Aosh Hatchi's Guide To Writing Fan Fiction
Hello~! And welcome to Aosh Hatchi's Guide to Writing Fan fiction~!
I have decided to write this article as a way to help all young and inexperienced fan fiction writers; this doesn’t just cover Percy Jackson and the Olympian fan fiction either. But rather to any fan fiction you decide to write. First we’ll start with a personal pet peeve of mine. It’s a little thing I like to call God Modding (Being overpowered)
P.S. Sorry for all of the Manga/Anime references~! ^_^
P.P.S. I don't pretend to be the best writer ever~! I just have the type of common sense which surprisingly isn't too common. Besides, I see these mistakes a LOT on this website..So I thought I'd teach you guys the way I was taught.
A Guide to Godmodding
(And how to avoid it at all costs)
First off, there are two keys to avoiding godmodding when creating things: Weaknesses and Limitations. And there are two key things to apply these to: Characters and Abilities. And I don't mean a small spot on the back of the neck. Weaknesses! Characters need 'em!
The best way to do this is stamina. Characters are human, too. And they have stamina and energy used for activity. They also feel pain. A character can't just ignore a wound. It hurts! They also aren't immortal. They can and have to fall if their injuries become too severe. And if they fight for too long, they have to get tried. If they're in too much pain, they won't be able to focus. Characters have endurance, a tolerance for pain, stamina, energy, willpower, spirit and morale, and everything human we have. And don't just tell me "My character doesn't have all that! He's a god!" No. It doesn't work that way. Having a god for a character is godmodding to the biggest extreme. Unless, of course, he/she is the main villain. In which case the main goal of the story is to defeat him, so he needs to be strong.
And the character can't dodge every single bloody attack! They have to take a hit sometime! And don't just say "if the attack isn't good enough, I won't let it hit me". That's something another role-player once told me, and it was the most arrogant, self-centered thing anyone has ever said to me. And it came as a surprise to me, since she was really literate and a good writer.
(This is mostly for RPer’s that have their characters fight each other.)
Then there's the situation of the godmodder knowing exactly how to defeat the opponent due to having read the character's profile. No, it doesn't work that way. Unless the opponent's weakness is within your character's abilities to figure out, he or she has to beat them the old-fashioned way.
And the character can't have a huge variety of abilities to make them ready for any situation. They need to have areas they aren't good at. For example, and in the simplest form, they may be strong and hard to injure, but they may be very sluggish and slow. Or they may be very fast and agile, but don't hit very hard. Characters need to have a theme with their abilities. If their abilities are just all over the place, it's not only silly, it's godmodding
For example, the villain Crocodile from "One Piece" can turn into sand to avoid damage. But he can also dry up water (his weakness). These dryness powers are related to his element of sand. See? There's a theme.
We'll start off simple with major character weaknesses. First of all, there's fear. Characters with fears won't be able to function when their fear is around. Ranma from the manga "Ranma 1/2" is terrified of cats due to childhood trauma induced by his father. If a cat is around, he becomes so afraid he either runs screaming or freezes up.
There's also a villain in 666 Satan. He's so afraid of heights that he crawls on the ground like a wildcat when walking and squats instead of stands. During his fight with the character Ball, he gets hit from behind and forced into a standing position. The guy gets really scared, screaming that the ground is really far away, and quickly crouches back down to the ground. Ball manages to defeat the guy by setting up an attack that launches both of them into the air. When the guy sees how high up he is, he gets so scared that he urinates in his pants and faints. It was actually quite the memorable scene... ^_^
Among other weaknesses, Superman is weak to Kryptonite! That's an obvious one.
In "One Piece", main character Luffy is immune to blunt damage, which is cushioned by his rubber body upon impact. He's also completely immune to electricity due to rubber's high resistance. But he's still susceptible to bladed weapons, fire, etc. etc.
Then there's another One Piece character, Crocodile. There are several characters in One Piece that can turn into an element to avoid damage. Smoker can turn into smoke to avoid damage, and Ace can turn into fire. However, these characters can only do this when they are aware the attack is coming. They need to turn into their element themselves, it doesn't happen automatically. If they are hit by a surprise attack out of nowhere, it can and will affect them. But the villain Crocodile, on the other hand, can turn into sand. And he's actually trained himself to turn into sand as a reflex to being hit. That means that even if he doesn't know the attack is coming, the moment the attack hits him he'll turn into sand as a reflex. But what Luffy finds out through deductive reasoning is that Crocodile's weakness is water. Luffy rushes into battle with Crocodile with a big barrel of water on his back, and jumps in to punch him. Crocodile just smirks and readies to turn into sand. But Luffy exclaims that he wet his fist, and the punch hits Crocodile and hits him hard. Water makes Crocodile's sand stick together. When he's wet, he can't transform into sand. What follows is a watery battle between water-powered Luffy and the "wet & dry" Crocodile. Crocodile uses his sand-related dryness powers to dry up the water and combat "water Luffy". When this proves an effective strategy for Crocodile, Luffy attacks him with his own wet blood (though in the censored version, he uses his sweat).
Holes in Defenses
Defenses can't be impervious. A barrier should fall or break if too much damage is dealt to it. A shield might only block from the front, and not from above, below, the sides, or behind. Or the barrier might only block energy-based attacks, but not physical. Or the barrier might only block projectiles, but not melee attacks.
