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NecroPaladin

Character Creation Pitfalls

CHARACTER CREATION PITFALLS (Or, how to avoid Town Mary-Sue-ism)

This isn't a manifesto (though those are what I’m known for, I’m afraid), but it is a number of guidelines that I think the Town community would be wise to heed.  This isn’t so much an addendum to the Rules of Play thread as it is a stand-alone list: These are not rules, and it is no one’s obligation to follow them, but nevertheless I think that there are a few things that must be noted if we are to really constructively advance as an RP community.  I don’t intend for this to be an attack, and even then I’m not using the aforementioned as an excuse to attack.  I won’t be giving any ‘bad examples’ from in the town, and I aim to offer solutions to make things more interesting rather than merely putting them down.  If anyone else wishes to suggest an addition or correction to this list, then by all means do so.  It is a work in progress.

We’re finally getting an influx of players, now that the New Town is completely open, but at the same time a lot of people aren’t familiar with some traits that simply pop up too much, or often aren’t fleshed out well enough.  Many of these offenses pertain to all fantasy fiction; only some are derived from the Town itself.  Because not many people as of the moment are indulging in the worse of the listed traits, but I have no doubt that someone will in the future, I intend this thread to be a sort of pre-emptive strike against possible future badness.

If your character possesses one or more of these traits, take this with a grain of salt.  My characters do, too.

I’ve divided the list into two main categories (Physical Traits and Character Traits) and from there into the extremity of the pitfall:
Excusable- We’ve all done this, and often it’s hard to avoid.  However, some do it badly and some do it with grace.
Redeemable-Explainable- A trait that would be obnoxious in its own right that is more or less fixed merely by explaining its origins, how it works, and/or why.
Redeemable with Depth- A trait that we’ve all seen thrown around too much but that really can be part of a well-developed and interesting character if the author actually tries to imagine how the trait would realistically effect said character.
Pushing It-Do you really want to include this?  Really?
Inexcusable-No, no you don’t.

PHYSICAL TRAITS

EXCUSABLE
Distinctive Minor Trait-Think tattoos, piercings, birthmarks.  Scars, we'll get to later.  Often, these are the most memorable things about characters, campy or not, so they're completely okay (provided you're not abusing it with a monk who has a birthmark that looks like a praying mantis with a gold piercing through it and a leopard-print tattoo all over his body or something).
General Good Looks-There's nothing wrong with a good-looking character.  Just don't make a big point of every post to explain how attractive PhallicBlade, Knight of Compensationsburgh looks in his gleaming white armor.  It should be a noted trait, but not the point of the whole character.
Weapon, Tool, or Instrument Strapped on Back-If only because packs and scabbards exist for a reason.  However, the pure coolness value has even overcome myself countless times.  Excusable, even if it leaves one feeling guilty and a little stupid.

REDEEMABLE-EXPLAINABLE
Odd Hair Color-If no reason is given for the green hair, stupid.  If a reason is given (It could be as simple as 'hair dye') then not stupid.  Pretty 'cut-and-dry', both in logistics and in styling.
Glowing/Discolored Eyes-A biggie.  It's one thing to just say 'because he's magic' or 'because he's powerful' or (even worse) 'because...just because.'  It's another thing to have your character with a genetic pigmentation problem, or a specific spell or experiment that backfired, or some sort of power routed through the eyes (the eyes are, as they say, the windows to the soul).  It would be a shame to see the odd-eye classic become just another piece of camp trash.
Aura-For much the same reason as the glowing eyes.  These merely need an explanation, which unfortunately can often go unmade.
Distinctive Scar/Scars All Over-A really, really big cliche.  Try to think up the battles that the character must have been in, or how he got that big red slash on his chest.  If you don't think it's that big a deal, imagine asking a veteran how he got that scar and getting the somewhat unrelated response, "oh, it looks cool."
Wings or a Tail-Try to give some other reason than that the character is half-angel or half-demon or something, although in a pinch it's better than no reason at all.  Wings tend to represent a lot of the rest of the flaws given in this list, so they're worth being suspicious about.
Impractical but Cool Outfit-It could just be a uniform, and that explains that.  However, at the same time, I don't think a real self-respecting adventurer girl would charge into battle wearing a chain-link bikini for protection, do you?
Ludicrously Oversized Weapon/Tool/Instrument-Weapon is the biggest offender here, although the other two aren't close behind.  Basically, anything slung along the character's shoulders that's roughly the size of a battering ram.  Give a convincing IC reason, or it's not worth looking that stupid OOC to look that cool IC.

REDEEMABLE WITH DEPTH
Prosthetics, Mismatched Parts, or Apparent Disabilities-Try to play them out as would happen realistically.  A robot arm would be superpowered, sure, but wouldn't it require maintenance?  Couldn't it break down, or be thwarted in environments not suited to its metal build?  Put a lot of thought into character enhancements before you just slap them on.
Absolutely Flawless Beauty-This is entirely seperate from general good looks, because if a character is hyperpretty then that would be the focus of the character.  Try to come up with some realistic downsides to the character.  "Lady Sexington is disadvantaged because it's tough to get through doorways when people are pushing through trying to have sex with her" is NOT a realistic downside.

