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Topic:  New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
Raziel
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  New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 3:54:13 AM    View the profile of Raziel 
So following on from my thread yesterday I think it's time for a discussion about how we help new people create characters that work with current VE cannon and what restrictions we place.

What I'd look for us to have ready for all recruits is:


A map of the galaxy in our current time showing VE, Thrawn, Isaad and Republic space.

A brief history of VE events and major changes to EU continuity. A big job!




A race list:

Accepted Species: Species that are automatically accepted on biographies. Basically anything where they would be little canon issue in recruitment. e.g.

Humans from Vast Empire controlled systems
Trandoshans

The Middle Ground: Anything not on the list would require a decision to be made. I'd suggest academy trainers pass anything they're not sure about up to the HC of each division for discussion.

Difficult Species: Those where there would be major barriers to joining the Vast Empire, due to history or political affiliation. If a Russian turned up on American soil, would they allow him to be a commando the next week? These would need a detailed biography that explained how they came to be a part of the VE and would definitely need HC approval.  e.g.

Cathar
Wookie
Mon Calamari

Banned Species: These which we will not accept under any circumstances. Either due to being far too rare, inconsistently described in material, not being established enough in EU canon, being too powerful or just not compatible with the VE. e.g.

Noghri
Dashade
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ARC Commander: Alpha, Beta Squads

"God does not play dice with the universe" - Albert Einstein
"Who are you to tell God what to do with his dice?" - Bohr
"God does not play dice with the universe. He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time." - Terry Pratchett
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Trykon
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 4:08:50 AM    View the profile of Trykon 
I love the idea of an easy-to-reference guide to the VE, with collected maps and an historical overview, but I cringe a little at the idea of "banned races."  I know it isn't meant in any kind of a malicious way, but that particular terminology has bothersome connotations for me.

The point is well taken, though - there are species which make for more plausible backstories, and less plausible backstories, and species which are "overpowered" in game terms, and others which have very little verifiable canon information, and are therefore perhaps less appropriate - but I wish there were a way to raise the overall level of verisimilitude without resorting to blanket restrictions.
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Raziel
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 4:41:44 AM    View the profile of Raziel 
VE homeworlds:
http://stormtroopercorps.com/fury/vastempiremap.png

Galaxy map with a list of planets with grid codes (very useful):
http://www.xs4all.nl/~wrvh/galaxymap/

Fury's latest map:
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"God does not play dice with the universe" - Albert Einstein
"Who are you to tell God what to do with his dice?" - Bohr
"God does not play dice with the universe. He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time." - Terry Pratchett
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[This message has been edited by Raziel (edited May 18, 2011 5:03:21 AM)]
Trykon
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 5:00:22 AM    View the profile of Trykon 
That second link is brilliant!  What a great find!
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Raziel
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 5:11:37 AM    View the profile of Raziel 
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"God does not play dice with the universe" - Albert Einstein
"Who are you to tell God what to do with his dice?" - Bohr
"God does not play dice with the universe. He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time." - Terry Pratchett
CM/DJK Raziel/lion 1-5/Krath/VEDJ/VE (WoS1) (VP1) (VP2)[/align]
Raziel
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 5:21:09 AM    View the profile of Raziel 
On the army side we also need a wiki resource explaining SCOPE troopers and our equipment.
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ARC Commander: Alpha, Beta Squads

"God does not play dice with the universe" - Albert Einstein
"Who are you to tell God what to do with his dice?" - Bohr
"God does not play dice with the universe. He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time." - Terry Pratchett
CM/DJK Raziel/lion 1-5/Krath/VEDJ/VE (WoS1) (VP1) (VP2)[/align]
DeepSix
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 8:58:17 AM    View the profile of DeepSix 
I for one find the map and list of planets/systems most helpful. I recall at least a couple of occasions where i had to either rummage through the uploaded images on the wiki or the wookieepedia to find something that i either needed or that i could otherwise use.

I agree certain species shouldn't be allowed at all, others should be judged harder on a case by case basis so as to make sure both the species background as well as the individual background will be compatible with VE's background and standards. What i'm not so sure about is the list of approved species.