Let's look at Gaara, from "Naruto". Gaara can manipulate sand, and he can compress it so tightly that it becomes a defense stronger that steel. What's more, the sand springs up around him to compress and block attacks automatically. It springs up to protect Gaara even if he doesn't want it to, and even if the attack is self-inflicted. But the sand is just that: Sand. It has its limits. When Gaara fights Lee, Lee is able to move so fast that the sand can't keep up. Lee manages to get right through the sand before it can compress, and lands strike after strike on Gaara. Gaara remedies this with his back-up defense: A thick coating of compressed sand covering his body as armor. However, there are limitations with that, too. This sand armor takes a great deal of energy to maintain, making it only a temporary defense, and useless in a long fight.
Then there's Franky from One Piece. He's a cyborg. He remodeled himself with machine parts. He is almost impervious to attacks from the front. However, he remodeled himself with his own hands, so he couldn't reach his back. So his back is completely defenseless.
Another good way is for the defense to have a limit. The defensive attack could defend from attacks, but only for so long, and only for attacks below a certain level of power. In "One Piece", Luffy fought a man named Blueno who used a defensive move that tightened his muscles to make them hard enough to resist damage. But Luffy's "Gomu Gomu no Jet Bazooka" was strong enough to break through it.
In the video game "Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater", the boss Volgin is able to create an electrical barrier to block your bullets. But if you continuously fire at the barrier, such as with the infinite ammo gun called the "Patriot", you can break it down and leave Volgin vulnerable.
In the superhero cartoon "Ben 10: Alien Force", Ben’s cousin Gwen is able to project energy to make shields. However, these shields can be broken down with a few blows, but she can easily make more.
I shall now transition into placing weaknesses and limits on abilities.
Abilities, especially powerful ones, need weaknesses and limitations. You can't just have an ability that levels an entire area or instantly kills the enemy with a single, unavoidable attack.
A good way to limit abilities is to make it so they use up energy. Several series have special forms of energy that abilities use up when used. There's Chakra in "Naruto", Reiatsu/Reiryoku in "Bleach", Spirit in "666 Satan", Invento Hell in "Aflame Inferno", and even MP in most RPG video games. And of course, the more powerful the attack, the more of this energy it consumes. And no one has infinite energy.
Strength to Accuracy Ratio
But the best way to limit a powerful attack is to make it so that it has a weakness. For example, an attack may be unavoidable, but it may not be very strong. Or the attack may be a one-hit kill, but it could be easily avoidable or interruptible.
The Chidori in Naruto has a charge time. Sasuke has to perform hand motions to activate it, and then has to charge it up, leaving him defenseless. This is why the Chidori is often used on stationary enemies that are either restrained or cannot get away due to the cramped space of the area.
Attacks have limitations even in the Pokémon games. The Solar Beam is incredibly powerful, but it requires you to spend a full turn charging it up, then attacks on the next turn. If the Pokémon is KO'd while charging the Solar Beam, the attack is wasted.
Number of Uses
The Chidori is further limited in that it is quite powerful, but Sasuke can only use it twice a day due to how much energy it consumes. He can force a third use out of it if he draws power from his cursed seal, but that's risky because it affects his personality permanently.
Another example is "Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion". The power of Geass, which the main character is given in the first episode, can be used to make anyone do whatever he wants. Mind control, if you will. However, it only works on a person once. Once he uses it to make someone do something, he can't make them do anything else.
A similar method is to make an "ammunition system". The attack can only be used a certain number of times before needing to reset. Renji’s sword in "Bleach" can stretch out on a band and attack with bladed segments. When the sword extends, it can do three separate movements or attacks before it has to retract to normal. Then Renji can extend it again. One of the characters in "Bleach" explains that this system is similar to ammunition used for firearms. The amount of uses is proportional to the power of the attack. Like how a pistol can be fired six times, a missile only once.
Frequency of Use
Another great way to limit attacks is to limit how rapidly it can be used.
In "Naruto", Pein's "Shinra Tensei" ability can repel any incoming projectiles or people with the force of gravity. However, there is a window where Shinra Tensei is unusable, which manifests as not being able to use the attack again until about four to five seconds after the last time it was used.
Conditions for Use
Then there's conditions. The character could only be able to use the ability under certain conditions. In "Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion", the main character's Geass requires direct eye contact to work. If the target is looking away, has their eyes closed, or is wearing sunglasses or a visored helmet, it won't work. Though on the upside, it can be reflected by mirrors or other reflective surfaces.
In "Death Note", the titular notebook of death can kill anyone. However, it only works if the person writing in it knows the name and the face of the person they want to kill. They need to be able to write down the person's real name while imagining their face or it won't work. And this is more challenging than it sounds, I can assure you.
And of course, there's always range. You can limit attacks by giving them a limited range. An arrow only flies so far, right? Well, an energy-draining attack might only work through direct touch.
In 666 Satan, one of the minor villains has claw weapons that can extend very far. However, there is a limit as to how far they can extend. Ball, the character who fights him, manages to trick him into extending them to the maximum so he can land an attack on him without fear of getting skewered. Yes, the character's name is "Ball". Get over it
Lack of Control
A really good way is to make the attack undependable, unpredictable, or just difficult to control. I hate to use a Pokémon reference, but the attack "Metronome" can make basically anything happen, summoning a random attack from the game. It can be a lifesaver, or it could result in ultimate self-annihilation.
Another example is good ol' "Naruto". The titular character, Naruto, has a tremendous amount of Chakra, which is the unit of energy used for attacks. However, he has extremely poor control over his Chakra. This means that he can only use a handful of attacks, as the basic ones that most people know use so little Chakra that he uses too much and overloads them.
Another great way to limit attacks is that they have drawbacks to their use. One Piece is a good example. Luffy's "Gear Second" allows him to achieve levels of near unimaginable speed. However, due to the way it functions, using it will decrease his lifespan. Luffy's "Gear Third" is also very powerful, but after he deactivates it, he's pretty much helpless for a time roughly equal to however long he spent in Gear Third.
