Role Play: Human lore and character development
The Humans of Azeroth have not had an easy thirty years or so, and Human lore has been a reflection of that struggle. Frankly, ever since the Orcs came through the Dark Portal life has been nothing but a near constant conflict to defend their world. But it’s that constant perseverance in the face of adversity that makes Humans what they are. When things get bleak, humanity stands ever taller, fights back even harder.
This is probably a good trait to have, because things just got really bleak.
Today’s post contains spoilers for the Broken Shore – if you haven’t played through it yet, what are you waiting for? Go do it!
Humanity was thriving when the Orcs came to Azeroth – and it quickly fell to ruin afterward. The last remnants of the original Alliance of Lordaeron are the Gilneans (who have troubles of their own) and the Humans of Stormwind. Alterac, Kul Tiras, Stromgarde, Lordaeron – they’re gone. Dalaran is still around, of course, but comprised of the Kirin Tor, who keep themselves largely out of political affairs.
And despite, this, Stormwind remained strong. The city was rebuilt and its citizens thrived. The Third War didn’t really affect Stormwind at all. Its king disappeared, but returned even stronger for the experience. They took the fight to the Lich King in Northrend and were victorious – even if the losses were great.
When Deathwing threatened to destroy the world in Cataclysm, Humanity fought back. When Garrosh Hellscream and his new Horde threatened to conquer Azeroth, Humanity fought back. When the Iron Horde charged through the Dark Portal to invade Azeroth anew, Humanity fought back.
And now that the Burning Legion threatens the world, you better bet Humanity is going to fight back.
Strength and perseverance
When looking at Human characters, that’s part of what you should be taking in mind. They are strong. Even if you’re playing a weak character, they’ve still got that spark somewhere inside them that will fight back when pushed hard enough. Just how much they can take before they start pushing back…well, that’s entirely up to you. Maybe they never will.
But Humanity has just had its hardest blow – King Varian Wrynn is dead. Not just oh, perhaps he’s faking it dead, he’s gone. Left in his place is King Anduin Wrynn, who is dealing with the death of his father on the eve of Azeroth’s greatest crisis yet. Because this is it, really. The Burning Legion is back. There’s less of a choice to fight and more of a dire necessity to do so.
Your character may have loved King Varian. Or maybe they disagreed with his policies and seeming disregard for the suffering in Westfall and Redridge. Or maybe they just downright despised him. Regardless, Varian’s fall is an event that affects all Human characters in one way or another. The man who continually led Humanity in the face of adversity is gone…so now what?
Humans in Legion
That’s what your character is likely thinking about heading into Legion. It’s not just about defending the world anymore – it’s about what kind of world will be left once the fighting is done. Because Humanity has no idea if Anduin Wrynn is going to be a great leader like his father was. People may not even be sure whether or not Anduin is fit to lead at all.
You – yes that’s right, you – have more experience in a leadership role than Anduin Wrynn does right now. You successfully led a campaign on Draenor to dismantle the Iron Horde. Varian trusted you to lead the Alliance in the right direction, to establish a garrison and lead your troops to victory. And you succeeded. On the other hand, Anduin’s reign as leader was a scant year or so as regent when he was ten years old.
This means your character may be feeling just a little uncertain about the ongoing strength of the Alliance. If anything is going to test Anduin’s mettle as a leader, it’s this. And if Varian Wrynn fell at the hands of the Burning Legion, how exactly is a boy of 17 years or so going to fare? How exactly are we going to win?
History repeats itself
Like it or not, the weight of the world is on your character – it’s up to them to make a stand and defeat the Legion. Deathwing threatened the world, and the world survived. But Deathwing was just one maddened dragon. This is a demonic army the likes of which most characters have never seen before.
But there may be some who have. If your character fought in the Third War and witnessed the battle of Hyjal with their own eyes, they have an inkling of just what’s in store for the world. And they may be a little terrified, because this is worse than what we saw in the Third War by a substantial margin.
In the Third War, Archimonde and his armies concentrated their efforts largely on Kalimdor and Hyjal. The actions of the Lich King were almost a separate occurrence – the Legion didn’t approve of what the Lich King was doing, and even sent Illidan to stop him. This time, the Legion is launching attacks all over the world. It’s not a concentrated effort to capture one location; it’s a flat-out assault with the intent to destroy.
Humanity marches on
All that being said, there is a lot to think about for Human characters. You’ve just lost your leader, there’s a boy on the throne, Azeroth is facing its worst enemy in known history, and you’re one of the few standing against almost certain destruction. You’re about to be tested like you’ve never been tested before. It’s not just your life in danger here; it’s the lives of your loved ones. It’s your home. If the Legion wins, Azeroth ceases to exist.
And the Legion is making some tempting offers. That’s the other part of Humanity – like anyone else in the world, they’re susceptible to temptation. Offer enough power, and some might just turn to the other side. If your character is considering turning to the Legion’s side of things, keep in mind that other characters are not going to be terribly happy with them – but then, some of the best roleplaying experiences out there come from playing a villainous role.
Whether villain or hero, keep in mind that the events on the Broken Shore are going to have a profound effect on your character. It can frighten them to the point where they join the other side…or it can spur them onward into even greater deeds. Regardless, nobody is coming out of this one unscathed in one way or another. Will your character stand strong, or will they buckle under the pressure?
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