Guide to Making the Ultimate Character

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Guide to Making the Ultimate Character

Post by Raiden on Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:56 am

Okay, I noticed that us admins need to reject a LOT of the character profiles, at least initially. That's stupid – it wastes precious time and effort that could instead be spent roleplaying. Really, the fault can be split equally here – some profiles leave a lot to be desired, but then again, we've never specified EXACTLY what we want anyway, so unless the roleplayer is either very experienced when it comes to forum RP's or a psychic, there's just no way to get it right on the first try. That's why this guide was created. I'm going to walk you through the process of filling out your character profile, step by step. If you follow the instructions closely, your character will be instantly accepted. Sounds good? Excellent, let's get to it!

I know I probably shouldn't be dedicating an entire section of this guide to the name, but you'd be surprised how many people get it wrong. Basically, what we're looking for are normal, average Japanese names. Western names, while not out of the question, should definitely be avoided unless it's absolutely necessary for the character to not be Japanese. If you're not that familiar with Japanese names, there are lots of great lists and online generators that can help (just use Google to find them). You don't need to be totally original – a boring, uninteresting name like “Misaki Tanaka” is a million times better than something no sane parent would brand their child with, like “Vegeta no Sunshine-sama”. A name like the latter will get you instantly rejected, by the way. I know that traditionally, Japanese names are reversed (as in, last name comes before given name – ex. “Tanaka Misaki”), but for consistency's sake, please use the Western order when listing it on your profile.

Students should be between 15 and 19 years old. Non-students can be whatever age you want, but generally, we won't accept a character that's under 5 years old. However, keep in mind the class that you want to be in when choosing the age. Speaking of that...

Japanese high school only lasts for three years. As such, the students are divided into freshmen (first years), juniors (second years) and seniors (third years). New high school students are only allowed to be freshmen and juniors (it's heavily encouraged that you start off as a freshman). You need to become a senior by sticking around till April, when the school year ends. Students that are 15 can only be freshmen, students that are 17 can only be juniors, students that are 16 can be either. Really, there's no difference about which one you'll pick – only thing that changes are your classmates, and possibly which teachers you'll interact with. It's not like your whole character will be defined by which class they're in, so don't worry about it too much. There's also an elementary school (ages 6-12), middle school (13-15) and university (19-23), though the focus of the forum isn't really set on those and you don't need to specify a class and a year if you're studying in one of them, just write "Elementary School Student", "Middle School Student" or "University Student", depending on the school you're studying in.

A lot of people just put a picture there and leave it at that. This is lazy and will probably get you rejected. Actually, don't bother putting your character's picture there at all – we can already see it to the right, where your avatar should be (did I mention you absolutely need a character picture as your avatar to be approved? Well, I have now!). Just take your time to describe your character's features – hair and eye color, hairstyle, dress style (please don't say “standard school uniform”, unless your character is so poor they literally own just one outfit), any scars, abnormalities, distinctive traits, etc etc. This needs be detailed enough for us to be able to visualize your character even without the proper picture.

Okay, this is where most of your work should go to. We need to know everything that happened to your character through their lives, starting from early childhood all the way to present day. Hell, some profiles have even included information from before the character was born, but you don't need to do that unless you feel like it adds something. Please be as detailed as possible! This section needs to be at least 500 words by itself, though 1000 is probably a better number to aim for. Don't say stuff like “I've said all I can possibly say about the character, and it's only 200 words!”, because that usually just means your character is flat and not well thought out at all. I mean, think about it – can you sum up your life history in under 500 words to someone in such a way that they instantly understand you as a person? It's laughably impossible. Some questions to guide you are: What is the character's family like (parents, siblings, important uncles/aunts/grandparents)? What was their childhood like? Any childhood friends? Any particular experiences, traumatic or otherwise, that happened then and shaped them into who they are? How were they in school? Which social group did they belong to (geeks, jocks, popular girls, etc)? When and how did they develop their disability? How did they react to it? How did their friends and family react to it? How did they take the news that the character would need to study in Yamaku from now on? Etc etc etc. A lot of people (and by that I mean half the profiles we've ever reviewed) think that the Backstory section just means “Describe your character's disability here”, while in fact, it's a LOT more complicated and detailed than that. Again – this is where most of your efforts should go. Keep in mind – according to the forum rules, you can not bring up anything from your past in-character unless it has been mentioned in the backstory! So saying something like “Oh, yeah, my uncle was a hacker and he taught me a few tricks” while your profile makes no mention of an uncle whatsoever will get you warned, so think your backstory through carefully! It's supposed to be a secret, but we'll overlook some minor inconsistencies as long as your overall story is well-thought out and well-described, so... Make us proud!

