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  1. Hey again! It’s me! McSpazz! Here with another breakdown of an important roleplay concept. Today we are going to be discussing LORE! Fair warning: This is going to be long. Very, very long. I know I have said this before, but it’s long enough that I started writing this in Google Docs so I could edit it more easily. If you are new to roleplay in an MMO, this is VERY vital information, so please keep that in mind before you click off. 1. What is Lore and Canon? Lore is everything in a fictional world. No, I don’t mean metaphorically, I mean everything. Every explanation of the purpose of a ritual, every mountain, every blade of grass, the name of the store merchant that appeared for a single page and was never mentioned again, all of it. Lore makes up the backbone of any good story or setting. Of course, there’s only one real lore about any one setting. The world cannot both be flat and found. That’s where canon comes in. Canon isn’t just lore, it’s the established lore as designated by the author or whoever has the authority to make decisions about the game’s lore with the greatest authority landing with whoever owns the property. For example, while there are many comics about Spiderman, Marvel has the ultimate say on what is real and not authors who previously worked on the project. But, as that might imply, that does mean that canon is not set in stone after publication. New media or announcements can dramatically change the context, meaning, or even the exact contents of a setting’s lore. The most dramatic example I can think of is Star Wars. While the third trilogy was in development, it was announced that the vast majority of the Star Wars expanded universe was no longer canon. This was huge as there was a LOT of media published using the Star Wars setting after the second trilogy was completed and all of it was no longer considered part of the official canon. They weren’t disavowed or anything, but they no longer were considered to have actually happened. More importantly for our uses, canon, retconned or otherwise, is extremely important because it’s something we can all agree has or is happening. There is no debate as to who the Rikti are, where they come from, that they have staged two full scale invasions, and still have a presence on Earth. 2. Headcanon But we’re roleplayers. Our goal isn’t to just read lore, our goal is to be part of lore! Obviously, what we make isn’t canon. In fact, literally nothing a roleplayer produces as a result of their hobby is canon (unless you seriously impress the owner, I guess). Instead, what we deal in is headcanon. Headcanon is any lore created by someone without authority over a property that explains, alters, or adds to established canon. This can range from fanfiction to fan theories (I see you, MatPat!) and everything in between. It’s a pretty easy concept, right? Headcanon is just the stuff you read into the world. Like your theory as to why Sherlock and Dr. Who would make an amazing couple. But there’s a problem with headcanon. There’s nobody enforcing headcanon as being good, bad, invalid, or just flat out contradictory. This isn’t a problem for all situations where the canon is being altered for the enjoyment of multiple people. If you don’t like headcanon in a fanfiction or fan theory, you can just ignore it. In a tabletop setting, while the DM might alter the established canon in the source, the owners of the property aren’t going to care and the normal players in that tabletop game are sort of at the mercy of the dungeon master. Heck, in freeform RP with a select group of friends, while there may or may not be an arbiter of truth, it’s not hard to cooperate together to create a unified understanding of the world. What makes MMO roleplay difficult as far as headcanon is concerned is that it requires interaction with other players, has no arbiter to dictate what is true or not, and no universally accepted standard as to how one should go about writing headcanon. This can lead to a lot of conflicts between character stories and a lot of headaches. While canon might be something we can all agree upon, obviously, your own personal changes to the lore aren’t. So how do you go about putting together a character’s story and your headcanon for the world? Let’s get into that. 3. Canon Reliability Not all canon is created equal. When we, as fans of a property, examine lore to determine how useful it is to our purposes, we need to recognize that the source of what we believe is canon isn’t actually very useful. So before we talk about how you can utilize canon to make your headcanon for roleplay, it’s important we talk about the three arbitrary types of canon that I made up for the purposes of this write-up. Standard Canon This type of canon is very readily available, apparent, not hard to find, and/or is easy to look up via search engine. This is easily the best canon to work with; especially if you are new to a setting. The more grounded your headcanon is in canon that can easily be found, the more quickly others will pick up what you’re offering and know exactly what you are talking about. Examples might be Statesman and what he’s up to these days (not much), names of important groups like Arachnos or Longbow, the name of the guy depicted with the statue in Atlas Park, and the contents of frequently run story arcs or missions such as the purpose of the web like structure in Grandville. Obscure Canon This type of canon is not as easily available, obscure, out of the way, and/or requires some digging using a search engine. It might not even be spelled out in the game’s wiki! While obscure canon is still very useful and helps add additional depth to the game, too much reliance on it can confuse new players or force you to dig up relevant materials to show you know what you’re talking about. While NPCs are frequently not obscure, this mainly applies to big name NPCs or NPCs you will without a doubt come across in your gameplay. For example, to avoid spoilers, there’s an orphanage in Grandville that serves a secret purpose. The person who runs the orphanage and the ulterior purpose of the orphanage is probably not known to everyone. While Penny Yin is very well known, as Faultline is not frequently traveled, the storyline that introduced her as well as her grandfather likely isn’t. That’s the real rub with obscure canon. Even if it isn’t hard to find, it could become obscure if people just don’t go to it. Another less obvious form of obscure canon is media that exists outside of what you are currently looking at. For example, did you know that City of Heroes has SEVERAL comics that are fully canon? They, not any in-game mission, detail why Positron is able to take off his helmet now. In short: Feel free to use more obscure canon, but be aware that it might not be fair to expect everyone else to know it as well. Questionably Canon This type of canon is extremely difficult to access, barely known by anyone, not in any official published media, and/or requires knowing exactly where to look. I have seen some very cool ideas be born from this kind of canon, but I always highly discourage people from over utilizing it. Examples might be leaked documents, AMA’s with people involved in the project, unverified documents floating around online, and stuff that a friend assures you is canon but you can find absolutely no evidence of. Don’t get me wrong, AMA’s and confirmed leak documents could very well say what is actually going on in the world. However, until it has actually been published, there are a lot of things that can change. Different writers, realizations of continuity, changed minds, you name it. Leaked documents in particular are especially unreliable as, even if you can absolutely confirm it was leaked, there’s no guarantee as to how old it is or if they had even decided if they were going to follow through on it. Even more dangerous to use, however, are unverified leaks or hearsay that you cannot verify. As mentioned, canon’s ultimate utility to a roleplayer is that it’s something that all parties can agree upon as existing. Even if the way in universe groups view it as different, that event and those different views all exist without a doubt. Once you get into something that is so removed from what can be provably true in the world, you start to encounter the exact same problems you have with headcanon. While things that are questionably canon are fine to play with, you should generally treat it as headcanon. 4. Making It Without Breaking It So you have a general idea of what you want to do. How do you create your headcanon in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with other players? The trick lies in canon. As mentioned, canon is really the only arbiter you have to rely on and, thus, the primary thing roleplayers utilize to ground their characters in reality. There are three ways you can address canon to bring your headcanon into reality. IGNORE IT Jees, I thought Spazzy just said that canon should be respected and followed! What gives? Well, many people hunger for that freedom that tabletop and especially freeform RP provides while still playing within the MMO itself. So instead of trying to make headcanon make sense in the world, this method focuses on just having fun and doing what you want to do. While this is an entirely valid way of going about things, it’s not very useful for when you want to do roleplay outside of your select circle (be it friends or an SG). After all, how are you supposed to explain some dramatic character change that involved killing Lord Recluse with your bare hands outside of the circle that happened with when the guy is still standing around Grandville? Sure, it’s possible to have an alternate explanation for when you roleplay with others, but you can see where the complications start. Work With the Lore This method, while more restrictive than the others, yields characters that are not just easier for other players to understand, but also more resistant to newly introduced lore (outside of retcons). The idea is to craft character traits and history that line up with what is detailed in the official canon. Examples might include having a character that escaped from the Galaxy City disaster, is employed by the PPD, is most known for patrolling the Hollows, or all of the above at the same time! References to existing elements in lore lets you place your character on a solid foundation within the game world and introduce new elements to the world without making unnecessary, drastic changes. Work Around the Lore This strikes a middle ground between 1 and 2. Instead of doing whatever you want or only working with what has been established, this seeks to build off of what is unspoken while still maintaining the general theme of the setting. While City of Heroes has made it clear aliens exist, they make no mention of what form they might take. While the canon might only show certain Ouroborus menders standing around, there’s nothing that says those are the only menders that exist. So why wouldn’t you be able to make a mender that is also an alien? After all, such a thing wouldn’t violate the game’s themes or tone at all. Likewise, you can also take advantage of implication. Portal Corp exists, as do a theoretical infinite number of dimensions. So could you make a character that’s from a dimension that is effectively World of Warcraft? Sure! You can even introduce complications that prevent your character from going back or bringing anything else from there! Just remember that whatever you introduce should fit the tone of the game and not go too far beyond what has been established. While City of Heroes has a great deal of time travel and jumping between alternate dimensions, Guild Wars 2 doesn’t which would make a dimension hopper stick out far more aggressively and be far less welcome by the community. For best results, I recommend utilizing both 2 and 3 together in varying amounts. Work around the lore to explore your creativity and work with the lore to help ground it into what already exists within the world. Together, they can help really give you a solid foundation to build off of. But there is one other thing to consider when making headcanon that doesn’t break the canon of the world. Put simply? Why haven’t I heard about it? When putting together headcanon, it is entirely possible to make headcanon that is so massive, have such importance, other people are forced to ask, “why hasn’t my character heard about this,” or, “why hasn’t this had a huge impact on the world?” Since the goal of headcanon in an MMO roleplay setting is to set up a character that doesn’t conflict with the canon or other characters, introducing elements that would have drastic implications on the world at large are potentially canon breaking if its visible existence/appearance contradicts what you are saying or, alternatively, if it is something that should really be addressed by the developers (more on that in the next section). 5. Utilizing Canon Characters and Locations While using locations and characters that are easily recognizable to other players might be a tool, they should be approached carefully and with a great deal of tact. Friends in High Places Canon characters are everywhere in an MMO. What’s more, they are all easily recognizable and their involvement in any story can make it stand out. It’s all fun and games until Arbiter Daos asks to see you. But there is something that should be avoided heavily and that’s integrating an NPC into your character’s story in such a way that they had an active role in your character’s life if not still do. For example, it would be one thing to say that you had worked alongside Statesman before his passing. After all, many people did. It wouldn’t even be a stretch to say you might have managed to save his skin and he appreciated your hard work. However, after the character was killed off, it wasn’t uncommon for characters to claim that they were good friends with him. It doesn’t end there of course. Sons or daughters of Manticore, ex-lovers of Ghost Widow, or, dare I say, the secret lover of HORB! The core issue with making a canon character too involved in your character is that you don’t actually have the right to make decisions for that character. They aren’t yours. As they are NPC characters, it’s fine to make some educated guess as to how they would react to something. However, remember what I said earlier. Canon characters are what everyone can agree with. We all agree Ghost Widow exists. But if she exists, who is her true ex-lover? When Statesman was alive, which stories of heartfelt Statesman friendship moments really happened? Can we all really agree that Manticore kicked that guy’s puppy thus turning them evil? No. We can’t. We can agree that Manticore is an edgy edge boi who makes edgy choices, but kicking someone’s dog for no reason is a big claim that has no real basis in the canon. As a matter of fact, while some GM’s are willing to step into the shoes of an NPC and participate in roleplay upon request (such as @GM Kal), they are very much in agreement on this and will only have a character act in ways that make sense to the character and will likely go out of their way to prevent you from doing things like making Ghost Widow your waifu. It’s The End of the City as We Know It (again?) Many people want story arcs to be big, grand, and have a real impact on the overall world. But there’s a bit of a problem going overboard. As we mentioned before when discussing making headcanon without breaking the lore, presenting events in roleplay that did not occur in canon but would have very visible ramifications in the world at large can not just break everyone else’s immersion but make actually using that lore cumbersome. Messing with locations not accessible by normal play is one thing. After all, if you say that the Sears Tower (NOT WILLIS FAK YOU) had a massive fire and blew out most of its windows, people are far more likely to play along and might mention they heard about that happening or show surprise. If you were to say that Paragon’s City Hall was razed to the ground and is still undergoing repairs, however, people are going to push back on that. Not just because City Hall is still very much in the game and a place you can at any moment visit and see is doing just fine. Even if Atlas gets attacked by big enemy groups once in a while, you would expect news that it was totally torn down and is being rebuilt would get around a little bit more. Especially to a character that might work in City Hall. When using a location that exists within the canon of the game (ESPECIALLY if you can actually go see it), consider the ramifications of what you are doing and how realistic it would be for someone to have heard of it, but not necessarily demand that they have had a reaction to it yesterday. If you want to do big events that actually could if not do level a city, consider utilizing a part of Paragon not accessible to other players (ie: homebrew your own section of the city) or use a different location entirely. Remember: AE is your friend! Use it! Didn’t know we had a king! Well. I didn’t vote for you. There’s a lot of ways you can go about involving yourself in canon organizations! You could join the PPD! Enlist with the Longbow! Rise through the ranks of Arachnos! What no one will appreciate, however, is you proclaiming that you won the presidency with a 90% majority. They also probably wouldn’t appreciate you claiming that your ragtag group of mercenaries have successfully toppled the Australian government. Much like my previous point, the issue here is, effectively, inserting yourself into the canon or doing something within the canon that would have such a significant impact on the world at large that should really only be in the hands of those with the metaphorical keys to the world (ie: the developers). This can be mitigated by finding reasons other people might not have heard about it or limiting the scope of your awesome big event, but people generally aren’t very impressed with impressive stories when they force your own ideas into the world at large. 