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Character Creation: Tips & Tricks

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This article is designed as a guide of sorts for users who are interested in creating new characters in the "User Battles" universe - it is by no means an official rule-book or codex like some role-play environments (we do not have Dungeon Masters or Overseers in this community - in general we try to give people as much freedom as possible).

This is basically to aid people who may have a little difficulty in figuring out how to make a really good character, explaining some of the "Dos" and "Don'ts" of roleplay as well as giving some helpful hints from (fairly) experienced players..

Character Hints / Tips

Origins

The first step in creating any character is deciding on a backstory (or origin) - a character's backstory determines who they are, what they have experienced and why they do what they do.. backstories also help to give other users a taste of the kind of roleplay the character is likely to be involved with as well as their likely role in the "User Battles" universe.. origins may also explain powers and limitations but don't always have to.

You can be as detailed or vague as you desire in terms of revealing your backstory to others but in general it is a good idea to write down in detail your backstory (for personal reference) so you can amend it if needed (also having a copy of your backstory helps you to avoid doing/saying things that may contradict with information you have on yourself (a paradox if you will) ).

Backstories can be tragic, horrifying, comedic or downright strange - they can even merge all of these things into one and the more creative you are the more enjoyable your backstory will be to read (just don't go overboard as trying to be too creative may actually confuse others rather than entertain).

When thinking up an origin please try to keep it relevant to the "User Battles" pre-existing universe, we don't expect you to be a master of "User Battles" lore but we would appreciate if you tried to keep your creations compatible with our "cosmos" (for example we'd rather you not create "fan-fiction" based characters and so on - see Originality section for more info)

Powers

Once you have your Origins down you may be tempted to start giving your character some "all-powerful" abilities and show everyone how powerful you truly are - this is often a very big mistake.. when introducing oneself to a new community it's generally a better idea to hold back a little on your arsenal of powers and keep the big planet-shattering moves for later (if at all - not all characters need to have such immense power, in fact the "User Battles" universe is teeming with "planet-killers" so it may actually be more interesting (and rewarding) to try your hand at a lower-scaled character.. if you think low-scale characters can't be taken seriously you'd be surprised at how effective they can be when used properly).

If you are looking for some more unusual powers and don't know where to start (or wish to find ways to manipulate common powers in ways not always known to others) the Super Powers Wiki is suprisingly helpful:

http://powerlisting.wikia.com/wiki/Superpower_Wiki

Personality

When you've got your origin and powers down it's time to think on personality, now most characters will go through varied changes in personality as they interact with the world (as we do in reality) - exposure to varied characters and events may alter your character's personality and this can be rewarding, however the ultimate fate of your character is always your own so giving them a good foundation is always useful.

Try to give your character personalities that are somewhat "human" even if they are clearly not (unless you wish to deliberately avoid a "human" personality to give a more "alien" feel to your character): in general though you want other users to identify somewhat with your character and this often helps their popularity as well as the ease in which people roleplay.

Vary your character's personality if possible beyond the typical "depressed/angst-driven loner" "arrogant jerk" or "cackling madman" unless you think it's appropriate (after all characters with exceptionally tragic backgrounds are hardly going to be the life of the party): in general though angst is somewhat overused and although a powerful tool if used correctly can also become a burden if it starts to take over as the main focus of character development.

In the same line if you choose to be a villain be aware that "cackling madman" cliches are not always the best way to make an impression (in fact some would argue some of the most striking villains are those who don't always act like it).

Role

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of Character Creation is deciding what Role you'd like your character to play - do you wish to be the next "Major Antagonist" of a storyline or perhaps be a "Major Protagonist" instead? or are you more comfortable with being a "Minor Antagonist" or a "Minor Protagonist"?

Try and keep your Origins and Personality relevant to your Role - after all few "Major Antagonists" would be sweet, adorable or pacifist and not many "Major Protagonists" would be mass-murdering psychopaths (though exceptions exist).

When thinking of a Role you may also wish to think on your character's moral-alignment, in the "User Battles" we have a fairly simple "morality" system which is as follows:

  • Evil-Aligned Characters (evil-minded characters will do whatever they see fit to gain power, authority or simple mayhem - they can range from sociopathic killers and madmen to power-hungry criminals: these types of characters are also a common choice for "antagonist" roles)
  • Neutral Characters (the anti-hero, anti-villain or "grey" types - examples could be a criminal who seeks redemption, a character with no clear sense of "right" or "wrong" or mercenaries out for money/fame: characters of this alignment enjoy great flexibility and can play almost any role depending on how you wish to use them)
  • Good-Aligned Characters (defenders of the downtrodden, vanquishers of evil and heroic figures - characters of this alignment are almost always "Protagonists" and oppose the actions of "evil" characters)

Limitations

Nobody likes a "Power Gamer" but few agree on what a "Power Gamer" actually is - in simple terms it's down to the style of roleplay rather than the actual "power" of a character, you can be immensely powerful and still roleplay well.. here is an example of "Power Gaming":

  • Player A blocks Player B before they can react, instantly causing Player B to lose their balance as Player A delivers a massive blow to Player B, knocking them out instantly.

Now here is the same scenario written in a non "power gaming" style:

  • Player A attempts to block Player B's attack while trying to sweep Player B off their feet - aiming a massive blow at Player B with the intent of knocking them out.

See the difference?

In case you can't the difference is so: Power-Gaming is performing actions that dictate how events are going to play out, giving the other player little or no option and often detracting from the storyline (in sagas) or fairness (in versus matches) - by simply monitoring one's wording and ensuring you "attempt" actions rather than force them you can play as powerful (even godlike) beings and still not be a "Power Gamer".

Outwith the "Power Gaming" controversy there is the important task of ensuring your character has some type of limitation - otherwise the character will be disliked by many and will also be seen as uninteresting by many (whether it's fair or not, first impressions often count and overpowered characters quickly gain enemies, in the worst scenarios people may even stop roleplaying with you entirely).

Limitations come in many forms and can be suited to every imaginable character ranging from a "normal" human to the highest-scale beings in the Power Tier.

If you do not give your character limitations you are going to find roleplaying to be a rather turbulent experience, especially in a community such as "User Battles" where high-powered characters are very common and the need to keep a check on what you can and can not do are important to avoid total anarchy.

Originality

In the "User Battles" universe we value originality and so creating characters that are clones of existing entities (whether from the "User Battles" or famous franchises outwith the community) is generally not the way to go.. This by no means makes the use of homages outlawed - providing you distance your creation enough from the franchise and/or character you are basing them off that they stand as an individual in their own right (it is easy to do, with a little imagination).

For example if one wished to create a Superman-inspired character it would be considered rather "bad taste" to simply make a character named Super-(insert name/species) and include a backstory more suited to the DC universe than the established "User Battles" canon.

However by reading up a bit on the "User Battes" canon (see: Time-Line) and adjusting the character to suit the setting is acceptable.. though it is much more rewarding to create your own characters than simply "adapt" the work of others.

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