Making a Sign-Up
What's Expected of you
and how to reach those expectations
Sign-Up Sheets are just as important as RPG posts and plots; without a good sign up sheet other members do not have a clear idea of how your character looks, acts and feels. Not to mention that you won’t have as good a chance getting accepted into an RPG! In order to make a clear, defined character, your sign up must meet the proper standards, be of high quality, and be fairly original. This means you need plenty of detail and description so that other members know how to act around your character.
There are basic minimums you need to meet, such as using proper grammar and having enough detail. Fields such as Appearance and Personality cannot be shorter than 100 words each. This is not up for debate. It's not only the responsibility of applicants; GMs are responsible for accepting well-made characters.
We ask that the members who sign up give a proper, in-depth sign-up sheet, not four words long for each section. For example, here are two sign-up for a character trying to get into an RP. Why should a Game Master accept this:
Description:tall. long hair and wears black.
Personality:cold, nasty and angry and mean to people
History:parents died when she was ten
When they can instead accept this:
Description: Rachel stands at an average height for her age and has a slim frame, with slightly tanned skin. She has emerald green eyes which are normally obscured by many strands of chocolate-coloured hair. A pair of dark sunglasses atop her head keep her hair at bay. She wears a long-sleeved, black crop top, accompanied by a pair of baggy black trousers, which she tucks into large boots at her feet. Around her neck, hanging on a chain is a silver pendant in the shape of a Dragonair.
Personality: A serious girl in battles and a hard nut to crack, she does not fool around, instead concentrating fully on the battle at hand with her sights set on success. She is, however, a good sport; she accepts her losses and is determined to learn from her mistakes. A loyal friend and powerful ally, she is a member worth having on any team, but her friendship is hard to gain, and her trust harder still.
History: Rachel had lived alongside her parents for as long as she could remember. Like any other normal teenager, she attended school, sat exams and had to endure the nightmare known as homework. When a letter arrived for her mentioning the beginning of a Pokémon journey she could take, she could not help but take up the offer and make her way to Pallet Town after bidding her mother and father farewell and informing her college that she would be taking a year off to complete her journey.
Other: Rachel dealt with an unfortunate event when she was younger that has permanently scarred her. Out at sea in a boat with her brother on a family vacation, they were attacked by a Gyarados and the boat was pulled under to deep depths. She made it out alive thanks to the help of her brother's Seel, but her brother met an unfortunate end. Rachel has been terrified of water ever since, but keeps her brother's Seel close by.
Now, not only does decent grammar make it look nicer and easier to understand, but can't you make out a lot more about the character through the second example than you can from the first? It gives ten times more insight into who they are, and it doesn’t even take that long to write! A fwe lines of good description is all it takes to make a great sign-up. The trick is to work on your sign-up for at least ten minutes, putting in the time and effort, and rereading your work to edit in details you might have missed or mistakes you may not have noticed.
We’ll go over each section of a sign-up to cover the dos and don’ts, what is expected of you, how you can add detail and generally make things a tad bit more interesting. You're not writing an essay for each section, but providing the GM with the necessary info. Remember: the more original it is, the better chance you have of catching the GM’s eye and getting accepted!
Name: This is pretty simple. When signing up for an RPG, always pay attention to what era your RPGing is in. For example, you wouldn’t be calling someone who is running around in medieval times “Bob.” Be creative with it and don’t make it something too common – your character should to be unique, after all! Just make sure the name is realistic. If you're stuck for names, then don’t be afraid to look up a name generator via Google. That way you can search for a name that is suitable for the RPG, and maybe even has an interesting meaning behind it.
Don't be afraid to give your character a nickname, too! It doesn't hurt, and it can really add spice to a character. Whether it’s just being called “Izzy” instead of “Isabelle” or having a name like Ryan "Ace" Smith because he uses a lot of Flying Pokémon with Aerial Ace, it can really give the character depth!
