timor: (balls made entirely of meat)
Pitch Black ([personal profile] timor) wrote2015-04-02 10:16 pm
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Character Name: Pitch Black
Series: Rise of the Guardians (movie-verse only)
Age: Old as balls. It's even hard to give an estimate here, because he's an immortal spirit who's older than humanity.
From When?: Post-film. He's immortal and can't really die, but he would have been left very, very low on power.

Inmate/Warden: Inmate. Pitch is a fear spirit who dealt with a perceived loss of power and relevance by saying "fuck it, imma cover the entire world in fear and darkness". He needs to learn to not do that.

Abilities/Powers:
Shadows: He can do all kinds of nifty things with shadows - whirl them around in the air, wrap them around things, make shapes out of them (such as his clothing, or a giant facsimile of himself that he made appear at the North Pole at the beginning of the film), and so on. He doesn't seem to be able to create weapons out of them, though, as they aren't very tangible.

Darkness: Is Pitch's favorite thing. He's very, very good at blending into it, and can even use it to travel - he can walk into a patch of darkness in once place, and emerge in a patch of darkness someplace else. That said, he doesn't seem to be able to create it out of nothing (which is one reason why he prefers the night; he's more powerful then). If he's in a wide open space with no places that are dark enough, he's screwed.

Nightmare sand: A corruption of the Sandman's dream sand. In many ways he uses it similarly to how he uses shadows, though many of the things he creates with it seem to be more solid and tangible - his shadow-made clothes, for example, shift around and blend into his body, and it's not always clear where he ends and they begin; on the other hand, he uses the nightmare sand to make nightmare horses that he can ride and touch, and weapons that he can actually fight with (he prefers a scythe, though he uses a bow and arrow at one point for a long-distance attack). The horses are essentially Pitch's minions, and they can do all kinds of nifty things like change their size (sometimes appearing the size of a small dog, and sometimes appearing as quite a bit bigger than an actual horse) and gallop through the air. They can't speak, but they appear to understand when Pitch talks to them and gives them directions, and they can communicate with each other (he has a whole herd of them). He also uses the sand to create bad dreams. All that said, though, he isn't the Sandman, and so he can't create the sand - he can only corrupt it (though since he's gotten practiced with it, things that are made from it don't disappear unless they're destroyed or turned back into dreamsand). Without a Sandman on the Barge, he wouldn't have access to it, unless he somehow got some from the Admiral.

Fear/nightmares: He's not called the Boogeyman for nothing. Pitch specializes in bringing fear, and lately, his favorite way to do this is through giving nightmares. When the Sandman's around, he does this by tainting the good dreams that he gives people. With people who are awake, his mere presence is unsettling, and he's very good at planting scary ideas into people's heads and letting them run with it... or, at least, he used to be. Since the Guardians came to power, less and less people have been believing in him, and therefore less and less people have been affected by him. Now nightmares are his best bet, because people are more susceptible to such things when they're asleep - and his favorite targets are children, because they're more impressionable in general. He can also pick up on people's fears, especially the strong ones - and even if someone isn't afraid, he can innately tell what their worst fears are.

As far as power reduction goes, I'm going to say that he'd lose the ability to travel in darkness, as well as the ability to cause fear/nightmares. He'd also lose any nightmare sand he had on him, so anything having to do with that would be out. He would retain his ability to sense fear, and would be able to manipulate shadows to a limited extent - he could do small things with them (ex. clothe himself, blend into dark corners abnormally well, swirl them around him a bit for effect), but he couldn't, say, cover an entire room in darkness. Ultimately, the shadows aren't very dangerous; they're more for show than anything else.

Personality:
Pitch is a spirit of fear - the Boogeyman. He's been around for millennia, and he would be the first to tell you that he isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Unlike his main enemies, the Guardians, Pitch doesn't need to be believed in to exist - but that isn't to say that belief isn't important to him. He may not need it to survive, but he does want it, desperately. The less people believe in him, the less power he has over them, to the point that he might as well not exist for all that the people around him know. By his canonpoint, this is exactly the situation that he's in. People routinely walk through him, they can't hear him when he talks, and it's commonplace for parents to tell their children, "Don't be scared, there's no such thing as the Boogeyman". He hates it. He doesn't expect to be liked, but he deeply wants recognition and respect - things that he simply doesn't have.

