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Old May 6th, 2008 (11:52 PM). Edited June 4th, 2008 by Shadowfaith.
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Intro

Sign-Up Sheets are just as important as RPG posts and plots; without a good sign up sheet other members do not have a clear image of what your character is like, as in how he or she acts, looks and feels. In order to know this, your sign up must meet the proper standards, being of high quality; this means plenty of detail and description so that other members know how to act around your character.

Just around four or five lines with proper grammar and good description will get you far. Give a proper in-depth sign-up sheet, not four words long for each section. As an example I have prepared the below sheets so that it is easier for some of you to understand. Now, compare this:


Examples


Example one

Name: rachel
Age: 16
Gender: female
Description: tall. long hair and wears black.
Personality: cold. nasty and angry and mean to people
History: parents died when she was ten
Other: none

To this:

Example two

Name: Rachel

Age: 16

Gender: Female

Description: Rachel stands at an average height for her age and has a slim frame, which appears toned and slightly tanned, but not overly so. She has emerald green eyes which are normally obscured by many strands of chocolate-coloured hair; seeing would be hard for her if a pair of black sun glasses was not sitting atop her head to keep the unruly strands at bay. She wears a long sleeved, black crop top, accompanied by a pair of baggy black trousers, which tuck themselves into large boots at her feet. Most of her frame is covered by a large, black leather trench coat which reaches just past her ankles. Around her neck, hanging on a silver chain is a silver pendant in the shape of a dragon.

Personality: A serious girl in battles and a hard nut to crack. She does not fool around when it means there is a battle to be won, instead she concentrates fully on the battle at hand, determined to win and bring her enemies to their knees, but of course, she is a good sport, and a loss is a loss, she can only learn from her mistakes. A good friend and powerful ally, she is a member worth having on any team, but her friendship is hard to gain, and her trust harder still.

History: Rachel has lived alongside her parents for as long as she can remember. Like any other normal teenager, she attended school, sat exams and had to endure the nightmare known as homework. When a letter arrived for her mentioning the beginning of a Pokemon journey, she could not help but take up the offer and make her way to pallet town after bidding her mother and father a goodbye and informing her college that she would be taking a year out to complete her journey.

Other: Rachel dealt with an unfortunate event when she was younger, which included water. Out at sea in a boat with her brother, they were attacked by a Gyarados and the boat was pulled under to deep depths. She made it out alive thanks to the help of her brother's Seel, but her brother met an unfortunate end. Rachel has been terrified of water ever since, but keeps her brother's Seel close by.

------------------------

Now not only does (fairly good) grammar make it look nicer and makes it easier to understand, but can't you make out a lot more about my character through the second example than you can from the first? Four lines and good description is all it takes to make an amazing character. The trick is to work at your sign up, what I find that helps is to keep a folder of your characters on your PC/Laptop and add to them more detail until you have the perfect sign up. You can then use that character when you find another RPG which suits him/her and make alterations as you see fit.


The Sections

Name: Easy, right? Well, sometimes it can be a little tricky. When signing up for an RPG, always pay good attention to what era your RPGing in. For example, you wouldn’t be calling someone who is running around in medieval times "Bob." Be creative with it and don’t make it something too common (don't use a name someone else has already chosen to avoid confusion): your character should to be unique after all. Also, most RPG Game Masters would prefer a first and last name, so be creative! If you're stuck for names, then don’t be afraid to look up some names using a baby names search on Google or other search engines. That way you can search for a name that has meaning behind it and is suitable for the RPG you are participating in.

Also, don't be afraid to give your character a nickname! It doesn't hurt, and it can really add depth to a character. Maybe their name is Ryan "Ace" Smith because he uses a lot of Flying Pokémon with Aerial Ace! Don't be afraid to be creative, but also be sure not to give them a totally outrageous name.

Age: No matter what anyone says, age can be problematic. Again, pay close attention to the plot and determine what sort of character would be present in that situation. A three-year-old wouldn’t be going to war for the country in a realistic RPG. If it’s a mythical RPG such as Digimon or Pokémon, then there is always the possibility that you will be allowed to use seven-year-olds. Normally the Game Master will give an age limit, meaning he/she will give you an minimum/maximum of what ages your character can be in the RPG, such as ’16-29’. Always pay close attention to what the Game Master is telling you!

Gender: Okay, now this one's easy; unless the Game Master has come up with his/her own genders for the RPG, then it’s a simple matter of Male, Female or Genderless. Bare in mind that its normally a choice between Male or Female unless the GM has stated otherwise, such as if it’s a mythical RPG such as Digimon where Digimon do NOT have genders, or you're using a genderless Pokémon like Porygon or Magnemite.

Description/Appearance: Slightly problematic, this is where people are normally judged in the RPG skills. If you cannot come up with a decent description, then you're outta there! For this section, you need to think. This is your RPG character's looks, your basically making up a character from scratch so just work your way through the body.

