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Let's Discuss the MC's Characterization Sticky

A topic by Minoh Workshop created 18 days ago Views: 822 Replies: 25
Viewing posts 1 to 15
Developer(+8)

There's a small set of recurring suggestions and pointers we get from readers, and the MC's characterization is up there in this regard. I'd like to have a thread about this because we could really use some input on this matter — but in the form of a dialogue where we can exchange ideas back and forth.

So, on one side we have a good number of readers who, quite fairly, would like the MC to be more thoroughly characterized. It's a bit odd, one can argue, that the MC can be so non-descript in the midst of a very solid, palpable cast. And so people somewhat often ask us to give the players more chances to characterize the MC, and others ask us to just inject more character ourselves.

This is very tricky, far more than people imagine.

What I can say is that, to a certain point, I think I could have done a better job in a few places and I'm making conscious effort to make the MC into a more active participant. There were moments when he really remained quiet when he should have interjected and debated more. I'm taking this into account going forward. You can also expect the MC to be more proactive in displaying his affection for Asterion as well.

That said, my self-improvement as a writer can only take things so far.

When we talk about more substantive ways to improve this, we run into a problem: the suggestions we receive are not as simple as most would assume.

For example, people often ask for us to give more options for the MC to characterize himself, talk about his past and so on. That sort of stuff takes up a lot more time than you guys imagine. It bloats the game's length like you wouldn't believe. There were moments back during Build 0.3 when we spent weeks working on the variations for each background — brainstorming, researching, comparing ideas, discarding and coming up with more, refining them, writing, editing...

And beyond the effort and time it takes, my impression in this regard is that it probably wouldn't be enough. The number of options we can give, the variety, just won't be enough to cover things even on a satisfactory level. And I think people would be very disappointed if these were throwaway choices that don't impact things later — but the more options we give, the more impossible it becomes to manage them. So, being very honest, I really have no desire to make a spreadsheet to track all the minuscule data points of what the MC might or might not have done before.

Suffice it to say, if we actually accepted this suggestion I'm very sure you guys would really regret the impact it has on development. It's the sort of thing that people would look back on and say it really wasn't worth it.

The other option is to better characterize the MC ourselves. That means not giving this as a choice to the players.

This will sound like a good idea for some of you. I know some who were delighted at this proposal. But, much like the previous one, there's a catch. In this topic I like to bring up that, back when we released Build 0.4, some people thought it jarring that the MC knows how to bake bread because they, the players, don't. So, being very honest here, I think that just going wild with this idea (to the extent people want) would be outright infuriating for a lot of players. Probably a higher number of them than those who enjoy the extra characterization, if I'm being honest.

So, you see, I do think we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Maybe it's pessimistic of me, but that's what I think.

...However, there is a third way out. And this is one we've been using since the very start of the game, we just kept quiet about it.

In truth, we actually do have a very firm vision of what the MC is like as a person, and we inserted it into the game from the very start. We just never spelled it out and used a few tools to do it.

For example, the narrator to a large extent has a bit of an acidic streak because it's a reflection of the MC's own attitude. This is a guy who, given the right circumstances, is not afraid of punching very powerful and important people, so it makes sense that he'd have some attitude.

Another thing we do is that the narrator should never tell the player what they should be thinking. You know what you think, after all. But, still, sometimes we want to establish a bit of the MC's thought process, so we phrase it like "One would think that..." or "It is fair to assume..."

We also put in a lot of very specific information about the MC. For starters, the game begins with him traveling and the narration quite clearly states that he's a frequent traveler. He's tired.

And then we get more. When he finds the hotel his first instinct is play detective and go over old documents. He investigates the list of employees and finds a pattern. He pays attention to his surroundings, connects the dots... finds an emaciated minotaur in the cold room and he keeps his calm. He gathers himself and asks questions. He can insist on helping Asterion, or can respect his boundaries. And the game goes on.

We were very deliberate with these moments of the story. We have a number of rules for how the MC should act. Assuming you are treating Asterion well (and avoiding the Ruthless Route), the MC is never lecherous, he doesn't overstep boundaries, he doesn't do things without consent. He is polite but not a doormat, and will stand up to the occasion. He's a bit acidic, he's good at banter, he's well-humored. He's a rather competent person, and even if you do not pick Leader as your background the MC will still be a good, competent one.

