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How to Convert Anime (And Other) Archetypes/Characters to FCPBP

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Introduction and Purpose


I'm sure a feather or two might get ruffled, but this is a "resource thread" that's been rumbling in the back of my mind for a while. I think it's something that could prove valuable in the future for new, incoming players, or even long-time members with echoes of an idea and inspiration who aren't sure how to get it to fit the mold.


So, first, I'm going to link back to the >Newbie Guide. In particular, >this post.


Now, the first point, that some incoming folks might trumpet, and the Refs do acknowledge: Anime is not any one genre. It is animation from Japan (or, depending on the person defining things, perhaps including China, South Korea, and a few other somewhat-similar sources). But it is also true that generally (not always, but generally) there are a lot of broad stylistic similarities. I'll be touching on those at various points later on, but I wanted to get that out of the way. 


The reason I feel this thread needs to be made is because the particular tone we are aiming for on this site is one generally only found in Western (primarily United States & Canada, but to a lesser degree Europe and perhaps swathes of the Americas as a whole) works, particularly western comic books. There are some works from other sources that fit this tone, but it is admittedly a rather specific, narrow-ish requirement.


I should also note that the advice given here can be applied to things like video games (whatever the source), live-action works (the particular field that comes to my mind is the "toku" works such as Super Sentai [Power Rangers] and Kamen Rider), or even ancient myths and legends from all over. All of these works can be valid sources, but many would need work to truly fit into our tone here. 


It should be made clear that this board sees nothing wrong with enjoying anime/Japanese animation (or Japanese live-action shows). I myself actually enjoy such works, admittedly within a fairly narrow (read: action-oriented) scope. But not everyone here does, and this isn't an anime-focused board, so hopefully this thread can serve as a means to help temper ideas to properly fit our collective story-telling.


It should also be noted that, generally speaking, we encourage new members/players to look toward some of our pre-made archetypes to assist you, or in general look to more "classical comic book" inspiration. This is not a 100% ironclad rule, but merely a suggestion; in this way, the focus can be on taking a workable concept and breathing life into it, and then finding that character's "voice" and personality through play, rather than hemming and hawing about particulars that may or may not fit.

Edited by KnightDisciple
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General Do's and Don'ts 


So, this one will probably be the "harshest" item, and I will freely admit the one I could definitely use input on. But I think that, for something like this, some "ground rules" are very much a good idea. 

Also, please note that these are all within the context of the board itself, not personal life choices or tastes. Some may seem a bit "duh", but better safe than sorry.



-Reference truly adult materials for ideas. That....just won't end well.

-Make a character that looks, acts, or thinks underage. In the context of our board, "underage" means "physically and mentally less than 16 years old". Fast-grown clones, scientific artificial organisms, or robots could all be less than 16 chronological years old; this is fine. Time shenanigans can blur these things too, or something like the accelerated aging experienced by Bart Allen/Impulse in his origin. But the character must look, think, and act like a 16-year old. Do not make a character who looks 10 but is "really 10,000 years old". This is not a suggestion, but a rule. There are plenty of ways to play with apparent vs actual age while still having them look 16 or older. 

-Make a "furry" character. This one is a blurrier line. Basically, anything introducing animal characteristics should be for the purpose of powers, personal difficulties, things like that, and not, well, fetishes.

-Make a character that is fetishized in general. As a couple other categories have been covered, this is more about general mannerisms and their costume. This actually would apply even when referencing modern Western comics, to be honest; we very much do not encourage or endorse sexualization and fetishization on this board.

-Give a character an incredibly annoying and extremely repetitive behavioral "tic", such as a verbal exclamation or physical action.

-Utilize over-exaggerated emotional reactions, such as the "sweatdrop" or "facefault". Face-palming is fine, though. Expressiveness is fine, certainly. The key is to try and keep it as a realistic emotional/physical reaction.

-Try to give the character a "super mode". The way our board guides character creation means it's somewhat difficult to do so; it's better, if you want "combat variety", to look at some of the Ref-made builds that have characters who can swap between being Defensive and Tough, and having high Attack vs high Damage. This could, to a degree, be fluffed as a "super mode". But per our >House Rules, the >Drawback "Holding Back" is specifically banned (a cited way to have a "super mode"). The way to take this is that you should strive to find ways your character can always be contributing. If you're in a thread with other heroes, we always encourage the Players to look at it as a chance for a satisfying team victory!



-Inject some color and visual variety in the character. One thing I've found enjoyable with a lot of anime and manga is that the characters get colorful, interesting, distinctive looks. Now, if you're giving them wacky hair colors and the like be ready to explain it with either hair dye or straight-up mutations, but don't be afraid to break from blue, red, green, yellow, and black for a character outfit! Use orange, purple, and other colors and shades! Be creative! Don't feel obligated to make their hero outfit spandex, either; my very first character had an outfit that was distinctive and specific to his heroic self, but while being mostly "mundane" was still not actually spandex materials. While the in-universe morphic molecules generally are used for spandex-y materials, they seem flexible enough, fluff-wise, to make non-spandex outfits too. (Just try not to make your character make fun of spandex too often.)