The reason for this is that there are tens if not hundreds of known species that would still be around in our current timeframe. Rather than having a gigantic list from which new users are supposed to choose from, would it not be easier just to put something along the lines of "anything goes so long as it's not restricted and the trainers/command (whoever would be in charge of judging this) agree it would be appropriate".

Another suggestion would be to make the restricted list and the "maybe" list and just have species added to either as new members come up with choices that haven't been considered beforehand. That should provide less work for the staff and at the same time allow more freedom to the arriving members.
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Raziel
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 9:03:47 AM    View the profile of Raziel 
Thats why there is the middle ground of all the other unlisted species. The approved list is just a few species we're absolutely happy to have, the "difficult" list is those that require some thought and approval and the "banned" list we won't have
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ARC Commander: Alpha, Beta Squads

"God does not play dice with the universe" - Albert Einstein
"Who are you to tell God what to do with his dice?" - Bohr
"God does not play dice with the universe. He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time." - Terry Pratchett
CM/DJK Raziel/lion 1-5/Krath/VEDJ/VE (WoS1) (VP1) (VP2)[/align]
[This message has been edited by Raziel (edited May 18, 2011 9:04:52 AM)]
DeepSix
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 9:15:02 AM    View the profile of DeepSix 
So long as the accepted list will contain some sort of "but not limited to" clause should any of the other two lists not be made public or otherwise just easily available to the new members. That's because as the idea stands now the middle ground isn't quite readily implied and i doubt anyone would be willing to list all known species and then sort them out in their proper lists. Wouldn't be much point to such an endeavor anyway as chances are most members won't know about all those species anyway...
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Raziel
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 9:43:30 AM    View the profile of Raziel 
DeepSix wrote:So long as the accepted list will contain some sort of "but not limited to" clause

Good point
StOrMz
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 1:28:21 PM    View the profile of StOrMz 
I for one am against putting a "banned species" list up for the Navy. The only reason I would not allow someone to be a specific race is if it defies the force rule, as there are a few species who are known to rely on the force.

Putting banned species up lowers the ability for members to be original with their character.

Also, my arm character is a Noghri.
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Trykon
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 1:43:55 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
I can see both sides: yes, we want to encourage creativity, but yes, we also want some standard of "realism."

Perhaps the answer isn't in restricting choices, so much as it is in demanding explicit justification/explanation from the creator for his/her choices?  In other words, if you want to have a backstory that is more unusual, you can, but you have to be prepared to do more work than is typically required of new members, explaining how your unusual character made his/her/its way to service with the Vast Empire?  Freedom to choose, but responsibility to make supportable choices?  I'm not sure how the responsibility half would be "enforced," except through the various divisional trainers...
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Maroy
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 2:00:34 PM    View the profile of Maroy 
I definitely agree with Stormz and Tryk here. If someone wants to be a weird species or have a crazy bio, I say let them do it as long as they can back it up with a good, plausible backstory. We definitely don't want newbies running around as shapeshifters and kings and who knows what else; but if they can be responsible and tell a good, original story that stays realistic while playing to their character's traits, I think it would be okay.
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DeepSix
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 2:09:20 PM    View the profile of DeepSix 
That would be nice but it would also not really end up working too well if accomplished. Certain individuals who aim for perfection or merely wish to make themselves stand out would view such a possibility as a challenge. The more restricted and taboo something is the more people will want to have/interact with it. That's just human nature... for better or for worse.

Let's assume though that the standards would be high enough to indeed only allow a few such exceptions. It wouldn't really be a problem if such individuals would find themselves stationed on some world/station/ship surrounded by "regular" folks. Given our club's numbers however said members would either be found in the same squadrons/squads or task forces/platoons. It would then become somewhat unrealistic for so many strange and quite possibly exceptional individuals to meet under those circumstances.

"Oh hi, i'm the last surviving member of my species."

"No kidding, well i'm a fellow that's been around since the days of the Old Republic, many millennia ago."

"Oh would you both shut up already? I'm trying to calibrate my suit so that i don't end up dying given the fact my kind can't usually leave our homeworld."


This is of course an exaggeration but i believe that through it my concerns become clearer however. Basically i'm saying that no matter how good and believable an individual background, it's somewhat unlikely for only one or maybe two such backgrounds to be approved. It would thus not be really credible for so many strange individuals to end up interacting with each other and it would be unfair to subsequently deny great backgrounds on account of "having to many of them".

