derp characters FAQ

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derp characters FAQ

Post  Pan N'el Dar on Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:23 pm

Q: What is a derp?

derp characters are characters which have so many positive traits that it overwhelms their personality and makes them one-dimensional and uninteresting. derp's are BAD.

Q: What are the characteristics of derp characters?
These are the type of characters who have, for example, multiple first names, multiple identities, a negative personality trait which is never addressed or questioned, incredible powers with no drawbacks, being one of only a very small number of people to possess a skill without the related drawbacks, etc. derp's can be both male and female. Male derp's are sometimes called Gary Lu's, but the term derp is interchangeable.

What's so bad about derp characters?
derp characters are especially difficult to deal with in RP because other characters/players in general cannot relate to them, and also because other characters may feel unimportant or feel they have a negligible role compared to a derp. The biggest problem of the derp is that they are not interesting whatsoever. Some argue that derp's are simply an avatar of the writers themselves: a reflection of their deep fantasies and dreams. Though every writer sometimes desires to be their character or another writer's character, a derp character is basically the writer if they were in fantasy.

Q: What is the difference between having a derp character and powergaming?
It is easy to get the two confused, as they are very similar. Powergaming is more related to a character's attitudes about established rules and their behaviour circumventing those rules in order to make themselves overly powerful. derp's, on the other hand, are simply a side-effect of not thinking through your character's strengths and weaknesses. Some people consider derp's to be a side effect of bad writing, whereas powergaming is simply a poor understanding (or even manipulation) of the rules and conventions.

Q: Why are you writing this FAQ?
I cannot stress enough how irritating and frustrating it is to have to deal with these types of characters. I personally (without naming names) have dealt with derp's on this very server. People seriously, SERIOUSLY need to consider whether their character is realistic and has serious flaws to counteract the strengths. This was the very reason why Strengths/Weaknesses were introduced into the character profiles: to prevent derp's. However, some people seem to have not taken this balance very seriously. Thus, the derp problem continues.

Q: How can I prevent my character from being a derp?
The simplest answers is: balance. If not in the balance of actual weaknesses, a balance in the way the character's weaknesses are presented. A character who is a powerful mage with no weaknesses is a derp. However, if that same character suffers intense dementia after using strong magic, that's a bit better. Even better yet, imagine if the character had a serious mental illness from knowing this strong magic.

You may also consider giving other characters a chance to play a larger part in roleplay, and step back as a support character or even a casual observer. You are important, but sometimes the most interesting roleplay is simply to observe the relations between other characters and form an opinion.

Q: Is my character a derp?

I'd suggest, for anyone thinking their character might be a derp, to take this test here. It is a fairly accurate way to determine if your character is well-written and well-balanced in their strengths and weaknesses.

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Re: derp characters FAQ

Post  AGWizard on Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:25 pm

I got a 77 on that test. it didn't help that i am a vampire...

something i dislike is because some character types are overdone it discourages people from being the type of character they want to be and having there choices limited, it's like saying 'your not allowed to be a vampire because its overdone'. at the same time you don't just wanna copy another character. and as for overpoweredness and such that depends solely on the character, Xander is a big guy with probably a powerful voice, if he shouts out of nowhere it will probably startle people. ...........[i didn't feel like typing more, sorry]


Last edited by AGWizard on Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: derp characters FAQ

Post  Eli on Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:28 pm

I got a 34
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Re: derp characters FAQ

Post  Pan N'el Dar on Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:11 pm

AGWizard wrote:I got a 77 on that test. it didn't help that i am a vampire...

something i dislike is because some character types are overdone it discourages people from being the type of character they want to be and having there choices limited, it's like saying 'your not allowed to be a vampire because its overdone'. at the same time you don't just wanna copy another character. and as for overpoweredness and such that depends solely on the character, Xander is a big guy with probably a powerful voice, if he shouts out of nowhere it will probably startle people. ...........[i didn't feel like typing more, sorry]

I agree, overpoweredness does depend primarily on the character. However, you really have to think about whether it is powergaming or simply a strength. Xander's flaw is probably that he is slow and quick to anger, which makes up for the fact that he can scare people with his appearance or with a thunderous shout. Thus, with that particular example, he's not a derp.

As for the issue of overdone characters, I also partially agree. We're kind of in an age with writing where it's hard to be creative because somebody, somewhere has already done it. However, that doesn't mean you can't be creative. You may be limited by the strengths and weaknesses of being a vampire, but imagine if you were a vampire who ran a bar? How interesting and creative would THAT be? Wink

Don't limit yourself based on your race or such. A strong character doesn't always have massive, bulging muscles, and a weak character isn't always a scrawny wimp. Keep that in mind.

I got a 34

You're an admin, though. If you're a little bit derp, you can be forgiven. Just don't go overboard Razz


Also, if anyone was curious...
-Demetri scored a 9
-Pan scored 18
-Qualin scored 15
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Re: derp characters FAQ

Post  Vaurature on Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:59 pm

Something like 42, though some of that was me trolling the thing

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Re: derp characters FAQ

Post  Eli on Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:41 pm

I got a 42 because magic appears to be a no no.

Fiction has been around for centuries. Every character you come up with will have someone else similar to them, whether obscure or obvious. Accept that. Instead of stressing out that "Oh my character is just like X," do something that makes him different from X. That makes you not only striving to be original despite the comparisons, but shows your willingness to be creative. Players may sit there and think your character is like someone else's character or that they are just like a famous character, but do they know the details? What are you doing that sets that character apart from those comparisons? If you can answer that thoughtfully, then your character is NOT like Character X.
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Re: derp characters FAQ

Post  AGWizard on Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:58 am

Qualin_Silverward wrote: You may be limited by the strengths and weaknesses of being a vampire, but imagine if you were a vampire who ran a bar? How interesting and creative would THAT be?

Well something different about him is hes very allergic to mushrooms...and he's got that cursed eye of charm thing.
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