In Kota's route you can play detective again. The MC is inquisitive. In Khenbish's you can be a big brother to the boar, and the MC will readily push Khenbish to improve himself, sign the restaurant's menu. The MC lets people have their time under the spotlight. When it comes to Luke he always sets healthy boundaries, but never mistreats the guy. He's tolerant of difficult but well-intentioned people.

The MC does not have an inflated ego. He's aware that Asterion is a force to be reckoned and they work together. He insists on elevating Asterion, and when that stalls he lowers himself. He believes in paying his employees nicely, too, and that's no small virtue when you stop and think about it.

He can crack Argos' puzzles, too. And, even when he learns the truth, he can be humane. He can understand and forgive Argos. If you play your cards right, the MC can even enable Argos and Asterion to patch things up and become friends.

All of this is right there in the game. It's not even subtext. We just don't have the narrator hammering it down, we keep it understated, because this also allows you to fill in the gaps. You get to write a bit of the MC yourself, in your interpretation of things.

To give you an idea, we've considered the idea of having an optional segment later down the road where we'd show what the MC comes across from another character's perspective, and then we'd show just what kind of person he is from an outsider's perspective. I have a treasure trove of ideas for this, and none of them involve adding new aspects to the MC. It's all just bringing up what's already there, like I did just now.

Maybe this shed some light on why I'm not keen on rocking the boat too much with how we present the MC. While we do get complaints about the lack of characterization, I think changing the course would be even more uncomfortable for players — and on some level I think that connecting the dots about the MC is part of the process of interpreting the story. (Though, to be fair, I do think I dropped the ball at some points and I'm working to improve in this regard.)

And with this, I'd like to hear what you guys think. Maybe this long post changed your mind. Or not. Either way I'd like to hear what you think.

(+4)(-1)

from my experience reading vns, i find it best to have a protagonist with their own personality. i know people love the idea of self inserts but it just fails to me, because it means the protagonist has very generic traits that don't really matter and usually makes me forget they are even there. i was much more keen to connect with P in the hinterlands, (and guess who i ended up making fan art of). i understand the novelty of putting yourself in the story with a custom character, but as far as i've experienced it just can't ever be good enough customization to satisfy me (besides maybe appearance) and in the end i get a non character. now, i won't say you should course correct, this kind of thing will always result in backlash, and it's not like i have any stakes on MC. as is, he's effectively non existent to me.

(+1)

I totally understand that, but I'm pretty opposite? I enjoy a character who has a bit of personality, but is still generic enough that they can be used as a self insert... :P

(+2)(-1)

It just so happens that the cost for making a self insert causes a lack in personality that i don't find relatable. In a sense it still fails as an insert, so might aswell add some flavor and fail in style. Also it breaks the immersion to have this empty vessel being of vital importance to the plot. Feels like pandering for the sake of it, rather than something they earned.

(+1)

For some reason I'm reminded of a couple twists.

1. It turns out we (the player) were a possessor and not the character themselves.  This is actually surprisingly common.  Or that's how it looks to me.

2. Our character was a fake identity the whole time.  Well, okay that was only a twist once from what I can recall.  Technically it has been used more but not as a twist... for the audience anyway.

I actually kind of like these.  Except for cases of 1 where the character hates you.

(+4)

I always felt like the MC struck a good balance of having their own identity while still leaving enough wiggle room for self insertion. 

(+2)

To be fair,  I think the characterization of the MC is really well done so far. At the same time we have a lot of options inside the game we can choose as players, we can still see a lot of personality from the MC. As you stated, the MC is kind, has a curious nature, is a fair person and can have a firm grip when needed, and i think that's great. By my own personal experience with the Vn, i'm really satisfied with how things are going in this aspect.

(+8)

As someone else has mentioned I also tend to not really put myself in the shoes of the self-insert characters. I do think it's best if they remain somewhat ambiguous but well defined. I mentioned this before at some point but I think one of the things that can make an MC more of a self insert than a character is the way they are presented, which in a VN is basically their name (or if they are visible through customization, which is not the case for Minotaur Hotel). In this case, whenever the MC speaks, if they are shown with a name or with "You". Even if you can name him, it's more akin to naming the main character in an RPG or the like.

I like the characterization for the MC so far regardless, I can definitely tell he's a much more mature person than your typical FVN characters. I'm honestly very tired of teen drama and angst and this is a refreshing take on a MC. Someone who's had time to develop emotional maturity and is understanding of other's feelings and needs. Very much what I would hope an adult would act like.

