user's avatar
Character Design
Character design for role-playing game 'p~lot', which was designed during the workshop in Groznjan, Croatia.
P~lot or the Play Lab on Open Grown Territories brought together a motley crew of artists, designers, students, theorists and enthusiasts in the tiny Istrian village of Groznjan. P~lot was a workshop designed to examine the 'play' and 'games' as tools for mixing physical and digital realities.
The workshop had two strands, called Gamespace and Playspace. Gamespace was designed to enchance creative skills in the field of online game development, specifically looking at context based gaming environments, rooted in existing places such as the village of Groznjan. In Playspace, the participants worked the physicality and the local fabric of Groznjan to create playful environments in the broadest sense of the word. The participants wove the local substances with materials brought from their different places of origin. Legends were massaged to excrete symbolic meanings for arbitrary game rules. To populate the hybrid reality, the participants collated an intricate bestiary of characters to form a basis for a role-playing game, guided by the p~lot master narrative.
The story of p~lot:

Phylotic Hermaphrodite

The Phylotic Hermaphrodite has suffered a horrible loss during the cataclysm: its perfectly unified androginous body split into two incomplete hermaphrodites, still connected by infinitely stretchable philotes (undivisible strings of an atom). The problem with the philotes is that their stretch is only uni-directional - they stretch only outwards. Trapped in the Sideways gamePlay, it tries to navigate both realities in a search of him/her self. It hangs suspended for days and nights, defying the physical constraints of the playSpace, hoping to be teleported into the gameSpace, where its beloved half dwells, where it could become its coherent, but strangely morphed xyxx entity. Its philotes are getting longer and longer with each motion, taking the two halves further apart, so that only with the well-willing Players navigating through the gameSpace for him/her, there is still a ray of hope that the two halves will reunite.

Shrunk Giants
are the immortal rulers of the Giant Worlds that preceded the human realms. Unable to reach their lost treasures, as the cataclysm made them shrunk and lose the ability to fertilise and cultivate any ground they touch, they roam, hang hopelessly and lament about the decay of the worlds - wishing that they either die soon, or regain their lost powers, although they lost their motivation to exist all together long ago. Their only contact with other entities in the space occurs in their hunts on players who could possibly become their slaves, they intoxicate them, load them up with useless old tools, forcing them to fill up the city treasures from which the Giants could possibly make the city grow again, reconnecting it to the once fertile fields on the other side of the oceans, where the Giants once prospered. Their worst enemy, or best friend, depending on their changing motivation, is the Reality Waster, with his mob of hypnotised slaves, that are depleting city treasures in order to make the physical diminish into nothingness, taking the Giants' bodies with it.Shrunk Giant

