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Author Topic: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf  (Read 5460 times)

Grey

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Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« on: 15 July 2015, 06:23:20 »
Sorry for the lateness, this one had a troubled genesis during a troubled time and may not be up to scratch, nonetheless I think I've put a cap on it.

Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
Who: Joshua Wolf
   Aka Joshua of Clan Wolf (presumed)
What: MechWarrior, Choyer Garrison Cluster, Clan Wolf
   MechWarrior, 328th Assault Cluster, Clan Wolf
Major, Second in Command, Wolf’s Dragoons Mercenary Brigade
When: 2981 – 15 March 3015
Weapon of Choice: BattleMech, class unknown

When Wolf’s Dragoon’s mercenary brigade, five regiments strong, with supporting dropships, jumpships and a modular space station, arrived in the Inner Sphere probably the most mundane aspect about it was that the top two command positions were filled by brothers.

Jamie and Joshua Wolf led the unit to the first great victories that secured the unit’s early reputation, and proved a successful partnership until Joshua was killed in a poor move by Anton Marik’s chief advisor, Vesar Kristofur, along with a number of the Dragoon’s dependents, prompting the Dragoons to turn on their contract holder and pretty much win the Civil War for Janos Marik.

And that pretty much sums up Joshua Wolf, a man with a secret background, in a theoretically pivotal position whose death triggers a significant event.

Written like that he should be a rich mine of character, developments and revelation, but to date he has barely been elaborated on beyond the initial background information provided as a part of the Dragoons’ general history. Even the Brush Wars historical and Wolf’s Dragoons sourcebooks fail to add anything of further significance.

Part of that is because his secret background is shared by a single, large unit with a number of more active significant characters. In fact there is little to nothing about his background that isn’t shared by brother Jamie. Not an unusual situation, but it robs Joshua of depth.

He was a Clan Warrior, though this is poorly defined in what we see of him, he exists before the Clans were fully fleshed out and thus doesn’t present any significant traits from that background, though this is fitting giving his covert nature.

Even after the revelation of the Clans and Wolf’s Dragoons’ origins we know little other than his parentage, provided more by being Jamie Wolf’s full brother, and some unit history, again revealed more as a part of flavouring his brother’s and Natasha’s background.

He is theoretically the second in command of the Dragoons, but we have little idea what this entailed other than administrative tasks, which he must have been good at, and provides a realistic reason for him to stay behind on New Delos, and was certainly a position of great responsibility. Still, we see none of it.

Likewise Joshua had to have been a MechWarrior of considerable skill and talent, both to jointly command a BattleMech brigade and to have served under Natasha Kerensky in Clan Space. We have no idea what BattleMech in either setting he used.

Tactically, strategically, areas where his brother was a noted genius, of Joshua we have nothing. And while it can be intimated that his combat prowess was formidable it has never been seen. In fact, little or nothing of the man is seen.

In the grand literary tradition of “show, don’t tell” we are shown nothing and told little as far as Joshua Wolf is concerned.

So it could be said that Joshua’s involvement with the Battletech setting is minimal, right?

Yes and no, his background and development have been minimal, surprisingly so considering the amount of backfilling some historical characters have been given, and there’s certainly the room with Joshua.

But there has been no backfill, not of Joshua specifically. In the places where the backgrounds of Jamie and Natasha have been backfilled to develop their Clan histories then we have incidentally been given information regarding Joshua.

Is he overshadowed by these two?

Within the setting certainly, he did not live to an advanced age and thus develop a reputation as a nigh unkillable battlefield demon. From our perspective it’s harder to say. To some degree there is little point in characterising him further as he exists simply to die and be a motivation/regret for two far more important characters.

While tempting to call Joshua a plot device it’s not quite so clear cut. A character used as a plot device serves a single purpose, driving events, or providing background, and Joshua certainly does that. Not only for the Dragoons’ sudden turn against Anton but also for Natasha Kerensky on a personal level.

The two were lovers, and with hindsight that says something about Natasha’s iconoclastic nature regarding Clan culture, but more immediately it provides additional fuel for the legendary anger and aggression, and the adoption of the Black Widow moniker. Far more so than for Jamie, who while affected and would have ordered the whole brigade to turn, does not appear to hold the same sort of legendary grudge as he did against Takashi Kurita. Then again Anton died at the hands of a Dragoon providing closure of a sort on that front.

