As I am building this OC (Ashwood), I think it would be useful if I show my thoughts (within parenthesis) while also building the OC, since for all the talk I am talking, some people prefer to see something done, rather than a "this is what you should do" approach, and frankly I would like input on this because I enjoy world building, and this is somewhat related.
Concept 1: Scientist
- Pros: cool idea, useful, easy to hide
- Cons: hard to be social if doing research, doesn’t fit MLP world very well, closest would be Dr. Hooves
Concept 1a: Alchemist(similar to scientist but more magic related)
- Additional Con: Too technical in terms of magic, as magic is expressed in general terms hence bad cover.
- Concept 2: Wizard (stage magician might be a more playful alternative)
- Pros: Straight forward, lots of options, more standard that previous two options.
- Cons: Almost has to be Unicorn, power concerns, fame concerns.
- Concept 3: Teacher (possibly an academic)
- Pros: easy to design, choose an age group, and choose relationships
- Cons: Cover has to be very good, as we are familiar with the Ponyville school system.
Concept 4: Student
- Pros: the most standard solution, fairly safe, Twilight did it.
- Cons: Introducing someone as a student makes them stick out like a sore thumb, already has been done. Choosing Wizard as it is a fairly flexible category.
Canterlot: the best location by far, as its fame helps justify a wizard resident, keeps the OC close; it is “the place” for magic.
Child Mage: stupidly OP, power without responsibility will break story, ah la Mary Sue Court Mage:not a bad option but not enough good cover, and the princesses hardly need one Druid:hard to justify Canterlot, already done by a side character. Gentleman Wizard: not a bad option, matches setting, runs into fame concerns though
- Magic Librarian: Avoids fame, job justifies sedentary nature, which keeps OC separate from mane 6
- Squishy Wizard: might be a cool sub-trope, helps further justify being separate from mane 6
- Stage Magician: Can be fun, might be a little too goofy, valid option.
Witch Doctor: Zecora, fun idea, but already in universe. Wizard Classic: Star Swirl, already done entirely straight.
Character basis: a wizard who works at the Canterlot Library.
Secondary Duties of a Wizard:
- Research: solid option, the library exists for a reason
- Teaching: another option, there does not exist a character that is between Celestia and standard education, he can fulfil that niche.
- Mentoring: out of the question, as he has a job, and Celestia is the de-facto mentor of the show.
Basic Design: Wizard who lives in the Canterlot Library, who does research and teaches.
- Celestia: likely known, mandatory subservience, might be mentor.
- Luna: likely known, subservient but not familiar, cannot be mentor, unless 1000+.
- Twilight: likely known, but not familar, conflict of status vs age.
- Childhood: moved to Canterlot for x reason (to justify not knowing other families well)
- Upbringing: raised normally, tutored by Celestia for z reason
- Present status: justification for character doing research and teaching.
Sample Backstory Personal Notes v1
Again these are notes, these are not designed to be a good story, also because all my practice telling stories is oratory, my writing is ugly, bear with me.
- Background early:
A sickly colt, born in Fillydelphia, Ashwood was in and out of the hospital at least once a week. If there was something going around the school, he got it, and he got it bad, though his friends were often keen to get him a stack of books for his stay and play some cards. Eventually the doctors recommended his family move to Canterlot as the cleaner air and additional space, would do his health good. It did, as he was only at the hospital once a month or so, for a much shorter duration. The changes to his schooling also did him good, and he was quickly pulled out for advanced magic tutoring once his cutie mark appeared, one of a broken hourglass, and his talent manifested.
(little angsty but can easily be modified, it does satisfy the wizards are frail stereotype, though the situation isn’t exactly out of the ordinary, as there is always that one kid who is out of school for weeks at a time)
"Time magic, That's so cool!" his friends said. It wasn't. Desks would age and fall apart in minutes, books would turn to dust with a glance, plants would wither and die, inkwells dried out in seconds, shelves would collapse into dust. Sure skilled ponies could suppress it, but they had more important things to do. So Ashwood was tutored by Princess Celestia for many long nights. Nothing else, then or since, did he pursue with such desire, as every additional day he took, he wasted the Princess's time, she had meetings to go to, other students to teach, Galas to attend. He knew as he could see them all, the possibilities laid out before him, as real as the text he read, or once it turned to dust, more so. Time Magic is hard was an understatement, but progress was made, and eventually he could contain his magic, then after many winters, control it. He was finally able to leave the tower one day, confident in his ability to keep others safe from his talent.