Human Description: Think of:

The Head: Give your character a hair style, hair colour (remember that in most Animés people can have crazy hair colours and styles, so in some RPs it may be okay to stretch this), eye colour, shape/size of eyes, nose and mouth, make-up (mainly for girls), accessories, piercings, scars and the general shape of the face. Think of the head as your characters identity, mix it with they’re personality and attitude; a cold, mean character may have their jaw always set, their mouth turned in a frown, eyes narrowed.

Upper Body: Your character needs to be wearing a top, so think of what type of character he/she is going to be, and think stereotypical if you have to. Will it be punk-ish, gothic, sporty, geeky, or perhaps the chest plates and so on of armour? In this are you need to also describe your characters skin colour and frame, that is do they have tanned skin with a well-built frame, milky white with a puny frame? Don't forget about height, weird and how muscular they are - just try to avoid giving exact heights and weights.

Lower Body: Skirt, jeans, shorts, leather, armor? Just take your pick! Your character needs these. Don’t hold back either; are they wearing belts, are their trousers ripped or missing buttons or have some special design? What kind of shoes are they wearing? And dhoes too - black trainers with pink laces, heavy boots with silver clasps, beige sandals, armor-plated boots?

Accessories: Most important part of your character in my opinion, these are what gives your character personality. Necklaces handed down by a family member, heaps of bracelets on your left arm but not your right? Tattoos running up your body, across your face…are you tribal? Leather gloves to do your dirty work, a back pack to keep your things handy when needed, a watch, rings, anklets, gadgets, weapons?!

Creature Description: A little more difficult, but nothing big. The Game Master may want you to play as a creature that could be an anthro (half human, half animal), a Pokémon, a dark creature (vampires, werewolves) or even a creation of their own. Vampires and werewolves are easy enough, they have human like characteristics, give or take long fangs, claws and obviously transformations, and don’t forget to describe what your character looks like after a transformation (if there is one)!

Anthros are also pretty straightforward, as all you essentially need to do is add animal/Pokémon characteristics to your human character. This could range from a snout, long eagle-like talons, a fluffy brown tail or even leathery, dragon-like wings that sprout from your back.

For information on Pokémon description, see below.

The main things to take note of whilst making a description for your character are: the era, your character's personality and its species. You should be okay from there.

Personality: This holds no limits; it can be whatever you want it to be, but again, take note of the era and the plot. Make sure that your character fits in with the situation. If you are a Pokémon turned human, because of the horrific way the humans have been treating you, then you’re going to be scared and/or angry at them, you wouldn’t want to get along with them, y’know.

There’s not much that can really be said here by me to you, after all you’re the one making this character, but all I can say is, break it down into categories:

First impression: What kind of first impression do they give off? A character could look scary and uncaring upon first glance, and could even be so in presonality and first until you get to know them, or they could even look happy and innocent, but actually be the complete opposite.

General: How does your character act in general, are they intelligent, brave, or scared? How do they act in stressfull situations? Do they flirt and like the opposite/same gender? Are they good at fighting?

Alone: Do they work well alone, do they prefer it to group work, and do they get scared easily?

Group: Does your character get along well with others?

History: Will Edit.

Other: This section is just for any other facts you'd like to mention, such as your character having an allergy or a certain phobia. Basically, if it doesn't seem to belong anywhere else, stick it here.

However, DO NOT GIVE YOUR CHARACTER SPECIAL POWERS. Unless it's a part of the RPG, your character should be just like everybody else. That means that unless there's a specific reason for it in the RPG, your character should not have psychic powers or be able to talk to Pokémon or have the ability to tell when a person is in danger or whatever. This gives you an unfair advantage over other people for no reason, and it's rude to the GM if they never said anything about giving characters special attributes, so AVOID IT.


Extras: Extras can include such things as Wepons, Pokemon, Fighting style or something that the GM has added in which is vital to the plot. Pay close attention to the sign up sheet the GM has provided and add in anything that is relevent. A weapon will need to be described (what kind of weapon it is, how it was made, where you got it from and what it looks like). A Pokemon may have its own sign up sheet (see below). Just add anything that the GM asks of you.

Just remember that your character doesn't need to be this amazing person with a stunning past and pretty hair to be an amazing character. It's all about how much effort and originality you put into it, and the more the better!

Fin~

Okay, that ends my preach to you all!

Also, if you'd like you can post your sign ups here and get feedback from other members. Post questions if you're not sure of something, or if you would like to add something further! Feel free to use this thread as your character storage if you like, try and keep one post only for yourself, if you run out of space in the one post then make another or link from sites such as Live journal. If you like use spoilers to hide your characters.

More will be added to this. =D
  #2    
Old May 7th, 2008 (01:41 AM).
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Few things I want to say. D:

Your character can be perfectly unique with a name like 'Bob.' I don't get PC's preoccupation with having a cool name. Characters are not defined by names. They are defined by all of the components put together. That said, there shouldn't be a limit to your description of said character. A person can have a much clearer image of how the character looks like with just three lines or four, instead of a huge, dense paragraph you're expecting other roleplayers to read. No one's going to pay attention to the tiny quirks of other people unless you make it specific and concise. I think same goes with personality - concise is the key. Just because your sign up is long and detailed does not make it nearly as effective.