I'd hate to throw out a Pokémon reference, but take the “Hyper Beam” attack. It's very powerful, but after using it, the Pokemon that used it has to skip the next turn to recover from the attack.
Naruto is able to draw upon the power of the demon within him to coat himself in violent energy in the shape of a four-tailed fox. However, the violent energy burns and damages his skin. His body's automatic healing powers, which become fully active in this state, simultaneously repair the damage while it is being repeatedly dealt. This means his skin goes through a constant state of perpetual damage and repair. Not only is this extremely painful, but it shortens Naruto's lifespan.
In "Naruto", Naruto's special attack "Wind Release: Rasenshuriken" is a close combat attack that does damage on a molecular level. It is very powerful. However, due to its ability to directly damage molecules, it hurts Naruto's arm, and repeated use can severely hurt him. It's been said that being used too much in one battle can even permanently scar Naruto.
The drawbacks don't even have to be that severe. A defensive move might leave the user completely stationary. They won't be able to move unless they break the defensive position, such as with the "Tekkai" move from One Piece, which tightened the muscles to resist damage, but the user couldn't move while tightening their muscles.
Pain while using an attack or ability is actually a very good way to give it weaknesses. In 666 Satan, Zero is able to use the power within his own bones to move very fast. However, doing so is quite painful to his bones.
Speaking of pain, characters can't just ignore injuries. They feel pain like regular humans, unless their body is completely numb. And they suffer from blood-loss, too. If they lose too much blood, they can and will faint.
But then there's the issue of healers. Show some limits! Most people with healing abilities shouldn't be able to use it on themselves, not when they have a gaping wound in their chest or stomach. With that much pain, they wouldn't be able to focus to use the healing move on them. And even if they could, healing doesn't restore lost blood. And the healing attack should still use up some form of energy to use, just like any other attack.
And here's the biggest problem: Some people make characters that have all these godmodding combat powers, but then they throw in a healing move they can use on themself at any time. No. Just... no.
Healers specialize in healing and little else. That's the way it's always been, right down to the days of the first Final Fantasy game. White Mages specialize in healing and support magic, and have next to no ability to do damage.
In "Bleach", Orihime can do three things: Heal, shield from attacks, or attack with a piercing projectile. And she sucks at the third one. Similarly, the character Hanatarou is a skilled healer, but completely sucks in combat. In fact, he's never even been seen in combat, outside of Bleach video games and extra joke segments. Few people actually know what his special sword does, since a good number of Bleach fans haven't seen the omake or don't play the games.
In Naruto, Medical Ninja specialize in healing, and have very few other abilities that aren’t somehow related to healing. For example, Tsunade, a great medical ninja, has super-strength, but this is related to her ability to control her body's energies to apply healing. She can also scramble the brain's messages to the body, but this is probably medical-related, too. Like perhaps for use as a way to keep the patient still or to repair the nervous system. Kabuto can attack the opponent's insides with a tiny blade of energy, but this, too, is based on healing. The blade is a scalpel used for surgery in ninja healing.
In "One Piece", Tony Tony Chopper is a skilled doctor. He actually is not that strong, but can become stronger using special medicines he has made. One Piece is one of the few examples where medical technicians can be somewhat skillful in combat, but this is because One Piece has no means of magical healing. All doctors in One Piece do things the old fashioned way: Bandages, disinfectant, splints, and medicine. Just like nature intended it. Poor One Piece... you are so underrated...
Of course, healing characters are useless when no one takes a bloody hit. Sigh... my healer characters are useless in every role-play I'm in...
As for the subject of copying the abilities of others, show some restraint, for the good of all things fair. NO ONE likes someone permanently copying their character's abilities and keeping them for the duration of the role-play. The player spent a long time coming up with and working on the abilities of their character, and did not create them only for them to be copied by a character that can copy abilities.
What's even worse is a character who can copy abilities, then use them with even more power than the one who originally possessed them. That's just the worst. Don't do it. Ever.
If you're going to make a character that can copy abilities, do it right. Make it only temporary, or make it so that the character can only copy one at a time. And make it so that they can only use them to the extent of their own abilities. They won't be able to use a power they just attained at the same level of skill as the one who originally possessed it. And they won't have the necessary power levels to use it to the same extent as the one who originally possessed it. Different powers take different skills and talents to use. For your character to have all the skills and talents necessary to use all of them perfectly is godmodding, plain and simple.
An example: In "Naruto", when Sasuke used his abilities to copy some of Lee's physical fighting style, he couldn't use it without it being heavily taxing on his body. Lee had special training to adapt to the advanced techniques of his fighting style. Without the same training, Sasuke found it difficult and very tiring to use the advanced techniques.
Now, the golden rule of altering reality: Don't do it. Ever.
Your character can summon portals to call upon legions of demons from hell? Get The F*ck Out. Now.
I once had my character fight against another character who could freely manipulate the fabric of reality, to an extent (at least, that's what the role-player told me). She could transform one material into another, such as turning stone or metal into easily breakable glass, and could alter the landscape as she saw fit. And she had this huge cheesy move where she would drop the ground below my character's feet so she would be rendered airborne and unable to dodge the character's next attack, which she could initiate right away by teleporting behind my character. And she also used this attack where, get this, I'm not making this up: Two eyes appeared in midair behind my character. And out of these eyes stretched, again I'm not making this up: Two arms holding guns, which then shot, again not making this up: "magic bullets". And worst of all, the character could recycle this fabric-altering energy, allowing her to have an unlimited supply of energy to use her tricks with. Can you honestly tell me this is fair, considering that all my character had going for her was a body made of stone, hand-to-hand combat, and the ability to manipulate water?
