14 January 2012 @ 04:04 am
Player's Name: Kit
Contact info:
E-Mail: kit.petitedra@verizon.net
AIM: Phantastus
Plurk: Phantastus
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Character: James Sunderland
Canon: Silent Hill
Version: Just straight-up game canon!
Canon Point: Somewhere during the exploration of the Silent Hill Historical Society. After he saves Angela from the Abstract Daddy, but before he encounters Eddie for the last time.
Age: 29
Gender: Male



History: James's article on the Silent Hill Wiki
If that's not enough, just let me know and I'll summarize to the best of my ability!

Personality:
James is something of an enigmatic figure to most people who meet him.

He's very quiet, and can come off as surly or cold to anyone who doesn't know better-- though the sullen persona quickly falls apart once he's actively interacting with somebody, because he's a pretty terrible actor. The truth is that under the facade, James is sensitive and kind, even described as "sweet" by the person who knew him best: his wife. A shy person at heart, James is and probably always has been somewhat terrible at interacting with people and, in times of sadness or strife, prefers to close himself off more as a form of self-defense than anything else. After losing his wife* (who was arguably the only person he had a very close relationship with) to a hideous terminal disease, he was left bitter, hurt, and lonely, with a tendency to put up flimsy mental walls to avoid being hurt further. They don't really do their job, though. At his best, he's actually quite eager to make friends and help out anyone who seems like they need it, although his terminal awkwardness frequently makes this difficult-- not even the other social rejects he gets to interact with in canon seem to want anything to do with him, probably because conversations with James all too frequently wind up being UNCOMFORTABLE PAUSES AND AWKWARDLY EARNEST OBSERVATIONS: THE CUTSCENE. He himself often appears apprehensive or even a little alarmed by the other characters, but that doesn't stop him from expressing worry that they're alone in such a dangerous place, and even throwing in a few awkward, hopeful "Let's stick together!"s when he runs into them, despite repeated rejections.

In fact, almost everything he does is awkward. This is a man with some wires loose-- something that was exacerbated by the things he's gone through and the slow unraveling of his grip on reality, but has always been present to an extent. Absent-minded and a little bit dreamy, James is described as "so forgetful" and frequently displays bizarre leaps in logic or nonsensical decisions that someone with more common sense probably wouldn't make. He sticks his hands into filthy places or mysterious holes without hesitation (even going as far to stick his hand into one again immediately after getting bitten by something unseen the first time), wanders away from his car with the doors wide open, and even leaps down ominously-deep holes seemingly without any concern for his personal safety outside of a bit of nervous waffling. Although he's not outright stupid, he's sure not the brightest crayon in the box and his absent-minded moments can range from harmless (this is the sort of person who'd walk into the house with his keys in one hand and an empty soda can in the other, and then drop his keys in the garbage and sort of stand there for a minute like ".... oh. :c") to dangerous (after an increasingly-deranged man hollers that he'll kill the next person who makes fun of him, a concerned James unwittingly blurts out "Eddie, are you NUTS??" Yeah. That goes over about as well as you'd think it would).

Despite the fact that he HAS very few close attachments, James is someone who defines himself almost entirely by his relationships with other people. There's little else to do it by-- at 29, all he really has to his name is a nondescript clerk job. He's the guy nobody notices, just another part of the crowd. He's an average joe, mediocre in almost every professional way, and as such his sense of wellbeing is entirely hinged on whether or not he can be the sort of upstanding, all-American man who can take care of his family and protect the weak and vulnerable. Which is a little ironic, because James himself is as vulnerable as they come. It's easy to win James's loyalty and incredibly hard to lose it-- although he doesn't necessarily delude himself into forgetting bad treatment (he even seems resentful of it at times if it's too blatant, although it seems to be primarily a front, or in response to somebody badmouthing/mocking his feelings for his late wife), he does tolerate it to an almost ridiculous extent.

Put simply, the man is a doormat. It literally takes someone actively attempting to kill him before he will fight back beyond the occasional angry outburst (which he usually apologizes profusely for mere seconds later)-- and even then, he feels profound guilt for inflicting harm upon another, even in cases of justified self-defense. Over the course of the game, James winds up somehow angering or upsetting every single other character he interacts with at least once, and on only ONE occasion (he gets shot in the shoulder after attempting to reason with the man in the earlier example) does he fight back in any way. In other cases, James is insulted, verbally abused, and even physically struck by other characters, but reacts only by figuratively rolling belly-up and waiting for it to be over. He prefers to avoid conflict where possible, choking down his own anger as long as he can.

