This thread starts as a compilation of all questions and answers in the various threads on the site, and will definitely be added to in the future as more commonly asked questions are noticed.
What if I want my character to come from a rich family?
This is an answer that is very qualified and is very case by case. Your character can absolutely come from a wealthy family, but without a 'Wealth' Non-Combat cannot access that money for plot purposes. Any scion of a wealthy family who gets sent off to a Huntsman Academy logically speaking is either not going to be the actual heir or is in a situation where they are heir can be changed very quickly with very little legal ramifications. Some people's plots will be motivated by poverty and their family being in poverty, and having a character just run around with money-no-jutsu all the time to change all their plots feels empty and soulless.
Coming from a rich family and using it in your backstory is fine. Using that for plots is fine. Using money that isn't your character's (and it isn't) at will to affect plot is not fine. If you want to roleplay your character having nicer/more clothes or fancier looking tech or weapons as a result of wealth, that is perfectly fine. But the limit stops when it starts affecting the plot. Buying your friends lunch is fine. Hiring a band of mercenaries to beat up your bully isn't.
This does not include wealth that is gained IC through events or missions or other ways to legitimately earn money, this is mostly for wealth that your character just kind of has that they didn't have to work for or do anything to get.
Logically, my enhanced speed would make it so my attacks hit harder but I'm told I can't do that. What gives?
Can I use my Non-Combat Ability in combat if it makes sense?
No. Non-Combat Abilities are just that.
What is the distinction between the types of Semblances?
Passive semblances are largely meant for NPCs and provide one benefit to your character all the time as long as your aura is up. Physical Boost provides two benefits that can be anything, but must be consciously turned on and drains aura when turned on. Manipulation provides two benefits from a small list, and control an element or some type of substance as well as have an aura drain on use as well. Transformation provides three benefits for a limited time and has no aura drain on use -- but you can only transform for a certain amount of time before you suffer the long cooldown in between uses. Anything except for very weird instances will fit into one of these categories. More than three bonuses for a semblance is not allowed under any circumstances.
I feel like someone else's ability is worded stronger, should I change mine?
Two strength abilities, for example, of the same rank are exactly as powerful as each other regardless of the description. Nobody is allowed any advantages for 'writing their ability stronger' and if anyone does this please report it to staff.
Can I try to do other stuff I don't have any skills for? Like if I'm trying to fortify a house, can I try to use carpentry even if I don't have skill for it?
Sure! All skills you don't have are G-ranked, or untrained. If you were trying to build something, you'd be really bad at it and it would look like complete shit but it would offer some benefit. Think badly nailing planks to windows or something. They wouldn't be really secure or done very well, but they would provide some benefit if someone tried breaking in through that window!
Will I ever get more slots for abilities?
Yes. Once you get your first B ranked ability, you will unlock a sixth combat slot for your character. There is currently no way to increase slots for Non-Combat abilities, but we will re-evaluate in the future if there is significant demand.
Faunus have night vision in canon, do I need to spend an ability slot for that?
No, you don't. It would so rarely be relevant that I do not want to force Faunus players to spend an ability slot for this ability. Consider it a free perk to counterbalance all the emotional trauma and racism, as it were. Humans get no similar compensation except being the subject of much less racism, which is unfortunately not a mechanical bonus.
I wanted a specific semblance, but someone else has it! What can I do?
Make it different. There can absolutely be two water manipulators, for example. Maybe the first one picked 'solidification' as their second perk. You can very easily just make a water manipulator with 'creation' as the second perk. That's different enough to get accepted, because the applications and flavor of how you use your water manipulation will be very different in practice.
Can I stack abilities or otherwise make my skill a higher rank without paying the appropriate experience?
1) If your skill is at a certain rank, there is nothing that allows you to do exceed that level and go onto the next. If you have an E rank level semblance, there is nothing that will allow you to act as if it is a D rank semblance.
2) Abilities do not stack. If you have a D rank conditional skill and an F rank passive skill, say for strength, your strength will be F ranked normally and go up to D rank when the condition like a transformation semblance is activated. If you have D rank passive and conditional strength, for example... you just wasted a slot and a lot of experience on a redundant skill.
