|Original thread by: Twilight|
The Technically Unofficial Guide to Dreamkeeper Creation
* A Brief Introduction
* Defining Canon vs Non-canon
* Basic Dreamkeeper Creation
--- A Brief Introduction
This guide is a quick, in-depth reference regarding Dreamkeepers and the fan-character creation processes. It was created with the goal of preventing further conflicts, misunderstandings and other mishaps that surround such threads as my own "introduce your dreamkeeper" thread, by providing easy access to all the canon and non-canon facets that play a part in how each individual character is viewed.
As such, this guide is mainly geared at the creation of "canon-based" characters. The type of character that COULD actually exist in the dreamkeepers canon, and not just in disconnected Roleplays and fan-fiction.
--- Defining Canon vs Non-canon
Any dreamkeeper created by sticking to the rules established in the Dreamkeepers comic website, as stated by Dave himself.
Any dreamkeeper that violates the aforementioned rules for the purpose of entertainment (roleplaying, fan-fiction, etc). It's not a bad thing, it's just not canon.
--- Basic Dreamkeeper Creation
The Golden Rule
As of this point, the information that comes directly from the website will be referred to as the golden rule. Remember that the golden rule applies only to "canon" dreamkeepers. Whether These dreamkeepers be personal or not, is entirely up to you.
Every individual in our world has a unique dreamkeeper counterpart in the Dreamworld. Existing entirely in their own reality, they have as little awareness of us as we have of them. There are no causeways between worlds, no avenues of contact.
They are not mystically elevated beings, however. Subsisting in their own physical reality, they have much the same problems and concerns as us - food, shelter, companionship... Although our day-to-day activities and mishaps don't precisely mirror theirs, the overall arc of a person's life is intimately linked with that of their dreamkeeper's. They are born in synchronization, forge the same connections and find the same loves, and both dreamkeeper and human conclude life together upon their simultaneous fated expiry.
One contrasting point distinguishing the lives of humans and dreamkeepers would be their variegated appearance.
Reflecting our distinctive character traits and subconscious aspects, almost no two dreamkeepers look exactly alike. They can sport fur, scales, skin, and color patterns spanning the rainbow. Some of the more common accessories include tails and ears, but dreamkeepers with horns, wings, antlers, and other garnishments abound.
+++ Qoute End
--- What a Dreamkeeper is NOT
People have made false assumptions in the past regarding the nature of dreamkeepers, so here's some clarification.
- Dreamkeepers are NOT the personification of your dreams.
- Dreamkeepers do NOT actually guard your dreams. This would imply that Nightmares are supposed to be there.
- Dreamkeepers do NOT just spawn in the dreamworld when you fall asleep -- they exist 24/7. They have lives too, so to speak.
- (there are probably more on the way. This will be expanded as incidents arise).
To clarify, Dreamkeepers have little to no real connection with our dreams at all. Likewise, nightmares aren't really after our dreams either. They're out to kill us. More specifically, they're out to destroy sentience. Their goal is to take the "I think" out of "I think, therefore I am."
The terms "Dreamkeepers" and "nightmares" are little more than labels. Nightmares are unnatural demons that enter the dreamworld from another dimension. They don't actually have anything to do with our dreams or nightmares.
Upon a dreamkeeper's unnatural death (by nightmare), nightmares instantly enter the mind of its human counterpart. The effects of this are highly destructive, ranging from general insanity to... I don't know, your head exploding.
A common misconception is that nightmares can only do this while you sleep. . . no. As stated, dreamkeepers exist constantly, and are always vulnerable. To that effect, dreamkeepers that are directly linked to their counterpart's dreams will fall under the non-canon category.
--- The Personal Dreamkeeper
Now that we've established the difference between what makes a dreamkeeper character canon and non-canon, we'll explore the basis of canon, as per the individual dreamkeeper concept. One of the first dreamkeepers people create is their "personal" one.