He's also lonely. He's the only "bad" spirit to appear - or even be mentioned - in the movie, and it's pretty clear that he doesn't have anyone to team up with. The mortals can't see him because they don't believe in him, the other spirits avoid him because he's a sketchy asshole, and he likely has always spent almost all of his time on his own. (As an interesting aside, he seems to have at least some level of genuine fondness for his nightmare horses - he gets snarly and grumpy at them when he's frustrated, but he also strokes them, talks to them, and has a favorite one that he rides a lot. They in turn treat him much like a pet would treat its owner, though they do get riled up and drag him back to his underground lair in the end, when he's defeated and afraid - like Pitch, they go for fear above all else, no matter who it comes from.) At one point, he offers friendship and an alliance to Jack Frost, another lonely spirit who's comparatively very young and hasn't yet found his place in the world. When Jack turns him down, he actually looks quite hurt for a moment - before that hurt turns to vindictive anger, anyway. Where things like rejection and belittlement (real or perceived) are concerned, his mood can change on a dime, and he can be frighteningly quick to anger. This, along with his general nature, means that he gets into fights with the Guardians a lot, especially when he's pulling off his Master Take-Over-the-World Plan. In battle, he's generally a pragmatist. He prefers to fight when he can, but he's not above admitting it to himself when defeat is likely, and in those situations he's been known to choose to try to flee instead. For all his bluster, he's well aware that he's not the most powerful being in the world.

I'd argue that by the time the movie rolls around, Pitch's biggest motivators are revenge and desperation. He's incredibly bitter towards the Guardians, who have put a lot of effort into making the world a happier, less scary place for kids (and therefore, in Pitch's mind, making him less relevant to their lives). They have a great many things that he wants for himself - respect, recognition, belief - while he's regulated to second class status, and has to deal with fewer and fewer people taking him seriously or acknowledging his existence. In a pre-canon comic titled Pitch Black (it was officially released by Dreamworks and can presumably be considered canon, which is why I'm including it here) that takes place about six hundred years before the movie, there are some interesting differences in his personality and behavior. He actually acts rather amicably towards the newly-formed Guardians, and even briefly entertains the idea of forming an alliance with Santa Claus (he suggests that Santa reward the good kids with toys, and Pitch scare the naughty ones into behaving; Santa vetos this and encourages him not to go too overboard with the fear thing). Ultimately, though, he turns down the offer to ally with them and become a Guardian himself. At the end of the encounter, he expresses confusion as to why the Man in the Moon had felt the need to form the Guardians, and wonders if it was because he thinks that fear has no place in the world anymore. This is implied to be the real beginning of his downslide: when he starts to go from being an unpleasant, creepy spirit who is nevertheless fine with the nicer beings giving people hope and wonder to balance out his fear... to being an over-the-top villain who wants to completely eliminate those nicer beings and cover the entire world with darkness. Were his actions or his goals justified? Hell no. Were the Guardians right to take him down? Hell yes. But after centuries of seeing his power decline, it's not too surprising that he ended up snapping and deciding that desperate times called for desperate measures.

All of that said, he's far from a tragic woobie who just needs a hug to make him all better. Loneliness or not, sadness or not, he's still the literal embodiment of fear - and that's never going to change, even when he isn't actively trying to take over the world. He could make friends with someone, sincerely like them, and enjoy their company, but their fear and nightmares would still be wonderfully delicious things to him. He's capable of being cordial - even genuinely so! - but he's still a creepy fucker who lurks in closets and delights in the terror of children. He's pretty damn divorced from humanity, and he knows it.

Barge Reactions:
Life on the Barge would be a big adjustment for Pitch. He hates being ignored, but he's used to it, and dealing with people taking an active interest in him and his life would feel strange (and in some cases, outright unnerving) to him. The life he's used to is based around being very separate from everybody around him, and as a result, he's extremely unused to regular social interaction. He'd also go a bit stir-crazy, as he's used to having an entire planet at his disposal - he'd live for breaches and ports, even the terrible ones, and would likely resort to wanting to spend a lot of time blowing off steam in the Enclosure.

As important as recognition and belief are to him, and as prone as he is to grandstanding, he'd quickly see the benefits laying low. For one thing, the environment would be far more contained than what he's used to - if he drew the wrong sort of attention to himself, he couldn't just escape it by running to the other side of the planet. He'd also be depowered, which would throw him off his game, particularly as he'd be around plenty of mortals who weren't depowered. Lastly, if people weren't paying attention to him, that would mean they couldn't stop him from creepily hanging around scared people and mooching off of their fear (he'd probably have to be chased away from the infirmary a lot for exactly this reason). Ultimately, though, I doubt any of this would last long - the Barge is a small place, and it's hard to hide.

