Character Review Guidelines

Character Review Guidelines

Postby Thalar » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:57 am

Review Guidelines

These guidelines are under constant review and may change at any given time.

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The review:
  • Polite - The review is a tool for helping the player to rework their character.
  • Unbiased - Your personal feelings about the player are irrelevant and should not affect the review.
  • Factual - Don't waste words on embellishments or derogatory comments, keep your focus.
  • Unwavering - Once a review is posted, it is final.

A review can have only three outcomes.
  • (R) - Refused. Player should submit their next try to the Newbie School thread before attempting a repost.
  • (C) - Conditionally approved. The condition must be agreed to by the player - the player posting their agreement in the Registration thread, thus effectuating whatever change was deemed necessary; After this the player can begin play without any further review, as the changes are considered to have been made. If the player does not agree with the conditions, the character sheet is considered (R) and the player must resubmit for a new review after taking their character sheet to the Newbie School thread for assistance.
  • (A) - Approved. Character is now playable.

A review that ends in (R) should be informative, detail everything that did not work about the character, and include ideas on how to make the character playable. In the event that the character is more or less impossible to make playable in this worldsetting, the player should be encouraged to start a new character instead of attempting to fit the current character into a worldsetting it was not made for.

A review that ends with (C) should be very specific about the conditions applied. It should also include other notes that the reviewer finds applicable. The necessary changes for a (C) character sheet should be minute, not worth a full repost. The player should be given the option for a full repost if the player does not agree with the conditions. In the event that the player does not agree, the character sheet is considered (R).

A review that ends with (A) should include whatever notes the reviewer finds applicable.

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The preliminary review:
A character sheet will be put through a preliminary review as soon as possible after it has been posted. The character sheet will then be locked for editing, awaiting the written review.
NOTE: A character whose preliminary review ends with (A) may immediately be put into play.

The preliminary review will grade a character sheet in the following areas:
  • Worldsetting accuracy - Does the character and its background fit with the worldsetting?
  • Mana arts - Is the listed mana arts skill as expected of a character of this age, with the amount of training and practice indicated in the background, and does the mana art confirm to the worldsetting?
  • Abilities - Are the indicated abilities in line with what one would expect of a character of this age, with the amount of training and practice indicated in the background?
  • Items - Are the items in line with the worldsetting, with the character's funds/other means of acquiring items, and are they acquired in a manner that is in line with the worldsetting and the character's background?
  • Total power level - Is the power level, as comprised by Mana arts, Abilities and Items, appropriate for the character described, and is it in line with the power level restrictions of the DT rpg?
  • Backstory cohesiveness - Does the background make sense, is the character progressing from its birth to where it is now in a cohesive, rather than random, manner?
  • Plausibility - How likely is it that the indicated character background would actually work in this worldsetting, meaning that the character actually survived to the point where it is now? Does the background make overall sense?

The grades will be from 0 (unacceptable) to 9 (good). A score of 4 or below indicates this area needs work. A score of 2 or below suggests this area needs radical change. A score of 5 or 6 indicates some refinement is possible, while a score of 8 or 9 indicates that change is unnecessary, unless an overall change is to be made. The preliminary review, like the final review, will end with either (R), (C) or (A).

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The review categories:

Worldsetting accuracy

The most difficult part about character creation is understanding the worldsetting and making sure your character fits within it. In part this is because the DT rpg worldsetting goes through little shifts and changes at a rate which is hard to follow. In part, it is because the worldsetting is different from what players are used to in some ways.

Examples of typical worldsetting errors:
  • Humans with magic - Only fae have auras, and auras are necessary to use mana arts. Humans do not have auras.
  • Surface materials being classified as less expensive - Wool, linen, wood and any surface-originating materials/substances must be imported from the surface or come from highly expensive efforts to produce them in the Underworld. These are the expensive materials, while steel and spidersilk are cheap. The only exception there is if your character and their equipment come from the surface themselves.
  • Inheritance down the male lineage - Among drow the male lineage is not followed, and does not apply in matters of inheritance.
  • Male head of the family - In drow tradition, the female is the head of the family.
  • Male drow physically stronger and/or dominant over female drow - Female drow are physically stronger than male drow, and dominate the somewhat weaker males, thus this should almost never occur in a character background.
  • Female drow physically weak and/or submissive towards male drow - This is extremely uncommon in the worldsetting, and a very common error in submitted characters.

