- 1 Disadvantage Structure
- 2 Complex Personalities and Character Arcs
- 3 Disadvantage Policy and Philosophy
- 4 A Discourse on Heroism and Villainy as Flaws
- 5 Quick Characters
In addition to their Advantages, all characters apped on MCM are expected to have a minimum of 3 Disadvantages. Much like Advantages themselves, Disadvantages are ranked by level of importance to the character’s core concept, as well as their relative severity, into the tiers of Minor, Significant, and Trouble. At least one of a character’s 3 Disadvantages must be a Trouble, and at least one must be Significant. So long as they meet those requirements, there is no limit to the number of Disadvantages a character may apply for, aside that the total Disadvantage list needs to fit under 4kb out of buffer concerns.
Staff may ask that some Disadvantages be combined to save space, in cases where there are many small Disadvantages with similar effects and motifs, especially in the case of Troubles, where their strength of identity is most important. Disadvantages are otherwise extremely freeform, and so they are something we like seeing personalized to, and made telling of, the character. Without designated Points however, they are also something we advise an applicant put significant thought into, and try to clear the minimum bar as much as possible. Solidly thought out Disadvantages save a great deal of total application processing time.
A Minor Disadvantage can be just about anything that inconveniences your character to a reasonable extent. It can be an everyday annoyance, a deficiency that comes up frequently but has low impact, a stronger issue that is very niche and will happen rarely, or a significant weakness that the character strives to mitigate with reasonable effectiveness, though one they can't totally erase. These are usually played for flavour. If a Minor Disadvantage is filling out the character’s third minimum Disadvantage, we like to be a little stronger than normal.
A Significant Disadvantage can likewise take just about any form, but is expected to be a serious, concrete deficiency, flaw or weakness, that could hypothetically be used against your character if someone put in the effort to learn and exploit it. It could be a weakness to silver, a severe phobia of fire, being trusting to the point of gullibility, being strongly pacifistic, partial paralysis, a hypnotic trigger, a broad prejudice, a repulsive habit or behavior, an oath to never defeat an enemy through subterfuge or dishonesty, an inability to lie, susceptibility to unusual forms of harm, resilience to beneficial magic, an overpowering urge to consume blood, a delusion which the character frequently acts upon, etc. Like any Disadvantage, these should be things that you would enjoy seeing come up, and the best ones are those that spotlight your character. It's inadvisable to pick Significant Disadvantages that will bore you, ruin your fun, put the character completely out of play, or only serve as aggravating “nerfs”.
A Trouble is roughly equivalent to a Defining Disadvantage in concept, and deserving of detailed explanation for the fact that it is a crucial part of an application. It's an aspect of the character, or a culmination of several aspects, that define who they are and secure a memorable place in their theme just as much as their most iconic abilities do. Essentially, without their Trouble, a character would no longer be recognizable as themselves, which usually makes them something that their original writer(s) will never completely resolve, though they might morph and change over time. True to its name, a Trouble is the Disadvantage that is the root source of most of the trouble the character gets themselves in, whether they bring those hardships on themselves or not. It serves as a primary hook to engage them in scenarios, to catch players’ attention, and to enrich the situations they find themselves in with complications and conflicts, as the basis of good fiction.
A Trouble absolutely, non-negotiably has to be rooted in the character's intrinsic personality. A Trouble cannot be a combat weakness or physical limitation, nor can it be an externally imposed curse or compulsion. These things say nothing about the character themselves, and often leave them not only boring and flat, but squeaky clean with all their problems being “not their fault”. Troubles also cannot be something that can be “fixed” or totally mitigated, or else “turned off” when they would be inconvenient. For FCs and some OFCs, unless the character has extremely little screen time in their source or is a silent protagonist, writing a Trouble is usually a matter of identifying and defining it rather than creating one, because almost any FC ever will have been written to have one already. OCs, some OFCs, and low-development FCs are conversely a matter of creative writing on the part of the player, to flesh out and define them in a satisfying and entertaining way. As an aside, any human who has ever lived has a Trouble. You, the reader, have a Trouble. There is no such thing as a person who has never caused any of their own problems.