The Unplugged Rechargeable Fairy
is one of the ancient fairy god/esse/s, an entity that gives power to anyone crossing his/her path. S/he lost his/her energy during the cataclysm and is slowly fading away, disconnected from his/her energy source located in the far Light World, in the abstractions of the virtual. S/he craves for energy to provide power for the game-entities to surpass the evil Detour Generator. Although completely cut off from his/her realm, the Fairy can be charged by particular movement of electrons in the playSpace. His/her days and nights are passing in bursts - once recharged, the fairy rushes to donate power to as many entities as possible, but very soon, s/he feels the slowing down, the running low of power, desperately seeking the portals into the virtual, where his/her energy sources still faintly shimmer. His/her ideal is to re-plug itself to a continuous energy source, so that s/he would once again invariably radiate force from his/her luminescent home betwixt realities. Meanwhile, knowing that this goal is most unlikely to be reached, s/he casts translucent, energising spells, dressed in conductive filaments and live wires. S/he begs entities to lead him/her to the known energy sources, to the leaks from the virtual, where s/he can suck enough power to give the players the necessary means to (temporarily) defeat the Detour Generator.
Light Seeker
is a fairy, a creature from the Luminescent Realm, situated at the far end of the gameSpace, where all resemblance with matter disappears and the light sources flow freely, creating the Light Worlds at their intersections. After the cataclysm, she was trapped in the recklessly figurative playSpace. Since her entrapment, she seeks couplings between the darkest, least visible parts of the physical and the radiating Light Worlds. She finds the traces of the couplings in broken, matter drenched portals and attempts to reconnect the luminous pathways by digging through the dark matter. She despises her forced physicality and resents darkness, trying to convince the players to dig up lost trails that once connected the broken portals into a marvelous shimmering matrix of blue-green light. The Nightshift Bot and the Detour Generator are her powerful opponents, the former stealing light-sources and hiding them from her (without grasping the effect of his actions) and the latter building obstacles to prevent the light tracks to muster into an invincible army against the eternal darkness.
The Lost Captain
lived in Groznjan when the town was still an island surrounded by mighty waters. After the cataclysm, he lost his vessel, and the substance his ship traversed - the seas and the rivers. He curses the storms to have left him alive, while destroying his means of survival, and his purpose in life. Yet, unconsciously, he found himself becoming a guide for the travellers and players, by telling them stories about the world as it used to be, guarding the history against oblivion. However, the only times that the captain seems to remember the stories are during his utterly intoxicated states, in which reality seems to relive its own past, in his blurry, burgundy and mead coloured eyes. In periods of lucidity, when the drunkenness wears out, the captain leads his shipmate in building a vessel to transport entities between the two worlds, although not quite knowing how this new ship is supposed to function. When the desperation gets to him too much, he nags and curses, demanding drinks and drugs and women to soothe his pains…
the Icy Heart-Gorge.
Unruly Temptress
is appalled by rules. The rupture of the worlds has split her once balanced character into a wild, carnevalesque creature, haunted by her frigid, rule-bound alter ego, the Icy Heart-Gorge. The Unruly Temptress is driven by her passion, but plagued by her chilly, controlling sister-self. In her quest to free herself completely from the grip of the Heart-Gorge, the Temptress lures the players further into the wild, flesh-boiling universe, widening the gap between the pure gameSpace and the unclean playSpace, knowing that her alter-ego can not dwell in filth. She eroticises everything she touches - seducing, celebrating, dancing and drinking, thereby obliterating the virtual from the minds of her victims and substantiating the dominance of the physical. The Icy Heart-Gorge on the other hand, has the opposite goal as a priority on her agenda: embracing the endless realness of the gameSpace, she would gladly clean up the mess of the physical, devouring the passion from the hearts of her companions. In her bloodthirsty urges, she climbs into the voluptuous, humid body of the Temptress, steels her consciousness and sways through the sleeping playSpace, shredding the hearts and sexual organs of the entities through her crab-legs shaped teeth.
DIY Giant
is an ancient entity, one of the giants who formed the landscape by walking on the soft world, before it solidified into hills, valleys, islands and seas. He survived the first World Shrink, when most of the Giants shrunk into puny beardy entities and the Earth Worms became the rulers of the Old World. He also survived the reality cataclysm and as a person with a colossal experience, he decided to help everyone in need, understanding the distress that all entities were going through. However, since the world shrunk, he was too bulky to perform any subtle task. He is very amiable, very considerate, but awkwardly clumsy. The Light Seeker, Captain and his Shipmate and the Delightmaker are most in need of his help. Through time, he became a living proof of the once mighty powerful God the Mechanic, who heretofore would have the ability to fix the 2 worlds back together and breathe the lascivious empathy into the inanimate machinic components, seamlessly reassembling the real into one, pleasurably undulating landscape. Yet, most of the time, the seams tear, the lights burst and the ship's engine explodes, under his gentle but too heavy hands…
Tangentoid Oscillator ,
