Hidden Winds Holt
Unacceptable Character #1
For further clarification of what is and is not acceptable, we present unacceptable character #1. This is the first of the two most common character types out there.
Character Name: Brightdark
The problem with this name is threefold - Firstly, it makes use of the word "bright" which is already being used by Brightclaw. Secondly, nothing about the rest of the character indicates why her name is Brightdark; the name has nothing to do with her looks, personality, or history. Thirdly, the name itself is a contradiction in terms. Perhaps there could be a valid reason for such a name to be given to this elf, but we need to know the reason, and know that you know the reason. As it stands now we can only assume that this name has been chosen because you think it sounds cool. Well, it doesn’t. It sounds stupid.
~Cub Name: Feather
Preybird’s childhood name was Feather. We don’t ask you to read all CISs for the sake of our health, but rather to avoid mistakes like this
Soul Name: Xena
Aside from sounding incredibly stupid and demonstrating your glaring lack of creativity, this is also one hundred percent unacceptable. Drawing inspiration from existing, copyrighted characters is fine, and not something we can really control or prohibit anyway. However, lifting names from existing, copyrighted characters is not, not even for your soul name. If you think you can get around this rule by pulling a name from a more obscure character, or from a fandom other than EQ, well, you might at that. However, if we are discover at any time that your character is using the name of any canon character, either in EQ or any other fandom, do not be surprised if we ask you to change it.
(NOTE: There are two exceptions to this rule within this holt. First is the healer Buckthorn, who was created by a member no longer with us who, at the time, did not realize that there was a canon EQ character of the same name. By the time it was realized, this Buckthorn was firmly established as Buckthorn in our minds. Until we are asked by the Pinis to change it, or until good ol' Bucky earns a name change, it stays. Second is the soul name of Flaretalon, my character. When I created the character, for a different holt nearly two years ago, I knew Bearclaw's soul name to be Renn from the Blood of Ten Chiefs stories. It wasn't until the better part of six months later that I learned the comic had changed it to Grenn, disturbingly similar to Flaretalon's Gren. But, again, he is Gren in my mind and will stay as such unless I am asked to change it by the Pinis.)
No character will be refused on this basis, but I'd like to point out that elves are extremely long-lived. Playing a character over the age of 100 does not make that character old or infirm.
Family: Swiftrobin (mother), Preybird (father), Kesna (half-sister), Nightowl (half-brother)
Okay, first - what? Second - no. There is nothing wrong with being related to characters already in the holt. However, it is recommended that you contact their players with a request to join their family before submitting your CIS to us. In this case, the character has been inserted into a family in the unlikeliest of ways, and in a way that would require altering the histories and personalities of the characters already in the holt. It would have been better had "Brightdark" been listed as Preybird’s cousin or something similar.
Lovemates: Open (has a crush on Flaretalon)
Do not put this in your CIS and expect anyone to be happy about it. It is a sad trend in most holts that, if there is a male chief, there are fifteen females who are in love with him. I suspect it is a matter of status to have your character mated to the chief, and so it seems to be a highly sought-after position. I can guarantee you, however, that the moment you put this in your CIS is the moment Flaretalon gains a lasting dislike for the character. That’s me being contrary. It’s also me not wanting to have Flaretalon be the only elf of note in this holt. That’s not the point of a holt. Flaretalon is NOT the "main character." There is no "main character." The tribe is full of male elves who, if your elf must have an object of affection, are probably more likely to have be receptive to your advances, and with players far more receptive than I'm going to be as well. However, you should concentrate more on the character itself than who the character would like to sleep with, and leave mates a peripheral concern to be addressed far down the line. Putting this sort of thing in your CIS indicates that you’re joining the holt with the sole purpose of getting your character mated to Flaretalon, and I am only too happy to quash your dreams of succeeding in that endeavor.
This is not asking you if you’d like a Recognized mate. It’s asking if the character has a Recognized mate.
Skills/Hobbies: Brightdark is the most amazing dancer there has ever been. She is very quick and is a good fighter with almost any weapon and is one of the best fighters in the tribe. She is the fastest runner and a good swimmer.