I one time had a character who could manipulate ash while having the ability to precognitive predict her opponent's next move, as well as insane super speed. Considering that it was a Naruto RP, her ash-manipulating powers were the result of a Tailed Beast sealed inside her, just like Gaara and his sand. But she could not manipulate her ash to the extent that Gaara could. She couldn't make it float in midair or compress it into a form harder than steal. And it definitely didn't spring up to automatically block attacks. Her super speed was directly related to her Kekkei Genkai's Third Eye that allowed her to predict her opponent's next move. I know it doesn't seem very related to you, but there was an accessory in the game "Chrono Trigger" that doubled the wearer's Evasion stat. Basically, the Third Eye my character had, which was a Kekkei Genkai and thus perfectly reasonable in the Naruto world, allowed her to move short distances at insanely high speeds.
Well, my character went up against a guy who had a wide array of powers and could summon legions of demons from hell. He had insane speed, too. He got a few strikes in (and my character got none) before they realized that they could not beat each other in a contest of speed. So they he started trying to use little tricks like messing up my character's internal body by injecting his energy into her, and trying to disable her eyesight (luckily the Third Eye is indestructible and cannot be blinded, a tribute to the Cyclops Race of the manga 666 Satan). All the while he was completely immune to her ash attacks. Then he opened up huge crevices in the ground leading straight to hell. I'm serious. This created little area to stand, but then he called forth Invisible Demon Scarabs (tm) to terrorize the area, then finally an invisible and invincible (invisivincible?) demon slave that held my character in place and was immune to both her sword attacks and ash attacks, while simultaneously draining her energy, causing a rapid aging process to begin. Saggy boobs, anyone? He finally ended the fight by opening a portal to another dimension where souls sucked in would be forever tortured. This not only sucked in my character's strongest attack, but also my character. I admitted defeat, being the sensible one.
But don't worry about it. The joke was on him, really. My character's strongest attack leaves her naked afterwards. She was sucked into the portal before her body could be seen, so he missed out on some fan service. Hee hee...
Anyway, you see the problem? Far too many generic, uncreative, unrelated abilities. And what I just described was only the tip of the iceberg. He had tons of other unrelated abilities, all of which either torturing the opponent with little to no work or altering reality in some way, most of them related to the demons of hell. And need I remind you that this was in a Naruto RP?
I'll give you a few moments to let all that sink in before I continue...
Okay, moving on...
(I wouldn’t have covered it, but since Frank in PJO can shape shift… It seems that I have no choice.)
Now, transformation. If you're going to have a shape shifting character, do it right. If the characters can shape shift into anything, there'd be no stopping them. They could easily transform into a creature the size of a planet and destroy the world.
Put limits on the shape shifter’s transformation abilities. Make it so they can only transform into a certain variety of things. Like a shape shifter that can turn into any animal (like Beast Boy from Teen Titans), or a shape shifter that can only change into other people or other human appearances (like Mystique from X-Men).
Similarly, while Mystique can change into other people, she can't turn into people larger than herself. Well, she is capable of it, but the size of the person would be her regular size. So if she changed into the form of the massive Blob, Blob-Mystique would be the same size as regular Mystique.
But be realistic. If your character transforms into animals or other people, where do their clothes go? Some newbies can't stand the idea of their character forced into a situation without clothes, so they usually do something n00bish like:
■ 1. The clothes are teleported to a pocket dimension upon transformation
■ 2. The clothes become the animal's fur.
■ 3. The clothes are part of the human to human transformation.
■ 4. Etc. Etc.
There are disadvantages to all of them. If the shape shifter could access a pocket dimension, why only store clothes there? They could store anything in their pocket dimension, which would be godmodding. Why would a character be able to shape shift AND access a pocket dimension? Those abilities are completely unrelated.
Clothes becoming the animal's fur is just too ridiculous. What if the shape shifter was naked? Would the animal they turned into be furless? And what if the animal was shaved? Would the shape shifter be naked when they changed back to human form?
And how exactly is a human shape shifter able to make clothing a part of their body? If the character removed the clothes while shape shifted, would they not lose a part of themselves? The clothing is separate from the body, so how can it be part of the body, for that matter? Unless the shape shifter can turn into multiple things as well as objects, that's just ridiculous.
If the character could not shape shift with their clothes, not only would it humanize them and add a touch of realism, it would make for all kinds of interesting situations and important challenges and hardships. Characters cannot have it too easy, or they aren't fun to watch or read about.
The same goes for invisibility, intangibility, and teleportation. Unless the character can specifically turn other things invisible or bring other things with them when they pass through things or teleport, their clothes will not go with them. If you want the character’s clothes to turn invisible, make it so they can turn objects and other people invisible, too. If you want the character’s clothes to come with them when they pass through things, make it so they can bring objects and other people with them when they pass through things. If you want the character's clothes to go with them when they teleport, make it so that they can teleport objects and other people with them.
Then there's another subject. If a person shape shifted into an animal when they normally are human, or shape shifted into a girl when they are normally male, they likely wouldn't be as skillful in this new body. A human is used to a human body, not a tiger body. As a tiger, a shape shifter can run faster and leap higher and farther, something they likely wouldn't be used to, and thus would stumble for a while until they got used to the form. Housecats are capable of great balance, agility, and can leap high and far. But if you'd had a cat before, you'd see that a kitten or young cat slips up or takes a spill every now and then. They aren't use to their body's capabilities yet. When the cat gets older and more used to their body, they can do all kinds of feats with very few spills and slips.