also known as the German Ruptourist is a trickster, without actually realising how much impact it has on the twisted worldly events. Its over-productive mind and snappy tongue became poisons, stored in an insectoid exoskeleton, towering over the Continuum as its worst nightmare. During the cataclysm, while the 01 Continuum was trying to perform an emergency patching-up action to sew the realities back together, the Tangentoid Oscillator kept distracting it, what eventually caused the catastrophic rupture of the reality membrane. The Oscillator injected too many new contexts, tangents and possible futures for the Continuum to be able to smoothly morph them together into a coherent permanence. Oscillator senselessly tears the playSpace and the gameSpace apart, by undoing the Continuum's work by continuously distracting it, firing off tangents in a 50 dimensions per minute. As the Continuum's forces fade, the Tangentoid Oscillator becomes stronger and faster in inventing new and fascinating topics for the Continuum to make real, not allowing it enough time to recuperate from the cataclysm. The stories with which the guides weave the events together provide new contexts to be surfed, to be randomised and fragmented. Continuum's unifying force can not be retrieved, unless he is freed from the gripping claws of the Tangentoid Oscillator.
Detour Generator
is the Devil in disguise. This entity has a strong interest in destabilising the situation further, until the Reign of Chaos swallows all that's real. He can be seen as a strong, dark man, sometimes as a goat, sometimes as a horse or a dog. When he is in a good mood, he randomly confuses people and destabilises their mental map of the Coninuum. When angry, or frustrated, by continually shuffling with detour signage, he blocks entities that move in particular directions - towards the portals between the worlds, or towards the luminescent pathways, or towards energy sources, needed to reestablish the connection between the worlds. He seeds darkness, builds fences between the luminescent fairy realms, reverse engineers the light forming processes and undoes the work of the Light Seeker and her patron, the Unplugged Rechargable Fairy.
Reality Waster
lived as a game Master in the gameSpace when the cataclysm ripped his conscience and pasted it into the lifeless shell of a previously mortal being in the playSpace. Ever since, the Reality Waster has been engaged in hopeless attempts to erase the playSpace, hoping that this would prevent the reunion of the two worlds and guarantee the establishment of the absolute reign of the gameSpace, with him as its Overlord. He plunders and pillages all city's resources, enslaving stray travellers and forcing them to waste and sterilise the physical, revealing its virtual foundations. The travellers become the hunters and gatherers of everything intangible in the playSpace, copying and pasting it everywhere they go, making entities and events disappear behind a veil of recursive imaginary landscapes. The Reality Waster forces the players into a hypnotised state, by rubbing sterilising alcohol onto their nostrils, bringing them to a particularly wide portal, where an immaterial bot-guide awaits, a robotic trace of the original game Master, a subliminal propaganda machine, preaching the erasure of the physical and the spilling of the virtual until it actualises into an endless, distilled real.
The Scattered Shapeshiftster
is a mortal being. In her previous state she was a Distance Compressor between realities. During the cataclysm, she attempted to soak up as many realities, states, entities and phases as she could compress. However, as the cataclysm lasted much longer than predicted, her compressor overloaded and instead of containing the soaked items, it scattered both its contents and the Shapeshiftster herself, so that each of the items became her, and vice versa. Tired and strewn, she lost her sense of self, and became all the stories, all the worlds that she tried to contain. Several of the items got corrupted in the process of decompression, causing her to cough up more glitches and inconsistencies into the Continuum. More than the Continuum can handle… She is obsessed with knots and tangles, burrying and unburrying, pressure cookers and wine presses, always mixing too many contents into too small containers, violently annoyed by the effects of her mistakes, saddened by the loss of her abilities to compress the passages betwixt realities. She still continues trying, with unearthly vigour, by layering tasks upon tasks, and doing them faster and faster, until she collapses in a nervous ball of hair, that the Cat-shaped strige roll around the island, causing her shapes to flip through themselves at random, spitting an unexpected shape and a new set of tasks at the end of the Strige's game.
The 01 Continuum
is the all-encompassing, unifying and transforming force. It radiates a calmly reassuring coherence of a Continuum in which everything can morph into a seamless mass of foggy weirdness. During the reality cataclysm, while trying to patch up reality coherence, the Continuum gets distracted by the Tangentoid Oscillator, who keeps interjecting new contexts to glue into the Continuum, until it becomes increasingly disjointed, causing the different aspects of its being (realities, times, spaces, identities) to drift further apart. After the cataclysm the Continuum calmly, but madly connects everything to everything else, smoothing the connections, so that they blend with the uniform Continuum matter. Its main goal is to reestablish itself as a growing, morphing Continuum. It shrinks. It fades. It looses colour. and becomes increasingly translucent. It's an entity that, although it keeps up an appearance of perpetuity, it has a great difficulty remaining focused. It is frenzied not only by the master distractor, the Tangentoid Oscillator, but also by any other entity in its vicinity. In its confusion, this deity might become its own worst enemy.

