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Canon, Plotting and Character Development

Canon:
I haven't read any/much DC comics.

Terrific! A virgin brain! The more important questions are:
Can I work well with others, including working out disagreements?
Do I enjoy or think I'd enjoy epic, comic-book style stories?
Do I have some patience to be able to wait for others to get their stories going so I can weave my own in?
Am I willing to listen to others giving feedback to me on how I am playing the character and offer that feedback in return?
Can I work with what others have written before me, just like any other serial writer?

If the answers to the above are “yes,” then you will likely do fine. We can always find you canon sources if you want to read up on someone.

I have a lot of canon knowledge and this doesn't look like my comics.

If you have been reading in the last 10 years, then you may have a point. The last DC comics crisis moment we are taking from is the '90's story of Zero Hour. Through the 2000's we kept most, but not all, the stories written up through Sue Dibny's death in Identity Crisis. After that, there just became less and less we wanted to use of the main DC comics storyline because our characters evolved differently. A full account of the canon cut-offs can be found on the front page of our wiki.

Are you going to do anything for the big reboot?

Probably not or only in passing. We have 7 years of story to draw from and no lack of story ideas waiting in queue. While this is not a universally held opinion, the reboot generally doesn't hold much interest for the vast majority of our player base. We like this world, in part because we've placed a lot of man hours and emotional investment into it.

7 years of canon? That's scary! Aren't you due for a Crisis and a Reboot?

Believe it or not, 7 years of storytelling isn't that extreme; Impressive, maybe, but not extreme. Due to the tag system and the wiki, character moments are easy to find and do not require someone to go out and buy comics. Not much as ever happened here “just because,” and therefore the evolution of the characters has a logic and documentation to it. If you take a weekend, you'll probably be able to read everything you would ever want to know about the majority of the characters out here. If you want the short version, other players are more than happy to help.

Also, you really don't need 75 years of Superman comics to play Superman. You need to know his powers, who's around him and what he's been up to recently. If you want to read 75 years of Superman and draw from that large knowledge base – go nuts. We're here to help.

We're also a little different because we believe canon creates more story potential than it drains away. If you want to do something different, there is generally a way to get it done. It just might take a few stories to pull off – and it may require the cooperation of other people. Crisis moments never seem to clear things up the way they are advertised because it's never ends up being a full change of canon or a changing of the guards.

If you are of the “tl;dr” (too long; didn't read) school, a game filled to the brim with avid readers and focused plots might not be a good fit.

Why is the canon for an RPG so important to upkeep?

Not only is canon where the characters have been and what they have experienced, but it is where we, as the players, have been with them. Yes, it's corny, but that creative process should be respected even in a fan-made product. Near the beginning of this game, we were honored to have two service members stationed in Baghdad in our player roster. What they were doing was brutal and dangerous. While they both, thankfully, made it home, their work from that time was some of the only outlets they had to channel that very real ugly into something powerful and hopeful. Others of us have or have had health scares and other crisis moments. In those time, we, as a community, keep coming back to the fact a part of them created what you read here. Editing those contributions out for the sake of convenience seems damn tacky when there are other ways to get things done.

How do canon and OC’s work?

Original characters are part of the story and therefore have in-game canon and effects that can become very important. When they leave the game, they are irreplaceable. Should you leave, the admin need to know how you would like to work your character out of the story (retirement, death, etc.). While your preference will be noted and respected the admin have final say on how a character is dealt out of the continuity. It is easier to work a character out of the meta-story if they are not involved in a plot.


Plotting and Working with Others )

Character Development )
one_dc_nation: (Default)

Canon, Plotting and Character Development

Canon:
I haven't read any/much DC comics.

Terrific! A virgin brain! The more important questions are:
  • Can I work well with others, including working out disagreements?
  • Do I enjoy or think I'd enjoy epic, comic-book style stories?
  • Do I have some patience to be able to wait for others to get their stories going so I can weave my own in?
  • Am I willing to listen to others giving feedback to me on how I am playing the character and offer that feedback in return?
  • Can I work with what others have written before me, just like any other serial writer?



If the answers to the above are “yes,” then you will likely do fine.  We can always find you canon sources if you want to read up on someone.

I have a lot of canon knowledge and this doesn't look like my comics.

If you have been reading in the last 10 years, then you may have a point.  The last DC comics crisis moment we are taking from is the '90's story of Zero Hour. Through the 2000's we kept most, but not all, the stories written up through Sue Dibny's death in Identity Crisis.  After that, there just became less and less we wanted to use of the main DC comics storyline because our characters evolved differently. A full account of the canon cut-offs can be found on the front page of our wiki.

