|elfflame (elfflame) wrote in rp_tutorials,|
@ 2009-04-09 21:07:00
|Entry tags:||resources: applications, resources: fandom specific|
How to App for a RPG
I wrote this a few years back, but it's not really something that will change over time. The How To has a Harry Potter game slant, but it should work for any game if you disregard the Harry Potter specifics.
Any comments on spots that need expansion or change are quite welcome.
How to app for a RPG
I – Choosing a game
A. Decide what characters you’d like to play. Most games, particularly at the beginning, have lots of apps coming in, so if you want one specific character, you might be out of luck. Particularly if you want to play a popular character like Draco Malfoy or Remus Lupin. It’s better to make a list of characters you’re fond of or are otherwise willing and comfortable to play, in order of interest, just for your own reference.
B. Use your character list to decide what sorts of games you’d be interested in. Pre-Marauders, Marauders-era, Marauders-war era, post-Marauders, Harry’s school years, post-Hogwarts, etc. If you’re willing to play Remus, which Remus would you most prefer? His years at Hogwarts? After they left school, but before James and Lily’s deaths? Harry’s years at Hogwarts? Post-war? Just because the character is on your list doesn’t mean you have to be interested in all aspects. Decide where most of your interest seems to lie for the majority of your list.
C. Decide if there are any other things you’re interested or opposed to—
1. How do you most like to play? Threads? AIM? Third person? First person?
2. How do you feel about non-canon games? AU? OCs? Slash?
3. Do you want to be in a small game? A big one? Would you like to help mod? Do you prefer a game with an age-limit, or a smut-free game?
D. Once you have a good idea of what you’d like, scan RPG ad communities for games that seem to fit your characters and wants.
II – Choosing your character
A. Once you’ve found a game you want to join, and the character(s) you want to app for, you need to decide how that character fits into that world.
1. What characters are already in the game and how does your character know them or feel about them?
2. Is there a back story either in game or in canon that you need to take into account? Even if there isn’t, it’s still a good thing to go back through the old posts of the community to see what the game is like, so that you can fit your character into their world better.
3. Try to keep connections to characters that are not in-game to a minimum, so as not to cause problems if that character is brought in by another player who has a different view than you. IE – it’s safe to assume that Seamus and Dean are best friends, but not that they were ever lovers, unless you’ve talked to Dean’s player.
a. These aren’t so much a no-no, as something that is more likely to get you refused right out. Particularly if you are in a game with a canon set of pre-existing characters, and you’re not already in the game. If you’re new to a game like that, best to start with a canon character, and then ask after you’ve played a bit if you can app for your OC as well.
b. Every MS comment counts double for an OC, because these are the most likely to become MS, though name-only characters have a tendency to go MS as well.
c. If you really want an OC, don’t port them from one game to the next and expect them to be the same character. The best OCs usually fill holes that canon characters cannot. Find a way to make them useful to the plot, and you’re far more likely to have that character accepted.
B. Find a list of character questions like this one, and fill them out to the best of your ability.
III – Filling out the app
A. Whatever else you do, take it seriously. This means no net speak, no informal jabs at the Mods--even if friendly, use a spell-checker, and always fill out every aspect of the provided form (meaning the one that the Mods set up as the application to their game. If you want to use another for yourself, that's fine, but always send the Mods the one they put together. There may be reasons their form is different, and using a different form is likely to get you refused), even if there’s a section you can’t stand. The Mods will be playing with you in-game, but your character has not been accepted into the game yet, and it is important to give them the respect they deserve as the Mods. This also applies to those apping for another character at a game they are already part of, or those applying to a game run by a friend. If you want to impress the Mods, send them a well-thought out app, and don’t presume that your new character will get in just because you know them. Sometimes, if you are particularly lucky and/or friends with a/the Mods, you might even get a pass on doing this part, but even if you do, it's still a good exercise to fill one out anyway, just for your own information, and to give yourself an idea of where you'd like to go with them.
B. Before you fill out the app, make sure you know the history of the game, both as it's set up in the intro, and, if the game has been going for a while, what has happened, particularly with characters you will interact with. This will show in your app, and nothing annoys a Mod more than a player apping for their 6th year Hogwarts game like it's a Post-war, or vice-versa. If you're going to be in the game, you'll need to know the info anyway.
C. Answer each section of the app as completely as possible, and with as much information as you can think of. Also, keep in mind length. Many game apps have word-limits, and if you don’t keep to those limits, it is quite likely the Mods will decline your app just for that. More is always better in this case, because it gives a better sense of the player and of their character. For HP games specifically, use the Lexicon as a starting point. Keep in mind, this is just an app. Your character may likely change once they are in-game, in fact, most do to some degree. Most of what you put in an app isn’t set in stone. It’s just a way to let the Mods know what your style is like, and what you think the character is like. Also, changing a canon fact, unless you're in an AU game or have specifically arranged things with the Mods? That'll get you an automatic refusal. Just don't do it.
