Monday, November 28, 2005

Splitting the Atom -- Compact Personality Disorder

So, how would you describe his personality? Well, he's paranoid most of the time. No, wait, he suffers from chronic anal retention. Was that it? No, he was raving mad and them some. But then there was that ego--arrogant son of a bitch, I'd say. No, no, no. I'm sure he was my Knight in Shining Armor, come to rescue me from the drudgery of daily life. Nope, he was funny, giddy, elated, a lark, truly. And then perhaps...

Personality with characters is tricky. Yeah, you say otherwise, but truthfully, when you want to stick to that underlying personality you set out to create for your character, you're influenced by your own personality. However much you might try not to, your personality will shine through your characters in some way, through some core value whether you try to have it like that or not.

But even then, the personalities we attempt to create for our characters are unique--and sometimes not so unique. We suffer chronically from "Ultimate Badass Syndrome," the cocky, cool and collected guy that oozes awesomeness and power. Too many characters like this, even some of my own. But we love it; we love to make those characters because we want to be them.

Ah, but now we push away from those and rush headlong into the belief that originality is key, that we must attain this sacred chalice at any cost. So, we create the characters of the opposite end of the spectrum that suffer from mental disorders, have shaky personalities, are bumblers and fumblers and cads and cards and resentful characters and blemishes to society characters; the list goes on. You jump in, find that happy-go-lucky badass isn't any good, so you swim to the other side trying to find the elusive deep, dark onion-man of many layers kind-of character.

But where's the middle ground? The Average-Jo's? They don't exist, and if they do, they don't last long in the world of the super-powered and under-powered and ultra-powered characters. They're like cars. You get your base models and then the ones that come with special features like mental and personality disorders to make them more "interesting." They come in various makes and models, some with leather, some with good stereo and speakers and CD players and mileage. And they all, no matter how pretty or gaudy or compact or basic, get the job done, these characters with personality.

We drive them along, and along the way their personality gets dints and pings and scraps. Do we take into account their journey and the effects it has on the character, on their personality? Or are they stuck in a kind of temporal warp, unaffected by the passing of time? It's strange, the personality of characters. They're conveyed in our words, and while we might set out to say one thing, the wording and choice of them might paint an entirely different picture. The traits and qualities ascribed to those characters come through now and again, but is it really what we want? What kind of personality are we striving for, and in truth, is it just another rehash of a vehicle we've driven before with a couple added options and bling to make people see differently?


- W. Visarett

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I've been fooling around with writing of late. I'm generally always fooling around with my writing, experimenting here and there with thoughts. I like to read, too, which only aids in my mind collecting various words and phrases altogether useless or useful and interesting in their own right.

Of late I've actually received a few comments on my writing, saying how it's improved compared to some of my old works. This only inflates my ego to massive proportions leading on to a round of ego-masturbation, by which afterward I need a good deflating to humble myself enough to fit through a door. That and the arrogant bit gets old fast and nobody likes the overly cocky, arrogant fool off to get himself killed to prove he's all that and a bag of chips.

The writing in question is this:

Oily and blackened and brazen gold, the sky boiled with dark tufts of smoke and cloud and threatened to pour out tears for the fallen, the dying and the emotionally distraught. No stars, no points of light to throw hope out to--only the flames and the heat and the labored sweat of turmoil. Blood was on the air, carried by a whisper. Orange coals, too, followed, tasting the wind and giving to it their fleeting warmth before dying cold. He couldn't feel the cold or the desperation or the fear. He only felt the hatred and the rage and the desire to murder, to kill each and every one of them, to raise his jaws to their throats and rip them free. That is what he wanted this night, and any night, from before, from now and forever forward.

Just one paragraph in seven of the set. I think it's good; could be better, but as Don said to me, "It really grabs you." I could improve my writing more, as there is always room for improvement. I'm just wondering if I'll have the time to sit down and write while I'm in the army, since I did enlist not too long ago.

And in the vein of thought brought about by that, I got for my testing to see whether I am worthy of the army life on Dec 13. Not bad, plus it's at a late enough date that I can relegate myself to working toward some kind of physical fitness, and after the testing, go home for Christmas once my exams and finals are finished up. All in all, a good thing.

Friday, November 25, 2005 the Air-Speed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow?