-Look outside the common "expressions" of power that sometimes crop up in Western comics (as PS238 calls them, the "FISS"; Flight, Invulnerability, Strength, Speed mix), though our board already does a good job of mixing it up.

-Look to create a character with flaws and humanity. Not everyone needs to be Superman or Captain Marvel in terms of being a perfect stand-up Boy Scout of a character. Just don't overdo it.

-Connect the character to a figure of legend, or otherwise give them a sense of legacy in one way or another. We like legacy and legend!

Edited by KnightDisciple
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Power Scale/Level


This one is both easy and hard. 


One the one hand, it's pretty easy to grasp why past a certain point, the level of power/strength/destructive ability in some (certainly not all) anime is not really a good fit for our board. On the other hand, the comics can be just as silly.


Here's the thing; we'd disallow someone trying to make PL 30 Silver Age Superman, with his solar-system-destroying sneezes and all, just as much as we would disallow, say, a Dragonball Z hero who can destroy a planet with a flick of the wrist. It's not about the stylization so much as it is the sheer power.


Also keep in mind that at most you can start at PL 10. As an example of the rough power level that could equate to, here are a couple of examples (list may be altered as suggestions and critiques are made):

-The heroes in Avengers. They're even pretty good examples of being shifted for attack or damage and the like.

-Most of the heroes in the DCAU (Superman: The Animated Series, Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, etc). 

-Personaly, I'd say end-game Dragonball (not Z or GT, just the original) characters. 

-For another anime example, many of the characters at the very beginning of Naruto: Shippuden (to cite a current and popular example) could conceivably fit in this range.


The key thing here is that your character is part of a larger whole. The purpose behind PLs is to make sure everyone is on the same metaphorical page (that's a pun because comic books, see). So 4 PL10 heroes might all look different sheet-to-sheet, but everyone has an idea of the power range they fall into; they're all going to be threatened, at least in general, by the same things.

Even within our board PL mismatch can be problematic; certainly a freshly-started PL7 character just isn't going to be able to keep up quite as well with a maxed-out PL15. That's okay!


But the thing to keep in mind is that a lot of anime series do trend toward power levels that would do to a PL15 what a PL15 does to a PL7.


Basically, the power to destroy a building is reasonable. At highest levels, city blocks, eve. 


But destroying or creating entire mountains in seconds, or anything above that, quickly becomes questionable. Certainly, with time and effort, many PCs could level mountains. But we're talking the work of, most likely, hours, unless they're a character whose powerset is specifically geared such that "move or level mountains" is practically their job description. 


The other thing to keep in mind is that power level shouldn't define variety and style of power. It's just about the "oomph", not the way you deliver that "oomph". So like I said above, be creative with what sorts of powers they have! Just keep in mind they're not going to be planetary-level threats. 

Edited by KnightDisciple
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Appearance and Aesthetics


This one is...honestly, it's kind of tricky. But then, I think it's tricky with Western comics and media as much as anything else. 


Putting aside the talk of fetishization in the Do's and Dont's, a few things come to mind here.


First, like I said earlier, bright colors are good! But try to think about how it would actually look. Still, we have at least one character whose costume is primarily orange in active play right now. 

Second, don't be afraid to do something other than spandex or spandex-like materials. Of my characters, Gabriel's costume is a combination of armor and looser, more flowing clothes (his original was a lot of white, slightly loose and flowing clothes under a hooded leather coat with holy symbols on it), and Cobalt Templar walks around in bright blue full plate. 

Third, do keep in mind we do encourage a character try to have at least one of the following: secret identity/code name, powers, costume. I personally think it's more enjoyable if you have at least 2! That's what makes being a comic-book-style superhero fun!

Fourth, while oddly-colored hair, eyes, skin, etc aren't inherently bad, you definitely need to stop and think about people giving odd looks on the street. Freedom City has a higher weirdness tolerance than most, but if you are sporting bright neon purple dreadlocks that reach your waist while your eyes are solid glowing green, you're gonna get some stares. Also, if you do odd coloration, try to think on why it happens. Mutation? Science experiment? Terminus powers? Hair dye? Contacts? The answer's up to you, but keep it in mind.


Try not to directly ape things too much, though obviously none of us can point too strong of fingers about the matter. *Says the guy playing a character who will end up as the local Batman character.*

Edited by KnightDisciple
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Behavior, Personality, Mentality


This is another tough one to give a lot of ironclad rules on, but a couple things stick out.


First, perhaps obviously, your character shouldn't regularly engage in intentional use of lethal force. Also not permanent crippling or maiming. Roughing them up and knocking them out is, of course, perfectly fine. 


