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Character Powers and Limits; A treatise
Topic Started: Jan 3 2016, 02:19 AM (2,129 Views)
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Keep Calm and Cheeki Breeki

Here on Senki Academy, we seek to continue the "anything goes" spirit of creative freedom that was embodied by its predecessor. Being a freeform roleplay, we eschew hard numerical systems such as point-based stats or power ranks, seeing that a forum roleplay is more about collaborative storytelling rather than playing a MMORPG or TCG. That being said, we expect to see players exercise prudence and common sense when it comes to coming up with character abilities - not just in terms of the write-ups on the profile sheets, but as well as the way their abilities are being used in-RP.

With this in mind, this is why Senki Academy is a low-key superpowers setting, a comfortable power range that gives players the freedom to indulge in elements of the fantastical while reining in overpowered characters. It's not saying that the concept of a godly powerful character is inherently bad, but rather due to the collaborative nature of forum roleplays, the presence of such characters can easily upset the dynamics between roleplayers and plot runners - derailing plots by easily resolving any problem or conflict removes the suspense or narrative tension of a story, which in turn kills fellow roleplayers' personal investment in the storyline.

In addition, the presence of massive power imbalances often provides a catalyst for potential online drama by introducing an unnecessarily competitive atmosphere; a player who apps a balanced character might feel pressured to beef up their character abilities (if not get put off from the site entirely) after seeing another player character capable of moving mountains. So whilst we're not saying you cannot be strong or grow stronger, please keep in mind how your choices may affect others.

To define the parameters of what a low-key superpowers setting means, it means that players have the creative freedom to come up with virtually any ability type (whether technological, magical, divine, psychic, etc.) while keeping within a reasonable magnitude for their powers' creative/destructive potential. What we ultimately are concerned about is not the origin, complexity or operating principles of a power - but its end result, such as its potency and the potential to (negatively) impact plots. For example? It matters not whether your character heals themselves via having accelerated regeneration, or local reversal of time on their own body. But it matters how fast they heal themselves, or whether it makes them effectively unkillable.

Since nobody likes their IC sandcastles that they'd spent weeks, months or even years working on get wiped out within the space of a single post, godlike levels of powers (such as continent or planet-busting abilities) are automatically ruled out. For RPing battles, we're generally looking at street-level destructive/constructive capabilities - such as blowing up cars and putting large holes in concrete walls; or for non-combative abilities they generally should affect a small area and/or small number of targets. Exceptions exist though, as the room for characters to grow in strength and potency exist through continual activity and participation in site plots and IC events - but no player character ability can generally affect an area/object larger than a medium-sized building (say, an apartment block) tops.

As always, all individual abilities will ultimately be subject to case-by-case reviews by Senki Academy staff; as we don't believe in absolute limits, but rather striking a balance between creative freedom and keeping things fair, fun and enjoyable for everyone.
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Keep Calm and Cheeki Breeki
"My Application was Pended/Denied" - The How's and Why's

While all character applications are judged on a case-by-case basis, here are a list of the most likely reasons why a character application may be pended or denied by a reviewing staffer:

  • Overpowered Abilities:
    This one goes without saying. As mentioned above, Senki isn't a particularly high-powered setting. And powers that are considered to be overpowered are those that are capped at too high a magnitude (i.e. abnormally high destructive potential, covers too large an area, lasts too long, etc.), has far too many micro-applications (Take for example Telekinesis, which is effectively an all-encompassing ability with dozens of applications that can achieve a wide range of effects), or a combination of both; which ultimately has the potential to derail plots/threads, negatively impact character dynamics and generally make things not fun for the site as a whole. Typically, overpowered abilities rarely call for an outright denial, and can be fixed by dialing down the ability's magnitude to acceptable levels, and/or shaving down on the number of sub-applications on an ability.

  • "Meta" Abilities:
    It's generally considered a common courtesy on multi-author stories such as a RPG to never write for one's partner(s), and abilities that are considered "meta" in nature are those that violate said courtesy, essentially allowing the player to dictate what happens to the other player's character(s), how they might respond to an action, or even what they are going to say in a conversation. Examples of abilities with "Meta" influence over other players' characters include, but by no means are limited to the following:

    In addition to character abilities, "Meta" influence also extends to character concepts and backgrounds. As a general rule of a thumb, a character's backstory should not have plot elements that contradict established site canons/lore, or attempt to dictate how things in the setting work. Examples of character concept elements that are deemed "Meta" would include, but are not limited to the following:

    • Attempting to establish absolutes/end-all-be-all's for anything with regards to the divine/spiritual/metaphysical, whether implicit or explicit. No "one true origin/source" of all magic, evil, good, etc, and there can be no establishment of a singular creator deity. Even a supreme deity is at most just the creator/saviour of a single race or culture, certainly not humanity by and large - much less the world or the universe as a whole.

    • Stating that the character has witnessed or survived an apocalyptic event that isn't established in the site canon. For example, if a character supposedly in their backstory, survived a disaster that left an entire nation or a major city in ruins, it'd be pretty awkward to write around why other characters who hail from the same place didn't acknowledge that such an incident ever took place. i.e. Character supposedly survived an explosion that levelled much of Tokyo, but none of the other characters from Tokyo acknowledge that this event ever took place. It's a combination of contradicting site canon, and attempting to dictate the setting's status quo.

    • Claiming connections to shadowy "Man Behind The Man" or Ancient Conspiracy-type groups/individuals with inexplicable amounts of power and resources behind the scenes. Goes back to trying to dictate how the setting works, via subverting the staff's IC control over the status quo.

  • Abilities that are a hassle to balance:
    An ability that doesn't fit the above two categories may nonetheless be pended or denied because its mechanics work in a way that it's a power that's extremely hard (if not outright impossible) to come to a happy middle ground between the RPer's personal wish fulfillment and the site's overall story direction. In essence, to dial back the power to a level where it would be considered acceptable and fun to the site as a whole could very well break the power, making it nigh-unusable (and thus, no fun) for the RPer. And conversely, having the power at a level that is fun to play with for the RPer would very well make it a story-breaker and all-around buzzkill for the rest of the site.
    Edited by Lawman, Mar 16 2017, 01:47 AM.
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