We can rebuild him. We have the technology. Make him harder, better, faster, stronger, and not at all repetitious like the Daft Punk song that's so addictively good. In fact, we'll focus on his speed, up his agility/dexterity stats until they're through the roof! He'll move to the song "You Can't Touch This," and when you ask him if he'd like to go light speed, he'd say light speed is never fast enough.

I've run into people who seem to think that they can move so fast you can't touch them. I'll quote Spaceballs now, something I'm sure everyone loves, and if you don't, you should be shot.

Sandurz: Prepare for light speed.

Helmet: No, no, light speed is too slow.

Sandurz: Light speed too slow?

Helmet: Yes, we'll have to go right to...Ludicrous speed!

Sandurz: Ludicrous speed! Sir, we've never gone that fast before. I don't think the ship can take it.

Helmet: What's the matter, Colonel Sandurz...CHICKEN?!

With that little snippet in mind, I think the majority actually do have this mentality--that light speed is never fast enough. Never mind that your opponent may be directing a hurricane in your direction with winds in excess of 386 kph (240 mph). Let's be honest, if you were on the Florida coast and you were at the peak of physical fitness and you tied yourself to a palm tree under the impression that you could weather the storm, that's your prerogative. But face it, it isn't that the wind is blowin', it's what the wind is blowin'. If a Volvo hits you at 386 kph+ (240 mph+) winds, it don't matter how many sit-ups you've done that morning*, it's gonna hurt.

Seriously, you aren't fast enough to outrun that. I don't expect a normal human being to be even capable of withstanding that much pressure. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule here, super-powers, magic, technological gadgets and so forth, but don't quite expect me to think you've got the kind of speed, or even the endurance to keep up that kind of speed, to evade and dodge anything moving that fast for an extended period of time, or even a short amount of time without some kind of object, device or power.

Yes, I know this is fantasy. Yes, I know we all have super powers, but what ever happened to some kind of limitations? A Chinese PL-12 air-to-air missile has a speed of Mach 4. A Chinese C.801 Anti-Ship cruise missile has a speed of Mach 8 at sea level. What does this say? It says you don't dodge or evade missiles, even on a good day, not unless you can pull off similar speeds, and in reality, considering the payload of some of these weapons, coming away alive just isn't happening even if you could dodge to the left in the split-second needed to get out of the way. Now, I know that most people aren't packing missiles, lasers or high-yield explosives in a duel, and that they don't even have weapons even capable of those speeds, but coming out of that alive just isn't feasible under any circumstance (unless you happen to be packing a massive blast shield, or even some kind of techno shielding gadget, then I suppose it is, but how many of us pack away one of those for a rainy day?).

So, back to my original thought, you aren't the fastest thing ever, you aren't capable of complete split-second movements, nor can you obtain speed-of-light as you break wind. Our characters might be super-powered, come with loads of stamina and endurance, but eventually they slow and get worn out, especially if you're facing someone of equal caliber in level to your own.

Where am I going with this? Well, it comes down to dodging everything. Lightning strikes could be deflected, but unless you have the capability built in, you aren't going to be dodging those. Much as you might like to, even in a fantasy realm, some aspects of reality and physics must sink through, otherwise what's the point? You can do anything, so why didn't you just slit your opponent's throat at the start with all that velocity you could attain? Because doing so would make it boring; it's also annoying and stupid for all parties involved if there isn't any real fight.

I can't say I haven't fallen for these pitfalls before either, or that I'm anywhere near perfect in my own right now, but at least I can come down to the conclusion that I at least try. We talk about fantasy, but what about some reality to the fantasy? Or are we just speeding away from the reality of that at light speed?


- W. Visarett

* Paraphrased/taken from comedian Ron White.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

It Came From Outer Space!!!--What The Hell?! That’s Just Some Guy In A Suit!

It really hacks me off whenever people just invent new weapons, species, breeds, etc. without taking the time to explain just exactly why their character is like what it is. Let’s take for instance….a talking house pet, explain to me why it can talk, or better yet fight. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn-out explanation, but give me a reason as to why said character can do said extraordinary feats and allow me to actually enjoy what I’m reading.

I swear there have been instances where I would have rather poured acid in my own eyes as to read the crap some people write. Hell, just fall back on the excuse, “He is magic, so he can do that.” Yeah, it’s lame and cliché, but hell, it at least explains why your character is so craptastic.

