Hidden Winds Holt
Unacceptable Character #2
(With special guest reviewer Alysa, resident expert on horrible angsty loner characters.)
Aaaaaaand here’s one of the most stereotypical character types that EQ has ever known – the angsty, watched-his-entire-tribe-and-family-slaughtered, wandering loner. Angsty characters are bad (usually). Characters from other tribes (especially extinct ones) are bad. Wandering characters are bad. Loner characters are bad. Yet so many of you like putting them all together into one horrible character. >.< Well. Don’t. And here are so many of the reasons why you shouldn’t.
Character Name: Blackheart
Yay for gratuitous dramatic-sounding names! … or not. Seriously. Is this guy a four-pack-a-day smoker or something? We no like pointless melodramatic names. >.<
~Cub Name: Wildblaze
Bah! Not only does this not sound anything like the cub the history describes, but the name is just ridiculous besides. Wildblaze. Has me wondering what kind of blazes AREN’T wild? Isn’t that part of what CHARACTERISES a blaze – it being wilder than a smaller fire? That’s like saying “Dark black” or “Bright sun.”
Soul Name: Marithura
Oi. Noooooo long, poetic-sounding soul names. Keep it to a few syllables please.
The rules said that Tallstag was the oldest, so you decided to push it as far as you could and made your character practically as old. >.< Dude. No.
Family: Chief Darksoul (father, deceased) and Lilywhite, a healer (mother, deceased) and Snowtop (twin sister, missing)
1) “Chief Darksoul” – as if this character being from a completely different tribe isn’t bad enough, he also has to be the son of the slain chief? Why? So he can go all “Lion King” on us and one day retake his rightful place as king… er… chief? Trust me on this: Simba he ain’t. And further, this is a poorly disguised attempt at trying to challenge Flaretalon’s authority. Ain’t gonna work, bucko. Some people need to learn that being chief isn’t the ONLY way to be an important character.
2) “Lilywhite, a healer” – now there’s a stereotype and a half. Not only the son of a chief, but a healer too? And the healer was gentle and nice, if the name is anything to go by? No. First, you’re creating a character that you’re implying is somehow cool and important because he’s the son of a chief and a healer. No. It’s been done. Second, healers don’t ALWAYS have to be gentle and nice. Look at Bucky! He’s nice, but he’s also ::gasp:: a guy! AND he’s not a wilting flower!
Never as in, not yet, or never as in, never gonna? If it’s the former, than saying “none” is fine. If it’s the latter, than you need to explain why, since elves don’t have stigmas about sex and relationships like humans do, so you’ll need a DARN good reason to apply something so human to an elf.
Recognized: High Ones NO! He’ll resist it to the day he dies!
Gah. -.- This is SO not original. First – EXPLAIN why Recognition is supposedly such a horrible prospect to him, since it’s a way of life to elves and the creation of life is something that is joyful, not burdensome. Second – I cannot imagine anything more selfish or cruel than to deny a Recognition with someone, bringing both elves horrible pain and sickness until they die. Because you’re messed up about it, you’re going to make the other elf suffer? That’s not cool. And third – you may think it’s dramatic to deny a Recognition. It’s not. Not only is the drama not needed, but it’s not even real drama, so just don’t.
Skills/Hobbies: Blackheart is deadly with his weapons or just his hands. He is stealthy and can sneak up on any elf that he chooses. He can manipulate anyone into doing what he wants. He has the most beautiful voice ever heard, but no one will ever hear it because he sings only to himself late at night when no one is near.
1) “… is deadly with his weapons or just his hands” – well who isn’t? Honestly, I don’t know any elf that plays around with weapons that they can’t use effectively, so there’s no need to state that your elf can kill with his weapons. Saying your elf is EXCEPTIONALLY skilled with them is another matter, and even then you have to be careful because you may be tempted to make a SUPER elf.
2) “…is stealthy” – ya think? Elves are SUPPOSED to be stealthy. If he’s EXCEPTIONALLY stealthy, than say so, otherwise leave it out.
3) “…can sneak up on any elf that he chooses” – whoa there cowboy. Other players are going to get a tad bit upset if you imply that their elves are too stupid or too incompetent to realize someone is sneaking up on them. You may want your elf to be super stealthy, but it’s not your right to dictate who can and cannot detect him.
