Introduction:

The goal in this guide is to help you fill out your custom character application AND get swift approval with few changes needed. We will cover the important parts of your application that you should put thought into, as well as what we are looking for out of a custom race/character. This is a long read, and not for the faint of heart, but every section is relevant to your application and familiarizing yourself with the information here, will assist in presenting your application for swift approval. 

The article below does contain links to relevant articles on the website and it is recommened you read them for more insight into how you can create your character.

Overview:

Below is a concise list for those of you who want a quick overview of critical points to remember when applying:

  • Be Original in your character design! Don’t copy movies/books/games/religion.
  • Be realistic in your skills and abilities! No one is a master of all trades.

  • Be balanced in your strengths vs. your weaknesses! Know the importance of handicaps & faults.

  • Ensure your character’s story makes sense. The sum of experiences should logically equal your character.

  • Make sure your race is allowed before applying. No aliens, furries, cyborgs, steampunk, etc.

  • When giving us a picture, make sure it’s full body in bright lighting.

  • Don’t leave application questions blank! Ensure all applicable info is filled out.

  • Shapeshifting? We want to see the handicaps and costs of having that privilege. Remember to apply if you want to be a shapeshifter!

  • Regarding Magic: We want to see that you understand magic and how to RP it. Ensure your character isn't overpowered, and isn't using contradicting or too many schools of magic. Remember there should be a cost for using it.

  • We want to know that you read the instructions of the app completely. Get the “secret word” right the FIRST time.

  • We want you to be brief, concise and to the point. Long-winded apps full of superfluous detail take us forever to process.

 

What We Look For in a Custom Application:


**** Currently only Custom Applications and Custom Revisions from Custom Apps which were approved in Mystara are being accepted. ****

New (not previously approved) Custom applications and Custom Revisions are currently closed.  

If you had custom character apps which were APPROVED in Mystara, you must submit a new application for each custom character to have them ported over to the new sim.  Click HERE to access the form.

As things progress, we may start processing new custom character applications and custom revisions.  Below is a list of considerations that will be used.  

There are a number of things we look for when you apply for a custom application, which we carefully consider across a team of over 10 admin viewpoints with expertise from table top GMing, literature, video game development, and decades worth of combined roleplay experience. We are a little nitpicky but it’s all in the spirit of helping you build the most sensible, balanced character you can  while allowing you the greater flexibility of character creation or development that the rules for standard races restrict..


1. A legitimate Character, or a special snowflake?

Unfortunately, many people’s motivation for making a custom character race is fueled by the desire to be the weirdest, wackiest, most unusually “special” thing out there, with the emphasis on driving interest in their character by their uniqueness, rather than the quality of their story and RP. They take the best parts of any race or character and smoosh them into something with super magical powers, amazing fighting skill, stunningly handsome, gifted with genius intelligence, with the wings of an angel, the healing powers of an elf, the scales of a dragon and the backstory of Conan the Barbarian.

What the team is looking for is a reasonable character that is not only believable, but plausible.  When combining genetics, think about whether it’s really plausible or not from a biological standpoint, and consider whether it makes any sense from a cultural aspect. When creating a unique race, make it plausible by ensuring it’s not only imperfect but has plenty of flaws and drawbacks as well.

2. Is the character’s avatar appropriate?

When we look at the avatar you’ve put together, we want to see something that is realistic and makes sense. Throwing on the latest steampunk gear, pointless animal ears and tails, using furry avatars, bright implausible colors or hugely oversized weapons, gigantic prim breasts and lazer cannons, we’re going to say that’s simply not fitting for this environment. Try not to take the ‘fantasy’ theme too far.

3. Is the character original?

If you’ve modeled your character directly off an already existing one from any canon work of literature, gaming, film, or lore -- we WILL notice and we will definitely make you change it. Be original!

4. Is the character overpowered?

We’re not here to nerf you into a castrato or make your roleplay experience miserable, however, we do insist that your character be balanced. What is balance to us? We want to see an equal level of drawbacks, handicaps, and weaknesses in relation to your strengths.

A prime example would be a powerful mage. We want to know that if your character has the ability to wield great magic, his body is likely not going to be a tank and his skill with melee combat is atrocious.   If you are a vampire, we want to see that in return for your amazing speed, strength, regeneration, and night vision, that you are utterly hopeless against sunlight, necromancers, silver, and holy artifacts.

When we ask for character weakness, we want to know everything that gives your character struggle and adversity. Why? It’s not only fair but it makes for great roleplay.

5. Does the character’s abilities have costs?

No character should have special abilities without costs and drawbacks. Think your character can swing that huge claymore for hours without tiring? He can’t. No one’s stamina is everlasting and it will eventually run out. Think your character can blast off massive spell attacks like it’s nothing? She can't. Eventually the mental and physical energy will exhaust her to the brink of collapse. Think your character can go through a remarkable shape-shifting transformation and not feel a thing? They CAN’T. Bones, organs and tissue coming undone and reforming is neither quick nor painless.