6. Terms of Service and Other Considerations Before we get into tips on how to actually put together your character's story, it needs to be mentioned that you should ALWAYS be cognizant of the terms of service of the game as well as its intended audience. While roleplayers are often given some degree of leniency for in character behavior, that doesn't mean you can post things that are inappropriate as far as the ToS is concerned. That extends not only to your posts, but also to character descriptions. Some games can let you get away with quite a lot. The Secret World, for example, is rated M. It carries many mature themes and images with very heavy implications and sexual themes. While it's likely many of its players are not actually old enough to be playing it, the general idea is that you should be 17 or older and capable of handling harsh material. Just because you enjoy a game that's rated lower doesn't mean you can post whatever you want. I doubt human sacrifice would fly in Club Penguin. City of Heroes is rated T for Teen and should be treated as such. I want to SERIOUSLY emphasize this because the moderators take this EXTREMELY seriously. While they aren't puritans, they aren't going to look kindly on open breaches of the ToS violation in public spaces and might even consider action on actions taken in private while in game. Even if your character description links to an external site, moderators might very well be willing to take that into consideration based on what they are investigating. Remember, no matter how old the game might be, we should respect that kids might be playing. A good rule of thumb is that if it exists in the game, it's safe to use yourself. That is with one final major consideration: triggers. No, you don't need to tailor your character's story to ensure that any sensitive content is removed and as sanitized as possible. Instead, subjects that are likely to trigger someone (excessive violence, assault, explicit descriptions of addiction, etc) should not be presented in the "foreground" of your character's presentation. That is to say that you shouldn't open with these kinds of sensitive subjects without a trigger warning or, alternatively, strictly imply these sensitive subjects and only go into more detail in private with some form of warning as to what's coming. Not only can this help you stay in line with the ToS, it can also give others the necessary warning they need to know if they need to duck out of an RP or ask to fade to black. 7. This is a Video Game What a strange name to title a section, I bet you’re thinking. WELL! (WARNING: WHAT PROCEEDS IS VERY MUCH SPAZZY’S OPINION AND CAN BE IGNORED…but it I’d appreciate if you didn’t uwu) Something I think a lot of roleplayers in an MMO forget is that we are playing a video game. I don’t mean that SUPER literally, but I more so mean that they forget certain things have to happen in order for this to function as a video game and, moreover, an MMO. One of the more common examples of this is equating power level to a character’s actual power level (which I go into in my write-up on power levels), but this also extends to how people perceive the world at large. For example, take Ziggursky Penitentiary. Every indication in the game is that it is one of the best places to detain meta-humans and that it is effectively the ultra-max security prisons of ulta-max security prisons. Given the actual prison’s actual design, it’s hard to not see that. However, if you were to listen to much of the community talk about it, you would walk away with the impression that it is a complete revolving door with terrible security and very frequent break-outs. Why do they get that impression? For one, for the vast majority of the game’s life span before sunset, the tutorial mission for villains was set to have Arachnos break you out of the Zig. So your very first experience playing a villain was breaking out of what was supposed to be max security. It was the equivalent of a nation state laying down military grade hardware and training against prison guards. Since that was your first impression of the prison as a literal level 1 villain, it was going to stick one way or another. It also doesn’t help that the zone is filled with the escaped prisoner faction, but that does bring me into another thing people often fail to consider: the developers needed to not just populate zones with enemies that made sense for the zone, but also with enough so that the city didn’t feel barren. This doesn’t just give the impression that Brickstown is under a constant jailbreak with prisoners swarming under every nook and cranny, but also that even supposedly safe places like Steel Canyon have an average of two grannies getting mugged per block. The reason for this is in large part due to the time when the game was released. Remember, this was when MMO’s were still trying to grow into a fully fledged genera and good game design for MMO’s wasn’t fully understood yet. World of Warcraft wasn’t due to be released for several months until CoH was first coming out and at launch it had something of the same struggle. How do you populate a zone with enough enemies to keep people occupied without making them look like they’re just standing around waiting to get shot up? This actually becomes very apparent when you view how mobs are placed about the city in City of Villains which came out some time later and even in Atlas Park which was revamped before sunset. Enemy groups that are milling about up to no good are used sparingly or are with groups that likely would just be milling about while everyone else is set up to be actively doing something within the environment. On the old maps? Randomly starting fires, mugging people, hanging out on street corners with bombs, etc. This does, of course, still exist to some extent in Atlas and the Rogue Isles. Just, from my experience, not as much. I think the idea for the original design was so that it always felt like you were being a big hero and stopping something important. Even if that meant having several people getting mugged within a few yards of one another. Though, this does bring me to my final point for this section: feeling like the hero. There are some missions that have you doing truly spectacular things that would normally be unthinkable because, for that moment, you are the hero of the story. This can, of course, give people the impression that they are always the hero of the story. A single mission where you raid Grandville to stop a Bane Spider from getting executed gives the player the impression that raiding Grandville isn’t a big deal or defeating Ms. Liberty and all of her allies under the statue of Atlas might give the impression that those capes are pushovers. Not only are the authors generally trying to make you feel like a mighty hero, but City of Heroes is pretty easy to break mechanically. If you throw enough money at a build, you can turn even faceplant prone blaster into an untouchable killing machine. In fact, it’s basically standard practice to build yourself up into such a character. Not only that, but groups that you outlevel don’t suddenly become less dangerous just because you are no longer security level 12. It’s not even as if lower level enemies are always less dangerous. The Snakes, an enemy group originally found in the Villain starting zone, are never seen again…up until level 50 at which point they are once again a viable threat to you. Basically, as far as the game world and lore are concerned, you should always pay more attention to the intention of the authors than limitations or expectations found in MMO’s. It will go a long way to help keep threats feeling like actual threats when dealing with them ICly. 8. Sharing Your Headcanon One last thing to go over before we discuss how to actually come up with how to go about making your headcanon and that is sharing it. I don’t mean how to go over everything point by point with others, however. I mean how do you present your headcanon in roleplay that will actually engage people. Here are some things to consider to do just that. Don’t Info Dump I know you are probably excited and want to share everything about your character’s super interesting life, but sharing literally everything about a character in one sitting can not just be time consuming but boring. Focus on delivering aspects of your character’s background or other headcanon when it’s appropriate and relevant. Involve the Audience Part of the reason info dumping can be so boring is that it often comes with walls and walls of text. The absolute least engaging way you can present headcanon is as a lecture. Instead, try and give other characters a moment to react to big points, ask questions of others, give other people a chance to ask you questions. Not only will other players enjoy hearing about whatever you have to share more, but they are more likely to remember details about it later. Remember to Emote I don’t mean you need to remember to use emotes. Your character is sharing something, likely of some importance to them. Don’t just write what your character is saying, but also add emotion to it! Facial expressions, hand movements, tone, and anything else that could help get across how this information impacts your character on a personal level. Consider the Audience Who is listening to what you’re sharing? What are they interested in? Depending on who you are sharing your stories with in character, you should consider what they would be most interested in hearing. After all, while fellow criminals would be more interested in hearing how much money you snagged, a cape would probably be more keen on hearing what you did to avoid hurting civilians. 9. Respecting the Creations of Others You know, I didn't think I'd have to make a section on this, but someone at one of the workshops said this was a growing problem. Soooo let's talk about it. The canon works we write our story around are at the heart of what we do as roleplayers. Part of the fun about roleplaying is sharing what you've come up with to others and then using your shared love of writing to create something new. An unusual mistake, however, is to presume that because you are roleplaying your concept, that makes it just as fair game to utilize as the canon of the world you are roleplaying in. A published work is intended to be read and enjoyed. For our purposes, a published work is also being shared with the intent of us crafting our own stories. However, the same cannot be said for concepts created in roleplay. When we create our characters, our custom groups, our custom concepts, we are doing so with the belief that we have control over it if not the expectation there of. If you wouldn't do things to a character without the player's permission, why would you do the same to their concepts? If you have a lot of interest in utilizing another player's headcanon and/or concept in your own creations, you MUST talk to them about it and get EXPLICIT permission. While there's no law nor ToS code that prevents you from doing so, not getting permission is a huge sign of disregard for the other player's creative control over their own ideas. If your headcanon is building directly off of another player's, you need to ask for permission before you show it off. Not all surprises are welcome ones. 10. How to Make Your Headcanon I’m not going to pretend I have all of the answers, least of all on this. The thing is, everyone has their own writing styles, everyone has their own interests, and, let’s be honest, you could violate just about everything I have brought up so far and still find an audience. So instead of giving any hard and fast rules here, I’m instead going to give you an idea on how to come up with ideas, put them together, and expand further on them. Reality is Stranger than Fiction If you look at the world at large, there are a lot of strange things that really sound like they were ripped straight from a movie. Conspiracies, crazy animal behavior, strange science, and more. If you need inspiration for a concept, sometimes you need only look out the window. Or through Google. There are few things as satisfying as implementing something in a story that actually exists and blowing people’s minds when you tell them that you didn’t make it up out of whole cloth. Keep It Simple Stupid! Or, should I say, keep it as simple as you can handle. Many new roleplayers really want to throw a ton of ideas into a single character and end up bloating their concept into oblivion. There’s no word count requirement or necessary level of complexity. Figure out the core of your character and don’t include too much more than you need to accomplish it well. While extra stuff can be fun, it often doesn’t serve much use and ends up being forgotten after it’s brought up once. What Kind of Story Do You Want to Tell? I’m sure we’ve all seen a movie, read a book, or played a game that didn’t know what it wanted to be. Some of the most confusing and garbage fire of media out there is bad, in part, because it was trying to do a ton of things at once. This is especially common when you have media designed by a committee which is trying to copy something popular without understanding why it is popular. So when you are making a character, ask yourself what kind of story you want to explore with them. What general narrative are you trying to accomplish? Is there a particular style you want to emulate? Really figure out the end goal of creating this character. Don’t Make a Character for the Sake of Making a Character One of the fastest ways a character can become less interesting is when they are made purely out of necessity or because you had a general concept and dove in before really exploring what you wanted to do with it. While it might be cool to make a character that’s related to a friend’s in some way, don’t do it just because they asked you to. If you make a character for roleplay, be sure that it’s something you actively want to play and not something you just like the idea of. If You Go Elaborate, Take Notes! How you go about it is up to you, but if you make a super complicated backstory or lore to go with your character, it can help to keep notes so you can keep your story straight. It isn't hard to go overboard and find yourself forgetting important elements of your background such as names, locations, and/or dates. There's no shame in taking notes and doing so can allow you to remember small tidbits to use later on This is part of a series of tutorials regarding roleplay! You can find the full list of tutorials here!
  2. There look to be two places that could be 'appropriate' for this kind of thing, and I'm not sure which I should have done, so, I'll do both 🙂
  3. Hello, everyone! I wanted to start by saying that this list is not a complete accounting of all the suggestions in this forum, this is an effort on my part to curate some suggestions given to me in other forms and formats, and to promote neat ideas that players (and even staff!) have come up with that are a bit within my purview as a rep for the Roleplay community. If you have roleplay suggestions that you think might not warrant an entire forum post, you might drop them here, or if you think it’d be something you’d like me to take a peek at, too! I’ll be checking in occasionally and adding things to the list as we go, so keep an eye on this thread if you want to see what’s been added! I’ll add personal notes of my thoughts on the suggestions, underneath each. Please note that anything shown or not shown here does not mean it will or will not be considered – these are merely ones I am observing myself! The list so far! Trigger invasion events for player-run events This is an interesting concept – this would largely be just activating an otherwise ‘random’ or timed event at a time when a roleplay event is being run by a group to coincide with whatever storyline they have going at the time! Pull league groups into an AE map This one surprised me! I hadn’t considered the implications here, but right now you have issues getting league-size people into an AE map, and largely the suggestion revolved around group RPs that have large numbers of players using a large map, like the Ruined Atlas map for group combat RP and the like. Narrate for AE arc RPs This one can technically be accomplished by the story leads at the time using team chat/local chat with something like [Positron]: Blah, but it’s a neat concept if they want to see the actual NPCs chat a bit. New invasions/redo old invasions This one somewhat applies outside of the RP community too, and ties into the suggestion above – people liked some of the old invasions or want to see ones triggered more often for specific things. Events and the like that were hosted on live but haven’t shown back up since. I like it! Larger descriptions The current description limit of 1023 characters is quite a bit limiting, so seeing it expanded to allow for larger descriptions with more detail would be just a generally nice quality-of-life change that would let people be more creative and descriptive with their character’s bio! Bio editor bug fixing There are some issues with the bio editor at the moment, a bug-fix sweep would be quite welcome. GM line drop/appearance at player events This one would be fun! This would be, for example, a story event being run by players where a hero/villain might show up and say a few lines, sass some people, or generally appear for the sake of the story to enhance it. It could be a lot of fun! Weekly-change/etc callouts and chatter by quest giver NPCs This one surprised me as well – I genuinely hadn’t thought of this! As our weekly targets change, a GM could call out as that character in LFG and other methods to seek help from willing heroes/villains, as well as chat with players as they collect the mission from the quest giver! They could congratulate successful teams, offer advice, and generally breathe some life into the existing story arcs by providing input from their spot. Add a Bouncer role to SGs to boot people out of a base With public SG bases come people who are going to try to cause trouble. With that in mind, giving SGs the ability to boot people out who are causing problems would be nice, as the only other option right now is to completely kick out everyone, rather than selectively. This would be a good quality-of-life enhancement for everyone, not just roleplayers! Add an option for variable chat range When you start roleplaying in places like Pocket D or in big SG bases, it can quickly become very hard to keep track of who you're talking to because of how wide the /local range is. Perhaps an option to reduce local range? Or another /whatever option to speak/emote in shorter range like whisper? Dicerolling! Because why not? /rollxdx would be nice.
  4. (Sorry just saw this come up in the BIG RP thread, don't mind me) One of the things that has given me frustration all the way back to Live was the personal ID window. It's hard to type in the window, especially if you need to go back and correct a typo or grammar. You will often have to deal with spacing bugging out and need to start completely over. Copy/pasting is a pain since it often doesn't recognize spacing correctly. Also, 1023 characters is hardly enough room, especially since it uses sentence structure (spacing and paragraphs) as characters! I'm not thinking of room to write a novella but sometimes a character has a fun background and it's frustrating to run out of room and either have to restructure the spacing or cut off the last sentence. I understand wanting to just glance at a background to get an idea of a character, but having more room would help for a TL;DR at the top or something similar so people wouldn't feel like they have to read everything else. I sometimes enjoy sitting in Pocket D, just reading character backgrounds when I'm taking a break from other things in the game. Just a thought I've often had! Sorry if this has been brought up before, I tried searching but I didn't find anything right away.
