The purpose of this guide is to familiarize new players with all of the major features of Buffymud as well as concepts that will aid them in getting started here. It also serves as a way to pull together all of the resources we have on the wiki for each topic and can function as a sort of newbie table of contents. Ideally this page is what mentors will be able to reference or refer their mentorees to with confidence.
One of the first, but occasionally overlooked decisions to make when creating a new character is what they'll be called. It is terribly important however, because your character's name is how many players will think of him. They might not remember all the little scars that you've painstakingly described or that your blue eyes have silver flecks in them, but that name will recall all the exploits and relationships the character had when invoked.
A few things to keep in mind when choosing a name are how common it was when you were born, how it'll be shortened for convenience, what the name means, and, especially if it's foreign or made up, if it looks like any other words that could be potentially embarrassing. For example, I once spotted someone whose name was one letter off from a type of frottage. I thought it was hilarious, but she didn't seem to. Your name might feature in how you developed during early childhood and how your identity was formed too depending on its characteristics. Keep in mind that your character has to have lived with whatever name you've given him.
Normally this is dismissed by a lot of games as being aesthetic only and having no bearing on gameplay, but such isn't the case here, especially initially. Not only does this determine whether you can choose slayer as starting class, but the sex of your character will factor into basically every interaction you have in the game. Likewise, your character's entire childhood is going to be fraught with different challenges, experiences, and expectations from his parents, peers, and community. As one of the few things that you're unable to change or otherwise work around once your character is created, you should think relatively long and hard about those two options, male or female.
Your four basic options when choosing a race are human, vampire, half demon, and demon. Each have different advantages and disadvantages regarding job availability and customization. Some classes are only available in chargen to certain races. These can later be altered with change points however.
Humans are an easy and simple choice for players that don't want to be too burdened by playing something too much biologically than themselves or want to worry about creating lore or potential canon issues sprouting up. They the best job selection, can buy firearms freely, and won't have to worry about the expectancy code under normal conditions. All humans have souls regardless if they're evil or not. The only exception to this is if a vampire uses a change point to turn human. They won't regain their soul in that case.
Vampires are another good choice for new players because a lot of the lore is already fleshed out. All vampires are evil and soulless as defined by the code. What this essentially means is that as a vampire, you won't be able to gain experience from killing demons and the lack of a soul will prevent you from ever being able to. Vampires can pass as humans in many instances, but have a slightly more restricted job selection. When shifted into their vampiric appearance, they get a small bonus to both speed and strength and are able to use a racial slay ability, bite, that has a higher success chance than a normal slay.
There are substantial and hotly debated canon issues that need to be taken into consideration when creating a vampire as well. Make sure to read up on what vampires are like in the Buffyverse and though some deviation can be attributed to individual differences between one vampire and the next, you shouldn't imply that every vampire is similar to you and, in doing so, contradict canon.
Demon is an umbrella term used in Buffy to refer to all most every sentient being that isn't human or animal. There are some exceptions, but if you want to create a character which isn't a human or a vampire, they'll most likely be considered a demon. There are a number of demons with varying amounts of lore already written for them in Buffy, but the theme was left very open to include a number of mythical creatures. Demons represent a lot of creative freedom, but also responsibility.
As society is built around humans who are mostly ignorant to the existence of demons, job selection is very limited and the expectancy code is harshest on them. Depending on how many demonic features you've added to your character in the form of demon buffs, you'll find it increasingly difficult to go into public areas without being jumped. There are some ways to mitigate the inconvenience, but it will most likely always remain one. In exchange demons get access to three additional stats, demon offense, demon buffs, and demon mystics, all with their own special abilities and features. A special type of demon buff called a mortality is only available to demons.
Choosing good during chargen will make your demon souled and choosing evil will make them soulless. In order to be an evil, souled demon, you need first create a good demon and then slaughter good aligned mobs until you've turned evil.
Half demons are a compromise between humans and demons. These are characters which have two forms, both a demon and human one. They can switch between them practically whenever they want and it allows them to blend well into society and gain many of the benefits humans enjoy such as the job selection and ability to purchase firearms.
Though they get access to the same three new stats that demons do. Half demons need to be in their demonic form to take advantage of any of their demon buffs. This can cause half demons who are caught off guard to be unable to enjoy certain protections that normal demons benefit from all the time. Demon offense, however, can be used regardless of form. In that way, half demons are often ideal for characters who seem otherwise completely human aside from their powers.
Often overlooked, age is a very important component of the character you're creating. The idea that young characters will behave differently and have experienced less than old characters is common sense, but for whatever reason, people often get confused when it comes to how older characters should behave. Depending on how old you make your character, you have to worry about how accustomed to living he's become. It becomes increasingly difficult after a hard life like the majority of characters seem to have had not to become jaded and cynical for example.
The older your character is, the less flexibility you'll have to develop or take him in a new direction. Years of habit and experience will already weigh on his opinions and nature which will be difficult to justify overcoming. There's also more responsibility in fleshing out exactly who your character is and what he's been doing all these years in your history. Being a several hundred year old, mysterious character won't typically cut it. Unless you've been practically inactive or in hibernation for the majority of that time, there should be enough information to pin down your nature and history after all this time.