This particular concept, in and of itself, is extremely hard, if not impossible to achieve. Dreamkeepers are reflections of "who you are" rather than "how you see yourself" or "how you'd like to be." Unlike a furry's fursona, a dreamkeeper is dictated by the truth about a person, not their perceptions of themselves. In truth, for a lot of people, meeting their dreamkeeper might even be a terrifyingly sour experience. But I digress. For the sake of Dreamkeepers' awesomeness, we ARE allowed to design such characters and call them our own, and still stick to the canonical elements! Let us dive in:
As per David's own words, dreamkeeper designs can be virtually anything you like. Canon dreamkeepers are only constricted by the golden rule, which still allows for ALMOST any possibility. In fact, in most cases, just about any character you can design will fit nicely into what's considered "canon." The only time this falls into question is when the word "personal" is added, unless your personal dreamkeeper IS in fact, NON-canon.
The canon is, as you probably noticed, very simple. There's really not a lot to it. There are few elements that break that canon, and some of these depend on circumstance. Let's take a look at some of the examples that have come through the forum. Keep in mind that none of these characters are bad, but at least in the "introduce your dreamkeeper" thread, it is almost always assumed that newly introduced characters are attempting to be canon, and in various occasions, it doesn't quite work. This does NOT mean that these characters are unfeasible. Just not canon.
--- The very strict examples of non-canon
* The Dreamkeeper/Nightmare Hybrid
Any dreamkeeper with nightmare lineage:
This was bound to happen. In the Dreamkeepers canon, Nightmares are unable to reproduce; they don't even do it among themselves. While the idea of a crossbreed might entice your creativity, and you are fully welcome to explore it, it is non-canon.
* Multiple Dreamkeepers per Human
Any instance in which multiple dreamkeepers are connected to the same person in reality:
This one always pertains to dreamkeepers who fall into the "personal" category. Sometimes, people misunderstand the concept of a dreamkeeper. They think "hey! I have several sides to my personality. Clearly, I also have several dreamkeepers." In the Dreamkeepers canon, you only get one.
Alternatively, there is also the idea that a person with a legitimate Dissociative Identity Disorder would in fact have multiple dreamkeepers. In the Dreamkeepers canon. . . you get Wisp.
* The Gender Bender
Any instance in which a dreamkeeper is not the same gender as the person they protect:
This one is also constrained only to the "personal" dreamkeeper. As previously stated, according to the Dreamkeepers canon, if you are a biological male, your dreamkeeper is, too. Regardless of how you see yourself, your dreamkeeper is "you." If you would like your dreamkeeper to be a different gender, get a sex change 8D or be happy with having a non-canon dreamkeeper.
((note: There IS a reason for this rule. It pertains to mating. That way human procreation is kept in-synch with its Dreamworld counterpart. Even if you're not planning on having kids, the rule applies))
There are several other ways that the canon can be broken. Once again though, and I can't stress this enough, non-canon characters are not bad!
--- Powers! and the art of Godmodding.
The Golden Rule
Typically manifesting during adolescence, the range of individual types of powers defies categorization. From destructive, violent capabilities to benign and creative talents, from the incredibly potent to the gracefully refined, the array of known abilities is matched only by the differing ways dreamkeepers learn to use them.
+++ Qoute End
When developing a power for any given dreamkeeper, there is always a single question, looming over the creator's shoulder like some kind of evil Minecraft Creeper.
* Is this Godmoddy?
Given the nature of the canon, and the dreamworld in general, it's very hard to determine whether a power is too powerful or not. In theory, there CAN be such a power as the ability to just. . wish things to be dead. But who likes that? That's not interesting! That's boring! . . . and the worst part is, the kind of characters that have such powers tend to be the most brain dead morons in existence. . . like that kid in Neverending Story 2.
The problem is, those kinds of powers, while feasible, are not fun to write OR read. In other words, YOU might care about your own super mecha awesome character, but. . nobody else will. This is a point where you have to make the ultimate choice.
"Do I only care about what I think?" or "Do I, at least on some level, care about how others feel about my character?"