Age: Pay close attention to the plot and determine what sort of character would be present in that situation. A ten-year-old wouldn’t realistically be going to war, for instance. Normally the Game Master will give an age limit, meaning he/she will give you a minimum/maximum age your character can be in the RPG, such as “16-29.” Pokémon and Digimon RPGs often allow really young kids, but there may also be opportunities to play teens and even adults. Always pay close attention any age restrictions, and make sure the character’s age makes sense with their appearance and personality!
Gender: Okay, now this one's easy; unless the Game Master has come up with his/her own genders for the RPG, then it’s a simple matter of Male, Female or Genderless. Don’t feel obligated to make your character the same gender as you! It’s normally a choice between Male or Female unless the GM has stated otherwise, such as if it’s a mythical RPG such as Digimon where Digimon don;t have genders, or you're using a genderless Pokémon like Porygon or Magnemite. But maybe your Voltorb prefers to be referred to as female?
Description/Appearance: This can be slightly problematic, especially since it is where your description creativity is generally judged. If you cannot describe a character properly, you may not even be considered for an RP. Keep in mind that it is unacceptable to just use a picture or say “he looks like the boy from Emerald,” no matter what the GM says. This is your RPG character's looks, and a way that others will judge them upon first sight, so be sure to put in the effort here!
Human Description: Whether it’s based off another person or character or straight from your imagination, you’ll want to describe from top to bottom. Start with:
The Head: Give your character a hair style, hair length, hair colour (remember that in most animés people can have crazy hair colours and styles, so in some RPs it may be okay to stretch this). Describe eye colour, the shape/size of their eyes, nose, mouth and jaw, and overall face. Note if they wear make-up (mainly for girls), have piercings, or scars.
Think of the head as your character’s identity, and mix it with they’re personality and attitude; a cold, mean character may have their jaw always set, their mouth turned in a frown, eyes narrowed and so on. Younger characters generally have rounder faces, teens might have skin problems (and have more makeup/piercings) and older characters may have wrinkles.
Upper Body: Start with your character’s skin colour and their frame. Are they tanned, pale, muscular, scrawny? Are they of average height/weight, or are they short and lanky or tall and muscular? Do not give exact heights and weights; just throwing out random numbers will not help people imagine your character.
Your character needs to be wearing a top, so think of what type of character he/she is going to be, and think stereotypical if it helps give you ideas. Will they be hipster, punk-ish, gothic, sporty, geeky, chic, or perhaps be sporting armour? Do they wear a sports jacket or a black cloak? Are they wearing a necklace, chain or collar around their neck, watches, bracelets or rings on their hands, nail polish on their fingers? Do they have tattoos or scars?
Lower Body: Are they wearing a skirt, jeans, shorts, dress pants, armour? Are they wearing belts, do they wear anklets, are their trousers ripped at the bottom/knees, missing buttons, have patched-up holes or have some special design? What do they keep in their pockets? What do they do for footwear? Black running shoes with pink laces, heavy leather boots with silver clasps, beige sandals, armor-plated boots? Maybe they wear mismatched socks with individual toes, or stockings.
Accessories: These can really give your character personality and make them stand out. Necklaces handed down by a family member or given as a gift, heaps of bracelets on the left arm but not the right, skull-themed rings all on the fingers, a belly button piercing are all fun little details. Maybe they have tattoos running up their body, across their face – does their culture require body paint? Do they have leather gloves for dirty work, a backpack, a watch, purse, toe ring, gadgets on a belt, weapons? If it fits the time period and is the sort of thing the character might have on them, go for it!
Note: Avoid describing your character using words like “pretty” or “cute” or even “ugly.” These words don’t mean the same things to everyone, so it’s not a good, objective way to describe a character. Not everyone is going to have the same perception of what is “cute,” so just because you think one thing is “cute” does not mean others will agree.