I believe this is a point that should at least be considered when making this decision.
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 2:09:28 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
The problem there, though, Maroy, is how to ensure people can "be responsible and tell a good, realistic story"...  I'm just not sure what litmus test could be devised to reliably and simply make sure a given person can make a given choice work, in story terms.  Doesn't mean I like the idea of eliminating choice, but that option does have the virtue of being simple.  Definitely worth thinking/talking about more.
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 2:30:12 PM    View the profile of Maroy 
We could go ahead with Raz's plan and place a list of accepted species and guidelines. Anyone who wants to do something outside of that needs to write a short personal story going over their backstory to prove that they deserve to be an exception. And as far as I can tell from the bios of all the recruits that have gone through the Navy academy in the past year, the majority of our recruits want to be a twenty-something human former smuggler/moisture farmer/orphan/whatever. (no offense intended to said members)
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 3:25:24 PM    View the profile of Valthir 
To the best of my knowledge, the reason why there is a ban list is because certain species would be entirely unrealistic as a member of the IC VE due to the established VE-canon, such as the Noghri.
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 4:13:17 PM    View the profile of Havock 
I like the idea, and I think it goes without saying this is an Academy only proposal, in other words, anyone already in a squad would be "grandfathered in".

Logic is something this site prides itself on. For the most part our stories make an attempt at a logical arc as we move between our official chapters. That is what prompts the need for realism when it comes to who would actually be apart of our little group.

In a galactic sense, very few people would have even heard of the Vast Empire outside the VE controlled systems. So any species native to those planets would automatically make sense to join up. Humans are everywhere so as long as your home planet and back story make some semblance of sense you are good. Beyond that, to me, it would be like an American citizen joining the French Army...which would be highly unlikely. Then you have to add in physical and metabolic inhibitors native to the species that would also make joining a foreign military just unrealistic.

We tend to give everyone a wide berth as it is (considering no normal sized wookie, gungan, or noghri would be fitting in a standard TIE fighter cockpit or stormtrooper armor for example). I just think Raz's idea here would make the rules more clear before someone writes up a huge backstory for a species that is not allowed, because as far as I know we really don't have a standard list for character development currently in place.

And getting caught up on the terminology shouldn't be the issue here. These species are "not allowed" because we know it won't work in the stories without massive modifications to the way squads already do things. I'm all for being more creative, but I personally don't see why creativity requires a new species. I would find it far more creative and challenging to take an established species and blow me away with an interesting
backstory.

anyway that's my 2 credits.
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Raziel
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 4:33:12 PM    View the profile of Raziel 
I'd like to point out that the banned list was only going to be a handful of the thousands of species in existance.

The "difficult list" would be some more species that we warn people need significant reasons for both joing and being accepted into the VE

Then there'd be a few auto-accepted races.

Most species wouldn't be listed and sit in a middle ground that is done on a case by case basis.

Please read my posts before jumping to huge conclusions




It is FAR more original to make an interesting character with a regular, human background. Picking a weird race to be interesting is easy and lacks true creativity.

As I said we're talking about a few banned races out of thousands, hardly a limitation.

Who wants to work on a VE continuity page for newbs then?
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"God does not play dice with the universe" - Albert Einstein
"Who are you to tell God what to do with his dice?" - Bohr
"God does not play dice with the universe. He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time." - Terry Pratchett
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[This message has been edited by Raziel (edited May 18, 2011 4:37:07 PM)]
Skarr
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 5:01:13 PM    View the profile of Skarr 
I for one believe this is a great idea. Not just the species thing, the whole idea in general. Having a guide for recruits would greatly improve things in my opinion. Now, I'm not talking about something too lengthy, I still cringe at the dreaded wall of text.

But knowing the VE's history as well as some of our controlled planets would help. The question of "What exactly is VE space?" has come to mind many times. I haven't known exactly what we control, or who is in control of which planet. It's a good resource for recruits.

The species list also helps to. Not only does it help recruits know which species might be more difficult to write, it would also help to diversify recruits in my mind. By giving them a list of species, it might intrigue them to choose something other than human. I only have a limited knowledge of species, even with all my reading, but the list might help them research other species. But that's my opinion.

