Character Creation Rules and Guidelines Sept 24, 2017 21:09:52 GMT
Post by Bonetrousled? on Sept 24, 2017 21:09:52 GMT
For many of us, making a character is one of the most fun parts of joining a site. After all, you get to see how your idea blooms from the first seed of a thought to a fleshed out, engaging piece of writing. It's the period where your character is still entirely yours, before their thoughts and feelings are shaped by the experiences of the wider world of RP around them. It's also the first and best chance to catch the interest of other members. A well thought out app will have others practically lining up for a chance to write with you!
However, characters aren't made in a vacuum. Each exists in the context of the site they are created for, and DFRP is no exception. In order to ensure that your character is as seamless of a fit as possible, here are some guidelines for character creation. Do note that a lot of these guidelines are going to have an innately flexible component to them. While we strongly encourage erring on the side of caution in most cases, sometimes a solid execution can turn an idea that seems unworkable into something fantastic. If you've got passion in your heart and a spark in your head, try aiming high with your concepts. You might end up making one of the most noteworthy characters on the site!
A lot of this guide is going to be about the restrictive element of guidelines. That's just an unfortunate reality of making guidelines like this, because it's much easier to codify what isn't acceptable than it is to describe the wide spectrum of brilliant ideas that many of our members have come up with. However, rather than let this guide be more focused than the negative instead of the positives, I'm going to start off with a few pointers on how to get your inspiration flowing if you're having trouble putting your own ideas on words. These have been complied by me and the staff team, and we hope our cumulative experience can help you find the inspiration you need.
Firstly, it's helpful to keep in mind that every aspect of a character is, to some degree, interconnected. This is especially true in my experience with a character's history and personality. How a character acts is going to impact how they react to new experiences in their life. How a character's old experiences resonated with them will have a lingering effect on how they act in the future. By letting these two elements of your character blend with one another, you can create a character that already feels solidly grown and developed despite not experiencing their life in real time. The same can even be said for appearance. How does your character's personality impact their body language and facial expressions, for example? The little details like that can make your character even easier to visualize.
Another important suggestion is to let your character really be passionate about something. Is your character a star baker, or an athelete? A mathelete? A good rule of thumb is to pick one thing your character strives in, whether through sheer practice or other means. Not only can this give you a solid point of reference to use for your character's history, but it can also help really bring them alive. We all have our hopes and our dreams, and your character is no exception. And if they don't? Well, let that be a hook, too! Whether your character is trying to find themselves or is rejecting something else being foisted on them, an absence of a passion can be just as interesting of a passion when handled right.
It can be easy to brush past the minor details, but if you want to use them they can be surprisingly effective at helping visualize your character. Many times, the best artists have been able to help you understand a character just by showing what their room looks like. Consider a character's possessions, and even their Digivice, a chance to explore this concept as well. Not only does this help you get a good sense of your character's priorities, but it also lets you include the minute details that really help them pop. Who knows? Details like this could also come back to help your character out in surprising ways. You never know when having a magnifying glass or a bag of snacks on hand can help you worm your way out of a sticky situation.
While some members come right onto the site with a purpose and plot in mind, not everyone has to. In fact, the freedom from having your character be part of a grand story is one of the most freeing elements of RPing compared to personal writing. If you have a plot and direction in mind for your character? Great! If you don't, don't feel pressured to make one. Feel free to let yourself just sit back and see where the wind blows you. You can always come up with ideas for a storyline later, and if you don't you may end up pleasantly surprised by where your character ends up on their own.
RPing is first and foremost a group exercise, and for this reason evaluating where your characters falls in group dynamics can be very helpful for seeing how they'll gel with others. Is your character a natural born leader, a follower, or a lone wolf? Are they the emotional heart, the logical core, or striving for balance in between? Do they prefer to let their words or their actions do the talking? Having a Digimon partner on hand can make evaluating this dynamic even more fun. Does your Digimon round out your human's weaknesses like Gabumon and Matt, or do they instead double down on their strengths like Izzy and Tentomon?
Also, consider these words; "better sooner than later". If you want to create a character, but you keep hitting a block because you're not 100% sure about what you want to do with them? That's okay. You can still put up a basic barebones profile to start RP'ing as them, then that's all that's needed. In many cases this can be a better move than going all-in on an app before you feel ready. Making an entire Digivolution line with fleshed-out attacks can be an exhausting process, and rushing one out before you even know what you want to do with your character can kill your muse for them before you even have the chance to begin. You might not use them again for a while until inspiration hits, but the main thing is, they exist somewhere in the IC world and are not simply just a concept. So essentially, if you have an idea for a character, pop their profile up and get them approved so they can start getting posts and bits for when you want to use them later.