Creature Description: A little more difficult, but nothing terrible. The Game Master may give you the option to play as creatures such as anthros (half human, half animal or Pokémon), a mythological creature (vampires, dragons) a Pokémon, or even a creature of their own creation. If characters transform from one to another, describe what this process looks like and how your character looks different before/after. Don’t be afraid to search the internet for photos to draw inspiration from!
Anthros are also pretty straightforward, as all you essentially need to do is add animal/Pokémon characteristics to your human character. This could range from a snout, long eagle-like talons, a fluffy brown tail or even leathery, dragon-like wings that sprout from the back. They may be covered in feathers or scales, and maybe even their skeletal structure is different. Depending on the extent of the transformation, they may have a different amount of animal/Pokémon attributes.
Aliens, mythical creatures or anything typically inhuman requires a fair bit of description, unless it’s an animal or Digimon, or anything that the GM doesn’t need you to describe from scratch. If you have to describe the whole creature, the best thing to do is find/make a reference picture of it, and with that by your side, describe the entire thing. Start with the general size and shape of the body, how lean or muscular it may be and the colour of its skin/scales/feathers/whatever, and any possible markings or patterns. Also mention any sort of growths or appendages it may have (this means something like the bulb on Bulbasaur’s back, Magcargo’s shell or the clouds on Suicune) or anything like fins or spikes that generally protrude from the creature’s body. Then go into its limbs, their shape, joints (shoulders, elbows, knees, if they bent like a dinosaur or like a cat and such) and how they end (like arms/legs ending in hands, paws, feet, talons with how many digits (fingers, toes, claws), if there are feather or leather wings perhaps with claws, or a tail that ends in a barb or a stinger, and so on). Describe the shape of the head, the features (eyes, nose, mouth, ears) and how many there are, and if anything is protruding from is (like fins, a feathery crest, horns, antennae). Try to be thorough here; you can provide a picture to supplement your description, but you should be providing enough information that someone could visualize your character even without a picture.
Accessories: For some RPs, if the creature is intelligent enough, it may be able to wear clothing, carry weapons, accessories or certain items. In these cases, make sure to keep the accessories relevant to the time/place of the RP and make sure that they’re not things the character would have difficulty wearing/holding. For example, a human that turns into a werewolf would probably not be able to wear shoes since their feet turn into huge paws with nails that would rip up whatever they’re wearing, a creature with wings wouldn’t be able to put on a shirt normally and a small, thin creature wouldn’t be able to carry, never mind wield a big, heavy sword. Recommended accessories would be bracelets/anklets or earrings, belts with little pouches (these could be made of vine and leaves or leather and silk depending on the RP, but they’re a useful way to carry items) and small, simple weapons such as throwing daggers or slingshots. Again, the accessories a creature has will depend a lot on where they are and when the RP takes place. They could be very simple and be made from natural sources if the creatures live in the woods, or if it’s a futuristic society many things would be made of metal or even electronic (see the Weapons section for more). Just remember that not all creatures can have the same things!
For information on Pokémon description, see below.
The main things to keep in mind while making a description for your character are the era, your character's personality and its species.
Personality: This holds no limits; it can be whatever you want it to be, but again, take note of the time period, society and the plot. Make sure that your character fits in with the world and situation. If the character was forcibly turned into an anthro or monster and were treated badly, then they will probably be scared and/or angry at its creators, and probably wouldn’t get along well with others. Kids who have had a fine upbringing won’t usually be too hard to get along with, and probably won’t be very gothic if they’re really into current fads.
When making a personality, consider your character’s appearance and what personality would go with it, as well as their history and current living situation. Also keep in mind what some big clichés are, and make sure to avoid them.
