Here I am going to break down what the FPL is really about. Not what you'll find in the FAQ, but the real deal Holyfield. First and foremost, we know that FPL is an interactive creative writing site where you create your own characters using a custom character creator to go head to head with other creators in randomly assigned matches formatted by our very own Serge and Mr. Graves. But this here tutorial is not to break down what you already know, but to get into the nitty gritty things that FPLers know and you don't.
First let me give you some background (credibility check) on myself. I arrived on this site as a lurker of the FPL waaaay back when. Had to be early 2000's or earlier. I wanted to do that crap sooo bad. But, I knew that I sucked. I actually created a character once and it got Godsmacked (Something they use to do back in the day. Basically it didn't even make it out the starting gate because I took a swordsman power and didn't give my character a sword. Rookie mistake. I got pissed as many of us do the first time around and left. I came back in 2004 and actually logged on the site. Still lurked (Lurked is French for learned). Then in 2007, I gave the CBUB a try after it opened up to the public. By this time, I had been writing in my spare time. I did well in the CBUB. I stayed there exclusively for years (Marvel Man, Technomancer/Nesh, ND7 and many others will attest to this) and did pretty decent. Finally, I was challenged to an FPL tournament by none other than Landon due to an argument I was having with a user that swore that the worst FPL writer was leagues better than the best CBUB writer. Well, well, well...I just had to shut him up (I love you Geomease). So, anyway...I did the tournament and beat the user and fell head over heels in love with the FPL (I lost the next match in the tournament immediately after my truimphant win - Hello HuanHellHound, regardless it felt good to prove that writing is about the person and not the CBUB or FPL status). Anywho, I created at least a dozen or more characters before I had any success. What!?! Treacherous lost in the FPL! Why didn't he quit? He should've known that those guys were a clique and hate CBUBers. Because I'm nobody's punk! I've never been anybody's punk and I don't let a little thing like a dozen losses defeat me. You know what I did? I created character after character after character after character unstopping until something broke down that door. I was the little injun that could. Hell, they may have let me win because I didn't stop knocking on the damn door. Regardless, the moral of the story is writing improves writing and don't ever think that I don't know what the hell I'm talking about when I tell you something about the CBUB and FPL. I've done it longer and possibly better. Simple. Oh and they eventually made me an Admin (Who knows what the hell they were smoking on that one). Let's move on...
Now, when you begin to create a character the immediate thing you will read is: "The FPL is primarily a creative-writing exercise, so put some thought into your character. Breathe life into it with a solid concept and well-written origin, personality, and power descriptions. Consider how you will spend your points before making the character in the creator." - Either Serge or Mr. Graves wrote this text and you will find it at the end of the very first page you encounter on your journey.
So, let's make no mistakes about the FPL - IT IS A CREATIVE WRITING EXERCISE! What does that mean? That means that characters are created and judged based on your creative writing ability. It is the exact opposite of the CBUB. In the CBUB, you shouldn't pick based on your fanboy love for a creative character, you should vote because the feats say he is better. In FPL, it is most definitely about your fanboy love for a more creative character. Feats mean Shite. FPL is not for people who want to find the best powers available, put them together and slam them against another user's character (AKA: the Goku Effect). It is for people to write creatively. Don't get me wrong, writing well is a plus too! We like sentence structure, it helps us to understand what you are trying to convey, we like grammar and we like at least the majority of your words to make sense. A good portion of the FPL population are people that have been writing on this site for up to a decade (give or take).
You must ask yourself, how do I impress people that have seen it all? Example, we've seen all kinds of things in the FPL such as Goku, dragons, uber badass punishers, etc... We have not seen a Pirahna Girl, a Unicorn Boy, A dinosaur that tweets and Steampunk Iron-Man or a little kid that creates pills from his body! WTF!?! Surprise us.
All characters start at street level. This means that your first character may not be more powerful than your typical Punisher, Rorshach or Nightwing type character. There is no way around that. You cannot come in using street level powers and wonder why your GOD OF THE APOCALYPSE DRAGONS! isn't killing everything in the database. It is because your base level Fire will not allow that...Sorry. The well-written, well-thought out, creative Penguin with the Stick will beat your one-line power description GotAD anyday.
But Treach, I thought powers weren't important. Not in the way you think. Powers are a means to an end. Powers are like Chapters in your story. The whole Character should be written like a story, not a Wiki. People want to be entertained, not informed. The rule of thumb is SHOW DON'T TELL. If you've been in the FPL, you've seen it a million times. Don't tell us, "Hey this is a picture using paint." Tell us about the picture, describe the picture, let us touch, taste and smell the picture. You claim to be a writer? Write... And be creative with your damn powers. Anybody can take fire and use it as fire, but what if you take fire and instead use it to describe the passion your fighter has for battle. That the intensity of his fiery rage was so hot that it caused other fighters to sweat. Okay that's awful, but you get the point. Think outside the box. Instead of using mind control and digging to describe your mind controling burrowing ninja. Howabout, creating a guy who uses mind control to dig deeper into the subconscious of his enemies. WIN. Oh but that brings us to my next point. Possibly the most dangerous of all areas in FPL, right? The Critiques.