Furthermore his death is supposed to be a plot twist, a hiccup in the relatively smooth hiring history of the Dragoons. And while his death could be considered a shock it lacks a little in terms of gravitas to the reader.

No, as much as he is a plot device it is far more accurate to consider Joshua to be background for other characters, primarily Natasha but also Jamie to a good degree.

Little to no information is provided directly about him without providing context for others, which is a sad state for Joshua, but not an uncommon tactic in writing fiction, events along cannot drive other events or motivate people. He is background, and that is where his importance lies.

For better or worse Joshua himself is something of a blank slate, and is likely to remain so as his most pivotal action is to die.

There is nothing unique about him, we never see what makes him outstanding, the hole his absence leaves is very small in the setting even though it must, logically, play on the minds of those closest to him.

Is he important? Why bother with him as an article subject then?

For one thing he existed at all, played his role and while the impact was finite it is a part of the larger plot. Specifically ComStar’s plot.

You see, while I have written at length about how Joshua serves to characterise Jamie and Natasha he does the same for ComStar by the exact same method.

Vesar being Precentor ROM shows just how far the organisation, and by extension ComStar will go to uncover secrets, or cover them up if need be.

At least, the old ComStar, and who is the inheritor of those visions and traits? The Word of Blake.

While no faction is completely innocent Joshua’s demise is the first hard sign of many things, Wolf’s Dragoons’ distaste for ComStar, their eventual war with the Blakists before the Jihad, ComStar internal politics and extremism, not to mention of course the absence of morality in what is supposed to be a spiritual organisation, or at least the alien morality to the average reader’s sensibilities.

All of this paints in broad strokes the character of an organisation, just as with individual characters, and ultimately serves to cement Joshua’s place as both a plot device and a solid background element of the larger setting, even if it does mean he himself is sadly fated to little or no additional fleshing out.

Next week: Jamie Wolf

Frabby

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #1 on: 15 July 2015, 15:16:24 »
I'm not aware of anything that suggests the Dragoons were aware of Kristofur's position or role in Joshua's death. In fact, I think it was never ooc clarified if Kristofur shot Joshua in self defence, to protect Anton, or in cold-blooded murder.
By extension, I don't think they knew of or even suspected ComStar's involvement.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #2 on: 15 July 2015, 15:42:11 »
I would not be surprised if Joshua, like Jaime, drove an Archer.

It would also not surprise me that Kristofur (if the Dragoons had indeed known he was Comstar) changed the way the Dragoons perceived the Order, going from being "Ok these guys are mildly annoying with all their skulking and sneaking about" to "Ok, you have our attention now and we really need to watch you guys like a hawk."
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #3 on: 15 July 2015, 15:44:30 »
I'm pretty sure I read that the Warhammer made iconic by Natasha Kerensky was Joshua's old ride.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #4 on: 15 July 2015, 15:51:49 »
I'm pretty sure I read that the Warhammer made iconic by Natasha Kerensky was Joshua's old ride.
She got it after the Bounty Hunter lured her lance into a mined ravine and stole her up-teched Marauder, even before Joshua's death. Though ransacking Anton's palace would then become her new command's sad first combat action.
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YingJanshi

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #5 on: 15 July 2015, 16:30:04 »
We do see him (briefly) in the Spider and Wolf graphic novel...

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Grey

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #6 on: 16 July 2015, 00:15:05 »
I'm sure I read a brief line in one of the Dragoons related books that they knew Vesar was ComStar, probably ROM, but not much more than that. The Dragoons already had a pre-existing suspicion of the organisation and if they had more info then I think we would have seen them act against ComStar sooner just out of a sense of vendetta. As I said, killing Anton and wiping out his forces provided enough closure.