What are clichés? Well, it's anything that is really just overdone; for example one popular one is ‘the dark, brooding teen with the nightmarish past where his parents were killed and now he hates life and is out to take revenge on his parents murderers with his abnormal skill, but deep down he’s got a heart of gold and would do anything to protect those he loves.’ For a simpler one that’s usually seen in simpler characters, there’s the ‘big, muscular guy who is totally brainless, but is a really nice, sweet guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly unless it hurt his friends,’ or one you probably know quite well, ‘the teen with a hot-headed temper who is always determined but is also somewhat goofy and loves to kid around,’ who is often a main protagonist in an animé. These are clichés because they’ve been seen a million times before and offer no real originality. Maybe you can take a common cliché and put a twist on it, though?
The following are details to generally take into account when typing up a personality; try to address as many of these points as you can to get the most depth. You don’t have to talk about every single one because not all of them may be important, and there may be ones I forgot to mention, but these are just some things to keep in mind when choosing how your character thinks, acts and reacts to everything around them which mainly defines a personality.
-the way the character responds and reacts around others
-if the character has friends, if they're good at making friends
-if they trust others easily
-if they will judge (and maybe pre-judge) others
-whether they work better alone or cooperating with others
-if they're sociable and talkative or tend to be quiet
-if they’re easy to approach and talk to
-if they're patient or have a short temper
-whether they’re open-minded or close-minded
-how much imagination or creativity they have and if/how they use this creativity
-how emotional they are/can be
-if they will get emotionally involved in something easily or if they'd stay detached
-if they let their emotions guide them or cloud their logic, “follow their heart” or prefer ration and logic
-if they can see the big picture of a situation and how everything affects it or if they concentrate on one thing at a time
-id they're kind and caring or ruthless and selfish
-like current fads (clothing, ways of speaking) or prefer to ignore/go against them
-their sense of humour; if they are funny, try to be funny (but perhaps fail?), how the character reacts to other people being funny, if the character likes to play practical jokes
-if they are at all sarcastic, snarky or rude to other people
-whether they have respect for others, and how they deal with authority
-if they might be manipulative and willing to hurt others to get what they want
-if they enjoy traveling and seeing new people/places
-if they prefer routine, planning ahead and always want to know where they are
-if they like things to be predictable and keep routine or enjoy mystery and being surprised
-particular ways of thinking they may have
-any personal philosophies the character has, and if they actually do act the way this way
Another way to think about it in simpler terms is by diving their actions thusly:
Alone: Do they work well alone, do they prefer group work, do they prefer being alone, do they purposely avoid groups, are they resistant to meeting people, or do they get scared easily if alone?
Group: Does your character have friends, like to meet people, like to listen, make jokes, trust and generally get along with others?
General: How does your character act in general: are they intelligent, brave, scared? What is their thought process like? Are they open-minded to new ideas? Do they like to travel? Interested in the world around them, or more introverted?
History: Completely dependent on the RPG itself. In this section you want to give the basics; tell enough that the Game Master will know the basics of their background, but don't make it into a novel. The idea is to show what their life was like until this point in time. For example, when giving the background of an ordinary Pokémon trainer:
That's pretty boring, and it doesn't say much about what their life was like. However it's possible to go into TOO much detail and totally bore the reader. Give the basics, not a day-by-day account of their life. You need just enough to give everyone an idea of what it was like for that character up until now. The idea of a History is to show the most important points that really made the character who they are today, so don't bother with lots of unimportant details.Jamie was born in Olivine City. She got a Cyndaquil as a starter. She beat the Johnto League. Her best friend is named Josh and he is in Hoenn.
In RPGs based off an existing series like Pokémon, avoid having your character be related to a canon character (such as Ash or a Gym Leader). Being friends with/have encountered legendaries is also a no-no! Not only is it somewhat ridiculous that such powerful creatures would approach/befriend/be caught by a random human, but sometimes a legendary Pokémon might be vital to the RPG plot without your knowledge, or the GM may be portraying them in a different way than you may imagine. To be on the safe side, it is always best to leave them out of your history unless the GM specifically says otherwise (especially since, again, it can lead to a Sue/Stu character).