  5. Hello again, roleplayers! In this post, I'm going to break down how to go about building a character's persona. Before I go any further, however, you might be wondering why I am doing this separately from the subject of lore, flaws, and power levels. While the latter two were done separately for the sake of how long they would make the write-up, keeping it separate from the subject of lore was very, very intentional. In short, I always suggest that people design characters divorced from the lore first so that they can stand on their own. Why? Let's get into that. 1. What is this even about? And what about lore? What do I even mean by "building a character's persona"? Well, the goal here is to help you get inspired to make a character! Unlike my suggestions in lore, however, the goal here isn't to make a character background. Instead, the goal is to make a character's essence. What makes a character who they are. What skills do they have, what are their interests, how do they react to things, and so on. But why do this before talking about their history? Isn't a person made up of everything that has ever happened to them? Yes, this is true, but the reason I suggest doing this is two fold. First, it allows you to more easily work a character into any setting you want. Think of this as building a template that just requires you to retool small aspects to fit it in. That's not to say you can't make a character who could only work in one setting or another, but even if that is your intent, doing this can help you avoid falling into another trap that is my second reason for doing this. A character should be the result of everything that has happened to them, not the entirety. Characters that are little more than description of events can be very difficult to build into an interesting character. For example, let's say you started with a character who escaped Galaxy City and then came up with aspects of the character after the fact. It would be very easy to come up with character traits that resulted from the disaster without considering what character traits came before the disaster. In other words, instead of considering how the disaster changed the character into what they are now, you end up with the event almost being like the point they began to exist. This is my own personal style, however. If you don't want to start coming up with a character before figuring out both their own history and how they fit into the world, you can refer to my post on lore for more context and then come back here. While this will be dipping some into building a character's history, it wont be the absolute focus. 2. Personality: Nature versus Demeanor Coming up with a character's personality isn't necessarily hard. It becomes more of a question of how you want them to interact with others at its core. Do you want them to be abrasive? Cunning? Friendly and approachable? From there, you just need to expand from there and figure out how they might react to certain situations. However, this isn't where you should stop. It is said that we all have different faces we put on at different times. One face for when you're in public, one for in private. While it might be easy to imagine someone acting the same way no matter what setting they are in, remember that it's not hard for someone to unconsciously act differently if there's a minor change. Just the addition of cameras can make someone behave totally differently. What I am saying is that, more often than not, people have a way they see the world internally and another way they act externally. For the keen eyed of you out there, yes, this concept was ripped out of World of Darkness. Because I rather like it. Let me have this. But let's focus on the topic at hand. Let's say you have an evil character who is rotten to the core. Your nature is that of an absolute monster. You see the world as your plaything and as something to control. However, your demeanor, how you present yourself to the world, is that of a kindly Mr. Rogers. You speak softly as you shoot a man in the head for failing you. While someone meeting you for the first time might think you're a really swell guy, deep down, you're anything but. On the other hand, maybe you are playing someone who is outwardly very nice but very broken inside. Much like the previous one, they outwardly act very kindly and are genuinely trying to do what's best. However, in private, they are struggling with trauma and seeking a means of fixing it. The trick here, ultimately, is that you generally don't want a character that wears literally everything on their sleeve. Giving people something to learn or understand about your character that goes farther than skin deep can really drive up engagement and give you more to play with. 3. Hobbies and Secondary Skills Your character should be capable of more than just punching faces if you aren't making the character exclusively around the idea that all they are really good at is punching in faces. That's why it's important to consider what your character is not only good at which could help with their profession, but also what they do in their free time. Remember when I said we will be dipping a tiny bit into history and lore? This is where that can come into play. Different settings have different expectations. While a hacker might make sense in City of Heroes, it would make far less sense in Neverwinter Nights. That being said, there are two approaches you can take here. The first is that you figure out what a character does after you know what setting they're in. The second is to have a general vibe and then fill in that vibe once you've set yourself on a certain setting. By "vibe", I mean a general theme such as a craftsman, a gambler, a peacekeeper, etc. However, as I said, you should always remember that people are generally good at something besides their primary profession. For example, while I myself am a software developer, I play video games in my off time. Do video games help me program? Not really, no, but it's still part of who I am as a person. Many people, both new and veterans, can fall into the trap of not considering what a character does when they aren't out fighting crime. Besides maybe hanging out in Pocket D, but that's rarely a hobby in of itself. I encourage you to think outside of the box here. I'm reminded of Gibs from NCIS. He's a seasoned law enforcement officer, no nonsense, gruff, and, in his free time....he builds boats. By hand. No power tools. It's not what you might expect given his presentation, but it makes sense once introduced. Sometimes, having an unusual hobby can be a great hook. 4. Primary Powers and Abilities So what about what your character does in combat? Well, it might not be hard to come up with an idea for what their powers might be, also consider how you want their abilities to make them look. For example, a grizzled soldier wielding dual pistols and performing full on gun kata is going to have a very different feel than a Southern Belle in a yellow summer dress doing the exact same thing. You should also be cautious as the way a character is portrayed could also conflict with their abilities as presented. You're going to need to find a way to make your true blue American hero appear just as lawful as he would be if you didn't also make him a necromancer who raises the dead. One of the most important parts of this stage of character creation is, of course, discerning how powerful they are. This could be in the form of how physically strong they are, but could also be how skilled or intelligent they are. This has a lot of factors I won't be going over here, but you can read this write-up for a full rundown of what goes into it. However, what I don't go into there is how a character's power level impacts their presentation. For example, if you want a character to be a street level mutant, you should take steps to ensure they don't start out with powers that could turn them into a one man army. Likewise, if you are more focused on a character that is super intelligent and isn't interested in fighting, you should consider how they would fight if you intent to bring them to a mission team ICly. I want to really stress that making a character overly powerful, even if it's entirely kosher, can completely defeat the initial aim of the character. For example, if you make a character with the intention of them being a street level scrapper, you need to remember, in the back of your head, that giving them more power is going to pull them away from that initial concept. If you intend to keep them at a certain power level, you should take steps to ensure they don't stray too far from it. Likewise, if a character is supposed to be an underdog, making them too powerful will sort of defeat the purpose of making them an underdog. The little guy rising to power doesn't really make sense if they were always that powerful to begin with. 5. Motivations What drives your character? Why are they doing what they're doing? Even if you don't have the deepest grasp of the lore, you can still get a vague idea of what they are seeking. Avenging a loved one, rediscovering lost memories, and trying to cure something are all fairly common tropes that serve as good examples. You want something that is a long term goal. Something with an arc to it that isn't likely to end abruptly. One of the biggest mistakes people often make with new characters is giving them weak or short term motivations as what drives their core. This becomes an issue because once you start playing the character, if their core issue is easily resolvable, you might not have had enough interactions with others to build up a new core motivation to follow it up. This can make it difficult to continue playing a character simply because you find yourself not knowing what to do with them. What's more, you should try and make your motivations not easy for other people to fix for you. For example, a deaf character trying to find a way of hearing again is fairly weak because even if they lack the means of doing so, it's pretty trivial for certain other characters to fix it be it with magic or technology. Hell, not only do we currently have the means of directly streaming sound to the brain in real life, we're getting pretty close to being able to do it with vision! That's why any motivation you give your character should be other-people proofed to some extent. By that I mean that your character's motivations should have some aspect to them that makes it so other people can't just swoop in and fix it for you be it with their piles of money or expertise. For example, maybe your deaf character trying to find a treatment for their affliction has additional elements to them that makes currently available treatments non-workable. Maybe your character from another dimension who is trying to get home can't just ask Portal Corp to open the way up because of some weird aspect of your dimension that makes standard means of travel impossible. If someone does try and fix your character, you have every right to OOCly tell them to stop and explain why. Just keep in mind that some things aren't going to be reasonable to claim shouldn't be an easy fix. For example, if your character has some body trait that makes getting clothes for them normally impossible, it's going to be a stretch to claim that another character with the means of custom making you clothing can't. Hell, it would be a stretch to say you couldn't get something from Icon even if it came at a hefty price. At some point, you have to roll with the punches and let stuff happen. That isn't to say you can't add caveats to the fix being applied, but not all problems are meant to last forever. 6. Not For the Sake of It! I also mention this in my post on making headcanon, but I want to seriously elaborate here to better make my case: do not make a character for the sake of making a character. If you are inspired, great! If you have a concept you want to play with, awesome! But I always encourage people to start with a concept they seriously want to play with before trying to make a character. It can be very tempting to make characters on a whim. This is especially true if a friend is like, "hey, I need someone to play my character's sibling! Wanna do it?" The mistake people make is that by making the sibling without a concept in mind, their concept is effectively "the sibling". The new powerset that was just released is a ton of fun, but making a new character with only the new powerset in mind is going to result in a lot of cut corners and weak motivations. Find something that inspires you before anything else. Remember: this character needs to exist for the long haul. Not just until a single concept wears out its welcome. 7. Exaggeration This is part of a series of tutorials regarding roleplay! You can find the full list of tutorials here!
  6. Hello again! It's me! McSpazz! I got quite a few likes on my post regarding flaws, so I thought I'd do ANOTHER long post talking about power levels and the complexity of managing them in a roleplay setting. ESPECIALLY in City of Heroes. Keep in mind that this is going to have a lot of my own opinions mixed in, so if you don't agree, that's fine! Consider this the ramblings of a spazz. Because that's kind of what it is. This is going to be WAAAY longer than talking about flaws since it's a more detailed topic, so there will be chapters. If you finish this, I will give you a digital cookie. CHAPTER 1: WAT First of all, let's get something out of the way. What do I mean by "power level"? I don't mean something that can be defined by numbers (*crushes visor*) or character level. When I talk about power level, I mean how capable a character is in relation to everybody else. While a character with no super powers what so ever might not be able to shoot lasers, their skills and intelligence might make them hold their own against even Rularuu. However, you aren't alone here. You aren't the hero of the story. We all are. Which can be a problem when power level is concerned. Power levels aren't just an indication of how strong your character is in relation to everyone else, but what they are capable of. If your power level is too high, nobody will want to involve you in stories because your character will keep making challenges trivial. Ironically, there is no such thing as too LOW of a power level since even a bottom level civilian can contribute to a story. If anything, making a character super weak, at worst, limits the ways your character can impact a story on a more personal level where as, in contrast, over hyping a character's power level begins to impact the enjoyment of everyone else. It's not enough for a character's power to not be outrageous. You also need to be considerate of others. That might involve adding something to the story to explain why you cannot utilize your full power. It could even mean not actively participating at all. If you're the only one having fun, you aren't embracing the spirit of the hobby. CHAPTER 2: I Wasn't Even Supposed to BE Here Today!!! Let's say for a moment that your character is a basic mutant. They have problems and conflicts you would expect of someone at that level of heroism. Suddenly Superman swoops in and starts fixing all of their problems and now that street level mutant basically has nothing to do unless they want to take on Superman's threats which are. Uh. Well. You know. Just a bit bigger than street level. Notice that I am not speaking of power gaming right now. That is to say, I'm not talking about a character designed to "win". Don't get me wrong, I'll get to that, but I want to start with a less malicious way a character's power level can be detrimental to a roleplay. Basically, when entering a roleplay, you should be cautious that what you are bringing to the table isn't so huge that it invalidates other characters. You could have a character that is totally fine and balanced for saving the world kind of tasks but would totally wreck a bunch of Skulls mucking about. The best way to do this, in my opinion, is to make your character just as vulnerable to an invading force of Praetorians as they are to Skulls. How do you do that? Take Batman for example. He's seen fighting everything from punks to world destroyers. What allows him to do this is that he employs necessary force and doesn't bring more to the fight than he has to...even if it means some random thug can land a punch on him. Which does make a lot of sense in the CoH setting. Registered heroes are, after all, basically extensions of law enforcement and necessary force is a pretty important subject within that field (no political debates! Shoo! We're not talking about that right now! >:U). In contrast, if you look at the X-Men, many of their membership would most definitely not be able to stop a world destroyer...on their own. Even if an individual X-Men is basically street level themself, their cooperation with other heroes is what makes them viable to help. A great balance overall is to tier your character to being variably middle of the road with a few very potent abilities. Chapter 3: Enhancements make my character go BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR One of the worst ways you can determine a character's power level in any respect is by how they perform mechanically in combat. This goes for just about any form of RP setting. Remember, the most important aspect of a character is what they bring to the roleplay. The concept that the only thing that matters is how fast you can down an enemy or how many hits your character can take is what matters when building an RP character is something that even extends to tabletop games where min-maxing is put before character development. In an MMO setting, it's even less important. Or, at least, it should be. Remember, not everyone has the same amount of time to put into an MMO or, in some cases, the IRL money to invest. Time and money can make a huge artificial difference in how well a character performs. A player's skill can also make a character mechanically stronger than other characters, but it's unfair to use that as a reflection of reality because, say it with me: you are not your character. This is one of the reasons that people that absolutely insist on using PVP to resolve IC conflict are, more often than not, bad actors. It's easy to challenge someone to a PvP match to determine the outcome of a roleplay when you have practiced PvP, have built your character for PvP, and can often tell that the person you are challenging has neither of those things. Simply put: mechanics are a very poor representation of a character's actual narrative potential. That isn't to say it's useless or should be ignored entirely. After all, if a character you claim is super durable and immune to most damage is also blaster and faceplants literally every other mob when you go out to fight crime, it's going to be a little hard to not laugh and take your character just that much less seriously. Even if the narrative should take precedence. CHAPTER 4: NUH UH! MY ARMOR IS BULLET PROOF AND MAGIC PROOF AND ANTI-STUPID PROOF!!! And we finally reach the ugly side of poor power level management. Power gaming. While it can be done accidentally, characters that are so powerful they can basically win all of the things forever are, more often than not, designed this way because the player always wants to be part of or the entirety of the solution. While it is possible to play with these concepts in a way that is actually well done, for the sake of argument, please presume that the person using these is not an honest actor. Before I go into examples of how a character can be broken power level wise, I want to first point to my overly long post talking about character flaws (TM) as that is very important reading before moving forward. Flaws can actually help balance a character out that would be totally broken otherwise. The last section on when flaws aren't really flaws is what's especially relevant here as those are what most bad actors use to try and make it "okay" that their character is capable of doing everything forever. Hey. Remember how my post on flaws had a list at the end? It's time for another list. Complete Immunity to Hot Dogs in the Hot Dog Dimension Immunity to anything is an EXTREMELY potent trait. Many tabletop games, for example, only hand out immunity to a threat in rare circumstances mechanically and the dungeon master often finds themselves pulling out their hair as a result. Generally speaking, the more narrow an immunity is, the better. For example, immunity to heat might not make you immune to the fact that fire sucks out the oxygen around them. Immunity to fire might somehow make you not suffocate, but, hey. At least lightning can still ruin your day! Unless you're immune to energy which suddenly starts covering the vast majority of threats you could encounter. If a character has a super broad immunity but some means of circumventing it that doesn't involve jumping through a million hoops, that would be one thing. But COMPLETE immunity (or a very very niche circumvention method), more often than not, can just frustrate other players. If you still insist on having complete immunity with no or very very few means of circumvention, directly tie a major flaw to that immunity so it's clear to everyone else that, while you might have this cool thing they can't beat you on, it comes at a high cost. If the flaw you use to justify the immunity is unrelated, no matter how severe, you're going to find yourself frequently reminding people that the flaw balances things out which...well, doesn't sound very good. Eyes and Ears Everywhere. INCLUDING THERE!!! You know what is the absolute worst thing for a mystery? Somebody that somehow knows it all. Your character doesn't have to have information on