Now, we move onto weapons. These are one of the most overlooked, yet well described pieces of role playing, at least in my opinion. It seems that some generation of role players just skipped over the fact that it is good to explain the weapons you are using. Alright, so there isn’t much to the land of swords and stones, but I’m talking about the high-tech gizmos that can blow up a star. Give me the specs on the power source, how can the gun hold so much energy without overloading. How does your magic integrate into the mecha’s system? Does it just “Magically” (pun intended) happen? Or is there a special modification to allow your magic to pulse throughout the machine?

I’m just saying explain it before you use it. That way, whenever you do blow up a star with it, people know why it can blow up a freakin’ star and they won’t accuse you of cheezing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Life -- Sucks

I stop and think sometimes during the day, an old habit. As the days go by, the blur one into the other, I forget details of things that might have happened or did happen and I no longer care enough about the details at that point that it's just easier to forget it all outright and leave it at that. Well, sometimes there are events in my life that no matter how much I wish I might forget the details or the lead-up to the event I can't.

Even when I don't want to think about those somethings, my mind always reverts back to some past occurrence and lingers for a moment, forcing me to actually stop and think about it. I might not want to, and might try to force it from my mind, but this only causes those very thoughts to come back later at a time that might be even more worse for me. So I let my thoughts run their course and all is well, I suppose.

But for the fact, all is not well.

I think of a friend lost and a woman that hates me. I harken back to thoughts of how she's probably continuing to harass and stalk me to this day and I might not even know it. Maybe, maybe not. The chances for this are altogether there, I'm sure, but sometimes even when I don't want to think about it and am thinking about it, I want to believe she's gone her own way and forgotten me so as to live a better life.

But then I remember Shakespeare and the line that "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." I scorned a woman, and no she is, possibly, hellbent on harassing me to the end of days. I take the harassment and turn the other cheek, so to say. I can't say that I'm at all happy for the harassment. I'd like to think I'm over the whole thing, although if I'm talking about it, probably not. Things turn out bad, they stick with you. Although my life is changing.

I've joined the army. It will allow me to fully forget my past transgressions, and possibly forgive the people I couldn't before, and hope for the forgiveness for my own transgressions that I don't deserve.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Disfunctional-- A better, more loving family.

Your mother, your father, your siblings, your friends, what the hell do they mean to you. Well possibly nothing but they might be the focus of your life. In a situation like that they’ll affect your writing in profound ways. You could end up involving your best friend in a story and only realize it when they ask if you based said character off of you. You’ll give them a weird look and then look at the piece of writing and laugh out loud. They’ll grin and laugh with you like a friend is supposed to and you’ll admit to basing the character off of them.

Now if you like to break clichés (We all do) your character will have a family and friends that will affect them. When you involve these family and friends they might sound familiar to you. There is a high chance that they’re your family and friends. You’re character’s bets friend could be killed and in reality your friend could have died recently. That may sound uncaring but it’s the truth, large events that happen in real life. I’ll cover that later though so I’m going to get away from that topic.

Now as you write about your characters over protective mother or their controlling father you might want to think about what this means. You’re calling on interaction with your family and your subconscious might be trying to tell you something about your life. Of course what does your subconscious know?

This is ahead of schedule so don't expect anything tomorrow dear readers.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth

So, next up comes the biography of your character. In truth, this is probably the simplest thing to do, despite what people may tell you. I have three simple words to tell you on how to come up with a history for your characters: make shit up. It doesn't get simpler than that. I mean, sure you're planning out the characters' life, but in truth, you really are just making crap up as you go. Of course you should take into some consideration what kind of person you've set your character out to be, but it always comes back to those three words.

Other than that, not much I can say. So, go out, have fun and make something up.


- W. Visarett

Friday, November 18, 2005

One Day Every Month-Ah Shit! It’s Here Already?

Alright, I want to address the moods of a duel. I really don’t think people focus enough on actually setting the mood in a duel and looking into how it may help you pave a way to victory. Alright, look at it this way- with the first introduction you get the opportunity to set the mood of the duel, whether it be happy, sad, joking, serious, angsty, crazy, or absurd- you get to choose. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, how can this mood help me? Well, I’ll tell ya how damn it, give me time!