His self-confidence, which was never exceptional to begin with, took a crippling blow when his beloved wife fell ill in a way that not even doctors could cure. Because he was completely powerless to save her, it soaked into pretty much every other aspect of his life. He often feels helpless and every subsequent failure (whether it's as mundane as getting snapped at by somebody or as serious as failing to save someone's life) makes it worse. And for someone who's so fixated on helping or saving people, he kind of ... sucks at it.

He goes through life in a state of almost-constant melancholy-- it's only when the melancholy lifts that James's natural and somewhat foolish optimism, something that's been long-buried for the most part, shines a little bit. Those instances are few and far between-- although he currently is clinging to the delusional hope that his wife might be alive, which will bring his hopeful side out a little bit more than normal. The guilt and conflict he feels over his wife's fate have torn him up inside, and while he's not a bad person, not by a long shot, he IS very unstable. Silent Hill really did not help things in that regard.


*SPOILERS: he, uh, killed her. :(
I'm giving this its own little section because, perhaps more than ANYTHING else, it is this act and the causes behind it that say a lot about James as a person. There are two sides to his crime and, being the conflicted and generally screwed-up person that he is, both are important. Under normal circumstances, James is not a man who would honestly be capable of murder. The thought of killing another human being just tears him up inside, as he openly displays after being forced to kill someone during the game, in a fight that would have ended in his death had he not killed his opponent first.
The murder of his wife was an event that was the result of three years of essentially watching her die in agony right in front of him, and dealing with all the emotional trauma that came with it.
THE SELFISH: As Mary, his wife, slowly wasted away, their once-happy relationship became frayed and hurtful. She began to have violent mood swings, often lashing out at him cruelly in her own fear and pain. Unsurprisingly, James began to harbor a lot of anger inside, growing bitter and distant as more and more of it built up. He craved company, both emotionally and physically, but found himself weighed down by her, unable to carry on with his life-- he even began to feel as though he was dying with her, as if she was somehow deliberately taking him with her as she died (a vast mistake on his part-- despite the fact that she took her anger and pain out on him, in truth she wanted him to carry on with his life). Killing her was partially a selfish act, an expression of his wanting his life back after it had been destroyed by the disease that not only was transforming her health, but also her personality. On some level he did know that these things were not really her fault-- but chose to ignore it out of his own bitterness when he finally snapped.
THE SELFLESS: Just as important as his loathing is his love. Despite admitting that he resented her, James is also almost single-mindedly devoted to her, even after her death. Watching someone he cared so intensely about essentially decay in front of his eyes (literally-- she herself described the sickness as making her look "like a monster", and she wasn't far off) was utterly catastrophic, and as hurtful as her words often were, it was watching the woman that he adored beyond all reason suffer that hurt him the most. She was almost literally his other half, the one light in his life. Particularly towards the end, Mary began to beg for death, repeating over and over that she wished the doctors would just let her die. Although James's actions certainly had a selfish aspect to them, an equally-big aspect was one of mercy, because he could no longer bear to let her fester pointlessly on death's doorstep when she herself wanted so desperate for it all to be over. When he finally reaches Mary herself at the end of the game, she confronts his tearful confession of anger and hatred by reminding him that if that was the whole truth, he wouldn't be so filled with sadness at her death.


Fears:
-first and foremost, helplessness. James is overpowered by his feelings of helplessness. He wants to be strong enough to protect himself and his loved ones from anything, but his failures in that regard have pretty much cemented his own powerlessness in his mind. This manifests in a generalized fear of situations that render him helpless. Being trapped in small, claustrophobic spaces or physically restrained (by hand or otherwise) terrify him. A monster in his game called the Lying Figure, a vaguely-humanoid creature that appears to be trapped in a straightjacket made of its own skin, represents his perception of himself regarding this fear.
-Water. Everything in James's vision of Silent Hill's Otherworld is characterized by water. Cold fog, puddles, flooded buildings, and water decay everywhere. In addition to being all ~symbolic~ and stuff, its constant presence landed James with a bit of hydrophobia. He won't freak out over a glass of water or anything, but dripping sounds make him nervous, and he'll be skittish around large bodies of it. He'll probably favor showers over baths unless he's in a particularly weird and self-loathing mood.
-Suffocation. Kinda related to the first two, but it's a specific fear as well as just a correlated one. James killed his wife by smothering her, and this comes back to haunt him in Silent Hill in the form of monsters that frequently attempt to strangle him, or even force ... um, things down his throat to choke him (seriously Pyramid Head what the hell, is that thing your TONGUE or a TENTACLE or what?)
-Insects. More of a discomfort than a fear, but James isn't a big fan of bugs, thanks to both a childhood living in a shabby apartment complex, as well as a particularly traumatic incident in canon involving getting locked into a tiny room with no lights and dozens of big biting bugs. Yeeeeeeggh.
-Because of the monsters he faced in Silent Hill, James can be easily set off by anyone making sudden, unnatural-looking twitchy movements.
-Anything that even remotely reminds him of Pyramid Head. This could be anything from big, physically-imposing people to hearing metal being scraped across the ground.
Actually, for that matter, pretty much anything that reminds him of Silent Hill will set him into minor anxiety attacks. There'll probably be multiple things of that nature all over the place.