everything. If their concept is that they're an information broker, guess what? You STILL don't know everything! Have spies in every major organization? Worms in every major data server? At some point you stop being super knowledgeable of the world around you and start being an omnipresent god. Part of the fun of being a character that strives to know everything is having to actually LEARN that everything. And introducing...HACKERMAN! It's one thing to be good at a profession. It's another thing to be perfect at a profession. It's another thing entirely to be so good at a profession that anyone who knows even a small amount about the profession screams into the void in second hand agony. While I have most commonly seen this with hacker characters, this is mainly because my major was computer science and I'm far more aware of when people who obviously did no research into how computers work start having characters do impossible things with computers. Just because your character is good at something, doesn't mean they don't sometimes struggle with it or even fail. How am I supposed to take your character seriously when they say they hacked into a Malta server and have been living in it rent free after poking around on Windows command line for a few hours? I actually plan to make an entire post talking about how I often see hacker characters miss the mark, but the ultimate tragedy of all of this is that even a cursory understanding of the subject can actually not just make your character's achievement more believable, but also more impressive. Explaining the levels of social engineering that took place in order for you to get into the payroll page on the Malta's intranet as a backdoor into their membership listing is FAR more awesome than watching your character kick up their feet and just say, "Yeah. I'm that awesome." EVERYTHING IS IMPERVIUM! EVERYTHING! (AKA: The lore says it exists so I can use it!) This comes in two flavors. The first are characters that coat everything in Impervium and the second are characters that act like Impervium is no big deal. Basically, this method of power gaming either totally abuses something acknowledged to be a thing in lore (ie: Impervium), then ignores important details in order to make something more impressive. Going back to Impervium, an example might be building an entire fortress out of Impervium while ignoring how god damn expensive it would be to build that many walls with solid impervium. Another example, in contrast, might be a character ripping impervium in half like it was cardboard despite it being literally the strongest metal known to man in the lore. It doesn't matter if it makes sense, what matter is how awesome it makes them look. This can also extend to players writing their characters to not just know but be best buddies with canon characters who swoop in to provide the kind of support only a canon character can provide. SUPA MAN While I personally feel invulnerability to damage period is something best reserved for non-player characters, it is possible to play with the concept on a player character...but it really only works if you REALLY lean in on the psychological struggle of being indestructible yourself but not being able to extend it to those around you. I know I already talked about immunity to things, but I felt like invulnerability was kind of its own topic. Not being able to be damaged can seriously draw a lot of tension out of a situation since while everyone else is worried about death, you're totes fine and it's nothing to worry about. Yeah, yeah, I know invulnerability to damage is not just a trope in comics but can also be found in CoH itself. But, hey. Even Ajax was brought low. What makes you so special? I'll admit that this one is VERY much just a personal opinion and I have roleplayed with plenty of characters that were immune to damage. They just managed to not drain the tension out of every crisis. Speaking of... Yeah. I'm basically Jesus. When it comes to the dangers heroes face, the threat of bodily harm if not death is way up there. Not just for yourself, but those around you. That pesky specter of death looms over (most) of us at (almost) all times. That makes characters that can heal or patch people up very important. There are many ways a character can fill this role, but there is one particular means by which someone can roleplay a healer that can drain the tension out of a scene faster than almost anything: healing without consequence; or, as I like to call it, Jesus Healing. No matter the injury, no matter the ailment, no matter the disease, these characters have you covered. They'll have you fixed up in a few minutes and will suffer no real cost for conducting the patch job be it time, energy, or their own health. Yeah, it is true that this is how healing kind of appears to work in CoH, but remember: this is an MMORPG. Mechanics aren't aimed at making narrative sense, they're aimed at being fun. If you play a healer character, that's great! Just be sure to add a bit of risk and a bit of cost to what your character does. Everyone else will thank you for it. Oh, my character doesn't do that. I mean, yes, it's exactly the same, but no! They are different! This is a bit of a weird one, but still something to keep an eye out for. Let's say that you want to play a character that eats souls, but are annoyed that not everything has a soul or might have a soul but is probably different than a human soul. How might you overcome this? Why, create a totally new fictional concept that functions exactly the same way as a soul, is just as bad to lose as your soul, and can have additional vulnerabilities that you can exploit because you made it up! In short, this method of power gaming basically invents new vulnerabilities in everybody else and, more often than not, is exactly like/more powerful than/more potent than something that already exists and basically only exists exists because that pre-existing thing wasn't threatening/powerful enough. It can even be specifically designed so that, by its definition, literally everybody has it and they can just ignore the people who don't want to play ball. Remember: You do not write for other characters. If you create a concept, the more intrusive it is, the more important it is that you include an exit clause for other players to take advantage of. Funny you mention that! I have just the solution to that as well! AND THAT! AND THAT!! This is most commonly found in people that display attention seeking behavior. It's pretty easy to spot, but only as a pattern of behavior. Most commonly found in characters that proclaim to be jacks of all trade or are experts in laughably vague fields, this usually shows itself when a character somehow always has a way of solving a problem. For example, a character who is an "expert in magic" always having some random spell to fix a problem. Or a character that has nanites that are capable of basically doing anything as the situation calls for it. While similar to #3, this is usually done in far broader strokes and treats concepts as professions (such as an "engineer" being capable of robotics, complex cybernetics, hacking, software, AI, advanced physics, etc). While this is a fantasy and a character can be a prodigy in multiple fields, this becomes a problem when this leads to them always having a solution right in their back pocket. Oh, I don't know how to fix it. But he does! Just...let me alt onto them. There's nothing wrong with alts. I have many of them! Many of you reading probably have more! But there is a way alts can be abused and it's kind of similar to the previous point. Sometimes, bad actors will try and get around making a character too powerful by making a bunch of alts, making them all distinct people, but end up treating these different characters as basically a hivemind. They all know each other, they all get along directly or through another one of their characters, and they are all willing to help one another on whatever problem might arise. While the characters might be fine individually, this method of roleplay means that any character weakness or gap in understanding can be filled by another. A slight against one of these characters will trickle down their whole roster. Yes, I know that this is overpowered. But I'm doing this so I don't have to put up with _______ Well. At least it's honest! I've encountered this several times. The example I will give is that a super group I was friendly with had a defense system that was insane. I'm talking about multiple turrets that fired shells the size of coke cans at near super sonic speeds at intruders. I'm talking power suppression that was somehow smart enough to only affect members and also knew if they were duplicates. I'm talking top level stuff you'd expect to be defending the god damn president of the WORLD. And...it was protecting a small group out in Etoli. When challenged on how insane their security was, they initially tried to defend it, but eventually just stated that, yeah, it's insane. But we just don't want to deal with people that want to invade the base or something. Which, while valid, doesn't have to be solved like that! You could have modest security and then just...not accept roleplay where your base gets attacked. You can write around it. Purposefully making something overpowered to ensure something doesn't happen is lazy and, really doesn't look good, and, most importantly, can totally muck up story arcs that should be unrelated. Adding onto Chase's fine post here is that this can expand to beyond hard cash. This can also be found in characters who provide potentially costly services pro bono and barely if not entirely unprompted to people they might have even just met earlier that afternoon. If a character is going to sink a lot of resources into something, be it cash, time, or materials, they should probably have a very good personal reason for doing so if they aren't being compensated and you should consider how deep of an impact it's going to have on their bank account. <Insert Ancient Aliens Meme Here> The source of your power belongs to some distant race of alien or was gifted to you by an eldritch being that cannot understand doesn't mean that you can start doing literally anything you want. The same rules of managing how powerful a character are to keep it fun for everyone applies regardless. If somebody asks how your nanites are capable of individually having more raw computational power than a super computer, just saying "ALIENS" is not actually answering the crux of the actual concern being put forward. Some sort of alien power being the source of your immense power simply explains the source of this power. Not why it makes sense or why it isn't overpowered. Here's some supplementary reading from the comment section! This is part of a series of tutorials regarding roleplay! You can find the full list of tutorials here!
  7. Many people might presume that the most important aspect of roleplay is your ability to improvise or even tell a story. This is no true. In fact, you could be absolutely horrible at writing stories and still not be the worst roleplayer out there. In fact, the most important aspect of roleplay lies in two parts: communication and storytelling. These are so important, in fact, that the in game roleplay workshop @CrystalDragon and I run starts with this from the very beginning. 1. Why Are These So Important? The most obvious reason consent and communication are so vital is because roleplay is a cooperative activity. You won't get very far with anything that requires collaboration between peers if people aren't playing fairly or with their fellows in mind. However, roleplaying in an MMO setting actually makes the necessity of these two things even more important than a tabletop or IRL setting. In a tabletop or LARP (live action roleplay) setting, you, more than likely, aren't just speaking to one another with your own voice (or over voice chat for virtual outings), but there are often set rules at play that keep things manageable and/or someone to lay down the law and make final rulings (like a dungeon master). In an MMO, everyone is the arbiter of their own character and you have only text replies to rely on to judge motivation and intent. Yeah, this can get very tricky, very quickly. In my time roleplaying (most of which has been in MMO's), the vast majority of drama I have seen erupt was either a misunderstanding that was rooted in a failure to communicate something at the right moment or someone (or even multiple people) ignoring the necessity of consent when interacting with other characters. I have also heard from non-roleplayers that have to moderate roleplayer spaces that we are far more prone to stupid drama that sounds like it came straight out of high school. Why is that? I think the core of the issue is that roleplayers can get extremely invested into their hobby. It's not just a creative outlet, it's also a form of escape and exploration. When something comes across that threatens that, it can lead to confusion and irrational thinking. There are also some special considerations I will get into later, but I really do feel that the fact that we often put our hearts into the hobby can lead to us not acting as we normally would when faced with conflict. If roleplayers as a whole got better with consent and communication, I honestly think we'd see far fewer explosions of drama in our communities. So let's talk about that. 2. Special Considerations I by no means have hard and fast statistics on this, but from my experience, roleplay communities often contain a disproportionate number of people who are neurodivergant, from marginalized communities, or have some form of psychological trauma/disability in relation to the overall population of the game's community. I'm not entirely sure why this is outside of maybe creative types often being born out of groups like this. However, regardless of the why, what is far more important is the "so what". When interacting with others, you should be cognizant that you don't know what's going on with the person on the other side of the screen. You don't know their age, gender, life experience, or much of anything really. Not unless they tell you and, even then, it can be difficult to know for sure. Many people carry burdens that they seek levity from in their roleplay or even just gaming experience. Some just want to have fun, but still carry difficulties from their problems be they physical or psychological. We're going to get into things such as trigger warnings and the like later on, but I wanted to establish early why content warnings as well as giving others allowances are important. Just as an example, I have severe ADHD and, for a while, thought I just sucked at tabletop roleplay. A 4th edition game I ran in for a long time regularly made me think so, in large part, because my DM made no consideration for my disability and would sometimes penalize me for it. It wasn't until my current Pathfinder game where my DM has gone out of her way to learn about my condition and how to help me navigate it as we play that I realized that I just wasn't being given the tools to deal with the problem. Another very common issue are people with autism not realizing that there was a problem because everyone else thought that it was enough to drop "hints". I could give a ton of examples, but there's not so much point of saying them all. The point is that you should be considerate that you don't know what struggles the people you are playing with have and, in addition, be considerate if they share their difficulties and try to be accommodating. This is a two way street, however. If you are struggling because of an IRL problem (be it physical or mental), you need to make it clear to others, offer ways they can help you navigate those struggles, and, this is important, take steps yourself to not make it entirely everyone else's problem. What I mean by that is that while others should be willing to accommodate you, the world does not revolve around you and you should try and make your issues as non-intrusive to others as possible. Requesting someone use trigger warnings is a fair request, but demanding someone not do a story arc is not. Requesting people try to clearly communicate issues they have with you is reasonable, not being willing to listen to those issues if they come up is not. Using myself as an example, my ADHD was leading me to lose focus on plans I myself came up with and jumping to new ideas which weren't as well thought out. While my DM was willing to accommodate me, we had to find a way for me to keep better track of plans. After some discussion, we agreed that I'd keep a game planner that, while the DM is willing to help me populate and remind me to use, it's ultimately my responsibility to maintain it. In short: If someone needs accommodations, provide them. If someone provides accommodations, use them and work on your own to try and help uplift yourself. 3. Communication No, I'm not going to sit you all down and carefully break down some dictionary definition of what communication is. Instead, I'm going to express how communication often breaks down in roleplay circles and how to avoid falling into the same pitfalls. The first failure often comes down to assumptions that are never verified. Hunches that someone gets from what someone does ICly, out of context comments made in totally separate conversations, presuming to understand someone's situation based on generalizations and stereotypes without realizing that they are just that, and/or cases of mistaken identity. Basically, it's a Pepe Sylvia wall of guesses and accusations with little basis in reality. People with severe depression or anxiety can often fall into this as they read way too far into people's reactions and presume someone's opinion of them (most often negative) based on the way they think the message is being said to them. I should know, my anxiety has made me fear someone was angry at me for something many times in the past because of what they did or didn't say and not based on them actually expressing they were upset with me. The second failure tends to be a game of telephone that is born from someone not being willing to come to the table themselves or not coming to the table in any capacity and just spreading gossip. Basically, let's say that @Bunga has a problem with @ChungaWumpa as a result of something that happened in roleplay. Instead of speaking to @ChungaWumpa about it directly, @Bunga gets a friend to go to @ChungaWumpa to speak on their behalf. While this can occasionally yield good results, if @Bunga didn't do a good job of fully expressing their concerns, @ChungaWumpa might get the wrong impression and, even if @Bunga did do a good job, @ChungaWumpa might not appreciate the fact that someone else was brought in to speak for them when they would have been perfectly happy to resolve things amicably. Alternatively, maybe @Bunga didn't want to address it at all so they, instead, start venting about the situation to anyone who will listen. Now, suddenly, any entire community is involved in what is, at its heart, likely a simple interpersonal dilemma. That's not to say that bringing a community into a situation is always a bad idea, but it generally has to be an issue that actually involves the whole community. Recognizing when something is a personal problem and not something that involves you is pretty important to consider. The third and final failure of communication I'll be talking about here is passive aggression. This can show itself in many forms, but within roleplay communities, it often shows itself when a roleplayer inserts their OOC opinion of a subject into a character's IC dialog. Basically, while the point of contention is brought up to the intended target, it's done so in a round about way that could charitably be interpreted as an attempt to get the target to figure it out themselves. Look, people can be very dense. I know, I am one of those people. If you have an issue, don't beat around the bush. So what are some tips to effectively communicate with others? GLAD YOU ASKED! Express your concerns clearly and concisely. If you don't believe you are understood, elaborate and, if necessary, try to give examples of what you mean. Discern what the other person wants to get out of the conversation. If you can't tell, ask. Likewise, for our purposes, if you are discussing doing a scene, figure out what they want to get out of it if anything and, if you believe it could have negative consequences, be sure the other person is aware of them. If you are too stressed or cannot put concerns into words, take a moment and formulate what you want to say. Don't force yourself to say what you want to say when you aren't ready to say it. If you absolutely need another person to bounce ideas off of for a private conflict, be sure they understand you're speaking in confidence. [More as I think of them/they are mentioned in the comments] 4. Consent I'm sure a lot of people have heard of consent before, but informed consent is just as important for roleplayers. If your consent is informed, not only do you agree to what is occurring to you and your character, but you understand. If I tell you that my character is going to cast a spell on you to fix some illness, you agree, then I suddenly reveal to you that I made you into a zombie thus curing the illness, that wasn't informed consent. Surprise isn't always a bad thing, but remember what I said earlier. A lot of drama is rooted in how invested people can get into their characters and what happens to them. The amount of surprise most people are willing to accept of their character without prompting depends on how much control of their situation they are willing to relinquish at the start. In a tabletop game, you are relinquishing a lot of your autonomy to the dungeon master and their word is law. While a good DM will ensure that what happens to you are the inevitable consequences of your (or your party's) actions, you are entering this situation with the understanding that things are going to happen to your character that are out of your control. But in an MMO environment, all of that changes. There are no final arbiters, meaning the default situation you are entering with is full and total control over your character with zero control over others. You are your own character's or characters' ultimate DM and nobody else. Then how do you interact with others? You can do one of two things. Request permission to do an action or take an action leaving room for the other person to react to it the way that makes sense to their character. By doing this, you also allow for other people to be able to have a chance to impact the scene without forcing it along yourself. In the end, consent in roleplay really is about ensuring that everyone maintains control of their character and can contribute to the scene at large. Respecting people in this way is at the absolute core of what we do here. This is a later edit and it pains me that I have to make this clear: someone consenting to be in a place does not consent to them participating in something if they don't even know what that thing is. If you invite someone to your base, that does not mean they consent to literally anything you do in there. 