Frequently Asked Questions
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September 1st: New school year begins, Term 1
September 25th - October 8th: Start of Term Break
November 19th: First quarter ends
December 11th - January 3rd: Winter Break
February 18th: Second quarter ends, end of first term
March 12th-25th: March Break
May 20th: Third quarter ends
May 21st-31st: Spring Break
August 18th: Fourth quarter ends, end of second term, school year ends
August 19th-31st: Summer Break
ALT: When is summer break? When does the school year start?
Normal forum threads allow discussion of soft drugs such as marijuana and ecstasy, but only passing mentions of hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine, or meth. Strong language is allowed, assuming the language itself is not a slur. If slurs are used, please clearly tag the thread as having slurs used. Sexual content is allowed in passing, but not in graphic or narrative detail. Violence is allowed, but should not become detailed gore. Please do not link to illegal content on the site.
The Cbox is held to a more exact PG-13 standard. The cbox allows discussion of soft drugs such as marijuana and ecstasy, but only passing mentions of hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine, or meth. Slurs are forbidden, and language is allowed in limited amounts. Please do not attempt to bypass the filters the cbox has in place. Sexual content is allowed to be mentioned in passing, but should not be a major topic of discussion or covered in detail. Mentions of violence (such as in a TV show, book, or RP) is allowed, but should not involve gore. These rules also apply to outside links--if you feel something is borderline, please clearly mark it before posting it. Please do not link to illegal content in the cbox.
A general reminder about the cbox: The cbox is for everyone. While it's fine to vent once in a while, the cbox ireally not the place for extended discussions about health concerns, mental health troubles, crime, etc.
A flaw is a part of your characters personality. Flaws are not necessarily 'bad character traits', because parts of a personality can be bad without being flaws. When we say flaws, we are looking specifically for personality traits that hinder your character.
If your character has no flaws, they'll come off as too perfect. Characters should have at least 1-2 flaws that are the sort of things they'd want to work on over time. You can find an example writing resource with flaws here. Keep in mind even positive traits can be flaws. Being trusting is good. Being so trusting you ignore the evidence is bad.
Limits are not a part of your character's personality, but instead a part of your characters powers. Limits should not be flaws--saying that a character's power is limited by the fact that they won't use it is not a limit, because it would go away if your character were ever to develop.
A limit is a restriction on your character's power, and all powers should have them. Think about things like ranges and levels of power. Think about how a power could be stopped, or requirements for use. For example, a fireball would be limited by range and the number of times it could be used. A curse might also have a usage limit, but also might require time to prepare.
Weaknesses are not a part of your character's personality, or a part of a specific power, but instead a part of your character's entire power set. They are especially important when playing a character of a non-human species, who might have multiple smaller passive abilities. Characters are limited to two powers, and if your species abilities push you over that limit, you'll want to have weaknesses to balance them out.
When thinking of weaknesses, try and think of why someone might not want to be that species. Werewolves might be strong and fast, with good senses and the ability to shapeshift, but they might also be terribly allergic to silver, and turn into an uncontrollable beast during full moons. The more a weakness affects the character, the more value it has as a weakness. If your character's weakness is to a very specific and rare substance that will never come up in day to day life, it isn't much of a weakness.
Example weaknesses include: Sensitive to heat/cold, powers disabled if exposed to something, loss of a sense (partial or full), etc. Keep in mind that powers can also lead to weaknesses. A character who has the ability to read minds might always have to read minds, meaning they're absolutely useless in a crowd. A character who controls fire might literally die if the magic flame keeping them alive is ever put out.
ALT: What will get me banned?
Companions are attached to an existing character, and cannot be RPed without that character. Something like a pet or a magical summon would be a companion. Companions always go in the companion forum. For more information on companions check out this FAQ.
NPCs are characters for whom development is not a factor. You can read more about NPCs here. NPCs always go in the NPC forum.
Students are characters on Manta Carlos who are attending Starlight Academy. Students who are being home tutored, or who are attending the police academy are not considered students, and would instead go in citizens. Being a student takes priority over being a citizen.
More information on students.
Staff are characters on Manta Carlos who work as faculty for Starlight Academy. This includes both teachers and non-teachers such as librarians, custodians, school doctors, etc. If a character has a civilian job and a position at Manta Carlos, they're considered staff.
More information on staff.
Citizens are everyone else, the people who live on Manta Carlos but who are not either a student or staff of Starlight Academy. Citizens will generally have a job, although a job is not mandatory to be a citizen. Characters who would not legally be considered citizens are still placed in the citizen category.
More information on citizens and businesses.
If you want to create a conversation with someone either click their profile image and the 'start a conversation' button or click the square button at the top of the page near the alerts to create a conversation. From there you can add the person you wish to talk to by typing their name in the 'participants' section.
