Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Username: Password:
Pages: [1] 2

Author Topic: Profile Review Redux  (Read 6306 times)

LynMars

  • Global Moderator
  • Junior Grade Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 164
Profile Review Redux
« on: December 05, 2008, 04:20:53 am »

Profile Review Redux
Originally created by LynMars; headed by Faye as of 2011/02/09

Back on The Nice, we had a profile review thread. Karina (aka LynMars) headed this thread and, with help from Tellana, put in a lot of time and effort into helping others with their profiles. It did a lot of good for both new and established players. Sensing a need for this thread to be revivede, I am heading that effort with Karina's blessing.

I thought about writing this post from scratch, but the words that Karina originally put together on the matter still ring true today. I'll be borrowing some of her words while putting my own twist on them.

Why a profile review thread? The answer to this is simple: to help my fellow roleplayers with their characters. Sometimes players struggle with putting something together, or they feel that their profile is missing something. Oftentimes, there are questions of uberness, poor grammar/spelling, or something simply doesn't sit right. That's why I'm here - I would like to offer my opinion and help in fleshing out profiles. This could be anything from power or character description and balancing, item retention, proofreading. etc.

How 'Profile Reviews' Work

Post to this thread asking for help. Either myself and/or one of my helpers will offer you our opinions. Please be mindful that we are all volunteering our time to do this - many of us have full or part-time jobs, school, and in some cases both. It may take a bit of time, though we'll try to get back to you as quickly as possible. You may ask for a second or third review, but you will be placed at the bottom of the priority order so that our time isn't monopolized. Please be patient and we'll get to the reviews eventually.
  • Responses to your inquiries will be through PM only.
  • We're here to help you improve one of your active characters, not make a new one. You must have a profile already posted to the 'Character Information' subforum.
  • Please understand that this will be subjective! Reviews will be based on our own experiences and opinions, so if you disagree, feel free to get a second opinion.
  • Our opinions may seem harsh, but we will keep them fair.

Profile Reviewers

I (Faye) will be the primary organizer of this review process. Feel free to reply to this thread or send me a PM. I will try to get to the reviews myself, but I may seek second opinions from the volunteers who generously offered to help me. If you want one of them specifically, please send them a private message. For your convenience and to facilitate ease of messaging, links have been provided.

FayePM
JanusPM
TellanaPM
LynMarsPM

Profile/Character Creation Links

Character Creation - General Guidelines
Character Creation - Likes/Dislikes
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 04:19:47 pm by Faye »
Logged

LynMars

  • Global Moderator
  • Junior Grade Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 164
Character Creation - General Guidelines
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2008, 04:21:17 am »

Character Creation – General Guidelines
Originally written and compiled by LynMars.

Spelling, Grammar, and Organization.

Seems like a no-brainer, and I know it isn't everyone's strong point. But double-checking to be sure everything's spelled right, that redundancy has been kicked out, and that all the descriptions make sense when read, can go a long way. Run it through a spell/grammar check first. They are far from perfect, I know, but can help catch a lot of small, random things. And the Edit button is a beautiful tool for what you do miss.

Under this heading, too, can be set-up of posts. Bolding, italics, underlines, tables, and bullet-listing can all help separate sections of the profile beyond simply using the “Enter” key to make a new paragraph. A huge, unchanging block of text is tiring to read and it's rather difficult to find specific information. Paragraph breaks and headers help out a lot.

Powers, abilities and skills: This is an area that varies a lot from person to person. Some people just mush everything a character can do into one paragraph or heading, and are done with it. Others make several subheaders. The way I do it (to make the profile easier to read) is differentiating between powers, which are special abilities that ordinary humans (Primary natives) can't do; and abilities and skills, which are things like what languages you speak, what sort of weapons you can use and so on. Granted, the difference between these is fluid. It's just something that works well for me. (Contributed by Tellana.)

Important terms: Making especially important terms and headers bold or italics really helps making those stand out to the reader. This makes it easy to skim through a profile when looking for a particular term or information.