5. Violations of Consent [WARNING: While the following concepts are generally accepted bad in all roleplay communities, the definitions can be different if not merged into a single definition. Definitions given here are a means of differentiating bad behavior.] What does it mean to win at roleplay? In truth, this is a nonsense question because you can't win at roleplay. The purpose of roleplay lies in the experience and not with the end result. Unfortunately, not everyone understands or agrees with this and, as a result, they go into roleplay with ulterior motives. Be it a power fantasy or wish fulfillment, bad actors will go into roleplay seeking to have their own fun even if it comes at the cost of the fun of others. Unsurprisingly, this can lead to very bad roleplay that can easily escalate into out of character strife. Don't view every negative action taken as intentional, however. As we are going to discuss, new or inexperienced roleplayers can fall into some of these traps without intending to ruin everyone else's day. Seek restoration well before retribution. It will go a long way to breed more talented roleplayers in your wake. While there are many ways a roleplay can be conducted that, purposefully or not, there are four main ways your consent in a roleplay setting can be violated outside of the obvious (gaslighting, manipulation, guilt tripping, etc) which might not be obvious to you. Just be aware that these aren't always applicable. If someone is doing behavior as described here but was given permission to do so, it doesn't qualify because, as implied by the start of this section, this is about violating consent. Corrupting Implication Let's say that you want to have a character stow away on my airship and be discovered after some time of them being there and I agree. So far, no harm no fowl. You want to influence something I alone have control over, have presented the action, and I have agreed to it. Then, once the roleplay gets going, smack dab in the middle you reveal that you had been on my advanced airship for multiple months without any detection and bypassing all of my security with ease. There wasn't even any indication that, after months, there might be someone else aboard. Now, this aspect of stowing away wasn't part of the initial agreement. "Some time" is fairly vague and while you might have presented that as being months, I might have presumed a week or two. The real heart of the issue here, however, is the implication of you stowing away for all of this time without detection. While it does speak to your character's skill, it also speaks some to my character's incompetence. After all, if you were able to bypass all of my security, doesn't that imply that my security is kind of shit? While this violation is fairly subtle, it's still important to try and avoid. If anything, sometimes the implications to other characters that come from your posts can be more damaging than anything directly said. This can happen with both player controlled characters as well as canon groups, but it is only especially a problem when your content is resulting in unwanted implications towards other characters. As this can be done entirely unintentionally, you should both be very upfront and polite with the other person as to those implications and, should you be approached, seriously be considerate to the other person's issue. Metagaming Translated literally to mean "beyond the game", metagaming is when you utilize information your character shouldn't have access to based on information that you yourself know as a player without authorization. The reason I say without authorization is that, theoretically, you can come up with any reason for your character to know something you only just found out out of character. What makes this metagaming is when you are using information about another character without verifying you would even have access to it based on things only you as a player could know. For example, let's say your character "Gun Monkee" walked into my bar. They are a Dual Pistol/Super Reflexes Sentinel and the moment you come up to the counter, I demand you hand your guns over for safe keeping and also inform you that super reflexes are blocked from functioning in this bar. For added measure, I call you by name despite having never met you before. You, of course, did not tell me any of this in character nor did you tell me out of character I could do this. No matter what justification I give for knowing all of this, the reason my character knows these things is because I, the player, read your description and then clicked on the powers tab. Common post-hoc explanations are often related to a character being an information broker, some kind of scanning technology, or undefined magical powers. However, much like corrupting implication, this is very easy (if not easier) to do accidentally; ESPECIALLY if you have more than one character. Imagine that example again, but this time I have met your character on one of my alternate characters and totally forgot which character I met you on. It's also a common mistake for newbies to make as they might assume that everything in your character description is public knowledge unless otherwise stated/implied (instead of the other way around). If someone metagames you, speak up immediately (as to avoid roleplay continuing based on faulty information) and correct the player or find out how their character knows this. If they give a justification you don't believe is acceptable, you have every right to tell them so and just not accept it. After all, it's your character information. It's not free for anyone to mess with just because it's not somehow literally attached to your character model. Likewise, if someone accuses you of metagaming, stay calm and either correct yourself or provide your justification. If that justification isn't good enough, don't argue too much and move on. Godmodding/Puppeteering While the concept here is simple, the way it plays out isn't always. Godmodding or Puppeterring is when you perform actions, write reactions, or enforce results to your actions onto other characters you do not have permission to control. It's the difference between, "I stab you," and, "I attempt to stab you," or, put another way, this is your reaction versus this is what you need to react to. As mentioned, part of what needs to be remembered in an MMO setting while roleplaying is that you don't actually have authority over other characters unless you are told that you do. That's what makes godmodding so frustrating to deal with. While this can be done as directly as just saying how your character reacts, another method is to more indirectly make your actions for you. This is generally done by controlling NPC's to present ideas to other players about the godmodded character that would necessitate a "reasonable response". An example might be pre-empting an interaction with this character with 15 minutes of an NPC saying how amazing and good hearted their character is and how they should be respected. Godmodding generally is done because the modder has a specific idea in mind for how they want the scene to go come hell or high water. Unsurprisingly, the reaction they get when you don't give the reaction they were expecting is generally shock and offense. If you encounter this, the best course of action is to have your character react as they normally would given the set-up and just ignore aspects of their action that they wrote in for you. For example, if I say, "I stab you," you say, "I dodge." Or, in the more underhanded situation, as I implied, if their character is built up to be one way and your character gets the opposite impression, go off of your character's impression. If they get angry you didn't react to how they said your character was affected, then you can start a dialog and work something out. While more often malicious than the other two previous examples, this isn't uncommon for new roleplayers to do as they come to understand how consent plays out in the space. Powergaming This is usually the first thing people think of when you say that you, "encountered a bad roleplayer." Powergaming is when, pre-emptively or mid-roleplay, a character is given abilities or traits that are perfect, uncounterable, and/or generally designed to ensure that they have the spotlight by simply making them da best. I go into more detail on my write-up regarding power levels, but a character should not be so powerful as to basically control the entire scene. If you enter a scene and are able to basically overcome any obsticle set before you, you are probably powergaming. Likewise, if your character was designed from the start to have immense power that is basically a swiss army knife in utility, you are probably power gaming. An example a friend once told me was of another character cutting through three inch thick impervium armor with a quarter swing of a steel katana. Much like godmodding, powergaming is, at its core, the desire to "win" at roleplay. To be the most useful, the most impactful, to yield the most success. People powergaming often implement really weak flaws that make their character more "manageable" or balanced when, in fact, the flaws barely make any real impact at all. The more justifications and excuses built into a character who's powergamed to hell and back, the less likely this was not done intentionally. While someone could get overly excited over a concept and didn't include enough drawbacks to help even out a character, you can usually tell when someone knows they're just living out a power fantasy at the expense of others when it's clear the flaws were designed to be nothing more than paper tigers. If you are going to accuse someone of powergaming, it is imperative that you have well thought out criticisms and examples to work off of that are going to be difficult to talk their way out of. If someone truly is acting in bad faith, the goal is less to convince them that they need to reconsider/modify their concept but to prove to yourself that you aren't seeing shadows. I highly recommend not just reading my post on power levels but also my write-up on character flaws to give you a better idea of what to look for if you are going to attempt to do this. However, if you are already convinced and don't want to/don't see a reason to confront them, you don't have to roleplay with them. Remember: the choice is yours, not theirs, to make. I want to be clear here that I do not point out these bad behaviors because I see them come up a lot in my own roleplay nor that they are even common. Instead, I bring them up because, if you roleplay long enough, you will encounter at least one of these behaviors in some capacity. It's far better you are aware of the ways people can abuse consent in the hobby than to just gloss over the concepts and move on. This is part of a series of tutorials regarding roleplay! You can find the full list of tutorials here!
  8. It's Spazz again! I decided that I have nothing better to do so I should make a write-up talking about hacking. Specifically, what it is and what it isn't. For all of you out there that have characters who hack into systems, I encourage you to take this to heart and consider how you can use it in your own roleplay. Please also keep in mind that while I am a computer scientist, I am not an expert on hacking myself. What I am going to provide is a very general overview of what it is and how you should consider going about it in your roleplay. 1. What is hacking? Hacking is a REALLY broad term when you think about it. While, at its core, hacking is all about entering computer systems you are not supposed to be in, the means you do so are extremely numerous. What most people see in popular media is more often than not exploiting software vulnerabilities on exposed networks. Software vulnerabilities can range in severity with the most dangerous being "Zero Day Exploits". A Zero Day Exploit is a software vulnerability that is so easily taken advantage of and/or provides so much access to a system's permissions that it needs to have been patched yesterday. These are a really big deal and, while potent, are very rare. Details on zero day exploits are sometimes sold on black markets and the utilization of more than a few zero day exploits on a system is often done by nation states. Exploits are often not the end of the journey, however. Sometimes an exploit might get you into the target servers, but not the server you wanted to take advantage of. I'm sure you can start to see why hacking can take a great deal of skill. However, I'm sure you noticed earlier that I emphasized exposed networks. That's because I was talking about what is found on popular media. Not all networks are actually accessible directly through the internet and some networks have literally no connection to the internet at all. Ultra secure servers are often given this treatment. More importantly, even if the server is exposed to the wider internet, there might not be any vulnerabilities in their software (that you are aware of at least). You can't exploit a system that has no means of exploitation. This brings us to literally the most important aspect of hacking that many people don't utilize in roleplay. 2. Social Engineering Computers are stupid. Humans can be far, far more stupid. Welcome to Social Engineering script kiddies! This is where the real fun begins. Social engineering is using a variety of tactics to attempt to introduce malicious code into a target system not by forcing your way in, but by letting somebody open the door for you. No amount of passwords or anti-virus will save a system when the operator just downloads a malicious file sight unseen and opens it. In fact, what you see most often in popular media (some nerd sitting at their computer clacking away at keys) isn't how systems get compromised more often than not. It's this. It's literally convincing humans to do stupid things for your own benefit. Just about any file type can be set up with hidden, malicious code that will execute when the file is opened. Everything from PDF's to .docx files. As a matter of fact, part of the reason Flash was abandoned is because Adobe couldn't keep up with the number of ways it could be used to make viruses. It extends even further though! I am positive most of you reading this use Discord. Recently, in large part because of how popular Discord has become, scams and malicious links have become rampant on the platform. This is social engineering at its finest. No, dude, trust me! Click on this disc0rd.com link and get a free year of Nitro!!! Remember how I mentioned servers with no access to the wider internet? This is where more complicated means of social engineering needs to take place. An extremely good example of a nearly impossible server to crack that was accessed via social engineering and very complicated software is Stuxnet. If you want an idea of what a virus created by a nation state looks like, Stuxnet is THE best example. I kid you not, this virus is one of the most important viruses in history due to just how unprecedented the whole thing was. 3. The Mistakes The most common mistake I see with hacking (besides not utilizing social engineering) is how long it takes when working remotely. Someone just sits down and in an afternoon they have access to the entire network of an underground Malta complex and could do just about anything in it. Hacking, generally, is not this quick. It can take quite some time just to get into a server, let alone get access to the things you need. If you have time to play with it, actually have your character talk about what they're doing. How they're trying to get their way into the server, the social engineering, the exploits they might have found, etc. If they do get in quickly, try and have some fun with the creative ways they went about it. In Secret World, my character hacked into an outpost's wifi by connecting to a bluetooth and wifi enabled coffee machine in their break room and exploiting the fact the coffee machine was given permission to use the wifi as a means of connecting to it. See how much more fun that is than just "I'M IN!" Hacking a computer in the flesh is theoretically far easier as is getting what is directly on that computer. Actually opening the files, accessing other parts of the network, etc, generally require additional work. The biggest issue is generally credentials. A well made computer system generally keeps everything need-to-access only. A standard user isn't going to be able to access the registry or some highly encrypted folder. As missions are generally pretty fast paced, consider how your character might be looking for credentials as they smack down enemies. Maybe they collect smart card enabled ID's and use a script to try and log in with those accounts using common passwords. Or maybe they snatched up someone's phone and glanced through it to find the password saved in a plain text document. Another pretty big mistake I've seen is a lack of understanding between the difference between a worm, virus, Trojan, RAT, and other forms of malicious code. There are many kinds of viruses and it's REALLY not hard to look them up. Wikipedia has an entire series on computer hacking and information security that contains articles on all of them. It's not just important to have a basic understanding of how these can all differ, but it's also important because it can give you new ideas of how your character might try and infect a system. For example, is your character aiming to run malicious code on a single computer? Multiple computers? Do they want to actively control another desktop? What are they doing to avoid detection? Even if a lot of what you come up with is technobabble, being aware of how things operate in the real world can make a world of difference. Speaking of detection, another common mistake I've seen is how long someone has access to a network. It is so difficult to remain undetected in a well maintained network that there is an actual term for it: APT (Advanced Persistent Threat). To be acting as a single individual not backed by a nation state with an intrusion into a system that goes on for months can actually speak less towards the skill of a character and more to the incompetence of whoever owns the server. 4. Okay, I get it! Lots of technical stuff! But do I really need to know how to hack?! Nope! You don't. As I said at the start, I might know a good deal about computer software, but I know zip as to how to actually hack into a system. I actually had to go to google to verify a few things as I was writing this. While you don't need to be an expert to write for a profession you aren't skilled in yourself, you should ALWAYS research it. As I pointed out several times, there are a lot of story opportunities that can be missed if you just follow the lead of movie hackers. Also, as mentioned, it can give a serious impression of incompetence on the part of the people you are hacking if it can really be done so quickly. While some people can be very skilled hackers, like many other professions, there is a certain point where your level of success says more about your target than it does yourself. Wikipedia is an amazing resource, but a far greater resource is talking to someone with some knowledge on the subject. While you can learn a lot about what it's like to work on an Airforce flight deck, speaking to someone who has can yield a far more human outlook than a dry description. If you need help with a profession, make a post on the forums asking for insight. I'm sure others would be happy to help. 5. Can you give me an example of how this might play out? Keep in mind that while what I described is grounded in reality and can yield more story potential, roleplay is a cooperative "sport" and you need to try and include others in your fun. So no matter how you do your hacking, if it's going to be more than a short quip, you should try and get others involved in it. So can I detail how that might look? No! Because I never considered that might be an important thing to do never included that. So someone else did. Thanks a TON to @chase that took the time to write ALL of the below up. This is tangentially part of a series of tutorials regarding roleplay! You can find the full list of tutorials here!