And people are all different. They all have different body types. And with these body types, especially between males and females, the center of gravity and the sense of balance is different.
In "One Piece", Mr. 2 Bon Clay can shape shift into other people (but not their clothes). However, his special style of martial arts, "Okama Kenpo", is unusable when transformed because most other people don't have the form, stature, figure, and grace necessary for his Okama Kenpo (which combines ballet with martial arts).
In "Ranma 1/2", Ranma can change from male to female and back again when hit with water. The temperature of the water determines what form he takes. Ranma is normally male, and is a very capable fighter as one. But when female, Ranma will sometimes loose fights at first. This is not because his female form is weaker, far from it. Ranma is just not used to the different center of gravity, sense of balance, height, weight, etc. of his female body.
Object transformation is a tricky subject. Logically, if your character could fully transform into objects, there’d be no place for their brain or organs to be so they could remain conscious and alive. They need the organs of a living body to survive.
Therefore, it’s best if the character can only transform parts of their body into objects. This was done best with Golden Darkness from the manga “To-Love-Ru”. Golden Darkness was an assassin-for-hire that could shape shift parts of her body into objects. She could grow blades on her hands and arms, turn her hair into fists to punch the enemy, and even turn her hair into wings to achieve very limited flight (without hollow bones and the right body structure, she can’t outright fly with just wings alone). However, in a straight act of limitation, if she used her power too much, she could get sick and would require medical treatment. She had to have periods of rest if she used her shape shifting powers too heavily in a single battle. And she could not transform her clothes, either. See? This character was a shape shifter, but she had weaknesses and limitations on her abilities. This is the key to avoiding godmodding. Weaknesses and limitations on not only characters, but abilities as well.
2nd Part: Fan Characters
Now we move on to fan characters. Characters created for the world of an existing series, be it anime/manga, cartoons, TV series, books, comics, or movies.
Now, here’s the issue with making characters based on your favorite series:
Do. Not. Copy. Canon. Characters.
Plain and simple. Don't give your character any of the special abilities that only belong to one character. A good example is Pein's “Shinra Tensei” from Naruto. And if you do give your character an ability of a canon character, which is always a bad idea, don't make it so that your character can do it better than the canon character. No. That's just wrong.
Another example is in Bleach. Ichigo is noteworthy for having a very high rate of growth, allowing him to quickly learn new concepts and abilities. Well, some fans think this is pretty cool, so they use it for their own Bleach character. Only sometimes they exaggerate it, making it so that their character can learn new abilities and concepts far faster than even Ichigo. This is godmodding. The advanced growth rate is Ichigo's signature talent. You can't just copy it for your own character just because you think it's cool. You need to respect the original series. Plain and simple.
Then there's the issue of people copying things from one series to use for fan characters in a different series. A very popular trend is for people to have their Bleach fan characters wield a sword just like InuYasha's Tetsusaiga. Inuyasha's Tetsusaiga transforms in a manner similar to the Zanpakutou swords in Bleach. The connection is obvious, but it's just uncreative to copy Inuyasha’s sword for a Bleach fan character (as well as overused). Be your own person. That goes for your characters, too. Don't copy canon characters. Come up with something yourself. If you can't come up with something yourself, you shouldn't be creating fan characters.
And of course, we can't have a character that doesn't at all fit the universe he's from. That includes using Saiyans and Shinigami/Soul Reapers in Naruto and One Piece.
And, of course, there's the case of a character I knew in a Naruto roleplay that could control a legion of demons from hell. Since when in Christs name were demons from hell included in the original Naruto plot? That's just playing off of the "Evil/Demons = Cool" thing that n00bs do.
And then there's the guy who had a hidden village of rappers in the Naruto world. Can you say... Eminem Wannabe? Not to mention that the guy was a French Canadian who could barely speak English... -_-U
Canon vs. Fanon
Then there's the issue of making fan characters stronger than canon characters. I once saw a Bleach story where one of the characters easily beat Aizen. Aizen is the main villain of Bleach, and also the strongest being in the Bleach series. Aizen has been described as “plot-changingly powerful”. To have a fan-made character easily beat the strongest canon character in the series is possibly the biggest form of godmodding ever. Not to mention that it shows extreme immaturity and lack of respect for the series.
Speaking of lack of respect for the series, as well as speaking of Bleach, there is no Zanpakutou form higher than Bankai. "Bankai" means "Final Release". Emphasis on "final". It is the strongest form a Zanpakutou can attain, and to make something stronger is not only godmodding, but it spits on the original concept of a Zanpakutou invented by the mind of Kubo, the author of Bleach. Unless Kubo himself reveals a form higher than Bankai, there is no form higher than Bankai. And if you're going to create a form higher than Bankai, don't use it in a public roleplay or other community fan website. Use it only in your fan fiction stories.
Okay, to sum up:
Adding weaknesses and limitations to characters:
■ Tolerance to pain
■ Focus under stress and pain
■ Severity of injuries
■ Spirit and morale
■ Things they are not good at
Adding weaknesses and limitations to abilities:
■ uses up energy
■ Drawbacks to its use
■ Charging time
■ Defenseless afterwards
■ Limited number of uses
■ Can't use in rapid succession
■ Conditions for use
■ Limited Range
■ Lack of Control
■ Unavoidable, but not very powerful
■ Unavoidable, but easily blocked
■ Unblock able, but easily dodged
■ Unblock able, but not very powerful
■ Instant-kill, but easily dodged or blocked
■ Temporary defenses
■ Holes in defenses
■ Follow a theme
■ No random healing moves
■ Specialize in healing
■ Make combat moves related to healing for healer characters
■ TAKE BLOODY HITS!!! Otherwise healer characters are useless
■ Temporary copying
■ Lesser skill copying
■ Lesser power level copying
■ Different body capabilities realism
■ Don't do it. Ever.