Otherwise, when creating a history just make sure it's relevant to the time, place and culture. If the RP takes place in a society that believes that anyone who dresses in black and has strange quirks is a witch and must be burned at the stake, no character, no matter how bold, will wear black clothing and knowingly act strangely in public. Be realistic!
Other: This section is just for any other facts you'd like to mention, such as your character having an allergy or a certain phobia, or maybe even what their voice sounds like. Basically, if it doesn't seem to belong anywhere else, stick it here.
However, DO NOT GIVE YOUR CHARACTER SPECIAL POWERS. Unless it's a part of the RPG, your character should be just like everybody else. That means that unless there's a specific reason for it in the RPG, your character should not have psychic powers or be able to talk to Pokémon or have the ability to tell when a person is in danger or whatever. This gives you an unfair advantage over other people for no reason, and it's rude to the GM if they never said characters can have special attributes, so AVOID IT.
Extra Areas: Depending on the RPG, the GM may add other sections to the sign-up sheet. Again, apply the proper logic here, keep it realistic, don’t make your character better than the others, and try to be creative! Here are a few examples of sections that may be added on.
Powers: Usually associated with superheroes or characters who use magic, Powers are things that ordinary humans do not have. Thus, if your character is just an ordinary human, they should not have any. Popular powers are usually super strength, super speed, pyrokinesis (ability to control fire), hydrokinesis (ability to control water) telekinesis (moving things using the mind) and telepathy (mind-reading). They’re not exactly original or creative, so you may want to look into something that less people have done such as summoning (ability to bring things to the user), animation (bringing things to life), illusion (ability to make people see things) and so on. Often it can be interesting to play around with appearance and personality to either reflect or contrast the character’s powers; for instance, if the character has electrical powers, they have yellow and black hair that is spiky and they have a zippy, almost “supercharged” personality, or doing something where they are an empath (can feel the emotions of others), but they are very antisocial and don’t care about other people.
However, you must be sure that your character isn’t overpowered. All powers should be in moderation, meaning that they don’t have super-mega-reality-defying powers so that they can do anything they want whenever they want with no consequences and can wipe out a hundred bad guys by snapping their fingers. They should not be super powerful or much more experienced than any other character. Remember: all RPers should be around the same power level, so keep all abilities in check.
Weapons: As mentioned, whatever weapon a character uses should make sense in the time period. Characters from the Middle Ages won’t really use shuriken and people in a modern-day society won’t use pikes. In general, the most popular weapons are broadswords, cutlasses and other types of swords, and since you want your character to stand out, going with something a bit more original might help you stand out and be more fun. There are still lots of choices, such as the types of pole weapons, axes, daggers or projectile weapons such as slingshots or crossbows. Do a bit of research and you’ll see that there are still lots of options!
RPG Samples: A GM will add this in so they can see how good you are, and may be a pivotal way for them to decide if you’re good enough to be in their RP. Sometimes they will ask you for a past post, or may just ask you to take the character in your sign-up and put them into a specific situation. Different GMs will expect different lengths for the Sample, but the main thing to remember is quality over quantity. Don’t focus on the length; focus on making it good. That doesn’t mean to leave it short, but don’t bother yourself typing up a three-page essay. And don’t only give dialogue! Include actions, make things happen! Even if it just means adding in “he checked his watch and tapped his foot against the ground,” find ways to keep the story moving. Again, if you’re taking a past RP post, make sure it’s something good; not insanely long, but things are still going on. This is where you want to wow the GM and make them see that you’re good so they’ll want to accept you!
Just remember: whatever you show them in your Sample they will expect during the actual RP. If you’re not going to put the same effort into your posts as your Sample, then don’t even bother making your Sample nice. :/
Keep in mind that your character doesn't need to be this amazing person with a stunning past and pretty hair to be a great character. It's all about how much effort and originality you put into it, and the more the better!
