and Erin like that. What happens to Lewis and Bea, do they join Caleb, Hannah and Serena in an untimely demise?
Lewis and Bea die fighting Erin and Noah, which happens before Serena's demise, though I imagine that they're able to revert back to their old selves before they expire.
Unlike the Etheridges, Lewis and Beatrice are more forcibly brainwashed as Android Soldiers. For example, while Hannah would've never acted on it, her misanthropy was deep enough to the point where she did truly want all of humanity to perish, even if she wouldn't have actually done anything herself; the Android Soldier programming just gave her that tiny push to actually assist Caleb and Serena. In Bea and Lewis's case, the Etheridges had to really crank up their programming to make them complicit in the plan, to the point where they essentially became different people; while they likely would've wanted Noah and Erin to stay with them, Bea doesn't actually still hate Noah for how their last conversation ended, and while Lewis did actually want to die, he didn't blame Erin for why he tried to stay alive even though he was in constant pain. Without the severity of their programming, Lewis and Bea likely wouldn't have assisted in the plan nor would they have forced their siblings into a dilemma.
Lewis's character would benefit it from it anyways, this way I can show that he was a kind and loving person before his transformation. Unfortunately Beatrice doesn't get that advantage, but I could work in flashbacks anyways.
You could argue that their willingness to kill and later brainwash Timothy in order to force him to become a member of a god family means that their "love" for Timothy isn't that much different from how my version of William Afton views his own family (i.e. viewing them as possessions instead of people). Yet at the same time, they had the opportunity to kill Timothy and turn him into a brainwashed Android Soldier like Hannah, yet they chose not to after discovering Hannah's memory manipulation power and decided to give Timothy the chance to live a normal life before they'd have to destroy it all, and they're also willing to accept Noah and Erin into their court since Timothy is close with them.
So... just how valid is their love for their brother actually?
Ideally, I'd try to give them some sort of vulnerable moment during their deaths where they don't necessarily redeem themselves, but show that they do have some sincerity towards their brother despite all of the problems they've caused. Caleb, Hannah, and Serena might go out with a villain's dying grace if I feel like it could work.
Serena's death might involve her appearance malfunctioning and reverting to her original human appearance with her deformities, which would cause her to have a breakdown. Timothy might console her by telling her that she was already beautiful before she changed herself, which would pacify her and allow her to die contentedly, if not a bit regretful.
In other words, she was already beautiful on the inside before she traded that for her outward appearance.
Caleb's death, on the other hand, would probably involve him lamenting about how he's planned this all for years, but in the end, has gotten nothing out of it except for causing more chaos and torment for himself and his family; the Husks are still unhappy and are even less likely to be accepted by humanity due to his plan, Serena is now dead for real (Hannah might be too depending on what order I decide), millions of people are dead, and Timothy is even more scarred than he was already. At this point, as Caleb quietly fades away, he simply allows Timothy to leave the Nihilscape and accepts his fate.
"Perhaps I've never really understood what it means to truly love someone... but I suppose if I really do love you... I'll set you free."
Lucas would probably geek out just at the sight of EtherTech. Having him look around the facility and being fascinated by the angels and demons would be like having a kid in a candy shop. It would come to the point where Lucas would actually want to work there as a scientist. Hell, he'd probably be good help for Caleb's Android Soldiers.
Yeah but unlike William Serana actually has humanity and could've from the sound of it actually plausibly turned things around like her siblings. William while he may acknowledge his humanity or lack thereof is incapable of veering away from the path he has set for himself. Afton behaves more like a force of nature at this point while the Etheridge siblings are moreso just resigned.
You know considering that Tobias and Natalie are Android Soldiers that are out and about and are unaware of their own true nature due to Hannah erasing their memories, would it be ridiculous and far-fetched to say that Caleb designed the Android Soldier vessels to be able to replicate aging and other bodily functions just in case they needed to "blend in"? Although it's not really something that Caleb built as part of their machinery and is pretty much the work of magic that he programmed the vessels to use themselves.
Another thing I want to make sure of is the consistency of the Android Soldiers themselves; the Aylwards (Tobias, Natalie, and Elliot) have more free will than the other Android Soldiers, such as Lewis and Beatrice, so the explanation I came up with is that the Aylwards' vessels were prototypes that weren't perfected, and their programming simply wasn't as strong as the countless others that range from being corrupted but still maintaining some of their personality (Lewis and Beatrice) to being completely subservient robots (pretty much every Android Soldier that's not an important character). The Aylwards being prototypes are also why Tobias and Natalie don't follow the directive Caleb programmed them with, since their programming just wasn't perfected or strong enough to impact their souls, while Elliot simply cooperates with the Etheridges because of his own motives. Would this be a flimsy explanation?
Also, do you think I worry too much about plot holes and inconsistencies?
Would you consider Maxwell and Penelope to be stupid for appointing their own son who they experimented on as the administrator of their company? I sort of tried to justify their thinking by saying that there's no way anyone would believe Caleb if he were to snitch, and they could simply cover everything up if there were to be an investigation. Since Caleb's a genius roboticist, and is seemingly emotionless, they decided to give it a shot. As for Serena becoming the head scientist after her suicide, they allowed it because they assumed that Serena was subjected to the same programming as the rest of the Android Soldiers and was subservient.
