"If you treat your characters like people, they'll reward you by being fully developed individuals."
- --Don Roff
The playing of original characters, or OCs, is highly encouraged at Dream Chasers MUSH. OCs often fill niches that feature characters don't, or expand the narrative in important ways.
Because Dream Chasers has a large world and combined setting, we don't require that OCs come from any specific theme. While an OC may feel more like a Wild ARMs character or more like a Xenogears character, we expect that all characters will interact with different parts of the theme at some point.
We do, however, have some principles that OC concepts must follow. Additionally, the rules laid out in our characters file apply to all OCs.
Original Concepts Only
Before we talk about what OCs should do, we have to talk about what they shouldn't do: steal concepts from feature characters. Some similarities are expected -- a wise-cracking space cowboy will strongly resemble half a dozen iconic characters from the setting, for example. That doesn't mean your OC can't also be a wise-cracking space cowboy.
But it does mean that they can't be possessed by Lord Blazer, but at war with the spirit of the Guardian Blade Argetlahm. Nor can they be the Contact or the Antitype. Those roles fall, respectively, to Ashley Winchester, Fei Fong Wong, and Elhaym van Houten. Concepts that are entirely derivative ("No, he's possessed by Bord Lazer, it's totally different!") will also be rejected.
Eating an FC's lunch is a cheap way to try and gain credit through association. It cheapens creative process, and undermines those characters' roles.
Similarly, though not to the same extent, OCs should not be deeply tied to an existing FC as their raison d'etre. No one likes the original little brother of a known feature character -- and not just because it's a lame way to grab attention. It also makes it so that character is not the star of their story. Rather than being their own character, with their own plot and story to tell, they are reduced to being the younger sibling of Bartholomew Fatima.
It is perfectly acceptable for OCs to become connected to these characters through the course of roleplay. If their stories lead OCs to become the greatest of friends, the fiercest of enemies, or even lovers with an FC, staff is all for it. Which leads us to our next point.
All Characters Have Narrative Weight
As the Contact, Fei Fong Wong has a unique role in the Dream Chasers universe. No other character, whether original or feature, can assume that role. It is his, and his alone.
But the same is true of your OCs. Fei Fong Wong cannot swoop in and take up the mantle of a character you have spent time building, particularly after a long history of roleplay and interaction. The roles you build for your characters through your RP are theirs alone. And while they might not be the Contact, they can still be damned important.
Our policy on Dream Chasers is that, all else being equal, the actions of both OCs and FCs have similar potential for consequence. The narrative weight of characters -- their ability to influence the events of the story through their roleplay and actions -- is equivalent. There are some mitigating factors, of course, particularly for antagonists. As a result of their political positions and knowledge of the secrets of the world, characters like Krelian or Kahran Ramsus have the ability to significantly move a storyline forward.
But just because these characters are more important to the setting does not mean they are inherently more important to the story. Good RP will always be rewarded, whomever it comes from.
Characters Must Be Native to Dream Chasers
In short, the universe of Dream Chasers is a unique one, and even the FCs of the game have been adapted (in some cases heavily) to fit the setting. We expect original characters to also be designed to occupy a place within that setting. This catch-all principle covers several areas of concern:
- FCs and OCs exist exclusively within Dream Chasers MUSH, and not the timelines of other MUSHes. No dimension hoppers, thank you.
- OCs that are suspiciously similar to FCs from other themes will not be permitted. A travelling sister of the Nisan Sect and the bishonen demon that is bound to her soul and runs off her life force may seem like an interesting concept, but it is also identical to the lead characters of Chrono Crusade. Original characters require original ideas.
- OCs that are carbon copies OCs from other MUSHes will not be permitted. If a significant effort has obviously been made to create an original character that fits the Dream Chasers theme, then similar concepts may be permissible. But taking the same character you've had in another MUSH (or several other MUSHes) and transplanting that character into Dream Chasers with no substantive changes is not. It is perfectly fine to start from a familiar foundation and build the specifics for Dream Chasers; it is not fine to reuse the same character wholesale.
- OC concepts must fit the theme and tone of the game. Dream Chasers is a PG-13 JRPG MUSH about exploration, dungeon-crawling and adventure. Applications for heroic dragonslayers who are secretly mushrooms (this was a real application), preteen girls who are also anthropomorphic M1 Abrams battle tanks (this was also a real application), or other similarly out-of-place concepts will be rejected outright.