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    The Beginner's Guide to Althanas [New Members Start Here!]

    Welcome to Althanas!

    This guide will give you a starting point for your Althanas Adventure. By the end you should have a decent overview of how to create and update your characters as well as a basic understanding of the world that is Althanas.

    Characters are the heart and soul of Roleplaying (RPing) on Althanas, they capture and hold your characters skills, abilities, history, basically everything! It can be a little daunting at first getting started with a new character, especially if you haven't RPed in a similar system, or even if you are just a little rusty.

    Contents


    General Tips
    Getting Started - The World of Althanas
    Creating a Character

    Basic Character Sheet Layout
    History
    Abilities & Skills
    Anatomy of an Ability
    Combo and Parent Abilities
    Odd Abilities
    Equipment & Weapons
    The Weapon/Equipment and Ability Line

    Posting your Character
    Starting and Joining Threads
    Updating your Character



    General Tips


    Before you rush off to design your character, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

    1. A new character will start off relatively weak

    2. Try and leave your character's life story unfinished, nothing makes a character more interesting to RP with than one with more to achieve and do.

    3. Be original! While we can take inspiration from different sources, your character needs to be your own work.

    4. Think about how your character fits into the Althanas world. Where was he/she/it from? How did that shape them?

    5. Save your character sheet in a word document, it'll make updating it later much easier.

    6. Have a go! Don't worry too much, just have fun!



    Getting Started - The World of Althanas

    Althanas is a world, huge and as varied as they come. This means two things. First is that nearly every type of fantasy character can find a place to call home, and second that there is lots to read! When thinking about your character have a read of some of the different threads and information available around the traps.

    First thing first, have a read of some of the regions in Althanas. This will help you with ideas for your character and where they are from, what race they are, and also importantly, what skills and abilities they might have.

    Here are some sources of information about the World of Althanas: Maps of Althanas

    Quote Originally Posted by Sagequeen and Christoph
    Scara Brae, formerly a backwater colony sitting in the eastern sears, Scara Brae is now a small but thriving country. It serves as the gateway to the frontier for sailors and explorers, and its surrounding reefs form a haven for sea monsters, merfolk, and dread pirates.

    ~ ~ ~

    Fallien a desert country in the southern oceans, known for its bloody history, unique trades, and xenophobic citizens.

    ~ ~ ~

    Raiaera is the ancestral homeland of the High Elves with a history of magic and wonder. However, in recent years, an undead horde commanded by an ancient evil swept through the nation, leaving devastation in its wake. This realm of shining cities and ancient forests now holds ruins and danger as its diminished population struggles to regain their nation's former glory. Despite the dangers, Raiaera remains a region worth visiting because of its rich lore and its access to the known world's most wondrous magic, including the legendary Spell-Singers, known as the Bards.

    *Raiaera is home to the High Elves, though small numbers of other races live there as well, most often students of magic and treasure hunters. Be wary, however. The High Elves, traditionally suspicious of outsiders, have become increasingly xenophobic in the wake of their near extinction.

    ~ ~ ~

    Alerar is a land of technology and industry to the south of Salvar and the west of Raiaera, populated by the Dark Elves. Its people have largely shunned the magic of their High Elf cousins to pursue technology, artificing, and alchemy. As a result, Alerar is a nation of smoggy cities brimming with brass cogs and gears. They produce the only firearms in Althanas, and have even built a number of large dirigible flying machines. Life in Alerar and their abandonment of their ancestor's magic has turned the Dark Elves into the hardy, dark-skinned race they are today. In their language, they call themselves the "New Elves", considering their changes the natural evolution of their species even as their Raiaeran cousins consider them fallen and diminished elves.

    *Alerar is home to primarily Dark Elves, though a large number of Dwarves live in the mountains and make a lucrative business trading minerals and metal ores to the Dark Elves. A fair number of humans live here as well, seeking knowledge of the Aleraran technology or hoping to peruse the vast library in the nation's capital.

    ~ ~ ~

    Corone is an island nation to the southeast of the mainland, known for its diverse inhabitants, mild climate, and bustling harbors. It maintains thriving trade with other countries due to its strategic location and powerful navy. Until recently, the nation suffered from internal upheaval and rebellion caused by a totalitarian regime suddenly taking control of the Assembly and attempting to turn the republic into an autocratic empire. Fortunately, after several years of unrest, the republic was restored. Corone has found stability once again. One must wonder, though: will this peace last?

    *Corone is home to humans (about 50%), substantial numbers of High Elves and smatterings of Dark Elves, Dwarves, and even Orcs, and countless citizens of mixed blood.