What can actually constitute a Trouble is extremely broad. They could be a single behavior or belief that is overwhelmingly impactful in their lives, often instantly recognizable in popular FCs. They could also be a complex combination of factors and traits that are the root of many of their problems as much as they are the summation of their identity. They can be somewhere in between too. A Trouble does not have to be cartoonishly simple, nor does it have to be all about how your character is a terrible person. Many Troubles effectively come down to a broad overview of the character as a person that naturally explains how “being them” is not always easy, glamorous, or something to be proud of. Many Troubles are also actually sympathetic, or even admirable traits, which the character is so strongly tied to that they compel them to take sub-optimal courses of action or make the inadvisable choice because of, their good nature. In many, if not most cases, a character probably thinks of their Trouble behavior, if they could identify it, as good, right, smart, practical, necessary, or they just don’t think about it at all.
If forced to sum it up, a Trouble is supposed to be “something that someone in-universe could choose to dislike them for, and not be wrong or unreasonable to do so”. Frankly, if a character is always right, always perfect, always flawless, and always takes the best possible course of action, they are boring, not commendable.
When character staff reviews a Trouble, the three things we always look for are:
- When does the Trouble come into play? What situations prompt the character to act out the Trouble? Do not assume this is self-explanatory. If the situation is “when the character becomes angry”, what typically makes them angry?
- How does the character act when their Trouble is in play? What things are they liable to actually do in those situations? It’s not enough to simply say “they become reckless”. Recklessness can take many forms. What actions do they indulge in that are so reckless?
- What effects do these actions have on the character, their objective, and/or those around them, and how is that not a good thing? Sometimes this can be implicitly obvious (causing massive collateral damage or behaving in a completely aggravating and unlikable manner are obviously detrimental), but not always. How does being reckless come back to bite them? Recklessness can easily be portrayed as a style or attitude and nothing more, so what makes the character’s brand of recklessness actually get them into jams, and what kind?
Simple Trouble Examples
These are some examples of obvious, iconic, and very easily identified Troubles in FCs, which are practically an elevator pitch, but the themes of which massively impact their everyday lives and aspirations:
e.x. Marty McFly from Back to the Future is so insecure about how other people perceive his confidence and machismo, that he will effectively do just about anything, no matter how reckless or dangerous, if called a chicken or a coward. If someone questions if he has the guts, he will leap at the chance to prove that he does, even when doing so is obviously an absolutely terrible idea.
e.x. Batman's obsession with thwarting crime and punishing villains, but without ever killing another human being, is something fundamentally ingrained in his character. He dedicates his life to pursuing criminals and crazies wherever he hears word of them, but makes things much more difficult by himself by refusing to make the frequently pragmatic choice of using lethal force, going to great pains to capture his marks alive and in relatively one piece. Villains commonly exploit this as a known fact to give themselves an edge over him, to make themselves harder to catch, and oftentimes they break out of jail almost immediately, making his problems never-ending, when he could have just shot the Joker a hundred times by then.
e.x. Gilgamesh from the Fate/ series is known for his incredible arrogance. He looks down on anyone and everyone, and talks down to them too, refusing to ally himself with anyone who doesn't completely defer to him as their superior. He rejects help from anyone who doesn't admit to being his inferior, and often refuses to take opponents seriously, even when in severe danger in either case. Everything is a matter of pride to him, and it makes him touchy, difficult to work with, and it frequently bites him in the ass when he underestimates a foe, or stubbornly refuses to get serious.
e.x. Natsu Dragneel from Fairy Tail is a heroic kind of guy who loves to help people and defeat badguys, but he's also kind of a blockhead who wants to fight at every opportunity he can get. He is prone to squabbling with strong allies and then challenging them to brawls to settle the score, often just to test their strength. Even when focused on task, he constantly gets carried away and causes massive collateral damage that results in a lot of angry people he was trying to protect, and tremendous bills. To make matters worse, he totally loses his cool when he sees an ally, or even a sympathetic potential ally, being abused or belittled, and will attempt to fight to the death even when he is clearly utterly outclassed.