If you only care about what you think, fine, but don't expect to be welcome in RPs or. . . Really any kind of social encounter (yes, this stretches beyond just character creation). On the other hand, if you actually think that knowing how others will feel about your character is important to you, you'll need to be able to listen to others, while still making sure that you're satisfied with your own creation. Ultimately, characters you create are yours to do as you will with, but unless you have an extremely vivid talent for creating awesome characters everyone just likes, consider that certain criticisms are valid and apply them accordingly.
* Choosing a Power Purpose
Ultimately, there are two big-picture "purposes" for powers. The first one is solo-literature, the kind of power that would not be Godmoddy, even if it's the best power ever, simply because you are writing a story on your own, and no one else has to suffer for it. The other purpose is multiplayer-literature, the realm of communal story writing and role-playing. The kind of situation where your character is just another character in a collective group. In real life, an angry nerd can't really complain about being in the same party as Silvester Stalone because his build makes him godmoddy, but in a roleplay, things have to even out a little bit. There are various ways of doing this -- some of which you can find here, and others you might come up with on your own.
As an added note, in solo-literature, the "best power ever" could actually be a hindrance and make your character completely flat, uninteresting, Mary Sue-like, and dare I say it. . Superman. In other words, Noonecares. The only exception here is when the Bad Guy, or the main obstacle the character's power has to defeat, is INFINITELY more awesome than that wicked cool power. But if you've given your character the power to defeat anything, well. . . there's no conflict, because obviously they're going to win.
* DeGodding a power
Ask yourself this question. Can the other person fight back? If they can't possibly win. . you're god modding. This is easy to fix; as a rule of thumb, a good way to balance out a power is to hinder it just as much as it is awesome.
* The Power Based Hindrance
Take for example Pokemon's hyperbeam attack. Right after using it, a pokemon has to sit and wait there for a bit while they get manhandled by the Magikarp on the other end of the field. Why? Because otherwise, it's overpowered, and stupid.
Another great pokemon-based example are the 1 hit KO moves, such as Fissure or Horn Drill. These attacks only have 5PP and they're EXTREMELY inaccurate. If you attempt to rely on them, you're usually screwed.
There is only ONE power in existence which is able to be used repeatedly, it is infinitely powerful and cannot be beaten by anything ever. . . .the Falcon Punch. And that's why no one uses it. Because as you must also know, it's VERY hard to land one successfully.
* The Character Based Hindrance
As I stated earlier, sometimes, the best powers are owned by the most brain dead morons. . . again, like that kid in Neverending Story 2. This is always annoying because problems would easily be solved if the character just grew a freaking brain!
Instead of taking this approach, look for a more sensible weakness.
Take for instance the Colossi, from Shadow of the Colosus. Hypothetically, you could say they could be dreamkeepers whose power is to be really huge. They can propel their giant fist and murder anything they touch. On the other hand, they're also slow as hell, and a comparable ant sized enemy can take them down with enough stamina to hold on.
Consider the kind of power you are experimenting with. Is it a power that makes extensive use of muscles? Is it a power that works with the mind, affecting the minds of others? There is always a way to make things "fair." Even with powers that are actually just powers (ie. Bast's summoning of flames or Namah's ether tendrils) have weaknesses in the sense that they're just powers. They're not much more than an elaboration on their already established fighting ability. Like a ninja with a sword. We already know the ninja can fight; the sword itself is just an extension of their ability to fight, and thus can theoretically be overpowered by any opponent.
Be creative. In Solo-literature, there are exceptions to all of these points, and even in multiplayer-literature, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Have fun with it.
* A Dreamkeeper's Passive Ability
((Subject to change as it develops))
A number of you may be wondering about this. I'm referring to the instances in which dreamkeepers develop a power-related ability that doesn't seem to trigger their halo. Instances like Whip being able to float around.
These abilities are likely to become overused by the Dreamkeepers fandom, used as excuses to make their characters "special" or "different" or just more powerful in general.