  9. Hi there! I'm McSpazz! For those that don't know, I help @CrystalDragon teach the bi-weekly roleplay workshop. One subject that comes up during that workshop are character flaws and I never feel like I have the time to REALLY dig into them. Why they're important, how impactful a flaw might be, and, most importantly, when a flaw really isn't a flaw. So I thought...HEY! Why not post something to the forums that probably no one is going to read and expand on what I'm never able to cover during class! 1. Brass Tacks First, what exactly is a flaw? While on the surface it is any aspect of a character that in some way hinders them, I think it's important to really drill into a more important aspect of flaws as far as roleplay is concerned. See, a flaw can't just be something that a character struggles with. Needing to wear glasses can be a flaw, but lots of people wear glasses without issue. Velma not being able to see anything without her glasses? Now THAT is a flaw. It can't just hinder a character, a real flaw needs to be something that is actually present in character interactions. But why are flaws important? Beyond making a character interesting, that is. I think everyone is fully aware that a character with no flaws is going to come out very flat and boring, but there is a bit more to it where roleplay is concerned. When a character gets involved in someone else's story arc, the person handling the story, no matter the scope or size, needs to consider where this new character fits into things. Not only that, they need to figure out how they can keep the narrative challenging and keep everyone involved even with this new addition. Flaws, in a way, give the director of the story a means of providing a challenge that requires somebody else's involvement to resolve. The last thing people want is for one person to basically invalidate any challenge a story might bring forward. Flaws are that important limiting factor that ensures that you can keep everyone important to a story without forcibly making that the case. 2. It's not enough to just HAVE a flaw. Given the utility flaws serve outside of narrative, it's not enough that flaws exist. For example, a flaw that states that a character who is vulnerable to cold weather might be super impactful in Alaska, but it would be far less impactful in Paragon since they'd have no problems half of the year. Even less so if the roleplay was in Florida. A heavy alcohol addiction might have a big impact, but only if the character is actually shown to be struggling with it. Being vulnerable to the sun could be a huge flaw, but if most roleplay occurs indoors or in caves (ie: most of CoH's missions), it might be far less of an issue. There are also things like being stubborn which can be a flaw in certain situations, but your character would have to be that to an extreme in order for it to JUST be a flaw and nothing else. What's more, a flaw needs to be accessible or exploitable. Otherwise it's just a character quirk. For example, if your character doesn't have a secret identity and also has civilian love ones, that could be a very compelling flaw. However, if at every turn, your character has made taking advantage of the flaw boarding on impossible, it's only a flaw in theory. If a character has an anger problem but only loses their temper when it's convenient, then why bother? 3. An ode to tabletops One thing that comes up here several times as well as in general discussion of flaws is tabletop gaming and how flaws generally play out there. While it is true that the mediums are very different, remember what I mentioned earlier: flaws have utility outside of a narrative. In a tabletop setting, flaws are sometimes directly integrated into the game's mechanics and have actual, noticeable affects. For example, let's say your character had an addiction trait. In a tabletop game, you might be forced to roll to resist an offer of your addiction or take penalties to rolls if you have gone too long without it. While it is also important to have flaws that exist separate from pure mechanics, these flaws in tabletops offer a very visible and immediate output of results. Obviously, we don't have that in MMO's. The reason why flaws in tabletops are often brought up (especially by people who play tabletop games) is, more often than not, an attempt to emphasize what I have gone over above. Flaws need to have an impact and be accessible/exploitable. In short, the flaws need to actually matter beyond when it's most convenient to the story. If a character constantly drinks and is constantly intoxicated, people expect that they aren't going to behave as if they were sober whenever it would be inconvenient for them to act drunk. If your character is deathly vulnerable to cold iron, they expect there to be a good reason why they are wielding a cold iron weapon themselves. If your character has a flaw, they expect there to be an actual cost. And since this is all self-enforced in an MMO setting, it's all the more important that attention is paid to it. 4. Flaws that Aren't Flaws I want to touch on one of the most important things to avoid personally and look out for in other characters: Flaws that aren't really flaws. I kind of touched on them already, but these flaws either only matter in theory, are invalidated by a character's other traits, or are only flaws if you don't think about them for two seconds. This gets a little bit more complicated, so I'm going to break down a few examples separately. I Care Too Much I'm sure people have heard this old gem before outside of roleplay. It's kind of a meme before memes were coined; usually at job interviews. While this can theoretically be a flaw, it's generally a placeholder when nothing else can be mentioned. What does it actually mean to care too much? How is that expressed? By the time this is elaborated, there is generally a better way of expressing it than just "they just care too much!" In short, it's generally not a flaw because it doesn't actually mean anything. How to fix it As I said, the ultimate issue here is how vague it is. Is your character overly possessive of their loved ones? Are they too dogmatic in their ideology? More often than not, the best way to resolve this is to simply flesh it out and narrow it down some. What do they care too much about? How intense is their fixation? They're super paranoid This could be a great flaw, but it comes with one major precondition: they can't always be right. A common issue I see with "paranoid" characters is that it's less that they're paranoid and more so that they just go to completely unreasonable lengths to gather information on everything and covering all of their bases but only in ways that are actually helpful. Basically, the 'paranoid' flaw ends up turning into, "they have contingencies for everything." Always bear in mind for every adventure story where the paranoid nut job with a bunker in his back yard ends up having all of the tools the heroes need to succeed, there's the reality that the vast majority of paranoid preppers end up creating more trouble for themselves than they need to. How to fix it There's a reason paranoia is considered a flaw. It makes you see things that aren't there, prepare for things that will probably never happen, push away people that just want to be there for you, suspect things of others that aren't actually the case. If your character is going to be paranoid, actually commit to it and have their accusations and beliefs actually turn out to be wrong more than you might expect. The point is that Pepe Sylvia doesn't actually work here. Follow through on it. Fear of Thyself/God Complex One of the most eyerolling flaws you can encounter is the fear of a character's own powers even as they are using their powers in front of you. While this can be done well, these kinds of characters only really work when they actively go out of their way to not use those powers. That is pretty difficult to do in City of Heroes roleplay where using your powers is half of the setting. This flaw is especially cringeworthy when it is being held by characters with god like powers that constantly say they don't use their powers as to not interfere with mortal lives...only to then interfere with mortal lives. The Hulk feared his powers, but it worked because he didn't seek out trouble. Trouble found him. The crux of the issue here is that player characters are very active in the lives of others and frequently encounter problems where their powers could make the difference. Not using those powers is just going to piss people off and the excuse of "but your free will" isn't going to mean much to someone who just lost their loved one to some horrible illness. When the crux of your character not acting starts to bring to mind things such as the Epicurean Paradox, you are probably making a character too powerful to have regular interactions with Joe from down the street. How to fix it First of all, don't play a god. To clarify, I mean a god in the Abrahamic sense. Many pantheons had gods who were, in short, far more in line with how we view super heroes today. They were powerful, but not all powerful. Extremely wise/knowledgeable, but did not necessarily know everything. Formidable, but, in some cases, were actually put down by determined mortals. These kinds of gods are entirely capable of existing in an MMO roleplay environment as while they still have authority over their domain, their power is not so extreme that only other god characters could really oppose them. If the crux of your character's fear is what would happen if they lose control, consider the ramifications. If losing control means the sun is destroyed and all of reality as we know it collapses, it's very unlikely anyone will take your character seriously because while that is a legitimate fear, it places not just a great deal of importance on your own character versus even established canon characters, but also implicitly outlines the upper limit of what your character is capable of which can be a pretty naked truth as to how broken your character actually is. Keep the ramifications of losing control relatively localized. The best balance is that your allies could stop you, but at a significant emotional or material cost. If your character's fear is the the corruption of power as a metaphorical concept...just don't. It's a legitimate concern, but that isn't a flaw that is unique to your character. It's true not just of physical power but also of soft power (government officials for example). You can have that be a concern, but it's not strong enough on its own to be a flaw. I'll also discuss how these not-flaws can be fixed and turned into genuine flaws. Think of this as "don't do this, but here's something similar you could do." Addiction Without Consequence Addiction is sadly one of the most commonly misused flaws, in part, because many of the people writing them don't understand addiction. For example, if your character is addicted to a drug, in reality, using that drug would psychologically feel as necessary as breathing. This is why addictions can be such a compelling and heavy flaw for a character to carry. However, there is something worse than an addiction only coming up when it's convenient. Even worse than it barely coming up at all. It's when there's really no consequence of indulging that addiction. If your character's powers or the methods they obtain them not really disadvantageous, then being addicted to using them is likely barely going to register as a problem. How to fix it Put simply? Have the addiction mean something. If your character is drunk all of the time, have them mess up because of it. If your character is a chain smoker, have them get twitchy and irritable if they can't get their fix. Most importantly, if your character's powers themselves are addictive, actually have using them yield direct negative consequences that don't reset at the end of every scene. Most importantly, actually do serious research into what addiction is like. This flaw most often falls flat because the people using it don't actually understand what having an addiction is like. Just watching an interview with an addict talking about it can really put into perspective how this flaw should be operating. Nearly impossible to kill until the fighting's done I once knew of a character who could take on another form and, while in that form, was basically unstoppable. Nothing could kill it or stop it...but a portion of all the damage they took would be passed down to them after they reverted to normal. While that might sound like an extreme flaw, consider that by the time they turn back, people will be able to aid them. There is no more threat to speak of. Focus can now be put on stabilizing them. Who says they have to revert immediately after fighting? The flaw gets even more trivial if there's some kind of immediate healing mechanism or, for example, the existence of some kind of technology that can teleport you to a hospital and get you stabilized super quickly (like mediporters). There's also the fact that everyone else has to trust that, should some arbitrary amount of damage occur, you would be willing to actually apply long lasting medical complications if not death onto your character. How to fix it There are three approaches to this. The first is, if a fight was particularly messy, actually put your character out of commission for a period of IRL days based on how bad it was. While that does mean you might miss out on more butt kicking, this is the price you asked to pay with this flaw. Actually showing your character recover and vocalizing the pains of recovery is important to show other players that you are actually taking the concept seriously. The second is to take on an additional flaw that negates many of the issues I mentioned above: resistant to accelerated healing. Even if your character heals faster than normal already, the fact that external healing cannot make your character heal or stabilize much faster means that everybody including your character are going to be mindful of where you stand as the fight goes on. As blunt as it is, the third way is to...just not do this. In short, part of the reason this flaw can be frustrating is that it comes off as if you wanted your character to be invulnerable, but didn't want the baggage that came along with it. If you want an invulnerable character, actually play an invulnerable character and figure out flaws that help balance it out which aren't easily resolved. No! Trust me! If this happens, they'll be TOTALLY screwed! Some flaws rely completely on trust. For example, #5 would likely only be seen as a flaw if everyone else believed you would actually follow through on it. While everything this might touch might not necessarily fall under "not really a flaw" on its own, if these make up the bulk of your character's flaws, then your character's flaws are all hypothetical. Not really something that is actually currently present. An example of this might be that your character has an evil family member that hates them and wants to kill them. While that is a flaw, it's only a flaw in so far as other people believe you are actually going to do something with it. Even then, the flaw only really presents itself when you decide you want to do things with that evil family member. How to fix it Because of how weak these flaws are, you should never rely on them as your primary flaw nor make up the majority of your flaws up with them. Feel free to use them, but use them in addition to other flaws. Don't worry guys! They have a weakness... Bit coy with the title, but if your character's primary weakness is something extremely niche that other players would have to bend over backwards to include in a story, your flaw is so weak it might as well not be there. For example, a character that is totally invulnerable unless exposed to sunlight produced by druidic power would basically be unstoppable to 99% of the planet. Every storyline they were involved in would need druidic sunlight included in order to maintain any sort of tension. While that might be a serious flaw in a world inhabited