Sorry…Anyway, let’s take the mood of Joking for example. This one can be a real pain if you catch the right duelist. Some duelists just don’t know how to handle a joking realm-like the realm of Super1mm. A duel between him and Genesis Dragon isn’t short on Chickens that fight…You heard me, chickens….that fight. Even I would have a tough time devising a plan for this; you just don’t run into a lot of chickens in this day and age in dueling. I really have to give a hand to Super; he has used things such as a talking ordinarily-sized cat, fighting chickens, or a man named Cardiac (Yeah, I thought he might have a heart condition too) who uses playing cards to duel with. You know, Card-iac=Cards, uses ‘em to fight…Ah, you don’t care.

Anyway, let’s move to the other end of the spectrum. I recently played around with a twist in setting the mood. I’ll post my first paragraph to show you a switch.

The sky slowing darkened as if dieing against the shadow of the night. He watched as the blackness ate away the cold blue sky. Such an inescapable nightmare it can be at times, but sometimes it can give way to the simplicity and elegance that leave you speechless.

As the red dusk sun glowed upon the rolling hills and flowing rivers. The deep blue of the water faded into an inky black. The last of the gallant sun’s rays bounced from within its shallow depths refracting prisms of midnight light upon the dulling surroundings that claimed home nearby. The river had rolled across the landscape for ages, carving out a deep valley, met by two extremely green hills, equal in height. The rocks on the bed had been smoothed into crystals and rubies over the vast time they had resided there. It was a thing of splendor; the piece of land had long since been untouched by the murderous hands that were humankind. Its rolling fields of barley and wheat gave nourishment to the animal kingdom that called the area home. Up until now, it had been the perfect example of grace and exquisiteness, but unfortunately it would be destroyed in the blink of an eye. It would be represented by but a single grain of sand on the timeline of the Universe, in a matter of hours, it would become a wasteland.

So, as you can see I start off dark, notice the use of dark, deathly words and metaphors such as the sky dieing to the shadows of the night, etc. Using the negative words like nightmare, but yet the next paragraph goes on to explain a rather beautiful scene with a river and valley. Kind of confusing, right? Well I clear it up at the end with a bit more depression and destruction to make sure you know were I’m going.

Now you may ask, “How will this make the opponent change?” Alright, you remember Super from up above a few paragraphs? Probably not, I know how short of an attention span you all have. Well, he uses a lot of not-so-dark characters as mentioned above, yet faced with situation he falls into a perfect trap set up just by the intro. He is lured into using a dark marauder named The M Man, who seems to be a death-bringer of sorts. Also one of my favorite characters to combat…especially with the outlook that my character has towards death.

All you really need to know is how to set your opponent up, and hopefully he will fall into a category you know how to defend and overcome. That is the main case from setting the mood of the duel-placing your opponent in an environment that you are accustomed to, and hopefully giving you the other hand.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Cracked Mirrors -- 3 Steps to Fixing That

What's he look like? Eh, ugly, over-weight middle-aged and balding male character, whose weapon of choice is a loud voice, an itchy ass, a bottle of Ex-lax and a TV remote with batteries clad in his bathrobe, slippers, boxers and a hot-sauce stained stripped shirt. Best sword master in the world too! Wait...Are you telling me the best sword master in the universe? Isn't he supposed to be a tall man with board shoulders and a long shock of silver hair that cascades over those shoulders, with a hawkish nose and deep hazel eyes, with small, slim hands and a slight build? Naw, we don't want another pretty boy being our sword master.

Appearance is a funny thing. We all want to be the most beautiful things out there. Nobody is really a gritty sort of man, with bags under the sunken eyes and a hallow look to the face, or a woman with wrinkles or a plain face with a too-wide mouth. When we talk about the appearance of our characters, we talk about their looks, how attractive they are to the opposite sex. It's a bad habit for pretty much all role players, myself included, to make our character's the most beautiful things to walk the catwalk. But I want to see a new wave of characters that emanate both power and ability, but some sense of reality to them. To no longer be a pretty-boy (or girl), but be realistic. To have strange features that set them all about.

Female characters are (almost) always independent, powerful and sexy. Some aren't, but we don't see those too often. Male characters are (almost) always badass pretty-boys. It's like there is no opposite side to the spectrum, but I want to see it today--no yesterday. But of course, chances of that aren't likely. Anime and video games heavily influence new role-players to the scene, and of course the characters there are always handsome and wonderful and cunning and all things marvelous.

So, how do we go about fixing that? Well, as the entry says, I've got three sure-fire (I hope) steps to get away.