3) Having a passive and conditional skill of the same type is allowed, it is within the rules. You are allowed to have weak/redundant skills for roleplaying purposes, just know that it will not be able to be changed without forfeiting the XP sunk into it for characters made after the time of this clarification.
You cannot go higher than the ranks on your character sheet. That is the entire purpose of having a progression system with ranks. They are not thrown away at any point.
So, what does this mean in terms of mechanics for TRP?
It means that your Semblance, your Durability, and any combat abilities that rely on your semblance to work are tied with your aura. Once your aura reaches zero, you no longer have access to either ability unless your character has a mutation semblance or have time left in their transformation.
So how does your aura 'reach zero'?
Your aura depletes enough to 'reach zero' or be disabled typically in two circumstances: Gross semblance overuse and physical damage. The first category goes beyond just normal semblance use, and represents extremes like an ice creation and manipulation user making a wall that's 25 meters tall and 5 meters thick. This is way outside the norm, can only be maintained for a very short time, and would completely deplete the aura of anyone in seconds. Physical damage is much more straightforward, and the much more common way that aura can be depleted. If a character gets beat up enough, their aura will deplete. The physical damage part does not always mean combat, however, and aura can keep a person alive in a snowstorm for a time as well by shielding them from frostbite and the worst parts of the cold. This, too, depletes aura much like an attack would due to the aura preventing damage to the physical body of the wielder.
When an aura is close to breaking, it flickers. Every character on the site has a color attached to their aura, and when it hits critical levels there is a flicker of that color across the character's body. Semblance can still be used, and durability is still there… but the breaking point is very close.
When an aura 'reaches zero' that visible aura shatters. Whatever color represents the character's aura visually breaks and falls off of their body before dissipating into nothing. There is usually some sort of audio cue when the shattering happens too like glass breaking or the hiss of a shield dissipating. What's important here is once the aura 'reaches zero' it is blatantly obvious to everyone involved. No one would ever continue a fight with someone whose aura was shattered unless they wanted to seriously injure or kill them.
Yeah but bullets use Dust in Remnant, right? How does that work?
Dust applications aside from the ones listed in the tables above cannot grant mechanical benefits in Player Vs. Player Combat. This is done for balance purposes only. If you want to start a fire with some fire dust or walk into a fire with some water dust in a noncombat thread nobody is stopping you. You just can't get any benefit from the stuff aside from the ones listed when a fight actually starts.
For Combat Systems
First of all I want to state that the guidelines below are, as befitting on that 'flexibility over hard numbers' bit in the design philosophy not hard numbers. They may even change over time, though any change to these will be announced and likely part of a larger update post in announcements. I'm going to post the answer as it is now with the design intent of each decision alongside it.
Okay so you have this progression system, but what are the differences in rank and what does that mean for play?
Each tier difference is roughly equivalent to a 33% difference, or 1/3. This is an advantage, but not an overwhelming one. If you are one rank up on someone in speed, and they try to race you… well, they'll lose. In a fight, though, it means that even one tier of difference is not enough to remove the risk of failure. It gives an advantage, sure, and it means that close decisions will likely lean towards the end of the person with the higher skills for the situation. Therein lies how the system is intended to work, though, skills for the situation. Having high ranked speed doesn't mean anything if you're fighting in a confined space where that speed can't be used.
Two ranks is a significant advantage, but it is still possible for that advantage to be overcome if the opponent can think of creative ways to mitigate those advantages. Clever thinking and good writing can trump mechanical advantages, but the road is much more difficult for the challenger in that case. An average first year could win a fight against an average senior year if they got exceptionally lucky or they managed to find a way to mitigate or nullify what the fourth year was good at. It isn't likely, but the chances are above zero and increase if the senior decides to not take the fight seriously at first.
A core thing that is enabled with this is teamwork. Getting friends involved greatly swings the odds, because the differences between ranks are so low. Someone with a full F rank kit will be at a disadvantage against someone with a full E rank kit… but if you put two trainees with full F rank kits against that person with an E rank kit -- suddenly the E ranker is at a significant disadvantage. Forum RP is inherently a collaborative enterprise, and at the end of the day the design goal is for a lot of things to be team efforts. The concept of a lone badass outnumbered and still kicking ass is a fantasy, but not one I care to support very much on a forum based on a fandom that emphasizes the importance of working together as a team.