As for how EtherTech has been able to get away with their unethical experiments without law enforcement interfering, they actually have been under investigation before by authorities, but they haven't been able to find anything wrong. EtherTech has a facility located in the middle of the ocean (kind of like Aether Paradise from Pokemon Sun and Moon), but they also have built a facility in the Nihilscape (the reason the Husks never interfered with the facility's construction is because they were afraid of humans and didn't want to mess with them), where all of their illegal experiments take place and where they keep their human test subjects. Only members of the Etheridge family are able to access the portal to the Nihilscape (although Caleb doesn't need it at all because the Husks granted him the ability to teleport in and out), but the Nihilscape portal has a self-destruct function, unlike the portals to Harmonia and Oblivia. Basically the routine the Etheridges follow when they're under inspection is to activate the Nihilscape portal's self-destruct function, so that the authorities can't access it and find all of the horrible things they've been doing.
I'd consider them stupid anyway for the sorry state they left their kids in basically condeming 3 out of 4 of them down the dark path. Their arrogance is believable and of course they'd underestimate Caleb. It's a shame really, with the tech at EtherTech's disposal they really could've done great things. I don't know if you watch Gotham but in that show they have a character called Jeremiah Valeska who is a brilliant young engineer who invented a self sustaining generator. It could've provided costless energy for Gotham and alongside the young Bruce Wayne Jeremiah could've changed the world for the better. Unfortunately much like the Etheridge siblings due to family circumstances along with a face full of insantiy gas Jeremiah would turn those generators into bombs and he would eventually become what DC fans would know as the Joker.
There's something so heartbreakingly tragic about villains who would've and could've done so many great things but due to circumstances only caused death and destruction.
Yeah a lot of the literary DNA of Jeremiah's character I can see in Caleb, Hannah and Serena but more prominently in Caleb. Caleb genuinely thinks he's doing right by his actions and that his plan is sane because of how warped he's become without anyone to reel him back or act as an anchor. Hannah and Serena seem more driven by their emotions and more accurately their inability to healthily process them simply because like Caleb they were never shown how. Maxwell and Penelope didn't give any of their children the support they needed to deal with their mental illnessess and more importantly show them love. It's a bloody wonder Timothy manages to turn it around for himself the way he does but even he isn't untouched by the sheer level of neglect it would seem. Maxwell and Penelope may not have been active antagonists in this story but they are the reason for the antagonists existing i.e. they're essentially what you could accuse William's parents of being in FNAF.
The whole entire reason Caleb masterminded all of this is because the Husks gave him love when his own parents didn't, and that alone earned his unwavering devotion to them. And although Hannah and Serena's motivations aren't concerned with the Husks, they do consider them to be superior to humanity.
It's kinda saddening that even though Tobias and Natalie gave all four of the Etheridge kids the love and support they didn't get from Maxwell and Penelope, it wasn't enough to deter Caleb, Hannah, and Serena from the plan because their parents had already done their damage. But it did go a long way for Timothy's own mental health, combined with Noah and Erin's support as well.
Just making sure of the logistics of Caleb’s plan...
One thing I want to establish is the angels and demons are not omniscient; they do not monitor activity on Earth, and are only concerned with activity in their own home dimensions. They just sense when a human dies, and they go to Earth to go pick up the souls of the deceased. They aren’t aware nor do they ever learn of what they actually did throughout their lives, they just literally come over to pick up people’s souls and drop them off at either Harmonia if you’re a good person or Oblivia if you’re a piece of sh*t, and they don’t have to know your whole life story because they just know based on what color your soul glows; when humans die, their souls either glow yellow/golden for Harmonia or red for Oblivia. Because of this, neither Harmonia or Oblivia are aware of the experiments conducted by the Etheridge family; during the days when Tobias and Natalie were subservient to them as Android Soldiers, they were given both light and dark crystal fragments. Their missions involved procuring angels and demons for the Etheridges to experiment on, but after Caleb learned of the history of the war between Harmonia and Oblivia, he ordered them to leave behind some crystal fragments after they were done with their missions; for example, if they were capturing angels from Harmonia, they’d leave behind dark crystal fragments to make it look like a demon from Oblivia was responsible instead in order to avert suspicion.
There’s also why Caleb didn’t have any of the Husks participating in the second war at all. Aside from genuinely seeing them as his own children, Caleb didn’t want the Husks to get involved, not only to avoid putting them in harm’s way, but to also avoid the angels and demons making any sort of connection between the second war and the Nihilscape. Because the Android Soldiers look human, the angels and demons know to go after humanity since they’ve now become a threat, and they’ll assume that the crystals that were stolen from their home dimensions are located somewhere on Earth. However, the crystals are actually located in the Nihilscape, but the angels and demons don’t think to check there because they aren’t aware that the Husks have any connection to humanity’s attack on their worlds.
I suppose the question is... is Caleb actually really smart enough to manipulate heaven and hell, or are the angels and demons just stupid?