ALT: How do PMs work? How do I create a private message?
- Make sure their personalities have some positives and negatives. No "nice, smart, beautiful, friendly, shy" stuff. Personalities need a little more complexity than that.
- Be wary of using diagnosed mental illnesses or other diseases when writing a character. It's important to be respectful and well researched on the subject if you plan to roleplay it. If you're not confident in your ability to portray these things accurately, you shouldn't.
- Do not write powers in other sections.
- The powers listed in your application should be their powers at the time of acceptance. Please don't include powers they'll get in the future.
- All characters must be balanced. If your character has a lot of strong powers and species abilities, they need to have weaknesses to balance them out. Similarly, powers should have limitations (range, usage amount, drawbacks, etc) in all cases.
- Starlight Academy is not a combat based roleplay site, so it's not really worth the effort to write hard statistics and probability in your app. Combat based powers likely won't get much use.
- Do not copy paste powers or species information from other websites. Do not copy parts of another players app without their permission.
- Being vague for storytelling purposes is okay but we need complete transparency when it comes to powers and species abilities
- While it's okay to keep a history simple, it does need simple facts. Where they're from, what they were like growing up, major events in their life, and how they came to the academy are important.
- Your characters history should not have an impact on the real world. For example, you can't say that your character destroyed the real town of Davenport, Washington.
- Don't make your character have a history with someone elses character unless you've talked to them about it first.
- It's common courtesy, if taking a want ad, to show the application to the person who the want ad is for before submitting. This can help avoid any confusion or issues that might pop up, and ensure that the character fits the want ad.
- Consider your characters size and how that may impact your ability to roleplay. If their size is so extreme they can't interact with another character reasonably, you should consider an alternative.
- We are an original roleplay site. All characters should be your own--Canons are not allowed. This also extends to species--please don't use copyright species from other works. Species from classic works of fiction are the exception.
- Your character cannot be directly related to recent real life people. You can't be the son of Bill Gates or anything like that. However, father back it becomes more vague - if you want to be the descendant of Attila the Hun, go for it! Just keep in mind other people and make sure that your canon doesn't prevent someone else from making a character in the future. Your character can be connected to or related to a mythological figure. They can even claim they inspired that figure. However, you can't directly play a mythological figure (gods, legendary heroes, angels, etc).
- Characters cannot break the fourth wall, and powers related to breaking the fourth wall will not be allowed.
- All non-sentient characters must be NPCs or Companions.
- Make sure your app is properly organized and easy to read, with line breaks between paragraphs and proper punctuation.
i have a problem with another member / I am being harassed off-site / a staff member is being abusive. What should I do?
ALT: Is there a limit to the amount of characters I can have? How many posts do I need to make a new character?
In general terms, a species ability is an an ability that all (or most) members of a species would have. An angel being able to fly, a mermaid being able to breath underwater, or a werewolf being able to shift would all be examples of species abilities. Species abilities should generally be balanced out to some extent by the weaknesses that would go along with a certain species--an angel might be weak to curses, a mermaid might have to immerse themselves in water regularly, and a werewolf might be prone to shifting involuntarily when angry.
A power is an ability that is unique (or rare in their parent species) to your character. A human who can create fireballs, a dragon with an interest in magic, or a unicorn capable of producing small golems would all be examples of powers.
In general, species abilities are not counted against the two power limit. However, if a species ability is particularly powerful, then it will be counted as one.
You can read the complete guide for gaining (or upgrading) a new magical item here.
Joining an open thread:
Before joining an open thread, there's just a few things to keep in mind. While an open thread should be open to anyone, please check the first post. The author might have left some notes or requests for the person joining. You'll also want to make sure that the thread doesn't have a 'finished' tag.
Threads that already have multiple pages but still have an open tag can technically be joined, but please read the whole thing before joining, as the thread might have moved away from an open area (and the creator simply forgotten to remove the tag).
Ideally, you can find all the currently open threads in the open thread listing. This will cycle threads around to the right of the cbox, under the 'Open Thread' header.
Making an open thread:
If none of the open threads catch your eye, you can make one of your own! To make one, just RP a thread starter as normal, and then set the thread prefix to open. Once that's done, you'll want to post it in the open thread listing, filling out the form inside.
Keep in mind that you might not have someone instantly join your thread, but the more interesting and open a starter is, the more likely someone will join it. Open threads are most successful when their opening post or their ongoing action could naturally draw a wide range of other characters to get involved.
ALT: Open topic, open thread, starting a thread
How-To Guide : MagicMagic users (such as elementalists and magicians), enjoy a decent amount of popularity on the site. However, sometimes making them can be a lot harder than you'd think at first! To make this process easier, here's a guide on how to avoid the most common moderator pends. Please note, however, that it is not a bad thing to be pended and most people are pended for one reason or another at some point. A pend is also not a rejection, only a clarification or edit request, so please do not think of it that way!