Three ranks of difference is at the point where the chances of the other party winning are actually zero. The system is designed so that this scenario will never realistically happen in terms of full kits, but it may very well happen in PvE or in single abilities once the site has been around for longer. At three ranks of difference, numbers cease to matter and you basically steamroll the lower power Grimm like the Elite Huntsman you would be at that point.
How much wiggle room is there within skills for creative usage?
The answer depends on whether it's PvP or PvE. Top-down, this system is designed so people have a limited number of tools in their kit to use that everyone is aware of OOC so that nobody is blindsided by random new powers perfect for the situation like Superman. For example, you could have a speed skill that allows you to run fast or a leap skill that allows you to clear the same distance at the same speed but have a different flavor and potential uses. Speed is useful in all circumstances basically, but leap shines more in fringe cases. It's a physical enhancement. Leap is an ability, which generally sacrifices versatility for situational strength.
For example, a rooftop chase. A speed skill would be able to zoom from one end to the other of a roof, but without an acrobatics/parkour skill the actual jumping and rolling would be hard. Not the case for leap! Landing is part of the skill, so you could frog hop all across town with it until you got tired!
You can also use other people's semblances against them. For example, if Johnny Strongman and Flamebob Dinglepants have a fight and Johnny's semblance is a Physical Boost that lets him punch really hard and knock people back with the concussive force of the punch and Flamebob's semblance was Flame manipulation and creation, there are a number of ways this battle could go down. Flamebob decided to set, say, a cart full of oil on fire. It's now burning, and Johnny decides he was to punch either the cart or the oil at the top and use the punch's knockback ability to fling the burning oil onto Flamebob. Either thing is allowed, and a creative use of a semblance.
You said it depended on PvE or PvP, though?
I did! But the answer was getting too long so I split it up. In PvP, there's an expectation of a level playing field where everyone is playing by the same rules. The system falls apart if one person gets OP stuff and another doesn't. We all have the same number of skill slots that we can upgrade through using XP. In PvP rules can be bent if both parties agree, but in stuff like tournaments and moderated combat they will be enforced heavily to ensure fairness.
PvE, though? Grimm don't get to complain about PCs being OP and have no expectations of fairness. Player Characters can carry a backpack full of Lightning Dust with them to fight, and Grimm can't. That's an imbalance, but it's one I'm willing to have in order to let people have cool anime moments in PvE. In PvE situations, rules will not be enforced as long as you don't go too crazy with it. You're not doing an A rank attack with an E rank semblance, for example, but identifying a weak point and doing a critical hit is A-OK even if that wouldn't be allowed in PvP because calling critical hits on another player is... unfair. Grimm don't get fairness, sorry for any Grimm who might be reading this.
So if stamina is a combat ability, how long can a character normally fight for?
The general rule here is four posts of going all out and defending/attacking each turn at the untrained rank with each subsequent rank increasing that number by one. This one is more loosey-goosey than other rules, because it's much more case-by-case than hard and fast ruling. There is a huge difference in energy expended, for example, in Pyrrha throwing her shield out and returning it like Captain America and forcing an entire elevator to go several stories upward with her magnetic semblance.
The design intent here is for fights to not last for literal weeks/months out of character and for each round to feel like it means something. I'd rather have four hype action-filled post cycles rather than a longer fight with stretches of nothing significant happening.
Okay so durability is another combat ability, so how does that work?
Durability makes your character take less damage from enemy attacks. For the purposes of TRP, any ability that you take that gives you durability unless otherwise specified is flavor-wise a representation of how much damage your character's aura blocks. More durability means your aura is more efficient is blocking attacks.
For a general guideline, let's make a mental picture of a health bar based off of percentages. You start with 100%. A G rank punch that directly lands against G rank durability might turn that 100% into 67%. A D rank punch, being 3 ranks higher than G rank would be enough to turn that 100% into 0% due to the three rank difference and each rank being approximately 33% stronger than the last. Glancing blows should do less, and the previous example was assuming a direct hit of full force. In less than three ranks of difference, you can assume that your character's aura protects them from harm or any physical injury until it runs out. Continuing to fight when aura is depleted means that character injury is on the table, however, and should only really be done in Death Enabled threads.
So the whole martial arts/marksmanship/strength/weapon thing, how does it work?
