The RPing Character Creation and Balance Guide

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Ryugi Kazamaru

Senior Member

11-28-2012

[CENTER]ROLEPLAYING CHARACTER CREATION & BALANCE GUIDE[/CENTER]

Hello everyone, some of you may know me, and some of you may not. For those of you that do, I hope you get plenty of use out of this guide to place your characters in the appropriate areas of power. For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Ryugi Kazamaru, but you can call me “Kaz.” I’ve been a member of the community here for quite a while, and I’ve seen a great many threads and characters come and go. In fact, you might even catch a few of my threads wandering around the forums here.

Now, I don’t claim to be the end all, be all, source of information around here. I did go to school for Creative Writing, and have a degree to prove it, but that doesn’t necessarily give me any more credibility than anyone else (maybe it just makes me more well-spoken). Anyway, credentials aside, I’ve seen a great many things running around on these forums, and not all of them have really managed to “fit” into the League of Legends Universe. See, in writing within a universe, there is a thing called “immersion.” When writing for a character, they must be believably within that setting as far as their abilities and actions. This effectively means they must live within the confines of the “laws” set for that particular setting. Let’s give an example of this not working, and one of it working well.

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Immersion Break Example
Kiyoshi Sakunami is a mech pilot. His machine, the Crimson Catalyst, has tons of beam weaponry, missiles, and can fly at roughly the speed of sound. However, when Kiyoshi stomps the C.C. into the small medieval town of Westerfolk Ridge, crushing their carts and stands as he waves his beam saber around, looking for a challenge, we have an Immersion Break.

On the other hand, when Sir Norman Sutherland, Third Knight of the Azure Guard rides up to Kiyoshi and pokes the foot of his mech with his lance, and asks, with authority, for him to please stop disturbing the peace and the townsfolk, we have a character firmly placed within the setting, and the Immersion is kept intact.
The issue, effectively, is that the character of Kiyoshi was clashing with the medieval setting of the RP in question. However, Immersion goes deeper than just technological issues between settings. It also deals with the “power level” of particular characters within the universe, as well as characters from other universes interfering with the day-to-day goings on within the setting (such as characters from Halo showing up in an RP dedicated to Starcraft). If there is a “power cap” within the universe, say, like the League of Legends and the powerful Summoners within that setting, a character introduced should never be above that power cap, except in very specialized plot-based circumstances where a higher power level is needed to make things interesting. Therefore, a character capable of destroying the planet single-handedly should never make his or her way into the setting in order to keep things clean. So, how does all of this factor in to making a character for the League of Legends Universe?

Character Creation within the League of Legends Lore
When creating a character within the League of Legends Lore, there are several things to remember. Runeterra is an incredibly varied setting, which means many different characters must be able to mix effectively and believably within a grand set of guiding principles in order for the entire universe to run smoothly. Characters with guns and other powerful firearms mix and match with mages and traditional weaponry. Technology and magic run fluidly together, and through a set of limits the whole system manages to mesh into one singular setting with tons of room for creativity to spark. Let’s look at some of the things to keep in mind when creating a character within the Runeterra Universe.

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1) The League is Everything
Runeterra was on the way to destruction (what you say?) after many Rune Wars ravaged the planet. The League of Legends was created to limit damage to the world, and provide a way for the many places of Valoran to settle disputes without risking further damage. The Summoners within the League use incredibly powerful magic that has since been all but outlawed after the end of the Rune Wars. Even if your character has no ties to the League, or the Institute of War, remember that the League and the Summoners within it will ALWAYS be the big dog. No one crosses the League for fear of bad things happening to them. Now, corruption is always possible, but remember that it is not the norm, and someone will almost always be stronger than you.