Anywho, back onto the topic of helping, I would except that only being here for a year, I'm not too in the know with VE canon. I would like to help with something though, considering I am the Lucky's Assistant of Training.
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 5:06:52 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
I'd like to help make the overview for new people, certainly.  And Hav, your point is a good one: we are talking about guidelines for new members, not some sort of purge of current PCs.

One further point I've just realized, though: I think the reason people are split on this plausibility-versus-creative-freedom issue might be that the VE isn't just story-writing, and it isn't just a role-playing game, it's a combination of the two.  The VE is a literary rpg, no?  And so, people who think of themselves more as writers (I place myself in this camp) are going to want plausibility/continuity/logic/verisimilitude to be the priority.  People who think of themselves more as role-players might want to play a character from a more "exotic" species, or might want a more fantastical backstory to play with, or might just like the idea of being dramatically "different" in some way, because for them it seems more fun.  It's not that either group doesn't share the other group's desire (writers still want to have play and have fun, and role-players still want to write stories that make sense), it's just a question of different priorities, perhaps?

At any rate, I think the idea that's been collectively shaped so far is a good one.  I'm all for developing a set of guidelines for new members (with a few strictly banned species/backgrounds, a few totally acceptable species/backgrounds, and a truly vast set of species/background choices which would need to be justified by a short piece of fiction outlining the character's means of joining the VE, his/her motivation to join, and the specific opportunities which allowed him/her to join) and a quick-reference page with maps and history and such, and I'll help in any way I can.
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 18, 2011 5:13:25 PM    View the profile of Raziel 
For brevity's sake we just discussed on iRC that:

"Recommended Species: these are the species we automatically allow"

Sounds more friendly
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"God does not play dice with the universe" - Albert Einstein
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"God does not play dice with the universe. He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time." - Terry Pratchett
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 19, 2011 4:23:32 AM    View the profile of Raziel 
Two more species which would have large presences in VE space:

Cereans
Ayrou

Big thanks to skarr for making a list of native species on the independent worlds around us
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"God does not play dice with the universe" - Albert Einstein
"Who are you to tell God what to do with his dice?" - Bohr
"God does not play dice with the universe. He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time." - Terry Pratchett
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[This message has been edited by Raziel (edited May 19, 2011 4:25:12 AM)]
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 19, 2011 5:18:01 AM    View the profile of Raziel 
Trying to move this forward

Recommended Species: Species that are automatically accepted on biographies. These races are either located in Vast Empire Space or are prevalent/politically aligned enough to make them plausible.

Humans from Vast Empire controlled systems. By far the most common race in the VE military.

Trandoshans. Their violent nature and Imperial history makes them good candidates.

Cereans. Their homeworld, whilst neutral is located in VE space, so it is safe to assume they would be prevalent in the region.

Gran: Very common in Vast Empire Space

The Middle Ground: Most species not mentioned on the list would come under this category. A decision will be made on a case by case basis by academy trainers. For particularly rare or different species the character biography will be passed up to HC level for approval.

Twi'Lek. Have been used as slaves by the Empire and Republic before them. Part of the NR, but quite dispersed as a species.

Rodians

Humans from neutral worlds.

Bith: Said to be found galaxy wide.

Difficult Species: Those where there would be major barriers to joining the Vast Empire, due to history or political affiliation. If a Russian turned up on American soil, would they allow him to be a commando the next week? These would need a detailed biography that explained how they came to be a part of the VE and would definitely need HC approval. This list includes all species which have been heavily oppressed by the Empire in the past, are strongly affiliated with the New Republic, or are just quite rare and located far away. Any species that is particularly rare should be considered on this list.

Cathar: Rare and located on the far side of the galaxy.

Wookies: A general hatred for the Empire and not very well spread through the galaxy.

Mon Calamari: Murdered in the thousands by the Empire and located on the very far side of the galaxy.

Zabrak: "the Zabrak race united as one and joined the fledgling New Republic, determined to never again be put under the oppression they had suffered during the height of the [Empire]."