Research

Know how and why the character works the way they do. It doesn't have be exhaustive; I hate research when it feels like work myself, but you should have enough of a general idea that others who do know don't start trying to contradict you at the most awkward moments. For instance, if playing a mythical creature, such as a Kitsune, do some reading on old Japanese legends about what they were thought to be like; there's hundreds of years worth of info there. A lot of players seem to be under the impression that any kind of Anthro Fox with spiffy powers = Kitsune Kami of Legend, when that's not the case, for an example.

For science/ubertech based characters, same thing. Try to read some basic theory and ideas to make sure what you're writing is vaguely plausible. At least don't make something without double checking and later be accused of not knowing high school level science, or you get things like putting out a small sun in a New York river when it should flash-boil it and jarring any sensible persons suspension of disbelief.

Along these lines goes "made-up numbers". Think of the plausibility of things like 200 mile-long spaceships before trying to run one. Who's going to have the resources to build, staff, and maintain such a thing? What are you going to do with it when it's not being used? How do you get around on it at all? How can it possibly work?

"Made-up numbers" also goes with Very Ancient Characters. Lots of 0's may look kinda cool and seem to automatically impart wisdom and experience-but they don't. That has to come from you, and it's rough knowing how to accurately play something like an Elder Vampire so removed from her own Humanity by centuries of plots, regrets, and boredom (I've tried; not easy to do a decent job and still look like a good player). Does the characterreallyneed to be 100,000 years old to justify power levels, wisdom, or ennui and angst? Especially when most of us can barely act our own ages as evidenced by our continuing to play pretend?

Details, Details, Details

You should know how all their powers work, and where they got all their cool toys and how those function. So tell us how. If from an actual RPG, not everyone has a copy of the rules set, or may never even have heard of the system before. You have to show what it all does and what the limits are so the GMs are aware of it. "Super Strength" can mean a lot of things. How much can you lift total? Do you have any special feats of strength, like a superhero that can lift a battle cruiser without it buckling under it's own weight, or an Elder Vampire that can flick his finger and break certain bones in your body from across the room? Why does your Human character carry an ancient, intricately carved Elven longbow? Was it a gift from his murdered mentor, or did he steal it from a rediscovered tomb? And what spiffy things can the bow do--how far can it shoot, can it only be pulled by it's owner, does it sing ancient battle songs, does it always strike the heart of it's target?

What does he look like, really, beyond the eye and hair color? How does she wear her hair, and is it long, short; wavy, straight? Is he tall and skinny or short and broad? What's the skin/fur/scale/plating color? Are they tan, pale? Nationality, if applicable? What kind of clothing and accessories does the character wear, and how? What colors and styles do they favor? Is it all cheap knock-offs, or expensive designer labels? How and where do they wear all their equipment? Is his sword in a back or a hip sheath? Does she wear her gun in a shoulder holster? Handedness affects placement of weapons and fighting style/combats; righty or lefty? This helps people get a good visual for who they're talking to/interacting with. Also, it helps artists who may decide to card the character, or just put them in artwork, but they need descriptive info first. It can be frustrating to make an avatar card or character portrait and the first thing you hear from the recipient is “It isn't quite right...” (Suggested by Wirrit)

Don't forget Quirks and Weaknesses. Not only can they help make the character memorable, but everyone has their flaws. It makes things more interesting when there's some challenge, some chance of defeat. "God characters" that can't be harmed or affected by anything seem cool...for a little while. Then it just gets boring. Not to mention it irks the heck out of GMs and other Players when nothing they do matters in relation to your char. Doesn't have to be an instant kill or horribly debilitating--unless you really want it to be, of course--but just like everyone in real life has imperfections, so do characters. And some quirks are more added flavor than real detriments.(Suggested by Ashla)

Remember, the profile is what GMs and players use to gauge your character against the adventures and other characters. If there's information you don't want publicly known In Character, then mention that in the description, but don't leave it out--otherwise when you suddenly use a power or pull out an item that doesn't seem to exist in your profile, it causes problems.