Multifaceted Trouble Examples
These are some examples of nuanced, complicated, heavy, and/or subtle Troubles that might be difficult to pin down in FCs, though most are longer than should go on an application in order to give a good idea of their depth:
e.x. Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars is a troubled young adult to say the least. Born into slavery and recruited by the Jedi Order he has perpetually labored under the expectations of others without holistic guidance or personal actualization. He is extremely confident in his power and eager to throw it around in order to validate himself and reassure that he is more talented than everyone around him, but that only causes him extensive angst and unrest when trying to prove his ability only results in admonishment from others instead of praise and reward. He was taught by a strict, selfless, monastic code that prioritizing the bigger picture and the natural order of things, but his personality is fundamentally incompatible with these concepts, and he rebels against it with selfish and ambitious behavior that betrays his responsibilities. He suspects the motives of everyone around him, and is easily flipped on his perceptions of people by rudimentary manipulation, though he is especially eager to listen to and believe anyone who validates him for his talent, excuses his choices that go against what he was taught, and makes promises to reward him for it. He secretly dreams of taking authority by force if elevation over his peers is held from him for much longer, and pursues paths to power, up to and including the forbidden Dark Side of the Force. On top of being angry and antisocial, he is extremely demanding of the people in his life, holding them to ideas that amount to them existing to make him happy, and he often vents his frustration at their shortcomings with violence.
e.x. John 117 from Halo often comes off a flat and emotionless person, derisively likened to a wind-up toy or a machine by others, but this is an intentionally professional and neutral facade that he shows as a way to avoid personally engaging with people. Indoctrinated as a child into the SPARTAN program to be a perfect soldier without hesitation, humanization, or remorse, the only people he ever learned to relate to were his peers in the program, who he saw as brothers and sisters. As the last member neither dead nor MIA, he is essentially a lost man, masking his guilt, his anger at authority, his loneliness, and his flagging ability to believe in the greater good. He is frequently guarded, uncooperative, or even hostile towards military, intelligence, or political individuals, and personally respects nobody for their position, prioritizing officers especially as “necessary casualties” or subverting their orders when he disagrees. In private moments, or with those few he especially trusts, he becomes protective and sentimental to a fault, going wildly off-script, abandoning carefully constructed plans, and often throwing others into tough situations, in order to protect, rescue, or shelter them from consequences. He has a tough time even talking to most civilians, but he is so tired of sacrificing the few to save the many that he will pass up what could be big advantages or long term gains in order to preserve a few lives where he is in a position of personal responsibility.
e.x. Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion is a multi-dimensioned disaster of a human being. He is already as awkward and confused as any teenager, if not significantly more so, with little control of his high emotions that especially sabotage or even debilitate him at moments of high stress, anger, and tragedy, but it gets worse than that. He not only struggles for direction as a person, but actively avoids seeking a real way in life, and thus overwhelmingly defaults to whatever the people around him expect of him, becoming absurdly easy to pressure into just about anything, especially when the alternative to their approval is being ignored, and being especially eager to show off when he gains a little confidence, usually without any real idea of what he’s doing and making a fool of himself when he does something risky, stupid, or ill-informed. He is flatly awful at communicating his feelings about anyone, bottling them up until they break free at inopportune times, frequently coming across completely wrong in a way that makes him seem unreasonable, short-sighted, stupid, or even just plain crazy. He is also frankly not cut out for a life that involves conflict and combat, and so he loses his nerve or either outright panics when put in exceptionally dangerous situations, either imploding into a stubborn refusal to engage, or exploding into an unthinking, near-suicidal fury. If pushed too hard by authority, he is likely to curl up in upon himself and become listless, uncooperative, and generally useless, or even run away from the situation. He reacts much the same way to pointed personal criticism, especially if he knows it’s true, to the point that he second guesses and even outright rejects attempts to help him.