(wild magic is a fun topic, present depiction might be a little op, or a little angsty depending on the audience, need input, easily my weakest section, could be expounded on, and likely should be modified)
- Background Present:
As he left the tower he learned many more things, firstly that sunblock is required, spending years indoors does not give one's self a suitable complexion for walking around during the day. Secondly he could finally use his talent for good, he could help families grow food, he could preserve books, speaking of books, he could read freely again, the entirety of the Canterlot library was open to his use, and while it was different in many respects, some parts such as the Star Swirl the Bearded section were still the same. There Ashwood remains, reading, learning, enjoying, and preserving, all while carefully teaching others about advanced topics of magic, in hopes that he will be able to do for others, as the Princess once did for him. He is still frail but overall in acceptable health.
(Preserving books relates nicely to time magic)
Keep in mind this is the 3rd or 4th attempt at creating a cohesive backstory as I wanted to avoid connecting him to Ponyville, or to the elite of Canterlot, while connecting him to Celestia, but doing so in a reasonable way. This is still version one as I do not have all these things ironed out.
Age: Age is a hard question and I have two viewpoints on it, either he should be around 40-60 about as old as a professor, or he is older, due to his affinity with time magic, satisfying the trope that wizards live longer, and conveniently removing his family and former friends from the picture. It would also explain his loyalty to Celestia, as she is still around, where all his friends are long past. I find some kind of irony in the fact that he is frail, and yet outlives everyone around him.
Princess Celestia: As his onetime mentor, Princess Celestia holds a very dear place in Ashwood's heart, he has seen the sacrifices she has made for him and for Equestria, and he knows, despite any uncertainty, she carries the kingdom on her shoulders, regardless of the costs of such a responsibility. There is no pony Ashwood respects more. If she ever would ask for his help, he would be there as the words leave her lips. Otherwise hard to talk to as Ashwood might be detracting from her important duties, or much needed downtime.
( To be clear it is not “Senpai Celestia notice me”, and instead is “I like you, but your time is too valuable for me to waste.” Thankfully such a complex dynamic should not come up in any story, and is far less likely to come up in any kind of conversation between characters.)
Princess Luna: As the other very important pony, Princess Luna sometimes asks for Ashwood's input on magical entities such as the
Celestia assignments > standard duties > teaching > being polite > research > all other things.
A quiet pony, Ashwood often doesn't have much to say to people who enter the library, though if they ask, he is always quick to point them to the section and several recommended titles. Occasionally he admonishes frillies who wander in and are too loud but otherwise lets them do their own thing. When teaching he is similar to a professor, as he is open to complex discussion, but is not involved the personal affairs of any students. He is very polite, and yet not easily deterred when pursuing information. He dislikes the majority of the social elite of Canterlot as "they hold themselves aloof, and yet they know less than anyone else". He dislikes "know it alls" for the same reason. He tries to keep his reputation under wraps as he does not want undue attention from other ponies, particularly the social elite as he doesn't want to be involved with their games. He is particularly concerned about Celestia and Luna, as the two of them serve as the cornerstones of Equestria, and them being removed, would tumble the realm into chaos.
His deepest fears and concerns revolve around the safety of the two princesses, a large magical threat, himself accidently causing a catastrophe, being entirely alone, which relates to the princesses again.
Due to these fears he is very careful, but often jumps at the chance of conversation with ponies he likes, since friends make everything better, and he only will get to know the majority of them for a short time, over his long life.
Thoughts for the Reader
I need input, particularly in the sample backstory category as I need to flesh it out, or possibly modify it, as well as the age discussion, as I am torn between the two options along with whether to make him look old or young, though with grey or white highlights or something. I also want to see what your thoughts are on the relative angst level. The power level I am not too concerned about, as he is designed to be strictly a supportive character, though he has depth, which likely will not come up, but I seek to make justifications for his beliefs regardless. He cannot be used as a protagonist in almost any setting, since his characterization is entirely different from that of the Mane 6; he is an adult, where they are still children.
I want input both on his sample story, and on his appearance, as aesthetics is something I am familiar with, but have no idea how to do mechanically. Though I think a light grey, dark grey scheme would work, though it might be too bland.