(+1)

This is something else I really love about the MC, he's most likely a much older man than is usually depicted in any video game media. VN's tend to lean into teenage to early 20's in terms of ages for their player characters. I feel like the MC has to be in his late 20's at the youngest but likely in his 30's or older. His age is vague obviously to allow for most audiences to put themselves in his place, but it just makes sense for him to be older since he has the means to travel and has the leadership experience. I wish more games had adults that acted like adults with adult issues as protagonists.

(+4)(-4)

I think the problem I have with the MC is that, even though it's fine to have him be patient, intelligent and generally knowledgeable, after some time he comes across as too perfect. He always knows exactly what to say at the exact right time and never makes any missteps, at times he sounds more like a highly trained therapist than a nobody who's been travelling for an unknown amount of time (which makes the prospect of romance with Asterion a tad awkward too, am I his lover or his therapist?). For example, take the scene where Asterion is trying to convince the MC to stop giving him hope for a better future and start treating him more like the prisoner he is. It's a very difficult situation to be in, if it were me I'd probably lose my cool and snap at him. But the MC manages to handle the situation in the best way conceivably possible.

Rather than customizing his character entirely, I'd like more options for him to not necessarily say the right things at the right time, let him be a little more imperfect, tread on peoples toes occasionally.  I deceived Asterion into wearing the loincloth, it wasn't the right thing to do. Make more options like this, even going down the romantic route.

Deleted 10 days ago

Wasn't he pretty much kidnapped?  He was pretty reckless with the unknown ship though.  What brought up Adastra anyway?

I would have ducked out instead of snapping at Asterion.

(+3)

I've never had a problem with MCs not being self inserts, but I don't feel strongly about whatever style is used. Generally when I pay a VN I approach it almost as if reading a book. I'm there to experience a narrative, even if I can influence the way it will go to some extent.

Stablished characters that leave little open for the player to fill in the gaps never stopped me from putting myself on their shoes if I really wanted to. Sometimes just experiencing what a character sees and feels through a first person view serves the narrative better and, if that isn't to my satisfaction, I can always imagine how I'd handle scenarios if it was actually me. In the cases they are a whole character of their own with little input from the player, I do find it a bit more interesting to read along and trying to figure out what makes them tick.

I feel like I'm rambling a bit... When it comes to this VN in particular I really like how the MC has been handled. At some times I might have wished he wasn't so tight lipped, but he has strong enough traits, is very competent, kind and smart while still being "vague" enough that players can fill in the blanks if they feel like it. If fleshing out the MC or giving players more options to make him more to their liking is something that you guys want and/or are able to do, that's all well and good, but I'm pretty happy with the way thing are right now. It would also be a shame if implementing these sort of changes to the MC get in the way of the current development flow. If fleshing out the MC or giving players more agency for choosing personality traits gets in the way of narrative development, turns out to be too much effort to retroactively implement or ends up amounting to just being some fluff, that is a trade off I wouldn't be willing to make.

tldr: I'm happy with MC as is but I wouldn't mind if the way you characterize him changed, as long as the devs feel it's worth it and it doesn't get in the way of other things :)

(1 edit) (+1)

Well, what I think is, that is your game. You create it, write it, tailor it, so I'm not in the place to demand something. :)

Let's be frank. You're making a huge complex game, with great characters, amazing world and  strong plot. You're doing it for free, not even asking for donations. You even allow us, players, to participate in its creation by crowdsourcing ideas. So, yes. I would love the main character to be more active, more talkative, I would love him to have more defined background and have different dialogue options that creates his background and/or have additional consequences in the future. But if it is too tedious to be implemented, then it is. It doesn't make the game worse.

More than that, I think any person with at least average imagination (and I consider myself having really mediocre imagination) can create headcanon for their MC, and while it cannot be explicitly articulated in the game, one can dream, right? :) And I often dream of possible situations and interactions between MC (or me personally for that matter) and Asterion.

Maybe one day there will be a 'remake', or sequel, or some Minotaur Hotel version 2.0, or something else. When you have more time and more possibilities, and if you ever want to go back to this world you created. Until then, the game is beautiful as it is. 

(3 edits) (+3)

Okay. I thought to make an edit to my previous post. However it becomes too big, so I write another one.