e.x. Desus from Exalted, even outside of the Great Curse, is a delusional, manipulative, sociopathic egomaniac. Completely sure of his rightness and righteousness and deservedness by his divine authority of rule, he acts completely in his own self-interest without a second thought, blanket assuming that his actions are automatically justified by being one of the Solar Exalted, or more often not even stopping to consider them in the first place. He takes his ego and his presentation incredibly seriously, and often acts in disproportionate wrath and vengeance when he feels disrespected or slighted, even when it is so little as someone refusing to comply with his unreasonable demands. He is also exceptionally ambitious, and even greedy at times, and prone to taking whatever he wants by force if it isn’t given freely. As a skilled manipulator and master liar, he doesn’t hesitate at all to deceive others and play them against each other, either to his benefit or for his amusement. He is unhealthily possessive of people who show a liking to him, wanting desperately to maintain their praise and loyalty and devotion, but these desires war with his need to act out in the way he does, and the best middleground he can find is leading a double life psychologically exploiting them, undermining their confidence, cutting them off from others, and even gaslighting them out of beliefs that he does wrong, up to and including abusing his magic to maintain his deceptions and even his wife’s obedience.
Complex Personalities and Character Arcs
While MCM has a well-defined expectation of characters having thought-through flaws and foibles, as outlined in the previous section, we want anything but our Disadvantage structure to be limiting. Because Disadvantages incorporate crucial aspects of how a character actually acts in-play, the last thing we like to see is a player feeling forced to overly simplify their character and/or chop down a rich personality to cram them into a narrow mould, or even worse, skipping over opportunities for character development because it would take them outside the bounds of the Disadvantages they had approved. To avoid this, there are two things we would like to make applicants and players aware of:
Multiple Disadvantage Personalities
Characters who are especially well developed in their human flaws can make for some extremely dense writing that is difficult to fit under a single Trouble. Rather than trimming away aspects of a character’s identity or trying to jump hoops to excessively condense this information, the preferred course of action is to split one or more solid chunks of related personality information into separate Disadvantages. There is absolutely no rule that all of a character’s self-made woes must be present in their Trouble, and some characters can in fact completely fill up their minimum Disadvantage quota with their personality alone. Our advice that this only be done when there is simply too much to cover in the space of a Trouble, and to not attempt this unnecessarily. There are no bonus points for more personality-dedicated Disadvantage space, and needlessly breaking up Disadvantages in this way can result in weak Troubles that no longer meet the minimum bar of depth. We always suggest further Significant Disadvantages before a second Trouble; doing so very rarely results in anything but two very weak Troubles.
As an example of this being put into practice, here is the longest previous example broken up into an application-worthy format:
Forbidden Ambition <Trouble>: Anakin Skywalker was born into slavery as a menial worker, but as a clear child prodigy, dreamed of bigger things, which were cut short when he was recruited into the Jedi order’s way of life. Anakin is precocious, impatient, and self-confident to the point of arrogance, and desperately wishes to be praised and validated for his talent. He overestimates himself, jumps into situations without planning, acts out to impress people, but the disapproval of his monastic peers leaves him angry and unsatisfied most of the time, which makes him easily accepting of outside influence. He is eager to listen to anyone who validates his exceptional talent and his discontent with his lack of authority and recognition. Easily pressured and manipulated by those people, he is abundantly willing to chase even mere suggestions, of greater power including dark and ethically questionable paths that might cause him a great deal of turmoil and harm.
Angsty and Rebellious <Significant>: Brought into the Jedi order well past the age considered to be too old for a child to fully internalize the Jedi way of life and philosophy, Anakin is a troubled youth who constantly feels like an outsider. He acts out against the Jedi precepts of selflessness, minimum interference, and big-picture thinking, with episodes of intensely selfish and often disruptive or even violent catharsis, letting his bottled emotions lash out. He has trust issues which make him easy to be made suspicious those around him. or even turn on them; especially figures of authority. He has a strict and unforgiving “you’re with me or against me” mentality, where he demands people support him beyond all reason, or else considers them an enemy, and might do anything from ignore someone need to outright assault someone if his emotions run high enough.
Trouble Drift In Play
It’s natural that many characters, especially those played for a long time, will experience shifts in outlook, behavior, beliefs, personal codes, and similar over their lives and experiences. Many times these are well within the scope of the related Disadvantages they were approved with, but many other times their core conflicts and flaws shift dramatically over time, and what they originally turned up with may no longer accurately describe them. This is a huge part of the enjoyment of roleplaying for many people, and so it is something MCM tries to enable as much as possible. While the foundations of our Disadvantage system necessitate a certain level of commitment to a personality, we understand that character growth is rarely a binary thing, and there is seldom an obvious line where a new entry must be written in order to cross it. Furthermore, it’s plausible that application processing times might be a discouragement that leaves a player feeling as if they can’t play their character while a Trouble writeup is in flux. Ultimately, this can result in a player feeling trapped within their original characterization and unable to grow their character organically, which is something we don’t want to see happen.