PUSHING IT
Scar over Eye-Wow, what a badass.  He's almost as badass as the other FIVE ZILLION badasses with scars over their eyes (or, alternatively, an eyepatch that might as well have a normal eye under it due to a clear lack of any deformity, or an "X"-shaped scar that crosses both eyes).  Only use this if you've got a good reason or absolutely nothing better.
Anime Hair-A general rule is that if you could spend two sentences describing a character's biologically NORMAL hair (this rule is null and void for, say, Medusa, but still goes for strands of human hair that happen to change color for magic or some other silly reason) and still not be satisfied with the description, you've got some priorities to assess.
White Hair on Young Characters-A pity, because even WITH a lack-of-pigmentation excuse, nothing can fix the great big sickening feeling that you're just a great big poser who reads too much manga.  Another idea that's been done enough, and better than you could do it, probably.
Trenchcoat or “Cool” Pop-Culture-Inspired Outfit-Just because you think something looks sweet doesn't mean it would fit your elf priestess.  Clothes should fit the character, and if these sorts of clothes, synonymous as they are with certain themes, do fit the character, then it hints widely at heavily borrowed ideas.
Ludicrously Oversized and Inexplicably Light Weapon/Tool/Instrument-Another anime dealie.  Your blond man-boy should not be able to lift a sword bigger than him as a general rule, much less use it one-handed.
Ninja Weapons, Ninja Outfits, Ninja Geta, Ninja Anything-Do you have no better ideas?  This is like giving all your elf characters made-up Japanese-sounding names because you think they're just that freaking cool.
Charlie Dog [As contributed by Nevrmore]-When an author just can't settle on one race for their character. Or even two. Or three. When they just have to throw every cool race into the melting pot that is their PC. A half-elf/half-human hybrid is already stretching it, and upon thinking about it a half-orc/half-anything is very close to the breaking point, but a 1/3 elf-1/3 angel-1/3 human abomination is an assassination of credulity. The only way to even completely and totally justify a racial hybrid is by having a list of genealogies for your character handy and those tend to be really long and annoying.

INEXCUSABLE
Idealized Author-A common mistake.  The author takes what he or she looks like and makes the character look like them, but without flaws.  It's less common to do this with a character's appearance than with his/her actions and opinions, but it's still worth a notice.  People see it as arrogant, even if you don't intend it that way.
Clear Rip-Either of another Townie or from an outside source (likely copyrighted).  There's a time for fanfics and there's a time for plagiarism, but when we pride ourselves on the depth and personality of our characters, there's nothing more sad than someone playing a Harry Potter or Legolas knockoff, and nothing more infuriating than someone playing a knockoff of our own character.
Amalgamation of Best Traits-Even worse than the aformentioned would be if someone took a character of yours, but made him an elf, and gave him a lightning-bolt scar, too.  Also, he'd have white hair.  Oftentimes a character is a combination of traits from many sources, but when you take all of the positives from seemingly unrelated places and mash them together, it comes out forced and annoying.
Looks Like “_____” But Better-Perhaps more immediately repugnant than ripping off characters is explicitly stating that your character is a prettier version of them.  Luckily, I have only dealt with a few such cases in The Town.

CHARACTER TRAITS

EXCUSABLE
Profound or Philosophical Statements-The character who likes to comment on anything and everything, usually in a detached or musing manner.  This is a free RP environment, so even if some find it annoying, commentary should be encouraged.  Yes, no matter how trite or inane.
Look, I put this in excusable because half my characters fit the bill.  Are you happy now?

Inappropriately Silly Character-Sure, they get annoying, but we need them to keep things from getting dreary.  Also, fun to wail on.
Generally Romantic Character-The character has a romantic streak, so be it.  Like 'general good looks,' though, don't make it all-consuming.  Just because he's a romantic guy, Lord SigmundFreud GenitalFixation (he's PhallicBlade's half-brother, for those who wanted to know) shouldn't assume that every female character wants to bone him raw and take the appropriate steps as though that were a certainty.
REVENGE!-The king of all motivators.  Use revenge wisely, and don't get out of hand.  No need to declare vendetta on that guy who passed by because he looked at your character funny.

REDEEMABLE-EXPLAINABLE
Powers beyond Simplistic Destroy/Manipulate/Fix Variants-Specifically, when powers start getting into the realm of turning Nothing into Something or Something into Nothing, you need to start getting careful.  No longer can you simply say "Oh, it's magic," or "Oh, it's technology."  Show some class and give specific reasons, and people will think better of you for it.
Fast Enough Recovery to Invalidate the Character Taking Lasting Harm-Listed because this is potentially game-breaking or game-saving.  If your character heals at an abnormal rate, be VERY specific about it.  Don't let it turn around and bite you in the nads when you suddenly make your character heal in one day when everyone's used to him taking three.  You'll look like a god-modder, even though you're not god-modding.
Redeemed Villain or Fallen Hero-These are rather cliche, and often stick out like a sore thumb amongst developed pure heroes or villains.  They hog the spotlight, pure and simple.  If you're going to play one, as I have on numerous occasions, try to take the attention off of their past.  Rather than have them dwelling on their tumultuous pre-revelation life, have them carry out a new adventure or evil plot.  It's more fun for everyone that way.
Creature Acting in Direct Opposition to its Standard Morality-Similar to the Redeemed Villain or Fallen Hero, but requires even more care to work with believably and with finesse.  WHY is the succubus joining the clergy (a theme that I happen to be working with as I write this, in fact)?  WHY is the angel creating an undead army?  Explain, Explain, Explain.
Limited Emotions or Moods-A character can't ALWAYS be sad, or angry, or happy, and to be so takes away from believability.  But that doesn't mean that they can't GENERALLY be so.  Try to give a reason for the attitude.
Hybrid/Inhuman(oid)-Naturally, there would be a different dynamic to the pasts and thoughts of alien creatures.  Try to think outside the box and make a real effort to not play it just as if it were human.
Overemphasized Weapon, Tool, or Instrument-Not the same as oversized, this is when we go into the ridiculous details of how PhallicBlade's sword has been passed down for generations, and how it can talk, and how it carries his ancestor's souls, and how the runic text that only he can translate on the side reads "FOR THE BRAVE STAND ERECT IN THE MOUTH OF DANGER," and how it magically makes people who have to sit through his lecture about the history of his sword think he's a giant dick.  For the record, it actually doesn't need magic to do that.
Wishy-Washy Ambiguous Morality-Again, give a reason.  "I'm neutral" doesn't cut it.  If a character rapes and murders one day and donates to an orphanage the next, and vice versa, they're having an identity crisis or there's something the author's not telling us.  Or they've got some weird rape and murder-orphanage association.
Limited Shapeshifting, Invisibility, or Intangibility-There are a number of challenges that can be circumvented with these abilities.  Just stay classy and don't have them be your character's ONLY option against any challenge.
God/ A God (power lost)-An avatar of a God on Earth.  Think the same suggestions as under "Hybrid/Inhuman(oid)" but less scales and fur and more wrath and judgement.  Don't get carried away, don't use too many human-analagous motives.

