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 Rules for the creation of OCs (READ THIS FIRST)

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caith
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PostSubject: Rules for the creation of OCs (READ THIS FIRST)    Sat Jul 24, 2010 5:26 pm

Caith’s Codex for the Creation of Original Characters,

Or

How To Not Suck


Howdy, all, and welcome to the basic rules for creating an interesting original character. These rules, for all intents and purposes, are set in at least semi-hardened clay. While creating an OC is meant to be a freeing and creative experience, there is only so much that can be screwed with before they become a burden, both to the writer and to the people who RP with that writer. So prepare to be schooled.

THE BASICS


-Learn to spell. If you can’t spell, install a spellcheck. There is no excuse for bad spelling. A few errors here and there are okay. Any more than that and you’re just being a dick. If English is your second language, reach out to your fellow RPers- someone should be willing to help you.
-There are ways to write a proper sentence. There are ways to write something that is only a tatterdemalion of a sentence. If you don't know how to write a sentence, you shouldn't be allowed on the internet. Again, if English is your second language, seek assistance from a fellow RPer.
-No shortening of words in the style of instant messaging and text. It saves time but it also makes you look like a moron.
-There. They’re. Their. Learn the difference.
-Your. You’re. Learn the difference.
-Where. Wear. Learn the difference.
-Make sure you read over your work once you’re done. Sometimes walking away from a piece and then coming back lets you see the mistakes you couldn’t spot before.

#1: NO RELATION


Your character should not, under any circumstances, be related to a main Dragon Ball Z protagonist or antagonist. No long lost twins, brothers, sisters, cousins, half siblings, sperm donors, uncles twice removed, or anything of the fashion. Why? Because this is a set up for failure. When your new OC relies too much on a connection with a pre-existing canon, you’re changing the very fabric of the core story. That is a no no.

“but Caith,” I hear you say, “your OC is related to Vegeta!”

This is true, Caithion Sidhe is Vegeta’s cousin. However, Caithion is not a new OC- he has existed for over eight years and has long since passed that dangerous window wherein he would rely too much upon his relationship to Vegeta. It is integral to the plot of Duel of Fates that Caithion function as he does, thus the bloodline.

#2:THE DEVIL’S IN THE DETAILS


Tell us everything. We want to know your OC’s life story, their favorite color, that incident when they were young. A bare-bones OC application is alright to start with, while you’re trying to figure your character out. By the time you’ve finished, however, you should have a well rounded hero, villain, or neutral that you could sit down to dinner with.

On the flip side, there is such a thing as too much information. Yes, I’m interested in learning about that scar from that epic battle your character barely survived; no, I don’t need to know about the time they got pranked in the fourth grade. For example, Caithion smokes- and his brand is Black Gen Wild. This is an important and minute detail that helps place my character. However, how he styles his hair in the morning is not important at all, unless his hair is somehow related to the plot (and I promise you, it isn’t.) It is up to you to decide what details are important in regards to your OC, and what gets to be a special goodie just for you, the creator.

#3: WAITING FOR GODOT

Ever seen the play Waiting for Godot? It’s good. Two guys are hanging around waiting for a third guy named Godot, who never shows up. You know who Godot stands for? God. And that is exactly what your character CAN NOT BE.

Now in the world of Dragon Ball Z, power- physical and mental- is obtained through hard work or luck or magical artifacts. And everyone starts at the bottom. Goku had to beat up Vegeta before he made it to the Ginyu Force, so on and so forth. So you cannot- let me repeat that- CAN. NOT- come blazing into town with a character whose power level is off the freakin’ charts. Not only is that unfair to your fellow players, it is unfair to you. A character who enters a story at the peak of their skill has nothing to do. If there are no challenges to face, then what drives the character’s existence? The short answer is nothing.

“But Caith,” I hear you whimper, “Caithion’s power level is so hiiighh!”

Yes, it is. And it corresponds with Caithion’s job. He’s the supreme commander of the Saiyan Army, for crying out loud. You don’t get that job sitting on your duff. Likewise, any new character I created for the RP would have a power level in conjunction with what they have or have not done. A store clerk is not going to have the same power level as a Freiza Faction soldier.

#4: DUDE (LOOKS LIKE A LADY)

This RP is homo, hetero, lesbian, trans, bi, pan, and any other kind of sexual-friendly. If your character is something wavering outside of what is considered the norm, then please make a note of it in that character’s bio. We like diversity. However, your character’s life, personality, and powers should not revolve around the fact that he or she is gay. Here at Duel of Fates, we strive for the Dumbledore Principle- that being anything besides heterosexual should not matter in the long run of a character’s development. If your 30,000 power level Freiza Faction foot soldier is prancing around the locker room singing Cher using his hairbrush as a microphone, then we have problems. A flamboyant character is not bad- they make the RP interesting. But a character whose sole purpose is to be a stand in for an accepted stereotype is not a character at all, they are a sham.

#5: I GOT NO STRINGS

We all know it’s coming, so I’m going to say it now: if I read one Mary Sue or Gary Stu bio application, then your ass is mine. These character types are lazy mistakes made by people who want nothing more than to live out shallow fantasies. Blonde, blue eyed, beautiful women do not come swooping in on jetskis, save the day, and then fall into Goku’s arms. That is not how this works.