1. For a name, pay attention to what is already canon. If you do not know, find out. With the net, information is easily available. If you’re adding a first or middle name, keep in mind how the name will sound with the last name, and whatever you do, don’t name them after you. There are plenty of name sites on the web. Search one out, and find appropriate names to choose from. The same goes for birthdate. Think about the influence of dates if you get to make up a date. Not just sign, but also about the time of year they’d have their birthday. It would affect what years they would be in school, at the very least. For example, JK Rowling herself realized that she was going to have to change Hermione’s birth year from 1980 to 1979 because otherwise she would have been in Ginny’s year instead of Harry’s. If you are interested in Astrology, there’s even a site with the different signs and how each house would be under that sign if you’d like a reference before you choose.
2. History should always start with what is known from canon, but keep in mind when the game is set, and where it would land in canon. Never copy the text of any website word-for-word when it comes to a character’s history. It shows. Often, the first place the Mods go to look up information about characters is the Lexicon, so they will know. Not that that means you should copy from anywhere else. Just don’t do it. Also, keep in mind that there may be things in the history you copy that wouldn’t have happened in the game yet, or even that the game is set far beyond the end of the known canon history. For a post-canon character, what happened after canon ended? Whatever you do, don't stop your character's history there. Also, if you’re apping for a fourth-year Marauders game, don’t include details about the Prank, or the years after the Potters died. It makes it look as though you have no clue what the game is about, or when it’s set. This is your way of showing the Mods you’ve thought about your character’s past, and their place in the canon of the game itself. The more you write here, the better, really, as it shows how much thought you’ve given to this character.
3. Likes, dislikes, family, allies, enemies, habits…this is where you are going to show yourself most different from any other player apping the same character, aside from your samples. That means that these things, while they might seem simple, are very important. Give them some thought. Not just about what fits, but what you’re actually willing to play out. Because you’ll need to. It’s what most differentiates your character from any other version of them. Even more so, Personality is vital for this. Sometimes, it’s best to do this after the history, because then you have a clearer picture of what your character is like. And if this section is in the app, don’t answer in single-word sentences. Be verbose. Give a few sentences at least. For example, an app for Lucius post-war would read something like, “Lucius has always believed in the righteousness of the pure-blood cause, and that has not changed, though after five years in Azkaban he’s decided it is easier to hide those beliefs than to stay in prison any longer. He is still proud, and quite sneaky, but he is far more humble than he once was. That does not mean that he will kowtow to Potter and his friends, though.”
4. Physical description.
a. Again, the first place you need to go for these is the Lexicon or another resource to let you know what is canon and what is unknown. When making up the details, keep in mind known details of other known family members. So, if you’re doing a Black, it’s a good bet they have grey eyes and/or black hair. If they’re Weasleys, they almost definitely have red hair and either brown or blue eyes (movie canon, but has been pretty accepted by the community at large). Beyond that, just be realistic. Unless you really explain your reasoning, it’s probably best to stay from bright green or violet eyes.
b. Height and weight can be easily determined by using this Height/Weight chart. Keep in mind physical description. If someone is known to be rather scrawny, keep them underweight for their height. If they’re heavyset or a body-builder, go overweight.
c. Body marks, tattoos, scars and piercings. Keep in mind the character you’re trying to build. Few purebloods are going to have multiple piercings and tattoos up and down their body. Keep in mind battles they’ve been in, Quidditch games they’ve been in, accidents they might have had. All of it. Also, piercings and tattoos are usually gotten for a reason. Why did the character get them, and when? Just something to keep in mind when you say someone has more than earrings. Particularly unusual ones.
5. Miscellaneous details.
a. Blood status – Muggle, Muggleborn, halfblood, pureblood, part-human, non-human. How do they fit? Very important for determining who your character would get on with, and who would dislike them. A very important aspect for a character in the Harry Potter universe.
b. House – this isn’t just a question asking you which house you want to be in. This is asking which you feel the character would fit into. And you need to provide details elsewhere in the app, like the history, that prove that choice. If they’re a Slytherin, there needs to be a certain sneakiness or slyness inherent in their character. If they’re a Ravenclaw, how do they relate to information and learning? Keep in mind, if the character is an adult, there’s always a chance they went elsewhere for schooling, or even were home-schooled unless it says otherwise in canon. This is a great way to vary your less-known character and give you more to work with, just keep in mind that you’ll need to explain why and how they got their schooling somewhere in your app.
c. Familiar/Pet – keep in mind house as well as use. Owls are common, but they aren’t the only familiar. Snakes work best for Slytherins, cats are pretty basic, but there are also other animals—rats, toads, lizards, other sorts of birds. And once out of school, you hardly need to keep to the list. Just keep in mind your character, and what kind of animal you think would be best for their life. Oh, and on that subject, in canon, it has been stated just how uncommon Hedwig is. If you give your character an owl, it is better to stay away from snowy owls, and go for something more common.
d. Sexual orientation – Even if this is not on the form, it is something to keep in mind. If you are apping to a canon game that does not accept slash, it is less important, but even with those who do not accept gay relationships between canon characters, there are still two options – Het or Asexual. Just remember, if you’re choosing, you’re going to need to play things out.
