Section VI, Races
Subsection D, Custom Races

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One of the most unique and interesting paths one can take in character creation in AltDBZ is the creation of a completely original race. It is also, however, the most taxing and time-intensive way to go. Unlike character builds, race builds MUST be well balanced. There is no allowance for extras -- something taken must be returned in some other way. In fact, in many cases, when you give your race something special, you must sacrifice something greater for it. The system is geared such that the greatness of a character is generally determined by their own actions, and not by their race.

There are two ways to create a minor race. Each method supports a particular need that custom races fit.

Formalized Custom Races

The first method is the formal method. This method is best suited for races that you wish others to use (or at least leave open the option to), and is required if you want to create more than a few members. It represents a serious effort at introducing a worthwhile race to the room. The race must be applied through the Custom Race Application.

Once a formalized race has been approved, players may make as many members of the race as they desire, so long as the race owner gives them permission for each character. Players may create as many formalized races as they can get approved.

There must be at least three Alt players who are interested in making characters for the race, including the person who actually apps for the race. The primary applicant who does this is known as the spokesperson of the race, and is the contact that the staff speak to, at least initially, during the process of approving the application as well as for any issues that arise later on. For all intents and purposes, unless he/she otherwise directs the staff, the spokesperson is the "owner" of the race and has control over its story and whether or not other users may create more members of the race.

The other two people who must be entered are considered to be sponsors. They do not need to have any kind of power over the race -- their only obligation is to start creating at least one character for the custom race within a month of the race's approval. Each sponsor must make at least one character, for themselves. If the first attempt(s) are denied, they must continue to try and make at least one character for the race. If the sponsors fail to do this in an acceptable time period, the staff may choose to shut down the custom race and all characters attached to it.

The spirit behind these rules is that we expect formalized races to have at least three active characters, for at least the beginning of its existence. If it becomes apparent that the sponsors have no intention of playing their characters of the particular race, the staff may require that the spokesperson either influence the sponsors to be more active with their characters, or find new sponsors to make active characters for the race.

Characters of formally approved races must be applied for after the race has been approved. For race selection on the character application, the player should select "(Other) Preapproved Race" and write the name of the race in the box below it. Players do not need to write the race's specifications in the individual character apps.

Unique Custom Races

The other method of getting a custom race is the unique race method. Through this method, players apply for the entire race inside of a single character's application. That race may then be applied for just that one character. It's something to choose when you want to play something different than what you usually see in the room every day. Choose this route carefully, however -- you may only ever have two approved characters with unique races.

Unique races are applied for by filling out all of the details that would normally go with a race application (except for contact information and sponsors, since that information isn't needed) into the Comments and Notes section of the desired character's application. You then change the race selector on the application to "(Other) Unique Member" and type in the name of the race in the box beneath it. Remember to include essential details such as tech bias, physical appearance, background, and the race's pros and cons.

Note that characters applied with unique races will take significantly longer to handle. We appreciate your patience.

Players who apply for characters with unique races may later desire to open up their race to other players and their character ideas. If you wish to do so, you must reapply for the race using the formalized method, complete with sponsors. Your race will then be required to stand up to the activity standards of a formalized race from the moment it is re-approved. Beware that the staff may re-review a unique race that you wish to turn into a formalized race, and if points of view or rules have changed, the statistics of the race may need to be changed accordingly. This will apply to your already existing character as well as any who apply for the race in the future. If you choose to follow this path, make sure to note in the Notes, Comments, & Other Information section that you are switching your character's race from the one on its application to the one you are applying. You are not allowed to change the racial technical profile from it's formerly approved form without staff permission / requirement!

Please note that we ordinarily do not allow two (or more) characters to share unique races by applying for the same race inside their character applications. If players attempt this and it is discovered by staff, the staff may require that the original character's player make the race into a formalized race, or in failure of that, all characters belonging to the race but the first one will be required to permanently die or disappear immediately (as they will no longer be approved for play).

Custom Race Creation Rules

Regardless of which way you go about it, a custom race is a custom race. Both methods of applying for them are held to the same standards, and are handled by essentially the same method.

Custom races are handled differently than character applications, however. Rather than starting with an allowance and working down from there with desired abilities, for custom races, you must start with one of the major existing races and work from there, maintaining the balance of pros and cons while you adjust it as you see fit. This is not a true balance, however, as the more you deviate from the norm with benefits (the stronger and the more pros you add), you will need to compensate more than usual with caveats (you'll need to make bigger and more costly cons). Thus, a race that has been "tweaked" a great deal from the major race you are beginning from will end up ultimately worse off than that chosen major race. This keeps you "honest" by encouraging minimal adjustments and discouraging powergaming. So long as the adjustments you make are few and relatively unimportant, equal balancing can work for you. Generally speaking, changing the form of a race and other aesthetic changes are very easy to offset, while trying to justify maximum tech bias and work in other strong fighting boons could be much more difficult.

Because of the intricacies of maintaining and judging a race's balance, all formalized race apps and character apps with races attached will be reviewed simultaneously by two staffers instead of one. Because of this, we request that players wait at least two weeks before inquiring staff about their formalized race apps and three weeks before inquiring about characters with unique races.

Here are a few guidelines for things we typically do not permit in custom races:

  • No unreasonably massive- or unreasonably small-sized races. A good guideline might be no smaller than 5x smaller than a typical human, and no larger than 5x larger than a typical human. This does not necessarily apply to special transformations the race may have.
  • No races whose forms are especially unfair in combat (i.e., gelatinous creatures that don't really take damage, body parts that make damaging them difficult)
  • No collectives, or races that require multiple sentiences within the scope of a single character.
  • No races that redefine an unreasonable amount of the rules, or work on a completely separate rules system.
  • No "class" applications. No race applications with abilities that belong in a character app (a race app should have abilities shared by all or most members of the particular race).

Keep in mind that the above are guidelines only -- there may be and probably are many general concepts that we simply aren't going to allow for races. That said, we try to treat new races with an open mind. As long as you are reasonable about creating your race, we are more likely to be more reasonable about considering it. On the other hand, we will sniff out attempts to use the race app to powergame and rain down on them with swift, apathetic justice.

When You Don't Need To Use A Race Application

If all you want to do is change what color the race's skin is and give it pointy ears and six fingers instead of five and give it an unprovocative, different history, you don't need to app for it with the race app, or give it statistics. Just app for it as though you were making a character of that particular "parent" race, and then let staff know in the Comments and Notes section of the character app that the character is a custom race (and let us know what it's called...!) with the same specs as the race you specified. These are called spin-off races. Keep in mind that not all body changes are considered minor enough to qualify for this. If in doubt, ask a staffer first.

Converting Old Spin-Off Races Into Formal Races

If you were forced to create a spin-off race before because custom races were disabled, you may petition staff to change that race into a formal race, which will require the normal, formalized application and processing of the race. The race must already have three players (including yourself) who own and actively play at least one character of that race, each. Any adjustments to techniques and power will be negotiated with staff. You might not receive full retroactive credit for any PL or tech days you would have gained from playing with the particular race.

Spin-off race conversions to unique races are not allowed. However, you may be allowed to completely reapp your character with the unique race instead, if that is an appealing option to you.

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Modified: 12 May 2006