2) Champions are Really Powerful
Champions are effectively people that have, in one way or another, separated themselves from what is considered “normal” for people within Valoran. They are exceptionally skilled at…whatever it is they do, to the point of superhuman levels. The only champion that really breaks this mold is Jayce, as he was just some guy who made a super awesome hammer that basically does all the work for him. For that matter, Heimerdinger and Rumble could also fall into that category. To that end, though, Jayce is nothing without his hammer, but still is capable of fighting with the best warriors and mages of Valoran when he uses it. With that in mind, even champions vary in their “actual” power when it comes to them off the field. For example, it is commonly accepted that Kayle, Morgana, and possibly Xerath are the most powerful champions outside the fields: Kayle, because she can effectively make herself or others invincible on a whim and is more or less immortal herself, Morgana because she can render herself immune to magic (and likely stomp any other forms of attack against her using the dark arts she collected) as well as her own immortality in a sense, and Xerath because he is a living embodiment of pure arcane power and might. Other champions are spread across the board in terms of “accepted power” but the thing to remember above all else is that they are all incredibly powerful, and the average skilled fighter on Valoran will not measure up to them in terms of ability simply because of what they are.

3) Lots of places already exist
Making a character come from a far off land or planet might seem interesting, but Runeterra is already a world populated with many cities and towns, as well as other natural locations that could be used as a background for a character. Nidalee, for example, comes from Kumungu. Pantheon comes from Mount Targon, along with Leona. Cho’gath comes from the Void. Mordekaiser comes from the Shadow Isles. There are lots of places to give your character a background that keeps them solidly within the setting, and doesn’t make it so convoluted or difficult for others to understand or follow. With that in mind, be original in your character’s background. Don’t force yourself on others, like saying you’re Riven’s long lost brother, or that you fought alongside Garen as his second-in-command. If you DO want to do something like that, ask the champion Roleplayers if it is acceptable or allowable to them before making that happen. After all, they have the job of trying to portray the champions as best they can within existing lore. Adding something new to that can be difficult or taxing, so just make sure you clear something like that with them BEFORE you work it into your character in some way.
Character Balance and Power
So, you’ve designed a character that fits into the Runeterra Universe, but you haven’t figured out how powerful to make them. As per the guidelines above, you know they shouldn’t be any stronger than the League or most summoners. They should be able to fight, at most, on equal terms with a champion of the League, but not necessarily the most powerful champions. Of course, people want to make a multitude of different characters. So, how exactly do you manage to place where your character fits relative to others? You use a Power Scale.

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Tier 1 – The Commoner
A character in this section is nothing extraordinary. They might run a fruit stand, or tend to crops in a field. They are more or less your average citizens of Runeterra. They may have wealth, but they won’t be doing any real fighting. They may be intelligent or well-read, but they probably can’t cast any magic, and any weapon-wielding they might do would be limited to hunting purposes or something of the like. They go on about their daily lives, and worry more about keeping their family comfortable while going about the daily grind. No champions fit into this Tier. This Tier is also the most common in Runeterra, but the least populated by Player Characters or PCs.

Tier 2 – “The Soldier”
A character in this Tier is well above your average commoner. They are well-trained practitioners of some craft. Their abilities are more or less maximum for what an average person can do after years of training. They may be able to cast some nice magical spells, strike a target solidly with a rifle or bow, and cross swords with the best, but for whatever reason, they never attained the “Spark” that separates them from their peers and pushes them into personal greatness. They are apprentices, not masters. They may be a soldier, or a hunter, or a mage, but they still are not considered “gifted.” No Champions fit into this Tier.

Tier 3 – “Lesser” Champion/Summoner Tier
This tier is the first in which you’ll find champions. The champions here, however, are champions like Teemo, Tristana, Heimerdinger, Rumble, Jayce, Caitlyn, Ashe, Katarina, Garen, Fiora, Vayne, Sejuani, Tryndamere, Pantheon, Annie, Talon, Ziggs, the Kinkou (Kennen, Akali, Shen) and Zed, and others like them. Characters in this section are “human” but extraordinary. Characters within this section (and I do mean characters including Original Characters, as well as champions) are very strong indeed. Their skills are more or less unmatched by any of their direct peers. They have used their intellects, their skills, or their entire lives to hone themselves to this point, and have stood out from the crowd as true testaments to their skills. They are so good at what they do that they can stand toe-to-toe with characters and champions of higher tiers in many situations because of their mastery over their craft. Despite being in a lower tier, characters here are not instantly defeated by most higher level characters. They can use their abilities to combat the direct power of higher tiers without much trouble, but it will be a tough fight. “Junior Summoners,” the lowest Tier of Summoner, would fall into this category as well under most circumstances with a few exceptions. Summoners, after all, are usually powerful in magic, but frail in body.