REDEEMABLE WITH DEPTH
Powers beyond Simplistic Destroy/Manipulate/Fix Variants that are also beyond Technological/Magical/Natural Origins and thus That Much Harder to Counter-These just come out looking cheap almost any way you put them, because people aren't sure if they're just out of the loop as to why their characters shouldn't have an effect on yours, or if you're dicking around and making up reasons to thwart them.  Prove to them that they're the problem, not you, by giving some sort of guidelines as to how you might be countered and why standard methods don't work.
Exceedingly Tragic Past-One of those things that can work for a competent author.  Looking back, I sort of think I could have refined Morbius' past so as to be less opaquely tragic.  I mean, his mother (involuntarily) killed herself and his father saw him as an experiment.  That's angst if I ever wrote it.  I think why I don't catch more flak for that piece is because I've been able to carry out Morbius' actions with a realistic outlook on his past.  If your character experienced some sort of trauma, he's not going to sob about it for the rest of his existence (See "Needless Angst", later).  He's going to cope and have maybe the occasional bout of melancholy.  Try to avoid being exceedingly angsty if you do go with the exceedingly tragic past.
Able to Return from Death of Own Volition-As many powers, can be abused.  Try to establish certain scenarios, or places, or time limits, so as not to be left with the infamous invincible character.
Character is Death-Generally one grim reaper is good enough for the world, and we don't need twenty goth wannabes running around scything old ladies, cancer patients, and helmetless motorcyclists.  If you have to play Death, play Death better than the other Deaths.  People will be more likely to take your Death seriously as opposed to going, "look, it's ANOTHER grim reaper.  Suppose he's hear to reap the souls of the living?" and sitting down to have some chockies.
Character only Works for Self/World Revolves around Character-Don't expect people to like your character if he or she is arrogant.  Oftentimes, the author is arrogant, and the character is not supposed to be, but it leaks through.  This can ruin many a scene, so just make sure to keep the droll sarcasm and backstabbing pigheadedness to yourself if you don't intend to make an unlikable character.
Hybrid/Inhuman(oid)-Exotic or Alien-If you're going to try to manage something really out-there on the planar crossroads, really think about how its mannerisms and thoughts would differ from our own.  Try not to just make the character a really cool-looking human with standard good-guy ideals and goals.
Split Personality or Other Psychosis-Do some research.  Split Personality does not mean 'can get away with being good or evil all the time,' and perhaps more importantly, 'Paranoid Schizophrenia' does not mean 'Split Personality.'
Unlimited Shapeshifting, Invisibility, or Intangibility-So many abuses as to make it almost inviable as a balanced character option.  Be very careful, and try not to exploit it.
The Best of His/Her/Its Trade-Again, don't just play the character as being really really good at something, but as the result of KNOWING (or not knowing) that he/she's really really good at something.  Maybe arrogant, maybe naive.  But not JUST really really good.
Overly Intricate Past, Complete with Prophecies and Chosen Ones-Can be pulled off by authors who are good at this grandiose-storyline sort of thing.  Cannot by authors who are bad at it.  Those who are good and those who are bad, you know who you are from the first time you tried to do a character like this.
Multiple Origins-For those not satisfied with magic or technology, there's the extra option; Techmagickry.  If a character has abilities and strengths from more than one source, be prepared to RP in stride with how that would effect his/her judgement and also be ready to give the character more weaknesses to make up for his/her strengths.
Kryptonite [As contributed by Deadly]-To give a character one glaring weakness to counterbalance an otherwise god-like repetoire of abilities can be either severely limiting or just cheap, depending on that weakness.  In and of itself, you get some huge holes that many leave unexplained.  Is he/she weak to all variants of that substance or just one?  Wouldn't that mean the character would develop something akin to a phobia over it?  Or, conversely, it could be something so impractical or impossible to find as to invalidate its use, effectively passing it off as a flaw.  Kyrptonite should be an RP option, not an excuse.

PUSHING IT
Rebel Without a Cause-Just too overdone, I'm sorry.  Plus, "tebel without a cause" is an oxymoron because a rebel is rebelling against something, thus giving him a cause.
Adorable Companion-Another 'it depends.'  It's one thing to have a crazy little devil on the shoulder, or a loyal old dog.  It's another to have a cute little dragon that hides in the character's sleeve and opens locks and such for her and makes cute little sounds.  There are better ways to get 'awwws,' and this way gets stale fast.
Unlimited Resources-The LEAST you could do is explain where your character got the bank's worth of gold to buy out all the real estate in heaven.
Overly Romantic-This character otherwise referred to as "whore" (or, alternatively, "man-whore").  This author will insist that their character is merely 'romantic' while filling threads to the brim with Cyb0r.  There are better places, and better ways.  If you want to play a character this hedonistic, at least have them indulge in exotic fruits and go to the opera or something.
“Don’t Look at Me, I’m a MONSTER!”-The worst part is that it's always the really purty ones who do this.  Way too angsty, and if you were an ugly monster wouldn't you accept it enough to at least let people see you?  Doesn't seem very practical to always hide because you're not a big looker.
Amnesia-Do I even have to explain myself?  It's one thing to have a character who remembers bits of his/her past, but not all.  It's another to do the whole bit on conveniently forgetting that he/she is the lost heir to the Great Big Throne of Compensationsburgh, wherupon he/she gets to act out his/her every whim AND retains all the humble morals he/she learned adventuring.
Oh, and any and all amnesiac assassins need to get their faces smashed open like eggs against a tack hammer before they can cause any more damage to the respectable fiction community.