Another big one. This section is there for people who want to roleplay with your character, but want to discover their backstories through RP without spoiling themselves. As such, you need to give them a very good idea of what they're getting into. Describing a character with “They're usually quiet and reserved, unless you befriend them in which case they become friendlier” is kinda like describing an orange with “It's usually round, unless you peel it, in which case its shape changes slightly”. Well, that's cool, and not exactly untrue, but A) There's a LOT more than that to an orange, and B) Do you really think someone who's never seen an orange before can properly imagine one just with that description? Come on, be creative and be detailed! What your character acts like when around strangers, classmates, friends and family is a good place to start, but you can put so much more! What about their hobbies, their interests, their dreams, their phobias, their desires, their unique quirks? Overall, we need to know who they are now and how their life up to this point has shaped them into that person. I can not stress this enough, but KEEP CONSISTENT WITH YOUR BACKSTORY! I can't talk about the other admins, but while reading your personality, I'll generally keep your backstory in mind and go all like “Uh-huh... Uh-huh... Yep, I can see why they'd think that... Yep, it makes sense that they turned out like that” and so on.

As you may or may not have noticed, some of our characters are... not exactly normal high school students. If your character is one, then please skip this section and move on to VIII. If they aren't... Well, I'm sorry, but the approval process just got a lot harder for you. First of all – make sure that your character's powers are treated realistically and are not overpowered! For example, if your char is a vampire, then he'd be allergic to the sun and addicted to/dependent on blood, which might as well count as disabilities. He'd also have super-strength and super-speed, but generally, the negative aspects of the superpower should outweigh the positive ones. Because, after all – this IS a school for disabled people we're in, and we really have no room for sparkling vampires that literally have no weakness other than an addiction to stalking girls way younger than themselves. Of course, it goes without saying that your character's superpowers should be heavily incorporated into your character's backstory and personality. Unless your character has a single, very specific and very streamlined superpower, it might be a good idea to alter the template a bit and add another section called “Superpowers” that explains exactly what his strengths and weaknesses are. If you're not sure you'll be able to get it right, or if there's something else about the superpower that's bugging you (for example, you want to keep it a secret without breaking the rules and getting yourself banned), by all means contact one of the admins and discuss it with us through IM! I'm afraid I can't reveal our Skype names publicly, but feel free to send yours to either me, SilentFox or NorXTNP and we'll add you as soon as possible! If you don't have Skype and don't feel like downloading this extremely convenient and completely free program that's also available for mobile phones, wink wink, we can also talk about your character in the in-forum chatbox. Again – send one of us a PM telling us to log in there, and we'll do so as soon as possible!

*While self-inserts are not banned by any rules, they're most certainly not encouraged. If you create a self-insert, you need to take every measure to present them as a fully three-dimensional character in their own right. Statements like “You can not say this is false because it really happened to me, and this character is a self-insert!” will not get you very far.
*I can not stress this enough, but if we ask you to change something, please do. Feel free to ask for clarification on why exactly it needs to be changed, or to provide additional arguments in your defense, but at the end, chances are you'll need to change it anyway. If you feel like the admin checking your profile has something personal against you, then don't forget – you need the approval of two out of three admins to be accepted. So if one of them has a problem with you, the other two can easily tell him to go climb a tree and accept you anyway. But if more than one admin specifies a problem in your profile, chances are it's really there, and you'll need to patch it up.
*Don't create overly complicated backstories that are nearly incomprehensible when read. Keep it simple, yet detailed. Doing that is almost guaranteed to get you accepted.
*Try not to be boring. A character with a backstory like “He was born in Japan, then went to school, and nothing extraordinary happened to him for the first 15 years of his life” will probably be accepted, given that you've kept all other guidelines above in mind, but after that, almost no one will want to roleplay with you. We're forced to interact with boring people in our daily lives anyway, so most of us find no joy in doing that during our escapism roleplays.
*No, insomnia is not a disease that's being treated at Yamaku. Please do not use this as a cheap way to cheat your character out of having a real disability. If he doesn't have a disability, then go ahead and say so. Apologies to people who suffer from chronic insomnia in real life, but come on – if you have the condition, you have to agree that you don't need to be sent to a special school in the middle of nowhere just because of it.
*We've specified this before, but I feel like saying it again – mental disabilities are NOT allowed in Yamaku! Some lighter ones are acceptable as long as they relate to some physical disability (ex. Hanako's emotional trauma that relates to her burn scars), but anything more than that is absolutely unacceptable. The Yamaku staff is just ill-equipped to handle mentally ill students. With enough demand, we might create an entirely different school just for mentally ill kids, but for now, having a mental disability will almost certainly result in an instant denial!

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