Tier 4 – True Champion Tier
This section marks the first of the warning lights for Original Characters. Characters fitting into this level are incredibly heavy hitters. Champions fitting into this Tier would be individuals like Riven, Shyvana, Jarvan, Darius (dat ult), Ryze, Jax, Master Yi, Irelia, Swain, LeBlanc, Garen (counting ult), Brand, Nocturn, Fiddlesticks, Cho’gath, Kassadin, and other champions of equal power and strength. Original Characters reaching this level have trained endlessly, and may have artifact level weapons and equipment that bring them to par with these champions. However, if you’re nearing this level with an OC, you may want to consider, carefully, how you’re planning to use them. Others can still defeat them if they fall within this tier, or be defeated by the League, but setting foot here is something better left to Riot in most cases. That isn’t to say you CAN’T make a character that fits into this Tier, just be careful with them. “Summoners” will generally fit into this Tier for what they are capable of unleashing in terms of magical power.

Tier 5 – Uber Champion/Summoner Tier
A word of wisdom and warning: don’t make an OC at this level of power, please. It is technically possible, and there isn’t a written rule saying you CAN’T, but it would typically be better for the setting and the Immersion Factor (not to mention the enjoyment of other RPers) if this area were left to Riot. Only the most powerful of Champions fit into this Tier. Godlike beings, incredible mages of unimaginable power, or ancient forces of nature given form and shape are effectively qualifications to place a character here. Champions like Zilean, Kayle, Morgana, Nasus, Renekton, Xerath, Anivia, Soraka, Syndra (with raw power), and others of that caliber would fit into this level of might. Diana and Leona in RP-only “empowered avatar states” would near this level of strength (though they’d typically be classified as Tier 4 under almost all circumstances). “High Summoners” the highest level of Summoner, would fall into this category of power. Simply stated, no one should ever be above this level of ability in almost any circumstance except in very special RP events or the like where some force is supposed to be incredibly strong and require multiple champions or characters to work together to bring them down.
Moving Tiers and Character Advancement
Not everyone stays the same all their life. Sometimes, a character might progress and train to increase their strength. For example, most every champion had to be at a Tier 1 level before they reached their current level of power. The same can be said for Original Characters. Just because you start out in one Tier doesn’t mean that you cannot grow and advance the character through RPing or character development. Try keeping the pace at which this happens slow, though. Sudden jumps in power are, for the most part, frowned upon unless the person has good reason. Regardless, there is always room to grow, even if it isn’t at a blistering pace.

In Closing
The Runeterra Universe is pretty awesome, but when you want to RP as a part of a community, you need to be aware of how your actions affect others. Keeping these guidelines in mind by picking an appropriate “Power Level” for your character, making sure they fit into the setting and don’t “clash” with the unspoken rules and guidelines of the RP, and making them unique is a sure-fire way to enjoy yourself, and make the community stronger and more diverse in the process. I hope you’ll all find this guide helpful and informative in your future endeavors. Until then, I’ll see you around the forums.


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Geokhan

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Senior Member

11-28-2012

Very well written...but Yi is more powerful than Tryn?....I would argue that, but okay.


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SmileyDemon

Senior Member

11-28-2012

Nice post but you should add alignment and its involvement in a characters actions and motivation.


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Emperor Titus

Senior Member

11-28-2012

I like the post. Though to me, you're kinda discouraging people from making a Tier 5. (To me, Eredale's original character is a sort of Tier 5 character.)