1) Make the character more realistic in looks. Give the guy a beer belly, even a slight one. Give the chick frizzled hair. Give them facial defections, like too-wide eyes, or hawkish/hooked noses. Big hands, small hands, big feet, small feet. Anything and everything can be done, and the end result will give your character more life.

2) Don't stick to that slim, muscular and exceptionally fit body-type. Space it out a bit. Be scrawny, wiry, over-weight or big-boned. Be petite or somewhat flabby or any kind of type in-between. To see the whole spectrum of human body-types would make things so much more interesting.

3) Be dull. What do I mean? Dull hair, dull eyes, dull expressions, bored and annoyed, with plain faces.

It's probably not the best advice, but it would create characters more original and full of life characters than the ones that currently populate the role plays and duels with their angsting pretty-boy (or girl) -ness. But maybe I'm asking too much? In the end, though, it's you who decide the appearance, so make it a good one. Remember, not everyone is, or has to be, a gorgeous character.


- W. Visarett

Monday, November 14, 2005

Race Against Myself

Races. They are varied and plentiful. We can either start with stock humans or move on to the often used and clichéd celestial angels and demons, winged creatures and wingless creatures, or even go so far as to use other creatures we've seen before. Reptiles, mammals, avian or insect, the races we come up with for our character are many. There are the often seen or the custom created.

I, myself, prefer custom races. I have several: Aouyen, Baajin, Fri'di'nar, Fehrahzii, Galandrian, Grak, Hagasian, Jan'ri, Jyet Nyural, Je'Kenkari, Jorgani, Kaus, Krykor, Lai'git, Lan-Weih and Vadasian. That's sixteen various races I've come up with. Kinda overkill, if you ask me (of course, I was trying to come up with a universe all its own, so all those races are explainable to an extent).

Most people when creating a custom race generally take a stock human and modify it. Add wings, add claws, add extra reflexes, maintain a human form, or humanoid form, and just slap on a name. The simplest approach and probably one of the best, too, since it gives you a wide variety of things you can add and subtract from a given custom race while maintaining a specific bodily form you want. The flipside of the coin, though, is that people add to much and make the custom race just another god-modded creation. Add something, but don't add too much.

Another look at it is the wings department--I've seen WAY too many winged people going around, so I'd say stay away from those unless you feel you absolutely need to have some kind of winged creature. Seriously, though, another pretty-boy with wings makes me thing you're another Final-Fantasy-Fanboy on a Sephiroth binge in need of a slap upside the head. Think about it before you commit that kind of atrocious crime, will you?

A lot of people lean either toward lupine (dog/wolf-like), reptile-like (as in dragons and their ilk) or feline (cat-like). The avian in and of itself is generally covered within the realm of a celestial or winged creature of some sort. It's rare that you see insectoid races done by role players, as then they're a bug, and what can a bug do? Quite a bit, like lifting more than its own weight by dozens of factors. Don't discount the bug just because they're grotesque looking. Maybe that's what you want all along.

I myself lean more toward lupine or reptile-like, although my reptile-like races take on more characteristics of a lizard than the more well-known dragon counter part.

When it comes to creating even a custom race, anything is possible, and you can do anything you want with it. I'll give an example, using one of the species I've come up with, the Aouyen:


Aouyen are naturally green-scaled, like a reptilian species, with small short barbs or horns along their entire body. They are bald, and sport a set of red eyes set in a flat, nose-less and narrow face with pointed jaw. They have simian-like hands and feet (three digits with an opposable thumb) with retractable claws--their palms and feet also have soft pads to soften the noise they might make in movement. Thin, tall and lithe, these creatures are built for short bursts of speed.

The things that make them dangerous though are these: The Aouyen are capable of changing their skin color to hide within their environs. Their chameleon skills are in fact astounding, allowing the Aouyen to run at a good pace and not appear to the eye. The second dangerous aspect about the Aouyen have is that they have a set of glands in the back of their throat. The Aouyen can control the molecular makeup of whatever is produced within these glands. They can secrete anything from sedatives to poisons to balms. They can also spit an effective range of twenty meters.

Rather simplistic, isn't it? Yet it gets the job done of saying what the creature is, what it looks like, and what its skills are. While the creatures are described as reptile-like, there are also characteristics of a cat-like abilities.

