Probably one of the most common questions where the PCA is concerned is what should someone do when it comes to creating characters for our little community. People worry that they can’t make an original character anymore, or what to do if the species they want has already been done several times or a mountain of other issues. Below is a series of recommendations and other general guidelines and rules that people should keep in mind when creating their characters for the Poke Combat Academy.
The below guide is designed to help people get an idea of how to build a character in the personality department and not necessarily in all the mechanics. For rules on mechanics go here: http://www.furaffinity.net/journal/345628/
1) This is not a Role Playing Game; this is a collaborative art project
The first thing to keep in mind is the fact that the PCA is not a role playing group. If you’re looking for a place to set up shop and do nothing but RP you’re in the wrong place. Yes, there is RP going on. Yes there are groups of people who get together at various intervals. In the end this community is still designed for people to share art. Stories, drawings, poems and in some cases even clay creations. This is what it’s intended to be and you should design your characters with this in mind.
2) The most important character in the story is the setting
Often times characters pop up that really don’t fit the setting. The thing to keep in mind is that the PCA is an Elite Private High School. I repeat, High School. When creating your team and characters ask yourself: What did your characters do in order to gain entrance into the school? How are they doing academically as well as battle wise because both are important. If your character hails from a poor family how’d they get in? If they don’t like battling or have no battling experience what did they do to get past the battle entrance exam? Are they there for something other than Battling since there are multiple avenues of study at the school? These are all things you have to ask yourself. If your character has a learning disorder or mental disability why is it that the school, the Private Elite School, would accept them in given that that’s a spot that could be given to an able bodied ‘mon? Think on this while making your concepts. Beyond this it is a high school. Keep that in mind when designing your student's ages (Average Freshman: 14-15, Avg Sophomore: 15-16, Avg Junior: 16-17, Avg Senior 17-18, Upper Limit allowed one year above current grade) and backgrounds. These may be the cream of the crop of battlers in many cases but they are still there to learn. Even the strongest of freshmen students are still learning how to fight and would get soundly beaten by most pros.
3) What’s in a species?
First things first, there are restrictions on Legendary Pokemon which can be found here: http://www.furaffinity.net/journal/386918/ . Beyond this create whatever species you want. Yes, there are some species that are more popular than others. For instance, right now we have a lot of Lucarios and Absols, but you shouldn’t feel that means you have to skip these species if you really want to use them. When selecting species remember that we don’t allow for much in the way of branching out from what a species has attached to them: ie, Moves and Abilities. The one rare exception is that since Pokemorphs now have fists, elemental ‘mon can gain elemental punches. Ie, Flareon morphs can get Fire Punch, Lapras morph could use an Ice Punch or an Electrode morph could gain access to Thunderpunch. No, your Slugma cannot mystically have Ice Punch because they now have a fist.
Alternately instead of doing Elemental Punches keep in mind that you can use Hidden Power and assign a specific element to it and then focus it on your fist. Hidden Power is a nice catch all as far as wanting to have something like that. Keep in mind that if a species learns one of the Elemental Fangs they could focus said energy into their fist as well. One of the best fighters in the school uses Crunch by channeling dark energy into her hands and knees. So know you can be somewhat creative; just no Wing Attack from your backside. Unless it's using tail feathers.
Something else to keep in mind is that any move used at any point by a species is open to use. Example: Sneasel could learn Fury Cutter back in Generation 2 via TM so they can use it in the PCA as far as we’re concerned. There is even a Flying Pikachu that you could use, but this leads to the next thing to keep in mind.
4) Hybrids? No.
No Raichu with a Fearow neck. No Sharpedo with Camerupt humps. No Spinda with gills. These are hybrids and they are not allowed. You can have examples of ‘mon with physical appearances influenced by a parent, for instance a Weavile whose head crest looks more like a pair Lopunny ears due to who her father is. Or a ghost type who still has a similar appearance of what they looked like before they died. These are acceptable. A Charizard with Mothim wings is not.
5) Humans? No!
Period, dot, end of story. Humans do not exist in our world and while they may or may not have at some point, you cannot play a human. End of discussion.
6) Deltas, Shadows, Anime influence and Shinies.
Make a shiny character to your hearts content. Just remember that if its beyond the normal shiny colors give it a bit of a reason; either through dye job, influence of parent or something like that.
Characters influenced by another anime are okay to an extent. Please, don’t base an entire team off of another anime though. Do not make them a direct rip off of said characters from the anime. Do not bring in mechanics from other anime into your character. Do not give them access to different moves because they are some ghost in a metal suit and thus are both types. They’re one species, and they’re based on Pokemon. If they wear a sailor suit for their battle uniform that’s one thing. If it’s an orange jumpsuit at all times and they claim to be a ninja from the Hidden Pokeball Village…that’s another.
Deltas and Shadows are exceedingly rare and quite frankly over done at this point. Please, just don’t.
7) What’s in a character?
With all the negative stuff out of the way let’s look at the positive in what makes a character stand out. In many cases people think they need to do something unique that’s never been done before, but in a lot of cases this isn’t the case. What makes a character interesting is their personality, their quirks; the things that make a real person interesting. In other words, to make a character you need to look past the moves that they get or the ability that they show or even how “Awesome a battler!” they are, and instead look at what makes them tick.
A romantically challenged Pidgeotto who still goes out of his way to try and score with a lady, a Medicham who has no self esteem even though she tries hard for the one ‘mon she loves, a perpetually grumpy Gardevoir who struggles against the instinct of his kind to be nice but still lets it come through when his friends really need him. These are the hallmarks of an interesting character. If you look at the more known characters in the PCA some of them do have something that really makes them stand out as being unique; but in most cases it’s because of their personality.