Yes, this is the "Gaming Guardians" but again, not everyone has access to the same books, and some characters aren't from a published system. Saying that the character's strength stat is $randomnumber (which can vary wildly from system to system anyway) is much less effective than saying they can lift 400 lbs. Keeping to some game specific terms is fine, so long as you make sure they're understandable by someone who's never read the rule book. I don't say exactly what numerical bonuses to attack and armor Soveh gets, but generalize and compare. She's still recognizably a DnD character, but terminology and description has been altered to something more (hopefully) user-friendly.

For some excellent examples of converting RPG book stats to more generalized concepts others can understand, check out Wargolem's Headroomies in the old Character Plus thread (Viela's a bit further down the 2nd page). Someone who isn't familiar with any of the systems the characters originate in can still understand their capabilities, and those who are familiar can easily pick out the details.

History

We all come from somewhere. The people we've known and the experiences we've had have helped to shape us into who we are today. It should be the same with characters, as how can one really learn and grow if they have nothing to build on? If there are secrets to the past and items left hidden for future plot hooks, that's fine, and can be glossed over...so long as it's covered well. There can be unmentioned blank periods of time. But unless the character is a newborn being or an amnesiac still learning/relearning about the world and themselves, some basic things should be hammered out. Who were the char's parents? Where did they live? What was it like growing up in the environment they did? How did they choose their professions and hobbies? How did they gain their Traits (powers, items, etc)? How did they get here, and why are they doing what they are now? Go into as much or as little detail as necessary. Some people have separate posts within their profile thread for character backstory. Others, like myself, have bits of character history posted on separate websites somewhere.

Backstory vs living profile (Contributed by Tellana)

What do I put in there? For some people, the profile is a stat block with some notes on looks and a brief background blurb. That can work for some types of characters, and is actually suitable for villains where the GM doesn't want the players to know about the secrets of the opponent ahead of time. However, for a character who will be a participant in social rp's, missions and the like, not having your background written down is problematic. It adds a lot of depth to the char to actually have some notion of who he/she/it is, where they come from, how they act and so forth.

The problem with this approach is, where do you stop? After your character has been in a few rp's, the may very well have been through a lot. New things may have been revealed, or the character may have changed dramatically. Does that go in the profile? Generally, I would advise against it. Your profile should be for major, vital parts of the character, not a re-iteration of what rp's he/she/it has been in. Big plot changes (The character is revealed to be an evil twin!) or altered powers (She gained nanites!) should go into your profile. Smaller things (The character has a crush on someone) and minor revelations (I had my hair color changed by a magical accident back when I was 10) don't generally merit mention, and tend to clutter up the profile.

Sometimes, something really big happens. I can only point to the monster that is Tell's current profile. I chose to keep the 'old' profile separate in the hope that it makes each easier to read and find. The option to this is altering your old profile completely (be ready to remind folks of how your character was before) or merging the old and new. For example, for Tell I could have put in Eyes: Silver, no pupils (current), blue (previously). In the end, I felt it would make the profile less readable, and chose the version I have now, but either can work well.

The trick is to reach the right level of detail, and whether to put in new things or not.

Q: My backstory is really secret. I don't need a profile until it's revealed.

A: A brief profile is still infinitely better than none. Just putting in your primary stat block (Name, race, eyes, hair, height, weight) and a physical desc with a brief blurb helps others a lot. If you feel it is too early to reveal more, then make a brief profile and wait until a fitting time to write down the story of your life, when it's been revealed.

Extra Stuff

You don't quite have to squash everything into the main profile; we learned long ago it just doesn't all fit. I like to see things such as personal space, extra gear, npc cronies, owned properties, NPC friends, etc in reply-posts to a character's profile. That keeps them in the same area while maintaining some logical organization. (Edited by llemaire)

Addendums and Linkage

My profiles have undergone some revisions as I've played here. As the characters grow and change, I add to their profiles. Some people place in the same post two different versions of their characters; what they were like before a major altering plot-event, and after, for those threads whose timelines haven't caught up yet. Some also have a tendency to link to other people and other posts; RPs important to the character, people who are connected to them in some way, or who gave them something, examples of what some items may look like, character pictures (with credit to the artists; that's very important), etc. Being able to quick reference who/what you mean can help in many cases, though isn't a requirement.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2011, 07:44:04 pm by llemaire »
Logged

LynMars

  • Global Moderator
  • Junior Grade Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 164
Character Creation - Likes/Dislikes
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2008, 04:22:00 am »

Character Creation - Likes/Dislikes
Originally compiled and written by LynMars.