I'm trying to make a Tier 5 character but can you give me any possible hints on how to integrate my upcoming OC character into this universe? Try not to discourage me, please! XD


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Civilized Rat

Senior Member

11-28-2012

One thing this does not touch up on is the absence of lore for certain characters that would show power/personality limits. That is extremely sketchy, especially for certain champions. We have no idea what the limits of some of them are, yet others we do simply because it's obvious enough.

Knowing that, I'm not sure how that would be discussed. This is mainly CREATION though, so....yeah.

Otherwise, great post.


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

11-28-2012

I must make some corrections.

It should go like this:

Tier 1
Tier 2
Tier 3
Tier 4
Tier 5

Jesse Perring Tier - Lee Sin






Udyr (Udyr gives no ****s about tiers hence why he's so far away)


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Ryugi Kazamaru

Senior Member

11-28-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geokhan View Post
Very well written...but Yi is more powerful than Tryn?....I would argue that, but okay.
The idea wasn't to turn this into a powerlevel discussion of which champ beats what, so to speak, based on where they sit on the scale. What I wanted to do was give new people, or existing people, and idea of where they fall on the scale as far as their strength within the Universe, to avoid breaking immersion for people.

I honestly did NOT want this to turn into a powerlevel thread. Those ALWAYS go badly...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoshi the Great View Post
I like the post. Though to me, you're kinda discouraging people from making a Tier 5. (To me, Eredale's original character is a sort of Tier 5 character.)

I'm trying to make a Tier 5 character but can you give me any possible hints on how to integrate my upcoming OC character into this universe? Try not to discourage me, please! XD
Well, in the nicest way possible, it WAS trying to discourage people from making Tier 5 characters. The reason behind that is that it creates a dynamic or a precedent that can possibly be harmful to the health of the world and community if someone is too strong.

Sure, a T5 character can still be beaten. After all, a few lower level characters can trump a higher one, but it still creates problems when random characters are stronger than summoners or champions, which are already supposed to be the strongest forces on Runeterra.

See what I'm saying?

Now, a T5 can be done well, and not mess with things. They can keep their power under wraps, not showcase it much, all that. But the fact of the matter is that, if they have it, it runs the risk of being a problem. So, it is very hard to accept or balance a T5 character within the confines of the forums or the Runeterra World.


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Ryugi Kazamaru

Senior Member

11-28-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Civilized Rat View Post
One thing this does not touch up on is the absence of lore for certain characters that would show power/personality limits. That is extremely sketchy, especially for certain champions. We have no idea what the limits of some of them are, yet others we do simply because it's obvious enough.

Knowing that, I'm not sure how that would be discussed. This is mainly CREATION though, so....yeah.

Otherwise, great post.
You're speaking on the lack of League Judgments and things like that to give perspective. In the case of Twitch, I'd classify him as a solid T3 because of what he is. He doesn't have artifact level power or any great amount of magical strength.

In situations like that, if they're a champ, they likely default to a T3


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Sykper

Senior Member

11-28-2012

Love the guide, especially the T5 explaination, such power might require a bit of build-up in story to achieve as well. No one really likes to play an overpowered character, unless under the intention said character is to conflict with many characters alone to be taken down...

*cough*SubtleHint*cough*

Anyways, this guide really did confirm a few things for me, and I hope it does help not just old RPers but new ones as well!


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Civilized Rat

Senior Member

11-28-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryugi Kazamaru View Post
You're speaking on the lack of League Judgments and things like that to give perspective. In the case of Twitch, I'd classify him as a solid T3 because of what he is. He doesn't have artifact level power or any great amount of magical strength.

In situations like that, if they're a champ, they likely default to a T3
That's the thing. We don't know if he does or not. One of his abilities on the Fields is really only possible by using magic. Then again, it's known that the Fields' Nexi/Nexuses/Nexiusueedieu can give you abilities like that. But we don't know if that was given to him or not. Could be some random "poison power" or so, who knows. We don't.

Hell, in theory, Twitch could be a living embodiment of the Black Plague and we wouldn't know it if he DOES have any magical prowess hidden in him.

That still lands him at T3 of course. No argument there. Just an example of the sketchiness.


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