The Captain's Shipmate
has lost his medium, the sea. He tries to convince the Captain to build a vessel for travel between the worlds, to find a new medium, a new job, many new journeys. As the captain doesn't respond to his demands, he convinces the Players to help him out. However, his main task is still to serve the Captain, who needs him to be his babblefish, translating the convoluted, drunken stories to the Captain's eager audience. Diligent and responsible, he works on both tasks with a smile, gathering materials, designing the vessel, cleaning up after the Captain, paying his bills and comforting his mistresses.
Cat-Shaped Familiars
were the White witches in the old world, but similar to the Cat-Shaped Strige, they got trapped in the feline form after the storms quieted down - albeit becoming proud owners of precious white and silver furs, while the Strige were wrapped in feeble black and gray stubbles. Their new role became the one of the Comforters, of the silent protectors for the playSpace inhabitants The give affection, particularly needed by the Inverts, in order to find the peace with their new, scattered selves. Once the inhabitants drift into the dream-realms, the Cat Shaped Familiars form hordes of white magicians and extract substances from the dreams, distill them into matter to use as bio-weapons against the Cat Shaped Strige. The battle still continues…

Delight Maker
is a game seeder, a human portal between the two worlds, using play as a magic formula to open the seemingly sealed passages. Although she can pass freely between the worlds, she chooses to spend most of her time in the wild playSpace, or hangs upside down in the skewed gamePlay. She engages whoever she comes across in a whole variety of games, that she invents on the spot, opening new gateways between games and play, making up rules as she goes along, changing them at will, enjoying every step of her life with a contaminating pleasure. Wherever she goes, she inflates the barely visible play-balloons with laughter, transmitting delight through the air, on the surface of the water, on anything that moves from one entity to another.
Slithering Archive
is an impulsive information kleptomaniac, a living library, and a data junky. This extremely tall and thin character, with long fingers and telescopic glasses became immortal during the Era of the Giants, when humans were nothing more than mere Earth Worms. The humans, unable to provide food and shelter for themselves, lived in the shadow of the Giants, finding both food and shelter in the Giants' vast loafs of bread. Shelter was carved out of dried and moldy remains, food was stolen from still steaming, freshly baked portions. What the Earth Worms didn't know was that one of the ingredients used in the dough was the immortality dust, that made the Slithering Archive live forever, frozen in the age of 27, the age when he ate the first of the Giants' crumbs. The Giants took pity on the helpless human creatures and left them to live their immortal lives, not taking too much notice of their actions. Being around for such a long time, the Slithering Archive collected a vast amount of knowledge, which he gladly shares with anyone who notices him around. At the same time, he developed quite a creepy ability to slither around the places where information is exchanged, archiving everything into his strangely small notebook. When noticed, he opens his book, connecting the information he just gathered with other stories from his opus, sucking the people around him into the mythology of the place. Wherever he appears, new myths are spun, and even what appears real, alive and irrelevant is instantly transformed into an arcane tale.
Random Oracle
was a world renown fortune teller before the storms. Entities used to travel immense distances to consult the Oracle, before engaging in an important task. However, the Oracle found himself in the eye of the storm, in which the mental winds twisted his mind and randomised the fortunes. Furthermore, when the storms lessened, he was terrified to find out that the fortunes he told not only didn't correspond with the persons he was consulting, but sometimes, thinking that he was predicting the future, he would tell the persons' stories from the past, or in fact, the present. Before anyone else, he discovered that the Time Continuum was disrupted, which made it impossible for him to find back the algorithm that would allow him to make new patterns out of the noise of fortunes in his mind. He searches for Time and attempts to organise his life, and subsequently - the life of his 'clients'. Being a familiar, the Random Oracle works towards reconstructing order out of chaos, by finding associative patterns in the fortunes, the events and the realities around him.
Attila the Looping Hun
slipped through a wormhole in the cataclysm. Unfortunately, only a small part of him made it through. His only remaining unconnected memories are: Conquer, Church, Bark. Being a warrior, he concludes that his goal in life is to conquer Groznjan, but he doesn't remember how, or in fact - why. His memories tell him that barking at the church might do the trick. So he barks at the church. When nothing happens, he repeats the action with slight variations: conquer barking at church, bark at the conquerer of the church, in the church conquer barking… and then, he falls into a loop. After several failures, he decided to recruit an army. He trains the army to bark at the church, but as a wise leader, he allows the army to strategise their own ways of conquering the fortress. And then he goes to bark at the church, again. This time, through a megaphone.
is an ancient deity responsible for a smooth passage through wormholes and temporal continuity. During the cataclysm, she lost her mobility and remained suspended, frozen in the whirlwind of possible worlds. The Cat-shaped Strige cast a spell on her in the moment of her confusion, causing her to remain trapped in the same position, immobile, unable to free herself or the other entities of the 01 Continuum from the infinite suspension. In the mean time, the Cat-shaped Tricksters are devouring her being, upon which the physical world grows in tangled knots of roots and rocks. Considered an inanimate object, the Time Goddess spends her immortal life in mere survival, wishing to reestablish her own realm, the Time Continuum. Continuously eaten by the Cat-shaped Strige she contemplates ways of reminding the 01 Continuum of her existence, knowing that its thought might free her from her misery.
Cat-shaped Strige
are wild carneval throwers. Active in the old world as witches, with back placenta sewn into their armpits, they very much benefit from the split-real situation. During the cataclysm, they found Time in the whirlwind of events and managed to cast a spell on her, so that the real can never go back, or forward, which will allow them to engage in an incessant philistine sabbath. During their wild parties, they greedily consume Time as a desert, in between fighting duels, violent mating rituals, ball games with the hairy Shapeshiftster and miauwing concerts.
this character do not belong to the p~lot project
this character do not belong to the p~lot project
this character do not belong to the p~lot project
this character do not belong to the p~lot project
this character do not belong to the p~lot project
this character do not belong to the p~lot project
this character do not belong to the p~lot project
this character do not belong to the p~lot project


the p~lot characters were designed for role-playing game, based on combination of real and imaginary characters.