mainly by druids, it's kind of meaningless in a setting like CoH. Even Superman's kryptonite, something that was theoretically hard to come by, was frequently utilized by his enemies as if you could just buy it off the black market for a quarter. How to fix it From my experience, many people who have flaws that are so niche they barely exist don't actually realize how niche they are. As I mentioned in the impact section, vulnerability to sunlight can seem like a really big deal until you break down how it would actually work out in a setting like City of Heroes (where most roleplay is probably going to happen indoors). I believe the best way to figure out if your weaknesses are too niche is this: Imagine you are making a story arc for other people. You have the entire thing worked out to some extent and have balanced it based on a balanced party of standard super heroes of approximately your own character's power level. Now imagine that somebody else is suddenly introduced to your story arc playing your character. How much would you have to bend over backwards to ensure that there was a threat that could oppose them? Now do that thought experiment again, but this time with a different theme. Was the initial story tech based? Make the next magic based. Was the initial story on the moon? Now imagine them under the ocean. While different characters are going to excel in different environments, what matters is that final question: how many concessions need to be made simply to allow your character to interact with the story without completely invalidating it? Going back to the Superman example, while Kryptonite might be niche initially, it's not difficult to imagine a villain of any origin or creed getting their hands on some if you, the author, wanted to give it to them. Even if it would be hard for them to do, a good writer could figure something out. Back to the sunlight example. If your character is vulnerable to sunlight, artificial sunlight being something that could still at least hurt them would be a good means of providing an obtainable threat that a villain could procure. However, if you were to exclusively limit that sunlight to only being natural sunlight or sunlight created with magic, suddenly a story centered around a tech based villain is made redundant and the only way to resolve it is for them to also utilize magic or work with someone who does; a concession for your character that, while required, might not make sense in the context of the narrative. If your character had another weakness that could be exploited by a tech based villain (ie: sunlight might be out of reach but silver isn't), then the flaw would no longer be a problem. This isn't to say you should make your character super weak to every foe, but your character shouldn't have a common scenario where they are unstoppable. Jack of all trades; Master of none; okay, well, pretty masterful actually. There's a danger in making a character who's the jack of all trades and master of none: someone else is likely going to be better at it than you. While that is part of the flaw of being a jack of all trades, some people forget that being a jack of all trades means that you aren't really great at everything. If a character truly is a jack of all trades but approaches them as a master, the important flaw angle of this character trait is truly non-existent. How to fix it First, REALLY understand what you are getting into if you're playing a jack of all trades. For every situation you can contribute to, there will be many others that other characters can contribute to better. Also consider the complexity of what they are knowledgeable on. It's going to take far longer to become minimally competent at rocket science than automotive repair. Muscle memory takes time and there are some weapons that take longer than others to become good with. Not all locks are created equal. The list goes on. Second, recognize that you really have to show that your character isn't a master with all of that they know. This flaw/trait is very much reliant on trust and the best way to build that with other players is to show you are actually giving your characters active limits to their skills and abilities. I am completely unable to drive a car. Now, please, hop into my motorcycle! This is a fairly important one and something that I am going to bring up again in my overly long post talking about power levels (TM). Some flaws are pretty massive, but are actually pretty easy to circumvent or clearly only exist to act as an excuse to justify the character having some insane ability. For example, if a character is totally unable to interact with magic but keep on utilizing technology that achieves the exact same result as a spell they are unable to use, all you really did was inconvenience your character. If your character is incapable of using anything but a sword but then whips out a gunblade, are they REALLY incapable of using anything but swords? Or are you just looking for loopholes in your own system? How to fix it First, don't create flaws and then seek out to circumvent them or create flaws that are easily circumvented. If your character is mute but can speak if they cast a spell, then they aren't really that mute. If your character has to rely on battery power but can draw electricity from the environment around them, the entire world is a recharge station. So on and so on. You should also enforce your flaws when other people try to "fix" them. For example, if your character starts out with the flaw of being deaf, fixing it shouldn't be as simple as shoving bionic ears onto their head when another character offers them. if your character is huge, finding affordable clothes shouldn't be as simple as someone dragging you to an Icon. If your character has cancer, you should probably side eye anyone who claims their character can cure it. If you believe a flaw helps define and/or balance your character, don't make it an easy fix. If the flaw is fixed then, and this is important, either derive a new flaw from it or introduce a new flaw in the near future to help keep things balanced. CRAWWWLING IN MY SKINNNNNN This can range from annoying to obnoxious. This flaw often takes the form of, "I'm such a monster," or something similar. An example of this concept falling flat is Edward from Twilight standing in the sun, glittering like a unicorn, living his best "vegetarian" vampire life, and proclaiming that he is a monster. One example I encountered a while back was when a succubus who did everything she could to avoid the stereotypes proclaimed herself to be a monster because of who her father was to my nightmare entity. Who once killed/tortured people for fun. And ate babies. You can imagine his incredulity. This can also be found in characters who possess a trait that is harmful to others, but that trait is easily negated (see #9) but they consistently refuse help all the while complaining that the problem still exists. This flaw mainly exists to make a character more edgy and less to add depth to them. Also, while an evil character who does horrible things could be considered a monster and might even call themselves a monster but not care, it's not much of a flaw if they never interact with polite society or people that really care how they act (ie: doing horrible things to accomplish your goals will be frowned upon more in Paragon than the Rogue Isles). How to fix it First, recognize that, generally speaking, people look towards a person's actions to determine if someone is a monster. If your character does have a trait that makes people's first impressions to be negative, harping on how people presume they are a monster to the very people who accept them is going to get very old, very fast. Most importantly, if your character has to remind people that they are a monster, they probably aren't a monster be it in their morals or appearance and the more they scream that they are, in fact, a monster, the more people are going to get sick of the character's attitude both IC and OOC. Consider your character's attitude towards their existence to be a journey that is, in large part, affected by how people see and interact with them. Perhaps they might start at internalizing how the world sees them, but maybe they grow frustrated with it and lash out. Maybe they come to hate those that are repulsed by them. Maybe they outwardly accept it but still struggle with it internally. What's important is that their struggle with their identity doesn't remain one note and evolves as they interact with others. If literally everybody they meet argues that they aren't a monster or don't have a negative first reaction to them, actually have the character struggle to figure out why nobody else can see what they're seeing. Explore that. Yes. This does eventually mean that, if your character is given love and emotional support, they might overcome this flaw. That's good. It means your character is growing like a person. As to monstrously evil characters surrounded by other evil characters...honestly, there's not much I can say to it. Your flaw is only a flaw when trying to cooperate with normal people. That's still a flaw, but if the only characters you interact with are fine with you, that flaw is only going to start coming into play if they start to doubt their own actions and ethics. 5. Some Classics A commenter mentioned that this post was extremely negative. Lots of what not to do and no ideas for what you could do. So I want to spend some time going over some classic flaws that, if executed correctly, can have great outcomes for the narrative. Amnesia This might be a bit cliche, but there are tons of different potential stories you can tell with it. I would recommend you figure out what type of amnesia your character has, as not all forms of amnesia are the same. What's more, keep in mind that muscle memory, language, and other similar skills are often unaffected by memory loss. Also keep in mind that, eventually, you'll be all caught up memory wise and there won't be any meat left to the flaw. Big mouth, no filter A character who always says what's on their mind regardless of the consequences can have fun results especially if the character actually doesn't want to upset anyone. Note that this isn't an excuse to be unnecessarily cruel without expecting people to react in turn. If you act like an asshole, people are going to treat you like an asshole. ESPECIALLY if you use this as an excuse for your character to be mean to others. Some additional reading from responses I found were also helpful! This is part of a series of tutorials regarding roleplay! You can find the full list of tutorials here!
  10. Remark 1: I'm a semi-serious RP'er. Meaning that I usually RP when playing my characters, but you won't see me hang out with other RP'ers in any zone much. Still, if you see any of my characters expect them to reply in-character. Remark 2: Probably contrary to the usual RP rules/expectations: Anything I say in Team-chat is out-of-character, unless the entire team is RP. But everything I say in Local-chat is in-character, even when I'm in a team. So you may find me spamming Local-chat with all kinds of in-character chatter while doing missions, yet being very quiet on Team-chat. (As a person I'm not the chatty kind, but some of characters are extremely chatty) Remark 3: This list is incomplete and may change without notice. == HEROES / VIGILANTES == Star Jewel (Mutation Blaster: Energy Blast / Energy Manipulation) Born with powers but hidden until 16. Moved to Paragon City after school incident. Trained to become hero. Killed during intense battle with SJ-X4 android. Reborn months later from DNA residue found by Emberflair. Emberflair (Magic Controller: Fire Control / Radiation Emission) Gained magic powers from a space-stone. Ex-girlfriend of Sentrion. Mystfury (Magic Defender: Storm Summoning / Electric Blast) Sister of Star Jewel. Not born with powers. Got powers from magic spells cast by CoT and Emberflair. Novaspark (Peacebringer) Daughter of Star Jewel. (father unknown) Inherited powers from mother. Came from the future. Dawnshade (Science Controller: Gravity Control / Dark Assault) Orphan at birth. Kidnapped at 9 by mad scientist and experimented on. Escaped at 12 when Star Jewel's team raided the lab. Was trained and joined Star Jewel's team. Lumitia (Natural Controller: Illusion Control / Kinetics) Alien princess. Crashed spacecraft on earth, rescued by Dawnshade. Trained by Emberflair and joined Star Jewel's team. Sentrion (Magic Scrapper: Energy Melee / Energy Aura) Gained magic powers from a space-stone. Ex-boyfriend of Emberflair Miss Unity (Science Brute: Street Justice / Willpower) What if Supergirl landed in Europe? == VILLAINS / ROGUES == SJ-X4 (Technology Sentinel: Beam Rifle / Electric Armor) Android created to assist Star Jewel. Software malfunctioned and became evil. Has one mission, to kill Star Jewel. Umbraflare (Magic Dominator: Darkness Control / Fiery Assault) Mirror image of Emberflair created by magic spell cast by Emberflair that didn't go as intended. Thinks she's the hero while Emberflair and friends are villains she needs to take down. Haitaka (Natural Stalker: Ninja Blade / Ninjitsu) Highly trained personal guard of Japanese mob-boss. Boss was accidentally killed after being arrested by Star Jewel's team. She's hunting down team members as revenge, because she thinks she failed her boss.
  11. The Hero Corps Information Exchange Since its inception, the Hero Corps has been dedicated to providing heroes the resources they need to create a better tomorrow. ™ Saturday, January 4th, beginning at 5pm est, Hero Corps representatives will be present in Kallisti Wharf providing training and information to our community of heroes in Paragon City. What: This is a monthly event open to everyone! We want to promote roleplay and community interaction by providing in character leads on good deeds waiting to be done. This will take the form of codes for AE missions that are lore friendly and can be run in character with friends, or possibly even with new allies made at the information exchange. Expect casual interaction and a friendly, helpful environment. When: January 4th at 5 pm est, and recurring the first weekend of every month. Where: Kallisti Wharf by the Hero Corps Field Analyst What We Need From You: If you have an AE mission or arc you would like promoted, please directly message me either in game or through discord with the name of the mission, name of the contact, primary mission enemy group, and the location it takes place in. Otherwise, all we ask is that you feel free to show up and have a good time. Contact Information: Hero Corps Discord: https://discord.gg/5PuHX7T Phantom Fright global handle: @Ma1function Phantom Fright Discord: Ma1function#2267
  12. FBSA Licensing Exam 2021 Arc ID: 36217 Difficulty: +2, 8x, Archvillain, Custom AE and Standard Villain NPCs In order to gain or re-new their existing Federal Bureau of Superpowered Affairs Provisional License, students of accredited educational institutions must complete a 4 part examination. This exam covers emergency response, combat skills, team coordination, and investigative abilities. Each section is timed for 60 Minutes. Sections 1, 3, and 4 are each 10% of a student’s grade and Section 2 is 70% of their grade; Section 2 is also the only section graded on an individual scale while Sections 1, 3, and 4 are graded based on the team’s overall success. Sessions are being overseeing by Back Alley Brawler in Atlas Park and can be completed by 7 Students at a time led by 1 Instructor. Guides for Instrutors are available at www.FBSA.gov/LicensingServices ((https://docs.google.com/document/d/11CW3VsQTtxGDZ3oyPn8UGN_WfH4Bb9WWWx9yGmMWB2k/edit)) ((Hey folks! So if you are a School RP SG or a Supergroup with a bunch of young sidekicks, the FBSA Licensing Exam is open to everyone to play and incorporate into their RP. If you are an Officer/Instructor with an SG, please read the Exam Guide I've made available for a basic walkthrough and suggestion (also for any cheaters out there, nothing in it will help you pass). Have fun!))
