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PostSubject: Newcomer Guide(s)   Fri May 11, 2012 6:34 am

As has been suggested, a newcomer guide would be very good.

Coincidentally, I already had something of the sort written up when a newbie requested that I explain Felarya to them. You can see it here.
I'd say it provides a good starting point.

In the 'where has the community gone', lceren suggested that there be sections on info specific to making characters. I'd say those should be their own guide.

Current Guides:
Felarya Introduction (edit)

Character Creation Guide (edit)


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PostSubject: Re: Newcomer Guide(s)   Fri May 11, 2012 7:56 am

I think a general newbie guide could be a good thing. Something to give them some background, some context and some general advice to start out. They can then choose to accept and follow it, or to do their own thing.

To toss in a couple ideas for the character section...

Cliff's Character Creation Cool-tips: Super compatible with canon pony edition

In this, I will try to lay out some common, and generally useful tips for how to think up, create and implement a character within the Felarya universe. While these are not the only ways, and are very much my personal views, I feel these are important things to keep in mind, and are useful for those who'd like to make a character that can mesh into the setting a bit more completely.

1: Origins

Due to the strange, inter-dimensional nature of the setting, there are a great many potential origins for your character. Some common ones include...

- Offworlder (Accidental):
In this case, your character is someone who either got caught in a Vanishing land, a chunk of another world (usually) temporarily displaced to Felarya before returning home, or a Whiplash porta, a rare dimensional phenomenon where a dimensional portal opens suddenly and violently for a very short time, sucking in anything close to it.

In both of these situations, the person/people in question would find themselves in Felarya suddenly and unexpectedly, with very few supplies other than what they had on them, or what was around them at the time.

http://felarya.com/wiki/index.php?title=Physics#Connection_to_other_worlds The wiki entry on dimensional connections, which is useful to keep in mind with this sort of thing.

- Offworlder (Intentional):
In this case, your character is someone who came to Felarya (usually) willingly and through intentional means. This is usually achieved through the use of artificially made Dimensional portals created through technological, magical or magi-technical means. Depending how the portal was made, your character could be from a more traditionally sci-fi, tech-focused world, or a more fantasy style magical world.

People can come to Felarya on purpose for a few different reasons. Some common ones include Inter-dimensional exploration and Fortune seeking. In the case of exploration, this is usually going to be done by an independent group, using their own dimensional portals. Usually a scientific team, with a light military escort. Fortune seekers could potentially use their own portals, but a great many will start in the city of Negav if their world is aware of it. Negav offers a nice starting point, and last-stop to buy extra supplies, weapons and provisions.

Intentional visitors to Felarya are usually prepared for the trip, or at least think they are. Extra supplies, useful tools and gear, and even weapons will be brought along.

- Native (Human-sized):
You are a Felaryan native. You have spent your entire life on this crazy, magical death-world. A human-sized native Felarya can be one of a multitude of species. Nagas, Harpies, Mermaids, Dridders, Elves and Slug-girls among others all have human-sized sub-species. Some species like Humans, Nekos and Inu only exist at the human-sized scale.

The next thing you should consider is location. Was your character born in the wilds? Did they live in one of the tiny, mostly-hidden villages that dot the wilderness? Or are they from some of Felarya's bigger settlements, like Negav or Chiotia City? This is something that will have a great impact on your character's life experiences, as well as their views. Have they lived their entire life, stealthily trying to survive the wilderness, dodging giants and savage beasts? Did they grow up in a small village, constantly teetering on the edge of being discovered and sacked by a giant predator? Are they from the relative safety of a large city? If so, what do they do for a living? If they're a non-human around Negav they would likely live in the Motamo Docks, and face potential prejudice when going into the city to work. If they lived in Chiotia City, they could very possibly have a Giant Harpy or Sea Krait Naga friend or acquaintance.

if someone is a native Felaryan, it is also quite possible they could have some skill at magic.