Also, kind of expanding on a comment I made in the Do's and Don't's, a lot of the really exaggerated emoting just doesn't fit. The occasional facepalm is fine. Random size-changing of heads for yelling doesn't work unless you're a shapeshifter, at which point it's just odd. A lot of the more subtle stuff that works fine in even the more serious manga and anime works just doesn't quite fit (sweatdrops, that "face goes blue" thing, random shadows covering eyes, that sort of thing). 


That said, emotiveness in general is good and fine. There can be a tendency to semi-blandness in some Western comics these days, so characters who are emotional and bombastic (*cough*Set*cough*Thrude*cough*) are rarer but certainly welcome here.


Even melodrama has its place at times!


Really, the key with the more general "be expressive and larger than life" is knowing how to parcel it out.


Verbal tics are something you should think long and hard about. Not only are you going to have to type said tic out a LOT, others are going to read it just as much! They have their place, perhaps, but again should be occasional flavor. 


Lots of optimism is good, though! Heroes are the focus here, so optimism and idealism are natural parts of our shared story!

Edited by KnightDisciple
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Powers, Power Sources, Fighting Style
This is one of those "could be three sentences, could be three pages" sort of things. I'll try to hit a happy medium. 
So, a couple of quicker examples before I dive into some more complex-ish stuff.
One example would be the various Kamen Riders. They all have a Device, Hard to Lose, with Subtle (they can stow the transformation gimmick device in some way to not be super-noticeable) and Quick Change (unless you want a full-round costume change I guess). Typically they're getting boosted physical stats, some Attack/Defense/Toughness bonuses, and at least two attack powers (a Damage/Strike for their Rider Kick, and a Ranged Damage or alternate Damage setup for their weapon(s)). Later "super forms" can actually just be either you upgrading the sheet (if you watch the shows, the "super forms" end up being used, like, every episode after a while), or setting up a "super form array" that has extra "add on" powers you can rotate around. Nothing too complicated, really; Kamen Riders are basically just Battlesuits (the M&M Archetype). While obviously we would say you shouldn't just make a Kamen Rider, a character with a similar general thematic (though perhaps toning down the Calling Out Your Attacks) would work pretty well, both ease-of-build-wise, and thematic-wise. 
Another comparatively easy example is Roy Mustang from Full Metal Alchemist. He's a baseline human, who's Defense shifted, and has a nice array of fire-based attacks (some might be Damage-shifted, some might be Attack-Shifted). He might have a small Create Object or Transform array, or he might just have a rank or two of Luck and do some stunting on occasion. But by and large, he mainly goes around making things burn. Lots of burning. You might even say it's burnination. 
Now, some more complex ideas.
In this case, I'm going to dip into my own experience and point to the long-running series entitled Naruto. Long story short, there are a LOT of strange and wacky powers and skills shown in that series. Thankfully outside of PL X opponents, few to none of them have true access to ALL of these things.
Now, one thing I personally would say is that, working from this setting, most of the superhuman skills/abilities shown should be given a descriptor that unifies them. I believe that Magic, Psionic, or Chi/Ki could all potentially be applied, and really it comes down to the specific personal inclination of the individual applying the idea. 
One handy feature in M&M is the ability to apply the Variable Descriptor feature to a power. 
In this case, it could let you apply an "Any Element" Variable Descriptor to your power, or even to your Array of powers. 
So your character who is older, more experienced, and more versatile could actually be modeled with fewer actual powers, and just the liberal use of the Variable Descriptor Feat. After all, the only big difference between many of the attacks displayed by said character is "made of fire", "made of lightning", "made of water", etc. In this way, you can focus on making the Array a selection of, say, different Areas for Damage, or some Area Damage powers and some other more "utilitarian" powers. 
Another character might (early on) prefer to use multiple copies of themself to fight. Now, you can use Duplicate, but really, the end result is the duplicates assisting in various combat and non-combat tasks, yes? In that case, there are >multiple builds that can >display the results of ">I have a bunch of copies" without the actual hassle of the Duplication power. 
As time goes on and said character learns new skills, just add powers to the array. After a certain point of development, the Array could be revamped to reflect a larger selection of new skills, such as a Linked Damage and Drain Toughness, that can be given an Array of its own with various Area modifiers, extra linked powers (such as a Con Drain), and even a setting that just gives it Variable Descriptor for multiple elements. You could model a skillset that boosts various physical stats and the like, but requires a bit of concentration, as a Continuous or Sustained Container (with all related abilities within in); or perhaps you give it a Check Required or Fades flaw, or both. Perhaps as time goes on said flaws are bought down. 
Probably one of the biggest things to remember is that Descriptors give you a LOT of "wiggle room" when it comes to the more exotic aspects of attacks. Really, if it "hurts the other guy", it's a Damage, and anything beyond that is just Modifiers to Range, Area, etc. 
Things like Containers can be useful to subdivide your powers into useful and quick-to-reference groups. As well as get slight discounts by way of Action Flaws or the like. 
Also, you won't be able to add everything, you just won't. It stinks, but even a maxed-out character has only so many PP. So the question is then which abilities you consider the most iconic, and that's what you should focus on.

Edited by KnightDisciple
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