God/ A God (no power lost)-Even clearer reason.  What, would you not have a problem with me just popping in and smiting those who disagree with me?  Note: Only applies to Gods who involve themselves in mortal affairs regularly.
Vampires-Not vampires as a whole.  Just 'vampires.'  You know, the romantic, gothy, "Ah-sahck-joor-blud-end-naow-Ah-have-teh-secks-with-hyu" types.  There's sort of an annoying stereotype variant to a lot of fantasy creatures, from elves to dragons to werewolves, and it does one well to break from those...ahem...'traditions,' if you could call them that.
Super-General Powers-As in, total control over everything even VAGUELY related to a certain element or theme.  Just because you're a necromancer and have death powers doesn't mean you can just will death on people.
Kill-At-Will-In fact, no one should be allowed to do that.  Rather than referring to explicit godmodding here, I'm focusing on "He throws a bolt at _____ that is hyperaccurate and will kill on hit if it hits and no mortal should be able to dodge it but of course it's _____'s player's choice whether he dies or acts completely contradictory to his character's power limits, effectively godmodding."

INEXCUSABLE
Idealized Author-Similar to the physical traits equivalent.  Character is like the author, but better at everything.  You can do better than this.
Needless Angst or Sadness-Ew.  This is what happens when you do the 'past tragedy' bit wrong.
Clear Rip-Even worse than taking a character's look is taking a character.  Plagiarism, through and through, and absolutely annoying to have to deal with.  Do my characters look like they want to fight Gimli the Dwarf?  No.
Amalgamation of Best Traits-You can probably tell where I'm going with this.  Just don't do it.
Acts/Thinks/Is Like “_____” But Better-Much worse than it's physical counterpart.  This is the act of taking someone else's character but ironing out the flaws so as to make them effectively unstoppable.  Unoriginal and insulting.
Powers Taken from Outside Source/Shoddily Explained (“It’s magic”)-I may have already covered this, albeit to less of an extreme.  When in doubt, explain it all.  Don't be afraid to have holes or weaknesses.
Character Does Whatever Author Wants Without Justification-Sort of an extension of "Idealized Author," this is a kind of fantasty fufillment scenario gone wrong.  With all the people that get tangled up in this sort of mess, it's probably best analagous to an orgy, except unlike an orgy only one person is having any fun whatsoever.  And even then, said person isn't so much playing with the others as he is playing with himself, at the others' expense.  Bad, bad, bad.
Absolutely Completely Unhindered Unlimited Power-NO.

Alright, that about covers it.  Again, this is a list in progress, so suggestions for contributions or protests against me prostelytizing my opinions over others should come sooner rather than later.

EDIT: Typo fixed and "Kryptonite" added
Deadly

A very good list. I'm sad to see that I've been guilty of a number of those things, but I guess we all have. It's nice with a list like this.

I would add the "Character's background makes certain situations very undesirable". Like, not being able to let your character die or something because of something in the background. I've made that mistake, with Ilias when I first came to Town. I couldn't let him die because that'd ruin his background/plot. It's a bad idea, mostly because it can lead to situations where you actually have to "godmod" your way out of things. It also encourages the sad tendency we see/have seen where noone ever dies, atleast not for more than 5 minutes.

Also, the "Kryptonite" mistake, having characters that are virtually invincible but have one weakness. I've done this too, with Cali and Deadly both. It's really a sad thing, because it simplifies and railroads everything. Every attack becomes the same, with everyone declaring "I pull out a piece of 'kryptonite' and hold it up" instead of coming up with unique and interesting responses.

That's some possible contributions to the list I can think of. Not sure how to rate them, but I think they are both bad ideas and should be avoided
Moxie

Extremely good list. Although, I confess to using white hair and random hybridization before, but it works for the characters.
Deadly wrote:

I would add the "Character's background makes certain situations very undesirable". Like, not being able to let your character die or something because of something in the background. I've made that mistake, with Ilias when I first came to Town. I couldn't let him die because that'd ruin his background/plot. It's a bad idea, mostly because it can lead to situations where you actually have to "godmod" your way out of things. It also encourages the sad tendency we see/have seen where noone ever dies, atleast not for more than 5 minutes.


Okay, this is the point where you have to be careful, because if you do it the right way, you can totally have an unkillible character that doesn't seem godmoddy. How? Injuries. Rex in the old town could not be killed or he loses his demi-godom, a power who's only use was to keep him eighteen forever. Well, he was powerful enough, at that point, to laugh/dodge any instant kills, and he was an epic character, which means he had tons and tons of HP. He got the crap kicked out of him on many occasions, shot several times, and lost quite a few fights, usually ending up with him crippled or passed out on the ground. Not as explainable with low-level characters.
Xaspian

Moxie wrote:
Extremely good list. Although, I confess to using white hair and random hybridization before, but it works for the characters.


I think that's part of the point... It might seem to you that it works for the characters, but to other people, it probably doesn't work as well as you think it does.

For example, when we first came up with the 'Black eyes' thing for Icetwig, it seemed like a really cool and original idea, and I still quite like it. But I do realise that it's probably over-done, even if I do have some kind of explanation (it's genetic, and all elves of his sub-type would have them) and try to apply it IC (he's likely to be picked out as a stranger, even if wearing a helmet as a disguise). But it's still not as good and cool an idea as I think it is.
Moxie

Well, Reel had white hair, but that's because he was a white haired cat, and I used Moxie's dog hybridization as an excuse for the fact that she lived an isolated and victimized life, and as such, expressed extreme interest in building friends... and lovers... Then expressed irony as the reason for her being driven out of town wasn't because of her obscure deformity, but of her will to build a friend.

