Monday, March 27, 2017

Grey the Mercenary: The Rules

I recently came across Chuck Jones' Rules for his Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons. It's an impressive list, and it really works to both define the characters and focus in on the types of stories that he wanted to tell.

I realized, while reading it, that I had cultivated my own rules for the Grey the Mercenary stories, even though I hadn't been consciously aware of doing it. Because I think it's interesting, and because I feel like showing off, I now hereby present to you, Gentle Reader, the rules that govern Grey.


  • Grey is never the point-of-view character in his stories. (There may be one exception to this.)
  • Grey must feature in every story, but he is rarely ever the focal point of the story.
  • The protagonist of each story must work to solve their own problems.
  • Grey will assist the protagonist, but will never, ever solve the problem by himself.
  • Each protagonist should be unique, and come from a different background. This facilitates Grey's wandering nature, but also allows you to explore numerous areas of the setting.
  • A small amount of Grey's backstory should be revealed in each story.
  • Different protagonists will describe Grey differently, as a reflection of their own beliefs and mental states.
  • The Saints, Prophets, and Ancestors can be oft-mentioned by their adherents, but should never do anything.
  • True magic is extremely rare, and is always tied to Life somehow.
  • The three big factions (Commonwealth, Company, Insurgency) should be presented as shades of gray with the occasional streak of black or white.
  • The stories take place over a long period of time, but they all should have similar settings and tech levels (18th century with a bit of steamy punk thrown in there).

So there you have it. I hope that was at least mildly interesting for you. We'll see how well I adhere to these rules down the road.

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