Custom Ability Guide
One of the main reasons Solaris RPG is so unique is due to the player created custom character abilities. All players have the opportunity to make up custom abilities.
This is a great opportunity for a player to be creative and unique. These abilities are yours - no other character can copy your ideas. That said, of course, you also cannot copy other ideas for your own abilities as well.
The very first thing to remember when creating a new ability is keeping things fair. Unfair custom abilities will be rejected. This is a multiplayer game, so your abilities must be fair to others, otherwise the game would not be fun. The point of custom abilities is to have a unique way to give you the advantage in, or out, of battle.
The only exception to the "fairness" rule are signature abilities, which are allowed to be a little overpowered. A character may have a signature ability when he reaches level 100. He may only have a single signature ability, so make it a good one.
Unlocking Custom Ability Slots
At levels 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100 characters unlock what we call a Custom Ability Slot. After achieving level 100 a character will continue to gain more EXP but will no longer unlock Custom Ability Slots.
After level 100 a character will unlock function upgrades for his current Custom Abilities. I will explain how to upgrade custom abilities in more detail later in this guide. For now, I'll dive into how to get a new ability added by using the Peer Review Forum.
If you have decided you want to make a custom ability for your character you can simply post up its name, flavor text, description, and functions to the Solaris Discussion forum.
If the ability successfully makes it through the player-base without being torn apart you may then request it to be posted as a character update. The administration will typically accept any ability that makes it through the PRF unscathed. If anything, other players will at least tell you how to fix your ability.
How do I build a custom ability?
A custom ability is made up of four distinct parts. These are the ability's name or title, some flavor text or a quote, the description, and finally the functional aspects of the special skill listed out as bulleted points.
See below for an example:
The abilities description. This explains what the ability does, what it looks like, how it works, etc. This section should be pretty detailed but mechanical functions should be listed out below. This is a good spot for flavor text and cosmetic details of an ability. Don't make it too long, but not too short either.
Functions of the ability are listed here. (mechanical, cosmetic, or limitations)
Mechanical functions specifically do something and provide a tangible perk
Cosmetic functions usually just describe something the ability does
Limitations are for helping prevent an ability from being too powerful
It's pretty straight forward, right? Over the next few sections I'd like to explain each part of a custom ability in more detail.
Naming a Custom Ability
One would expect that this should be the easiest part, but it can sometimes be the hardest part of making a new custom ability. I've often came up with an awesome idea for new custom ability, but been unable to come up with the right name. You want a name that makes sense and fits the ability. It also needs to fit your character. Think carefully on the naming of an ability. Naming an ability is required.
Please note that the ability’s name cannot already be taken by another character's custom ability. This will most definitely lead to confusion. All players should strive to make their custom abilities 100% unique as often as possible.
Flavoring a Custom Ability
We like to add some flavor text to give the ability some flair. That's why we call it flavor text. This can be a quote, from the character himself, or someone who has witnessed the ability's awesome power. It could just be some added description as well. Adding flavor text is not required.
Describing a Custom Ability
A custom ability's description should explain the ability and what it does. If it's a passive aura, what color is it? What does it look like? If you're hurling a ball of energy at someone, what type of energy is it, what color is it? Just be description and give plenty of detail without writing a book. Typically, a single paragraph is plenty of description. This part is absolutely required.
Your goal is to make it so when you use this ability, every other player imagines it the same way you do. No two people will see it exactly the same. Describing something well will help another person get the full effect. If it is not descriptive enough, it might even be detrimental! And furthermore, take pride in your work. Remember that this ability is going to be on your character profile. It will identify both your work of art and the artist.
Functions of a Custom Ability
To break it down to its most basic components, custom abilities may have mechanical and cosmetic functions (and in lots of cases, both). A mechanical function means that the ability allows you to perform a special action in or out of battle. It could be an active or passive function.
Abilities that enable the character do something unique, perhaps the ability to fly or throw a fireball, are active abilities. Abilities that work quietly in the background, all the time, are passive abilities, but both have a mechanical purpose.
A cosmetic function is very different; it gives your character something that does not affect the game. Lots of people shy away from purely-cosmetic ability functions. They are sometimes considered a waste of a function slot by more hardcore players. Some players craft a character for role-play purposes and not at all for combat.
Players with characters who don't do battle, usually don’t see a reason in having abilities that amplify their combat potential. Having cosmetic functions in an ability is a great way to add detail to an ability however.
Each ability may only have a certain number of mechanical and cosmetic functions. Starting out, an ability may have one mechanical and one cosmetic functions. The mechanical function could be passive or active.
Upgrading Custom Abilities
As I mentioned way back at the beginning of this guide, a character gains custom ability slots until he reaches level 100. Between level 100 and 200 he will earn additional functions for his current abilities. Much like pre-100 leveling, additional function points are gained at level 120, 140, 160, 180, and 200.
Each of those leveling milestones grants one additional mechanical and cosmetic function point. These additional functions may be applied to any of the character's current abilities.
By level 200 a character should have a total of ten mechanical and ten cosmetic function points to be used on his five original abilities however he chooses. Using these functions are completely optional, but we highly recommend it.
To keep it real simple and to prevent players from having to write in ability limitations, we put a hard cap on how many times a single custom ability may be used during combat. In all situations, normal custom abilities may only be used up to three times per battle and signature abilities may only be used one time per battle. No exceptions!
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