Okay, folks. Meet Betty Superelf. An amazing dancer, fighter, runner, and swimmer - is there anything this girl can’t do?! This sort of thing will never be acceptable. We’re playing with elves here, not infallible superheroes who have no weaknesses and can do everything short of fly. Also note the stepping on the toes of established characters - by saying that she’s one of the best fighters, and giving her no motivation for being a good fighter other than a casual whim that caused her to take up the sword, that seriously undermines the effectiveness of fighters who have trained hard for hundreds of years; not to mention that it’s highly implausible at best for her to be so good at so much and not even a hundred years old. Also, she is the fastest runner, yet according to Nightowl’s CIS, he is probably the fastest. Hmm. Which character are we going to side with on this? Take a guess.
Weapons/Tools: A wickedly curved sword with a lot of heft to it. She’s the only one who can wield it.
Huh? Okay, no weapon should be able to be used by only your character. It’s simply not practical. These elves lived a hard life before coming to this holt and spent much of it fighting for their survival. If a weapon was discovered to be effective in killing, others learned how to use it. Also, this says nothing of why she’s the only one able to use it.
Tribal Duty: Dancer, warrior
Of all the duties available, the two most at odds were chosen. Perhaps a valid reason can be given for why an elf would hold both of these duties, but until we see it explained to our satisfaction, the answer is no.
Hunting Party/Gathering Party: Hunting
So she’s a dancer, a warrior, and a hunter. That’s three duties, one of which wasn’t listed under duties. No. It's not gunna happen.
Personality: Brightdark is a very flirty elfess. She likes to tease the males and is very friendly. She is very sexy but it is unconscious and she doesn’t know how much she oozes sexuality. When she’s fighting she’s bloodthirsty and uncontrolled, a tough beauty waiting to be tamed.
Does this seem familiar? You’ve probably seen this character before. She lives in nearly every holt out there, under a hundred different names. This is the single most common character type submitted to every holt I know, and it is the first one we think to turn away. Her only personality trait is her love of a good flirt or a good fight, though she’s not always a fighter in her many different incarnations. There are so many things wrong with these four sentences, not the least of which being that you cannot manage to fit an entire personality in four sentences.
1. "Brightdark is a very flirty elfess." As that is the first thing you see under personality, that indicates to me that this is what the creator considers the most important aspect of the character. She flirts. As I consider the personality to be the most important section of the CIS, I can only conclude that Brightdark’s flirting is the most important part of the entire character. This is unacceptable and will never be allowed. It is boring and common and serves only to tell me that no thought was put into this character.
2. "She likes to tease the males and is very friendly." I have already been informed that she likes to flirt. It does not need to be stated that she likes to tease males. She can be friendly; friendly is good. However, in this context it is added as an afterthought, as if the creator never intended to have the character interact with anyone but males and so never put any thought into it. Rest assured that your character will never be interacting with just one character or one group of characters. Thought needs to be put into how the character will act around people who don’t have external genitalia.
3. "She is very sexy but it is unconscious and she doesn’t know how much she oozes sexuality." The second I see this phrase or any like it, my hackles go up and my first inclination is to refuse the character and player on the spot. How is it, exactly, that a character whose entire being centers around the pursuit of sex doesn’t know that she’s sexy? It makes no sense. Also note the projecting of human attitudes onto elves. Elves are very open and honest about their sexuality and their desires. Humans are not, and so we place a great deal of emphasis on anything relating to sex because for us, it’s not just a part of life. For an elf, it is just a part of life and should never be getting this much attention.
4. "When she’s fighting she’s bloodthirsty and uncontrolled, a tough beauty waiting to be tamed." This is another phrase that sets my teeth on edge. What century are we in again? Why is it that every female character needs to be "tamed" by a male? Again with the imposing archaic human standards on elves; I have only seen one instance of a male elf wanting to "tame" a female in the whole of canon EQ and she put him in his place but good. That Brightdark is actually waiting to be "tamed" is sad and indicates to me that the player needs a social life. I would also like to know how a friendly, happy, flirty character interested only in having a good time can turn into a bloodthirsty killer at the drop of a hat once battle starts up. This is another instance where there are possible explanations, but none is given which means there was no thought put into the character which means it’s a prime candidate for being denied entry.
Likes/Dislikes: Likes males, furring, dancing, laughing, celebrations, a good fight, and riding her wolf. Dislikes being alone, losing a fight, and frowny elves.