Back on The Nice, a survey was taken to create some guidelines of things that were generally liked and disliked as far as character creation/profiles and general GG RP go. It contains a lot of useful information that I think can benefit both newcomers and old players alike, so here it is for your persual/use. Some of the language, particularly in the dislikes section, had been softened a touch. (Faye, Feb 9, 2011)

Likes

  • Unlimited variety: It's Awesome that players can make whatever character they want and run their adventures wherever they damm well please.
  • Unique character ideas: I guess that's setting the bar a bit high, but I've become overwhelmingly cynical about almost everything. I tend to regard almost everything with either disdain or complete neutrality because I've probably seen it before. But characters like Blob get a thumbs-up. Same for Lenny the mushroom jedi in the PG ID threat. They need to be well-executed, though, or are just the same old (usually Human) thing with some supposedly nifty add-ons.
  • Profiles with lots of useless trivia! Your character bakes a mean pizza, sucks at playing the guitar? Loves crossword puzzles? Just throw it in there to make your character seem like he actually had some sort of life in the past.
  • Flexibility: Not neccesarily completly changing, but some ability to adapt is really nice to see in folks, it shows they are willing to let a bit slide for the sake of the RP.
  • Strengths vs Weaknesses: Characters who focus on their strengths more than on removing their weaknesses. I'd rather see, like, a ghost doing something useful ghostlike instead of possesing a combat robot and being just another thug in a mission, but I guess it also depends a lot on the GM, which is a whole other rant.
  • Complete profiles: Description (Gender, Apparent Age, Species, Height, Build, Coloration), Powers and skills. History is a bonus. Also a bonus if the way the profile is written/phrased gives insight into the character's personality.
  • Well-written and well-arranged profile: Things are cut into easily read paragraphs, that's easy to navigate (if large). Standard one I've seen is the short summary of description/homesystem/class/etc at the top, with a few paragraphs (each?) for abilities, skills, inventory, and history below.
  • Characters that are as balanced as they need to be for their player to play them well: For less experienced players: An age with two digits, average mental characteristics (as they are more difficult to play than physical ones), few unusual senses that they would have to remember to mention every time.
  • Ambition: Characters that have drive are beautiful, they are out to get something and they have a purpose to strive and do things for themselves.
  • Humor: A few odd quirks on an otherwise serious character can be funny, and a great way to accent their strength, the super mage who turns into a mouse after casting magic, for example.
  • Creative, but intentional: Almost all the details fit with the character concept, and those of them that don't at least look like they were put there for a reason. Interesting twist on a classic character concept is also fun.
  • An emphasis on ROLE PLAYING!: Forum Rps consist mostly of people chatting, posturing, and fighting in ways that are different from themselves. I find this refreshing after meeting so many people who want to try PnP RPs and assume that it will be the same as playing Final Fantasy (E.G. tons of random fights with very few True RPing moments).