#6: EVERYONE’S A LITTLE BIT RACIST

You know what Caithion’s problem is? He doesn’t like people. In fact, he thinks most people are idiots and rarely gives two shits about their opinions. Sometimes, this causes him to miss out on important information. This is called a character flaw- and it is IMPORTANT.

Our flaws are what make us as human beings. The same can be said for characters. Everyone has one. Goku is too trusting, Vegeta? Too prideful. These fatal flaws keep them believable (well, okay, as believable as either of them can be) and make them interesting. So long story short, don’t be afraid of playing a jackass. There are terrible people in the universe, and they are just as important to the RP as sweet, loving, and just people.

#7: WORST BAND IN THE UNIVERSE

You know what people hate? Survey takers. The guys who pass out fliers at snack stands. Door to door census people. The men and women of the world who take it upon themselves to assert their opinions in whatever way possible. And if your character does this, than congratulations, you’ve just created a cardboard cut out.

An inkeeper on Terrada won’t have heated debates about abortion. A pirate trainee is not going to go on and on about renewable energy. Keep your real world politics out of your RP lives. The moment you let your character go on a tangent about how democrats or republicans or terrorists or Catholics ruined the world, then you’ve derailed your entire story.

#8: LOVE, NATURALLY.

Your OC is allowed to fall in love, or to have a crush, or to be married or engaged. That being said, it is important to note that Duel of Fates is not a romantic comedy. Your character’s crush is perfectly fine, so long as it doesn’t consume their very being. An unrequited love is alright, just don’t let it turn into Romeo and Juliet. If your plot takes you there, then okay, but right here and right now, we’re just being introduced to your character. Who they happen to love is of little consequence to us until it appears in the story.

That being said, don’t put anything in stone. Writing is a process that is continual. As your writing improves and your story changes, your characters will surprise you in new ways. So that little crush on Cooler might turn out to be a full blown stalker complex, or a sudden death can nip a romance in the bud. It is important to note that no one will be dating a canon until that canon is claimed and the relationship approved by the player. There is no bio setup where you are the princess of Icion if Freiza hasn’t even opened a thread with you.

#9: LOGICALLY

Everyone knows that logic sometimes has very little to do with the Dragon Ball z Universe. Belief has to be suspended sometimes- seven magical crystal balls that summon a dragon? The same can be said of OCs. Let's drag out my favorite punching ba-I mean original character, Caithion. He is a practicioner of shadow magic. It's a fantastic element added to a preexisting base, the saiyan male. Caithion's magical powers are an integral part of his design, and they are also logical.

you know what isn't logical?

Super-neko-kawaii-robot-cat-girls who can still reproduce organically. Can you see where this is going?

The wonderful thing about the Dragon Ball universe is how it lends itself to new beings. Virtually any alien species you can think of could exist- it just has to be created. As the sage Uncle Ben once said, however: "With great power comes great responsibility." It is important for your character to have a logical base. A super robot cat girl could in theory exist. However, she would require a team of scientists, cat DNA, and unlike in various anime, she probably wouldn't be a happy sugar-plum fairy character. In fact, I daresay she would be Fucked. Up.

Word to the wise. If you want to create something totally new, then go for it. But that new thing has to have some logical basis. We return once more to the Caithion example. In his original backstory, Caithion's family gains their powers through a contract with the twin gods of the Saiyans, Senbex and Sasha. In return for their mysticism, the Sidhes sacrifice their latent ability to become Super Saiyans.
I did this on purpose because I knew that once handed the ability to control darkness, Caithion would be a formidable force; becoming a Super Saiyan would just be overkill.

So think about it. Does that adorable kitty tail do anything for your OC? No? then scrap it.

#10: WHAT'S IN A NAME?


Most names in the Dragon Ball universe are based on puns. Goku-rice, Gohan- a measure of rice, etc. This does not mean your character's name has to be based on a pun. Caithion's name came about almost entirely by accident, and does not fit the vegetable pun that is typical to the Sayian race. Caith is an old Irish name which means 'from the battlefield'; by extension, Caithion means 'sentinel of the battlefield'.

The name is an important part of any character. A name is a hint, a clever title, a hidden gem. A name should be carefully considered, slaved over. There will be no Sweetest Taboos of Mercy or Princess Yumi Neko Chans here. These names are not realistic, nor do they tell anyone anything about the character.

Consider JK Rowling's habit of naming things- Remus Lupin, a werewolf, shares a name with a founder of Rome, who was raised by wolves, and a surname that makes up a part of the scientific label for the wolf subspecies. His name alone tells you all you need to know about him. The iconic character James Rabbit, from the novel Run Rabbit Run, is named after an animal that is skittish and prone to fleeing.

Should your name be this obvious? No, it doesn't have to be. But if your Rebellion scientist wants to be known as Bob Doe Smith, well he'd better be forgettable.

IN CONCLUSION

An Original Character is only as lively as the work you put into him or her or it. If you want your character to add to the story, then you need to put the appropriate thought into her. Caithion Sidhe is my baby, and I’m not joking when I say it took me eight years to get him right. I’m not saying you need that kind of long term dedication, but if you want to be taken seriously on this board, and you want to contribute, then your character has to be a little more than a pretty face or a great hairdo. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, or question where your writing is going. That’s a sign that you’re doing it right. We’re here to help you, and if you feel you need help, then you can PM us. That’s what we’re here for. These rules might change as our board grows and gains new players, but for now-

Consider yourself schooled.
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