* How does this person react to people of the same sex?
* How do they react to those of the opposite sex?
* How do they react to those they want to sleep with? Have slept with?
* Along with this, you might want to think about how they are when it comes to sex. Are they uptight? Flirty? Promiscuous?
* How many people they have already slept with? Keep canon in mind here, btw…
6. RP ideas/samples
a. Plot ideas – this is not the Mods’ request to ask you to plot out the game. This is where you tell them where you think your character will fit into their world, and if you have any specific connections you’d like to make, or have already made with characters or players already in-game. Again, nothing is set in stone here, it’s just ideas for you and the mods and other players to keep in mind and to connect your character to the game. Again, obviously, the more you put here, the more you show the Mods you’ve actually thought about your character’s place in the game. “Open to anything” is nice, but it can also mean a player who will have trouble finding connections for their character.
b. Journal sample – keep in mind how the game deals with journals, more specifically, how they are meant to be used in-game before you do your sample. If the mods don’t give a clear indication of what format they use in-game, check the community, or email the mods to find out. The same goes for the Sample RP. Also, for both, it is best to use the character you are apping, not something from another game, or a random bit of your writing. When you do that, it feels as though you couldn’t be bothered, and that’s not the impression you want to leave. Also, word-length in this section is especially important.
* Do your character’s explanation about why/how they got their journal.
* If they’re a school-aged character, write their first day back at school.
* Write about an event you hope will happen.
* Write about an event that happened in the recent past for the character.
c. Sample RP – this one is vital. Never forget it. It’s as bad as not including a name or a contact address. Again, make sure you know how the Mods want posts done in the game, and keep in mind word-length.
* Do your character’s Entry Post. Consider this your rough draft.
* Write a post about a well-known event in the character’s life.
* Write about an event you would like to have happen to the character.
D. Make your journal. It’s more impressive if you have one set up already, and shows that you actually want to be in the game.
E. Choose a PB. Do not just choose your favorite actor or actress. Not everyone is gorgeous. The world would be dull if they were. Actually think about the timing of the game for how old the PB should be, and what the character looks like. Also, check to see if there is a banned PB list, and which PBs have already been taken, so that you don’t actually choose someone already in use. In general, you might want to stay way from models. They're easily overused, and often end up on banned lists for this very reason. That's not to say they shouldn't be used. Just with caution. Whoever you choose, they really should match the character description. Particularly skin and hair. And if you have stated your character has a weight issue, or other more visual features, that might be something to keep in mind as you look as well.
IV – Betaing
A. Before you send it off to anyone, go to the Mary Sue Litmus test and check your character against the list. If you score over 20, start again—from scratch—and keep in mind the sections you scored highest. You’ll save yourself and the Mods a lot of headaches. No one is going to accept an app for an MS.
B. Send it to a friend. Preferably one in-game, who is not one of the Mods. Make sure they’re willing to be honest about flaws and gaps they see in your app, because you need honesty. Don’t take it as an affront when they point things out to you. They’re trying to help.
C. Go back through the app to make sure there are no bits of information in different sections of the app that conflict. If parents died at one point in the history, but are alive in the sample, leave a note saying why. If you’ve chosen Gryffindor, but then say that the person was sorted into Ravenclaw their first year at Hogwarts, fix it or explain it. This is the sort of thing that will kill an app for sure. You might also want to go through the Potterwords list and make sure that you don't have any errors of that sort.
V – Send it in. If there is a section on the app for other comments, you might want to tell the Mods if there are any other characters aside from the one you’re currently apping for that you might be interested in playing. This is particularly useful at the beginning of a game, when they’re likely to get more than one app for a character. It gives them the option off accepting you both. This does not, of course, mean that you will not have to write up a new app, though that will be up to the Mods to decide for sure.
VI – Be patient. There may be reasons it takes a while. If you’re worried that they haven’t gotten your app, email them and ask what is up. Sometimes these things take time. There may be a very good reason they haven’t gotten back to you. Or your acceptance might have gotten lost in the mail. Whatever you do, don’t gripe where a Mod will see it. There’s no quicker way to be rejected than to piss off the Mods.