4) “He can manipulate anyone into doing what he wants.” – Wha? I get this one a lot and it never ceases to bewilder me. If your elf is living in a pit of treacherous, lyin’ snakes, then this MAY make sense. Otherwise, why does the character need to be manipulative? Where’s the cause for this effect? Has this elf encountered lots of elves in his time that he needs to manipulate? And if he’s manipulating them, that means he must have some purpose behind it. Ya can’t just leave something like this dangling. Be sure to clarify on these kinds of points.
5) “… he has the most beautiful voice ever heard” Aww, ain’t that sweet? Kinda cloying, even, isn’t it? “… but no one will ever hear it” then why include it? “… he sings only to himself” why? Does it comfort him? Bolster him? Soothe him? What? “…late at night when no one is near” … and I just bet it’s on top of a cliff bathed in moonlight, and the song is heart-breaking in its beauty and sorrow, and the evening breeze carries its sweet notes to the other elves below and… NO. This is a cliché and a half, people. Just… no.
6) This elf is supposedly a wanderer, having lived on his own for centuries. Where are all the tanning and sewing skills? What about the herbal skills? He’s been taking care of himself all this time, therefore he MUST have learned some of these things or he’d be dead by now. Or naked with bones that are malformed from breaking and never being set back into place.
Weapons/Tools: A large cruelly curved sword along with a knife.
First – this is one of the most common weapon combos EVER. Think of something original! Not everyone has to be lugging around a big ol’ sword, or a bow (another VERY common weapon) for that matter. Second – “cruelly curved” ? As opposed to “nicely” or “mercifully” curved? Adding “cruelly” is a bad dramatic cliché in most cases, so be wary of it.
Tribal Duty: Rogue
Back up. When did being a rogue become a tribal duty? This is a tribe that is living through hard times. They’re not gonna take lightly to someone that cannot carry their own weight and that lazes about everyday.
Hunting Party/Gathering Party: HUNTING! Gathering is for the women-folk.
Gah! There seems to be this idea that the only “manly” or “cool” thing to do is hunt. Since when? The food brought in by gathering is extremely important to this tribe. They don’t, after all, live ENTIRELY on meat from hunts, and oftentimes hunters are going to return empty handed. What then? Just… PLEASE get it out of your head that the only buff or cool thing to do is hunt. >.<
First – magic has to be requested, and only after a member has already been playing another character and proven their reliability. Second – animal-imitation is forbidden. Third – animal-imitation is stereotypical of loners. WAY too many Tarzans and Georges of the Jungle out there. What? You removed your elf from the rest of his kind, and gave him lots and lots of cool animal friends to make up for it? No.
Personality: Blackheart is dark and mysterious. He is most often brooding and would prefer to remain alone as opposed to the constant company of others. He is QUITE intimidating. But really, on the inside Blackheart is sweet and gentle, with a warm, loving heart. He is very very loyal and will guard those he loves closely. Don’t get on his bad side – his temper is deadly!
1) “… is dark and mysterious” – aren’t they all? I’ve never yet met a loner that isn’t in some way dark and/or mysterious. Mysterious about what? Blackheart has been given no secrets anywhere in this CIS, so what does he have to be mysterious about?
2) “… most often brooding and would prefer to remain alone” – ah. The angsty teenager. Besides being yet again stereotypical of a wanderer, it’s ridiculous considering this elf is as old as he is (remember Treestump and Clearbrook? Remember them acting their age, not their height?). An elf his age should NOT be displaying the melodramatic angst so often seen in teenaged humans. Besides, it’s been centuries for him to get over his past experiences.
3) “… is QUITE intimidating” – why? Does he commonly loom up over everyone else, stroking his sword? Does he make threats and then actually carry them out so that the elves actually have reason to be intimidated? If not, then this statement is ridiculous. If so, then Blackheart would be likely to get kicked out of the tribe the first time he started pulling that attitude. Not to mention, once again players aren’t going to appreciate being told how their elves are supposed to act. Let the other players decide. Don’t just dictate.