Humans from New Republic worlds. There must be some consideration given to how a human from these systems would join the VE


Banned Species: These which we will not accept under any circumstances. Either due to being far too rare, inconsistently described in material, not being established enough in EU canon, being too powerful or just not compatible with the VE. e.g.

Noghri
Dashade
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"God does not play dice with the universe" - Albert Einstein
"Who are you to tell God what to do with his dice?" - Bohr
"God does not play dice with the universe. He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time." - Terry Pratchett
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[This message has been edited by Raziel (edited May 19, 2011 5:20:28 AM)]
[This message has been edited by Raziel (edited May 19, 2011 5:21:18 AM)]
[This message has been edited by Raziel (edited May 20, 2011 4:16:03 AM)]
Raziel
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 19, 2011 5:22:02 AM    View the profile of Raziel 
So do we have any volunteers to work on some wiki pages for new members outlining our place in the galaxy?
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"God does not play dice with the universe" - Albert Einstein
"Who are you to tell God what to do with his dice?" - Bohr
"God does not play dice with the universe. He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time." - Terry Pratchett
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 19, 2011 5:36:29 AM    View the profile of Raziel 
A task for Fury of course is to decide where the two other Imperial remnant factions reside.

Bastion is the typical IR stronghold.

Wayland would be an option for thrawn's base.

As would the Hand of Thrawn on Nirauan
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"God does not play dice with the universe" - Albert Einstein
"Who are you to tell God what to do with his dice?" - Bohr
"God does not play dice with the universe. He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time." - Terry Pratchett
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 19, 2011 10:12:44 AM    View the profile of Fury 
There are various little warlords and the like we'll always be tripping over but, yes, Bastion is the key Remnant world (we'll move it up the timeline a bit) and Nirauan is the Empire of the Hand's domain. Still trying to account for Thrawn's role with the Remnant and the whole Daala angle so there might be some ancillary capitals.

Wayland seems to be a nice storage unit, not necessarily a capital. Eventually though, Thrawn needs to set his fleet down somewhere and that's what I've got narrowed down to a few worlds.

As for New Republic humans, there are some worlds where folks were very mistreated by the authorities during the plague events. So we've incorporated some chunks of disgruntled humans and other former NR loyalists. How we use them or deal with their divided loyalties is something I hope you guys take up in the next chapter.

And, granted, just because you are from Corellia or Alderaan doesn't make you an automatic Rebel. Remember, despite the rhetoric of a "peaceful world", maybe Bail Organa was stashing weapons and aiding terrorists in clear violation of the planet's constitution. Granted, blowing up a whole world conveniently gets rid of the evidence, but some may say they had it coming.

Mostly as an NPC kind of thing but if that is something you want to use for character development, go for it.

The list is meant to be a guide to what is plausible. There probably are quisling Wookiees, but would you trust them with a blaster walking behind you on patrol? Or caring for a Star Destroyer's engines in the middle of a critical battle? This is more about VE assumptions of risk as much as making your character believable.

Fun discussion so far. Keep it up.
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 19, 2011 11:56:31 AM    View the profile of Drac 
I find myself amused at both my characters being on the Difficult Species list. Makes sense in both cases, but amusing none the less.

Note on Recommended Species: I'm 95% sure I've read somewhere or other that Gran are very common in VE space. I just can't recall where. We don't use them much (ugly critters), but there's a lot of them.

We ought to throw Ewoks in on the Banned Species list. They shouldn't have any love for the Empire after Endor, are a bit too dumb generally to understand the concepts required to be a pilot or stormtrooper, and are physically too small. And I'll shoot the first person who throws prosthetics on one and tries to introduce me to 'Lieutenant Kettch' the starfighter pilot.

I'll help out with VE canon/history wiki pages, if Raz or Fury can give me a few topics to focus on first (as broad or narrow as you like). May take several weeks at least, but I'll get 'em done.

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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 19, 2011 2:30:57 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
I don't think I'm well-versed enough in canon/VE-canon to generate the content, but my services as a copywriter/copy editor are at the service of whoever is put in charge of the project.
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  RE: New Recruit Character Induction Discussion
May 19, 2011 5:46:34 PM    View the profile of Fury 
Yes, we've got most of the Gran worlds in our sphere. Consider them to be one of the majority species in our faction. At least, in the recent history of incorporating new worlds.
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