The only thing I can imagine that can be not too hard to implement. Let the player sometimes answer to phrases in the simple dialogues, that don't have further consequences. For example, the drinking game got it really good. I don't know, if there will be consequences, yet, however I can imagine it's just a fun time, where the player can act as they please. Another option is the dialogue with the old man in the prologue, where you can say that you saw something supernatural, or that science can explain many things (yet again, maybe this choice has some consequences, and just missed them). But what I'm talking about: such choices can spice up the game and add depth to the MC without requiring an extensive rewrite or creating too many branching paths, just add a line here and there. And there are plenty of such moments in game. The recent I remember, is when you sitting with Asterion first night after the lounge opens, and he asks you "Have you ever looked at someone you know and seeing them like the first time", simple "Yes, I do know the feeling" or "No, I've never experienced it" with some one-line reaction from Asterion if latter is chosen (first option already have a great "What a precious thing" answer) can get the player more immersed and add to the roleplay experience of the game. And there are more dialogues where it can be implemented.

But it maybe not everyone's cup of tea. I understand, that some players prefer to have only important choices, so someone could be unhappy with the possibility of such "flavour" things.

At least once I'd seen Asterion get huffy after the drinking game.  I forget what choices I made to get there.

Not sure if that would get longer term consequences.

(1 edit)

Well, I just answered honestly, as me. It was quite innocent. :) However I assume, there can be consequences. But the main idea is to create some dialogue choices that are there just for the flavour of the game, and don't bear any long-term consequences, requiring to create spreadsheets, having track of dozens of possible branches, etc. :)

(+5)

a thought that occurred to me while playing the game is that the mc can be a bit of a mary sue. after some thinking, i don't think that's true - the mc is just the only decent person in a room full of people who are not used to that. and while i can see this being the whole point of a character - someone being so perfect they better the lives of people around them, - maybe that's not what you guys were going for?

i enjoy main characters having their own personalities, and this vn has had a good one so far. just inserting my two cents here, the mc fucking up would be neat, right now he seems way too calm and collected. the only flaw i saw in him was being too invasive with kota, and even at the end of chapter 18 his outburst of anger was justified. it doesn't have to be anything major though, small missteps just make him feel more human, i think

(+2)

That makes a lot of sense to me, yeah

I think you've correctly identified the source of the problem, too, in that the characterization that MC has been given is too easy to miss. I don't think it's because it's too subtle, it's because it's camouflaged. Things that you've cited as character choices are phrased and presented in a way where they could be plausibly interpreted as excuses for the self-insert blank slate: we see the MC is thoughtful and methodical, we know a character would need to be that to always let the player explore as much as they want, and therefore we assume this is a gameplay decision that the narrative is rationalizing and not an actual trait the character has.  He's inquisitive, and because a character would have to be inquisitive to dig into Kota's past, or ask for all the explanations of how the research and exploration systems work, we therefore assume that's why he's inquisitive. Because of the genre of the story, and the form it's told in, it doesn't occur to us to think of these traits as more than a storytelling convenience.

I do think the best solution is to just be less ambiguous about the characterization that's already there. Subtlety is good, I'm a fan of it, but because this subtly is being masked behind what looks like game structure, and the expectations thereof, we don't even notice it's there at all.

(+3)

Well, I had a lot typed up on this subject before by browser decided to yeeted all of it so simple, bear minimum with no deconstruction of MH's writing from my view it is.

I like the characterization of the MC as it is. I like that I gives me room to think and reflect on my own thoughts on the text rather than being told what the MC is feeling and thinking. This makes the text more engaging rather than a text meant to just be read thus it makes the text more memorable. The MC has enough character to be a separate person to myself but blank enough for me to be able to put myself in his place. No shade being through to people asking for the MC to be more characterized, it would make the text less engaging and expect less of its audience.

As someone in a Discord server pointed out, people asking for more characterization may have resonated with Pedro and the style of writing from the Hinterlands chapters. While those chapters are some of the most engrossing writings, it had limitations. The first-person perspective limited it just Pedro and we never saw the Hinterlands from the perspective of Oscar besides what he shared with Pedro. Pedro made his own choices and had his own thoughts, the only input we had over his actions was his investigation. Regardless of whether we the players had Pedro hang out with Oscar, Pedro always made the internal struggle to be a better person to Oscar. This characterization works if your audience can find something in the character to relate to but will not if they can't which is why having a self-insert makes it easier to get a wider audience step into.

