NPCs and Dual Roles
MU*ing has always had, in its penumbra, questions of who characters belong to that aren't necessarily full characters, but rather near-total accessories to another character's play who are deeply and intimately tied to that character. Some ambiguity on this front is inevitable, but we're going to do our best to get ahead of the question.
This is a case where the default assumption is that every character is one (1) character and complications to this will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
The primary character you are expected to play is the one you apped. However, the occasional bit of NPCing can add tension, address logic questions, or propel a plot along to a satisfying conclusion. Within reason, you are permitted to NPC characters who are directly connected to your character in some way, with the following caveats:
- You should keep it to the minimum necessary to push forward a plot or beat.
- If it's an FC, you should avoid doing things a future apper might find confusing or out of character.
- The NPC should generally stick to doing things that suit their "gimmick;" if you're Amuro Ray NPCing Astonaige Medoz, it's probably because you need someone to comment on mobile weapons.
Use your best judgment; if we see abuse of these rules, we'll intervene. Battleship users have a little extra leeway here; part of the fun of playing a character with a ship is running the bridge crew, after all.
NPCing and the Affirmative Minimum
"The minimum necessary to move a beat or plot along" presents a question with a complex answer. Sometimes, it just doesn't feel right for an unplayed character to have no comment on a situation. It's actually stranger for a future Lacus Clyne if she takes no actions in response to Gundam SEED's Operation Spitbreak; a hypothetical future Kyosuke Nanbu is going to be more confused, not less, if Kyosuke sits perfectly still while a played Excellen Browning is off doing Einst activities.
There's never going to be a specific, affirmative answer that covers all cases here, save for this one:
Make good calls between the agency of played characters and the coherence of unplayed ones.
This can often mean finding things for those characters to do within the context of the plot that establish their care and importance without participation in the specific wing of the fight that active PCs are participating in.
Broadly, the goal from both directions is to avoid leaving a future player feeling like they've been ambushed with a PC who now seems disengaged, uncaring, or otherwise heavily altered.
NPCs (and Unplayed Characters) With Multiple Players With Stake
Sometimes, NPCs and unplayed potential characters come with multiple potential stakeholders. A good example of this might be an unplayed Miriallia Haw from Cosmic Era Gundam; a Murrue Ramius, Dearka Elsman, and potentially Kira Yamato all have at least a little skin in the game, with probably that order of primacy. Another similar example might be Isao Takemura from Front Mission, who is an unattractive app prospect whose movements inform those of like five other characters at minimum.
As with the previous section, there will never be a specific, affirmative answer that covers all cases here, save for this one:
Talk to each other. Do not assume you have primacy-of-stake unless you have a very, very compelling argument, and even then, you should present that argument to the other stakeholders first.
We're also aware that a lot of fanon and side content builds up around some characters; indeed, in some cases MU* have been active participants in building the fanon. (Sadly, we have not yet been elevated to official side content, jokes about a couple of our OC concepts being near-instantly echoed in side manga aside.) If you have side content, fanon, or theorycrafting you want to bring into an NPC, you should especially make other stakeholders aware of where you're sourcing the take and be open to being told it doesn't match what they want to do.
NPCing and the Super Robot Wars Video Games
One thing to note about our world state is that it's fairly different from a lot of the Super Robot Wars games. It's very close to a few of them, but very distant from many of them, and even the ones it's close to have some significantly different choices. Accordingly: Don't expect cross-theme interactions to move in necessarily the same direction they did in the video games!
If you have a beat you really want to hit that's SRW-game-inspired feel free to reach out and ask, but remember that the worldstate may not support it and other players may have other ideas for those characters and situations.
Dual- and Multi-Roles
Sometimes, though, the character entails something a little more robust. Some common, in-genre examples include:
- The other character is literally the character's combat unit, as in the Brave Series or Full Metal Panic!;
- The other character is the only way a character can perform an essential element of their play loop, as in the Brave Series (again) or the Super Robot Wars T Banpresto Originals;
- The other character or characters are literally co-pilots that are mandatory as part of getting the character's unit to baseline functionality, as in Galaxy Cyclone Braiger or Getter Robo Series;
- The other character outright controls or possesses the first character at some point, as in the Ultra Series.
In these cases, we consider this less covered by NPCing and more, outright, a dual- or multi-role character. Dual-/multi-role characters are treated identically to conventional characters, with a few major notes:
- The above-mentioned things about NPCing generally become less true. Someone playing Maito pretty much needs to be also playing Gaine; likewise, someone playing Sagiri pretty much needs to be playing the Carriax's crew. This relatively high certainty of custody of control, for lack of a better term, means the player is permitted to do more with the character than they would an NPC.
- If someone else does want to app a character covered in this case, such as another member of Special Section 3 in Sagiri's example, they will need to talk to the primary contact first and get their approval.
- Sometimes, these characters have different statlines to represent different characters being in the primary pilot's seat. This will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
In extreme cases, multiple characters may have a credible claim to someone in a dual-/multi-role situation; for instance, Celebro from Ultraman Z switches bodies between multiple members of the cast. These cases are so specific, and so individualized, that if you really hunger to play the character (or one of the characters connected thereto), you should contact us and we'll figure out a solution. This applies equally to a player who doesn't want to engage in a potential dual-role situation their character is stuck with.
Not all multi-role situations require multiple character bits. If the character needs a totally distinct pilot mode, however: we will give you multiple bits as necessary!