To help mitigate this kind of uncertainty, MCM generally follows the tack that a character doesn’t necessarily have to play by a specific Trouble so long as they always have a Trouble. Though we like to be apprised of developments that will result in future upgrade or update applications, MCM tries to be as loose as possible with when and how new Troubles happen. All we ask is that if a player feels as if the traits of their character that form the basis of their Trouble have shifted significantly, or they feel as if they will shift significantly in the near future, they should put a quick notification into the Faction job box using the +job system. This notification doesn’t need a write up, and doesn’t need to wait for any kind of approval; it’s just a way of filling in faction leaders, whose responsibility it is to follow the RP of their players, on what your character is up to. Unless the +job is so wildly out there that it needs to be put on hold (a character’s newly acquired taste for baby flesh might need a second take), you can continue to experiment with taking your character in your new direction as you like, and after some period of time (probably between a few weeks and a few months), someone will respond to it so they can ask how things turned out, and whether you’d like to stick to your old Trouble or commit to a new one, where the latter case is then given highly expedited processing priority. Essentially, until then, a player should feel free to play either/or/a mix until they feel as if they know what best suits their character.
These notifications don’t have to be complicated, something like the following is acceptable:
+request/faction Anakin Trouble Drift=Hey, heads up. Anakin’s frustration with the Jedi reached a tipping point recently, and Palpatine is playing on his fear of losing Padme, offering to teach him the Dark Side of the Force. We’ve discussed it, and I think it’d be cool to follow through on, but I think going over to the Dark Side is going to be a huge character shift for Anakin. Growing out of the need to be recognized and becoming independent though fully utilizing the Force is going to be a big change to his Trouble, so I’ll probably be changing it once Palpatine’s TP is over.
Disadvantage Policy and Philosophy
Disadvantages fundamentally represent the oft-overlooked fact that a well-written character in any form of media is defined as much by their shortcomings as well as their abilities. In fact, it is usually these human flaws that get them into most of their adventures, and their most exciting crises, in the first place. Disadvantages do not exist to “balance out” your character's strengths with weaknesses like RPG character creation, but as accessible hooks for scene runners and other players to create RP from. They exist to embroil your character in interesting situations, add new dimensions to existing RP, and to give people easy ways to get into interacting about your character and to bring attention to them. For that reason, players are strongly advised to app Disadvantages that they will actually enjoy playing, and wish to be brought up during play. For the same reason, there are a couple of types of Disadvantage that are generally unacceptable in character applications.
These are Disadvantages that only really apply within a specific setting, or require their player to go far out of the way to bring on themselves. Common examples are being hunted by a character or faction that nobody is playing (or likely will play) from their theme, experiencing a negative reaction to a specific place in their homeworld, or being weak to a kind of Advantage that only someone from their theme would have access to.
These are Disadvantages which self-negate, are obviated by other aspects of the character, or which effectively do nothing. These most often happen where weak language allows a character to weasel out of their flaws where it's inconvenient to be fallible, but can also happen when another part of the character essentially makes them impossible to invoke, such as being terrified of fire, but having the ability to shut off emotions, for instance. An example of a Non-Flaw follows:
Hot-Headed Guy: Hero A is a very hot-headed guy. He gets angry easily and rushes his way into problems constantly. However, if he knows someone is trying to make him get angry, he's smart enough to stop himself from getting baited into making these mistakes. He also listens to his allies when they tell him to calm down or they need him to keep an even head for the mission.
Normally, this Disadvantage could be a great Trouble, or at least worthy of a Significant place, but the way it's written explicitly excludes someone playing Hero A with his anger, or from his anger inconveniencing a mission. He can effectively back out of any potential consequences caused by losing his temper whenever it would be to his detriment, and that makes it a half-hearted flaw with very poor hook material.