In reality, picking a race is completely set upon both your style as a role-player and your preference. Some people like celestials, some like stock humans, some like custom races and creatures, or even mutants. You can do nearly anything with a race to make it unique in its own right. It's all up to you and what you want out of it.


- W. Visarett

Friday, November 11, 2005

Honey, It's a, AH!-- What In The Hell IS THAT!?

It's a boy! And what a boy! Honey, that's the umbilical cord--it's a girl. Damn, and you thought your little "boy" would be the ultimate son right there. Too bad, eh? Oh well, maybe she'll be a tomboy, and you can teach her all the sports and make her into a highly aggressive child to stand-in for the boy you hope to get some day. Or maybe she'll be your darling princess. Either way, when choosing a gender for a character, it can sometimes be a bit of a trial. Guys and girls both probably know that getting into the mind of the opposite sex isn't the easiest thing, so choosing a gender for a character probably is a tad harder still.

Now, I won't say that one sex is better than the other. That's just plain stupid--plus I like girls, me being a guy, and saying guys are better than girls wouldn't exactly help my life out, now would it? Of course, if guys aren't better than girls, the reverse holds true as well, that girls aren't better than guys (although this might be a dismaying thought to some women out there).

So, you choose a gender appropriate for your character. I see numerous guy characters, usually pretty-boys, angelic with wings and fire users--cliched, badass, but apparently works for a number of people. The opposite is that when I generally see female characters, they're sexy, seductive, demon-like babes from hell that use of all things ice. Ah, stereotyping, where would the role playing world be without you?

You rarely, if ever, see anything that could be classed as asexual (meaning both genders or sexless). Would be interesting to find such characters that couldn't be classed as a particular sex. Few, if anybody, plays this kind of character. I don't even know why, since I think it might be easier as you wouldn't have to deal with the generic, stereotyped male emotions or their female counter-parts (emotions-wise).

But, for the most part, we're going to be stuck with boy and girl and no it. Not to say that this is a bad thing. After all--when something gets overused, like an asexual character, they're no longer original. Just another cliche we're told to stay away from.

For those that don't know, today is Remembrance Day in Canada; solemn day where we honor the dead who fought in WWI and WWII for freedom. Probably too late to say that we pause nation-wide on the eleventh hour (AM) to reflect on it, but that's what we do. Anyway, just a random Canadian fact for the non-Canadian's out there who read this (although I think today is Veteran's Day in the US, similar to Remembrance Day in Canada or something).


- W. Visarett

Monday, November 07, 2005

She Does What? Oh….Ew!

That’s right, this next one will cover the great realm of personality. Now, when you get down to it, you will realize that I can’t cover every personality out there without writing some sort of short novel or long short-story, but what I can do is give examples as to how a personality will affect the atmosphere of the duel.

Alright, we shall first cover our, pardon my language, clichéd bases (is it just me or is calling something cliché actually starting to get cliché itself). Alright, so we move to the loner dude who wears lots of black make-up and never smiles, while fighting because he just plain hates the world (Veggie’s Angst anyone). This type of personality gives way to that of a boring air in the duel world. Not a lot of spice, although this character does tend to be a bit on the dark side as fair as attacks and speech patterns go (For the most part, there are always exceptions). I can imagine one to use Fire or Dark attacks while controlling the aforementioned character while either not caring what the opponent says at all or getting very upset at their foe’s words.

Doesn’t sound like much fun, huh? Well, I have a way to spice things up…Check out this character sheet.

Name- Morgan Zolgalman

Age- 17

Sex- Male

Description- Morgan dresses in all black, wearing a long trench coat that drapes around his ankles. He has jet black combat boots and always has an assortment of silver jewelry that studs his eyebrows, nose, lips, and ears. His hair is spiked into a dark, black mohawk, and he wears jet black lipstick. He is the perfect image of goth.

Short character sheet, I know, but I didn’t want to put spoil the twist. Now, I want to show you a good way to surprise anyone after reading this sheet.

Morgan walked drearily through the streets as a fine downpour of rain fell upon his ebony locks. His makeup was running and he looked like a scary funhouse attraction, but he wasn’t looking for fun, he was looking for a fight. He pulled a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and bent over, keeping the precious smokes dry, with a flick of his finger, the cigarette was lit and in his mouth. He pulled long and hard and then flicked it into the drainage ditch nearby. His opponent had arrived.

