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Author Topic: Character Study of the Week: Richard Cameron  (Read 1526 times)

Grey

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Character Study of the Week: Richard Cameron
« on: 13 December 2016, 13:07:50 »
Character Study of the Week: Richard Cameron
Who: Richard Cameron
What: First Lord of the Star League
When: 9 February 2744 – 27 December 2766
Weapon of Choice: Temper tantrums

The first born of Simon Cameron and destined to inherit the greatest throne in human history, Richard Cameron had a lot riding on his shoulders from the moment he existed.

It went badly.

Growing up an orphan with few adult figures willing or able to take on a parenting role due to other responsibilities or simply not knowing how to interact with someone already a social better and destined to be a political better in ways that are difficult to comprehend in and of themselves left Richard with few positive influences.

In fact the only people who could influence his behaviour were the girl who would become his wife and Stefan Amaris.

The former got his attention by actually standing up to his bullying, an experience so unique that he was besotted with her as a result. The latter only did so through careful research on the way to cruel manipulation as part of a long term scheme.

Consequently this sad life came to an abrupt and early end as the schemer’s plan came to fruition.

It’s a brief summary of an unintentionally pivotal life, but considering Richard’s death is the original founding point for the setting I’m sure we all know the basics.

Richard was not simply the last in the line of First Lords, he was also the last in a less than distinguished run or rather poor First Lords.

But whereas Jonathan was insane, and couldn’t help himself, and Simon was inflexible, but tried anyway, Richard never had a shot.

Even before father Simon died Richard was neglected, drunk on power and entitlement, and possibly worse, clearly bored. On the one hand he dared no challenge, but everything coming so easily meant there was nothing for him to focus on. And when he was challenged he would basically throw a fit.

This is terrible in a child, appalling in an adult and utterly horrific in anyone with the slightest power. Thankfully there are checks and balances in any system and Richard utterly failed to surpass any of them.

Amaris, cunning and intelligent as he was, knew of these and probably could have guided him around those roadblocks, but to do so actually runs counter to Amaris’ plans. He doesn’t want a First Lord running rampant any more than he wants an effective First Lord. What Stefan Amaris wants and needs is a First Lord who is an ineffective caricature in public and in private is someone utterly wrapped around his finger, and that’s what Richard is.

The sad thing is the poor boy never had a chance at anything else.

Seriously. He was born into a role, and while that role may have represented the pinnacle of power for all humanity it took away all his choices. Framed like that it’s very easy to see how he became the spoilt child he was, and because it suited his plans Amaris kept him that way. Between the two Richard was doomed to be nothing else, he never developed the emotional or intellectual muscle.

And a large chunk of that can be blamed on Kerensky, Simon Cameron, and others who effectively ignored the boy in favour of their own duties and fobbing him off because it was easier than trying to repair what was essentially a broken human being.

That’s the setting based explanation, and for plot purposes it’s excellent, principally because it makes Amaris’ takeover easier on two fronts.

First is the actual plot, the device and follow through of action that makes the Coup feasible in the form of a fully pliant First Lord. Simple, straight forward, and given the scope of the setting anything more complicated risks making everything messier.

Second is in terms of public opinion. Popular support may not seem like much in a setting run by various dictatorships, but it has an effect, and makes raising an Amaris loyal (or loyalish) army feasible. How to not get the entire Terran Hegemony rising up at once? Make Amaris seem better than the last guy.

From a writing perspective things get a little trickier. Due to the romanticisation of the Star League Richard was largely beautified by necessity. Deconstruction of the established, and thin on the ground, history means this has largely fallen away, again to facilitate the lack of Terran uprising against Amaris.

It is a bit of retconning, but understandable. When BattleTech was first written the Star League and everything about it was by necessity a glowing, glorious golden age compared to the tail end of the degraded Third Succession War.

This makes it sound like it was inevitable that what we see of Richard was all he could ever be, and that’s pretty much spot on.

Richard Cameron is a fixed and necessary plot element of the setting, too much comes from his death, the result of him being and behaving as he does, for him to ever be anything else. Background fluff may show hidden depths to Simon, bring an element of sympathy to Amaris, or show that beyond the madness Jonathan was just trying to do what he thought was best, but Richard is stuck being someone so utterly constrained he can’t be anything else.

We can’t find out there was a charitable side to him, that Richard had a side line in personally researching a cure for super-cancer, that he was a fantastic beagle breeder, he needs, on multiple levels, to be a shallow character.

It’s sad, and means that the Star League died whimpering before the laser pistol was unwrapped.

And this is another reason to drain away the depth. We are supposed to mourn the passing of the Star League, not the person of the First Lord. Even in the setting Richard’s reputation is largely forgotten and his death is mourned for what, not who, passed.

You can argue black and blue the rightness of this, it changes nothing, ultimately because it’s also a very human thing to do.

It also changes nothing.

Richard died, the Star League didn’t have to, but he was the latest in a list of reasons why so many just couldn’t be bothered saving the thing. Something like this was bound to happen eventually simply because empires fall, putting this one boy in place to fall for and with it is a matter of logical and necessary writing.

Wrangler

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Richard Cameron
« Reply #1 on: 17 December 2016, 18:19:19 »
Nice write up, Grey.

You didn't mention (from what i read) about the canon-rumor of his child who was arguably sent into hiding.
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mikecj

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Richard Cameron
« Reply #2 on: 17 December 2016, 19:31:30 »
Helena's child, which she wasn't permitted to keep..


Jessica aka Nicky's wife
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Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

Grey

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Richard Cameron
« Reply #3 on: 21 December 2016, 20:17:06 »
Yes, "Jessica", for a lot of reasons doesn't have a lot of connection to Richard so I didn't feel justified in including her, particularly since it's currently a strong rumour/probability (last time I checked at least) than an absolute canon certainty.

Even if it is a certainty, there's a tenuous link to Richard and doesn't impact on his character or arc. In a bizzare way given Richard's behaviour it's almost better for her that way.

 

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