■ Don't do "Evil/Demons = Cool". Too cliche and overused.
■ Specific category shape shifting
■ Partial object transformation
■ Realistic clothing situations
■ Different body adjustment realism
■ Be original
■ Be creative
■ No copying the abilities of canon characters
■ Show respect to the original series
■ Stay faithful to the original series (make characters match the world they're in)
■ Honor the ideas and creations of the author
So, You Think You Can RP?
So you think you can RP- The brutally honest take on how to RP
Right guys, I don't profess to know everything about RPing (And Fan fiction in general), but I know enough to bring you this little tidbit of ABSOLUTELY VITAL INFORMATION! It's all the common sense stuff which nobody seems to listen to. So listen up this time, please.
Here is how it goes. RPing is writing. It is, it can't be denied. If you don't like writing, or can't be bothered to put into it, then for God's sake don't ruin it for everyone else. Only post when you are sure it is good. If people don't enjoy your posts, then you are not a Good RPer. ( I know it’s harsh, but it’s true)
That being said, let's get into the nitty-gritty (wonderful word) of all this jazz.
First off: Making your Character (feel free to build one alongside this)
Right, building your character sheet is vitally important. Everything must be filled in fully. I would advise not making your character sheet too complicated, but there are several different headings you should take into account.
The most important of these are:
Name: This is where you put your character's name (self-explanatory, I know.)
race: This is where you put your char's race. (again, duh. Though this isn’t necessary in every RP.)
Age: This is where you put your character age. IMPORTANT NOTE: If your char has a ridiculously high age (e.g. due to mutation) I would advise adding what age they appear to be, otherwise people will think your char is the King of Wrinkle-town. Also, ages any larger than 400 (already massively high!) are just being silly.
If for any of these categories you would have put 'Unknown' it is not too late to change your ways! Understand that that is the height of stupidity. Your character sheet is not for other people's characters. It is for other people, and for you, so that they know who they are dealing with. Putting ridiculously vague stuff on there is redundant.
Whether or not your char, or anyone else, doesn't know your char's age, the players all should. If there is a particular reason you are withholding such information, then only put what they appear to be, and perhaps reveal their actual age at a later date.
Your character should know his name, or at least have a given one, and if he can't work out his race or birthsign, I'll be amazed, on account of all the bonuses and the distinctive appearances. As for their gender? I don't even want to get into that. Though here’s a coin if your that desperate in finding out~! *Hands you coin*
Continuing on, the other essential categories are:
Class. (Not mandatory for all RP’s.): These can be custom, but if you call it Ninja, then you don't deserve to RP. End of story. A nice add on for Class is Class Description, which allows a nice bit of background for your class and fleshes out your sheet. (Not mandatory for all RP’s.)
If your character does not fit a particular class, I would suggest either putting a multiple class that covers it, (scholar/thief) making up your own, or else substituting class entirely with class description, to give an idea of what they are capable of. (You know, writing what they are good at and their style of fighting. Working computers, scientific research...) also, past professions might be a good choice- Ex-Soldier, that sort of thing. Or even their occupation or hobby- Artist or Maid
Skills: Keep it reasonable. There are skills from fallout however try and keep these between 7-10 . There was a reason they only allowed you so many skill slots. And that reason is BALANCE. Too many skills make you too powerful. Remember, DO NOT POST NUMBERS, when was the last time you told someone "my mechanic skill is 55" no instead you would say, "I am a mechanic" or "I can fix a car"
Also, I wouldn't take skills from all different specializations (Combat, Stealth, science), because it seems unlikely that someone would be able to study all three easily. Also, there are skills, normal, everyday sort of skills, other than those you find in the games. Perhaps substitute one or two from the game with these, or add one or two onto the end. But it has to fit the class, e.g. a vault cook would not know rocket science, but he could find his way around a kitchen..
General Appearance: As in, what your char looks like. Put it all in (not clothing, but physical appearance) Other categories such as Height, Build, Eyes, Skin and Hair Color help flesh out the appearance and make your char sheet easier to navigate, but they should not stand alone. General Appearance is the biggie.
Clothing/Armor: Don't be unrealistic with this (not every bob, Jill, and Joe has super special power armor), and once again, feel free to go into detail. Detail is good. Everybody likes detail. Detail detail detail~!
Weapons: Right, don't go too powerful with these, or someone will skin you alive. One of a kind super weapons are usually off limits, as are super weapons in general. A customized shotgun is technically one of a kind however this would not be too uber so it is allowed.
Biography/History: Your character's history. No Vault dwellers (as in the FO1 main character), and chosen ones here if it can be helped, mm'kay? These aren't necessary, but they are nice. Don't right essays for them, just give the basic overview.
IMPORTANT: Keep your char sheet updated as time moves on! And also, don't deviate from it. Whatever you write, that's how your character is. If you RP it differently, then you essentially lied to a whole thread of people, and also proved yourself beyond a shadow of a doubt a bad RPer.
Now we move on to DORKS AND THEIR CHARS
Rule Number 1: Don't give your character a dorky name or nickname. By dorky, I actually mean cool. Listen to me when I say this: YOU LOOK LIKE A FOOL IF YOUR CHARACTER'S NAME IS BLOODSTORM, RAGE, NIGHTSTALKER, GHOST, THE PLANNER or any other stupid names. Nobody is going to name your character such stupid things. Why would they? It sounds completely dorky. Names should be real. Look in your favourite books, look at characters of your race in the game, or even find a random generator if needs be, but come up with something reasonable.