4) “… on the inside Blackheart is sweet and gentle, with a warm, loving heart” – huh? Besides being done WAY too often, this is just plain WRONG. If you want a dark, sinister type character, then stick with that. Don’t cop out later by saying that he really is sweet and nice, just misunderstood. It’s cheating. And it doesn’t make sense. It’s like making a shy character that is quite jovial and fond of celebrations. It doesn’t add up.
5) “…very, very loyal” – nice to know. Also very over-done.
6) “… will guard those he loves closely” – as opposed to the elves that DON’T?
7) “Don’t get on his bad side – his temper is deadly!” – such an unstable elf would be gotten rid of before he could ever start making trouble. Sorry, but we don’t want a psychopath going on a killing spree over a wolf piddling in his den.
8) This personality is badly squashed together and the individual pieces make no sense together.
Likes/Dislikes: He likes being alone and storms. He doesn’t like children or celebrations.
1) “He likes being alone” – then why’d he join a tribe? Consistency, people!
2) “…and storms” – why? Cause they’re pretty? Cause they’re powerful? Clarify! This should tell us something about the character!
3) “He doesn’t like children” – neither do I, but at least I give reasons. He should too. Incidentally, not ALL curmudgeons dislike children. Some prefer children over adults. Keep that in mind.
4) “… or celebrations” – again, why. Don’t go for the over-done stuff. Spread your wings and try something new!
Fears: Losing anyone else he loves
Yet another one of the most common responses received ever. Isn’t this a bit of a given, anyway? Of course everyone’s going to be afraid of that on some level. Now, if this fear gives him commitment issues, then that’s something you can elaborate on and have fun with (even though it’s more unneeded angst), whereas this doesn’t shed any light on the character.
Hair: Short and black, several locks hanging in his eyes, shadowing them
Ah, the age-old shadowing of the eyes trick. Don’t do it. It’s been done. Lots of times. Also, just because the personality is dark doesn’t mean the appearance should be as well. Try to avoid stereotypes.
Eyes: Dark brown, these eyes can alternately pierce your soul with their searching gaze, or melt your heart with their lonely sadness
First – you’ve now made a character that looks just like Preybird. Preybird’s player will not like this. Don’t do this. Ever. Brown hair and blue eyes are one thing, but when the hairstyle and shades all match up, then you’re in the no-no zone. Second – the whole piercing of the soul thing is not only annoyingly melodramatic, but also annoying in the sense that players will not be happy if your elf goes around ferreting out their secrets for no reason. Third – if he has lonely eyes, how does he maintain that dark persona? If he has such expressive eyes, then how can he be considered mysterious? Consistency!
Facial Features: Simply breath-taking in its beauty, with pouting lips
All elves are beautiful unless their features have become horribly malformed in an accident. Get over it. And the pouting lips thing? Yes, some lips look that way, but please don’t pair them with sullen, brooding characters. It brings about a tick in my eye.
Height/Build: The tallest elf in the holt, with a great muscular body
Oh I’ll bet. Be careful of stepping on other players’ toes with the “tallest elf” stuff. You may want to tell us HOW the elf got SUCH a great body. Elves aren’t born with six-packs and rippling deltoids, people.
Typical Clothing: Butter-soft black leather pants tucked into black fur boots, a black poet’s shirt with long billowing sleeves, covered by a black tunic and cloak.
Keep in mind where you’re playing when you design clothing. These elves are obviously not wearing poet’s shirts. Not only can they probably not make them, but these kinds of clothes are impractical where they live.
Color Scheme: Black, black, and more black!
Oi. Do I even have to say it anymore? STEREOTYPE. Loners/wanderers/angsty characters do NOT have to wear all black!
Jewelry/Decorations: Silver wrist guards with gold inlay in ancient designs, silver arm bands, and a silver necklace.
Ancient designs? From where? Silver arm bands? You mean under all his layers of clothing somewhere? Avoid gratuitous jewelry.
Special Possessions: Nothing – he’s not into material things.
And yet he piles on the jewelry. Riiiiiiight. Further, special possessions don’t HAVE to be material. Keep that in mind. It could be something abstract like a memory.