Every character on the site starts with an F ranked weapon. This weapon can and usually will have a melee and ranged mode, but does not have to. The mechanical bonus that these weapons have is damage, plain and simple.
What weapon rank does not do, however, is automatically make a character good at using it. Martial arts is a generic term for a combat ability focusing on melee combat, and marksmanship is a generic term for a combat ability focusing on ranged combat. Martial arts makes you more accurate and more able to justify dodges and deflections. Marksmanship increases the effective ranges for ranged weapons by making you more accurate and able to track moving targets.
Taking marksmanship means you're good at aiming with just about anything. Frisbees, guns, bows... whatever your character could have reasonably used in the past. Same goes for melee, you're be good with unarmed, swords, spears, etc. and basically everything not considered an 'exotic' weapon. What counts as exotic? Weird stuff. Gunchucks, scythes, claw weapons, and giant laser cannons would all count as 'exotic'.
Neither martial arts nor weapon skills allow one to big up giant rocks and throw them at people, though, and strength lets characters do just that. Damage is either done by semblance rank if that is used for damage, dust rank if that is used for damage, weapon rank if that is used for damage, or strength if none of the first three are used for damage. Leveling strength allows your character to both be strong as hell and allow them to do damage in the process at a level equal with the rank of that strength.
How does Speed and Range interact?
Assuming two characters of equal rank face off, it will take the speedster about a second to close the gap into melee if they go in a straight line. Going in a straight line, though, means they'll eat one full attack from their enemy to close in that quickly. If the speedster doesn't go in a straight line, you freeform it out a lot more but that's a guideline that is set down to give both roleplayers something to work with.
Okay, so what’s the difference between Agility and Acrobatics?
Agility is basically your ability to avoid damage. It’s the counterpart to the Durability skill insofar as its main function is to reduce the damage coming your way. While Durability accomplishes this by reducing the amount of damage that you take when you are hit, Agility is used to dodge hits and reduce/avoid damage on falls and throws. Acrobatics on the other hand, which could also be called parkour or wall-running or pole vaulting or anything else is your mobility. Speed let’s you go in a straight line, but acrobatics lets you go laterally and up and down. This is your wall running and your leaping from rooftop to rooftop type stuff. Acrobatics does not reduce damage taken and is entirely a mobility skill similar to flight that opens up different options both in and outside of combat.
How strictly will this system be enforced in play?
It depends very much on what type of thread it is. If it's PvP, if both sides agree the system can be fudged. If it's a PvP event like a tournament, the combat system will be adhered to in order to ensure fairness on all sides. Basically, any sort of PvP interaction has the baseline being 'following the combat system to a tee' with both participants having the ability to decline the use of a battle moderator if they both want to predetermine a fight OOC before writing it out.
In PvE, though, enforcement will be much more lax. The restrictions on Dust usage to balance PvP are lifted for PvE encounters, so much more will be allowed. Grimm don't get the same right to a level playing field that players do, so freeform it up.
I've never seen RWBY before, is prior knowledge of the setting was required?
Absolutely not. The Beginner's Guide has everything you need to create a character, and the Essential Information board itself is divided into things that you need to know about and optional articles that can enhance your understanding of the setting but are not required in starting a character. If anything is unclear to you from there, please hop on the discord and we'll help you out. The documents and starter guide are all written by someone familiar with the setting, so it's very possible that some things may still be unclear to a newcomer and feedback in that vein is exceptionally helpful.
How old should my student be?
All incoming students should generally be 18 years old. Younger is not allowed, but slightly older is fine. 18-20 is the general guideline.
When the character application says I get abilities to start, what are they?
Per the application template, each character starts with the following:
How does the format of Haven Academy differ from canon?
The program we're going to use for this site is three years of schooling instead of the canon four for Huntsman Academies. While I want the roleplay to cater long term to people who want to play students -- four years, especially in a system that doesn't have accelerated time is a bit too long. There very well may be opportunities to graduate early for exceptional students that are ahead of the curve, but those details will come out when we get much farther along in site life and will be given out in an announcement if and when it does happen.
