Some concepts and characters are unobtainable at Multiverse Crisis MUSH. This is an overview, not a comprehensive list, of what and why. The second half of this news file is dedicated to concepts and characters who are Restricted; difficult to acquire but not strictly banned.
- Completely straight portrayals of real people and religious figures. Exceptions may apply to fictionalized versions of such characters, like Dracula, but straight-up applying for Abraham Lincoln or Jesus won't fly.
- Comedy/Gag/Adult Series. Duke Nukem, Futurama, Space Balls, Family Guy, Simpsons, ATHF, Leisure Suit Larry, etc. These just don't fit the tone. They're either too sex oriented, too crude, or too cartoony. Comedy-focused fan abridged versions of existing media also fall under this category.
- A-list Disney (Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Lion King, etc. as well as anything we determine to be too tone-straining or inappropriate for the MUSH), Mercedes Lackey, Pern, Steve Jackson Games, George R. R. Martin works, and possibly others are unavailable due to copyright issues.
- Concepts that require absolute primacy over setting to function are banned. The Sandman's Endless being the only existing example. Most Gods do NOT fall under this category.
- Omni-Capable characters.
- If YOU as a player cannot wrap your head around a character being defeatable by other PCs, you don't get to play that character.
- “Theme+1”. This is defined as an original or altered theme in which an existing property is taken and edited or fused with another theme in such a way that it renders the original theme completely irrelevant or objectively inferior. Pokemon where every pokemon trainer is also a psychic martial artist by default, Gundam where Gundams come with magical/super robot abilities on top of what they canonly do, etc. are examples. This typically doesn’t apply to crossover themes, such as Project X Zone, as in the overwhelming majority of these themes leave the characters as close as possible to their original source.
- Source materials that present and validate an ideology, set of characters, or way of life, as an objectively correct and/or optimal "way to be" in a demonstrable fashion. Approving these themes endorses a state of all other characters and themes holding a permanent idiot ball and being objectively wrong for differing. Typically exemplified by children's shows and "moral lesson" properties.
A restricted theme is a theme that is not overtly banned, but is understood to have a higher bar of execution than other themes to be judged suitable to be integrated into MCM. This is always judged on a theme to theme and player to player basis, both in terms of the theme's writing and portrayal, and the player's history with how they've handled the dicey aspects of that theme in past. A character from a restricted theme will always be required to answer section 4c. Why? on a character application if they are Hard or Soft Restricted, and may be rejected at staff's discretion if the answer is unsatisfactory. Noticed Restrictions may be asked by staff to answer the same question on a case to case basis. Hard Restricted themes have a higher bar of required information for why the character concept is a desirable one, what the player intends to do with it, how they intend to present the theme and character, how they expect people to interact with them, what other players would get out of it, and why the character absolutely must be from the theme they are, than a Soft Restricted theme. Transparently disingenuous answers that are clearly a flat checklist of safe things staff should want to hear may be scrutinized and bounced back. If in doubt, it’s better to answer and not need to.
We cannot give an exhaustive list of what specific themes or things are restricted on MCM simply because MCM allows for far too many themes for a list to be comprehensive and not utterly massive even. A lack of definitive list also provides staff some leeway in exercising best judgement, rather than interpretative rules that immediately become bait for conjecture on how a character is (or as is the more likely case, is not) beholden to or noticed under the rule. Therefore, we align and distinguish only: that which we know beyond the shadow of a doubt has these problems endemic to the theme and thus by-default incur a critical eye (Hard Restricted), those themes which we know in general are portrayed or played as having restricted elements but do not by their very nature engender such problems (Soft Restricted), and finally themes with those elements that could fall under the umbrella but we cannot possibly capture through direct example and thus notice the elements we wish to have downplayed (Noticed Restrictions). Accepted themes/characters that swerve into these territories in an unacceptable or badly misplayed manner may be subject to audit.
Hard Restricted: These themes automatically incur a critical eye due to their history, base setting, or attempted reach, and may not be applied for unless staff is sure without a shadow of a doubt that they will be handled gracefully and in a way that is fun for players to engage with.
- Exalted. While sometimes played acceptably, this theme has a long history of being presented with extreme overreach of character ability, rampant cases of dictatory theme primacy, being replete with “You Must Be This High To Ride” bars to interact with its world at a significant level, presented in such a fashion that is heavily self-obfuscating and dense with proprietary jargon that makes it impossible to properly understand or engage with for players who haven't read entire game books, and frequently exclusive or discriminatory against non-Exalted characters and downplaying the ability of other PCs. Exalted characters also have a tendency to use up enormously disproportionate amount of our application staff's time and effort in processing, and may be conrejected if this grows too onerous.
- "Cosmic Scale" themes, which require massive scale of influence or power to meaningfully engage with the setting as a whole. Themes like The Culture or Nobilis fall into this trap, where it is not plausible for a player character to do much without galaxy-bending scale of powers, or powers that affect extremely abstract cosmic principles.
- "Cthulhu" or Lovecraftian Themes, World of Darkness, and similar. These overwhelmingly rely on a tone of player helplessness and entities that cannot be meaningfully challenged or defeated. This is usually the territory of horror themes such as Five Nights At Freddy's and Slender. Exalted is also frequently guilty of this as well.
- Themes which naturally resist player attempts to make lasting changes in them by some core conceit of their design. Eclipse Phase is an example, where if it were played straight, it would be nearly impossible for player character to so much as kill a random NPC off the street.
- Any setting which is not sufficiently compliant with MCM's tone*, such as My Little Pony, Carebears, Undertale, etc. Unless considerably edited for tone, these can be considered banned.