Faction Intrinsic Flaws
Likewise, there are a narrow variety of Disadvantages that are simply “the downside of being in a particular faction”. Frequently, these are pretty weak on their own anyways, but they can be judged flat out non-flaws in some circumstances. For instance, being an extreme vigilante who is hunted by the law, is not a very strong Disadvantage for a member of the Watch, who is essentially signing up for being on the wrong side of the law by default. A stoic refusal to ever depart from universally recognized ethics and conduct is also not a great Disadvantage for a Paladin, as it will never create conflict that being in the Paladins doesn't already. These would have to be expanded upon, or greatly exacerbated to be valid. Maybe the Watchman has a womanizing streak that makes them abandon or screw up plans the Watch has given them if ladies are involved, or the Paladin always adheres to local laws and customs over overwhelmingly accepted conduct out of adamant respect for culture, some of which the Paladins may believe are unjust or find abhorrent. It's worth noting that blatantly faction intrinsic flaws probably won't be approved even on an unaffiliated character, for the complications that presents if they then join the relevant faction.
Vulnerabilities to Specialists
Weaknesses and vulnerabilities to certain powers, items, or abilities can often seem like solid Disadvantages at first glance, but turn out to be useless to the overwhelming majority of other characters, and thus become Non-Flaws on the grid. These usually take the form of "banes" that are so specific that they require another character to have a relevant Advantage to have any business employing them, or being at a disadvantage against a certain skill set that would likewise require an Advantage to be competent at. Anything above a Minor Disadvantage cannot be something that requires a corresponding Advantage to interact with, and it does not count towards Disadvantage minimum.
e.x. A vampire PC having a weakness to the holy magic derived from True Faith is not an acceptable Non-Minor Disadvantage. A faith caster with the power to smite undead is entitled to use it whenever it makes sense –they've bought the Advantage. The same vampire instead suffering extra damage from consecrated swords and bullets, or JRPG-style Holy blasts, is a fair Disadvantage, for the fact that pretty much any character can acquire access to these if they want to prepare for a vampire, and they can be wielded with their relevant skills in swords, guns, or magic.
e.x. A cyborg PC having a Disadvantage to merely represent the possibility of hacking them is likewise unacceptable. A skilled hacker is already presumed to able to hack a cyborg's systems if the paradigm is remotely compatible. It would, in fact, be an abuse of Implicit Limitations to insist that, for example, a cyborg character from Ghost in the Shell, where cyborgs are hacked all the time, can't be hacked by thematically appropriate means all of a sudden, just because they didn't take a “hackable” Disadvantage. In that case, a hacking defense Advantage would be appropriate instead. If that cyborg stepped up their Disadvantage, such that they could be adversely affected by broadcasting or jacking them with a generic computer virus, or perhaps whose security has such gaping holes that just about anyone could gain access with easily acquired equipment, they'd be more likely to pass muster. Think of Ghost in the Shell's thriving black market of hackware that gets sold to untrained mafia thugs and common thieves.
Outright Crippling Disadvantages
Lastly, there are Disadvantages that are so overwhelmingly disabling to the character that it becomes uncomfortable for other players to invoke them, because it would likely result in a very dirty instant win. Having a weak point that instantly defeats you, or having a vulnerable and comatose body somewhere else like in the Matrix, are examples of Disadvantages which technically read as valid flaws, but which will never come up, because very few people will be willing to invoke these kinds of automatically crippling triggers. These may still be used, especially as demanded by an FC's canon, but may only ever be Minor Disadvantages, and do not count towards a three Disadvantage minimum.
A Discourse on Heroism and Villainy as Flaws
A common misjudgement made when applying for characters, especially (though not exclusively) ones with little screen time or characterization in their source material, or entirely original characters, is writing a Trouble about what a good/bad/sketchy guy the character is and calling it a day. These are frequently attempted for being the quickest, easiest, and most universal option, given that literally any character can be called one of those things, and assigned the standard set of challenges that sort of character faces to go with it. These very infrequently pass muster for equally universal reasons, and are generally a waste of time to write as a Trouble. While there are many real Troubles that stem from a character's heroism/villainy/pragmatism in all sorts of media, they take the form of something individual to the character, which interacts with their heroic/villainous/pragmatic goals and methods to create the unique challenges they face. Without those personal elements interacting with the challenges tackled by any given moral archetype, a character is only applying for "being a PC" as their Trouble. In essence, being heroic/evil/pragmatic is not a flaw; it is a lifestyle.