I mean, it's easy to explain everything all the time, it's also fun to express small oddities, like the orphaned noble with dog-ears that lives secluded in her castle with her mute servant overlooking a primarily human town that's going through a shift due to adventurers spending time there, then have said person come to the Town, where such things aren't even noticed most of the time.
wxdruid

I think NecroPaladin's post is quite interesting to read and makes a lot of good points, but I don't think this is the proper thread to justify your particular character and why you did what you did.  Getting into character justification, in detail, is likely to start arguments about why this and why that and this isn't the place.

I think he is looking for ways to improve what he wrote and make it even more applicable to Town and how to help everyone create characters that interesting and viable for the RP that occurs in Town.
NecroPaladin

It is mostly drawn from my own mistakes.  Unless it was a glaring or obvious flaw on another players' part, I generally wouldn't include something unless I'd done it myself, either to a small extent or full-on abuse.  I'm currently guilty of just a little under half of these, but do note that the vast majority of all of these offenses (the list's, not mine) are in the first three categories and thus ultimately are not flaws at all if one merely puts some thought into it.

"Kryptonite" added, but I want to put some more thought into defining the 'background' issue.
Vael

>>
<<
*considers an attempt to use every one of these flaws in a single character just to see what kind of monstrosity it would create.*
*is beaten over the head with raw common sense*

Anyways.

Yes, I think this is a pretty good list, though there is more than that... (which you already stated...)
It's hard to think of everything off of the top of your head, but there ARE numerous Mary Sue type tests available around on the internet. It would be easy enough to find them and collect a few more tips and explanations.
NecroPaladin

The reason that I didn't merely link to one of those tests is because these are all offenses that I've seen specifically in Town, or only in Town.  It's always better to narrow one's focus group in these cases, and those tests are too general or out-of-context for my tastes.
Vael

Oh, no, I don't think one of those tests should be linked either, but I was saying that you (or someone) could sort through them and have other things brought to mind that are common failings in Town.
Kyrian

I liked reading it...but..

*huggles all his characters* I like my characters...
NecroPaladin

Maybe I shall.

On a seperate note, it would be a bit difficult to make a character with all of those mistakes as some of them outright contradict themselves.  Maybe it could be a joke character for April Fools.
Vael

It would be difficult indeed. I'll see what I can manage, if only to bring some humor into this thread. Wink

Edit:
Okay, so here we have the fabled:

Kasumi "Buffy" Aeswome the Amber Veiled.

Kasumi is rather short and has many scars from battle, but  none of these detract from her most compelling beauty. Even the scar across her eye somehow manages to radiate pure sexy. Her eyes glow a vivid green, and her long blue hair flows down her back like a dyed waterfall, except one streak which has turned white. Under one eye is a white tattoo of angel wings, mirroring the wings on her back, though the angelic appearance this gives her is belied by the fact that she has a long devil's tail peeking out from behind her.
One of her arms was lost in a battle long ago, and was replaced with the arm of a golem, and enchanted with magic runes so as to give her amazing strength, allowing her to make mighty strikes with her fabled sword, "Pwnrockzor," which she has strapped across her back.
Pwnrockzor is a huge katana forged out of soulsteel, imbued with the spirit of N'qaaam'c  (IE, 'Not Quite As Awesome As the Main Character") the demon prince. It is destined to be wielded by one who has seen conflict from the side of good, and the side of evil.
Around Kasumi is a green aura that becomes more or less intense as she uses her powers. Most of the time it is close enough to her skin to where she can hide it under clothing, so on top of her revealing ninja suit (that looks just like Kasumi's from Dead Or Alive) she wears a long black trench coat.

Kasumi was born under an amber moon, coinciding with a prophesy about the veiled goddess, Amber. As the only child born in that time, Kasumi was destined to be the incarnation of the goddess, bringing back her power and ridding evil from the world once and for all, but she cannot remember her past lives, and as such grew up as a simple farm girl until ninja assassins came to kill her. She hunted every one of them down after they killed her family- even the one that disguised as a meat pie vendor and traveled to Town in order to escape. Now she is without cause, and does not know of her past, but strikes out at anything and everything that she dislikes.
During her travels to kill one assassin, she was cursed and possessed by an evil spirit that tried to eat her soul, and while this occurred she turned evil and slaughtered an entire nation before coming back to her senses. Wallowing in grief, she decided she was an evil murderess and joined a band of assassins for a time before recalling her goal and returning to the light, slaughtered the entire group to show that she was no longer a part of them. The evil spirit still remains, and she fights with it to keep to her good side, though it corrupts her every once in a while, making her evil and crazy.
When she found Pwnrockzor, the blade that was destined to be wielded by one who had walked the path of evil and good, she transformed and gained her wings and tail. However, a vampire took advantage of the stupor the transformation put her in, and turned her while she was helpless. Pwnrockzor and her aura protect her from normal vampiric weaknesses, however. In her fight to get revenge she lost her arm, though it was replaced when she found a helpful and sexy sorcerer who created a golem arm for her and told her of her destiny. They romanced for a while before deciding it was not meant to be.
His help led her to find an ancient temple that described her power and what the incarnation of Amber meant for her. She was capable of wielding all the power of the mystical sun Amber Vael, which was a source of raw aeswome, which gives her abilities like magic, but as aeswome is a source older than magic, it cannot be touched by the lesser creations of wizards. However, being tied to the sun means that if it is ever extinguished, she will be stripped of her power and become mortal unless she can do the Amber Rites and Rituals, which will restore the sun to its previous state.
While the sun is still active and generating power, it is impossible for her to die, and her wounds heal almost instantly, regenerated by the aeswome she radiates.
Part of Kasumi's powers and domains is Death, as she is one of the three mystic guardians of the passage into Hadez, the land of the no longer living. Sometimes she is called on to send a powerful soul there, and must dress in long black robes, wielding the scythe form of Pwnrockzor.
Kasumi's only faithful companion is a small black and white kitten, "Mitten."