Weaknesses:
-DERP: He's... well, he's kind of... dim. Part of it's due to his sort of natural DURRness, and part of it's due to the fact that his mind is a little off-kilter. Either way, he's sort of doofy on all fronts and does a lot of things that would leave normal, common-sense-possessing people scratching their heads. He gets confused easily and has the streetsmarts of a half-eaten marshmallow. Weird situations and details may faze him briefly, but all too often he seems to just meander through the strangest of circumstances with his head in the clouds. Not to mention he has a tendency to say THE absolute worst thing at the worst time when he's interacting with others, and being totally bewildered when it gets a bad reaction. He sees the world a little differently from most others, and he never really seems to figure out how to compensate for that while interacting. HOW DOES I PEOPLE?
-REPRESSED WITH A CAPITAL 'R'. Rather than confront his negative or harmful feelings or express them in healthy ways, he represses them to the point of self-harm or obsession. He bottles up his anger beyond all reason, and even when his temper flares, he falls all over himself to backpedal and apologize. Same thing with lust-- despite desperately wanting a sexual outlet, he's too busy beating himself up with OH GOD I'M MARRIED MY WIFE IS DYING WHY AM I EVEN THINKING ABOUT ~THAT~ I MUST BE A HORRIBLE PERSON OH GOD ONLY MONSTERS WOULD THINK ABOUT THAT AT A TIME LIKE THIS to do anything but bottle that up, too. Emotions as a general rule are something he constantly fights to keep contained and it takes a toll on him.
-Delusion/Denial. Yet ANOTHER thing James represses is... well, actual memories. Although he obviously regains them eventually, as the whole point of his story is discovering, accepting, and repenting for what he's done, before he does any of that, he literally forgets three years of his life and replaces them with false memories-- convincing himself that Mary had died three years ago (in reality that's only when the diagnosis was made) and that he had been all alone ever since. He copes with bizarre or disturbing situations by rationalizing explanations out of thin air in his head a lot of the time, sometimes clinging to the flimsiest logic in order to avoid confronting upsetting truths. This sort of thing has a chance of reoccurring should James experience anything tremendously traumatic. Nothing goes away forever, but before he can recover from things, he may sink into denial for a bit and convince himself that they never happened in the first place.
-Alcoholic. During the years of Mary's illness, James turned to drink to numb the pain. It's still a major temptation for him, even though he denies having a problem with it, dismissing it as just liking to "drink a fair bit." Because he does it specifically to 'forget' things for a little while, it's become almost a psychosomatic thing-- he'll get loopy fast just because he 'trained' himself to go into I'M DRUNK AND I DON'T CARE mode as quickly as possible.
-Out of shape: James is a big guy. Official sources describe him as 'soft around the edges', which is sort of the nice way of saying that he's got some paunch. He tires out embarrassingly easily, and sometimes struggles to move large objects. Part of this is aggravated by Silent Hill itself playing on his inadequacy issues (in a particularly embarrassing example, he fails at opening a fridge without help and is actively made fun of for it), but the point still stands.
-... Kind of noodly and squeamish, too. Although he A) is fine reaching into or crawling around in disgusting places, and B) is fine with and perfectly capable of killing monsters, he's kind of... prissy and awkward about it. He kicks like he's afraid of getting muck on his boots and he swings his weapons kind of like a spaz. Definitely no formal training in fighting, here-- he just sort of flails his way through everything.
-Doormat: This is sort of self-explanatory. You can do just about anything to James short of like, stabbing him, and he won't do a thing about it except maybe look a little unhappy with you. And even that's debatable-- at one point it takes getting SHOT before he stops with the 'YOU NEED HELP LET ME HELP YOU' and actually kills his attacker, and then he cries about it. Underneath that thin surly cover, James wants to please people, and he wants it so badly that he'll tolerate almost anything until he's pushed to the breaking point. This leads to exactly the kind of vulnerability he tries to hide. He's easy to mislead, easy to manipulate, and easy to hurt.
-In fact, related to the above, he's especially susceptible to the LAAAAYDEEEEZ. Although James is fiercely loyal to his wife, almost to the point of being obnoxious (MARY MARY GOTTA FIND MARY, HAVE YOU SEEN MY WIFE? I GOT A LETTER FROM HER, HER NAME IS MARY. LOOK HERE'S A PICTURE OF HER!! SHE'S VERY PRETTY. GOTTA FIND MARY).... boy can he get distracted by a nice pair of bazongas, if you know what I mean. While he's INCREDIBLY unlikely to be deliberately unfaithful, women will find it pretty easy to lead him around by the nose if they want him to do something for them.
-That said... the temper. When he DOES lose it, he usually puts his foot in his mouth. He doesn't generally have violent outbursts (those are more likely to be motivated by fear or desperation than anger, although if they ARE angry, watch out) and in fact rarely even says anything particularly hurtful (examples of his scathing wrath include "You snotty little brat!" and "This town is fulla monsters!! How can you just sit there and eat pizza!"), but the outbursts always seem to make the situation worse rather than better-- and usually not in his favor.
-Self-hatred/suicidal: James loathes himself with an intensity that's almost a little scary. Tying in with his general feelings of helplessness and guilt, James subconsciously believes he deserves to be punished for his sins. This is part of why he essentially takes his lumps without fighting back. His hatred and disgust with himself are so great that Silent Hill even conjured up a torturer-executioner creature from his subconscious, intended to punish him for his weakness and wrongdoings. The perverse and twisted behavior of this creature, the infamous Pyramid Head, both represents James's own skewed and negative impression of himself (blowing his internal anger and sexual repression up to exaggerated levels because these parts of himself frighten him), as well as what he feels he deserves for his sins. Which is... well... um. Not very nice.
Punishment aside, James is also just flat-out suicidal (although he denies it vehemently if accused of it to his face). In his fragile state of mind, he teeters precariously between wanting to survive as Mary would have wanted him to, and wanting to end it all so that the pain will be over.