So Rule Number 1 actually equals: Cool names make for dorky RPers.
Rule Number 2: Uber is not necessarily bad. However, there is virtually NOBODY who can actually pull it off. It is very difficult to pull off a powerful character, since they cannot grow and develop, and your natural instinct is to show off and act all amazing. Frankly, there are only two or three RPers I can think of who can actually handle it.
So Rule Number 2 actually equals: only noobs uber and it will get you kicked.
Rule Number 3: The more boring/normal your character seems, the cooler they are. Cooks, Vault dwellers, generic brotherhood members, villagers these are the guys everyone wants to hear about turning into heroes. Heroes don't turn into anything. They're already heroes. For them, killing mutants and saving the world is no big deal. It's the normal people, the ones who have to learn, that make it interesting.
So Rule Number 3 actually equals: Exciting Heroes are boring to read about.
Rule Number 4: Not every char is super-beautiful/stunningly gorgeous/muscular/handsome/ whatever else you might try. That's just a stupid, desperate attempt to attract characters of the opposite sex. I'll go into more detail about that later.
But Rule Number 4: It is okay to play normal people. Mm'kay?
Rule Number 5: No Ninjas. Very few people can RP ninjas properly, and ninja's are more or less impossible to play in a balanced manner (e.g. without breaking rule number 2). However, an experienced and skilled RPer, with in-depth knowledge of ninjas could manage to RP a ninja properly, but ninjas have a terrible name from the many bad characters that have been made over time (and nary a good one... ) Unless you have a really good name on these boards, I wouldn't advise trying one.
I would also advise against assassin characters, or at least characters which spend all of their time going on killing rampages. Nobody kills that much, and frankly it's pretty boring, when other things could be going on, that you just run around stabbing everything in sight.
Characters with anti-social tendencies also tend to get in the way of interaction between players, and thus you joining in with the RP. I know, the aloof and cold warrior is fun, but if he doesn't say anything he gets really boring really fast. Only the most skilled of RPer should try and take on such challenges.
Listen up to this, it'll make your chars more interesting- INDIVIDUALITY
Unique characters are good. I don't mean with special powers or races, although those can help. I mean in terms of personality and habit, or even a little played class that everyone knows about. Make your char special! Perhaps they hyper-ventilate when faced with enemies, or like singing bawdy songs whenever they enter an inn. Maybe they are deathly afraid of women, or have a lisp. Perhaps they dye their hair a different color every day- I don't know, be creative! Anything that makes your character stand out, while at the same time being like a real person. (Serial killing set-aside, once again.)
UBERING AND CHARACTER CONTROLLING:
Brothers from the land of stupid.
You'll find these rules in pretty much every RP you ever join. They are there for a reason. Basically, this means you don't start out with (or suddenly find) powerful weapons or armor, or other such items, and you can't take on an entire army of enemies single-handed.
It also means you can't summon an entire army out of thin air. It's just a bad idea, and it ruins gameplay for everyone else. Remember what I said about boring characters being better? Stick with it.
Then there is character controlling. This means you cannot force another character to do something, RP that character, or cause any physical damage to them that their player does not first approve. Ways to make sure you don't do anything like that are to PM a character's player before engaging in a fight, or making a post in such a way as you make the attack but leave the result open. Short Example:
"Hrothgar bellowed in pain as his arm was slashed open. Transferring his blade painfully from his right hand to his left, he attacked again, careful not to slip in his own blood. He swung his blade up and around his opponent's defense’s, but the attack, while strong, was clumsy if his enemy noticed it, then it would be easily deflected."
This post makes it possible for the other player to decide the outcome of the attack, because you have not written the result- whether or not the attack worked. In this post, I have decided that I don't really want Hrothgar to have a large chance at succeeding, since he was injured by the other player's post, thus I mention that he is clumsy since he's using the blade in his other hand. If I had wanted him to succeed, I would have made sure that the post said he expected it to succeed, or that it was well-aimed or some such. But the idea is, that the other player still has the right to decide whether or not his character is injured.
NOTE: battles to the death in RPs between players are generally a bad idea. Before you engage in a player-fight, you should always decide who is going to die, or when they are going to stop.
Right, and now we enter the realms of ROMANCE vs. BANGING (I know that sounds crude, but this is literally how I see it in RPs at the moment.)
The rules on this are quite simple. There are some elements for good romantic RPing, and there are some elements for bad ones.
I'll give you the bad news first.
CHARACTERS DO NOT FALL IN LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT! Can I just say that this is possibly the most boring take on romance I have ever seen?
The romances that are worth reading about (and are realistic!) are the ones that take time and work. That means they might fight. That means they might not even like each other at first. But most definitely, it's better for them to be close friends before they move into something else.
People who immediately fall in love, and start proclaiming their undying love for each other, and take every opportunity for their chars to sleep with each other are just gross. Okay? An RP romance should be beautiful (or at least funny) to read about. It is not a chance for you to sleep around through your character. Nobody wants to know about the sex. It's the lead up to the relationship, the things that bring these people together, that's important.
Also, consider relationships which don't work out, or at least don't work at first. In real life, not every man you meet is going to be your soul mate (and vice versa), so why should it be any different in RPs? And also, just because someone else's char is deeply infatuated with yours is by no means a reason for your char to drop all and sudden love them too. If they didn't before, chances are they won't until the other does something particularly extraordinary.