First things first, if you are a first time user always post your character in the Character Analysis thread first! Not only that, PM or ask people for a review. Yes, that's right. Ask for a critique...perhaps the most feared portion of the FPL. Here there be Dragons! Whatever. Again, I come from experience. It took me a few losses to realize I needed help. And sometimes the best place to learn to be a millionare is from the mouth of a millionare. So, now that you've done that don't expect everyone to swoon over your creation. THIS IS NOT THE CBUB! In CBUB, you may pander to each other because you want to maintain good relationships for votes. Don't lie and say that isn't mostly true, because I did it and I know it. In FPL, there is no pat each other on the back, circle jerk mentality. It gets real folks. Why? Because you need it. You may ask yourself who are these guys to speak on my writing. Oh I don't know, Teachers, Tutors, Lawyers, writers (Real Writers) and/or people who have achieved Hall of Fame or Main Event status on the part of the site you'd like to succeed in. Maybe they know something. Most of the successful FPLers are what you may call grown ups. They are 25 and up. Hence the cynicism. But you want to succeed, you want to impress and you can deal with cynicism...
Keep in mind that there is fact and there is opinion. You will get both. Sometimes you will get both intermingled together. It is your job to distinguish the two, to keep a cool head and take the fact, the opinion and the bull and use what you see fit to help you. See, no matter how cynical the person critiquing may seem, most really are telling you something you need to hear. Look for that and take it in. But Treach! Why can't you be nice? There is a certain way people should talk to each other. You can give critique without being a jerk. Sure, but we live in the real world and in the real world there are ugly things. Either live in your self imposed sense of denial (CBUB) or come into the real world, take the good from the bad, learn and grow. That doesn't mean you have to put up with bull, but that doesn't mean that you have to completely blow your top anytime you don't get the response you want either. There is a middle ground, find it and improve your writing. You want to create, don't let others bad attitudes distract you from your goals. If you do, you'll spend the rest of your life losing.
For God's sake, browse the FPL before you enter! Don't just go posting a damn character like you got this all figured out. YOU GOT NOTHING! Check out the Pinned Topics. Check out the database characters (especially the successful ones), arrange them in order of points or just pick randomly. Everyone's opinions and tastes differ. Regardless, read the characters and find out what's working and what's not. Look at the bottom (15pts) characters too. See what went wrong. Investigate before you go in. FP - F#$@IN' - L is a battlefield. You don't just go running into a battlefield without a plan of attack. We don't call it the Killfloor for nothing.
But Treacherous, these guys are a clique. They only vote for each other. STFU/GTFO. The voting on FPL is so ridiculously random. To this day, I can't figure it out. The most common theme that I've seen is we vote based on writing. But that is not always true. One minute you beat a character ten times and the next you lose to that same character thirteen times. You never know. The same people do not vote all the time. Sometimes, nobody votes but one or two people. Guess who will win that time. If you see a bunch of Admins at the top of ratings, perhaps it's because these guys can write their asses off. I lose all the freakin time and I want to curse everybody who voted out, but you don't. Well, some of you do...and when you do...guess what? You lose some more. Yes, sometimes we vote against you because we hate your whining guts. Me personally, I'm always upright with my voting. The better, more creative and better character always wins. If it's too close, maybe I'll go for which character could be best used in a fic or something like that. I believe Soberguy, who we all look to for brilliant words of wit, put it best with this:
Ivan's fiction always makes me feel like I'm writing in crayon.
That is why he's at the top. That is F@#$K'n it. If anything, figure out his formula, emulate the formula if you have to (I know when I lost, I tried a different route every time I came back), but actively try to create your own successful formula. It is the only way no matter what you may think.
What else... Oh yeah...
Fictions/RP's and whatnot
Unlike your favorite comicbook companies, FPL has continuity out the wazooo. That's right, we have created a unique world and we maintain it and make it flourish. Our should I say, you do. Get involved! Write fictions, Start RPG's or help in one. You never know who likes your stuff and will use it later. I know many a new character play major roles in FPL continuity. In this new FPL, the continuity may live longer than your rankings. Be known, be involved. Also, having an impact in RPG's and Fictions has been known to increase the likeability of new characters.
FPL is full of Admins. Definitely not the place. Trust me. Suspicion is even a bad thing. WE LOVE OUR FPL AND WE WILL REAP VENGEANCE UPON YOU!
anyway, I'm going to open this thread. I know there is much more to be said, but I want to see what is being felt out there first. Last thing, please don't get into flame wars on my thread. A quip or two may be permitted, but a full out dogfight will disappear like the wind (as soon as I see it). Let's keep it civil. This is meant to be instructional and a learning experience. Also, don't bad mouth my grammar and spelling...I just write at will on the forums. I save the good stuff for FPL. Now...