As the other man gently drifted into the street, Morgan’s heart began to race. His mouth just couldn’t keep it shut in any longer, “Wow, aren’t those jeans just so cute! Oh! My! Gosh! I just can’t believe how vibrant your eyes are! We have to go shopping, I saw this pair of torn jeans that would look absolutely stunning on you!”

Alright, you probably weren’t expecting that right? Exactly, thanks to a comment by Clovis, I thought about this. Taking the cliché and making it unique, a very good trait of any writer, taking what they are comfortable with and making it something actually enjoyable to read. Now, when you read the first part of that sample, the tone of the duel is dreary and dark, correct? But as it nears the end, it turns into something…well, fruity.

Not only can you deceive your readers, but you can start it off with something fun. Make your character spit out random, lame jokes during a fight, or make some cheesy fighter who uses a bunch of lines from…I don’t know, E.R. You can do a limitless amount of things to make your writing unique, because in truth, isn’t that what we all aspire for?

Take Libram’s writing for example, he has a stunning ability to integrate characters with truly charming and creative personalities into his writing, such as Big Boy, the child-like Android who is an excellent example of man-made machine, or his creator Amy, who is very nerdy, yet has a sexy side like Laura Croft.

All I am saying is, people need to find ways of making the same old, same old into something new and worth my time to read. The days of heroic, Hercules type fighters should be gone, and an era of frightfully charming, or devilishly cunning characters should begin.


Next Blog- Setting the tone of the duel in the intro.


Friday, November 04, 2005

But Grandpa, I Don't Wanna Go to the Fair

Age. Connected with aging. Nobody likes being old, so lets all be young! Yes, let's all pretend we're sixteen year old guys with super-powers and thirteen year old female teenyboppers aching for our first sexual encounter. 'kay? 'kay. Now quick, don't forget, if anyone's over 22 they can't be good at anything, right? Fucking wrong, dipshit. Apparently a good many morons missed the memo about "with age comes wisdom and experience." Don't worry, though, you've still got time to learn...I hope.

A wave of role-players, especially younger ones, influenced by both video games and anime, take on the role of some young, stubborn, know-it-all yipper snappa capable of wielding a sword the size of a mid-sized Volkswagen with power and skill not seen in their age bracket--there's a reason for that, you know. Then they have to audacity to call anyone over the age of twenty old and a has-been. A cliché that has somehow entered and doesn't look to be leaving any time soon.

Truth is, or at least you'd hope it would be the truth (and with some people you'll never really know), is that with age comes experience. You don't instantly start good at something, and even if you do, it still takes practice to get better. So it comes down to choosing an age for our character. We want to character to be experienced, to have seen things, done things, to know things; if you're trying to make a character like that, a fifteen year old just won't cut it, no matter how you stack their life up. Let’s face it, fifteen minutes of sword training won't make them an expert.

As I said in my last entry about the importance of a name for a character, choosing their age is also vital in and of itself. A good age to have some experience, but not too old to the point where they couldn't shake a cane at you without meds. While there are exceptions to the rule (strange species people concoct, or the clichéd demon, monster, angel, elf, humming-bird on crack, etc), you still must understand that the old adage is true--age equals experience.

I mean, it is understandable that a character would have some experience under their belt, even if they were twenty-two, but don't expect me to believe some up-and-coming eighteen year-old can beat a hardened warrior that's been duking it out with the riff-raff of the world for twenty-odd years. That's just plain stupid, and anyone who suggests it's even possible is basically an idiot. Now, I am aware of certain examples of this being possible, but it's so over-the-top and rare I don't want to see it unless you've got a damn good reason for doing it.

So, what do we take from all this? Age is equated to experience, skill, power and wisdom. If you're sixteen, I doubt you've seen the whole world or have the skill needed to back-up whatever powers you've got. I also doubt you've got enough experience under your belt to even make you smarter than a half-wit, let alone superbly wise. So next time you decide to come up with an age for a character, make it appropriate for what you're having this character do. Otherwise it's a strain on the mental facilities of the people forced to wade through your writing.

If you hadn't noticed, I seem to be on a binge of writing about traits for characters and their creation. Or if you even bothered to notice that funny little trait, I've now put it out explicitly so if you say hi to me you can blab about how you knew it all along. Sure ya did. Anyway, I'm doing a series on character creation, running through all the main points; name, age, gender, race, appearance, personality, history, etc. If you think what I've done so far could use some improvement, drop me a line. Hell, leave a comment or two to critique Corbs and my work and we'll make sure to improve ours so you can improve yours. Something like that, yeah.