And try to remember that beautiful people are not always what attract a mate it would be nice if, for once, a romance started because two people were compatible, rather than because they wanted to bang each other. Seriously, average and ugly people find love too, not just the beauties.
Here is a section on cross-gender RPing (something I don't do much of) taken directly from HK-47, RPing God. So listen up.
"Cross-gender roleplaying specifically; d00ds who RP chicks
Okay guys, you all know what I'm talking about. You're creating a female character in your head, so why wouldn't you want her to be graciously endowed with DD cups and a perfect sassy attitude? Truth is, guys who create characters like that disgust me. If you are going to roleplay a female character, have some respect for women. Don't throw your character at men or sleep around just because the prospect of a woman who would do that appeals to your nether regions. Keep your brain in your head.
Now I am a dood, and I am a teenager (19), so I feel the same hormones all you do and I will admit to occasionally making a female character do something I wish a woman would do rather than something a woman would do. I won't profess to understand them, and I don't expect you to, but the key word here is not realism, it's Respect and Realism ().
So basically put, guys, don't roleplay a female character that struts her stuff around, has the chest of Dolly Parton and the face of whatever you think is hot with buns of steel the size of watermelons and wear virtually nothing at all. It's disrespectful and wrong, and nobody likes an RP character like that."
HOW TO POST/WRITE
First off, detail is everything. People will tell you that in RPing quality is better than quantity. That is true, but not in such a clear-cut way. The only real way to ensure a quality post is to add lots of detail, and that means a long post.
My advice to you is to describe everything! Let your mind run wild! Post everything your character sees, smells, tastes, feels, touches and says. Add in small, over-looked movements and twitches, describe things that particularly strike your character, and add in what they are thinking, or perhaps how their past relates to now. Describe their state of mind, that sort of thing. There is nothing too small to include in your post.
It is vital that you understand that POSTS ARE MORE THAN DIALOGUE. Dialogue on it's own is boring. To have a good post, you must add their thoughts and feelings, how they react to what other people are saying and how their mind processes any information they have been given.
Then you must remember something called CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. This is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT things about RPing. This means that your character grows, changes, and learns new things with time. Events will change your character: it is inevitable. But it's important that you understand that characters do not develop overnight.
Learning a new skill will take a good amount of time: changes in personality will take even longer. Even if your character makes a conscious decision to change, remember it doesn't happen that easily. It is a fundamentally difficult thing to do to change who you are, no matter what events might have done to you. Change happens, but slowly, painfully slowly. You have to make sure that people can easily follow the progress of your character, perhaps even guess where it is going to go, or try to.
Leaving clues in your writing for future plans, vague hints at what is to come in your character's emotional life, or hints as to their past, can be fun to read and speculate about.
Also: when you are writing, it is VITAL that you don't post the points of damage your weapon/spells are doing. Rather, describe how powerful it is by how tired it makes the mage, but how strongly the warrior attacks, etc.
Example of how NOT to do it:
"Hrothgar shot a bullet at his enemy, causing 2 points of ballistics damage, and then followed up with a swing from a crowbar, causing 2 points of blunt damage..."
This is better:
"Hrothgar raised his pistol and fired of a single shot. Picking up a crowbar, he attacked fiercely. Though the tool was blunt and ineffective, enough consecutive attacks might cause real damage..."
Another important part of posting is spelling, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, and spacing. If you have difficulty with spelling and grammar, for whatever reason, then consider checking it first in Word or some such before posting.
Dialogue is always preceded by and finished with quotation marks. A short example:
"Hello. Read the Black Horse Courier lately? I hear the emperor was assassinated," said Average Jo as he smoked his pipe.
Commas (,) separate sentences up, and full-stops (.) - periods to some- end them. These are the most basic of punctuation, but I hope you get them at least. There are also question marks (?), exclamation marks (!) and many more.
Vary your vocabulary. In layman's terms, use lots of different words. The synonym function in Word could easily help you out. But even as I say that, don't go too out of your way. There are some perfectly common words that will often suite your needs just fine.
And now, spacing. As I have done here, so you should do. Whenever someone else is speaking in dialogue, or the topic of your writing changes: e.g. Before you were talking about what your character could see, and then you started talking about what he could smell- START A NEW PARAGRAPH. Hit enter. In fact, for RPing, it will probably do you better to hit enter twice, and leave one line of space between each paragraph, thus making the divisions even more obvious. It's really hard to read long blocks of text. Separating them eliminates this problem.
Key: In most RPs, you'll find the following things.
Thoughts are in Italics
"Speech tend to be in quotation marks,"
And telepathy/mental communication are in Bold.
It can vary per RP, but this is the generally accepted rule, I think.
And finally, I leave you with this: everything I've just said isn't necessarily right. Beautiful characters do add something to RPs, heroes are needed every now and then, assassins can be cool and sometimes characters never learn and never change.
Just make sure that, whatever your character is like, you write about everything it does, and have a jolly good time doing it. These rules, all this advice: what it all comes down to is that I am trying to teach you how best to enjoy yourself in RPs, and for others to enjoy you being there too.
And then I'll go and soak my aching fingers, and wonder why I cared enough to write all of this lark. Love y'all.
This has been Aosh Hatchi’s Guide to Fan Fiction Writing. I hope you enjoyed it.
Thanks go to Blackemo1, Cyberweasel89, IllusionaryNothing, HK-47, Nilloc, and my old FF/RP crew who taught me the values of proper grammar. And seeming to have already read this guide even before I posted it. Either that or they have a similar mind-set. ^_^ Do you eat in the shower?