Another key change when compared to canon is the creation of different classes within the same year. The first twenty students will comprise the first class, and when all of those slots are filled another class will be created. In an RP forum, people will naturally come and go as they please but every time we reach a point where all the slots are filled up at once the creation of a new class will happen and new members will be able to slot their new characters into any open slot available in those classes. Once teams are formed, all members will be moved to the same class for convenience purposes but the limit of five full teams worth of trainees per class will be enforced. If and when we get to the point where a second class is necessary, a suggestion thread will go up to see what we end up naming the different classes to mark a major milestone in site life.
Can I make a Maiden or a Silver Eyed Warrior?
No. It would be unfair to the member base to allow some players to have characters that were far stronger than the others. Neither Maidens nor Silver Eyed Warriors will ever make an appearance on this site, because giving NPCs those sorts of powers runs counter to what NPCs should be used for -- enabling PCs to do cool stuff.
If Maidens aren't going to see play, what about the Gods?
The Gods and the main focus of the plot in the show will not happen on this site. Fairy tales remain just that, fairy tales for our characters. That is to not say that the world history is drastically different or they are not out there, but the story of relics and beings other than human is not a story that this site was designed to tell. This site was built for the player characters to be the heroes and drivers of the story, and we fully intend to keep it that way.
Dust is a huge part of the series, but plays a minor role in the combat system here. Why is that?
Simply put, I didn't know how to implement it in a way that felt like it fit with the rest of the site. Only certain types of dust shown in the show are capable of being used in combat mostly because those were the only types of dust that I felt like I could attach mechanics to that were able to be balanced. There was a design choice made to err on the side of caution and limit the usage of dust in the combat system. It may have been too much caution, and that system will almost certainly change when someone with a better idea of how to incorporate Dust into the combat system comes along.
Things like this are why design philosophy and other such things are posted to the general member base, so we can all be on the same page on how things are going to be done. As with any system, there will be problem areas. Dust is the biggest one that I'm currently aware of for the system that this site uses. Instead of overcommitting to the concept that is canon, the conscious decision was made to limit the use of dust and cap it out very weak in terms of power at the start. Once a system is devised that can incorporate it better, a site event will likely be done in order to bring more effective dust into the game.
Why can I only make a student? I want to play something else!
Other character types will be added once the site has enough members and staff to sustain more than just students. Simply put, allowing people to apply with villains or other types of characters that we have no ecosystem to support seems counterintuitive. Simply put, it is way easier to write events and event finales when there is only one real faction to cater to. More factions would mean more events, and the site does not have staff in place to support that at the present. If you believe you have an idea that you can sell the membership on, find guidelines for creating new factions here.
What is a Vague McNothing and why is it not accepted?
Let's do an example first. Let's take Ruby's semblance at the beginning of the series, yeah? Translated to TRP, the summary of it might be something like this:
'Ruby's semblance, Speed, gives her a large increase to speed and allows her to fly as long as she does not stop moving while using it.'
Clean, simple, and easy to understand. Let's turn this concise and simple explanation into a Vague McNothing.
'Ruby's semblance, Kinetic Energy, allows her to manipulate her anatomy to generate kinetic energy that propels her forward at a velocity that allows her to conduct aerial movement both laterally and vertically.'
A Vague McNothing is a deliberate choice to obscure what the ability or semblance does, usually to gain mechanical advantages. What could be said in a concise and easy to understand manner is couched in vague terminology that is usually at least misleading if not outright incorrect. The cause of it is usually a flat rip from a powers wiki that describes the abilities of God-level and above characters, and then transferring it over to a much, much lower power level setting like TRP. Please don't do this.
For miscellaneous things
Do students have a defined class schedule?
Currently, no. Evidence supports in canon that Huntsman Academies are like colleges, with Velvet being in a first year history class and it is reasonable to assume that students have some level of choice in their classes. I find no reason to create cohesive schedules for everyone at this time, and everyone can just sign up for classes as they become available from people playing Haven Faculty members. If we get enough active classes for this to become an 'issue', it's an issue I'd love to have and re-evaluate at that time because it means we have a rockin' group of faculty running around.
How are teams made?
People decide to make them. I'm not in the business of randomly assigning people to teams to characters they may or may not have any writing chemistry with, nor dealing with the fallout of having 'wanted character ads' for many teams lie open for months at a time. You need to convince three other people to be part of a team with you so there is buy-in to the concept on TRP.