Mundane Strengths/Abilities:
-YEP. SEEN IT. One advantage James may have in this setting is-- ... WELL, THIS IS KIND OF WHAT HE'S BEEN DOING FOR AWHILE. Although James is absolutely not immune to the terror and unease that permeates the atmosphere in spooky old buildings that crawl with monsters and ghosts, he IS sort of... used to it. He's already experienced the jarring sensation of SUDDENLY MONSTERS and will in fact probably not even be aware that he's left Silent Hill when he awakes in the manor-- he'll continue to chug on as normal, albeit with some confusion at all these new creatures he hasn't seen before. WHERE ARE ALL THE NURSES? :C HEY DOES ANYBODY KNOW THE WAY TO LAKEVIEW HOTEL??
-Weapons-- improvised or otherwise. Having more or less adapted to surviving in hostile, monster-filled places, James is used to using whatever he can get his hands on to fight them off. Guns, steel pipes, knives... Hell, the first weapon he ever picked up against a monster was just an old board with some nails in it-- he ain't picky, and he's gotten plenty of practice at putting monsters out of their (or his) misery.
-Resourceful/POCKETS OF HOLDING. Similar to the above, James is good at using his surroundings. He's got a knack for homing in on odds and ends that might be of use to him, sometimes even stuff that nobody else would consider. The result is a man with big deep pocketsful of goodies (hey, he's got that big bulky army coat for a reason, okay?) from wherever he may find them-- even the nasty places. This is somebody who would literally reach into a disgusting clogged toilet with his bare hands if he spotted something stuck in there that he might need. Disgusting? Yes. Probably yet another symptom of his total lack of common sense? Yes. But who knows? It might save him or somebody else someday! He's like MacGuyver. Except not as cool.
For this reason, he might be handy to have around when it comes to finding small but important things. WHERE IS IT? WHERE IS IT, BOY? GO GET IT!
-Loyal. This is admittedly also a flaw in his case, seeing as he's loyal to a fault, but it is truly one of James's best traits. He'd follow someone to the end of the earth (and in fact pretty much DID in Mary's case) to save them if they were someone he cared about.
-Determined: Once James truly gets his mind set on something, there's very little someone can do to deter him from it-- even if they're waving all his biggest vices, temptations, or weak points right in front of his nose. In fact, the only times he ever stands up for himself tends to BE when someone gets in the way of or tries to question or belittle his feelings on his wife whatever he's trying to get to.
-Handyman. JAMES IS MAN. MAN USE TOOL! He knows his way around a toolbox. Not, you know, professionally, but he can board things up or use screwdrivers or what have you without much trouble. Generally when it comes to practical work and fixer-uppers, James is quite capable.
-Mediator. Assuming the people he deals with aren't violent and unbalanced like the ones he meets in his canon, James is actually fairly good at mediating conflict outside of his foot-in-mouth moments. Derpiness and social ineptitude aside, he just wants everybody to get along, and may actually be good at calming tense situations as long as others are capable of (or more importantly, willing to) listen to reason. Of course, if they aren't, he's pretty much shit out of luck.