    ~ ~ ~

    Salvar is by far the largest nation in terms of territory, stretching across the harsh northlands. This vast, mighty kingdom of jagged mountains, pine forests, and snow still reels from years of civil war between the powerful and pervasive Church of the Ethereal Sway and the equally corrupt monarchy and nobility. The clash of steel has quieted and the two sides have finally reconciled, though both reduced to shadows of their former power. Anarchy and chaos now grips this once proud nation as its people struggle to survive. Yet, despite their hard lives, the people of Salvar are probably freer than they have ever been. One must ask, though: is freedom worth the price, and will they hold onto it in the days to come?

    *Salvar is officially home to primarily humans, but large numbers of Orcs live in the northern reaches, forming strong independent clans. Immigrant Dark Elves and Dwarves live near the border of Alerar, scraping out their own livings in the unforgiving land.

    Creating a Character

    Are you now an expert of all things Althanas? No? Well that's ok. It wouldn't be any fun to just read about the world that was made to be experienced. Once you have a basic grasp of what’s going and where things are you can jump into creating a character and get your feet wet.

    Characters on Althanas are part of an approval process. When you first make a character you post it in this forum and a moderator will work through any issues with you and then approve it. Characters will start out fairly weak when compared to those of a higher level. As you complete threads you gain experience (exp). Once you have enough experience you will level up and you post an updated version of your character.

    At each level you can increase your abilities, add history and equipment gained from threads and generally flesh out your character more based on their actions and experiences. The next part of the guide will take you through a summary on how to create a character.

    Basic Character Sheet Layout

    There are many different ways that people choose to layout their character sheets. There is no 'correct' way, and you will certainly not be docked if you decide to throw in fancy formatting or keep it simple. Just remember that it should be clear and easy to read. Not only do the threads need to be judged by a moderator, but they will act as a guide to other players. They won't be of much use if no one can tell what’s going on.

    Here is the list of standard things to cover:

    Name:
    Nickname/Alias:*
    Age:
    Race:
    Height:
    Weight:
    Occupation:*
    Personality:
    History:
    Appearance:
    Skills:
    Abilities:
    Equipment/Weapons:


    (* indicates optional fields)

    Sometimes the easiest way to kick off a character is to copy this list into a document and just throw things into the fields and see what falls out.

    You would have also noticed the last three, Skills, Abilities and Equipment/Weapons. These are very important as they set the relative strength of your character. These are coverd in more detail in later sections.

    History


    History is the important first step in crafting your character. When you start writing your history remember the early tips a the start of the guide. In case you have forgotten:
    • A new character will start of relatively weak
    • Try and leave your character's life story unfinished, nothing makes a character more interesting to RP with than one with more to achieve and do.
    • Be original! While we can take inspiration from different sources, your character needs to be your own work.
    • Think about how your character fits into the Althanas world. Where was he/she/it from? How did that shape them?


    Its recommended (but not a rule) that your character start out a the beginning of their life journey rather than at the end. If you want to RP a 70 year old gruff war veteran feel free, but remember that as a starting character he won't be very strong compared to other characters. Perhaps instead someone that you plan to turn into a gruff war veteran? Young and optimistic perhaps?

    Writing a history is an art form, and like art one never really masters it. Instead you just get a bit better each time you do it. Some basic things that you can include in your history may include, the character's family, their childhood, how their learnt their abilities and skills, what significant life events they underwent and so on. This is your first chance to really set the tone of your character. Take your time crafting it remember that you can edit when you update your character.

    Abilities & Skills


    Here we come to my favourite part of creating a character! First off, lets define what we mean by Abilities and Skills. Skills can be defined as knowing something that can indirectly affect a character, while Abilities can be defined as being able to do something that directly affects a character. Confused? There is indeed a fine line between these two. Here are slightly extended definitions:

    Skills:
    Skills consist of knowledge based actions your character can take. This is best thought of as having the knowledge on something, but not necessarily the ability to do it. Common example include Swordsmanship, Herbology, Archery, Hunting, Cooking and Singing.

    Abilities:
    Abilities have a direct affect actions a character (including yours). This encompasses things like magic and body related actions (like speed and strength). Common Abilities include Elemental Magic, Speed, Strength and Summoning.

    Here is an example to illustrate the difference:

    Zhao the Swordsman:

    Skills:
    Swordsmanship – Zhao has trained his whole life with a sword. He knows how to use it and look after it with great proficiency.

    Abilities:
    Speed – Zhao has decent speed, moving fast enough to slash a target three times when a normal swordsman would only strike twice. Generally he is faster over short sprints as well, able to dash a few metres a bit faster than an average person.

    Grace – Zhao's movements a clean and crisp and he can maintain his balance while performing complicated movements and attacks. He can move around or past objects that would hinder other people.