For every unique ability, there is a cost. Whether it is exhaustion, pain, energy drain, passing out, losing some life force, you don’t get to do that cool awesome skill without paying a price.

6. Is the character’s backstory sensible and logical?

We want to know a little bit about where your character came from and how he came to be. It helps us to understand the character’s traits, abilities, and physical attributes. However, when you have little to no story, or a poorly thought out story that conflicts with your character’s details, or when you write us a 7 paragraph long novel filled with inconsequential details -- it can result in your app being held up (because having to read so much kills our eyes), or delay your app because we have to get clarifications and elaborations on things that make no sense or conflict. Think long and hard about your character’s back story, and whether the sum of experiences naturally equals the end personality. 

 

Critical Tips to Remember for Your Application:

  • Always ensure that the photo of your character should be clear, full body, and in daylight. Failing to give us a good clear picture can add extra time to your app.

  • Always fill out every applicable item or question. If you are stumped and unsure of something, contact any mentor for help. That’s what they are there for. Incomplete applications will NOT be processed, we will have to contact you on our time to have it re-done. Save time, do it right the first attempt.

  • Don’t be too long-winded in your replies. Concise points and basic statements help the application to be processed much faster. The faster we can read it, the faster we can analyze it and get back to you.

  • At the same time, don’t leave out critical details! While we want brevity and conciseness in your answers, we don’t want you to omit important factors.

  • Finally, understand that the people who process your application get no joy out of making you change or alter your character. We are not sadists, we don’t want to ruin your day or your character, and our primary goal is to approve your app and make only the minimum changes to ensure fairness, plausibility, and realism. Applications are the hardest part of the admin job, they take a lot of time and effort to do, and it’s an unpaid job. Our greatest reward is adding that little green check mark to your application and moving it to the approved folder. The admin do this job for free and they do it to help you get your dream character into the RP action as soon as possible. Giving the admin a bad attitude or being woefully stubborn and uncooperative will not help your case or speed up your application, and in many cases may delay it.

 

A Guide to Realistic Abilities:


 

When describing your character’s strength, speed, agility, and other general abilities, we look for realism and accuracy. Over inflating your character’s abilities in too many areas will require us to nerf your character with modifications, and will slow down the application process.  Be modest in how you build your character’s abilities and you will move swiftly to approved status.

 

Realistic Strength

When we gauge strength of supernatural or fantasy races, we generally do it in terms of relation to human strength. A strong and fit human male can shift 200 pounds of weight with excessive force. A strong and fit human female can shift 100 pounds of weight with excessive force. This would be with maximum effort and a great penalty to stamina, and we base this off of averages.
With your race, we want to know exactly how strong it is, and the best way to do it is express it in multiples of human strength. So, a creature that is 2x as strong as the average human male can shift 400 pounds of weight with excessive force. That is the size of a small horse! So where the average human male might be able to grab and throw another large person, about 200 pounds, a creature that is 2x that could grab and throw a small 400 pound horse!

Think carefully when evaluating your strength. Here are some values to guide you:

  • Lycan in War Form: 2x
  • Dragon in Bipedal Form: 2x
  • Dragon in Full Form: 10x

Bear in mind these strengths are not continuous nor easy. They are MAXIMUM EFFORT EXERTED. No creature can sustain such strength for very long without tiring or injuring their tissues. Also bear in mind that strength can change depending on whether your character shapeshifts and has different forms.

 

Realistic Speed/Agility

We call “speed” the fastest at which a creature can move with maximum effort, and agility is the maximum accuracy in which they move.

In terms of speed, the fastest human male runners (think Olympic Champions) average a top speed of 23 - 28 miles per hour, at a burning, gut wrenching, full sprint.  The average human male in fit condition runs a top speed of about 6 miles per hour. In both cases this is with maximum effort and cannot be sustained for any great length of time. 
Think Carefully when evaluating your speed. Here are some estimated values to guide you:

  • Dwarf: 2 miles per hour
  • Orc: 5 miles per hour
  • Fit Human: 6 miles per hour
  • Lycan in Hybrid form: 7 miles per hour
  • Lycan in War Form: 10 miles per hour
  • Olympic Champion Human: 25 miles per hour
  • Horse: 38 miles per hour
  • Cheetah: 60 miles per hour

Bear in mind that these speeds are top speeds and cannot be sustained for great amounts of time. If speed is your thing, tell us your top speed, but know that it’s not your average speed.

 

Realistic Speed/Strength Balancing

Think about the physiology of your character and be cautious to endow them with too much ability in too many areas.

For example, a hugely strong juggernaut of a creature, laden with heavy muscle, would likely be able to exert huge amounts of force for short bursts. The counter to that is that the character is not likely to be very fast or agile, and his stamina may be low.

Another example, a quick and nimble wood elf, moves through the trees fast and with remarkable accuracy, his thin legs able to quickly manoeuvre around obstacles. Such a creature would not be endowed with tons of muscle and strength.

In closing, be realistic and understand that your character cannot “have it all”.