- Native (Giant/Pred):
Your character is giant predator in Felarya. Your species options are nearly as vast as they are with human-sized species. Other than Inu, Humans and Nekos, most Felaryan species have a giant variation. Dryads and Fairies are an option as well.

http://felarya.com/wiki/index.php?title=Category:Races A list of the species of Felarya.

The vast majority of giant predators will either have grown up alone, raising themselves, or would have been raised by a small family unit. As a giant hybrid, you would have lived your entire life out in the wilderness. Your only education would be what your parents might have taught you, and what you've learned from your own experiences. Giant hybrids are, in general, much less common than human-sized people and are scattered around the wilderness, usually with large distances between them. Most would generally have a small circle of friends and acquaintances, usually the preds who's territories run up against theirs.

Fairies are an exception to this though, as they routinely band together in packs of up to a dozen or more.

Dridders in the Dridder Forest also tend to group together in tribes, and are another exception to the more isolated situation most giant preds live in.

Much like native human-sized Felaryans, giant natives also tend to have some magical potential. However, they tend to be much less refined than someone who has been formally trained at, say, Negav, due to the near-complete lack of any organized predator civilizations. Most giant preds would be self-taught, other than tips and tricks they might learn from friends.

Once again, fairies are an exception to this, especially in the Fairy Kingdom.

2: General things to avoid
When making a character, there are some common things I usually feel are good to avoid. They tend to drag down a character and/or make them clash against the setting itself. Once again, only personal opinion.

- Self-Inserts:
I admit that I violated this in my first story involving Felarya. A self-insert is where you insert the real you into the setting as a character. While this can be fun in some role-playing scenarios, it generally is not good for a character you intend to write multiple stories about.

There are a few big problems with self-inserts. The main one is that... most of us are not that interesting, or capable of surviving in a world like Felarya. We generally lack the physical abilities and knowledge of survival skills needed for it. This kind of ties into the second thing usually wrong with self-inserts. Most of us do not want ourselves to die. Nearly all self-inserts have total plot-protection. They usually get out of trouble through completely improbable bouts of luck, or easily befriend a giant, or gain some super-powered abilities to let them survive. There's really no tension with a self-insert, as almost none of them ever get injured, must less in serious threat of being killed.

You also sometimes get into a meta-fiction type situation, where a self-insert knows about Felarya from Earth, and meets their own character, and... it all just gets weird.

- Overpowered characters:
This is another surprisingly common issue. Someone will come in with some kind of super-soldier, or fallen-god, or some kind of ludicrously powerful mage that is so strong/skilled, that none of Felarya's usual dangers can touch them. This creates a lot of problems, although the main two are World Impact and Lack of tension. Because overpowered characters are usually unstoppable, they usually go all over, meeting all sorts of characters, and generally leaving a much larger impact on the world around them than any real person would. They become a bit overbearing, really. Also, like with self-inserts, when a character is immune from harm or death, there is no tension for the reader. They know how something is going to end, and that the overpowered character is just going to power through any situation.

- Dragon Ball Z: Felarya:
This is related to overpowered characters, but is common enough to be its own thing. It is generally not a good idea to design a character solely around the premise that they are super-powerful and go around fighting other people in dragon ball Z style anime fights, with excessive powers, yelling about honor and loyalty and transformations to more powerful forms. Felarya is not a combat-world, and while fights do happen, this type of fighting just comes off as completely out of place within the setting. Some people focus on this type of thing almost exclusively in their stories, and it is just not that compelling to read. There needs to be more to your character than how hard they can punch something, or how big an explosion they can make.

A duel between mages would be more tactical. It would be about proper spell-use and the spells able to counter it, all while making sure you don't burn yourself out before the other mage.

- Warhammer 40,000 Felarya:
Another surprisingly common issue. In this case an excessively strong super-soldier and/or army of super-soldiers comes to Felarya. They are usually armed with insane weapons, almost always designed by someone who does not really know how weapons work, or how a military works. These super-soldiers typically walk around, doing whatever they want, and just gun down any threats while being portrayed as badass and macho as possible. Once again, Felarya is not a combat-world, and this type of thing not only lacks tension, but is out of place.