*cough*

Now that I feel like my IQ has dropped about 100 points, I'm going to go get lunch.
ValdisRequiem

Hitomi's hair is green because I said it is.
End of story, kay? =P

(( No, really...there is a reason, and Teru will vouch for it...although the reason may never actually come up...))

And, Vael's post just made this thread awesome.
Thank you.
Admiral_Kelly

Something that really bugs me:

(Above) God-Like Power but Won't Interfere - I find it entirely unbelievable that every uber in Town keeps to himself, especially the more Lawful-aligned ones with principles. Another thing I find unbelievable is an evil character getting new insight on morality thanks to his new power (thus keeping to himself) with no other explanation. While this gives ease to players with lesser characters; one cannot help but ask 'Hey, why does you character sit in a castle all day instead of trying to make the world a better place or conquer it?' Players should give reason why their uber-characters do not interfere aside from the stereotypical 'Does not want to upset the balance.' or 'Cares not for the affairs of mortals.' or 'I have better things to do with my time.' If you have to use one of those, the least you can do is explain how and why your character came to that conclusion.
atreyu_the_masked_llama

Who the shock is Mary-Sue???
Keledrath

You know Vael, I actually got the Kasumi reference.  Assuming that it was a reference to the Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Fiest.

Also, *actually reads the list* ...Did you make that after reading my character page?
wxdruid

Poor LLama, I really never understood the concept either.  If you want a good, long, involved explanation, ask Iames.  He seems to understand the concept of a Mary Sue character quite well.  I can just never remember the explanation.

And as I stated earlier, This is not a thread for commenting on your particular character or others.
Sophistemon

Quote:
Absolutely Completely Unhindered Unlimited Power-NO.


Well, now I'm sad.
Vael

Bookboy wrote:
You know Vael, I actually got the Kasumi reference.  Assuming that it was a reference to the Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Fiest.

Also, *actually reads the list* ...Did you make that after reading my character page?

...
You know, I've read those books, but I can't remember them at all. So no, it wasn't a reference.
DeBunny

Oooh, useful thread.
*takes notes*

I love how the fun stuff always becomes not-fun. ^_^
Keledrath

Soph, you're an exception.  Mostly because of how well played Gent is.  And the fact that it's impossible to copy him without cloning him.  Except for the Dancing Man.  I seriously want to see a fight between those two.
Vael

Bookboy wrote:
Soph, you're an exception.  Mostly because of how well played Gent is.  And the fact that it's impossible to copy him without cloning him.  Except for the Dancing Man.  I seriously want to see a fight between those two.

Amusingly enough, the Gent was inspired by my rendition of the Dancing Man, so that should really be the other way around...
And secondly:
Gent vs. The Dancing Man.
Keledrath

For some reason, it seems to lose some effect when it's not all in one post.  And when there are people commenting between every post.
Darkblade

I'd like to make a submission. I haven't seen anyone else do this one but looking back at all the Er'n and Darkblade stuff I did when I first started its kinda for lack of a better word 'one-sided'. Do not role-play both sides of a romance ever.
Kyrian

wxdruid wrote:
And as I stated earlier, This is not a thread for commenting on your particular character or others.


Personally...this might be easier to understand if the things weren't separated into "Excusable" to "Inexcusable".
The Herald

The only one of these things I take issue with is the Hair Color one (the bit about elves with Japanese-style names bothers me too, but whatever). A lot of us draw a substantial amount of inspiration from anime, and hair colors cover pretty muh the entire spectrum there, with no explanation beyond "that's what the character's hair color is".

Not to mention it discriminates against non-human characters. Who knows what sort of hair colors evoultion/the hand of their creator deity has produced for them?
Keledrath

Oh, and also, just letting everyone know, I do have a real name picked out for Shadowbow, which will be revealed at the end of the Plane of Nightmares plot.  Lord knows, he deserves an actual name.
NecroPaladin

@ Admiral Kelly: That's not going on the list because I disagree entirely.  Logically, if you were all-powerful, what would be the point of controlling the known universe?  You would know that you have the potential, but you would gain absolutely nothing from it that you didn't already have.  You could have a god attempt to take over the universe out of pure malice or spite, but that would be a one-trick-pony character and would likely get shot down by the other gods, too.  Just making a god for the sake of ruling others is about the most dickish you could get on this forum.

@ Darkblade: That depends.  It's one thing to have romance figure in to the backstory of your characters, because that can add depth and meaning.  It's another thing entirely to try to play out that romance town-style, curtains and all.  There have been people who have pulled off two romantically involved characters passably, and I think it can sometimes (if only sometimes) lead to interesting prospects.

@ Iames: Wouldn't 'that's a normal hair color for the species of the character/for where the character is from' fall under the category of an explanation?  I don't see what you're taking offense against at all.

The Japanese names thing might be a personal bias, though, because unless you're making a Japanese character it's just stupid to make him a ninja master with a generally Japanese-sounding mash of syllables for a moniker.
Admiral_Kelly

NecroPaladin wrote:
@ Admiral Kelly: That's not going on the list because I disagree entirely.  Logically, if you were all-powerful, what would be the point of controlling the known universe?  You would know that you have the potential, but you would gain absolutely nothing from it that you didn't already have.  You could have a god attempt to take over the universe out of pure malice or spite, but that would be a one-trick-pony character and would likely get shot down by the other gods, too.  Just making a god for the sake of ruling others is about the most dickish you could get on this forum.
Firstly, I didn't necessarily say omnipotence; I'm applying this to any character who is an out-n-out uber (and you condemn omnipotence anyway). Second, most people who find themselves in a position of power are going to use it; not just wear the title of king. Third, I did not say every uber is going to rule the planet; I even make the example that if your a good god-like being, you would use your power to improve the world around you. Forth, having a character attempt to take over the world through force is the basis for a plot; not being a jerkass.