This is just my two cents, anyway. :P
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Old May 7th, 2008 (01:49 AM).
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Shadowfaith Shadowfaith is offline
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Thats my Lileh-chan! *Huggles and snuggles*

I'll add that in somewhere

For the record I was only saying to be mindful of the era when choosing a name for your character unless Psychic added something somewhere else. And I agree that you can be descriptive in four lines, but sometimes adding little quirks can be entertaining in my eyes XP
  #4    
Old May 7th, 2008 (06:56 AM).
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Scales Scales is offline
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Ah yes this is a good tutorial on writing sign up sheets. Someone should sticky this because your so resourceful.
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Old May 7th, 2008 (10:04 AM). Edited May 7th, 2008 by Degenerate.
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Ah thanks for bringing this to the good people, Shadowfaith. Satan knows there's quite a few RPers who could do with something like this. I remember another excellent tutorial Alter Ego put up some time ago, also very useful. Too bad the people who need help the most are often the ones who shy away from it. Getting them to read and apply this type of advice is the real hurdle here. Still, you've more than done your share to help. :) Kudos for that!!

And I have to 100% agree with Lily too! O: Qunatity doesn't necessarliy mean quality. It doesn't take much to babble on about unimportant details, but at any rate, I guess that'll still be better than one line descriptions.

You both raise good points.
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Old May 7th, 2008 (11:46 AM).
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parallelzero parallelzero is offline
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The problem with most of PC's RPers is that they can't produce the quality, so quanitity needs to be enforced. >.>;

And for the 100th time Rachel, it's RP here, not RPG. >O
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Old May 7th, 2008 (11:51 AM).
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But if quantity doesn't equal to quality, how is enforcing it going to increase the quality? Are you saying that as long as it's long enough, it'll replace quality? Sorry, just a bit confused. ;P
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Old May 7th, 2008 (12:33 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Lily:
But if quantity doesn't equal to quality, how is enforcing it going to increase the quality? Are you saying that as long as it's long enough, it'll replace quality? Sorry, just a bit confused. ;P
Well, the paragraph limit for here is four lines. That's plenty of room to create something worthwhile. I suppose I was just thinking of the portion of RPers who won't try no matter how much you help them to improve. Quantity can't really replace quality, but when it comes down to it, what are you going to do? Ban them from the RP forum for not making posts with good enough quality? That's not a particularly good plan of action, since what you consider 'quality' varies from person to person. At least with length, there's something you can guage. Sure, you can have one or two really detailed sentences, but that may not do a whole lot for the plot. Quality does not always equal something useful. Well, it usually does, but when saying how a post should be, you need to look at more than one aspect. Sure, yeah, a post can be short, detailed, to the point, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to accomplish anything. That's why there needs to be a balance of sorts. Of course, our ideas of "quality" probably differ as well, our experiences being on completely different boards, so I think it's pointless to continue debating it.
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Old May 7th, 2008 (01:04 PM).
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Also, enforcing the limit is going to make RPers obliged to write more, and hopefully, the additional practice will eventually lead to additional quality.
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Old May 7th, 2008 (01:31 PM).
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Shadowfaith. I implore you.

PLEASE. POST THIS IN THE POKEMON ROLEPLAY LOUNGE. xDDD They need it more than we do here at ORP.

Anyway, seeing as I didn't sticky Alter Ego's Sign-Up tutorial, I won't be stickying this one either. But I will post the link to it in the rules, as I did with his~

I love the suggestions as to what to cover in the personality section though, I'm definitely going to snatch those up. <3
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Old May 7th, 2008 (02:07 PM).
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@ Animadversion - Likewise, quantity does not always equal something useful. Like you mentioned, I believe this all boils down to personal preferences, then. To some people, quality is what defines sign ups. To others, like yourself, I suppose quantity can work as well.

Also, I wasn't aware this was a debate. All I asked was a question, nothing more. I should also point out my experience on this board isn't completely null. ='(
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Old May 7th, 2008 (02:15 PM).
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I posted it in the Pokemon lounge, Loki

Thanks for the compliments, but some thanks goes to Psychic as well I would like to say yet again. She did the history example, the cliches, the pokemon discription and some of the personality points =D

*Pats Lileh-chan* D= Yeah it is all down to preference, al lI'm saying is that your not gonna learn much from a character if the description/personality/History is 4 words not four lines XD

Think we can leave that little 'debate' to rest now...yes?
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Old May 7th, 2008 (02:17 PM).
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It wasn't a debate, Pickles. ;_;! I believe that was a rather constructive conversation, at least for me. Besides, good debates are usually drawn out between people with the correct principals in the first place. I learned, at least. =D

Also, I wasn't exactly disowning quantity. Yeah, one line isn't enough, I know, but at the same time, three paragraphs describing your hair would be overdoing it. Goes both ways, I suppose. xP

Okay, that's all. ^^;
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Old May 7th, 2008 (02:21 PM).
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Shadowfaith Shadowfaith is offline
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I used 's on the 'debate' I know it was just a discussion XD

I did add it in...but the server keeps crashing on me whenever I edit a post

...How do people get these banner/link things D= *Confuzzled!*
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