Are you going to do anything for the big reboot?

Probably not or only in passing. We have 7 years of story to draw from and no lack of story ideas waiting in queue.  While this is not a universally held opinion, the reboot generally doesn't hold much interest for the vast majority of our player base. We like this world, in part because we've placed a lot of man hours and emotional investment into it.

7 years of canon? That's scary! Aren't you due for a Crisis and a Reboot?

Believe it or not, 7 years of storytelling isn't that extreme; Impressive, maybe, but not extreme. Due to the tag system and the wiki, character moments are easy to find and do not require someone to go out and buy comics. Not much as ever happened here “just because,” and therefore the evolution of the characters has a logic and documentation to it. If you take a weekend, you'll probably be able to read everything you would ever want to know about the majority of the characters out here. If you want the short version, other players are more than happy to help.

Also, you really don't need 75 years of Superman comics to play Superman. You need to know his powers, who's around him and what he's been up to recently. If you want to read 75 years of Superman and draw from that large knowledge base – go nuts. We're here to help.

We're also a little different because we believe canon creates more story potential than it drains away. If you want to do something different, there is generally a way to get it done. It just might take a few stories to pull off – and it may require the cooperation of other people. Crisis moments never seem to clear things up the way they are advertised because it's never ends up being a full change of canon or a changing of the guards.

If you are of the “tl;dr” (too long; didn't read) school, a game filled to the brim with avid readers and focused plots might not be a good fit.

Why is the canon for an RPG so important to upkeep?

Not only is canon where the characters have been and what they have experienced, but it is where we, as the players, have been with them.  Yes, it's corny, but that creative process should be respected even in a fan-made product. Near the beginning of this game, we were honored to have two service members stationed in Baghdad in our player roster. What they were doing was brutal and dangerous. While they both, thankfully, made it home, their work from that time was some of the only outlets they had to channel that very real ugly into something powerful and hopeful. Others of us have or have had health scares and other crisis moments. In those time, we, as a community, keep coming back to the fact a part of them created what you read here. Editing those contributions out for the sake of convenience seems damn tacky when there are other ways to get things done.

How does canon and OC’s work?

Original characters are part of the story and therefore have in-game canon and effects that can become very important.  When they leave the game, they are irreplaceable.  Should you leave, the admin need to know how you would like to work your character out of the story (retirement, death,etc.).  While your preference will be noted and respected the admin have final say on how a character is dealt out of the continuity.  It is easier to work a character out of the meta-story if they are not involved in a plot.


Plotting and Working with Others:

Do I need to run plots by the admin team?

No, but we would like to know about it.  The reasons are logistical.  We would like to know what’s happening when and what characters are involved to help avoid characters being double-booked.  If there is a similar plot in the works, it could confuse players to have both ideas running at the same time (especially if they feature some of the same characters) and therefore something should get worked out between the two story runners.  Also, if you do hit a snag or real life causes you to need to remove yourself from a story, we’d like to know so we can continue it in your absence if need be.

Where can I get plot ideas?

It depends on what kind of story you want to do and with what characters.  Here’s some potential places, but it’s hardly a complete list:
  • Comic books.
  • The game’s own canon.
  • The backs of books.
  • News stories.
  • TV Dramas (Crime dramas seem like a particularly fertile place.)
  • TV Tropes.org.  (Just because it’s been done doesn’t make it bad.)
  • World Mythology
  • Short Story Anthologies


The most important thing is to be open to new ideas presenting themselves at random moments.  Often, this means traveling with a notebook so you don’t lose that neat idea you had while stuck in line or in traffic.

I have a basic idea.  Now what?

You can either post the idea on OOC or, if it needs a bit more work, you can e-mail the people you think will play characters who have a stake in the plot and get some feedback.  Once the idea forms up a little more, then it should go up on OOC and/or be brought to the admin just to let others know what’s happening and allow for further commentary.  At some point eariler on, you should also likely pick a "second" who can assist you if you are getting overwhelmed or need to step away.

