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Found 4 results

  1. Let’s talk a moment about Changelings. Changelings are one of those OC types whose likeliness of occurrence is less than Alicorns, but more than Draconequui. Changelings are the new Griffons, the seductive, in-your-face characters who also have the creepy factor going for them. They’re practically villain material. However, I see a lot of Changeling OCs that are Changelings for the sake of being Changelings. Time to reorganize the hive, fillies and gentlecolts, and the Queen here is ready to offer a few pointers: Changelings are Pony-Bugs ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In their behavior, appearance, structure, Changelings are more like insects than ponies. That means that they aren’t quite as… human… as ponies, either, odd as it sounds. To really get a feel for what I’m talking about, it’s best to take a look at how insect hives are structured: At the center of the society, you see the Queen, who births all the workers, drones, the whole deal. The workers, in turn, provide for the Queen unfailingly. It’s a pretty safe assumption that Changelings are much the same way. In the context of the show, however, we also notice that Changelings of all kinds have personalities and feelings of their own. When Pinkie confronts one of the Changelings and asks them to mimic her, the Changeling does something that no mindless drone would do: it accepts the request. This psychological behavior of reward for good behavior is not present in fully obedient insects, much like telling an attack dog to do a trick likely wouldn’t work if you were running from it. As such, it makes sense to reason that all Changelings are independent thinkers, at least as far as we can tell. So, keep in mind the structure, but also put in a bit of personality if you so choose, but Changelings aren’t loners. They can’t rightly survive without the binding force of a Queen, just as bugs can’t really do the same when their queen dies. Only Queens look like Queens ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Personality identity is what sets one Changeling apart from another. What about visuals? Why not give your Changeling drone or worker a really cool mane style? Oh, that’s right. They don’t have manes. Well, uhh… how about a really neat eye colour? Well, they all only have one colour of eyes. Light blue. The face and mane on a pony are their most defining features for a creator. In the case of a Changeling, we’re prevented from changing that, for the sake of continuity. Well then, maybe I’ll make a Queen! Then, we can have mane styles and facial features galore! Ahaahaahaa! Well, wait a moment; there are other ways to handle this, before forcing yourself to commit to that echelon of character. First, there’s the case of accessorization. When you can’t alter the painting, giving it a nice frame is the only way to make it more valuable, after all. You can tell a lot about a character just by the way they dress, and if your drone has no other means to express themselves, I’m sure they could break the “all ponies are nude” rule, even for simple stuff. Basically, seek alternate forms of character expression. You’d be surprised at how well you can show what kind of character your Changeling is without changing much of their appearance! Use the Façade for Deception, not Development ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is the real flaw behind Changeling OCs. See, some ponies have a million OCs, and have trouble reconciling them. Perhaps they thrust onto their one Changeling OC their desire to be ALL of those characters. They get so good at their game, that they even fool themselves. That’s not like a Changeling, however. Any Changeling can mimic one particular form, so there’s honestly no uniqueness in the idea of changing into ‘your character’. If you really want to surefire express your character, I again recommend accessorization on the character as he TRULY is, rather than needing to rely on changing into other ponies to express himself. Rather, they’re better off using the changing ability to do things that they as Changelings cannot, such as entering amorous relationships with a pony. Hiding in plain sight. Their powers are meant to deceive. Use them to deceive. Queens are Queens ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Now, let’s say that you DO decide to make your Changeling a Queen, or perhaps some male leader of some sort. You gotta understand that you just added in a bunch of jobs to your character. Consider: the Queen of a hive has to, as I said, spawn a lot of hatchlings, and see to it that her hive’s needs are met. Lots of organizing, and s/he likely won’t leave without their hive based on their dependence on her/him. So mind you, if you decide to make a Queen, you’ll need to build your character accordingly, and you shouldn’t expect for them to be able to slip out of the hive inconspicuously. Stick to the Style ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Alright then, you’ve come up with an idea you like. First, it should go without saying that with an individual identity of a Changeling, they’re going to want a name. Let’s go with… Nestor. But wait, that sort of name’s completely out of left field. What sort of names can one apply to a Changeling? Well, the best names you can give Changelings, in my opinion at least, are simple, one-word names such as Haze or Skimmer, something that reflects their abilities, I would imagine. If you ‘re really determined, however, an even better course of action is to use bug terms. Chrysalis is but one stage of the developmental cycle. To exhibit as a theme that my Changeling OC is more mentally mature than Chrysalis, I moved up the chain of bug growth: How about the adult stage? The technical term for that is ‘imago’, and so we have our queen’s name: Queen Imago. Other terms can apply here too, and there are plenty. (i.e. Ecdysis, Instar, Pupa, Cocoon, Thorax, etc.) Use your knowledge of bug terms to give your Changeling that strange-sounding name they deserve as a non-pony race! So there we have it, we’re steadily moving away from the constant of human behavior and going more on supposition. As time goes on, the OCs covered here are likely to be less and less human. Next up on the grand roll of controversial OCs: Draconequui. Brace yourselves, lots of headcanon there! Thanks for reading!