Dislikes

  • Nanites: Too many people uber them, making them an unstoppable virus. No matter what the players do, the nanites survive and come back better than ever later. Like 5 minutes later. Crap all over the most basic laws of physics.
  • Telekinesis: Way too easily abused. Can practically lock down anyone who doesn't have some magic, non-corporal means of movement/attack. Can create nearly impenetrable defenses, too. Can be used for cheap and deadly attacks. Generally only tolerable when the character's abilities are limited or the player has a good history.
  • Telepathy: There have been problems with this in the past. If someone uses .oO( ) to express thoughts, they automatically think they can read it! Unusual forms of mental shielding just get ignored by the player - the character simply moves on. Makes some players stop using thoughts--which is also poor rp.
  • Ancient Characters: Older characters played like idiots because the PG is unable to make the character seem wise, experienced, jaded, etc. Old as dirt characters are hard to make believable.
  • Over arrogance: Its fine when characters are arrogant, especialy villains, it gets into their mindframe and shows their evil personality, but after a point, rubbing the characters noses in things(Especialy if they won for plot purposes.) just leaves the players feeling bleh.
  • People who don't care about believability: "Oh I'm human! Did you know I can fight with a a Desert Eagle in each hand without shattering my wrists and I'm also an amazing shot with them!" Get a reasonable gun or at least some remark about increased strength or resilience in your profile or SOMETHING! You are not a normal human if you fight like Neo. Do some research for this, or make it obvious that you're being intentionally over the top. The same goes for stuff made from exotic materials. Diamond is brittle and doesn't make that great of a weapon!
  • Unclear profiles: Things that don't mention the character's species or system when it is a vital piece of information for decyphering the rest of the profile. Or who mention the name of their species, when it is system-specific and not well known...Listing only the names of spells/items/skills your character has (with little or no description) is also bad.
  • BS weaknesses: "Oh, I have this awesome all-destroying power, but it itches when I use it, so I don't! No wait, I have moral qualms about using it..or something." Either have a weakness or don't.
  • Stick to your mental problems: Berserk is not a status effect you can randomly turn off, and an extreme phobia isn't just there for you to routinely be admired for your strength of will in overcoming it. You don't see the Frostclaw's Mantis, for example, solving logic puzzles just because it really needs to be done just now. Get therapy or something so we can see the character has an actual reason to get a grip on themselves now and then.
  • Unexplained senses: How do you sense danger, and how much reaction time does it give you? How do you sense life forms, and how would your character react to the exceptions that he/she will undoubtedly meet? Where did these senses come from and what do they do?
  • Characters who are total @$$holes: Okay, it can be well-executed, but if you're a self-centered prick for no readily available IC reason, that's generally not good. Same for angst and other abrasive traits.
  • Poorly explained power gains: Just knock it off with the RPE already. Spontaneously discovering new powers just because the player wants to is also poor.
  • Drop outs: There is nothing more frustrating then having people wander off during an rp without a word. This is doubly frustrating when it's the GM that vanishes.
  • Lack of Teamwork: Teamwork has been difficult, since everyone just sort of does their own thing as soon as things get ugly. A prime example of this was when a Nexus crawler was thrown at the party in Quiet Streets. A formidable foe though it was, I felt that the party was maybe strong enough to take it out without the GM having to resort to watering it down. After all, the party had 4 Magic users (Taross, Tellanna, Drathari, Sethur), A cyborg marine (Draco), a superhero (Adrian), and an Amberite (Karina).
  • Poorly used cliches and blatantly stolen characters: Black Trenchcoat Loner Guy with Two Katanas +/- an automatic weapon is an example that comes to mind... But anyone who is a simple RPG or movie cliche needs to be played very well to work. Use at least 3 unrelated cliches at once for best effect, but be careful they aren't too unrelated as to be nonsensical to the character and just added on to make the character look different.   
  • Profiles with (multiple?) large images directly on the page: If someone wants to see the picture, they can click on a link. If everyone had a picture in their profile, the page would take forever to load. Also; images throw off linking a bit... Because you're sent to where the person whose profile you wanted to get to's profile is, and then every page-sized image above that loads after that point will kick the profile you want a page further down.
  • Too Chaotic people: Folks who refuse to follow any sort of order to just cause problems for everyone and inhibit RP not just for themselves but others.
  • Too Orderly people: Opposite of the chaotics, they hold things in such rigid structure it gets in the way of anything happening except what they deem fits the set, even if they aren't the GM, interfering with everyone's fun.
  • Story changers: If done properly it can be alright, brainsplodey effect is good, but when its taken overboard and a character has a different backstory each week, it just leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the folks who "did it right".
  • Wannabes: Folks who have no independent thought and try to be cool by doing what popular folks are doing IC. Immitation might be the greatest form of flattery but its also the greatest mark of unoriginality.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2011, 03:08:21 am by Faye »
Logged

Batty

  • Neutral Guest
  • Posts: 33
Re: Profile Review Redux
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2008, 01:22:49 pm »

I was wondering if you would cast your expert eye over my profiles, if you have a moment. First two profiles in the sig only. Ignore the third.