Please make a valid reason why my suggestion should not be added, 'kay?
Keledrath

Because some of them really do have better things to do in the long run.  Like keeping the PL 50000 dragon god from re-entering the material plane.
NecroPaladin

I believe what I said was valid, but I can phrase it in OOC terms for you.  I don't like ubers.  Very few people like ubers.  Do we want to have ubers involved in grandiose, spotlight-stealing forays into our characters' lives?  I think not.  Even ubers versus ubers and only other ubers becomes a fully unpleasant stalemate scenario.  I condemn the very existence of ubers, as you have so helpfully pointed out, so I think it stands to reason why I think it's preferable that they stay on their own turf.
Moxie

Here's a thing about gods and goddesses, both good and evil. If you're immortal, you don't waste your time doing something small today that could result in bad things in the future. There's no point in trying to actively invade the town to be shot down like a maniacal villain on Scooby Doo, nor do you waste your time saving poor mortals when they themselves don't want to be saved. Over time, every god embraces that doing things passively or through other people is the best way to do things, and even so, they have all the time in the world to accomplish their goals.
NecroPaladin

So, I'm assuming that Moxie and Bookboy should go make valid reasons now?
MasatoHyuga

*posts opinion*

Play a character you like to role-play and have fun!
kthnxbai.

... It's just my opinion Razz
Though this is quite good for those guys who like unique characters.
Keledrath

Mine was giving AK a valid reason.
Moxie

I'm just stating plausible reasons and loopholes to your arguments. I know I'm guilty of a lot of these, by sheer definition, but I don't use these traits as the center focus of the character, and that's what it comes down to. Depth.

Having something for no reason isn't bad, so long as you don't focus on that thing being the only thing to separate that person from the next person. Moxie's hybridization is there, but it's mentioned almost in passing as the focus of her back-story is to induce that isolation and that longing for a friend, someone to talk to, and yeah, she loves her creation, like, love love.

Now, one can create a character that doesn't fall into any of these dilemmas, and yet still fall into the "Bland" category as they still focus on one attribute of that character rather than the psychology of that character. Angst is just a pass at a bad attempt at that. But more important is that a character isn't great because of how strong he is, but how strong he is despite all of his drawbacks and problems. Disagree with me? Well, who's more interesting, Peter Parker/Spiderman or Clark Kent/Superman?
NecroPaladin

Bookboy wrote:
Mine was giving AK a valid reason.


Sarcasm.  I was being petty.
ValdisRequiem

wxdruid wrote:


And as I stated earlier, This is not a thread for commenting on your particular character or others.


Well, I'm sorry, but I felt especially attacked with the direct mention of "green hair", as I'm really the only one I've seen with a character with green hair.

Overall, I find the subject of this thread irksome and have an overwhelming desire to break each and everyone of them >>
Keledrath

Vael wrote:
It would be difficult indeed. I'll see what I can manage, if only to bring some humor into this thread. Wink

Edit:
Okay, so here we have the fabled:

Kasumi "Buffy" Aeswome the Amber Veiled.

Kasumi is rather short and has many scars from battle, but  none of these detract from her most compelling beauty. Even the scar across her eye somehow manages to radiate pure sexy. Her eyes glow a vivid green, and her long blue hair flows down her back like a dyed waterfall, except one streak which has turned white. Under one eye is a white tattoo of angel wings, mirroring the wings on her back, though the angelic appearance this gives her is belied by the fact that she has a long devil's tail peeking out from behind her.
One of her arms was lost in a battle long ago, and was replaced with the arm of a golem, and enchanted with magic runes so as to give her amazing strength, allowing her to make mighty strikes with her fabled sword, "Pwnrockzor," which she has strapped across her back.
Pwnrockzor is a huge katana forged out of soulsteel, imbued with the spirit of N'qaaam'c  (IE, 'Not Quite As Awesome As the Main Character") the demon prince. It is destined to be wielded by one who has seen conflict from the side of good, and the side of evil.
Around Kasumi is a green aura that becomes more or less intense as she uses her powers. Most of the time it is close enough to her skin to where she can hide it under clothing, so on top of her revealing ninja suit (that looks just like Kasumi's from Dead Or Alive) she wears a long black trench coat.

Kasumi was born under an amber moon, coinciding with a prophesy about the veiled goddess, Amber. As the only child born in that time, Kasumi was destined to be the incarnation of the goddess, bringing back her power and ridding evil from the world once and for all, but she cannot remember her past lives, and as such grew up as a simple farm girl until ninja assassins came to kill her. She hunted every one of them down after they killed her family- even the one that disguised as a meat pie vendor and traveled to Town in order to escape. Now she is without cause, and does not know of her past, but strikes out at anything and everything that she dislikes.
During her travels to kill one assassin, she was cursed and possessed by an evil spirit that tried to eat her soul, and while this occurred she turned evil and slaughtered an entire nation before coming back to her senses. Wallowing in grief, she decided she was an evil murderess and joined a band of assassins for a time before recalling her goal and returning to the light, slaughtered the entire group to show that she was no longer a part of them. The evil spirit still remains, and she fights with it to keep to her good side, though it corrupts her every once in a while, making her evil and crazy.
When she found Pwnrockzor, the blade that was destined to be wielded by one who had walked the path of evil and good, she transformed and gained her wings and tail. However, a vampire took advantage of the stupor the transformation put her in, and turned her while she was helpless. Pwnrockzor and her aura protect her from normal vampiric weaknesses, however. In her fight to get revenge she lost her arm, though it was replaced when she found a helpful and sexy sorcerer who created a golem arm for her and told her of her destiny. They romanced for a while before deciding it was not meant to be.
His help led her to find an ancient temple that described her power and what the incarnation of Amber meant for her. She was capable of wielding all the power of the mystical sun Amber Vael, which was a source of raw aeswome, which gives her abilities like magic, but as aeswome is a source older than magic, it cannot be touched by the lesser creations of wizards. However, being tied to the sun means that if it is ever extinguished, she will be stripped of her power and become mortal unless she can do the Amber Rites and Rituals, which will restore the sun to its previous state.
While the sun is still active and generating power, it is impossible for her to die, and her wounds heal almost instantly, regenerated by the aeswome she radiates.
Part of Kasumi's powers and domains is Death, as she is one of the three mystic guardians of the passage into Hadez, the land of the no longer living. Sometimes she is called on to send a powerful soul there, and must dress in long black robes, wielding the scythe form of Pwnrockzor.
Kasumi's only faithful companion is a small black and white kitten, "Mitten."