Who all do I contact to run a plot?
  • Any players who would have principle characters in your story.
  • Anyone who’s character might be directly affected by story events.  (i.e. if Deathstroke is going to fake his death, then the Rose and Jericho players need to know.)
  • Any really big name heroes who would be in the region you are running the plot in.  (i.e. for Gotham plots, tell the Batman player)
  • If the location will run close to a hero base - like the Queen Brownstone or Ferris Airfield - tell the players of the people who will likely be affected, even if they aren’t strictly involved in your story.
  • Once everything is sorted, an admin, just to make sure we know what’s happening and where.
  • When in doubt, cc the person.  No, you are not bothering them.


I want there to be a big surprise in my plot.  Can’t I just tell the admins or just a few players and not a ton of people?

We would not recommend this for your first plot.  That kind of surprise involves a good deal of trust to pull off and can add extra stress to your story.  Trust us, plot running has enough stress involved already.  If you still want that special twist, assemble the minimal amount of people you need to tell plus the admins and we’ll see what we can work out.

How often should I check in with my players regarding and idea or the plot I’m running?

It’s a little like washing your hands while cooking.  If you feel you should, you probably should go and do it.  Don’t worry about “bothering” players.  We’re here to help each other.  Good times to send e-mails are:
  • When the idea comes to mind.
  • After a consensus appears to be reached about what the plot will look like.
  • Right before starting the story.
  • When the first post goes up.  (include a link)
  • If a scene seems to stall for no apparent reason.
  • After each post, and include a summery of what’s been going on and what’s expected.  (include the link)
  • After the plot is winding down to check for any remaining business.


I have this awesome idea for some characters I don’t play.  Can I run something for those other players?

Heavens, yes!  Plot for anyone you please!  It’s our DCU.  You will have to get those player’s permission to run the idea, but that’s the main thing.  If you want to run a murder mystery in Gotham and all you have are JSAers, we salute you!

I need someone to temp a character.

In this order:
  1. Ask the other players in the plot to play one another’s bad guys or random NPCs.
  2. Ask a designated temp-er (Check the OOC player contact list.)
  3. Ask the nearly-nightly chat room for volunteers.
  4. Ask an admin.


My plot has a good start, but now it seems stalled!

Ask all your players what’s going on.  You may have to retool your idea.  This happens and often the plot is better for it.  

Sometimes a player has a real life problem.  Ask for an idea as to when things can get going again.  Be patient.  If the answer is a longer period of time you have to keep the plot in a holding pattern, see if you can get permission to have the character temped.  The player should either help by getting their timing more in line with your deadline or they should help you find a temp they trust for the character.  If there is a real struggle or hard feelings please contact the admin.

My plot or scene just went totally a different direction than I planned!

That happens.  Sometimes the characters just do unexpected stuff.  Talk to your fellow players if your character just jumped the rails and messed with the story.  See if you need to retool the plot or scene to make things fit.  If you are all at a loss, find an admin.

Someone is uncomfortable with the scene or plot I’m running.

See if putting it behind a cut with a warning will do the job - or see about moving the scene to a private journal with a link to the scene on the main com.  If not, check what else might make everyone more comfortable.  If things are getting strained get an admin.

I have a feeling someone involved in my plot is being passive aggressive and saying things are “fine” and then stalling out when I talk to them or it’s their turn to do something.  Help?

We try very hard to maintain an atmosphere of openness and creativity. Nothing, and we mean NOTHING kills that faster than the dishonesty and resistance that comes from passive-aggressive behavior.  If you cannot solve your problems in an open and honest manner because you feel uncomfortable and refuse to put in the effort to work it out, then please leave.  We have booted more people for ignoring fellow players, lying to them and other “being polite” behavior then we have booted the openly argumentative.

I have a player who is phoning in their lines and it’s starting to bother me.

Yes,this is fanfic, not a Masters thesis in creative writing.  This is still a team effort and you owe your team what skill you have.  We have published professionals out here and the true pros don’t “save” their skills.  They use them.  If someone is doing this, talk to them first.  If they keep doing it, talk to the admin.

The person running the plot is saying my character would do something I don’t think they’d do, but the story hinges on it. / My character needs to do something, but another player is saying this won’t work for their character.  Why can’t I just do with my character what I think they’d do?

At this point everyone needs to stop, take a deep breath and get an admin.  The plot will likely need to be re-tooled.  Individual players are the advocates of their own characters, and if they believe their character would not act a certain way, then the character won’t be acting a certain way.  If there is a reason you think they should act a particular way and you are not the person playing the character then you are free to bring up the reasons they might be acting a particular way.  The player might not know all the character’s history, after all, and you might have a piece of information they don’t regarding a character’s history and motivations.  95% of the time the player themselves has override.

