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Help: Basic Profile Help

This information is valid for players wishing to create a profile for a standard pilot character of the League, AEU or Fringe alliances. There are sample profiles for each of these under HELP LEAGUE PROFILE SAMPLE, HELP AEU PROFILE SAMPLE and HELP FRINGE PROFILE SAMPLE.
If you want to apply for a special application, or play as a Mutuality character, please see HELP ADVANCED PROFILE and HELP MUTUALITY PROFILE, respectively.

WHAT IS A PROFILE?

At its most basic, the purpose of the profile is to help you craft a characterisation for the person you intend to play within the game, giving you a framework to base their responses and actions on.

It is not intended to be a hurdle or barrier to stop you playing the game, it is instead meant to be a device to aid you in getting further immersed in it.

A good profile should generally not exceed 500 words, and should certainly never be over 1,000 words.

Roleplaying note: The fact that you need to submit a profile / character application to the staff is out-of-character. Referring to your profile by another name (i.e., "paperwork") does not turn it into something that is in character. Please use an OOC aside if it is necessary to refer to your profile. ICly, a cadet character is still in a probationary period and is not yet considered an official civilian pilot by their government. This may sound pedantic, but separating remarks that have OOC implications from ones that have good, IC implications is a key ability of good roleplayers, so it's best to start thinking this way early!

THINGS TRUE ABOUT ALL PILOTS

There are a few things we can say about all standard pilots. This is a starting point for you. Note, however, that Mutuality characters are an exception to most of these things, and sometimes a special character application can also change some of these facts.
  1. You were born a citizen of the AEU, League, or Fringe.
  2. You, like nearly every other human, almost certainly grew up speaking Esperanto, the universal language.
  3. You are a civilian.
  4. You have been aware all your life that humans are active in space and that some are civilian pilots: a sort of space trucker, a profession of ill repute, reduced personal rights, but the potential for great wealth.
  5. For one reason or another, you chose to become a civilian pilot yourself.
  6. You paid for flight lessons from a certified flight school. This required money, so you probably had a mundane job to work yourself through it.
  7. After about two years, you had enough flight hours and had passed flight exams and you were able to provisionally join the civilian pilot program.
  8. A medical examination ensured that you were physically capable of operating a starship even in moments of great stress.
  9. You also went through psychological screening and were pronounced to be of sound mental health.

Your job as the writer of your character profile is to decide exactly why your character took this path. What will your particular story be? What led you to become a pilot? What life goals do you have that mesh with leaving any semblance of a normal life behind and becoming a space trucker? The steps below will help you to work this out.

STEP ONE: PERSONALITY

The main focus of any profile, and the starting point of your character concept, should be the personality of the character you intend to play - and this should match how you do actually intend to act in-game. For example, if you plan to be an aggressive bounty hunter, you should not put in the profile that your character is a pacifist.

Personality should be the easiest way to begin. You must have some idea of the kind of character you will play. Do you plan to keep to yourself? Work hard all the time? Be lazy? Invite yourself to every party? Pick fights? Try new things? Stick to what you know? Only you know what sort of character you'll most enjoy! Make sure that you also include some negative character traits! No one is perfect and nothing is good all the time.

So where to begin? Try thinking about the questions below -- the answers should help you sketch out a concept. Keep in mind that the questions below should not have answers only related to piloting; people are not one-dimensional and piloting is not the only thing in a person's life.

What motivates your character?
What does your character admire or find abhorrent in other people?
Does your character have any likes or dislikes that they would keep secret from others?
Does your character have any hobbies?
Does your character have any quirks?
How would the character's friends describe them, and does this fit with how the character sees her/himself?
What are others most likely to dislike about your character?

These are not the only questions that are useful, but they are a good starting point.

One thing you should be sure to avoid are generic statements. "He enjoys hanging out with friends." "She is quiet and friendly, but sometimes argues loudly with others." "He is peaceful, but eager to fight when needed." Most everyone has friends they like. Everyone is friendly until they aren't. Everyone is peaceful until they're fighting. Avoid generic statements, or "X, but also not X" statements that try to have it both ways. Focus on clear, definitive statements that say exactly what is unique about your character.

One more very important thing to avoid: Many people start feeling cautious at this point, perhaps reluctant to roleplay or to interact with people they don't already know. About half of every profile we read includes a line reading something like, "She is very shy and tends to keep to herself, not making friends easily, but she is outspoken around people she knows." To us, this means that this character is not likely to engage with the roleplaying aspects of the game and is therefore not particularly desirable, especially in the large quantities in which they exist. Our recommendation: Play an outgoing character! You may feel shy at first regardless, but trust us, a character who will readily engage with others is much, much more fun to play and is far less likely to burn out than an introverted character.