In general, female drow are the leaders of society, and a male drow has to work twice as hard as a female drow for the same amount of recognition, if he can get it at all. Several positions and facets of society, including the most powerful mana arts (summoning), are restricted to females only, with very few exceptions. There has been no great push for equality between the sexes in Chel so far, so the inequalities persist. The gender roles tend to be more strict among the traditionalists (Beldrobbaen, Kyorl'solenurn, Great Clans in general) and less so among those who oppose the traditions or simply have more important things to worry about (Sarghress, commoners).

Other common errors include trying to force through a character one uses on many different forums, attempting to shave it down some to fit it into this worldsetting. This is usually a waste of effort, as so-called 'universal' characters rarely ever fit below the power level restrictions that are in place, in addition to the problems with changing the background. Strongly recommend to start from scratch rather than trying to fit a preexisting character to this worldsetting.

A low score in this part of the preliminary review means the character sheet describes items, events, abilities or other that are not in line with the worldsetting. Usually such errors stem from not knowing the worldsetting closely enough, and the review should explain how these errors can be fixed.



Mana arts

Valid for all elemental mana arts: The element must be present in order to be made use of.
Valid for both summoning arts: Generally female-only, the only exceptions being backgrounds which give a satisfying explanation as to how a male managed to learn this art, as it is not taught to males at Orthorbbae. Exceptions for Kyorl'solenurn (as detailed below).

NOTE: Your character may not acquire a new mana art during play. If you wish your character to have an undiscovered sorcerous affinity, you need to include that in your Mana Art field, as <element> Sorcery (untrained).

  • None - Your character is either not a fae, or has no elemental affinity nor even any potential in basic mana manipulation.
  • Basic Mana Manipulation - The basic mana skill of all drow. It is not innate, but it is fairly simple to learn, and includes shielding, basic mana bolt and dispelling. Your character is assumed to have this on the side of any other mana art. A character may also have basic mana manipulation as their only mana art, in which case you need to enter this in the Mana Art field.
  • Sorcery - One element only, but can be any allowed element. Elemental affinities are often - but not always - inherited through bloodlines. If you are not born with this affinity you cannot learn sorcery. A sorcery may to a limited degree be self-taught, as it is an innate ability, but this will make the character weaker than a character which has trained with a teacher for the same amount of time.
  • High Arts - One or Two compatible elements only. High arts do not require any affinity, and may be learned by any drow with access to teachers.
  • Summoning, Traditional - Explain in the background how your character acquired your current summon. Summons other than drow/light elf are hard to acquire at this point. Your summon must be imbued with an element (commonly Earth) - this does not require an elemental affinity - to affect the physical world, and may not have above animal level intelligence.
  • Summoning, Demonic - Ver'drowendar only. Explain in the background how your character came to be a demonic summoner, and remember this is a very new art in a drow timeframe. Due to the excessively large damage potential of a demonic summoner, your character is limited to weaker ver'aku only (weakest for an inexperienced character). The available amount of summons for a demonic summoner should be very low, less than five even on an experienced character.
  • Summoning, Demonic (Kyorl'solenurn) - Your character may not have any demonic summons. Restricted to sealing demons (Templars, Wardens) and opening and closing gates (Wardens).
  • Empathy - Untrained empaths will be having problems around people of strong emotions, and may go insane from the emotional pressure. Empathy does not confer the ability to literally read other people's thoughts. A skilled empath may be trained in brainwashing, locating auras (fae, demons, tainted), animal training or healing. Learning any of these abilities must be explained in the background. Empathy is normally an inherited trait.
  • Empathy, Healing - A person with a talent for healing empathy will be trained almost exclusively in this, due to the skill's rarity and the danger to the empath. Healing empathy is extremely taxing on the empath.
  • Empathy (Kyorl'solenurn) - Kyorl'solenurn empaths (Inquisitors) are rushed to Orthorbbae as soon as possible after they manifest the ability, and are trained mainly to locate auras and to brainwash corrupted, with a main focus, for DT rpg players, on locating auras and being able to tell their nature (pure or tainted, demon or fae).
  • Spellsong - Exclusively the province of the Illhar'dro. Mainly a support mana art. Non-Illhar'dro spellsinger characters are no longer allowed, as they simply do not exist.
  • Golem-making - This art is very difficult and time-consuming to learn, and requires focused study. Learning this art on the side, while focusing on other abilities, will leave the golem-maker unable to make more than simple tools with this art. A focused golem-maker may not make any golem larger than drow-size, with both size and complexity scaling to character's age, experience and teaching as detailed in the background.