To go further: a character being the kind to involve themselves in matters head first, frequently face danger and adversity, try to be a good person and help or improve things where they can, value their friends and loved ones, and try to protect their relationships, is the standard archetype of a player character. Any given human in the world does most of these things, because these are unavoidable aspects of being a person, and PCs have more dangerous and exciting lifestyles by virtue of going to scenes at all. A character who avoids getting involved, faces no danger or hardship, has no close relationships or anything they feel particularly strongly about, and doesn't contribute to anything, would be completely unplayable, meaning that exceeding this as a minimum bar is basically mandatory to have anything to do at all.
On the particularly "heroic" side of this, frequent generic traits are that the character is eager to leap into dangerous situations, protect innocents and their allies, friends, or loved ones, and is prone to taking big risks and taking on challenges. None of these speak to a character as an individual, or tell anyone else about them, because they are the presumed things that any non-sociopathic character adventuring on the grid will probably get up to. Protecting people, especially allies, is typically beneficial to a character's career and/or the outcome of a scene, and willingness to take on standard heroic danger is something MCM enables as much as possible, with very few consequences.
Conversely, on the more "villainous", or else generally more ruthlessly pragmatic side of this, the generic trap to fall into is a Trouble that describes a character's normal course of action as typically effective, but that the moral nature of it is expected to offend people, who then take action against them. This cannot be considered any kind of flaw. All this kind of Trouble does is displace all culpability from the character, and makes others responsible for playing the Trouble. It is essentially saying "my character does things that work, but gosh people are mean to me for it", and other players are not exactly likely to waive their participation in a scene to spend all their time being making sure the character can't contribute either.
We understand that it is actually not exceptionally uncommon for FCs to present one of these as the only thing about them that could really be called troublesome, usually due to not having time to develop further in their source, or just being plain flatly written. However, we generally expect that our players are creative individuals, and because they are pursuing a writing-based hobby, that they should be willing to build on and flesh out a character for RP. Ultimately, MCM is not a good and evil-based narrative. There are no intrinsic rewards for characters being in the right, and no punishments for being in the wrong. Players should concern themselves with their characters being people, and not writing a hero first and a character second in order to optimize being on the right side at all times.
Apart from the standard format presented here, written for MCM’s default character application process, players wishing to app relatively streamlined and straightforward character concepts have the option of writing their character to in the format of a "Quick Character Application".
The Quick application effectively does the following:
The character still has up to two Defining Advantages.
The character now has two Significant Advantages, rather than the default four.
The character is still limited to a reasonable number of Minor Advantages, but this will rarely be allowed to exceed three slots.
The Wildcard Advantage Point is not accessible. Highly fiddly Advantage Points with high bars of required text (such as Improbable Defense, for example) are discouraged but not disallowed, so long as they are relatively simple examples of their breed.
The character is obligated to fill out only a Trouble for Disadvantages. No further Disadvantages, Significant, Minor or otherwise, should be sent for approval.
Submitted Quick Character Applications are something staff places slightly higher priority on processing, and due to being smaller and simpler in scope, are generally processed and approved more quickly, which makes it the preferred format for characters who just don’t need the full sprawl of Advantage space.
A character approved under the Quick format can, at any later date, obtain the same four Significant Advantage slots, somewhat increased Minor Advantage slots, and access to the Wildcard Advantage Point, as well as more technical examples of other Advantage Points, afforded to regular character applications, by submitting an upgrade application which fills out the minimum three Disadvantages a normal character application requires. If the player anticipates their character will be upgrading into further Advantages in the near future, they should send in a full character application rather than the Quick format and a following upgrade shortly thereafter. Otherwise, this can be done at any time, so there are no lasting restrictions on a character approved under the Quick format.
To submit a Quick Character Application, simply submit the existing character application and re-title it from Character Application - Name - Faction to Quick Character - Name - Faction. Staff will process it under these adjusted parameters.