Now, this part is also to help GMs: Pokémon require their own sign-up sheet. Even if they’re owned by a trainer, they’re still individual characters and therefore must have at least the basics of a sign-up sheet. Here is the absolute minimum that should be provided:
Species: What Pokémon it is. Unless it’s a hybrid or a made-up Pokémon, this is straightforward.
Name: The name by which the Pokémon goes. After all, how would wild Pokémon who live together get by without names? If you think about it, unless a trainer doesn’t like nicknames, it’s much easier for everybody if they have names – especially if there’s more than one of a Pokémon in the RP! Also, it may be possible that in the wild, different species have different ways of naming their babies, like perhaps they have a tradition of naming them after the parents, combining different nouns or just using random sounds.
Gender: Again, simple. Do note that some Pokémon can only be one gender, and Pokémon like Staryu and Magnemite have no gender at all. Again, you can have your genderless Pokémon lean more to one gender if you prefer.
Personality: Be careful when you read over the RPG, because some GMs may portray Pokémon differently; some may see them as being very simple and a lot like animals, while others may think that they’re almost as intelligent as humans (such as in Mystery Dungeon RPs). Also note that some Pokémon may be more inclined to having a certain personality depending on their species, such as Growlithe being very loyal and friendly while Marowak may be aggressive loners.
Other things the GM may want to add, but aren’t mandatory:
History: Whether they were born in a pack in the wild or raised by a breeder, all Pokémon have a historyKeep in mind that a Wurmple and a Salamence probably won’t have similar histories (Wurmple live in constant fear of predators while Salamence are territorial hunters). You should still watch out here, as some people tend to also make clichéd pasts for Pokémon, such as having their entire pack be killed by humans and now seeks revenge on humankind, which is very, very overdone.
Attacks: Some GMs like to limit the number of attacks a Pokémon can have. This is somewhat reasonable so that Pokémon like Shuckle and Castform aren’t at such a huge disadvantage to Pokémon with wider movepools. (Hopefully you won’t be limited to just four.) In an RPG, you’ll find that the situations you may encounter require the Pokémon to have a few more abilities on-hand, so try to have a diverse movepool, including attacks to boost/lower stats or inflict status conditions. Also note if the GM allows non-level-up attacks like TMs.
Age/Level: The few times this is included on some sign-up sheets it often gets ultimately ignored during the RP. Either way, play it smart; a wild Meowth that was just caught won’t be as smart, strong or experienced as a Lucario someone had trained for five years. In regards to age, we have to realize that Pokémon are like animals, and not all animals have the same life span. For instance, most bugs breed and die pretty quickly. Lions live between 10-14 years (20 in captivity), depending on the breed dogs live around 11 years, and crocodiles and elephants live until about 70! Apply this to the appropriate Pokémon. Bug-types and rodents wouldn’t live for very long, Rock and Ground Pokémon probably live about as long as a human, and Dragon types might live for a hundred years.
For levels…well, they’re used in the games to calculate the strength of a Pokémon, which really isn't necessary here. But either way, be realistic; it takes time to train a Pokémon, so newbie trainers won’t have teams at level 50. In terms of age VS level, however, you can have a young Pokémon at a high level and an old Pokémon at a low level (depending on if their trainer trained them or not).
Description: Firstly,Shiny Pokémon won’t earn you creativity points, as many RPers give themselves Shinies. Don’t feel obligated to make your Pokémon Shiny; keep in mind that they are very, very, VERY rare, so few trainers will own them. Moving on, other than possible slight colour deviations (like having slightly lighter/darker colouring than usual), since all Pokémon of a species tend to look the same, this section isn’t always needed for a sign-up sheet. Some Pokémon may have physical deformities, or may wear special accessories, in which cases you should definitely add this in. Some GMs, however, may ask that you still provide four lines for description, in which case you can just talk a bit about the way the Pokémon itself looks. However, there are some cases, like if it’s a made-up Pokémon or mix of more than one species, where description is important.