No character can ever be a complete blank slate and a lot of times, most characters are not. Two VN's that come to mind are Hatoful Boyfriend and Extracurricular Activities. Both of these VN's have characters that are supposed to be self inserts, down to naming your character, but it's clear that they're their own person with their own history and personality that a lot of times don't match with the audience at all. What a lot of these games lack is a dossier on the character which can be jarring and boring to introduce at the beginning. At the same time, it is jarring to be playing a game and then something about the character's backstory is revealed in the text that is definitely not how you were picturing the person you were playing. With Hatoful Boyfriend, there's a hidden story with its own lore that's happening but I think it could have done better to establish the PC better. With EA, I like that a lot of the PC's current living circumstances are presented right away and past history comes up when it would be naturally reference but I don't like that in the beginning, I got the impression we're playing as ourselves by naming our character and picking a look for him, and I don't believe he has a family name like Hiyoko Tosaka does in HB. (It's also jarring for me as an uncircumcised man to have my penis described as circumcised as I would imagine it might be for someone with the opposite circumstance. Just putting that out there.) Maybe it's all in how PC's are introduced and setting up expectations for the player?

It's an odd balancing act. You either make a 100% defined character with a set history, personality and skill set or you make a blank slate of a person who you have to assume may not know how to tie shoes or try to do something in the middle. But as I see it, you've done an overall great job with the MC. Could it be improved in some places? Of course, just like with most writing. Maybe you'd consider revisiting past chapters and tightening up the MC a little when the story is complete a long with some other things that might be loose when it comes to releasing writing in parts.

(+3)

I like the meat of the writing of the MC a lot when you take basically any scene he's in individually. It's the portrayal of his morals and ethics overall that strike me as a bit off. I feel like the main game's protagonist is a hyper-idealized individual, who's far too competent and not particularly human. In truth, if anyone was going to secretly turn out to be a god, my money might've been on the MC if not for the clear characterization telling us otherwise, and the contract.

Even in the Ruthless route this gets turned on its head in the worst way rather than the MC actually being base in some way. His reasons for going off the deep end are specifically because of delusions of moral superiority. Even as a monster, he is evidently not capable of doing what he thinks is the wrong thing. That feels particularly alien to me. 

There's a lot of talk about him putting aside negative thoughts or impulses for the sake of Asterion in the main route, but what I find odd is that he simply doesn't have those thoughts expressed at any point. And like someone said prior, when he's put into difficult situations he responds with not just the patience of a saint, but the competence of a trained psychologist, in most if not all circumstances, such that he never actually feels like he has to deal with Asterion's clear trauma in the way that someone normal probably would. There's no accidentally triggering him, or just even being around him when he's triggered. He shows sadness, but not anywhere near the shaky, aversive, shut-down he does in the ruthless route for instance, and sidestepping that sort of thing completely isn't something someone easily does.

(+2)

I've kind of thought that maybe Athena's ichor (since he seems obsessed with the glory of Athens) might have had an influence in making the masters cruel which explains why you have the options that lead down the Ruthless route however that is the easy way out of holding the MC accountable for his actions. Even if there is an influence on him, it wouldn't explain why the MC has those thoughts of ordering unhealed Asterion around or thinking that it'd be ok to send Asterion to see Argos when merely hearing the flute gives him a panic attack just because Argos promises something that's clearly easily misconstrued so he could harm Asterion psychologically. That is the MC not being perfect, even in some innocent interpretations if he actually believes Argos' promise. We also do see the MC in some high-pressure situations like when he gets attacked by the Effigy, he panics at the situation and has the option to run away. If MC knows Argo's true identity, he's clearly angry at Jean for wanting to kill Argos; I interpret his order with anger. I also feel like a hyper-idealized MC wouldn't have needed to punch Jean to snap him out of his delusion. There are also his responds he could say to Luke if he is the first guest when he's hitting on Asterion and his responds to Luke and Kota budding heads when they first meet. He could be less professional or not want to step in like a leader should.