    Echoing Slash – Zhao can slash his sword in a particular way that it catches the air and sends out a slash like that of a normal sword strike a metre past the end of his blade. He can do this three times before it wears him down.

    Equipment:
    Zhao's Training Sword:
    A simple iron Dao

    In this above example Zhao is considered a swordsman, but what affects his ability to use a sword, his Skill or his Abilities? Its his abilities that give him the edge over another character. This is how we split up skills and abilities. Zhao may know about all sorts of fancy sword moves, but its his abilities that allow him to execute them.

    Here is another example, this time with magic:

    Claire the Apprentice:

    Skills:
    Herbology – Claire knows a lot about plants and their medical properties. Given enough time she can craft simple remedies.

    Magic Lore – Claire has studied for years, and can recognise the source of more magic and sometimes remember some lore on certain topics.

    Abilities:
    Fire Ball – Claire can create a small ball of fire, doing slight burn damage if she throws it into someone. She has decent accuracy, but the fire only lasts ten metres before extinguishing. She can create three fireballs a day before she needs to wait to regain her magic.

    Healing Magic – Claire can heal light wounds to herself or others. Cuts, bruises and scraps are within her means, although she can only stabilise more serious wounds. She as of yet cannot stop someone dying from a fatale injury. She can generally use this twice a day before she needs to rest.

    Equipment:
    Staff – A simple Oak staff.
    Mortar and Pestle – Used for grinding up ingredients.

    In the above example Claire has the skill to recognise magic, but no way to dispel or deal with it. Her abilities are what define how she is able to use magic, her knowledge of magic will probably affect how she reacts to things in threads. She might recognise a particular spell and the school of magic that it belongs to, but this is an indirect effect. Shooting a fire ball on the other hand...

    A few things to remember on Abilities and Skills:

    Skills:
    • Do not directly affect a character.
    • Are not limited in terms of number.
    • Are judged by how you use them in threads.


    Abilities:
    • Involves directly affecting a character (including yours).
    • Are limited to three in your first level, but can be increased in power and number as you gain levels.
    • Are judged in your character when it is approved as well as how you use them in threads.


    Anatomy of an Ability


    Creating abilities can be daunting, so here is a quick run through of how they are put together and what the Moderators will be looking at. Remember this is just a brief guide, there may be things in your abilities that are more complicated than what is here.

    An ability balances the effect, the cost and how it functions to come up with an over all power. These three things balance against each other. Although two may look low, another may make it stronger. As an example there are a few abilities below. Each has had sections coloured to help explain them.

    In Red we have the effect on the character (either another character or the character using the ability). Echoing Slash and Fire Ball this is the damage it does, while for Speed it is a description of the speed as compared to a normal person.

    In Blue we have a description of the limits of the ability. For example, the range of the attack.

    In Green we have a description of the effect the ability has on wearing out the caster. This can also be thought of as the charges or uses an ability has.

    Echoing Slash – Zhao can slash his sword in a particular way that it catches the air and sends out a slash like that of a normal sword strike a metre past the end of his blade. He can do this three times before it wears him down.

    Fire Ball – Claire can create a small ball of fire, doing slight burn damage if she throws it into someone. She has decent accuracy, but the fire only lasts ten metres before extinguishing. She can create three fireballs a day before she needs to wait to regain her magic.

    Speed – Zhao has decent speed, moving fast enough to slash a target three times when a normal swordsman would only strike twice. Generally he is faster over short sprints as well, able to dash a few metres a bit faster than an average person.

    As you can see Speed is a little different from the other two abilities. This is because its inherently linked more to the character's state. If the character is tired you can expect his or her speed to drop.

    These different parts of the the ability work to set the strength. Increasing or decreasing one will change the overall strength of the ability. For example, if Claire was able to produce one hundred fire balls, then she could do a lot more damage. Similarly, if Zhao could extend the slash for several metres from the end of his blade during a slash he could do much more damage.

    Combo and Parent Abilities


    Combo Abilities:
    This part may not affect many characters. Some abilities are considered Combo, or basically two or more abilities in one. In this example it is treated as multiple abilities.

    Example:

    Ta'Sal's Wrath – John is filled with tremendous rage, increasing his speed and strength for a few minutes, allowing him to strike with enough force to shatter rock and move over one hundred metres in a few seconds. John can do this three times a day before being too tired to do it again.

    Because this affects both speed and strength, it would be considered two abilities.

    Ta'Sal's Want – John summons the power of Ta'Sal and summons a shield of light in front of him able to block strong attacks. When something strikes the shield it explodes and sends spears of light towards the attack capable to spearing flesh. John can do this once a day.

    In this case being able to block attacks is one ability, then attack back is another.