For example, here is Shadowfaith’s description of a Houndoom as her choice of Pokémon. Read it carefully and pick out parts that will help you. She starts off saying that her character looks more or less like the typical Houndoom by describing the species, but then she adds some unique descriptions that only this Houndoom bears:
As you can see, she took the original appearance of a Houndoom and spruced it up a bit, giving him a rough look which gave us insight into his personality. She even showed a bit of history through his accessories. Sometimes it’s all about the little details!This particular Houndoom looks to be like any other, standing at about four feet tall with the usual black coat, a rack of bones on his back and an orange underbelly. But upon closer inspection, silver streaks can be seen in this hound’s coat in the light of both the moon and the sun, and his eyes take on a shocking emerald colour unlike the red or amber his species usually bears, and his orange snout is fixed in a permanent grimace. A clean scar runs over his muzzle, and the rack of bones on his back is scratched and chipped in multiple places as a result of past fights with other Pokémon. Another thin scar runs down his cheek from the corner of his eye, which had nearly blinded this ill-fated Houndoom. He wears a red bandana around his neck in remembrance of his late trainer.
Choosing Your Pokémon: If you are RPing a trainer, you actually should give some thought into what Pokémon they have. Sure, giving them all of your favourite Pokémon might be fun, but would it make sense? Would this character want to capture those specific Pokémon? Here are some helpful tips for when it comes to deciding on a trainer’s Pokémon.
- What general preferences does the trainer have? Do they love cute, squishy things, or are they attracted to brute strength? This can be the difference between a Buizel and a Machamp. Do they like a certain colour, love elegant or strongly dislike creepy things? A person who hates black and is easily scared may not want a Murkrow, and a person who likes sleekness and elegance may be more attracted to Ninetales or Milotic.
- What are the trainer’s main battle strategies? Do they like to attack hard and fast, draw out the battle by inflicting status conditiond, boost their stats before getting in a powerful hit, or change the weather to use it to their advantage? Most trainers may lean towards a specific strategy or set of strategies, so they will have specifically caught Pokémon with specific stats and attacks for this.
- Where have they travelled to? They probably won’t own Pokémon from Johto if they’ve never been there, and if they hate and never go to cold places they probably won’t have been able to catch any ice-types. If they spent a lot of their time in one place, they’ll probably own a lot of Pokémon who live around that area.
- Do they enjoy catching Pokémon? A trainer who dislikes taking Pokémon away from their habitat may not own very many because of guilt, but if they enjoy catching all the different species they encounter or love the thrill of searching, they may own lots.
- What is their training technique? Perhaps they prefer to just catch a few Pokémon, create a strong bond with them and concentrate on training them, and working on specific techniques or weaknesses. Or they may like to have as many different Pokémon, and they’ll store them in their PC until they need the powers or advantages of that creature, and thus not training all their Pokémon all equally. Remember: you don’t have to have a full party, and some GMs may allow you to keep Pokémon in your PC which you may or may not be able to use.
- Is it overused? There are clichés even in Pokémon teams, and there are just some teams that are generally seen too often. The most common Pokémon in trainer RPs are the fully-evolved forms of starters, eeveelutions, Raichu, Scyther and often Pidgeot or Dragonite, and all too often one of them will be a Shiny. Aside from wanting to impress the GM with your originality, remember to give your character Pokémon that they would realistically own. But sometimes you can go too overboard here; giving a dark, emo character all dark and ghost Pokémon is a little too cliché Be realistic, and go look through SPPf’s Pokédex for other, less-used Pokémon! You may find yourself with a really interesting, under-used team.
If you’re still curious about Pokémon sign-ups, I made a thread going into more detail and depth on these characters here.
Things to Avoid: Naturally, there are just some things that just shouldn’t be done for multiple reasons - mainly because we've seen them a million times already. Here are a couple of basic things that you should not do.