Sensitivity/Magical Ability:
Magic? HAHAHAHAH. HAAAAHAHAHAHA. Ahah... yeah, no. Unless you count his ability to carry so much junk around in his pockets without falling down and not being able to get up.
On the spirit world/supernatural side, James does have contact with what can be assumed to be the spirit of his wife, Mary-- she attempts to contact him through his radio static on several occasions AND appears to him fully eventually, but that's about it. That said, it is something, and the fact that the Otherworld figuratively opened him up and felt around to find all the things that made him tick could have left him with some general sensitivity to the supernatural. It probably wouldn't be anything more than general uneasiness and possibly some severe deja vu if something pinged a little too closely to one of his Otherworldly experiences, though.

Supply List:
James actually has a ridiculously large inventory, so I am totally fine with limiting it to a few key items if need be. Here are the full lists of weapons and other items he receives in the game (although a few of those would be absent at the canon-point I'm taking him from).
For weapons in particular , it'd be pretty silly if he had all of them, so I'd be fine with him just keeping the handgun and his trusty plank-with-nails-in.

Game Transfers: N/A

Sample RP post:
This was not the first time James had found his face unpleasantly squashed into the floor.

In fact, it had happened a great deal more times over the past few hours than he generally liked.

Exhaling sharply to expel that now-familiar old-carpet smell from his nostrils, James raised his head with a wince, probing tenderly at his face to make sure everything was still in order. When his fingers failed to encounter anything alarmingly missing or squished, he sat up the rest of the way, gingerly propping himself up on his elbows before actually rolling into a sitting position. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been out—only that the last thing he remembered was standing on the precipice of yet another seemingly-bottomless hole in the floor, and that presumably, just like with all the OTHER bottomless holes he’d been encountering, he’d thrown himself down it.

That all more or less made sense, in the same way that everything else about his surreal journey did (which was to say, not much at all actually, but James had grown used to this), but it was when he actually began to squint around at his surroundings that a few muted bells of alarm began to chime hesitantly in the back of his head.

“… What the… huh.

A house.

He was in a house.

That was… that was really weird, actually.

Because the last thing he remembered was descending further and further underground, deep into the labyrinth that sat under the Silent Hill Historical Society, with the tunnels growing ever colder and darker as he went. Although he’d had no idea what might await him at the bottom, he’d at least been reasonably sure that it wouldn’t be a beautiful old entrance hall, fit for … well, perhaps not a king, but at least someone a hell of a lot richer than James was used to seeing around. Were those… were those fresh flowers on that table…?

Fumbling one of his several coat pockets open, James rugged out his map and unfolded it hastily, peeling the damp folds of paper apart from each other and staring down at it in bafflement. There was definitely no mansion marked on here—not anywhere close to the last place he’d been, anyway. That had been underground. There were definitely not any underground mansions on this map.

… But, he reasoned as he scanned the giant hall around him, it wouldn’t be the first time there’s been important places not marked on this thing.

Well, that settled it. He couldn’t let this detain him for long.

Biting his lip in concentration, James spread the map out on the floor right there in front of him, withdrawing several colored-pencil stubs from another pocket. If it wasn’t marked on the map, he’d clearly need to mark it himself, just like he had with all the other secret rooms and passages he’d been discovering. And, keeping one hand on the handle of the gun at his side just in case any of the twisted abominations he’d grown so familiar with came staggering down those impressive stairs or through any of the doors, he began to do just that.
 
 
Current Mood: anxious
 
 
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