Eccentricity and Artistry – On Lisabet Faßbender

Thank you for visiting the Steel Hearts Development Blog, or, the Combat Report. Since we have a website, we might as well use it, right? I (Palladion, the writer) will be aiming to make posts on this blog regarding the development and writing of Steel Hearts, ideally, at least once a week.

Since her birthday is coming up on the 9th, this article will focus on Lisabet, one of the main heroines. Without further ado…

First Impression(ism)s

“Well… It’s just hard for me to express my thoughts on paper. It’s just… too structured, too many rules.”

Lisabet Faßbender

Lisabet Faßbender (for those unfamiliar with the German eszett–that B-like letter, that’s pronounced “Fassbender”) was one of the first characters we conceived, as a sort of pair of heroines with Hannah Ritter. Hannah, a rough & tough tomboy, and Lisabet, a delicate shy girl. And, inexplicably, they would be best friends, perhaps because they’re both social misfits. And the character developed from there. After we created Juliet, the protagonist’s childhood friend, we realized that we needed a driving conflict for the VN’s common route. And so, we gave Lisabet an overt crush on our protagonist Caleb, to come into conflict with Juliet’s implicit affections. So where do the other two heroines come into play? Caleb mediates a separate conflict between Hannah and Brynhilde in the meanwhile, but I’ll get into that later.

The lady herself, by Gar32.

We devised a few main traits for Lisabet. First, she was socially awkward. A confident girl would be able to sweep Caleb off his feet while Juliet did nothing, right? She would have a kind, romantic heart despite her shyness. Writing was my first idea for her primary hobby, but that soon shifted to artistry (another character instead takes up writing). Art is a timeless practice, perfectly suitable for the novel’s setting of 1939 and on. Likewise, Lisabet is deeply vested into classical mythology and history (there’d be no shortage of writings on it during this time, at least western mythologies). She doesn’t talk much, but if she talks about myths and folk tales, she can get rather excited in contrast to her usual nature.

Additionally, she’s quite the beauty, which, again, runs contrast to her misfit nature. Still, though, she’s not quite the standard German (er, Volkslandic) stunner. Her emerald eyes stand her apart from the other heroines. Her hair, not quite red and not quite brown, is not quite straight, either, as it ends in a series of aberrant curls. And, if I may be so uncouth, her above-average bust runs contrary to her modest nature. Even her name is a sort of beauty-with-a-twist, isn’t it? “Lisabet” is womanly, dignified, whereas “Faßbender”… not so much, I would think.

Miranda – The Tempest, by J.W. Waterhouse. The sort of romantic beauty in a painting that Lisabet admires. Coincidentally, Miranda here looks a little like Lisabet, doesn’t she?

Shades of Color, Shades of Hades

“I think artists see the world from a different perspective.”

Lisabet Faßbender

Where would Lisabet’s personality go from there? Visual novels are no stranger to shy heroines, many of whom fall into common molds. Some tropes I was wanting to avoid with her include centering her route around social ineptitude or anxiety (see: Hanako from Katawa Shoujo) and the trope of ‘this shy girl is secretly unhinged/psycho/violent/yandere/etc.’ (see: Lena from Everlasting Summer). Not that those are bad, but I wanted to do something else with the character.

Lisabet is, certainly, initially quite shy around Caleb, even bolting out of the room on more than one occasion. However, this shyness is soon overcome as Lisabet grows more accustomed to being around Caleb, solving the problem even before the common route ends. Instead of social anxiety, Lisabet is instead plagued moreso with the lack of social knowledge–it’s just not something she readily picks up. That ties into the next point:

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, by Francisco Goya. The dark themes of Goya’s work tickle Lisabet’s imagination just as more triumphant Romantic paintings do.

Lisabet is designed not to be obviously weird or deranged. Instead, I want to show a subtle sort of eccentricity–odd quirks that demonstrate her ‘different’ nature, things which aren’t fixated upon by the writing, but are nevertheless prevalent behind the scenes. The most overt quality is Lisabet’s tendency to quickly and excitedly ramble about topics she’s interested in (usually mythology), regardless if her audience actually cares or not. Other, less overt qualities include her picky eating habits and highly-specific order of eating foods in a meal, tendency to play with her hair to comfort or calm herself, her somewhat stilted speaking pattern, her poorly-hidden pangs of jealousy, her subtle interest in morbid paintings and myths, and her strange and unrealistic views on love and attraction.

A Penelope or Eurydice?

“If love were easy, we would not value it so.”

Brynhilde von Solberg

So, where does her route go? Caleb starts dating Lisabet at the end of the common route. They live happily ever after, right? Well, I won’t spoil you, but…

A young woman (and a young man, too) rushing headlong into love is a recipe for a bad time. And besides–what if something gets in the way? Or rather, someone? The sort of someone who would send a girl to a military school instead of an art school, despite her wishes? The sort of someone who says he knows what’s best–and can, perhaps, back that up?

In short, Lisabet’s route will explore what happens when things get in the way of star-crossed love. Out of the four heroines’ routes, it’s definitely the closest to a standard romance, so I think the lovey-dovey folk will like it.

The Shore of Oblivion, by Eugen Bracht.

So, what happens to Lis in part two of Steel Hearts, where the cast is dropped into the midst of a war? As shown by the walker training exercise early on, Lisabet is quite technically skilled at piloting. But, does she have the mental fortitude? Will the pain break poor little Lis? Maybe. Just as Lis has yet to learn how to love, so too has Lis yet learned how to hate.


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Author: Palladion

Hi, I'm Palladion, the writer for Steel Hearts. Back in 2016, I read Katawa Shoujo, and became enamored with VNs and writing ever since. Aside from VNs, I also enjoy video games, TTRPGs, reading, and occasionally watching anime, drawing, or building models. Contact me at: Twitter – Discord – Palladion#5914

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