In the Non-Canon universe, fine, go ahead and give your character the ability to destroy planets without actually using their power. Just make sure to acknowledge it to avoid misunderstandings.
In the Canon universe, these abilities are extremely rare and seem to only be developed by dreamkeepers who have some form of handicap, whether it be physical or psychological. These abilities are developed out of NEED, not out of desire or training. If that were the case, it's likely a great many of them would have something of the like.
Unconfirmed: These passive abilities are very subdued, subtle versions of the dreamkeeper's actual power.
All in all, this whole thing is more of a guide on how to identify the different kinds of characters that pop up here and there.
Character creation for the purposes of this forum is meant to be fun and imaginative. And ultimately having a good time is the most important element in the whole process. Everyone wants to have a good time, and this is the reason this guide was created. To facilitate that across the forum and it's many members.
This guide is likely to go through several changes as it evolves, things might be added, things might be removed. If anyone has any suggestions, please throw them my way via PM and I'll be sure to add them in.
Conversely, if anyone has a full out lecture on this or related topics, I'll even let ya make the post yourself 8D I do believe Fore wants to have a go at it lol. So, stay tuned for it.
Also, unless you have questions, please refrain from commenting, as I'm actually expecting further informative posts, and I'd like to keep them organized and up front. Questions asked will be answered in a to-be added Q&A section that'll appear as requested, and then the question itself will be removed from the thread.
With that. . GO HAVE FUN!!!
Original post by: Lord of the Forest
Hey everyone! Fore here with some food for thought!
I want to talk about two things, the first being more about a 'do-with-what-you-will' sort of advice. The second is more oriented for any of you who enjoy character studies. The second will come in a later post.
Using Your Dreamkeeper's Appearance to Your Advantage
A dreamkeeper is given many attributes from its human counterpart that in some way give us some insight into the human's life. For the most part, you can interpret these by simply knowing the character's personality. For example, Mace is goofy and fun loving so we can assume he is like this in the real world. But what does his appearance tell us? Why a coon tail of all things? Well, raccoons are know for being mischievous bastards and Mace certainly is that. Lillith looks a lot like a house cat and she's certainly got a docile personality. She's also green…not sure what that could mean.
So how can you utilize this concept to give your character some fun aesthetics that actually mean something?
When designing a dreamkeeper, you should already have an idea of what they look like. Some will likely make a big first impression on the dreamkeeper based on their appearance, especially in such a diverse world. You should pay attention to what a first impression would be like. Imagine what meeting Grunn would be like.
*** GRUNN IMAGE 1 ***
Find it in the original thread at your own risk
Wait! Stay on task for a moment! Even Grunn has character and it speaks tomes in his appearance! TOMES!
Here's a curious spoiler that any fellow can figure out about Grunn. First, lets get an idea on what Grunn is like. He's a shark. There are plenty of traits that can be tacked on just from that impression: violent, voracious, mean tempered, etc. That's just some of the general stigmata associated with sharks thanks to you-know-what. To add to that he's got quite a belly going, he's addicted to erotic material and alcohol, he's not the best father figure, and sleeps half the day away.
However, there's one other thing we must mention. It is something that takes all these fun, negative aspects and puts them in a new light.
*** GRUNN IMAGE 2 ***
Find it in the original thread at your own risk
I'm being serious here. The bunny tail is another way of saying that Grunn has, somewhere deep unerneath this fermentae drive wreck, a soft contrast to everything set against him. The great thing about this is that it gives him some hope for development. You can even catch a glimpse of what I'm talking about near the end of Volume 1. This is how one uses a dreamkeeper's appearance for their own benefit.
Aerials: Short story, Fore thinks Grunn is just a big softy, really.
LordoftheForest: AERS, I'm not saying he's as cuddly as his santa outfit makes him out to be, but I'm merely stating that the character has some DEPTH!
