Comic for Monday, Sep 9, 2019


Posted September 9, 2019 at 4:10 pm

This is why Susan started out short in this storyline. As your character progressed in the Fable games (less so in the third), they underwent physical changes. This included height. Knowing that I wanted to have noticeable height increases, I didn't want Susan to start out as tall as normal.

Comic Vs What's Being Parodied

I was originally going to simplify the physical changes by combining them into a single transformation, but I changed my mind because I felt it improved this moment, and would give more options for later. I did, however, significantly change at least one thing when compared to Fable 2, which one can probably guess without me specifying it.

You had three skill sets: Strength (melee weapons, health), Skill (ranged weapons, speed), and Will (magic). Leveling Strength made you bulkier, and leveling Skill made you taller.

Leveling Will, meanwhile, made blue lines form on you. These would eventually glow, which at least made them look less like veins, but I always hated how the blue lines looked. I sometimes played with very limited magic just to avoid getting them.

Long story short, I'd have no intention of recreating those lines here even if I wasn't terrified of having to draw a tattoo-like pattern on Susan panel to panel.

Why Not So Vertical?

Speculation as to why Susan was short included some wondering what counted as "adulthood" in this fantasy world. I meant it as adulthood from our perspective, but it brings up an interesting topic regarding common height biases, and how varied associations affect our perception of it.

In this case, the association of height with being an adult, and how it affects character design.

My understanding is that girls tend to get as tall as they're going to get around 14-15 years old, and boys more often get as tall as they're going to get around 15-16 years old. While it's not impossible to keep growing after those ages, it's not what normally happens.

People associate adulthood with height, however, and with being 18. It's not uncommon for characters to grow several inches between the ages of 16 and 18. I've even seen characters in their twenties and thirties being noticeably taller than when they were 18.

Basically, even when it doesn't make sense, it's not uncommon for an increase in height to be used as a visual shorthand for "this character has grown older".

People don't seem to think about it much, however, and the impression I get is that this shorthand tends to work without people speaking up and saying "um, excuse me, but why are they taller in their thirties?"

I myself have some firsthand experience with this from when Susan grew taller in the main canon. I presented whether it was a natural growth spurt, or the influence of having awakened her magic power, as a mystery.

Susan was 17 at the time. While it's possibly I've simply forgotten, I don't recall anyone speaking up to say how unrealistic her having a growth spurt at that age would be.