Reynard is a character idea that I’ve been playing around with for nearly a year now. He is based on the trickster god Coyote (also a character from French folklore, hence the name). My thought is to have him appear once or twice in a story, posing a riddle to the protagonist. If the riddle is correctly answered the protagonist receives a token as a reward. Figuring out the token is its own challenge, and the token always has both good and bad characteristics. (These are stories about magic, so the token is either magical in itself or it unlocks magic in something else.)
Reynard always appears as a dog/fox/coyote that suddenly stands on his hind legs and starts talking in English. Having a conversation with him is very frustrating, since nearly everything he says is a question.
Reynard is a challenge on several levels. On a basic level Reynard’s function in the story is to drop in a bit of chaos, to get the protagonist moving in a different direction. He’s also difficult to write – I need to come up with a riddle (and answer!) that isn’t trite, and I need to create the puzzle of the token and its good and bad outcomes. And I need to write his dialog so that he always answers questions with questions, which can be harder than you might think.
Finally there’s the puzzle that his existence poses to the protagonist – “Why is he bothering me? Whose side is he on?” (I guess I simply haven’t worked out Reynard’s motivations. What motivates a demigod? Besides ennui?)
I guess I’m just going to have to start fleshing out his chart.