The Likes/Dislikes section should reveal more about the character, it shouldn’t be a rehash of things we already know. We already know that she’s a dancing warrior Wolfrider who likes males and that’s she’s friendly, so it would be safe to assume that she likes males, furring, dancing, laughing, celebrations, a good fight, and riding her wolf. I want to know something new. Same with the dislikes. All of them are things that we could glean from reading the rest of her CIS; I want to see something I can’t pick up by reading everything else.
Fears: Death and that she‘ll never find her true love.
These are the two most common fears (a variation on not finding her true love is being alone). I have seen these exact same fears on at least fifty other characters. Of course death is going to be a fear; these elves do not have access to the palace and are not really aware that death is just a new beginning. It is a big glaring unknown and it is unlikely that anyone is really going to be thrilled about it happening to them. It is one of those fears that is implied and does not need to be stated. That she fears not finding her true love is another symptom of the widespread syndrome I mentioned before, wherein any female character just needs to have a male in order to feel complete.
Hair: Knee-length tresses of soft gold curls that are often left loose. She’ll tie up little braids with decorations of delicate silver and pearls sometimes.
Wildly impractical for just about everything this character would ever be doing. Trust me on this one. Dancing, fighting, hunting - all of it would be hindered severely by long hair left unbound. All those tiny, pretty decorations would be gone in the first five minutes of any battle in which she fought. And that's not even bringing up the pearls, which this tribe, being land-dwelling, would not have any access to.
Eyes: Large and beautiful, framed with thick lashes. They are a deep, vibrant purple and males find it hard not to get lost in them.
Okay. Purple eyes seem to be a favorite among would-be temptress characters. I don’t know why. If your character must be a sexpot, at least try to be a little original about it. And please, whatever you do, don’t tell those of us who play males how our elves can react to looking your elf in the eyes. I can guarantee you that ninety percent of the male elves will dislike this character just because the creator is so insistent about them all loving her and humans are contrary creatures.
Facial Features: Brightdark’s face is gorgeous. It is oval with very delicate, feminine features.
Here’s a tip - elves are good-looking. There is no need to make special mention of the fact that your elf is attractive.
Height/Build: Taller than average, just tall enough to look most males in the eyes. Her hips and bust are -very- full, but her waist is tiny and hidden beneath all those curves are muscles that lend her strength that rivals that of most males.
Yet another physical description I have seen more times than I can count. There’s nothing wrong with her having an hourglass figure; that’s one of the perks of being an elf. However, "all those curves" completely undermine everything else we know about this character’s abilities. She’s super fast, yet she’s not at all streamlined or designed for speed. She’s an amazing warrior and a better dancer, yet those exaggerated curves are going to get in the way of both of these activities. It could be argued that she got her body and her genetic makeup before she got her affinity for fighting and dancing; however, as we are creating these characters we have the advantage of foresight, of knowing what they’ll be and being able to adjust the body accordingly. In this case, I would advise the creator to decide whether she wants her elf to be sexy or whether she wants her to be a warrior and dancer, and make special mention of the fact that a lumpy chest and big butt does not always equal sexy.
Typical Clothing: She wears a low-slung miniskirt of white leather with purple silk lining the edges. Her halter top, also white leather lined with purple silk, is quite revealing and often males will watch her move to see if one or the other will finally fall off, as it seems they are almost always going to. She wears knee-high boots of shiny white leather trimmed in purple leather; they have a two-inch heel on them.
1. Where precisely is she getting this silk?
2. Why is she wearing white leather in the middle of a forest? There’s a reason albino animals die early; their white color makes them easy prey. One would think such an amazing hunter as Brightdark would know better than to wear a color that is found in nature only rarely and often punished when it is found. And that’s only assuming that the tanner would be able to get leather truly white in the first place.
3. She’s wearing heeled boots. I don’t think I need to say more on that subject.
4. Her clothes are practically falling off, and yet her roles as dancer and warrior require her to be very active. This leaves her with two choices. One, to stop in the middle of her dance or her fight and pull her clothes back on. Two, to let them fall off. Either way it’s unacceptable.
5. Again with the dictating of what other characters are doing. If you’re practically playing other characters in your CIS before you even get to the RP, chances are pretty good that you’re not going to get to the RP.
6. The description of what she wears is longer and more involved than the description of her personality. Considering our RP does not consist of the characters walking around and talking about how they look, there is not now and never will be any excuse for this.
Color Scheme: White and purples.
