Friday, April 24, 2015

T is For Trouble

When I say T is For Trouble, I'm not exactly talking about Big Trouble in Little China.

But I could be!

No, T is for Trouble in that your hero, your protagonist, could be minding their own business. They could be going about their daily chores. They could be, for all intents and purposes, dead to the world.

The world will not return the favor.

I've blogged about Usagi Yojimbo before. Published currently by +Dark Horse Comics , one of the hooks Stan Sakai uses to get Usagi into the action, is having his ronin rabbit stumble unto trouble as it's occurring.

Which is why I mentioned that I could be talking about Big Trouble in Little China. When it comes to an everyman whose bringing the audience into the action, you can't get much better than Jack Burton. Not only is he an entertaining SOB, he's got a few traits of survivability.

He's such a normal guy, he drives 'The Pork Chop Express', a semi.

But his friends? They know some weird people.

And when Jack goes with his friend to pick up said friend's girlfriend? Well, it leads into all sorts of interesting supernatural situations. What turned into the horrific real world enslavement of another person, becomes something more fantastic as Jack has to pit his wits, what few he has, against the ancient evil that has endured all that China's gods can throw at it.

Trouble comes in all shapes and all sizes. Trouble may look like it wants intervention but may not. One horrific thing that happens with much more frequency than it should, is when someone is being physically and verbally beaten and if someone goes to interfere, instead of being grateful, the person who is being beaten is outraged that an outsider would dare bring themselves into this private thing. "He doesn't mean it!" may be heard by any helpful outsider.

In such a situation, what is the hero to do? Taking on more responsibility as such a point may actually be irresponsible unless the character is willing to become fully enmeshed in the activity that drew his attention. How much time, how many resources, is the character willing to spend on what to all intents and purposes is some off change encounter?

Trouble has a way of showing up when you least expect it. Below are some examples:

Disease: Without warning, a disease that no one is prepared for exploded unto the scene.

Mugging: The characters have taken a short cut and in doing so, are witnessed to a mugging or worse.

Mistaken Identity: When the characters are entering the city, they are mistaken for another group of characters. This could range in circumstance. For example, one of the character could look exactly like another character or the characters as a whole could meet the metaphysical description of a group that is supposed to save the city, country, planet, universe, or something even grander like the multiverse.

Challenged: While minding their own business, perhaps even shopping, the characters are challenged. If one of the characters is a renowned swordsman, another swordsman has come to test that claim.

One in a lifetime opportunity: While out and about, the character discovers something that they never knew before which changes everything. This could be an opportunity to study in another country, or a deal on something they've wanted for a long time, but the "deal" is still so expensive that they have to sell everything else they own.

Trouble is always around the corner and it's the quickest way to get the characters moving when they appear to only want to stay home and bake peach pie.