Soft Restricted: These themes are known to draw a critical eye due to their history, base setting, or attempted reach, but are less difficult to work with than Hard Restricted themes, and are not always a problem due to a variety of factors.
- Fate/ and all derivative properties of the "Nasuverse". These themes are heavily steeped in self-obfuscation, jargon, and strict rules that make them difficult to approach and find comparable translations, but have been toned down and made more approachable with recent releases.
- Extremely impenetrable tabletop settings (In Nomine, for example), for roughly similar reasons.
- Disney. Some Disney properties are tentatively allowed. See above for what explicitly isn't. Please note that this is subject to change at any time, and may have to go back on the ban list abruptly. Stuff like Tron, Gargoyles, or Kingdom Hearts are fine, but as noted in banned, A-List Disney properties aren't.
- Themes that center on time travel. Time travel is already de facto only permitted to exist and change events within the scope of a single theme, and can quickly become a complicated mess that loses players or removes player agency if handled clumsily.
- Themes that depend on frequently involving players being made to play characters other than what they are. Themes that transform characters into other things as a canon conceit, themes that require characters to play the role of a different person, or themes that force characters to downplay or not use pieces of their toolkit. The Twilight World from some Legend of Zelda games is an example.
Noticed Restrictions: These elements generally, when found, draw a critical eye but cannot be expressed by a theme-to-theme or setting-to-setting degree. They can pass muster when proper steps are taken to bridge over these specific issues.
- Dense, Jargon-Heavy, or intentionally Obfuscatory settings.
- Settings which require certain specific entities or very narrow specialist powers to interact with issues "Hard Stop". This includes settings that are primarily progressed via “middleman” theme exclusive concepts which players may universally interact with, but typically have no choice in the matter, such as Homestuck's many game concepts.
- Settings where a “Masquerade”, or requirement of apparent total normalcy, are important to maintaining theme integrity that does not somehow self-enforce. This is specifically not related to settings where magic is quickly forgotten or later fades into some normal excuse, but rather to themes where nobody is allowed to do anything, interact, or use their powers due to it changing the world or making people aware the outside land/greater multiverse exists. In essence, you shouldn't have themes broadly ignorant that the Multiverse exists as a long-term issue.
- Source materials that self-enforce a 'back-to-normal' effect that make even large-scale battles or disasters perfectly collateral free.
In addition to restricted themes, there are some character concepts that we restrict in much the same way simply for the content of the character concept itself, rather than its theme of origin. These can be either due to conceptual conceits that are actively anti-fun, which are generally ripe for being tastelessly portrayed and possibly even offensive, in dodgy intellectual property territory, and/or some mix of the previous or others aspects.
Hard Restricted: These character concepts are heavily scrutinized for all aspects of potentially problematic portrayal or behavior, and hinge heavily on player precedent and capability.
- OC Relatives of FCs. These are banned except when it's glaringly plausible in the relevant source. An exception exists for setting where OC relatives of FCs is core to the premise of the source material (e.g. Percy Jackson)
- Self-Inserts. Informally these are pretty much banned, but if we can't really tell then we may not care.
- Realistically portrayed psychological or behavioral problems, such as mental illness or substance abuse.
- Excessive focus on sexuality, focus on flags that indicate a character is sexually available, or obvious presentation of player fetishes.
- Characters whose primary method of interaction is overtly derogatory or hostile. Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2, Gregory House from House, Dr. Cox from Scrubs, etc.
- OFCs or similarly altered characters who have been edited to have some contrived reason to be significantly more powerful, or to have more abilities, than their canon portrayal. This can slide for characters who are very weak or difficult to play without a considerable upgrade, but in general we will not accept characters who have been spuriously “souped up” for no pressing reason.
Soft Restricted: These are character concepts that pass the bar if they can be written in such a way that their problematic aspects are not the focus of the character, or are downplayed enough to be inoffensive and/or ignorable.
- <Name>-Tan. For example, taking a Gundam and making it a cutesy female character with gundam-themed gear. This is a matter of just plain not being embarrassing, or a transparent attempt to play a cute girl for the sake of it.
- MMO Characters will be expected to adhere to reasonable standards for their universe. You can't apply for a Night Elf Hunter who is the Hero of Every Quest. Treat them more like characters from tabletop RPGs. In summary, you can apply for characters from an MMO, but you cannot apply for your MMO character exactly most of the time.
- Child characters in general.
Noticed Restrictions: These are character concepts that are entirely doable, but require a basic understanding of how MCM works and a willingness to engage with it in good faith rather than trying to force the character concept into action 1:1 with the original theme.
- Characters who frequently engage with time travel.
- Characters that require overriding theme primacy to be presented straight to their source material. Light Yagami from Death Note and Saitama from One Punch Man are examples.
- Characters who are heavily defined in their source material as always being right, always knowing everything, always making the perfect move, and/or always winning. These are characters who get by because their writers give them all the cards and have perfect control of the situation to make sure they cleverly come out on top, which does not exist on MCM and can make these characters difficult to portray accurately. Examples are the protagonists from No Game No Life, Shiro from Log Horizon, and basically a long list of Isekai characters too substantial to spell out.
An example of a setting where OC relatives of FCs is basically a given would be Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson" series and spinoffs, since the entire cast is composed of bastard demigods who often have unknown siblings.
Tone: What do we expect?: The general tone that Multiverse Crisis MUSH aims for is roughly comparable to that which you find in modern day superhero comics. A pretty consistent middle of the road, occasional silly / dumb stuff, with occasional swerves into some seriously dark alleys.