There's also another factor that I think you're forgetting when it comes to the MC's ability to be competent as a leader, the hotel is pretty much a post scarcity haven for anyone that isn't Asterion; a lot of the pressures of leadership come from allocating limited resources and the difficult choices that come with it. There is a lack of time and manpower during Argo's trial but that's a special circumstance. At any other point, why wouldn't the MC be a patient person? He's the owner of a magical hotel with adequate staff; he's likely not going to have too much difficulty meeting guest and staff needs. Altan even alludes to this when he talks about how it's easy for the MC to consider being accommodating towards Khenbish if his curse was an issue while working at the Hotel. As for keeping his head cool and not getting triggered during conflict resolution situations, that suggests that the MC having previous leadership experience (regardless of the player's chosen background). I would probably argue is something that does need to be established better as a part of any MC and in a way that doesn't make that seem like it should be limited to just the Leadership background (like rename the Leadership background to Business Manager?). As someone who has been in a leadership position, you learn to keep your cool otherwise you won't last long in those types of positions. Though personally, dealing with dangerous animals and unrealistic workloads was much easier for me as a leader than dealing with people and I no longer am a leader, having and using those skills I picked up still has people turning to me as a leader and looking to me even if I don't want it. It's why most leaders are charismatic even if they're not the most knowledgeable in their fields, which is why charisma is another trait you could infer of the MC.

Though one point you do have, and I hope we do see, is the MC reflecting with Asterion about any stress he's feeling about running the hotel. Especially after what happens at the end of chapter 18. Give the MC an option to reflect on that incident with Asterion rather than asking Asterion just his thoughts as he reflects on the events.

Developer(+4)
Though one point you do have, and I hope we do see, is the MC reflecting with Asterion about any stress he's feeling about running the hotel. Especially after what happens at the end of chapter 18. Give the MC an option to reflect on that incident with Asterion rather than asking Asterion just his thoughts as he reflects on the events.

I really like that idea, I'll try and explore it.

(2 edits)

I like the idea of Athena's influence somehow being the cause, it would explain why the two characters of the different routes feel so at odds. Though I would contend essentially all of the things you put forward as signs of imperfection: None of those are imperfections, they're just character traits, and ones that don't cause the MC any real direct and personal stress. And I would point at that as far as I can tell there is no middle ground or friendship route at the moment - From my attempts at playing through it there's no recovering Asterion's trust once he's sent out so the point of him sending him out innocently is moot given that he then goes full Athenian Archon.

But yes, I think reflection is the issue as well. He doesn't have the opportunity to ever express doubts and fears, which makes it seem like he simply doesn't have them. My mind immediately jumps to all of the decisions where he does have the opportunity to go down the Ruthless route, where the choices are presented almost completely neutrally - If you choose a good option, it is not presented as if the MC had a choice there, it's presented as if the MC was always going to act that way, and never had second thoughts. 

Honestly, the gold-and-leaden arm-rings thing grates me here as well, because at that point it isn't a choice for the MC. It's fine that it isn't a choice, but it's clear what it tells the player about the MC: He's so saintly he's not even going to put forward any real argument against wearing something that can and quite probably might sever his arm at some point. The contract as put forward only requires Asterion to be bludgeoned over the head before he can say "I want to go out into the valley" and then be dragged into the valley and the MC either dies of shock and bloodless or is an amputee. I wouldn't have agreed to this contract, personally, at all. For someone who clearly has the malevolence of otherworldly entities following him around I actually think it's strikingly foolish of Asterion to suggest in those words - It begs to have the gods punish him directly for his hubris by setting up a torture he designed.

(+1)

That is why I'd like to see the MC reflect and maybe feel a bit of doubt in his current predicament following Chapter 18. While he's been in some danger before with needing to go out into the Valley for Argos' trial and the Effigy, the realm does bend to his will, and he's had the safety of the hotel to fall back on. This time, however, there was a threat inside the hotel and was a Greek god, a creator of said realm, so that would make more most people new to the existence of magic pause and wonder if they're in over their head. There's also room for the MC to doubt his leadership skills since Asterion takes control of the situation smoothly; more so if you didn't figure out Jean's identity. This would be a good opportunity to get support and reassurance from Asterion.

(+5)

Well to be fair I think nothing that has happened in the story until this point would be particularly distressing directly to the MC himself, other than getting attacked by the Effigy, or his first encounter with Asterion. Everything else in between is fairly casual and non-threatening in comparision so I don't see a reason why we would see a negative side of the character. He's just very pragmatic and I actually kind of appreciate his level-headedness.

(+2)

I don't know about everyone, but I'm literally learning from him. :) Ability to be calm and collected in different situations, and ability to say the right words to the right person at the right time, that's what I'm lacking. So, he is a good person to learn from. :)