Chargen Guide

Character generation on String Theory has seven sections:

  • Description
  • History
  • Skills
  • Personality
  • Ability
  • Goals and RP Hooks
  • Profile Info
  • OOC Info

While the sections are presented in this sequence, you may complete them in any order you deem appropriate. Chargen requires only written descriptions of characteristics; there is no stats system.

The next question people frequently raise is "But do I have to write a lot?" The answer to that is: Not necessarily. There is no fixed minimum or maximum requirement for any section. You can write as much or as little as seems appropriate. As long as you cover everything that is significant for the character and leave no glaring holes, staff tend to be content. (Accounting for such caveats as 'character must conform to theme', etc.)

Each section is addressed in turn below, with examples of what has been approved.

Description

The most important part is that your character has one. It needs to talk about what the character looks like, and if your character has an actor/actress (which nearly all do), then the desc needs to match up with the chosen PB. (See Taken Actors on the wiki, or use +actor/check <name> on the MUX, to test whether a particular PB is already in use.)

Descriptions typically include some sort of 'typical clothing' mention. It's considered poor form to write actions into a description, such as 'your gaze falls to' or 'he sees you looking at him and smiles'.

The command to set a basic desc is @desc me=<description>. You can use %r within the description to insert a linebreak (twice to print a blank line), and %t to indent paragraphs.

The MUX has a simple multidesc program; see +help multidesc for more information.

Given below is an example description which could be considered average.

History

The history needs to cover all major events — which is to say, the ones that were meaningful to the character's development as a person. In some cases, you might gloss over childhood with a few sentences about the kind of environment they grew up in, then expound upon adult life. Others may need more detail on childhood. Perhaps the most important message to convey is that you don't have to write a mountain of detail on every year of their life. Two paragraphs is probably too short for most adult characters, but three may be sufficient if you aren't asking for anything exceptional. Of course, the more skilled and/or atypical the character is, the more background you have to write, because those skills and characteristics must be supported by their history.

The most common oversights in character history are 1) not including mention of the Bomb (Nov. 6, 2006) and its effect on the character's life and 2) not giving any thought to how the public revelation of the Evolved (Feb. 17, 2007) affected them. If you don't recognize these events, read the History page before going any further.

Instructions for setting your history are given in +help history, as well as in the chargen room. Most of the chargen commands follow the same style.

Given below is an example history which is fairly average for the playerbase.

Skills

You are not required to describe the skills that are assumed of an average American. Reading, writing, computer literacy, operation of a motor vehicle… If your character graduated high school, all of these things are expected. What goes here is anything not necessarily average — be it an atypical skill or exceptional aptitude. Martial arts, music skill, foreign languages, public speaking aptitude, firearms, better than typical computer skills… and so forth. This is also a place to note unusually poor skills. If your character couldn't boil an egg to save his life, it might be worth mentioning here. Finally, if they have any unusual resources, those should also be documented in this section.

Instructions for setting your skills are given in +help skills, as well as in the chargen room.

Most players choose to write their skills in 'bullet-point' form, describing each separately. This is recommended if you are asking for many or if something is unusual enough to merit more description/explanation. Paragraph-style is also acceptable, however, if you find that easier.

Given below are examples of both bullet-point and paragraph skill descriptions.

Personality

Personality may be one paragraph or several. It needs to show that the character is well-developed, 'three-dimensional' as it were — it needs to address different circumstances and different facets. How a character feels towards the Evolved and such matters as Registration is particularly important because these are major thematic concerns; how they view other people, how they interact with them, the character's preferred behaviors should also be included. Typically, a solid personality will take two paragraphs; three if the writer is verbose.

Instructions for setting your personality are given in +help personality, as well as in the chargen room.

Personalities are more often written in paragraph form, but they may also be done in bullet-point style.

Given below are two examples of thorough (and perhaps a bit excessively verbose) personality descriptions.

Ability

Non-Evolved need do nothing here, and can skip right on to the next piece.

Evolved characters need to describe their power. They need to talk about what it can do — which is the easy part. What people most often fall short on is what it cannot do. Every power needs limitations, drawbacks, consequences. How far does it reach, how much can the character do with it, what happens when they try to do too much and/or for too long?

There are two important things to note about abilities in the universe of Heroes. One is that any Evolved character has only one ability. There are no people who are both telekinetic and telepathic, for example. An ability may have multple facets/uses, but at its core each use is based upon the same single power. Secondly, abilities are far smaller in scope and scale than you often find in comic-based superpower themes. The strongest heroes in Marvel, for example, can toss around 100 tons of material — but in Heroes, super strength is more likely to max out at 2 tons, if it even achieves that magnitude. These are not superpowers as such, they are powers applied within a realistic world. Bear that in mind when writing.

Instructions for setting your ability description are given in +help ability, as well as in the chargen room. You will also need to set a short descriptor, preferably one or two words, for the +census listing; the command for this is +ability/short <text>.

Abilities may be described in paragraphs or bullet-points; paragraphs are the more common, but some people find it easier to describe it facet by facet.

Two sample ability descriptions are given below, both written in paragraph form. These are examples of solidly written powers which cover advantages, disadvantages, and limitations in sufficient depth to be readily approved.

Goals and RP Hooks

This section of the application is for you OOC plans and/or goals. Down what paths, well-defined or nebulous, do you see your character traveling on the course of their growth and development? Are there any factions you'd like to get them involved with? What RP hooks would you like to have other people take up and follow through? What opportunities does your character present for other players, and what opportunities would you like to have presented to them?

Whether you want to encourage social RP, drop the character into the most dangerous situations you can find, hang out with the good guys, plot to destroy the world? Even if your plans are poorly-defined and vague at best, you had to have some thoughts when you built the character concept. Why did this character concept, of everything possible, appeal to you?

Use +hooks <text> to set your publicly-viewable RP hooks. This is limited to 240 characters so it doesn't clutter up your +finger display. If you need to convey something more detailed to staff, +rphooks/set <#>=<text> will let you enter multiple paragraphs. +rphooks <#> to view the corresponding page.

Profile Info

This section of chargen has instructions for putting up your +finger info, which everyone on the game can see. The fields you need to set are:

Full Name Your character's full IC name. +fullname <text>
Gender Your character's gender.
(Male or Female)
@sex me=<text>
Status Your character's Evolved status.
(Non-Evolved, Registered Evolved, or Unregistered Evolved)
+status/set <text>
Occupation Your character's IC profession and/or role. +occupation <text>
Age Your character's IC age. +age <text>
Actor The person your character is played by (PB). Optional but recommended.
See Taken Actors and use +actor/check <name> to make sure no one else is using the actor you want.
+actor <name>
Profile A short description of your character and RP hooks others may take advantage of. +profile <text>

OOC Info

The last room of chargen asks for a little bit of OOC information. These are not required fields, but completing them is a courtesy to staff.

Email Your email address, in case staff need to contact people via email. +email <address>
Alts Your alts on String Theory, if any. +alts <names>
Heard How you heard about String Theory, if this is your first time through chargen. +heard <text>

Once all of the different sections have been completed, type +apply and your application will go in the queue. If you change something before staff reply on your application, you do not need to use this command again.

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