A military squad/soldier lost in Felarya could work, but it has to be handled right. In all likelihood, they won't have the weapons necessarily to kill a giant. Those tend to be heavy, cumbersome and useless for anything else other than killing vehicles/aircraft/giants. It would be much more reasonable, and tense, for them to rely more on stealth, and cunning, to make their way along as they try to avoid the larger wildlife where possible, their ammo and supplies slowly dwindling.

A good example of the "Elite military group" within Felarya is The Isolon Fist, the personal army of Negav's ruling council. They use powerful battlemages, supported by more traditional soldiers. Through the use of aerial scouts in the form of Jetbikes and even Human-sized Harpies along with sound tactics, they CAN actually take on a giant hybrid with a reasonable degree of success while still keeping the whole situation tense and dangerous for the reader, although that type of operation is only done when necessary due to the inherent risks and how valuable the battlemages and soldiers are.

http://felarya.com/wiki/index.php?title=Negavian_factions#Isolon_Fist The wiki entry on the Isolon Fist

- The Cross-over Conundrum:
While it can be fun to feature other canon characters, and other people's characters in your stories, this should be done in moderation. It is all too easy to fall into the "I'm friends with everyone" situation in regards to your character, when they know like, half of the characters in the wiki.

My own personal opinion is that cross-overs should be done rarely, as nods to friends or characters you like. If you really want to have them play a part in your plot, it is usually better for it to be a smaller part, or more of a side-plot that is not directly connected with the main goings on. Basically, just be careful about bringing in someone else's character to completely prop up your character's story. It can be done, but it has to be handled very carefully.

There's probably more character stuff I'm forgetting, but these are some common things to think about when constructing one.
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PostSubject: Re: Newcomer Guide(s)   Fri May 11, 2012 9:00 am

Wow, that's a very useful and instructive post you made there. Thanks a lot, it has helped quite a bit.
Only one thing I think it's necessary. For the human-sized inhabitants of Felarya, how much do they know about the range of predatory species? I know the area is being charted into a map, but it isn't said if they are also keeping a compendium of the known predatory species.
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PostSubject: Re: Newcomer Guide(s)   Fri May 11, 2012 9:15 am

Ilceren wrote:
Wow, that's a very useful and instructive post you made there. Thanks a lot, it has helped quite a bit.
Only one thing I think it's necessary. For the human-sized inhabitants of Felarya, how much do they know about the range of predatory species? I know the area is being charted into a map, but it isn't said if they are also keeping a compendium of the known predatory species.

That would depend on the people involved.

I imagine Negav has a wealth of information they've gathered and catalogued over the centuries. A small wild village might just know what's in the general area around them.

Most settlements in Felarya are kind of isolated. They really only know what they have discovered, and what is around them. That's the impression I've gotten anyway. Most people living in the Tolmeshol Forest have probably never even heard of Negav, for example.
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PostSubject: Re: Newcomer Guide(s)   Fri May 11, 2012 9:16 am

@ Ilceren: I think that a storywriting info guide may be in order.

Anyway, I updated the OP with links to docs.

EDIT: This isn't the Q&A thread guys.


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PostSubject: Re: Newcomer Guide(s)   Fri May 11, 2012 9:21 am

rcs619 wrote:
That would depend on the people involved.

I imagine Negav has a wealth of information they've gathered and catalogued over the centuries. A small wild village might just know what's in the general area around them.

Most settlements in Felarya are kind of isolated. They really only know what they have discovered, and what is around them. That's the impression I've gotten anyway. Most people living in the Tolmeshol Forest have probably never even heard of Negav, for example.
Mmhm, I see. I thought the actual settlements were only those shown in the map, stupid of me. So there are lots of little villages hidden around there, and probably it just depends on your luck to find them, right? No map to guide you to the biggest ones, or anything.