For the sake of simplicity, I will be referring to all magic users as mages for the rest of this guide.
1. What can your character do?
Magic, of course! In all seriousness, however, this is the one element that causes the most pends for mages. 'Magic' is a very general term that encompasses a wide variety of skills and abilities. It's simply too general a term to be used without explanation, and means too many different things to too many different people. This goes for other different 'types' of magic as well, such as black magic or alchemy. While your character can perform alchemy, you should also say what that entails for your specific character.
Do : "They are able to change the physical properties of one substance into another." This is a good place to start on but will still need more detail.
Don't : "They are capable of alchemy." This will be pended.
2. How does your character cast magic?
Some mages use wands, some use rituals, and others just use their words. This is where some of your characters' power limitations should come from. Not all of your limitations need to be here, but the way in which a character casts their magic can create a lot. Make a point of explaining any requirements (do they need a specific item? do they need to do a certain action first?) and time constraints on their magic (does it happen instantly? do they need several minutes to prepare?).
3. What are your power branches?
On SA, we allow characters to have two powers, with up to five branches each. Branches should be directly connected to the power they're a sub power of. When considering power branches, it's important to remember scale.
To use an elementalist for example, there are two elementalists.
One elementalist controls water. They can control up to an olympic sized swimming pools worth of water. They can freely manipulate the state of this water, turning it into mist or ice (subpower one). They themselves can turn into water (subpower two). And using their water, they can create illusions by reflecting light through their mist (subpower three).
The other elementalist controls all four elements. They can control wind, water, fire, and earth! But each of these is their own subpower, which means that while they have more elemental diversity, every individual element is going to be less powerful and less adaptable than the first elementalists water. They might, for example, only be able to manipulate those elements, and even then might have another limitation on top of that.
4. Do you really want to fill up all five of your power branches?
It is strongly recommended that you do not do this because each individual branch will be significantly weaker than if you only had two branches. Don't feel the need to give your character a second power if one will do.
5. Does your character have enough clear limits?
Since magic in itself is a large field, it can be hard to draw out appropriate boundaries for what your characters can and cannot do. The sense of scale is pretty distorted at times. That said, you do need to be fairly exact when writing powers. Tell us what your character can do on a typical basis, and then tell us what the upper limit to their abilities are. What is the most that they can do, if they really tried? Are these limits appropriate for what their abilities are? In general, including amounts and ranges is very helpful.
To continue our water elementalist example from above:
Dont: "They can manipulate water."
Do: "They can manipulate around a swimming pool's worth of water, but must be able to see what they're manipulating. If pressed, they can manipulate twice as much at one time, but only for five minutes at a time, and doing so will require them to rest for a day."
6. How old is your character and which category are they in?
A character's skill level is very important to consider when judging their powers. If a character is young, inexperienced, and hasn't had any training, that means they have a lot of potential to get stronger. By comparison, if they're older, well trained, and have used their powers a lot, that means they're probably already near the peak of their potential.
Younger characters should generally be below what a would be considered an acceptable power level for an adult. If a young or inexperienced character is showing a level of proficiency that would make more sense for a well trained adult, we may ask you to either tone it down or explain the discrepancy.
7. How knowledgeable is your character supposed to be?
For most people, one of the central parts of being a mage is study. You are allowed to say that your character is knowledgeable in multiple fields of magic, however, please specify which ones these are. Also please note that being knowledgeable in something does not always translate to being able to do something.
8. What about quality of life spells?
Combat powers and quality of life abilities are treated very differently. Some mages will be absolutely useless in combat, and that's fine! The biggest thing to remember is to be clear about which is which. Spells that cannot be used in combat should be noted, along with an explanation of why. Can they not use this spell in combat because it requires them to sit still for several minutes focusing? Can they use it, but it wouldn't do anything? While we limit the amount of combat spells a character can have, quality of life spells are far more open ended. In general, you should give us a general idea of the things they're capable of.
9. Does your character have familiars or summons?
There are two very different ways to do familiars/summons. If the summon is a specific creature, is intelligent and has a mind of its own, you should write a companion application for them. Characters can have a maximum of two companions, and you should take up at least one power slot with the ability to summon/control them.
If your summon is more general (such as summoning spirits of fire, sprites, etc), then the power level is important. Summoning very strong or adaptable spirits might be a full main power in itself, while the ability to summon a variety of smaller, less powerful spirits might be a sub power each. You should clearly detail just what these summons are capable of, and once again, consider that combat powers should be limited.