  2. Hey all! crp_dude, better known as Alec here. Being the worldbuilder that I am, I thought it would be an okay thing to write up a blog after a million years of not doing that. I've noticed left and right how poorly "OP" characters are treated by the majority and condemned from things like site canon, for reasons I understand and in part agree with. Here's my gripe: I want people to develop decent characters of any type, but nobody really gives certain races a chance. Here, I will serve as that chance. I have a schedule and list of thoughts and themes for "Tips for Building ____ Characters", from the infamous Alicorn to the dangerous Draconequus! By no means will my tips be sure-fire, and most of this is really just my suggestions! If you have an idea, or don't agree with one of my ideas, don't feel threatened for thinking otherwise, because what you get from this is really your own interpretation! If anyone has any race requests, please, feel free to voice them, and have no fears or worries about them! Have a nice day! -Alec
  3. Griffons are a race we’ve seen very little of in the show, that’s for sure. As such, it seems only natural for imaginations to go wild at the very thought of them! Being what they are (part bird, part lion, and all awesome, apparently,) it seems unsurprising that griffons have become sort of the coolkids of the OC horde. However, they have also become infamous for being just this: go-to “cool characters”. In this case, the many assumptions about griffons have caused them to become little more than excuses to create an OC who’s all action and violence. Well, not to rain on your flock, but Griffons are far deeper than that: --Not all Griffons are vicious [colour=#282828]-----------------------------------------------------[/colour] In fact, there’s almost no evidence within the show to indicate that they’re vicious at all. The most that they seem to be is occasionally unpleasant to be around, but that can be explained with a later point. What I mean to say is that it’s highly overdone, the idea that Griffons are these tooth-and-nail (beak-and-nail?) ruffians that are born into a savage land, or whatever. If anything, it seems, rather, that griffons behave very much like ponies do. On that note, there’s also a lot of assumption saying griffons are carnivorous, which means they would need to hunt. However, I should make note of the fact that thus far, we’ve seen evidence not just against that, but rather to the contrary: Out of Gustave la Grande, we got a very particular salivating reaction when Pinkie Pie described the desserts. All of these desserts were not only grain based, but would have been inedible to him if he were a pure carnivore. The simple fact that he COULD eat it without issues indicates otherwise. As such, it indicates to me that Griffons are, at least, omnivores, and thusly do not NEED to be vicious hunters to survive. --They probably can’t outfly Rainbow Dash [colour=#282828]-----------------------------------------------------[/colour] Gilda may compete, but unless she can pull off a Rainboom, something tells me she wouldn’t be able to beat Dash. Just so, I’d take it as a general rule that just because a Griffon looks cool, doesn’t mean that a Griffon could whop a decent Pegasus. Once again, I’d go with the “Equality of Races” Rule. In other words, a Griffon’s ability and mastery with flight is probably on the same level of a Pegasus with equal amounts of practice. Now mind you, that’s only taking into account flight capability, not other aspects, such as, perhaps, strength. After all, we did just take the talons of a bird and slap it onto a lion. --Griffons are misunderstood! [colour=#282828]-----------------------------------------------------[/colour] In this case, I mean it! Now, it’s time to use a tie-in outside the show. The original mythology says two pivotal facts about griffons we can apply here. One: Griffons and horses have been enemies since before time. This is a tie-in with how griffons seem to be so… well, full of pride and make a habit of intimidating ponies. Two: They are very proud creatures, and insulting them usually results, according to the folklore, in death. However, this is ponies, so we can scratch out the ‘death’ part. Gilda, for example, reacts negatively when Pinkie Pie attempts to arrest Dash’s attention. Rather than Gilda just being a jerk, what you witnessed could also be perceived as a reaction to a breach of respect, in which case, in Gilda’s view, Pinkie neither had Gilda’s respect enough for partnership, nor did Pinkie have respect for Gilda and Dash’s partnership by butting in. I consider Griffon behavior to be based upon a generational deep-seeded sense of chivalry, its backbone being respect and honor. As such, you could say, to that effect, that rather than griffons being mean and haughty, what you could be reading into is a genuine sense of nobility that ponies are simply perfectly ignorant to. Food for thought. Anyhoof, I honestly don’t have much to say about Griffons. All I can advise is this: develop griffons as you would any regular pony, as they seem to be, in the show’s sense, very similar in ability. (Shorter entry this time, done by request.)