Jewelry/Decorations: Brightdark wears three gold necklaces, at least five gold bracelets on each wrist, a gold armband on each upper arm, ankle bracelets whenever she’s got her boots off, and four earrings in each ear.
There was a reason Cutter took off Leetah’s jewelry when she first got to the woods. It makes noise. Wolfriders don’t. Your character should be no exception, and especially not when your character is listed as a hunter.
Special Possessions: Her jewelry.
This is a glaring sign of how little thought has been put into this CIS. As I mentioned before, every category in this CIS is designed to show more about the character, not to reiterate things we already know about her. Here the creator had a chance to add a little depth to the character by giving her a special possession that had not already been mentioned, perhaps a memento of her mother or the pelt of her first wolfbond. However, the jewelry gets the special possession spot. Worse, it is not explained why any of this is special to her. There is a world of difference between a special possession and a belonging you like.
Personal History: Brightdark was the daughter of the secret romance between Preybird and Swiftrobin. She grew up happy and has been dancing since she was little. She taught herself how to do all the tribal dances as there was no elder dancer to teach her. She liked to flirt when she was young and still does. When she was thirty, she decided she wanted to be a fighter too so she took up a sword she’d found lying around outside the lodge and taught herself how to fight with it until she was one of the best fighters in the tribe.
1. There was no secret romance between Preybird and Swiftrobin. If there was, it would need to be cleared with Preybird’s player first because I’m not going to ask if it’s okay for you.
2. Assuming Brightdark is the secret lovechild of Preybird and Swiftrobin, that undoubtedly had a huge impact on her early life. Yet it receives no mention. Which parent she lived with, her relationship with them and with Truespear, Swiftrobin’s lifemate, how the character ties into Kesna and Nightowl, the children of Truespear and Swiftrobin - none of this is addressed at all. Assuming that it was agreed by all that this history would be acceptable for this character, I need to be shown that it matters to the character to have it as such. I could take out that Brightdark is in any way related to Preybird and Kesna and Nightowl, give her parents who died when she was young, and it would have no impact on the rest of the CIS at all. If your CIS is nothing but loose strings left dangling, in no way tied together into any sort of cohesive character, don’t expect to get a good review.
3. She danced when she was young, all well and good. However, she could not have taught herself how to dance, since the dances performed here are all structured and have set steps. There would never have been an instance where there was no dancer to teach, for the dances are always passed on to someone and someone always held them.
4. We do not need to be beaten over the head with how much she likes to flirt. One mention of it is perfectly sufficient; it shouldn’t show up in every other category of the CIS.
5. She just found a sword lying around outside one day. This is so unlikely, and yet this sort of thing is so common in submitted CISs. Your elf should not have some mysterious possession that he or she just found one day unless you can give me a good reason why.
6. As with the dancing, she taught herself how to fight. As with dancing, this is unacceptable. In a tribe of elves who, until recently, spent much of their time fighting life-or-death battles, there is no reason that any elf who wished to fight would be untrained. There is also no way that a self-trained elf would become one of the best all on her own.
7. There is no mention of recent history or her reaction to it. This tribe has recently had its entire world turned upside down, what with the relocation and the changing of chiefs. Unless your elf is a complete featherhead who couldn't care less, we need to know what sort of impact these changes had on your character.
This is an unnecessarily dramatic name for an unnecessarily dramatic wolf.
Three is not yet fully grown. As an adolescent wolf, the rest of his appearance and personality becomes implausible at best.
Appearance: The biggest wolf in the pack. He is very fierce looking.
Superlatives on wolves are like superlatives on elves - you need to make certain that no other wolf is the biggest or fastest before deciding that yours is.
Personality: Heartripper only likes Brightdark. He won’t let anyone else near him and will try to kill any wolf that looks like its threatening her. With Brightdark he becomes happy and playful, like a puppy. He is the alpha wolf.
He cannot be the alpha wolf. Mantracker is the alpha male. Even if Mantracker were not, I would never accept a wolf of this temperament as any sort of leader in the pack. If he’s that overtly hostile chances are that the pack would sooner drive him out than accept him as leader. Also, there’s no reason for him to be so hostile. Dogs who are as prone to attacking as Heartripper here are made that way, either by training or mistreatment, and no wolf should have that quality. And what is that with the bond only liking the elf they're bonded to? Having this sort of thing just screams "I'm special!!" and you shouldn't need a violent wolfbond to be special.