- W. Visarett

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

You Know That Guy Who Never Showers?

No, of course you don’t because almost every damn character out there is the typical run-of-the-mill buff, sexy guy who wears black/red outfits, has a really cool katana, and uses fire… Alright, so not all characters are like that, but I know of a lot that fit perfectly into, “List of Top Clichés, The.” Now, I admit, I fall into this category with some of my characters as well, but I really do try for creativity and uniqueness. Now, take for example my beloved character Ares (who my first ever character, and boy was he clichéd);

(Hybrid) Ares is the definition of suave. He stands just over six feet tall with long flowing black hair and chiseled muscles. He likes to wear casual clothing because his power supplements a natural armor. He is most usually seen wearing a dark red, silky t-shirt that exposes his ripping biceps. It fits nice and tight for the joy of the many ladies he meets on his travels. He also wears a set of black leather pants accompanied by black combat boots. The most unusual feature that sets Ares apart from normal mean is his beautiful angel-like wings. The long, crimson red feathers are all almost a foot long. The wings stretch almost half a foot above his head and extend all the way to his lower calves. His skin is tanned giving him an even better look as well. His eyes are also very sheik; they are an odd silver, smoky color and whenever he gazes upon something, it feels like they are able to look into the thought of the subject.

Ugh! Now, I really do love Ares, I have used him for over three years now, but he is full of clichés. Let’s start off right- he is of course of human/dragon, duh. I thought that was a given. We then move on- Yep, very smooth and sexy, par for the course. Just over six feet…what a perfect height. Chiseled muscles…ewww, tempting. A dark red shirt and black pants you say? Well, I just described that up there! Black combat boots?! No way! Never would have guessed…combat boots. Angelic wings?! But of course. With long, crimson feathers? Fancy! Tanned? Even more appealing. And to top it off, we have the classical silver eyes, couldn’t do without…

That’s right, Ares is terrible when it comes to being unique, but you must forgive me, for I didn’t know this at the time of his conception. I have since found the error in my ways, and would like to show you another character that is a bit more, comical and distinctive;

Ringer- Such a funny thing is luck. Clyde had a sort of ironic luck; he always seemed to get himself into trouble, but he always came away unscathed. He was one of the most peculiar men you might ever happen to meet, but he had a certain air or contentment. As long as you could get past the black ring around his eye, thus the name Ringer, you might actually enjoy his company…or make his life a living hell, whichever happened to be your fancy. Such was the destiny of the lowly Pirate-tormented by the oddity of his luck, and the cruelness of his crew, he was doomed to live a life of not caring, and being made fun of, but as long as he was happy, that’s all that truly mattered. Such was the black ink-ring around his right eye. After falling asleep in the nest as he usually did, his crew mates decided to line his favorite telescope with a think, tar-like ink. With a blast of a whistle, he was abruptly woken and yelled at for not keeping his eyes at sea. He then naturally picked up his scope and slammed it to his eye to make sure as to not get in trouble again.

From that day on his nick-name was Ringer, and to this day, he hasn’t figured out the reason why his alias is such. He simply goes on about his business and doesn’t think much more of it than possibly being glad that they even gave him a nickname.

Such is my newly beloved pirate named Ringer. Now, first off I would like to point out that pirates are not used near enough in a duel setting. It seems they may always remain synonymous for battling the ninja in the many polls that once littered GameFAQs, but that doesn’t change the fact that they have a special place in my heart. Now, first off you can see that Ringer has a defining feature that may make him an outcast or laughing stock- the dark black ring around his eye. Now, in a duel setting you may be able to use this as a distraction of sorts, but to do so you must first lure you opponent into noticing it. Secondly, Ringer lends to more uncommon attacks and counters because of his unusual luck. Instead of purposely dodging a knife or sword, you can describe a situation between him falling into something and it takes the blunt of the attack instead of the beloved Pirate. This will help in that ever-sought after category of creativity, and if you know how to play your cards right, you can give your readers a good laugh or two while they browse through your posts, thus making it more appealing to others.

For now, we shall only look at how the physical aspects of a character can change the very nature of the duel itself. In my next blog I plan to address the different personalities of each character and how they can be a very cunning adversary, or a very boring foe in terms of your writing.