STEP TWO: BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

This is the least important part of your profile and should generally have the least time devoted to it. Why? Because, quite honestly, most lives are not going to be that unique - and when people deliberately try to describe a "unique" life, it's usually full of cliches and contrived tragedy. Avoid that! It's okay to have just lived a pretty normal life where your entire family didn't die tragically or anything.

So what should you include? Tell us where you grew up. Tell us what sort of education you had. Tell us what inspired you to become a pilot (and please, avoid any cliche vengeance stories). Finally, think about your character's personality again. Are any personality traits a result of something that happened in your character's life, some formative experience? Does your character retain special talents (science, music, etc.) that they discovered before becoming a pilot? If so, mention those. Also, you don't need to focus overmuch on your parents. This is about you.

Other than that, don't get bogged down in details. The game's universe has had well over a decade to grow in detail and richness, and the more "historical" details you add to your profile, the more likely you are to run afoul of something that just can't possibly fit. Rather than expect every player to be intimately familiar with the entire universe before they even really start playing, it's easier for all of us to just leave these unimportant details out. They can be nailed down later as needed.

STEP THREE: GOALS

Now you should describe the initial impetus for your character. Imagine you're reading a book about your character. A book usually starts at the beginning of the action - the boring stuff is skipped over, your character has already grown up and qualified at flight school, and is now roaming the galaxy in a spaceship. And then a book will have a hook, something that gets the reader's attention as the plot kicks off. So what's your hook? What's the thing your character has got to do right now?

And then tell us about your longterm goals. What's the arc for your character? Becoming a combat ace? Discovering a new culture or civilization? Being a respected voice in the pilot corps? These goals can always change, but it's important to have some idea where to take your character.

Some common goals are actually not very compatible with becoming a civilian pilot. For example, if your sole goal is to defend space, you would probably enlist in the navy instead. If your goal is to charitably help other people, becoming a civilian pilot would restrict where you can travel and where you can transfer your money, making helping people more difficult. Make sure that your character's goals are compatible with the decision to become a civilian pilot, a profession principally about making money for yourself and your government.

MORE HELP WITH BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

1) Planet of Origin

Whatever alliance you as a player choose for your character will be where your character is born, and picking a planet is a good start.
LEAGUE: Old Earth, Mars, Luna, Centauri, Vesta, Callisto.
FRINGE: Chetumal, Candelaria, Ars Magna, Cardenas, Champoton, Tenosque, Tikal, Ticul, Pital, Frontera, Ardsley.
AEU: New Earth, Hyperion, Telex, Bikura, Endymion, Aenea.

The planets in the above lists go from largest population to least, in sequence per alliance. Old Earth, New Earth and Chetumal are the most populated worlds in their alliances, while Callisto, Ardsley and Aenea are small colonies.

2) The Decision to Pilot

Civilian pilots have a fairly negative stereotype in the general population, and are strictly limited in non-pilot interaction, especially in where they can go outside of specific pilot-friendly zones for multiple reasons.

Due to this, it takes a certain attitude in order to want to go beyond that stereotype and get your own civilian pilot licence.

For the most part, a person's family would be unlikely to be hugely supportive of this decision, though depending on reasoning they may be more or less likely to be against it. It is possible for family and friends to either strongly support the decision, or practically disown the character for their decision, but this would need a very good explanation as to why they would react so strongly in either direction.

As such, becoming a civilian pilot would be a major decision that would not be made at the spur of the moment, and would be the culmination of several years of work. The reason behind choosing such a life should thus be mentioned.

3) The Outsiders

Outsiders are hostile aliens that were first encountered in 2297. After maintaining an accomodation with the xenophobic aliens for several years, in 2304, a mission was launched to find a way to defeat them. The Outsiders immediately counterattacked in an event known as the Outsider War, or Outsider Subjugation, that ended with every human planet being occupied by alien forces. This event was a near-apocalypse and was extremely formative for modern human society.

The Outsider Subjugation was pushed back by the Resistance in 2309, and the in-game year is now several years after that. As such, it is unlikely that a new character would have gained a licence prior to the end of the rebellion.

Since the Resistance and rebellion were in-game event arcs, we are hesitant to accept profiles that imply the character was directly involved in them unless there is a very good reason to do so. If for some reason it is important for your character to have been a pilot during this time, please speak to a host.

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