Finally, and the most important piece of advice: don't worry. It is perfectly understandable to be afraid that members won't like your ideas, or will think that your character is a Mary Sue, or that you won't stack up to a site's "cool crowd." I know that I personally wrestle with the same all the time. However, I promise you that we aren't here to judge, belittle, or hamper. We're all here for the same purpose; to read and write about awesome ideas as a team. If you're worried, the fact that you're putting the time and care into worrying speaks volumes about the effort you're putting into your character, and to me that's a sign that you'll have something really special on your hands. Please don't let doubts stop you from pursuing your ideas. Instead, just reach for the stars and try it. I guarantee that when the dust settles, you'll be proud of your result and we'll be all too excited to read it.
One of the first things that you might notice about the site is that, no matter where your character's origins are, they always end up in Shibuya. The point of this is to ensure that every character has a shared point of reference for real world activity, whether just for casual threading or for potential plot events. After all, it would drastically cut down on a character's ability to meet with another if one lives in Alaska and another lives in South Africa, and a plot trying to connect both areas would have to be either apocalyptic in nature or very strangely distributed.
However, at the same time, we don't want to limit your potential avenues for characterization just because of real life Japanese immigration numbers. Even if a large portion of player characters are foreigners, that just means they make up a proportionally large amount of a small immigration percentage. Rather than worry "are there too many foreigners on site," please instead consider "what brings my character to Japan?" Thinking through this can help give you a strong hook for the beginning of your character's adventure. After all, a character escaping a bad life and a character chasing fortune are going to have vastly different reactions to their new home, and that's before they encounter the Digital World!
Japan is still Japan, though, even if it's a fictionalized representation full of digital monsters. While we're not going to take up 99% of this guideline describing the nitty-gritty of Japan, we are going to provide some handy links to follow if you ever want more information on a certain subject.
Education in Japan - A large amount of characters on site are school aged. While we aren't going to grill you on the nitty-gritty of Japan's education system, this should at least give you some information on how classes are structured and what expectations are present for Japanese students.
Crime in Japan - If your character might be running afoul of the law, this is an important section to check out. While Japan might have a staggeringly high conviction rate, there are actually a lot of interesting factors behind that. Read the Criminal Justice link within a link to find out more, if you'd like!
Etiquette in Japan - We're going to assume that concepts translate whenever possible, so don't worry. You don't have to call everyone by honorifics like a bad anime dub. However, if you want to spice up your posts with some little cultural details (or your character messing up and ignoring them), this can be great inspiration.
Japan's Demography - If you want a sense of the sorts of incidental characters you might encounter as NPCs, or some extra information on the processes foreigners might undergo to get into the country, this link should be full of helpful information.
Shinto - As the largest religion in Japan, I'd be remiss not to include a link to information on Shinto as well. Whether your character is a believer or you just want to accurately depict time spent at a shrine, it's definitely an interesting read.
Shibuya - Finally, here's some information on the site's Human World setting in a nutshell. While our subboards contain many of the areas relevant to RP, this link should have helpful information for stepping somewhat outside that box.
Besides the details of their life in Japan, there are a few other qualifications for characters that we would like to give out. Some of these are standards for keeping away Mary Sues, others are standards for preserving the site's genre as a solidly Digimon-based one or for ensuring all members are given a fair and engaging RP experience. Our standards for human characters are as follows:
- First and foremost, your human character is just that; a normal human. This really should be an obvious one, but just in case we may as well put it down in writing. Please do not have your character be a cyborg or mythical creature, have super powers, or come from an alternate dimension.
- Please keep the bounds of your character's natural talents to an acceptable level. Your character can be smart, but that doesn't mean you should play them as automatically knowing everything about what other characters are doing. They can be strong, but shouldn't be capable of wrestling a Monochromon into the ground. They can be good with machines, but not building advanced AI in their garage.
When working on a character's skills and talents, make sure to keep their age (older characters by definition will have more time to get experienced) and amount of talents (someone with one hobby can pursue it much more diligently than a Renaissance man) in mind to keep the subject sensible. Finally, if you're dead set on having rather esoteric skills, please make sure they have reasonable explanations. A secret ninja temple on the peak of Mt. Fuji training your character in the ways of assassination is not okay. A character participating in several medieval reenactments knowing the ins and outs of armor is much more understandable.
- You shouldn't invent any major events or locations. We aren't going to be fact-checking every day in Oklahoma to make sure your character is slavishly accurate, because that's insanity. However, rewriting history books to a massive degree is similarly unacceptable. You cannot create wars, continents, or anything that people other than your character and its relatives would be affected by, nor can you say that your character is the Queen or the Pope.