  13. The following posts will be a list of the majority of my characters on Everlasting, of which are all roleplay characters with backstories of various depths. Provided below are just little blurbs about them, rather than their full descriptions, to cut back on message bloat. I post this in hopes of sparking some interest in exploring various characters' narratives and to provide the players with whom I already roleplay some additional options for potential expansions of our shared stories. Last revision: 2020-04-25 --- Hero-leaning VileTerror, Natural Mastermind: Demon Summoning / Kinetics, Level 7 - extradimensional entity Coital Shades, Science Defender: Dark Misasma / Radiation Blast, Level 24 - street-level person with powers from unfortunate circumstances making the best of her situation Madre Tramontane, Magic Controller: Ice Control / Cold Domination, Level 13 - ancient Kruos matriarch who has sustained her life through a form of magical vampirism, but only ever with consenting partners --- Vigilante-leaning Richard Teeman, Science Dominator: Gravity Control / Psionic Assault, Level 22 - Rikti infiltrator who has split from both the Traditionalist and Restructurists Chad Dup, Natural Blaster: Archery / Tactical Arrow, Level 22 - extradimensional mercenary task force member hired to provide support to restoration efforts of Paragon City --- Rogue-leaning Issues, Science Scrapper: Savage Melee / Ice Armour, Level 22 - genetically blended son of Captain Mako and Manticore, with some sizeable chips on his shoulders Ostinato, Natural Warshade, Level 14 - professional, university-level music teacher who was infused with a Warshade, but his own will proved too much and nothing but the powers of the alien survived Academy Guard Sabre, Technology Scrapper: Electric Melee / Shield Defense, Level 13 - professional and consummate security guard for a prestigious Etoile academy --- Villain-leaning Commandant Nongratis, Natural Mastermind: Mercenaries / Traps, Level 22 - ex-retired self-styled military dictator megalomaniac Recruitment Admin (formerly Gunner Xylmder), Natural Soldier of Arachnos, Level 14 - parent of close to a dozen children who supplements her income working for Arachnos with "independent security evaluation contracting" to afford professional caretakers for her children, recently promoted to an administrative position within the United Assocation for the Arachnos Spiderling Scouts of the Etoile Isles Professor Morte, Natural Arachnos Widow, Level 30 - ex-Arachnos Widow who is now working in the private sector as a professor at a prestigious academy in the Etoile Isles, training the next generation of masters of spycraft Operative Beloeron, Natural Stalker: Claws / Willpower, Level 18 - wannabe member of the 5th Column, but a total screw-up (seriously, I think the game knows . . . has 95% to-hit with Assassin Strike, but rolls 95.01+ roughly half the time. Statistically improbable, but so hilariously poetic) Child of Pain, Magic Blaster: Dark Blast / Dark Manipulation, Level 21 - torture victim who fused with a Banished Pantheon Spirit of Pain, but psychological damage was too much for even the spirit to bear with its will intact Corrupted Imp, Natural Brute: Energy Melee / Fiery Aura, Level 23 - regular imp corrupted by the promise of power offered by The Forces of Light; now consumed by an all-consuming desire to consume all in fiery consumption! Rawr Mel Scarlet, Technology Mastermind: Robotics / Radiation Emission, Level 12 - extradimensional invader who piggy-backed with Chad Dup's team. Gets along famously with Commandant Nongratis, as a hint toward his personality Deathguard Alpha, Technology Sentinal: Beam Rifle / Energy Aura, Level 23 - one of several manufactured footsoldiers as a prototypical series of an evil corporation's planned Legion of Doom product line
  14. ((OOC: I've found myself concentrating more and more on Kaikara as a character lately, and as a result the majority of the images I've captured seem to be focused on her as well. While I'm still going to keep my City Scrapbook thread in General Discussion for other screens, I thought it might be fun to have a specific IC picture thread here, in the Roleplay section, specifically for Kai. A place where she could post her "selfies" and talk about her friends and their adventures. Kai is the young, mortal apprentice of a "semi-reformed" Oranbegan Death Mage named Tavaris. She's the orphaned daughter of a pair of former Midnighters. She loves dance music, pizza and Nick's ChiliWeenies. She's an expert at getting into trouble... and though she's good-natured and good-hearted, she has a strong attachment to both her teacher and his people. She has no problem helping a heroic friend save the world from marauding demons in in the morning, and then going home to study necromancy with the ancient, body-snatching ghosts who created the rituals for summoning those monsters the same afternoon. In spite of her magic, and her history and her guardian, and the general weirdness of her life she is... for the most part, anyway...like any other teenager.)) =================================================== Dear Diary, Okay. So, I've never really tried to keep a diary before, but Tav says I've been spending too much time on my phone and not enough time with my books and that I need to start "keeping a record of my reflections". I think he thinks that I'm going to write about my necromancy lessons with him, and my homework from Master Maros and all the ancient history that Mistress Mesanes has been telling me about. I really don't NEED to put that in a diary, though. I took notes on all of it already and if I forget anything, I can always sneak back into Master Vermis' library or the Midnighters' and find a book about it. (Okay. Yeah. Percy ratted me out about sneaking in to read the Midnighters' books. But Tommy told them who my mom was, and the librarian just gave me a lecture about "appropriate subjects" and "responsible magic" and "asking permission before I copied dangerous spells". It's not like they can really stop me from getting in or anything. <_<) I think I'd rather write about fun stuff... Like going back to the city to borrow some ritual components for Psimon. He's an interesting person, and a lot less creepy than that Darrin Wade guy. (I didn't like him at all when we met. I told Master Theo about him, and he laughed and said I was "a good judge of character". I guess he didn't like Wade either.) Some of the people I met in the city didn't know me, and thought I was an escaped sacrifice or something. I... might have had to knock them out of their bodies for a little while. I don't think I really hurt them, but I'm NOT going to be some demon's lunch. >_< I do kind-of wonder what Psimon's going to do with six pounds of frog wort and a fire drake's tongue, though. I've never seen a headache curative that used either one of those smelly things. Yuck! -k =================================================== Hi Diary! It's been a really, really, really busy week... I had one of my books stolen yesterday by a big guy with a television on his head, and I had to chase him down into the sewers to get it back. (EUWH!) My Tome of Hequat smells awful now. The cleaning cantrip hasn't helped at all, so I'm going to try Lysol next. Where magic fails, maybe chemistry can succeed. Then Master Maros sent me to find this weird fish-guy in this HUGE cave and I found something sort of strange. The cave had teeth. I've never seen a cave with teeth before, so I stopped to take a picture. That was right before some big guys made mostly of metal showed up and tried to kill me. I told Master Maros that he should have warned me about the metal guys before I left, but he just shook his head and told me that I wasn't supposed to know about them, and knowing would have ruined... something. I don't know. I'm supposed to be learning about causality and the fluid nature of time from him, but sometimes I just don't get what he's talking about. Tav says that's okay. Sometimes he doesn't get it, either. -k =================================================== Diary, I am in *such* trouble... Tried to prank some Luddites. Almost got the binding wards around Bat'zhul broken. Dr. Aeon was really, really sore about it. I'm grounded. This SUCKS. PS: I did meet a really cute guy, though. I wonder if he likes pizza? -k
  15. Hey, all. So, I'll admit - I originally played on the Thunderspy servers to see what the difference was between Homecoming and coxg/Thunderspy, and while I do like what they've done with their modifications and original content, I definitely enjoy some things Homecoming has they lack - one thing being (after actually experimenting a bit with my Warshade) the color customization for Peacebringers and Warshades - which got me thinking about making a Peacebringer. And being an roleplayer at heart for many a game, I wanna make a name that's both available and something I'm comfortable with for the character, but fits as well. And would also be available on both clients/versions of CoX. Sadly, for Everlasting, one name I saw was available on Thunderspy was - unsurprisingly - unavailable. So I gotta ask... aside from things like the stars, the Sun, the Moon, light, etc - what are some good ideas for both inspiration and approaching naming a Human-Kheldian hybrid (non-WS/Nictus)? I've got some ideas jotted down, but....well, we're our own worst critics so I feel uncertain about them in general. X_X
  16. Heraclea Furia, consular legate to Paragon City, salutes the Consul of New Colchis, Julia Calusarides. I am writing to update you on the Caelia -- or as she prefers, 'Yamnaya' -- situation. Her religious eccentricities are the least of our problems. If she prefers to call Faunus 'Pauson', or make up novel deities like 'Donavis, Queen of the Freshwater Nymphs' and offer them sacrifices of horse milk and melted butter, these things are indifferent to me. It is her closeness to the Vanguard that causes concern. As I have observed before, the Vanguard is a faction of villains that operate as a paramilitary outfit whose nominal purpose is to combat the Rikti, 'alien invaders' operating out of a crashed ship. They also offer bounties to those who are willing to slay these Rikti. Their methods are underhanded and disreputable; they employ sorcerers who curse their foes with exhaustion. The organization attracts fanatics, it seems. They spend almost as much time fighting breakaway factions as they do fighting these Rikti. The Rikti, by contrast, seem to be an honorable warrior culture with which some accommodation could be made. Yamnaya has been instrumental in bringing one of these Vanguard operatives into the base, where she can eavesdrop on the proceedings of the local assembly. The nominal purpose of this person is to serve as a 'trainer'; apparently all of the other candidates for the position are male. This too is obviously unacceptable, but the Vanguard presence is unnecessary when those who require training can simply apply to Miss Liberty, Swan, or other acceptable choices. Their influence has also affected her fighting methods, which are my gravest concern. We knew of course that she was a spy. Her method is not to defeat enemies openky, but to defeat only those enemies designated specifically as targets. But her tactic now includes appearing in the midst of enemies to exhaust them and render them helpless. Such methods are contrary to the mos maiorum (customs of the ancestors) and seem inherently disreputable. The recruit Catrina Calaveras seems to be of one mind with me about this, despite her own religious eccentricities and fondness for brujeria. There is no dishonor in her vendetta against the Skulls. The other spy, Grandma Gnosis, at least does not use Yamnaya's tactics, even if her own are not much more honorable. Catrina is a positive influence on her; they too share a fondness for established novelties in religion. Given on the sixth day before the Kalends of August, at Paragon City.
  17. SELF-CONCEIT A Community Story Arc on the Everlasting Server
  18. until
    https://forums.homecomingservers.com/topic/15702-monkey-fight-club-its-not-a-secret-anymore/ At 9:30 pm Eastern, in Sharkhead Isle on the Everlasting Shard, we will be having one of our Rikti Monkey Fight Club events! Door prizes for all attendees! (Please be sure to "sign in" by sending a Global Tell to @VileTerror when you arrive, so you aren't missed.) We're also looking for additional Donations and Support for this one. Please get in touch with @VileTerror in-game or @FoulVileTerror on the forums.
  19. until
    Utilizing: https://forums.homecomingservers.com/topic/18837-rising-pinnacles-roleplay-game-system-rules-working-title/ In a world full of Heroes and Villains performing epic accomplishments, sometimes it's the little people who have to get their hands dirty and handle the smaller problems. The Amoral Hearts roleplay campaign is an on-going, weekly series of sessions focusing on street-level rogues living and operating in the Etoile Isles. Not Destined Ones by any measure, these player-characters are your typical freelance "problem solvers." Inspired by the likes of Shadowrun and other tabletop roleplaying games, Amoral Hearts has a heavy focus on non-violent conflict resolution, performed through the Rising Pinnacles in-game test resolving mechanic (see link above). Players interested in becoming involved weekly would be interviewed for compatibility with the overall themes and tone of the campaign, and then their character(s) would be interviewed in-character with the "job fixer." Players interested in providing supporting roles as "NPCs" or antagonists may also contact the player organizing this campaign. Please feel free to reach out to @VileTerror in-game for more details or to explore opportunities to participate. Takes place on Everlasting. 8pm Eastern. NOTE: Decidedly -not- "comic booky," this campaign borrows from a variety of media for inspiration.
  20. I am a huge fan of detailed environments with atmosphere and intrigue in games, film and literature. Places that carry a feeling of history, and of time and place, but also of mood, tension and personality. I have held this in mind when making my new roleplay oriented base. I have tried to make every area have something to peak your interest or that will feature a detail that could be incorporated into your roleplay. So I am now keen to get the base seen and experienced, to bring the players to the stage if you will and get some great stoylines going and have fun! My base is on Everlasting server. It is set in an old remote Tudor Mansion on The Rogue Isle. A University for Heroes. An unfortunate location certainly, not only in location but also by name. 'Recluse High' is a School / University for heroes of all ages. Those who wish to develop their unique skills and help bring salvation, truth and justice to all of Paragon. To cleanse the streets of the filth and heal the suffering of it's people who seem to be constantly caught in the crippling grasp of terror and evil doers. The professors, teachers and fellow pupils will help you to achieve that end. Recluse High's gates are now open to welcome you to visit and explore the wonderful mansion and grounds. I am seeking a wide range of roleplayers. From Mad professor types, Scientists, Archaeologists, Historians, misfit pupils, teens or adults, even experienced heroes who wish to hone their skills even further, or use the universities library and amenities for their own research purposes. Magic users, Martial artists, Combat veterans. This does NOT exclude players of questionable allegiances. Villains ARE welcome to the roleplay too. Perhaps undercover, or playing in that grey area between being good and evil. Perhaps as a native to the mysterious lands. As The Rogue Isle has many locations that could harbour the more twisted and strange types. The starting concept is that although the school is a hero driven school, the head of the school is a villain undercover. Working with the Arachnos secretly to keep an eye on any potential heroes who may be of risk and to also groom those who may be of great use for the Arachnos cause after their studies. * This does not mean it's a villain school* As heroes are fully welcome and encouraged to play here first and foremost. I find that it is important for roleplay to have conflict and intrigue and deception for fun to truly be had! Apparently the ancient Graveyard is haunted, and some say that the land itself carries some ancient terrors from a civilisation long gone. The flora and fauna seem harsh, even resentful at times. Most certainly there have been some troublesome uses of the arcane performed at the school. Rituals which have left some static in the air and a sense of being watched when one innocently navigates the halls and corridors. Not to mention the sounds of strange voices calling out late at night that echo throughout the school. Strange unexplained energy shortages during storms, and maniacal cackling heard from close to the laboratories. If you are keen to take a look at the base take a portal to University-5704. You are welcome to roleplay there freeform if you wish, but if you are keen to get serious about the roleplay please consider messaging me and joining the SG so that some structure and roles can be set up to encourage some events and storyline building. I am VERY keen for people to make use of the base and take full advantage of what it could offer your characters and storylines. I look forward to hearing from you! Parellax - Everlasting Characters: Nancy Noruba (Student Character) , Miss Blackthistle (Head Mistress) Some Screenshots ❤️ https://imgur.com/OmG8noT - Main Gate https://imgur.com/ubCsxZu - Arcane Library https://imgur.com/CdWot3W - Dojo https://imgur.com/ue9b43Q - Maze Wide View https://imgur.com/wvrESE0 - Main Entrance https://imgur.com/T8YBPjy - Main Entrance 2 https://imgur.com/Wvod5Cw - Maze https://imgur.com/5GlXSiL - Graveyard https://imgur.com/jb2LitW - Graveyard 2 https://imgur.com/TzAsiBg - Headmistress' Office https://imgur.com/XLs8WpG - Main Hall https://imgur.com/DYEr8B5 - Main Hall 2 https://imgur.com/S4y5NZk - Lobby Reception Desk https://imgur.com/NWHotWO - Toilets https://imgur.com/q3aa4so - Secret Villain Underground Base https://imgur.com/7U7neGI - Secret Villain Underground Base2 https://imgur.com/6rM1p7p - Secret Villain Underground Base3 https://imgur.com/BIKy9ce - Sunken Amphitheatre 1 https://imgur.com/reu30yE - Sunken Amphitheatre 2 https://imgur.com/iw3l427 - Sunken Amphitheatre 3
  21. So I been reading this comic book lately many recommended for called Astro City, and let me tell you. It really gotten me interested despite the odd concepts. Like, how they made their Superman a 35th century hero blasted to the past to prevent human destruction, or Winged Victory being a troubled woman and was gifted with magical abilities, and so much more made me thinking. What obscured and odd 'trippy' concepts can you guys think of to publish here to see what you would oddly create if you were in Astro City?
  22. In another thread someone’s brought up that an important thing to agree on or at least find out is “what year is it in-universe?” And I wanted to hear from folks what they felt the year was in city of by this point? Some people I know did timeskips even further along than the shutdown. So for their characters, it’s 2030, for others - myself included - treat it as current year. But I think that if we want to continue the greater story, it might actually be best to pick up where we left off; in paragon and the rogue isles it’s still the year 2012, statesman’s death is recent as is the end of the praetorian war, and Gravity Falls started airing back in June. Part of why I feel this way is that it means the “coming storm” has not been twiddling it’s thumbs all these years, it also means that we don’t have to gloss over progress or changes which should have happened, and ultimately let’s the devteam exert a bit of control on the March of time in game. (Also, so many characters would be aged up otherwise). But that’s my thought on the matter and I want to hear yours.
  23. The Hero Corps Information Exchange Since its inception, the Hero Corps has been dedicated to providing heroes the resources they need to create a better tomorrow. ™ Saturday, September 7th, beginning at 5pm edt, Hero Corps representatives will be present in Kallisti Wharf providing training and information to our community of heroes in Paragon City. What: This is a monthly event open to everyone! We want to promote roleplay and community interaction by providing in character leads on good deeds waiting to be done. This will take the form of codes for AE missions that are lore friendly and can be run in character with friends, or possibly even with new allies made at the information exchange. Expect casual interaction and a friendly, helpful environment. When: September 7th at 5 pm edt, and recurring the first weekend of every month. Where: Kallisti Wharf by the Hero Corps Field Analyst What We Need From You: If you have an AE mission or arc you would like promoted, please directly message me either in game or through discord with the name of the mission, name of the contact, primary mission enemy group, and the location it takes place in. Otherwise, all we ask is that you feel free to show up and have a good time. Contact Information: Hero Corps Discord: https://discord.gg/5PuHX7T Phantom Fright global handle: @Ma1function Phantom Fright Discord: Ma1function#2267
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