Auradragon: Depth? Grunn? PFFFTAHAHAHAHAAHA XD
LordoftheForest: HEY! XD
Auradragon: Oh-ho-ho that slaps me on ze knee
Aerials: Well... he does have quite the gut... Depth of field, if nothing else.
mod-Twi: for as the Greeks said. Consistency kills story and character.
* Santa outfit link: http://dreamkeepers.deviantart.com/art/A-Grunn-Christmas-45293415
So think about how long you want your character's tail to be or whether their hair color means anything. Sometimes it doesn't (LILLITH IS GREEEEEEEN EWWW SHE MUST LIKE BROCCOLI). Sometimes, it reveals something profound about the dreamkeeper.
*** GRUNN IMAGE 1 ***
Original post by: Lord of the Forest
--- An Extension on Powers
We've said a lot about how a character's appearance says a lot about themselves. If that's true, couldn't a dreamkeeper's power be able to say just as much?
I'm going to get this out right here right now because it's popping up more occasionally.
It takes a dreamkeeper a incredible amount of time to master their power. In most cases, you are put in a role-play where the dreamkeeper's power is either unknown or barely useful. GOOD. You want it that way.
Why though? Why would this be a desired trait?
Because then the character explores their power along with us. We're able to relate to their situation more if they are learning more about their power and in turn themselves. It is an internalized struggle. We can gleam more depth from the character and the meaning of their power that way. Introducing us to a character who has mastered, or can easily master, their power is either going to annoy me or…annoy me. The reason is simple: the power deserves more respect than that. Develop your power as you develop the character and you're bound to give your fellows a performance.
Then again, there are instances where it can be of use for a character to have a learned power, but I see it as a fact of maturity to have control over your power. Therefore, unless your character is past his twenties or has had many chances to learn the ins and outs of his power due to untold drama, a character is best when their power is not as well known to them.
Here's something to consider. A dreamkeeper's power is a sort of inner strength that expresses itself in one, specific outlet; with Bast it is fire; with Tinsel it is her stupendous hair. Mastering it is like mastering one's self, or at least part of it.
Lets go deeper into this concept and try to tie it all together in one, tidy knot.
The first character that I used in a role-play on these forums, and one that I am still fond of, was a fellow called Paska Larkesha. Frankly, he's grown tremendously since then. He is relatively short, coming just below most average heights, long belly, wide ears, and a terribly long tail being the foundation of his appearance. He's physically limited in the modern society of the Dreamworld but I doubt many people know the joys of clambering up things or other physical activities that are well beyond men who are well past such activities due to their age, careers, or the idea of stoic maturity in various degrees of expectations from the average grown up in Anduruna. Streaking is fun too. I don't know why I mentioned that.
This is what the physical appearance is trying to express. A sense of youth, vigor, unbridled joy and freedom despite Paska's own respective flaws. Some of his personality is ebbing through his appearance.
I made sure to make his power represent some aspect of my outlook and how I go about things. We're to believe that a power is in in fact a dreamkeeper's own way of expressing an aspect of themselves in the dreamworld. For Paska, I wanted nothing more than to make him fly.
But just general flying is rather bland so I decided to give him a vehicle of some sort; something of his own making perhaps? Paska's power is the ability to generate discs made up of a luminescent energy that is able to carry him and zoom off towards where ever he pleases. There are other uses for these discs, but this is primary one. This idea of soaring above and away from the piling weight of every assortment of conflict with a wide grin is the sort outlook that I meant to get across. Then again, it can easily be used to run away from problems that need to be confronted rather than avoided. The negative aspects are just as important as the overwhelmingly positive ones.
A simple, flexible concept. A power could be able to communicate something about the dreamkeeper and in turn their human's way of approaching problems.
Find ways to do this in your own dreamkeeper or in any original character. Better yet, start with something simple and unique and then use it to communicate. Actions speak louder than words and internalizing the struggle often results in a brilliant, dramatic explosion of character development on the outside in the form of supernatural awesomeness. In this case, a dreamkeeper's supernatural power.
That's all for now folks! Hopefully this will help some of you in future character creations! =D
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