LynMars

  • Global Moderator
  • Junior Grade Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 164
Re: Profile Review Redux
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2008, 09:52:43 am »

When finals and such are done this week and I'm down to just work, I shall tighten this puppy (and a few more threads) up and begin looking over said profiles! :)

Aurora

  • Junior Grade Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 221
Re: Profile Review Redux
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2009, 04:02:48 am »

I know you did so once before. You helped me directly with Zhelth's via IRC as I recall. Though could you give Aurora and Zhelth another once over? Criticism is welcome as it'll help me polish those two up, especially after they've been in stasis for so long.
Logged

Diamond Hawk

  • Neutral Guest
  • Posts: 21
  • Diamond Hawk as imagined by the Midnight Penner
Re: Profile Review Redux
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2009, 05:08:14 pm »

I know you looked at mine once way back when.  It's updated a little since then so any additional feedback would be much appreciated.
Logged

LynMars

  • Global Moderator
  • Junior Grade Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 164
Re: Profile Review Redux
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2009, 08:15:21 am »

I'll try to get to these soon, I swear. I've been fighting burnout and school-induced grumpiness for awhile now. If I have to, I'll sic a minion on things.

Wirrit

  • Forum Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 56
Re: Profile Review Redux
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2009, 12:35:17 am »

You've looked at Davone's profile once before...but I've reformatted it for this board.

Any chance I could get you to look at it?  I'm specifically searching for ways to condense it, but am having trouble.

Balance

  • Guardian Archivist
  • Junior Grade Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 149
Re: Profile Review Redux
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2009, 07:44:44 pm »

I wonder if you would mind looking over Quar's Profile for me.
Logged
 

LynMars

  • Global Moderator
  • Junior Grade Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 164
Re: Profile Review Redux
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2009, 01:26:57 am »

My motivation has been way down. If you couldn't tell. I went from being busy to just...bleh. Sorry to folks I haven't replied to. For now I'm going to unsticky this until such a time as I may get the gumption to take such a thing up again.

NerdyCanuck

  • Global Moderator
  • Board Head
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,109
  • GDH Admin/Rehab
Re: Profile Review Redux
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2011, 02:11:24 am »

It's still something of a work in progress, but this thread is coming together. :) I took a bunch of stuff that Karina provided and copy/pasted it into a couple of the reply posts above. Did some edits to organize and clean up the language. I also put together the obligatory "first post" which may undergo some edits. Thread is essentially ready to go, so if you need reviews, follow the instructions here.

As far as the likes/dislikes post above, I am considering doing another poll to update that list sometime in the near future.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2011, 10:18:03 pm by Faye »
Logged

Gore

  • Neutral Guest
  • Posts: 3
Re: Profile Review Redux
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2012, 02:49:32 am »

So, I guess I ask for a profile review.
Logged

NerdyCanuck

  • Global Moderator
  • Board Head
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,109
  • GDH Admin/Rehab
Re: Profile Review Redux
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2012, 01:39:10 pm »

We're reviewing your profile, Gore. Welcome to the Gaming Guardians, and expect a private message once I am more fully awake and have consumed some coffee. :)

Rhiann

  • Second Class Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 343
  • I'm a fox. Want to know more? Just ask.
    • The World of Sau'du
Re: Profile Review Redux
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2012, 07:35:53 am »

Yo, Faye. If you would, please give Dav a look when you can.
Logged
Rhiann: Priestess of the Web and a powerful Telepath/telekinetic.
Tracker: Bionic fox from an 'alternate' Earth.
Dav: A Worgen (Werewolf) Shaman from the World of Warcraft

Will there be others?
Pages: [1] 2