He'd also be prone to treating humans (and other non-spirits) very differently from how he treats beings that he considers to be similar to him. He'd be less likely to develop strong positive or negative feelings towards a mortal (though it definitely wouldn't be impossible), he wouldn't take them as seriously, and he'd generally consider himself to be above them in many ways - not necessarily in a superior, snobby way, but more like "I was here before you and I'll be here long after you're gone, you whippersnappers". In contrast, beings that he'd put on the same plane as himself would be seen as equals, at least of a sort.

Path to Redemption:
Trying to impose a human moral code on Pitch would not be very effective. He understands the rationale behind holding humans to human standards - but he isn't human who lives in human society, and he would be extremely quick to point this out. A good warden for him would be someone who wouldn't try to convince him to abandon the fear thing entirely. For better or for worse, it is what he exists to do, and anyone who tried to tell him to find something else would be met with immediate scorn and an instant lack of respect. The trick would be to convince him to use fear to help humanity rather than to hurt it. He understands more than anyone that fear is a complicated thing, and that it can do good as well as bad (it keeps people cautious, for example, and helps them avoid unnecessary risk-taking), and if he adjusted his approach to focus on that, it would be easier for him to coexist with the nicer spirits (the way, it should be mentioned, he used to do with little to no major trouble). Once someone found an approach that worked well with him, it actually wouldn't be likely to take long to get him to come around. If that approach wasn't found, though, he could easily become a lifer. There are just some things that he would never be willing to try to change, and his true nature and purpose is one of them.

History: Here's the Wikipedia article for the film. In addition, the first of the comics mentioned here is official movie canon.

Sample Journal Entry:
[Pitch arrives disoriented and confused, which is not helped along by the fact that the last thing he remembers is being dragged underground by his own nightmare horses. He ignores his communicator completely at first, but after spending enough time eavesdropping on people's conversations in person, he begins to develop the beginnings of an idea of what is going on here. And he isn't happy.

The whole idea of the network strikes him as rather silly on a boat this size, but it seems to be the best way to get a quick message out to everyone - an angry, hissing, contextless message, in this case.]


Give me back my powers.

[That's all anyone gets for a while. He gets some replies, but they're mostly questions, and he doesn't feel like dealing with them. He smacks the communicator off and jumps to his feet, muttering darkly to himself as he paces back and forth across the empty deck.]

A "prison", is it.

[Air-quotes.]

For "rehabilitation".

[He looks up to the sky out of habit, searching for the moon - but, of course, not seeing it. That makes him scowl harder, but he starts talking to the Man in the Moon anyway.]

Are you out there, old friend? Can you hear me, or does this Admiral have powers beyond yours? Did he take me away without your knowledge... or did you ask him to?

[His lips curl back as he snarls in anger at the idea. Then he abruptly whips around and stalks back inside.]

Sample RP:
Most people start to feel confined and closed-in on the Barge after the first few weeks - or the first few months, if they're lucky. Pitch feels it in the first few minutes. He can't leave; it's the first thing he tries. He can't even travel from one end of the ship to the other properly - he has to walk. It's maddening.

But once the initial indignation wears off, he begins to think pragmatically, and he immediately falls into the same trap that so many inmates do. He's heard time and time again that nobody has ever escaped the Barge, but none of them have been him; surely he can manage it, if he just finds the right way to go about it. The Admiral is an incredibly powerful, secretive spirit - that much is obvious. Trying to find him and fight him clearly won't do any good if even Arthas couldn't drive him away completely. No, Pitch's way off will have to be sneakier.

He'll be damned if he has any idea of how to do it, though.

He spends his first few weeks gathering intel - not by talking to people, but by listening. He flits around the ship, lurking in dark corners whenever he can find them (which isn't as often as he'd like; all the artificial light everywhere and the lack of any real night is one of his least favorite things about the Barge). He learns a lot, but not enough - mostly because, eventually, one or both of the people that he's watching will suddenly notice that they're being watched, and they'll head off to find somewhere more private to talk. It's not long before his reputation as a creepy eavesdropper spreads, and more and more people start making a concerted effort not to discuss about anything important when he's around. A couple of the more annoying residents start to take precautions by aiming hard kicks into any heavily-shadowed areas, just in case he's lurking in them.

For the first time in his existence, Pitch starts to wish that he were less noticeable.

Special Notes:
Pitch appears in both the film Rise of the Guardians and book series The Guardians of Childhood, which the film was based on. The fandom is divided on whether the books and the movie should be considered part of the same continuity or whether they're AUs of each other, particularly where Pitch is concerned (his backstory is markedly different in the film than it is in the books, though some players do find ways to combine the two). If I'm accepted, I'd like to play him as movie-only. To flesh out his background, I use the Matte comics. The first one is official movie canon, but while the rest are not, they don't contradict the movie in any way. I consider them supplemental headcanon.

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