Personally, while I think we're quite a way off from ever getting historical fiction on the early Clan lives of Jamie and Natasha, which would by necessity involve Joshua, I wouldn't mind seeing a scenario or two. If nothing else it would give a feel for just how deadly Natasha was at that point, and flesh out the early Clans. All the same I think any elaboration on Joshua would again be incidental.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #7 on: 16 July 2015, 01:17:25 »
One tidbit I recall from Wolf Pack is that Joshua was apparently the saKhan of the Dragoons, with the position abandoned after his death and then resurrected by Jaime's son, who intended to place that Nova Cat Elemental in the role. The implication would be that Jaime was considered the Dragoon's Khan. The use of those Clan leadership titles struck me as odd and I don't think it's repeated elsewhere.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #8 on: 16 July 2015, 01:35:54 »
One tidbit I recall from Wolf Pack is that Joshua was apparently the saKhan of the Dragoons, with the position abandoned after his death and then resurrected by Jaime's son, who intended to place that Nova Cat Elemental in the role. The implication would be that Jaime was considered the Dragoon's Khan. The use of those Clan leadership titles struck me as odd and I don't think it's repeated elsewhere.
I think that's the only time it cropped up. The Clan titles were revivied by the mutineers in order to glorify their Clan origins and attract more warriors to their side. A good chunk of the Dragoons at the time were former Clan bondsmen. And the Dragoons at the time had a bit of an identity crisis between Inner Sphere and Clans.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #9 on: 16 July 2015, 22:44:32 »
Reading this makes me think I'd like to see a novel written about the early years of the Dragoons.

Their training, trip to the IS, and 1st couple contracts. 

Wolves on the Border & Wolf Pack were both good, as was Spider & Wolf, but the early years & seeing the clan homeworlds back then would be nice.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #10 on: 17 July 2015, 13:21:00 »
What was the Bloodhouse of Jaime and Joshua's dad? I thought it was Vickers but I can't find it
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Grey

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #11 on: 17 July 2015, 13:45:15 »
In the bio on Jamie in Brush Wars he's mentioned as the son of Jon Vickers and Brigit of the Merchant Caste, so there's some Widowmaker blood in there.

And though it's never been flat out said it's been take as a given that both Jamie and Joshua were full brothers, so it sounds like Jon and Brigit had some sort of relationship going on that was either not typical of Clan Warriors or something of a quietly unstated norm. That's something I wouldn't mind seeing fleshed out since it would deepen the background culture of the Clans quite significantly, given the chest thumping we usually see around Trueborn, Freeborn and caste separation.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #12 on: 17 July 2015, 14:10:11 »
In the bio on Jamie in Brush Wars he's mentioned as the son of Jon Vickers and Brigit of the Merchant Caste, so there's some Widowmaker blood in there.

And though it's never been flat out said it's been take as a given that both Jamie and Joshua were full brothers, so it sounds like Jon and Brigit had some sort of relationship going on that was either not typical of Clan Warriors or something of a quietly unstated norm. That's something I wouldn't mind seeing fleshed out since it would deepen the background culture of the Clans quite significantly, given the chest thumping we usually see around Trueborn, Freeborn and caste separation.

If Brigit turns out to be a Sibko washout, it makes me begin to wonder if Joshua and Jaime weren't the Clan Wolf versions of Diana Pryde.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #13 on: 17 July 2015, 17:59:19 »
It's a possibility, however I think that even with the wider breeding program cases like Diana aren't exactly rare. She was just special for being Diana.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #14 on: 17 July 2015, 19:58:00 »
It's a possibility, however I think that even with the wider breeding program cases like Diana aren't exactly rare. She was just special for being Diana.


I thought she was special for being Aiden Pryde's off spring?


Reading this makes me think I'd like to see a novel written about the early years of the Dragoons.

Their training, trip to the IS, and 1st couple contracts. 

Wolves on the Border & Wolf Pack were both good, as was Spider & Wolf, but the early years & seeing the clan homeworlds back then would be nice.


That sounds like a fab idea
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #15 on: 17 July 2015, 22:17:06 »
From a fiction perspective yes, Diana is special for being Aiden's daughter, however much of her fame by the time she died was earned, especially considering that the Falcons, the Clans as a whole in fact, didn't care who she was genetically, what mattered was what sort of apartment she had for the first nine months of existence.

I would expect that Elson Nova Cat had a similar creation, he was freeborn and Elemental, and given the wash out rate the number of these sorts of individuals must make up a notable percentage of the population in Clan Space.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #16 on: 17 July 2015, 22:21:36 »
Reading this makes me think I'd like to see a novel written about the early years of the Dragoons.