- Always remember that DFRP is a non-canon site. Our Digital World is not the one from Adventure, or the one from Tamers, or the one from any of the World games. None of those characters exist on this site, so please don't have your character share any ties with them. In addition, please keep the series in mind when choosing faceclaims. While, for example, characters from the video games are often obscure enough to avoid breaking immersion, you're going to get a lot of odd looks if you choose to use Tai or Matt as a faceclaim. Please don't do that.
- Respect members wishes when it comes to forming character relationships. I've always loved the idea of characters having history with each other, but some might prefer bonds like that forming organically and others might flat-out not be interested in the idea. Always ask for permission before deciding you're a character's friend, rival, or love interest, because doing so without checking first is disrespectful of them and their wishes.
- For some character types, such as police officers, veterans, or some martial artists, having weapon training will be an unavoidable fact. However, the last thing we want is for more antagonistically-minded members using this to hold some kid up at gunpoint and insist that not dying is godmodding. For this reason, your character may not have weapons on their person. In this case, we're defining a weapon as anything legitimately built to kill. Firearms and katanas are a no-go, but a kendo shinai or a swiss army knife is fine.
- We're a PG-13 site first and foremost. There's always going to be some teasing, some flirting, and some lewd humor going on. In addition, we can't exactly say that Digimon is a front runner when it comes to wholesome designs. However, when it comes to a character's appearance and demeanor, please keep things to a somewhat acceptable level. A natural-looking yet flattering outfit is fine. Wearing a swimsuit three sizes too small as part of your daily attire isn't. Being flirtatious is fine. Your app going into almost fetishistic detail about how your character handles all of his problems by sleeping with others isn't.
- We're all for tragedy and character growth, but please don't expose your character to an absolutely nonsense amount of traumas. A death in the family is one thing, but having your entire family be gunned down by the mob while forcing you to watch is very overboard. In addition, these tragedies should be tastefully depicted. A loving, in-depth description of a character's abuse or trauma will do little more than disturb other members, especially those for which the subject hits close to home. Finally, please try and keep these levels of traumas to a realistic degree. Dickensian orphanages just don't exist in this day and age, for example, so please don't include them in apps just for extra tragedy points.
- Similarly, it is totally fine for your character to do bad things, but these too should be handled in moderation. Getting into fights, not doing great at school, and potentially even having a criminal record is fine. However, your character will not have gone around eating people, slaughtering people, burning down orphanages, and so forth.
- Finally, brand new Human characters should not start off knowing anything about the digital world (including Digimon). Not only would you be ridding yourself of interesting roleplay ideas, but the ability to god-mod with such information is just terrible. They also cannot meet their Digimon in their history. Everything they learn about Digimon and the Digital World must be learned through roleplay. You can allude to suspicious incidents in the past, whether a split-second sighting that your character has become fixated with or being there during a major plot event like the mysterious destruction of the Entertainment District. However, your character knowing "Oh yeah! Those are Digimon, and this is how they work" is not acceptable. Of course, starting off as a solo digimon, you can disregard this rule.
At the same time, we know that there are some cases where you've had so much fun writing about a major figure in your character's life that you'd want to bump them up to full character status. For example, maybe your character's father has also found himself chosen after your character has confided in him about the Digital World. Maybe your character's rival in the Digital World has been so entertaining that you want to write about him full-time in his own context. We aren't going to force these characters to step into an amnesia machine and forget everything they've learned about the Digital World. However, we are going to request that they at least start from square one postcount-wise. It'd just be unfair to other members if you could spin yourself an entire supporting cast of Super Megas and app them one by one.
Just by the mere nature of how Digimon operate, their creation tends to be a lot more flexible than those of human characters. They could be fresh arrivals on their first cycle of reincarnation, or they could have quite a few lifetimes worth of information supporting them. The large scope of the Digital World means that your Digimon could have easily come from one of many small settlements and villages too minor to include on our board list. In a world where literally every being is born with the capacity to do battle, your Digimon could've witnessed, or even participated in, struggles that humans would never dream of. However, this added flexibility also comes with some unique restrictions. Please follow these Digimon app guidelines just as you follow the human ones above.
- When choosing your Digimon, please do not pick a Digimon from the banned list or recolor it and claim it as a new Digimon. These have been chosen due to being amazingly impractical for member use, and in many cases aren't even real Digimon at all. Compared to many other sites our banlist is very lenient, so please do not take advantage of our trust.
- If using a custom Digimon, please make sure that it is either a recolor of an existing design or a design originally made to be a Digimon. In the past there have been several instances of people ripping off Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh designs in their entirety, rather than actually making something original for their custom. You can certainly use a non-Digimon design as inspiration, but please do something original with the concept rather than rip it off wholesale. Compare Nanimon and its own inspiration, Oyajitchi, to see what a full conversion is like.