10. Are your character's powers based off of a canon?
There is nothing wrong with this but please remember that this is not a fandom site, nor would everybody be familiar with the canon you are referencing. Therefore, please do not provide power descriptions such as "is capable of soulfire like in the Dresden Files." It is strongly suggested that you make no reference to another source at all, even if your characters' powers are borrowed from there. Please use your own words to describe powers.
Step By Step Process
I've decided to make my first original character for the site, and I want to make them a mage. After some brainstorming, I come up with the following:
- Is named Webster
- Male character
- High school sophomore
- Very knowledgeable, but doesn't have much experience
- Uses a staff
- Is good at transforming things in other things
- Is also good at shields
From here, we can get a general idea of what Webster's powers are like, but we still need more detail. Lets put this in terms of strengths and weaknesses:
- Very knowledgeable about other branches of magic.
- Good with shields.
- Good with fire magic.
- Doesn't need to say anything to cast magic.
- He requires that staff to use his spells--without it, he's no good!
- While he can cast without saying anything, he needs to gesture with his staff in order to cast. This means if he's tied up, he'll have no way to cast.
- Even though he's good with shields and fire magic, he's still fairly weak with both. They're simply his best subjects.
From this, we decide that he's going to have two main powers:
Shields and Fire Magic.
For shields, we need to consider what he can block, and his limitations.
Subpower One: Basic Physical Shield
This is going to be Webster's bread and butter, the main shield. He's going to use this if someone tries to punch him, and he's also going to try and use it if someone tries to shoot at him. That said, Webster is still a kid, and hasn't had much training. Let's say that it can stand up to punches pretty easily, but he can only hold it up for a few minutes at a time. More importantly, the shield can be overloaded--if someone were to shoot the shield or run a car into it, it would block that but then the shield would immediately fail.
Subpower Two: Basic Magic Shield
Webster is very knowledgeable about other types of magic, and this shield is his absolute favorite. He uses his knowledge to strengthen his magic shield, and when he's confronted with magic he's familiar with--magic from earth, primarily--he's able to hold up much longer. Webster can maintain this shield for three or four minutes at a time, but every time the shield is hit by a spell, he's able to hold it up a minute longer. However, the shield can still be overloaded--significantly strong magic will strain the shield and eventually shatter it under repeated blows without having time to recover.
For both subpowers, we'll note that Webster needs to take around five minutes to recover after his shield comes down before he can cast again. We'll also note that Webster has no defenses against mental powers. If someone tries to get into his head, they can, and unfortunately there's nothing Webster can do about it... yet. A good third subpower once Webster has some training would be a mental shield to protect him from those!
For fire magic, we want to again go through the exact spells he can do.
Subpower One: Basic Fire Creation
This doesn't have much combat utility, and instead is mostly a quality of life power. If Webster needs to light a stove or a campfire, he can! He can also create small flames to light his way in the dark. While this could be used in combat, it's not going to be much more useful than pulling out a small lighter.
Subpower Two: Fireballs
This is Webster's bread and butter offensive spell. For this, we'll want to give the fireball a size (baseball sized) and a range (he can shoot them about a hundred feet before they start to sputter out). We'll also want to note how often he can cast them. Because Webster only has very basic fire powers, and only has two subpowers, we're going to make him very strong and say that while he can only produce five fireballs at a time, he can cast an almost unlimited number of fireballs without having to rest. They're pretty basic, after all!
Future improvements to these powers could have Webster making a flamethrower effect, or making fireballs that explode. There are a lot of applications for fire, but right now Webster has focused more on his shields, so it's underutilized.
If you click it, a small menu will pop up, showing you all our current prefixes:
What does each prefix mean?
OPEN: This thread is open to anyone who might wish to join. You must either include this prefix, or PRIVATE.
PRIVATE: This thread should ONLY be posted in by people who are invited. Often these will take place in private areas, such as someone's house, where no one could just 'walk in' on them. You must either include this prefix, or OPEN.
EVENT: This thread is part of one of the many site events! It could be either the main event thread, or a thread that has split off from it. Generally the description of the thread should indicate what event it's part of. Please be sure to also include whether your EVENT thread is OPEN or PRIVATE.
MATURE: This prefix is unique, because it doesn't directly indicate what type of thread, but instead is used in addition to the other prefixes. This means that the thread goes past the PG-13 limit, and is thus only accessible to those over 18 years of age. You must also indicate whether your thread is OPEN, or PRIVATE.
FINISHED: When your thread is over, you must mark it as FINISHED. Feel free to remove the OPEN or PRIVATE tag, since threads should not be joined or roleplayed in once finished.
ALT: What do 'OPEN' 'MATURE' 'PRIVATE' and 'EVENT' mean in front of a post? What makes a thread private?
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