    Parent Abilities
    In some cases abilities spring from the same source, generally some sort of elemental magic. In these cases the abilities are treated as one as long as the effects do not differ too greatly. For example, the ability to make a fire ball, and the ability to create a cyclone of fire both spring from the ability to create and manipulate fire.

    Example:
    Ice Gun – Chloe can shoot a blast of ice capable to knocking someone to the ground with its force. She can summon the ability twice a day, or four times a day if she is near a source of water.

    Ice Rain – Chloe can shoot water into the air when it freezes and rains down at a target. The ice spikes are able to severely injure someone, cutting through flesh easily. Chloe can do this once a day or twice if she is near a source of water.

    Ice Mend – Chloe can freeze wounds, sealing their bleeding and providing protection against further damage.

    In these above examples there are two abilities, doing damage with ice and healing.

    Odd Abilities:


    There are some abilities that don't quite fit into the above examples. These might be certain types of summons, ones that boost other abilities, creating or empowering weapons and so on. In these cases the mod will compare their function and usability to rate their strength.

    Equipment & Weapons


    Starting characters can have one to three weapons, such as swords, daggers, bows, etc. These should be limited to Iron quality. As a general rule these should not have any enchantments or special abilities.

    But how do I start with my crazy sword that is the reason for my character being who he is?

    The easiest way is to have the abilities of the sword locked, and your character hasn't as of yet learned how to access them. Weapons can be upgraded at the Bazaar or as spoils at the end of quests. It will be up to the Bazaar or thread Judge to determine the gold required for the upgrade and if it is achievable at the end of the thread.

    To Recap Weapons:
    • One to three simple iron weapons for new characters.
    • Weapons can be upgraded in the bazaar and as thread spoils.


    Equipment is generally more relaxed than weapons. It covers things like tools, medical or first aid kits and the like. While they are more relaxed, they should be too strong. A bandage that heals someone would not be allowed unless you purchased or earned it in a thread (and if this is your character registration that seems unlikely). A normal bandage however would be allowed.

    The Weapon/Equipment and Ability Line


    It is rare, but sometimes an item is taken into account as an ability. This occurs when the item boosts the character in some way, such as increasing their speed or boosting one of their other abilities. This occurs because of unintended consequences of items and abilities interacting. When a character is approved the Mod looks at the overall character to ensure that it sits within the correct level for its strength. When an item boosts certain abilities this can be thrown out of whack.

    An Item that allows you to shoot three fire balls isn't an ability, one that allows you to shoot double the amount of fireballs is.


    Posting your Character

    Right, now you know the basics and have written up your own awesome character go post it! It takes on average two days to have a character approved, so go post and a moderator will be with you soon. It is the moderator's duty to ensure that your character meets the correct criteria for its level, and that everything is clear and understandable. Please remember that it is their responsibility to ensure that every character is treated the same and in rare occasions that might mean having to greatly alter your creation.

    Once your character is approved, you are free to join threads and start kicking butt!


    Starting and Joining Threads

    Threads contain the stories of Althanas and by completing threads you earn experience, gold and items. The easiest way to get into a thread is to look for someone who is recruiting. The Recruiting Forum is your best bet to find a thread to join.

    Sometimes people will also post threads with a [Open] or [Closed] tag in their title. When a thread is [Open] it is a safe bet that the author is looking for people to join. If the thread only has a few posts in it feel free to jump in. The author might also link to a recruiting thread, so make sure you check that out too. If the thread has quite a few posts, it might be safer to Private Message (PM) the thread author to make sure it is still alright to jump in.

    [Closed] is the opposite, it means that a thread has been created by one or more RPers to flesh out a particular story, and you should not post in it.

    If in doubt, PM the author!

    A final note, you can be in any number of threads at once, but don't overload yourself!

    Updating your Character

    So, you've completed a few threads, and popped over to the next level? Time to update!

    This time you need to post your character sheet in the Update Forum. Post your character with your updates and a Moderator will go over the changes with you. A few things to remember:

    1. Link where you got your new equipment from. This might be from completed threads, bazaar purchases, or event rewards. (You can use (url=http://www.althanas.com/world/forumdisplay.php?8-Character-Updates)Character Updates(/url) and replace the round parentheses with square ones (ie [ ] instead of ( ) ).

    2. Place updates in another colour, for example; this text makes it easy for the Moderator to know what has been changed and what hasn't. To do this use the (color=red) text (/color) tags. (switching ( ) for [ ] ).

    3. We don't publish hard and fast rules on updating and how we judge abilities, so as a rule of thumb you can add an ability per level, and modest upgrades to existing abilities. The moderators will have the right to ask you to limit your abilities, or even remove them until you fall within the correct range for your level.

    That's all folks! Go have fun!
    Last edited by Hysteria; 10-18-14 at 02:19 AM.

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