In character generation, the two fields you'll need to potentially worry about are the birth date and sire date if you're a vampire. Birth date is self explanatory, but the sire date controls when you were turned. You should set the sire date to however many years past your birth date that you'd like to appear. So, to appear 18, you need to set your sire date to eighteen years after you were born. Demons won't show their age when looked at, but humans, half demons, and vampires all will.
One of the most important things to remember when choosing a class is that it's almost entirely an OOC construct. No one will ever be able to tell what class you are so it's feasible to be a slayer without being the slayer class and have the slayer class without actually being a slayer. What class does affect is what skills are available to your character to be learned. That sometimes, but not always, means that slayer is liable to be the best choice for a slayer after all. It depends on the skills you'd like access to. Class also determines the cost of skills and the rate at which they raise.
Race dictates what classes are available to you at chargen, but these can be changed once you've accumulated enough fame to purchase a change point, should you wish to. Starting classes for each race are...
The formalization of concepts is a rather fresh development and can be a little overwhelming for even older players, but it's simple enough at its core. Essentially there are level brackets which account for the majority of basic archetypes already. This provides a scale so you can balance your character against those of other players and is important to help maintain a degree of believability in the world. A measure also exists for stats and both should be consulted to arrive at a reasonable interpretation of your ability.
It's important to realize that though some concepts are naturally inferior to others in terms of strength that having a high level concept doesn't make a better character nor does having a low concept necessarily cap your potential. The concept paragraph that is necessary for you to continue improving your character is meant to explain to other players briefly how and why your character is as powerful as it is and not a limit on your development. It'll be visible to any player with the equivalent of 20 researching. At any time you wish to modifier or change your concept completely to fit into another bracket, there's really nothing stopping you from doing so, but a concept shift can be a source of fun conflict and roleplay. As such, it's advised to resolve it through actual RP as much as possible.
Roleplaying a transition between concepts should not only enrich the environment, but help you sell your new concept to the playerbase and help establish a mental image of who your character is supposed to be. It can be tricky to both involve aspects of your concept in your day to day roleplay and not over saturate it to the point it becomes all that your character is in the eyes of other players. Don't be overzealous.
The convention for stretching a bracket to fit you concept is known as a modifier. This allows you to account for power your character might have above and beyond what would otherwise be expected of them if they fit the basic archetypes. For example, your slayer might shoot lasers from her eyes and have buzz saws for arms which would naturally make her more adept at shredding vampires. Though extreme, the point is that you're limited more by your imagination than by the system. It's flexible. Naturally playing a slayer with laser eyes and buzz saw arms will probably be pretty unrewarding though.
Eventually, switching entire concept brackets will probably be necessary if you're discontent with how powerful your character is because stacking modifiers can undermine your character's plausibility. For example, it might be fine for your rock demon to be part of a government experiment and having him undergo some kind of ritual/experiment/freak accident that studs him with super hard deposits that make him punch harder is probably still reasonable. Even having him develop a method of shooting that fire you thought would be so cool to have instead of eyes might go smoothly. However, once you get to the point where your rock demon may be flying around on jets of flame, roasting vampires with his eyes, and have a rocket launcher bolted permanently into his back, you may want to consider a more unified and higher concept for him instead.
Changing concepts may cause you to fall into a lower bracket than you might otherwise be in by stacking modifiers without restraint, but keep in mind that ideally any character making use of modifiers still complies with the chart. At some point that means being able to plausibility wrestle a dragon and such. All of this applies to using modifiers to lower a concept as well. Obviously having a god-like character who fights like a fledgling vampire is just as ridiculous or more so than a low level concept fighting like a god regardless of how many modifiers are being used. Such rare instances are probably better left to events.
There's an official example of how concepts should work as well.
Writing a history can be daunting, but the majority of players will never see any of it. It serves a dual purpose in that it forces you to flesh out the details of your character's past in order to help you roleplay that character better and it gives other characters who meet certain requirements (40 points in the research stat or 120 education credit points) information they can use to tailor events and their own roleplay around you.
The two main obstacles to avoid are ambiguity and length. While it's true that exceptionally short histories are likely to provide little to no information for anyone to work with, lengthy histories will overburden individuals who are looking for a briefer summary. It can also be rather spammy. It's probably best to think of your history as a short encyclopedia article or even a dossier that a government agency or watcher's council might keep on you. In order to minimize length, try not to repeat anything that is already given. Some help writing histories can be found in the guides section.
Every character who arrives in Sunnydale will be matched with a nemesis. This is an NPC of the opposite alignment who will sporadically trigger nemesis events against the player.
A nemesis can be killed by entering a nemesis dungeon at the airport and slaying them.(<Dungeon Nemesis>) Defeating a nemesis will grant you a few days of peace from nemesis events, however, a new nemesis with a high level will eventually take their place.
You can see the name and level of your nemesis at any time using the score command.
Slaying a nemesis will add in your researched info "Slayer of (Name)" and give you some fame.
At rank 2 (Defender/Adversary) you can customize the name of your nemesis as well as that of their minions and also add some information regarding them.
The command for renaming a nemesis is (nemesis set <person> nemesis <nemesis name>)
The command for renaming a nemesis' minions is (nemesis set <person> minions <minions name>)
The command for setting a description of a nemesis is (nemesis set <person> description <description of nemesis>.
At rank 5 (Guardian/Hellion) you can set the nemesis commands for other playes.