- If recoloring or modifying a pre-existing Digimon's appearance, please be polite to your fellow members and include a link to the original Digimon. There are hundreds of Digimon, and very few people will remember them all from a name alone. Including a picture as well does wonders for helping other members visualize your Digimon.
- Your Digimon should not be leaps and bounds ahead of other Digimon in combat potential. Plot armor for major hero and villain Digimon does not exist here, for example, and X-Antibody Digimon have no innate strength over their non-X counterparts. Not all Digimon are going to be equal in all of their abilities, of course; an aerodynamic, swift Devidramon and a sturdy, powerful Greymon will have the specifics of their combat potential differ. However, they should both be relatively on par with one another if they were to go one-on-one. Nobody wants to find out that they lost a fight during character creation.
- Similarly, please make sure that none of your Digimon's abilities are too strong for their level. A Rookie going faster than the speed of sound, flinging cars around, or surviving dips into boiling lava unscathed is simply too much for that level. This should also be kept in mind for size; a Rookie or Champion really shouldn't be towering over Tokyo Godzilla-style.
- Sometimes Digimon have weapons. Sometimes they don't. This can be very inconsistent throughout most forms of Digimon media. Typically humanoid Digimon are capable of wielding weapons of some sort, although if they do not usually use one we may request you make an attack or passive to reflect its presence. Bestial Digimon tend not to, unless said weapons are literally built onto them as part of their design. If you wish to give your Digimon a weapon-based attack, when in doubt put it on the app. If it strains our suspensions of disbelief to imagine we'll let you know.
- Just as you do with humans, please try and keep custom Digimon's designs tasteful. We know, the series has already beat any prospective perverts to the punch on an unfortunate number of occasions (see also, the entirety of Xros Wars), but that doesn't mean you need to go to the same level.
- Please try and keep your Digimon's history appropriate. They may have been powerful and successful in a past life, but don't make them king of the Digital World or anything extreme like that. You can invent villages, skirmishes, and minor events to suit your needs, but please don't invent entirely new continents of the Digital World and globe-spanning cataclysms. Finally, keep in mind that your Digimon may be the same species as a famous one, but that doesn't necessarily mean they were part of said famous group. Your Gallantmon is not one of The Royal Knights. Your Marsmon is not one of The Olympos XII. Your Azulongmon is not one of The Sovereigns. Trust me, if a member of one of those groups appears, you'll know it.
- Try to keep a single core motif running throughout your Digimon's Digivolution line. We're not going to pretend that a line needs to make perfect sense in a series where puppy -> cat -> angel -> Falcor the Luck Dragon is a perfectly canon line. However, they're all tied together by the theme of holiness. We'll allow shifts in species and build as your Digimon progresses through their line, but if your line seems thrown together rather than thought out we may request some changes to make it more cohesive. As an example, Candlemon -> Seadramon -> MetalMamemon -> Ophanimon -> AncientTrojamon is pretty much nonsense.
- At the start of RP, your Digimon has one Digivolution line they can access. Anything beyond this must be either earned (Armor Digivolution, DNA Digivolution) or purchased (alternate Digivolution lines, mode changes). You may pre-write these other entries, and we may pre-approve them, but please be aware that you can't use them until you've achieved the necessary conditions.
- Your Digivolution should always arise for a reason. We aren't going to demand that every Digivolution at every level needs an insanely important reason behind it, but at least the first time you achieve a form should always be a noteworthy, important event in your character's life. Going Mega for the first time so you can reach the top shelf is a waste of a pivotal moment. This is more important the higher level your form is. Rookie can be achieved just through natural growth, but Super Mega should be the culmination of every experience, desire, and struggle that your character has survived up to this point.
- When making attacks, please try and keep them at an acceptably fun level of power. Nobody likes dealing with a Digimon who can fling one hit kill moves at disgusting speed and range. At the same time, fully healing an allied Digimon every turn and making them invincible more often than they aren't is equally unfun to deal with. Keep your attacks well balanced power-wise whenever possible, so that your opponents are challenged yet entertained instead of forced to feel completely useless.
- Please try and keep attacks to something that your Digimon would actually be capable of using. A Meramon using an ice move, for example, just doesn't make any sense. A Digimon with no wings having a wing-smash move is similarly nonsense. A Digimon that is otherwise flesh and blood shouldn't suddenly sprout machine guns from its body like the Terminator. Creativity is always appreciated, but it must make sense.
- Finally, a single attack should be just that; a single attack. If you want to have a move do two or three drastically different things, those are two or three different moves. By nature some moves are going to be more complicated than others, because not everything can be a simple fireball or claw slash, but as the move writer it is your job to explain these complexities to the best of your ability. If a member can't understand what your move does, they won't find it fun to play around it.