  4. Alicorns are the best-known of the OC types whose power is most often abused (though for some people, just USING power is enough to warrant the banhammer) through insane feats of nature-warping magic and familial relations. Some of the worst examples of these OCs include princesses who are not only in-your-face and self-righteous, but also talented and powerful to the point of excess. You see a bad OC. I see someone who needs to learn how to write up a character. Here are a few pointers to help your royal companion: --Let them be themselves! ----------------------------------------------------- Too often do we see situations in which an Alicorn is used as someone’s self-insert, an extension of the creator into that universe. Not necessarily is it a bad thing for this to be the case, actually, it’s an alright thing to do. After all, who do you know better than yourself? What separates a good OC from a bad one, however, is how subtle this fact is. A good OC is an OC who is within character all the time, and doesn’t blatantly give away the desire for the writer of the character to manipulate the facts of life. What’s important is that when you write a character, you give them your personality, but explain it with THEIR OWN goals. Don’t try explaining a character’s life by making an example of your own. Once you’ve defined what the character has been through, stick to that. You’ll soon find, if you do, that your OC will have suddenly become very much his own character, not just yours as their owner! --Give them something to do! ----------------------------------------------------- Alicorns are meant to be these fantastical, all-powerful, god-like ponies. This usually means that they would do really important things as well, like, say, raising the sun and the moon. To be basic about it, it’s very important that you give your royal an integral job in keeping the world going. Too many OCs have mundane cutie marks, and yet OP magic, to the point where you wonder why their maker wanted an Alicorn, not just a unicorn. In other words: Alicorns are a big deal. Treat them like they’re a big deal. --Consider the Family Tree ----------------------------------------------------- Celestia and Luna are sisters. Cadence is their niece. This is all we know so far. The worst OCs in this category are the ones who are the sister’s third sibling, or perhaps not affiliated with the royalty at all. The family tree is grand and extensive. As such, you shouldn’t see issue with placing your character further down the genetic line. What harm will it do, after all? Explore the tree, give the princesses not just “the rejected sibling” or “the long-lost parent”, give them a family member! --Don’t overdo it ----------------------------------------------------- No, seriously. Don’t overdo it. Characters are allowed to be accomplished, but keep it within the realm of reason, not just in reality, but within the show’s reason too. Even Celestia hasn’t accomplished EVERYTHING, don’t hold yourself to the standard that an OC has to be really successful and amazing, because that’s just not true. In fact, if anything, your OC should be anything but that. At the same time, however, they shouldn’t be completely unaccomplished. Take a look at what the characters of the show do on their high end of accomplishment. Strive to make something similar to that! Don’t be afraid to imitate sometimes, because imitation is a good inspiration for originality, in my opinion! --Never stop improving! ----------------------------------------------------- Characters are never complete from the first step. Or the second. Or the third. Even if a character strikes you as fantastic, don’t be afraid to accept new concepts and ideas! You never know what you’ll find, it might bring a new, brilliant light to your character and their purpose! Perhaps it takes your OC in a new, more interesting direction! Just don’t forget: prodding yourself helps. Make your character as complete as possible. If there are holes in their story, fill them. If something doesn’t make sense, correct it, no matter how much you want to keep it in. Mind you, you’re more or less striving to make an OC that COULD exist in the canon, not one that overwrites it, no matter how much you don’t like the established canon. Now, some advice on design: --colour your character wisely ----------------------------------------------------- Ever seen Freestyle, that all-too-famous OC? Don’t go that way. That character is electrically coloured to the point of insanity. Not only is it a bit grating to the eye, but in all honesty, it just doesn’t look like it’s a part of the show. Pastel colours are the natural tone, and brightening that up is no way to make your character more unique. (Remember, you’re still striving to make your character believable in terms of the show.) If anything, you should colour to fit your character’s theme or style. If they’re water-affiliated royals, give them good sea tones! If you want to emphasize a part of their personality, colour them in such a way that would emphasize this, such as mellow colours for a mellow character! (yellow and pink, for example? c; ) Theming the character is the name of the game here. --Don’t overdo it. Again. ----------------------------------------------------- I really can’t stress this enough. OCs are too tempting to overdo. Don’t clash colours unnecessarily, don’t make things overly ornate, don’t accessorize them to the point of fakeness. Let their natural beauty define them as characters. OCs are best defined in personality by the way they look, and what they do is indicated by how they dress, in a general rule sort of sense. Just as their story can have extra bits of trivia, the characters can have accessories to spice up their design. Overdo this, however, and just like having a profile with too much trivia, your character becomes hard to follow and uninteresting. --Keep it proportionate ----------------------------------------------------- Some things just don’t look good together. For example, putting Celestia’s wings on Cadence’s body looks overdone. You need to keep in mind that certain body types and shapes only allow certain wing shapes and sizes. Match the body to the wings, the head to the hooves, the horn to the… everything, and don’t skip steps just for the sake of “style”. Seriously, try to make everything match. In conclusion, I’ve said this twice, and that’s because it’s important: the key is that, within the canon of the show, your OC COULD exist. They need to be believable in the terms of the show. Not looking to do that? Well then, you’re making an alternate universe character, not an OC. It really is a different thing. To all those who may judge Alicorns as bad right off the bat, let this guide show you that some creators are trying to improve their infamous title. Now, for today, I bid you adieu, and also, Big Mac is best princess.
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