The one thing that tops player rights is the integrity of the overall meta-story.  Every team has a “theme.”  For example, if the closeness of the Titans dynamic seems unnatural to a player, odds are good they shouldn’t be playing a member of that team.  We never said if it was healthy or unhealthy to have a team of people that closely knit.  We are going to say that’s the way they are, and if you are going to change that you’ll need the permission of the other players.  If what your character does is going to cripple another player’s ability to work, think long and hard about why you need to perform that action.  The other player should also think long and hard if there is a way around the crippling damage.   The one thing we will stress is that, though this is “pretend-y fun time games” the emotions and creative process
involved are very, very real - and as such most of these disputes are not about “John Stewart gives Hal Jordan a pimp-slap” as they are about respecting or disrespecting those emotions, the story and the creative process.


What if I’m having trouble with an admin?

Talk to another admin.  All contacts will be treated a confidential.  Yes, even between the two married admin.


Character Development:

Are you okay with slash?

Like every other relationship in the game, be it heterosexual, homosexual or other there should be some sort of character reason for it.  Even hook-ups have circumstances surrounding them.  Having two hot people together just to have two hot people together doesn’t fly.

What about underage sex?

If the characters are having any sort of sexual encounters before the age of 16 then there should be some kind of reason behind it, and it’s probably not a healthy one.

Can I kill characters?

Yes,but simply writing a death just to shock the audience, to show how badass some threat is, to just give some sort of consequence to a situation or because you have no idea what else to do with them; this is lazy as hell writing and terribly distracting.  To kill a character kills potential - including the potential for them to be played by someone, so make sure whatever death is done has an impact greater than the death itself.  As far as impact goes, trust your fellow players to play through and experience whatever they come up with.

Can I bring characters back from the dead?

Yes,but check with us first.  They might not be dead in our canon.  If they are, then bringing them back is likely to involve a plot.

Can my character date someone they don’t have any history with in the comics?

Absolutely.

Can I make them bi or gay if they weren’t said to be in the comics?

Depends on the character, and we will likely consult our gay and bisexual players before giving you the okay.  If the character is in a relationship, then it’s also time to ask that player of that character’s significant other if altering their sexuality is going to work for them as well.  If you plan on applying for a character and evolving their sexuality then please put that in the app.

Can I edit out parts of my character’s canon either from DC or from the game?

Maybe.  You’ll have to tell us what it is you wish to edit.  It’s harder to work around Nation canon than DC canon, but both can be done.  If it’s just too big, we can find ways to get the character to off load the baggage somehow.

This character is in a relationship with someone I don’t like, I’m going to break them up for another ‘ship! / I don’t want this character to have a child, can I edit them out?

Not before consulting your fellow players on that matter.  This is also something you likely should note in your application.  You should be aware Nation is, by comparison to the comics, pro-marriage and pro-family.  Not all people or characters thrive in such relationship, but your characters have the option here.

Are all these characters married with kids or something?

Not by a longshot, but many of them are.  Ongoing relationships also tend to get more relationship RP.  For some of these characters having children makes sense.  It’s not all “true love” out here, but epic storytelling does tend to lead to epic love as well.

I want to play a character from reboot, from after your canon cut-offs or from and alternate time or universe (Kingdom Come, Elseworlds, LEIGON, Vertigo etc.)

We’ll work with you to create a background for them.  If they are an entirely new character, we will have an easier time fitting them in than we will fitting in some alternate version of a character we have already.  We  can only use “parallel dimension” so much before it gets old.  Also keep in mind that they will likely be in a whole new world and have to work their way up, much like an OC would.

one_dc_nation: (The Monitors)
...that in the year 2008, on the day of the 27th of November on the expanse known as Outsiders Island, that Sanderson Hawkins, leader of the Outsiders, is planning Thankgiving Dinner to all members, past and present, of the Justice League, the Justice Society, the Titans, the Outsiders, and all other heroes, to come together and celebrate the victories of recent weeks (The return of some old friends, the defeat of the Sinestro Corps, and others).

All were welcome, and invited through the Oracle Network.

(In other words, it's BS RP TIME!  Thanksgiving Dinner, everyone who's a hero is invited.  If you don't think you got the invite, figure out who would have told you and come anyways.   The Island, BTW, is basically a tropical resort as well as a well-defended fortress, so it's time to get together and talk to folks you might not normally talk to.   The thread will be posted Wednesday morning for folks to have fun with!)
 

So the Monitors have spoken.

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