P.S.: Yay! My text turns invisible when quoted XD I'll have to find some other colour...
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PostSubject: Re: Newcomer Guide(s)   Fri May 11, 2012 9:40 am

Ilceren wrote:
rcs619 wrote:
That would depend on the people involved.

I imagine Negav has a wealth of information they've gathered and catalogued over the centuries. A small wild village might just know what's in the general area around them.

Most settlements in Felarya are kind of isolated. They really only know what they have discovered, and what is around them. That's the impression I've gotten anyway. Most people living in the Tolmeshol Forest have probably never even heard of Negav, for example.
Mmhm, I see. I thought the actual settlements were only those shown in the map, stupid of me. So there are lots of little villages hidden around there, and probably it just depends on your luck to find them, right? No map to guide you to the biggest ones, or anything.


P.S.: Yay! My text turns invisible when quoted XD I'll have to find some other colour...

Oh yeah, the stuff on the map is just what is known to be canon. It is just scratching the surface I imagine. Felarya is massive

Click spoiler for image:
Spoiler:
 

By some guesstimates from myself and tangofox, it is even more massive than we originally thought (Note, things are not to scale at all. If they were, you could not see, Negav, for example. I actually do like the giant tree being the size of Connecticut though. It fits with it having its own ecosystem and lakes and such).

The only big settlements currently know are Negav (at roughly 900,000 residents) and Chiotia City (at roughly 12,000-14,000).

The city of Kelerm has been an unconfirmed rumor for a while now. It is supposedly a massive desert-city, larger than Chiotia but smaller than Negav. Nothing is known about it besides the name though.

Besides those three, there's more than enough room for dozens, even hundreds of small, isolated villages or towns to dot the landscape.
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PostSubject: Re: Newcomer Guide(s)   Fri May 11, 2012 9:48 am

Yeah, I saw your "Felarya is a pretty big place" thread around XD
Those villages might come in handy. I have another question about them, but I'll try it at the chatbox, better.


Anime-Junkie wrote:
EDIT: This isn't the Q&A thread guys.
Uh, sorry AJ. I'll refrain.
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PostSubject: Re: Newcomer Guide(s)   Fri May 11, 2012 10:40 am

Wow, I've heard the term "massive" being tossed around in reference to Felarya but I never thought it was THAT big. If so then the map is definitely WAY not-to-scale, unless that river in the middle is supposed to be a hundred miles wide.
At some point I think it'd be cool to see a satellite-photo-style map of Felarya at true scale, although I'm not sure how to accomplish that.
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PostSubject: Re: Newcomer Guide(s)   Fri May 11, 2012 10:43 am

Well done, both. Those will hopefully be very useful.

One small thing, Cliff: Regarding the use of other / canon characters. If they're merely brought in as a prop, an artificial "Look who my character knows!", then it should indeed be avoided. But conversely, I like the idea of Felarya being a whole to some extent. Ideally, characters and stories should have a specific setting on the map, and that setting may bring them quite naturally into contact with local residents. (It might be useful one day to have a map indicating who lives where, in fact.) Sometimes connections between characters form themselves naturally.

For instance, I moved Isham to Safe Harbour because there was a reason for him to go there. That has led to Jade appearing in some of my stories, and to Isham appearing briefly in some of Ravana's. Similarly, Hiral has come naturally into contact with Milly and Jissy, around family-related issues and others that gave them something to talk about. My characters have visited Vivian for in-story reasons (no, not sex...). Etc...

That sense of connectedness, of consolidation, can be a good thing. It makes Felarya a whole, rather than a set of utterly separate stories, proverbial ships in the night. (It also helps bind together a community of writers, incidentally.) But new writers should probably wait until they've made a name for themselves, purely with their own characters, before seeking to take part in this.

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PostSubject: Re: Newcomer Guide(s)   Fri May 11, 2012 9:17 pm

French snack wrote:
Well done, both. Those will hopefully be very useful.