Abilities

Pick a weapon that your character has specialized in, or write a short description of a fighting style your character uses. Explain how your character learned this in the background.

  • Don't go overboard with the description.
  • Don't claim to be proficient with everything - pick your speciality.
  • No supernatural feats of strength, agility or the like.
  • Avoid 'berserk' mode. It works in anime, sure, but it doesn't work here. The exception would be if you understand how berserking puts you at a disadvantage, not advantage, in a fight, and use this as a character weakness.
  • No winning fights against multiple opponents of greater skill, no rescuing the day single-handedly in the face of unrelenting adversity. Your character should not be winning encounters way above the power level indicated by the character's training and experience as explained in the background.
  • The power level restriction is in effect, and this is a mainly social RP, so it is not a good idea to focus the background on the character's abilities and fighting prowess.

Items

The character's items should be in line with the character's funds and background. Everything that your character carries or wears normally, should be in this list. You should also list any important items (to the character) that are kept in your character's home.

  • List an amount of ada carried on your character's person, which is appropriate to the character's background. Suggested ada amount: 1-5 if poor, 20-25 for a regular commoner, 100+ for a Great Clan noble. Variation is allowed, as long as the background explains it.
  • Clothes, armor, equipment, should all be listed.
  • Poisons and potions MUST be detailed as to their effect. Amount must also be listed.
  • No intelligent or living weapons or items.
  • No intelligent pets.
  • No 'magical' items.
  • Don't try running around with a full arsenal of different weapons.

Total power level

A character may not be overly powerful. This is a social RP mainly, and there are restrictions on just how powerful a character may be. The combination of a character's skills and items should not exceed the expected level for a normal person of the same training and funds.

Regardless of character's age, pick one mana art, and one combat skill, and decide which one your character has focused on. The younger the character, the greater the focus on one or the other, though generalization is possible at a cost to proficiency. The older the character, the more equal these two skills may be, though a character who has specialized in one of the two will be more powerful than one of the same age and amount of training who has not specialized in either.

A low score in this area of the preliminary review means the total power level is too high. Encourage lower total power levels.


Backstory cohesiveness

Your character's background does not have to be perfect. But it must be cohesive. If the character's background is disjunct, if there are parts of the character's life missing or the like, your character sheet will recieve a low score in this area.

If your character does not remember their past, that is fine. But you must nevertheless write the whole background, from birth to present, without leaving any holes.

Time skips are allowable, and it is not expected that you write about every single year of your character's life. Focus on those events that made your character into the person they are at present. But don't skip from one point to another in the character's life at random without any explanation.


Plausibility

The question asked here is fairly simple; How plausible is it that your character has survived to the present, given the background you've submitted?

Looking at the encounters described, the training and experience detailed in the background, worldsetting taken into account - does the background make sense with these considerations?

A low score in this area means you've described a character which is difficult to imagine as surviving to the present in this worldsetting.


Other
  • Bad grammar is not a valid reason for refusal of an otherwise playable character. If the grammar is excessively bad, to such a degree that the character sheet is difficult or impossible to understand, a repost may be requested, and the original sheet Refused.
  • Pets - Avoid intelligence level above a normal animal. No magical abilities. Pets best avoided completely, as they are often forgotten by the player until it is convenient for them to show up.
  • No Great Clan animal mount - The signature animals of the Great Clans are not available to own. They are a resource which generally only the vals have access to, although higher ranked subhouse members may borrow mounts when necessary. Use and mention of mounts is discouraged. No mounts will fight for you.
  • No command of NPCs - You don't get to write a background which puts NPCs at your character's beck and call. If your character is in charge of a group of people, they must be on leave for the duration of your play, and unable to call upon this group/person for aid. The same goes for belonging to a group. Players do not get to call upon NPC friends.
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Thalar
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