*cough*

Now that I feel like my IQ has dropped about 100 points, I'm going to go get lunch.


Presto, VR, it has been done.
ValdisRequiem

Bookboy wrote:
Vael wrote:
-snip-


Presto, VR, it has been done.

No, I mean seriously, not in satire.
Keledrath

Meh.  I'm actually liking the sound of that character.  Walking cliche, anyone?  Actually no, she need to be married to an ugly prince, and actually love the servant.
Rebonack

Some of my PCs break these without satire.  Others break them because doing so can be funny.

Case in point, the Shotgun Golem.

It only shows up now and again, but I'm sure it will have some X-shaped scares over its non-existent eyes next time around.

Though I would suggest adding something else to the list.  Arbitrarily old PCs.  I remember doing it a few times years ago, but at this point I can just look back and laugh.  If you're an elf a few hundred years makes sense.  If you're a magic flying lizard then one or two thousand might make sense.

But when you're some million and a half year old lich that is more venerable than any civilization in existence my eyes start rolling.
ValdisRequiem

Bookboy wrote:
Meh.  I'm actually liking the sound of that character.  Walking cliche, anyone?  Actually no, she need to be married to an ugly prince, and actually love the servant.

I love it.
=D
McBish

Hey VR if it makes you feel better I have a character with blue hair for very little reason.
nightwing

More than I hate demi gods I hate characters with uber armor that cant be cut and over powered spells. I mean, How? If they can cast spells that are really really powerful then their wizards. Wizards cant were armor. I just don't get it. People that don't fall down when they are stabbed in the heart annoy me.
Shadow of the Sun

I'm actually very much approving most of these cliches if they are deconstructed.

Deconstructing cliches is a very, very elegant form of character creation, to my mind.

And, on the topic of ubers: my only real 'uber' is Sunn. And I know completely that she can be beaten by a housecat.
nightwing

Hey, house cats are really scary OK! Mine can give me an allergy attack, then claw my hand to shreds.
Keledrath

But is it a normal housecat, or an aakened house cat with 500000 levels in every class known to man, including homebrew, as well as some known only to me?
nightwing

Yes, but I think it has an intelligence of 3.
Keledrath

No, not yours.  The one that beat up Sunn.  And emphasis on AWAKENED.

Also, nightwing, that thing about armored characters casting spells:  They're called clerics.
Shadow of the Sun

No, normal housecat.

Sunn's main failing in a fight is that she is possibly the most distractible person ever. If someone she's fighting points out a butterfly, she will go chasing after it.
Keledrath

*Note to self:  hae all characters catch butterflies to releae in case of attack by Sunn.*
Nevrmore

Here's a suggestion:

Charlie Dog - When an author just can't settle on one race for their character. Or even two. Or three. When they just have to throw every cool race into the melting pot that is their PC. A half-elf/half-human hybrid is already stretching it, and upon thinking about it a half-orc/half-anything is very close to the breaking point, but a 1/3 elf-1/3 angel-1/3 human abomination is an assassination of credulity. The only way to even completely and totally justify a racial hybrid is by having a list of genealogies for your character handy and those tend to be really long and annoying.
Lord Vader

nightwing wrote:
I hate characters with uber armor that cant be cut .

*laughs*
*pauses, gasping for air*
*continues laughing*

I take it you've grown out of your Baron Law days, then?  Laughing
nightwing

YEP!

*Hids plans for new Baron Law plot*
Lord Vader

*Finds plan, rips to shreds, incinerates, launches ashes into sun, destroys sun*

Dear God, no. Not him. Please no.  Shocked
NecroPaladin

Nevrmore wrote:
Here's a suggestion:

Charlie Dog - When an author just can't settle on one race for their character. Or even two. Or three. When they just have to throw every cool race into the melting pot that is their PC. A half-elf/half-human hybrid is already stretching it, and upon thinking about it a half-orc/half-anything is very close to the breaking point, but a 1/3 elf-1/3 angel-1/3 human abomination is an assassination of credulity. The only way to even completely and totally justify a racial hybrid is by having a list of genealogies for your character handy and those tend to be really long and annoying.


Including this one.
Keledrath

Nevrmore wrote:
Here's a suggestion:

Charlie Dog - When an author just can't settle on one race for their character. Or even two. Or three. When they just have to throw every cool race into the melting pot that is their PC. A half-elf/half-human hybrid is already stretching it, and upon thinking about it a half-orc/half-anything is very close to the breaking point, but a 1/3 elf-1/3 angel-1/3 human abomination is an assassination of credulity. The only way to even completely and totally justify a racial hybrid is by having a list of genealogies for your character handy and those tend to be really long and annoying.


I think th reason that half orcs and half elves are common is because a lot of people use DnD races, and those two are standard.  I agree on just about any case aside from those, though.
NecroPaladin

Fun fact-In ancient Sumerian religion, Gilgamesh was 2/3 God but had two parents, one of whom was a god.  Apparently people didn't do any math back then.

I think that's the sort of thing that Nevrmore is speaking out against.
Keledrath

Yeaj, I get that, but he says that half-elf/half-human is stretching it, and half-orc/half-anything is completely out of the question.
Moxie

The other just happened to be 16.66% god, or does his god parent qualify as 133.33% God?
KerfuffleMach2

I really like that list. Lots of good guidelines.

I think I'm gonna have to spend some time doing some tweaking. Mostly on my explanations.

As for suggestions, none right now.

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