"When writing a novel, a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature."
- --Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon
From the lone Drifter wandering through the wastelands to a Solarian commander pondering her nation's control of the world, Dream Chasers is about the characters who inhabit Filgaia and Lunar. This file discusses the rules about characters and procedures related to the application process. For our application, please see its own respective file. For information specific to Original Characters, please see its file.
There are three types of characters at Dream Chasers MUSH. The most common are Drifters, who are the protagonists of our story. Typically, we expect every protagonist to be a Drifter; they're someone out searching the wastelands for evidence of the past, for personal profit, or any other reason. The exceptions that exist, like Elly van Houten, end up doing these activities in short order.
The second are Antagonists. While antagonists have their own file, for our purposes, we consider them to be characters who pose a consistent threat and challenge to Drifters. Some are rivals; others are outlaws, bandits, monsters, and individuals who are on opposite sides of the law in nearly every case. In Wild ARMs 3, Maya Schrodinger isn't an antagonist; Janus Cascade is. We allow some latitude, because we recognize today's antagonist can be tomorrow's protagonist. In canon, White Knight Leo eventually decides to work with Hiro instead of against him. We encourage those sorts of stories.
The third are Bystanders. Bystanders are individuals without any combat prowess, who are neither wandering the wastes nor trying to rule the world. They're the ordinary, average people living in a town, who add a necessary element of depth to the game's fabric. Bystanders do not count toward a player’s total character slots, though the admin reserve the right to limit their numbers or revisit a particular bystander’s status as they develop. If a bystander begins to take a more active role in the world and/or plot, we may require that they be upgraded to a Drifter or antagonist. (They’re called bystanders for a reason.)
Each player at Dream Chasers gets five character slots. Two of these slots are reserved for Antagonist characters. Players can use their Drifter slots to play additional Antagonists if they choose to.
Finally, some characters are inappable. The reasons why are detailed in its own file.
Drifters and antagonists are expected to maintain reasonable levels of activity. We expect activity that matches the pace of the MUSH, with a minimum of one scene a month, but more when appropriate. We also expect -- and will work with -- characters involved in a plot featuring their theme to be active. We want to have a reasonable approach that understands that activity requirements are often subjective, instead of using hidebound metrics. Original characters are exempt from this rule, as they aren't filling a role that another player may wish. Bystanders do not have activity requirements.
Any character can be opened (or, in the case of an OC, removed) after a month of not logging in at the admin's discretion. Similarly, if a player wants to apply for an FC who isn't being used in scenes for an extensive period, we reserve the right to open them for application.
A character who fails one idle check will be a given a chance to address the issue. A character who fails two idle checks in a one year period can be opened without warning at staff discretion. Staff will do two to three idle checks a year.
Applications are processed once per week. While previous MUSHes have typically processed applications as they come in, we found that often leads to periods of slowdown and uncertainty about when characters will be handed out. It also often isn't realistic or respectful of the time of a group of busy adults. Because of this, all responses to applications received before 11:59 PM (EST) on Thursday of a given week will be sent out at 8:00 PM (EST) the following Tuesday.
We will also guarantee at least one response by that time if your application requires revisions. We will attempt to do more, but do not promise it.
Finally, sometimes mistakes are made in applications. Sometimes players and staff misunderstand one another. Sometimes, aspects of a character are approved that shouldn't be. The administration reserves the right to correct any errors made in approval of an application after the fact. Players will always be contacted if this is the case.
Antagonists are eligible to be placed on hold for an Act. Sometimes, an Act occurs when or where an antagonist would not be present -- such as bulk of the activity that Act occurring on the wrong continent or planet. Sometimes, an antagonist needs time to enact their scheme... or simply needs time away, to not be drawing fire and ire from Drifters.
Antagonists can be placed on hold for a single Act. This allows them to be reserved for that Act and the player to app a different antagonist, though they must retake the original antagonist once the next Act begins. This is not a way to skirt the alt limits, but instead recognizes the challenges faced by antagonists. If you wish to place an antagonist on hold, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and state the Act that they will be placed on hold for. When a character is to be reclaimed, an email should be sent to the appbox.
If a character is not reclaimed from a hold after one Act of inactivity, they will be considered dropped. If a hold's expiration would mean a player has too many characters, a character must be dropped or (a different antagonist) put on hold.
Only antagonists can be put on hold.
NPCs and Temporary Characters
Sometimes, an important character isn't played when you need them to be. Casts have the right to have major characters NPCed for critical scenes or occasional flavor. This should be infrequent, but it's sometimes necessary. Hiro isn't likely to be far from Lucia; Yuna's Guardians spend most of their time guarding her. While players shouldn't play these unplayed characters in every single scene, periodic NPCing and referencing them is fine. However, major character development should be avoided when at all possible.
A small handful of characters must be with another. For example, the Seraphim traveling with Shepherd Sorey are with him at nearly all times. In these cases, these characters fall under the same rules: their presence can be assumed, implied, and occasionally roleplayed (especially when Sorey and later Rose Armatize with a Seraph), but major character beats should wait. Mascot characters, like Ruby and Hanpan, are similar but require the permission of the person playing the character they're attached to. Playing Ruby means asking Hiro's player first.
We will also approve temporary characters, when plots call for them. Players can ask to play someone, especially an antagonist, who is plot relevant. This will not count against their character totals; however, these characters will be taken away once the plot has ended. Temping is a tool to insure important characters are there for major events, not a way to skirt the character limits.