 

Realistic Learned Skills

When we put our minds to something, and commit to learn it, we go through phases of development in that skill. When you fill out an application, it can be very helpful to tell us what level of mastery your character has reached in a position of skill, as it gives us a good basis for balancing.

The general levels of ability can be broken down into Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Mastery. Generally, any skill which we are advanced or mastered in, we can consider that our “Primary Class”. Other skills that are novice to intermediate, can be considered a “Secondary Class”.

Many of us want to think of our characters as Masters in a particular skill but really, this cuts us off from character development in roleplay. If a character has nothing more to learn or achieve, there is little reason to roleplay. We consider reasonable levels of achievement to be as follows:

  • Novice: A year or less of study in a skill
  • Intermediate: 2 - 5 years of study in a skill
  • Advanced: 5 - 20 years of study in a skill
  • Mastery: 20 years to a Lifetime of study in a skill

If we place our character into a skillset that is advanced or mastered, the realistic choice is to consider that any other skills the character has are intermediate or novice. It can take half a lifetime to learn how to be a champion swordfighter. Learning how to compose powerful magic spells at the same time? Not likely. There are only so many hours in a day and it’s unrealistic to expect a character to have advanced or mastery level of multiple skills, regardless of how old and long-lived your character is. If  a master doesn’t practice his skill with high regularity, he becomes rusty. Swordfighting, spell casting, these aren’t like riding a bike.

Remember that it can take a lifetime to master a skillset. If you send in a character application where you’ve mastered blades, bow & arrow, polearm, smithing, 4 languages, and basketweaving, we WILL nerf you down to one primary class, the rest being secondary and only novice to intermediate level. Additionally, adding too many skills and we will either ask you to drop some, or adjust your character to be a “jack of all trades, master of none”. No character is a master of all trades. Keep this in mind when you develop a skill-set and you will be certain to get swift approval.

 

Realistic Shape-shifting

Shapeshifting is a phenomenal skill that often grants characters a double persona, and as such it’s a heavily regulated ability in Mysts of Eyr, requiring an application.
We define shapeshifting into two major categories. Physical shifting, and illusions.

Physical shapeshifting can be caused by magic spells, potions, phases of the moon, emotion and willpower, and even trauma or stress. It causes the body to physically undergo the trauma of organ, bone, and tissue rearrangement. Such transformations take time, lots of posts, and ARE painful. When you select shapeshifter on the application, we will ask for the “costs” of your shifting. These can be pain, fatigue, dizziness, loss of abilities, and a number of other things. Check ALL that apply. The less you check off, the more we will scrutinize your character for balance which can delay your application.

Illusions are not a physical change. Illusions are created by magic, and generally are not permanent, can often be broken or interrupted, and those with the gift of seeing or smelling can usually see through the disguise. Because an illusion is magic, it generally cannot be sustained for very long, and disrupting the caster (be it your character or another character) will break the spell. Those who shapeshift by illusion gain NO new special abilities. For instance, a human who turns into a wolf via illusion magic will not gain the sight, speed, or smell of an actual wolf. They remain human in all respects, and simply “appear” to be a wolf to others. Those who have psionic seeing abilities or an amazing sense of smell will not buy into the illusion.

Remember that sometimes with a change of forms comes a change in skills and abilities -- some lost and some gained. Do not fail to fill out the exact abilities for your shifted forms or it will delay your application. Also, remember to include a full frontal picture of each form in daylight settings or again your application will be delayed.

 

Weaknesses Help:

Weaknesses are not bad. They are what makes characters real, vulnerable, fair, relate-able, and ultimately brings them to life.  A weakness, also called a handicap, or sometimes colloquially called “nerfing”, is any drawback to a race or an ability. With great powers and abilities come great weakness. The fewer number of weaknesses you assign to your custom character, the greater the scrutiny will be when your application is looked over, which will ultimately slow down the processing of your application.  Below are some of the most commonly accepted weaknesses:

  • Vampires: Sunlight, Necromancers, Holy Ground, Salt, Running Water, Fire

  • Demons: Holy Relics, Holy Ground, Holy / Light / Clerical magic, Holy Water, Salt. A special note on holy ground: How can a demon be weak on holy ground? Think of it like a baseball game. When playing on your home turf you are more likely to play stronger, and win more games. When you are out of your comfort zone and playing an away game -- everything will be more of an uphill struggle.

  • Celestials: Unholy Artifacts, Unholy Ground, Shadow Magic, Darkness, Water/Fire (can render wings soaked and useless, also flammable).  A special note on unholy ground: How can an angel be weak on unholy ground? Think of it like a baseball game. When playing on your home turf you are more likely to play stronger, and win more games. When you are out of your comfort zone and playing an away game -- everything will be more of an uphill struggle.

  • Lycans: Wolfsbane, Silver, Bodies of Water, Painful shifting, Loss of speech & reading in wolf form, fire (bad for fur)

  • Elementals and Element-wielding Mages: Weak to the opposite element which they control.

  • General: Blindness, missing a limb, cannot read, naive, gullible, clumsy, narcoleptic, young/old.