One small thing, Cliff: Regarding the use of other / canon characters. If they're merely brought in as a prop, an artificial "Look who my character knows!", then it should indeed be avoided. But conversely, I like the idea of Felarya being a whole to some extent. Ideally, characters and stories should have a specific setting on the map, and that setting may bring them quite naturally into contact with local residents. (It might be useful one day to have a map indicating who lives where, in fact.) Sometimes connections between characters form themselves naturally.

For instance, I moved Isham to Safe Harbour because there was a reason for him to go there. That has led to Jade appearing in some of my stories, and to Isham appearing briefly in some of Ravana's. Similarly, Hiral has come naturally into contact with Milly and Jissy, around family-related issues and others that gave them something to talk about. My characters have visited Vivian for in-story reasons (no, not sex...). Etc...

That sense of connectedness, of consolidation, can be a good thing. It makes Felarya a whole, rather than a set of utterly separate stories, proverbial ships in the night. (It also helps bind together a community of writers, incidentally.) But new writers should probably wait until they've made a name for themselves, purely with their own characters, before seeking to take part in this.

Oh, I'm not totally against cross-overs. I just feel that unless they are handled delicately and have a point to them, they can bring down a story, or take it over completely. Shared-canon universes can be fascinating. That's the reason the American comic-book industry can do insane things like The Avengers, or Justice League.

The most common issues I see are, like you said "Look who my character knows!" for one. In a lot of these, there's no real need, or pay-off for the cross-over. It's literally just to name-drop a more well-known character that the other person's own OC happens to know, or have befriended now. I mean, because of this alone, Crisis has more friends than Pinkie Pie according to the fan-fics. lol

I suppose "Look how tough my character is, see he/she just beat up so-and-so!" kind of falls in with this category as well, as the cross-over involved is usually similarly pointless.

The other big one is when someone starts the story about their own character/characters, and then brings in someone else's character... who then proceeds to carry the plot and drive the story. In those cases, it really undermines the author's OC's, and often puts the guest character in situations they would just never find themselves in.

There's also usually huge issues with characterization and such as well. Writing other people's characters effectively and consistently is hard. Their own personalities and quirks put limits on what they, and by extension, you can do. That's why I tend to prefer more minor/side-plot roles for cross-overs. I think Fiona's appearances in the Felarya mangas so far are a good example of that. She's kind of off to the side, doing her own thing parallel to the main plot so far. This allows her more freedom to be herself, and to be in wholly different situations than the rest of the cast.

Cross-overs where the guest character plays a big role in the plot are certainly do-able as well. It's just hard to get them right. You have to balance out your character with the guest, while getting their personality, quirks and mannerisms correct. It's a delicate balance. Continuing with the Fiona in the manga example, I don't really know what's going to happen when her side-story links up with Crisis and the main plot. My guess is that she'd either fade out with her task complete, or merge into the next phase of the story. Either way is valid, although the latter is more difficult. It's all about execution, really.

The main reason I mentioned it in a newbie guide is because, well... I don't think it's something a newbie should be jumping right into. I think doing a crossover/team-up right requires not only good planning and forethought, but a bit of research too, on the guest character. If you want to get them right anyway, which I know I would. It's a much more advanced type of story, in my opinion.

Parameciumkid said:
Quote :
Wow, I've heard the term "massive" being tossed around in reference to Felarya but I never thought it was THAT big. If so then the map is definitely WAY not-to-scale, unless that river in the middle is supposed to be a hundred miles wide.
At some point I think it'd be cool to see a satellite-photo-style map of Felarya at true scale, although I'm not sure how to accomplish that.

I actually believe the Jewel River has been described as "Looking like a sea to those standing on its shores".

Personally, I think the actual geography of the map is fairly correct. Me and Tango based our guesstimationss on the presumed average walking speed of a giant hybrid, and the estimated timeline of Crisis' trip to see Vivian in the second manga. The only things on the map that wouldn't be to scale would be artificial structures, like temples, cities, bases and such... since you wouldn't even be able to see them on a to-scale map.

