OUT OF CHARACTER
BACKTAGGING: Always. In fact, I'm notoriously awful at maintaining consistent tagging, and might even want to return to things months later. Please feel free to ignore any very late tags! Please also feel free to nudge me to tag something I've dropped.
THREADJACKING: Almost always. I love it. I love to do it. Newton and Hermann will probably do it to each other quite a bit. Please let us know if this is not all right. HOWEVER, we are able to sense the mood, and doubtless will leave serious things alone, unless asking first for permission. Likewise, check!
FOURTH-WALLING: LOL sure. To any extent. Hermann's now witnessed not only quite a few extraordinary figures, but seen Newton tear through fourth walls with little concern, so honestly, he's already run the math and his mind wouldn't be blown to learn that in some universes, he's a story as well.
OFFENSIVE SUBJECTS: Depends but, as long as it's IC, I guess?
IN CHARACTER ("HERMANN! THESE ARE HUMAN BEINGS, SAY HELLO")
HUGGING: We're about to get redundant for the next few but -- ALWAYS YES except uh his reaction might be pretty comical. Dude likes distance. Dude does not know what to do with a hug, or generally want one.
FLIRTING: Again go for it, but HAHAHA, ok 1) why would you want to 2) he'd either be oblivious or convinced you/yours are making fun of him and 3) wouldn't you/yours be, lbr
KISSING: Go for it, but see both answers above. Confusion, cold fish(/frog) response, and conviction it's a joke at his expense.
FIGHTING: Uhhhhhh, I mean sure, but he's a mathematician who needs a cane to get around. Not because he's got a sword or any bad-ass ability with it, but because he'd have problems otherwise. He's got pretty much zero fighting ability, so really, EASY TARGET AND NOW YOU LOOK LIKE A BULLY. + the whole time he'd probably be like why are you even violence is not the answer put that down young man/woman. I mean, I'm cool with it no matter what. You monster.
INJURING: Minor A-OK, clear anything big.
KILLING: Yeah, but let's clear/discuss it, because it's Kind of a Big Deal.
TELEPATHY/MIND-READING: Sure! Nothing supernatural about him to stop it. On the one hand, his mind is very orderly. He is a man of distance and numbers, of walls and precision. He looks at the world in a numerical frame, in probabilities and percentages, in angles, ever calculating. He maintains distance from others actively, through that organized neatness, and through numbers. On the other hand, he's Drifted with Dr. Newton Geiszler and the hivemind of a behemoth alien race set on destroying the earth. By Drift, I mean he connected his brain to theirs, which all supplemental and even movie data suggests leaves permanent physiological and psychological changes and connection/dependence. The mind unhinges then rehinges around the new. While he is very much in his own mind and control, the subconscious may have bleedover. Impressions of that alien awfulness, and the manic suggestions/traits/memories of Newton.
OTHER ("I AM A DOCTOR WITH OVER TEN YEARS OF DECORATED EXPERIENCE")
SKILLS AND POWERS: No powers. Hermann is a noted genius. One of the last two in the K-Science department of the PPDC, he has done the following within his tenure: wrote the programming (or significant chunks) for the Mark I Jaegers (the giant robots/mecha that fought the kaiju), constructed highly accurate models predicting frequency of kaiju attacks, and was responsible for advances in understanding the physics and structure of the Breach itself, the portal between universes. Mind, while he's introduced as a math man, and in the movie works with those theoretical abstracts, this wasn't even his field of study, necessarily: his doctorate was in engineering and applied sciences. He ought to be able to do quite a bit there.
WHAT'S WITH THE CANE?: Due to inconsistent usage in the film, and the actor's shaky portrayal (handwise), plus a con interview (assuming it's legit), and frames from the Drift which are highly suggestive (an exact sequence of 5 with none missing, for completion's/perspective's sake: 1 2 3 4 5), I've come down in favor of Hermann not having a bad leg, but Multiple Sclerosis. (Which doesn't precisely fit those frames re: scan diagnoses, but nothing would?)
Life-threatening diseases don't stick in most games(?), but MS is only very long-term threatening, degenerative though it is, so I am tentatively incorporating mild relapses and the like. I try to do research, and I am absolutely opposed to milking it or using it for drama's sake. However, I also think it would be cheapening it to ignore it entirely.
I could have removed it, and I don't mean to imply that the cane DEFINES him or any person who needs one, but there was such joy over handicapped scientists [mentally for Newton and physically for Hermann] being able to save the day, and was so important representation wise for many, that I would feel a little off removing it. I am trying to strike a balance, and never intending to be offensive, but good intentions pave the path to hell. Please please please please tell me if I'm ever bad.
See, I'm extremely wary about this. While the Drift frames and a possibly legit actor comment suggest a neurological disorder causing the need for the cane, it's clear that there wasn't a specific disease in mind. As a result, picking any that could result in a mobility aid felt (and still feels) like picking one out of the hat, inevitably.
I want to be very careful and I want to be considerate. MS is serious. I have to think about what symptoms he has. In playing a character with a disability, it feels as though it would be disingenuous to have the cane and otherwise make him completely able-bodied. But, I am able-bodied. It feels inevitably gross to thus pick-and-choose and incorporate, I'm so scared of being disrespectful or getting it wrong. To "play the scientist with the cane." I'm not playing him for that reason, obviously, but it has to be a part of his portrayal, you know?
One of the great things about Pacific Rim is that though Hermann and Newton were absolutely caricature/trope-esque comic relief, his CANE wasn't used as comic relief, and you know it easily could have -- he could have been hitting Newton with it, etc. It didn't get in his way or stop him. It's just a part of him and doesn't require comment or anything but, perhaps, in a deleted scene clip, Newton helping him run to Loccent. & maybe his early run to Loccent, but his cane is just too fucking short??
So, TL;DR, I feel as though symptoms should come up and occasionally impede. Yet, I don't want to milk it for drama or angst. And still yet, I don't want to ignore the impacts it might have. (This is an especially difficult balance in a horror environment.) I don't want to pick all the "bad" things (I'm sorry for that word), but I don't want to make it all light and effectively nonexistent.
I also don't want to cheaply utilize it for comedy. Because Hermann is a character used for comic relief, all flappy hands and fumbling and all the rest (and I'm not intending to make THOSE moments symptoms and thus the disease the joke; merely nodding to what WAS used as comic relief in the movie -- but what if they were symptoms? I mostly doubt that was even a fractional intent behind the handshake mishap). In a game environment, in a meme thread, with the great variety of characters running around, it would be an artificial barrier to make the cane off limits.
Maybe he would drop it in a fit of pique, or it would be an easy target in a comedic or serious context -- but I really, really, really don't want the joke to be his needing a cane, or his disability. Just that he's a grouchy nerd. THIS is probably the HARDEST balance.
As said on the HMD entry, PLEASE tell me if I'm fucking up and being offensive.