Personal History: Blackheart was born the sweet, happy son of Chief Darksoul back in the desert wastes. Chief Darksoul on the other hand, hated his son and would have banished him if it weren’t for the intervention of his mother, Lilywhite, a healer. Instead, Blackheart remained in his tribe and endured the constant neglect and abuse of his father, who never showed any love or any other kind of attention to him. When he was still young, poor Blackheart witnessed the attack of his tribe by a marauding tribe of humans. All were slain, and Blackheart was left alone. Brokenhearted and suffering from horrible nightmares that relived the deaths of his family, Blackheart began to wander Abode, partly in hopes of finding his long-lost twin sister Snowtop. Now he has found the Wolfriders, and has begun to make it his new home.
1) “sweet, happy son” - they always start out sweet, don’t they? It’s a cop-out again, implying that Blackheart may one day become sweet and happy again. Stick with the character type you chose, however melodramatic and annoyingly angsty it is.
2) “… in the desert wastes” – really? So far, nothing in this CIS has suggested that this elf grew up in the desert. Be careful of little pitfalls like this. Try to keep your CIS tied together. If the desert has nothing to do with the character, then don’t include it. It’s just unnecessary information. Even better, you could come up with a setting that DOES make sense and DOES contribute to the character.
3) “… hated his son and blah and blah blah…” – Oi! You may have already caught on that I’m not a big fan of lots of angst. It wasn’t bad enough that he watches his family die, but he also had a horrible childhood? This is just gratuitous angst and it’s a no-no. I’m TIRED of getting overly angsty, melodramatic characters!
4) His tribe was killed. Whose isn’t? This is probably one of the oldest clichés in EQ fandom. Don’t do it. I beg of you.
5) He’s a loner. -.- And a wanderer. >.< Save us all the trouble and make an elf that was born into HWH.
6) The sister thing. No. No twins, no missing sisters. You know why? Cause we all KNOW that she’ll come up sooner or later with lots of drama and angst and you know how I dislike angst…
7) Oh yeah. The nightmares thing. No again. Just… no. Elves haunted by their pasts are SO early nineties.
Bear? Um… no. This is a WOLFrider holt. No wolf, no bond. Period.
Blackheart has a word-name, but his bond doesn’t? So… he just decided one day that “Gralin” sounded cool? Um, no. Similarly, characters shouldn’t pop up with random names like this. Kesna received her name because she took it from a human word. Other names that have no meaning are no-no’s.
O.o That’s one old bear. Keep in mind that bonds don’t live as long as their elves.
Appearance: Enormous as a grizzly with massive paws tipped with cruel claws
Just once I’d like to see someone bond to a black bear. If wolves aren’t big and mean enough for you, it’s NOT acceptable to simply find something bigger and meaner.
Personality: Death is as stormy and brooding as his owner. He is fiercely protective of his bond and will fall upon any that threatens him.
Why do bonds ALWAYS have to be mean, except for in concern with their bond? Can’t a bond be nice every now and then? And what’s with bears being mean all the time? Don’t ya all remember Smoky the Bear? He was a pretty laid-back dude. And the Carebears. And the Gummibears or whatever those bouncing bears with the purple happy juice were called. Stereotypes BAD. Oh, and the whole fiercely protective thing? Duh. There’s nothing special about that. Trust me. It just sounds dumb more often than not.
Your Name: Princess
Oh I’ll bet. No seriously. If your email addy is really your name, or your real name appears in the “who’s it from” line of an email, just go by that name. The silly nicknames are just confusing unless we’re the ones that gave the nickname to you. Plus we feel silly referring to someone as “Princess” all the time, or “giggles45”.
Age with Birthdate: 12 – not allowed to give out birthdate
If you’re too young to be defying your parents, then you’re too young to be here. No, I’m kidding (kinda). But twelve is too young. And even if you’re over the fifteen age limit for the holt, still take into consideration whether or not you’re mature enough for this game.
Preferred E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com OR Blackheart51289@foofoofoo.com
We only need one. We only want one. We only remember one.
Holt Involvement: I like to write stories with everyone in them!
Good for you! Even if the prospect of most twelve-year-olds writing kinda makes my eye twitch some more. Just be sure to get everyone’s permission before you start dinking around with their characters in your stories. And be sure to be IN character. Flaretalon crying if Blackheart says something mean or Kesna giggling and gossiping with Evenfall over how cute Blackheart is… it’s just wrong.