The Giant Tree is described as having its own ecosystem, and having whole lakes in its branches. The branches themselves are described as being "large enough to hold whole cities on them". When you look at the mangas, the giant tree is still overwhelmingly massive compared to Crisis and Anna, and even the giant harpies seen living in its canopy. I think it would need to be at least the size of a small US state like Connecticut, to be able to meet those criteria. Honestly, I think the Giant Tree is probably the largest known lifeform in the universe. I don't see how one could get much bigger.

When you're dealing with creatures that can reach highway speeds at a casual walk (or reach cruising speeds roughly equivalent to WWII propeller-driven fighter aircraft, in the case of giant harpies) the world needs to be absolutely massive, or there would be giant preds every few feet.
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PostSubject: Re: Newcomer Guide(s)   Sat May 12, 2012 12:53 am

rcs619 wrote:

The main reason I mentioned it in a newbie guide is because, well... I don't think it's something a newbie should be jumping right into. I think doing a crossover/team-up right requires not only good planning and forethought, but a bit of research too, on the guest character. If you want to get them right anyway, which I know I would. It's a much more advanced type of story, in my opinion.

I quite agree. The phrasing is probably fine, then.

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PostSubject: Re: Newcomer Guide(s)   Sat May 12, 2012 2:04 am

Ah nice, those are great and useful informations and you compiled them well Smile
Very nice work here ^^

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PostSubject: Re: Newcomer Guide(s)   Sat May 12, 2012 2:14 am

About the crossover thing, although Cliff has already made a good statement about it, I have to say that, due to my own experience, it's a bad idea overall... in the case of out-of-Felarya characters. Let me illustrate you with an example...

Some of the older members might remember 'Felaryan madness', a crossover I made with some characters of my Spanish webcomic... and trust me, even if it was a parody and intentionally no-canon, it was bad. I might finish the Spanish version in my web, but I wanted the vast majority of the English-speaking Felarya community to avoid reading any further because of how terrible it was.

Why? Because it wasn't a Felaryan story at all. The characters ended in Felarya, good, but the situations they were living had nothing that made you feel the Felaryan touch in it, the sense of danger, adventure, beauty and fetish-fuel. It was more of a rubbish fanfiction that tried to take advantage on an established setting rather than a good story set in Felarya. And that's something writers should know: if you are in Felarya, even if you have your personal touch, remember where your characters have ended up, and remind the people reading this that you are know in a world were a giant hybrid could gobble you up in no time - of course, there are more dangers out there, but you know what I mean. Making another episode of your drawn badfic sitcom and tossing Felarya just for the sake of saying "look where they are" is a bad example of a crossover.

Remember that you're writing about Felarya. Even if you are using characters that never stepped into this world before, you have to make it clear what they might face, not just let them act normally, like nothing big happened. Sure, as a complementing written story for my webcomic it could fit, because of the characters, but as a Felarya story, even if it's a parody? I lost the grasp of the 'Felaryan reality' there, I'm afraid.

Also, even if you forethink of what you want, you can't help but see that something will go wrong, no matter how well planned you got it to begin with. That's another thing that can be applied to both out-of-Felarya and inside-Felarya characters. But with a little difference: in the case of inside-Felarya characters, then you need to talk with the owner of such chars, read their stories and have a good grasp of what their characters' basic treats are. So if you get these things right, the stakes of succeeding are higher. Not perfect, but the more you know, the less you'll screw it.
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PostSubject: Re: Newcomer Guide(s)   Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:25 pm

Yeah, all the issues that come with cross overs is one of the reasons I haven't even started writing the story idea that's been bouncing around my head for the past year or so. It would require a very intimate knowledge of Crisis, Katrika, and Lea. I eventually plan on, hopefully, getting some help from Karbo and Zoekin themselves...but for now it'll just have to stay where it is.


Last edited by Darth_Nergal on Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:56 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : -_-# My Kindle decided to change "Karbo" into "Margret" for some reason...I need to remove that auto insert feature)
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