Impressing the Moderators – Character creation 101
This article was written by Andy from Blue Dwarf, a roleplaying game I’ve been running for over 11 years. Andy’s been a moderator for many of those years, and knows what to look for in the application of a new character. On OngoingWorlds, creating a character is the 1st part of an application to join a game, so it’s got to get the Moderators attention, and be well written. It’s the only way you can prove your skills as a writer and if it’s not up to the Moderator’s expectations, they might not allow you to join the game.
As a moderator of a sim on Ongoing Worlds, I tend to see a lot of character submissions. It’s always great to see interest in a sim, for people to have a genuine desire to join the story that you’ve been building for several months or even years, which makes the disappointment of a poor character submission so frustrating. The character that you submit to the moderators is what the first impression they will have of you will be made up of. They don’t know anything about you, other than what you put in the form, so it’s important that you get it right.
Imagine, that you’re applying for that job you really want. Would you send a CV that’s lazy, and unimaginative? Of course not, so why do it here?
The profile that you compile will tell moderators what you’re going to be like as a contributing member of their group. Moderators care about their sims, and are usually protective toward them and will only want to accept members who will create interesting posts, and they’re not going to be convinced of that if you send them a profile that doesn’t even live up to that expectation.
Here are a few hints that you can follow to help make sure that your character is one that the moderators will accept;
1. The devil is in the detail.
One of the most common irks I have, is when prospective members fill in a profile with one sentence, or one word in the required boxes. I’ve even seen one writer describe his characters appearance as “normal” with no elaboration on that. What does normal even mean? People come in all shapes and sizes, we’re all different – whether you want to give us a few paragraphs or even a list of bullet points doesn’t matter, but give us something.
What does your character look like? Their hair or eye colour? Build? How do they dress? Can you garner any insight into their character from their appearance? Do they have any distinguishing marks? What kind of personality do they have? How do they like to spend their free time? How did they find themselves here?
I’m not saying that you need to tell us what their first word was, or what GCSE grades they achieved, but give us something that will give us an insight into your characters motivation, appearance or background!
2. Fill in every section of the application.
I used to see people leave some sections blank, so a minimum character limit was set in the game. Now, I see people type a series of random characters to fill the space. Think about it, if you can’t be bothered to complete a section that the moderators have asked for, why should they think you’re going to make any effort in the game itself?
3. Be realistic
Dear god. If I see another thirteen year old first officer of a six-mile long starship, or nine year old chief of security I swear I will hurt someone. Sure, sims are fantasy. They’re not real life, but there needs to be a degree of logic or it becomes pointless. Know your audience, a child character might just be acceptable in a fantasy sim, but in a sci-fi setting? I wouldn’t place a space hero in a medieval adventure, so please don’t place a seven year old in charge of my space ship…
4. Know your limits.
You’re new to a game that’s been running for years. You’re not going to be the commanding officer. If you’d read the character profiles and enough of the ongoing story, you’ll see we already have a King of the realm. If we like you’re profile, and you ask nicely, maybe we’ll let you be chief engineer, but not if we already have one, and not just because you say so in your profile, with nothing to back up why we should agree to that.
5. Distance yourself
If the sim you’re applying for is based on an existing fictional universe. DO NOT make your character a long-lost never before mentioned relation to a canon character. It’s boring, it’s unimaginative and it’s usually contrived. Captain Picards favourite younger sister who he’s never mentioned who also happens to be in Starfleet even though it contradicts everything we know about the character takes a lot of work to explain away and will usually lead a moderator to not take you seriously.
In short, make an effort, and we’ll take a chance on you. Be imaginative, and we’ll give you a go.
Be lazy, uncreative or unrealistic for the game universe, and the ‘deny member’ button will be clicked before you can type “geghfjghdfjghdfjgh” in the Character History box.