For Blighted Earth, the main characters are part of a military unit. The sergeant, whom I wrote about in my last post, has retired and accepts a contract or other agreement to return to the military. Four other members of his old unit will be part of the team, and then a captain is assigned to watch over them.
Right now, the characters are defined by their roles. I take inspiration from the US Special Forces – Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA), also known as an A-Team (yes, that is where the series/movie got its name). An ODA is led by a captain and a warrant, with operations, intelligence, weapons, comms, medic and engineering sergeants. The 12-person ODA can be split into two 6-person teams as there is redundancy of all roles.
With four characters, I’m thinking we’ve got the sergeant’s old 2IC (second in command), who is maybe now a warrant, and will take on the comms/engineer/techie role. I’m thinking of a female character who is very much like the sergeant, but has less direction in her life. She hasn’t left the military, enjoying the life and organization it offers her.
The intel character is going to be the “Face” of the team – a fixer and scammer, able to get anything anywhere. He and the scout/sniper are out of the military and living on the edge of civilization, selling their services to traders and explorers venturing out into the Blight. These two characters are the scoundrels – sure they are mercenaries now, but they are loyal to the sergeant and their comrades-at-arms.
The medic is also still in the military, but has become a physician and an officer. He is the most moral of the characters (as befits a medic and doctor, even though it is very clichéd) and due to rank, becomes second in command to the sergeant (who’s going to need to be given a commission along with his appointment to allow him to command – meaning he’ll likely be a major). There will be conflicts between these two when the sergeant needs to make unpalatable choices.
The captain is basically there as the representative of the government. I considered making the watchdog character a Lt. Colonel, someone who outranks the sergeant, however, in the scene in which the sergeant is recruited, he makes it very, very clear that this is his mission or he is out. Since the sergeant won’t be “regular” green, the captain will have the sense that while he doesn’t technically outrank the sergeant (given that the sergeant will likely be given a major’s commission), he has the authority. He’s out in the cold on this one, something he will recognize walking into the mission. This is the sergeant’s team, not his, but that doesn’t mean he won’t forcefully espouse his points of view.
So this is the team that will set off into the Blight to find the bad guy and figure out what is going on.
But who is the bad guy and what is going on?
You can find some basic information on ODAs here.
Read more about the Blighted Earth here.
Art by Jesse McGibney.