I've said for years that I'd love a novel like this but only if written by either Charrette or Schmetzer.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #17 on: 18 July 2015, 23:37:11 »
I see a lot of parallels between Jamie&Joshua, Nicholas&Andrey, Hanse&Ian, and few more obscure  dous. It seems to be a recurring theme in BT.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #18 on: 19 July 2015, 01:34:15 »
In as much as all involve one brother outliving and thus outshining the other then yes, there are parallels. Mostly in that living longer gave them more opportunities to pursue agendas, achieve things or just plain do more stuff.

Conversely there's Morgan and Patrick Kell, the latter being slightly more famous for having a stupendously glorious death

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #19 on: 19 July 2015, 02:11:22 »
Conversely there's Morgan and Patrick Kell, the latter being slightly more famous for having a stupendously glorious death

While it's true that Patrick had a "stupendously glorious death", I doubt there's anyone who would agree that he is in any way more famous than his brother, in- or out-of-universe.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #20 on: 19 July 2015, 04:29:06 »
I just mean that Morgan hasn't reached the same overwhelming fame and influence levels of Jamie, Nicholas or Hanse compared to Patrick. He's still mightily influential and a leader, but what he's achieved hasn't overwhelmed his brother's reputation.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #21 on: 19 July 2015, 09:33:14 »
I just mean that Morgan hasn't reached the same overwhelming fame and influence levels of Jamie, Nicholas or Hanse compared to Patrick. He's still mightily influential and a leader, but what he's achieved hasn't overwhelmed his brother's reputation.

You've got things reversed. Morgan is right up there with Jaime, Nicholas and Hanse while Patrick is mostly forgotten.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #22 on: 19 July 2015, 09:47:01 »
You've got things reversed. Morgan is right up there with Jaime, Nicholas and Hanse while Patrick is mostly forgotten.

Well, he did get a monument in the Tharkad peace park, as we find out in Blood of Kerensky books. So he's not totally forgotten in universe


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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #23 on: 19 July 2015, 09:48:14 »
So he's not totally forgotten in universe

Patrick is mostly forgotten.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #24 on: 19 July 2015, 14:22:47 »
Morgan was a political powerhouse. Patrick was the commander of merc unit, albeit a prestigious one. Morgan made a sizable chunk of the Lyran alliance into his autonomous fiefdom. If he was the scheming Machiavellian type, one would say he was a stone throw from the Archonship, especially since when Morgan says jump, Peter asks how high  ;). Almost definitely the most powerful Lyran of his time, whose name doesn't end in Steiner.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #25 on: 19 July 2015, 20:39:51 »
In the bio on Jamie in Brush Wars he's mentioned as the son of Jon Vickers and Brigit of the Merchant Caste, so there's some Widowmaker blood in there.

And though it's never been flat out said it's been take as a given that both Jamie and Joshua were full brothers, so it sounds like Jon and Brigit had some sort of relationship going on that was either not typical of Clan Warriors or something of a quietly unstated norm. That's something I wouldn't mind seeing fleshed out since it would deepen the background culture of the Clans quite significantly, given the chest thumping we usually see around Trueborn, Freeborn and caste separation.

IIRC Vickers fell in love & married a Merchant.  Not the Norm among True Born Warriors, but fairly common among the lower castes.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #26 on: 19 July 2015, 20:41:46 »
Morgan was a political powerhouse.
Aye, to use a FedSuns analogy, we went from being the Duke of Kestrel to the Duke of Robinson, and that is a MAJOR shift in power level IMHO.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #27 on: 20 July 2015, 02:51:21 »
I'm not saying either Kell was forgotten, I'm saying both achieved comparable amounts of fame.

Morgan did become a political powerhouse, while Patrick died an epic death saving the heir of a nation.

On the other hand Morgan isn't as publicly lauded as the likes of Jamie, being very focused in the Lyran state and then against the Clan border, while Patrick, well, died, that's kind of a full stop on most reputations.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #28 on: 20 July 2015, 03:24:55 »
That's like saying Tanya Kerensky is comparable to Alexander Kerensky. After all, she saved the first lord, he merely avenged him.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Joshua Wolf
« Reply #29 on: 20 July 2015, 03:54:25 »
Morgan Kell was one of the most famous men in the Inner Sphere, one of the deadliest men in the Inner Sphere, a warrior respected and honored by friend and foe alike, an influential political leader whose fame lives on decades after his death. Patrick Kell was a mercenary leader who died a good death and got a memorial out of it. (Though is his name even anywhere on there? I honestly can't recall.) The two in no way have comparable levels of fame.