- Characters having a really miserable past where multiple people they know died
- Characters sworn to get revenge for said deaths
- Characters who are generally very dark, act like loners and are mysterious, giving away little about themselves
- Characters with no physical flaws (great body, perfect skin, don’t need glasses, perfect weight/build, good sense of fashion)
- Girls who are really “pretty” or are generally considered good-looking to the extent that most boys find them attractive, ditto for attractive boys
In Pokémon RPGs:
- Characters who can understand Pokémon perfectly (when nobody else can)
- Characters who own/befriend/meet legendary Pokémon for no reason
- Characters who are great battlers from the very beginning of their journey and accomplish everything with ease
- Trainers who own most of their Pokémon by befriending them rather than battling them
- Trainers who just happen to catch a perfectly-balanced team of Pokémon
- Trainers who are champions of other regions (it's unfair if other characters are new to training and yours is an expert)
General things to Avoid:
- Making your sign-up really long - most GMs don’t want to sift through lengthy paragraphs
- Typing everything up quickly without looking it over so there is bad spelling/grammar
- Including details that don't match the setting, time period or character's age or culture
- Giving your character “special powers” or any advantage over other players
- Using an existing canon characters for your appearance but not actually describing them properly
- Constantly using the same character (and/or trainer's Pokémon team) for multiple RPGs
- Making your character a total stereotype (remember that GMs want originality!)
- Saying a character is “beautiful” or “ugly” in their description. Every person views beauty or ugliness differently, so not all characters in the RP may think they’re pretty/ugly, and the GM or other RPers may not think so, either. Be objective, and don’t try to make a generalization about what every single person thinks about your character’s appearance.
Mary-Sues and Gary-Stus: The former is female, the latter male, however females tend to pop up mroe often.
This is basically an unrealistically perfect character. Everything she does is perfect, always knowing what to do. She has no faults, and if she does have a fault, it doesn't hinder her in any way. She usually has great luck, and good things always happen to her. Everyone loves her because she is perfect, such as boys crushing on her for her gorgeous looks or others admiring her kindness. If someone doesn't like her/get along with her, they are labelled as being bad or evil. She takes every opportunity to show how good and wonderful she is, and if she ever does something wrong, it’s quickly forgotten or ignored. The world seems to revolve around her and her perfection.
Avoid making this kind of character at all costs. They are unrealistic, offer no originality, and will not impress the GM. However, if you try to make the exact opposite in every way, you have something called an Anti-Sue (usually a miserable, hate-filled character), which isn’t much better. Just concentrate on making your character realistic above all.
To the Game Masters: we cannot stop you from accepting crappy sign-ups that were created in two minutes, but it would greatly benefit your RPG if you ask them to add more to it if it’s obviously lacking – especially because it could get the RP closed. If you're not sure about their skill level, ask them for an RPG Sample. RPG Samples may take a while to write, but they also show the member’s capability in RPGs. If they do not meet standards in the Sample, then it is more than likely that they will not do well in the actual RPG either. Remember that if a Mod sees that a lot of posts in an RP are under the basic quality level, it may get closed, so make sure that whoever you pick has the right skills.
But of course, whether you accept them is up to you, but it would make the RPG forums a nicer place if you kept to the minimum length rule, even in sign-ups, plus you'll probably get chided by the Mods otherwise and face possible thread closure.
And that ends this little guide. The Mods feel strongly about this; we are pretty tired of seeing short sign-ups lacking detail that were clearly done in two minutes that give next to no information. Just one line of detail isn’t enough, and the same old thing over and over gets dull.
We also now have a Sign-Up Review Thread where you can post your sign-ups here and get feedback from other members on how to improve. We’ll do our best to help you out and give advice. ^^
Please feel free to post questions if you're not sure of something, or if you would like to add something further!
This post may not be duplicated or in any way posted or used elsewhere.
~Psychic and the RPG Moderating team