When making your character or characters don’t look at what makes them unique, but what makes them who they are. Give them ticks, quirks, things that set them off. Loves, hates, academic levels, ways they react to things as well as general personality. What’s their home life like? What are their friends like? What do they do when they’re not doing school work? These things can define and make your character stand out. It doesn’t matter if their arm is shaped differently if they’re dull as two rocks having a conversation with one another. So build a character first, and then everything else around them.
A few suggested questions to ask yourself about your character:
- What’s their hobby?
- What do they hate more than anything?
- Who’s their best friend?
- What do their parents think of them?
- What do they want to get out of being at the Academy?
- What would your character like to change about themselves?
- What advice would you like to give your character?
- How good of a battler are they?
- What do they want to do after they graduate from the Academy?
- Why should other people care about this character?
8) Other people’s characters.
You ask yourself what does this have to do with your character? Everything. Remember that your characters do not live in a vacuum; they have a lot other characters to play off of and this is a collaborative project, intended for people to work with one another. So make a character that’s going to interact with ‘mon. They don’t have to be friendly, but they have to at least be willing to make contact with others.
Also keep in mind that some people have established history about certain things. The Orange Islands have had a vague outline already of what they are in the PCAverse. Leek history as far as Farfetch’d are concerned in regards to their ancestral weapon. Look for people with Farfetch’d characters to get an idea for what they’ve done. So don’t just run roughshod over the history that other people have already established, and in a lot of cases could even help you to establish your characters in the PCA project.
On the flip side if another person's character seems to have a particular thing about them don't step on it. There is a fire type who's an extreme pyrophobic for instance. Don't make one that's an even bigger pyrophobe to try and swipe an idea. While yes, there can be more than one gender confused character, one of the most famous PCA characters is the original. Trying to play a cute 'mon who's gender confused and constantly hugging people might not be a good idea for a new character since that already is another character. Look for inspiration in what others do, but don't make a carbon copy either.
9) The school is more than just beating people up
Beyond the fact that there is also academics at the school (A well rounded battler is a better battler) there are also several areas of emphasis. The school is designed to give anyone that wants to get involved with the battle leagues a chance to succeed and skip college in many cases. Beyond battling there’s also classes in sports medicine which includes sports psychology, Coaching, broadcasting and production, set design and arena maintenance, and business management as well as fighter management. It’s a fairly comprehensive listing of potential avenues to go down and your character is allowed into these. Just because they are in one of these majors doesn’t mean they won’t battle but some majors involve a whole lot less fighting than others. Medicine and coaching, for instance, have their grades based on things other than how well they can throw a punch. In Coaching’s case it’s based on how well the other students you’re coaching throw a punch.
Don’t feel you have to make a battler, and if you want to make a character that doesn’t want to fight then consider putting them into a non-battle major because otherwise their grades could suffer pretty bad.
10) Simpson’s time!
What’s that mean? You know how Bart Simpson has been a 4th grader for 19 seasons now? That’s because they never age, even if they have a birthday party. Same goes for us, we’re on Simpson’s time. Eventually there will be a turnover to allow for some advancement but for right now, the grade you pick is going to be their grade for a while so make sure you’re happy with it. This does not mean your character has to stay the same age, but if they jump 3 years during RP and we’re still on the first year it might seem a bit odd.
11) What's in a Move
For starters, the basic formula for moves is simple. Each year that a student exists they have 4 moves that they have mastered. A freshman has 4, a sophomore has 8, a junior has 12, a senior has 16. These moves are any moves on the move list of a species in any given generation. For instance in generation 2 Sneasel could learn Fury Cutter from TM, but not in future generations. A Sneasel student at the PCA can still have Fury Cutter as a result. Also, special release Pokemon such as Extreme Speed Dratini, Surfing Pikachu and Petal Dance Psyduck are all allowed as well.
Over the course of the school year they are in the students are also working on their next 4 moves. Students are able to try and use these moves in a battle, but it's no guarantee they will even work. A young Pikachu student might be learning Thunderbolt and try it in a battle and have it go off a few times without a hitch, only to have it blow themselves up as a result on the third try and do more damage than good. By the end or near the end of the school year (see Simpson's time) they should have the moves largely mastered and able to use without much fear.
Something to keep in mind as well is that these are students. Yes, there are some truly gifted students at the school, the PCA is the cream of the crop. But that doesn't mean that your level 9 black belt tae kwon do karate genius is just going to come in and walk all over everyone no problem. The highly ranked are highly ranked for a reason, but it's usually against their "peers." Meaning those in the same age group. A two time junior champion freshman Poliwhirl may come in and be able to beat most of the other freshmen and a good chunk of sophomores, but when it comes to seniors it'd be a truly sad senior that'd lose to them; or a truly stupid one. Just keep in mind your kid is still learning to be the very best.
Remember, the character is only as interesting as their personality and how they stand out. Uber strong students aren’t going to draw attention just because they’re child prodigies. A child prodigy that also has something interesting about them is going to stand out a lot more. Even then, you don’t have to make them unique in any way other than a personal quirk as simple as the fact that they chew on their nails when they’re nervous as it’s the little things that will make your character stand out; not because they are some Shadow Delta Ghost/Fight type Ninja from some demon sent cult. After all, one of the best known characters in the PCA is a Drowzee with a bad attitude and a love for coffee in the morning.
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