Shippers are all but mandatory at Elias Island - you don't technically need to put one up until you're considering another character, but even if you only ever plan on having one character, shippers are a fantastic way to get plots going and get integrated into the site. For some people, they are much less stressful than plotting over PM or another app, and for others, reading someone else's shipper can really spark an idea you wouldn't have thought of from their app. So all around, shippers are a good idea as a starting point.
However, especially when you've just completed an app for a character, it can be incredibly easy to get character fatigue and make shippers more difficult than they need to be. The last thing you want to do is end up just repeating what's in your application. Not everyone will read every single application, so including a very basic summary of the character is a good idea, but for the most part, you want to focus on information that people don't already have, and specifically for plotting purposes.
Below are some ideas of things you might want to include in your shipper, put together by us admins. They are by no means mandatory, and not all of them will be applicable for each and every character; plus, there's probably more that we've forgotten. But I'm sure some of these questions will be helpful in terms of fleshing out your shippers, and once that happens, it's a lot easier to get plots going!
General character information
Not everyone has a section like this in their shipper - of course, I love it so much I have two of them. But a section for just some really basic character information that helps with plots at a glance can be really helpful to start running ideas off of.
Consider things like:
- How long have they lived on the island?
- What is their current job? Would it allow for fun interactions (clients, coworkers, boss, etc.)
- Any past jobs where they could have met people, especially if they were on the island, or had a reputation in a particular field?
- What are they like at their job? Are they the barista who remembers everyone's name, or the cashier who is rude and always on their phone between customers?
- What is their family like? Are people likely to know them through their family (e.g. a big family like the Merrens, or a very prominent family like the Elias family)
- Any interest in sports or other community activities?
- What is a first impression of your character likely to be? Any distinguishing marks that will immediately be noticed?
- What kind of reputation would they have, or be likely to quickly earn on Elias Island?
- If at school, what are their special interests? Any clubs?
- If at school, what year are they in? Do they live on campus or off?
- What are their powers? Are they likely to be caught using them, or are they in denial about their very existence?
- Are there any particular plots that you, as the player, want to try out with your character? Anything you in particular want to avoid?
When it comes to any specific category like friends, it's important to consider a few things: past, current and future. People who could have been friends in the past (whether they are now enemies or just not as close as they once more) can be just as fun to plot with as people who are currently friends, and figuring out future friendships.
Here are some questions you might want to ask:
- What is their current friend situation like? Are they brand new to the island and need new friends? Have they lived on the island their entire life and have a lot of friends?
- What kind of social group are you imagining for them? Are they the type to have a couple of really close friends, or are they a complete social butterfly?
- How likely is your character to go out of their way and make new friends? Are they always joining new clubs to meet new people, or do they keep to themselves?
- How approachable does your character look?
- If there anything that your character absolutely must have in a friend, or it won't work - like a common interest or respect? Alternatively is there anything your character can't stand in a person, so they could never call them a friend?
- What are they like as a friend? Flighty and drops plans last minute, or the one to plan everything? Are they the mom friend who makes sure everyone gets home safe, or the one dragging people out into the middle of the dance floor?
- How introverted or extroverted is your character? How shy or outgoing is your character?
- What kind of activities does your character enjoy doing with friends? Any hobbies they could bond with people over?
- Where does your character hang out? Are they likely to meet friends out for coffee, or is that their alone time? Are they likely to meet friends when out for their morning run, will they approach anyone who has a dog ever?
- Do they stick to a particular age group, like people around their own age, or avoid a particular age bracket?
- Especially if your character is shy and unlikely to take the initiative - what is the best way to make them open up and befriend someone?
- What kind of sense of humour does your character have? This can be just as useful for the enemies list, if they take things too far.
Much like with friends, enemies should be considered for past, present and future plots. A friend turned enemy or enemy turned friend is a very fun way to start off, and of course, there's always the villain (or hero) of the movie to consider. But everyone has people that either they dislike or dislike them, and that's not always going to be people of opposite morality - there are plenty of reasons for people to not to like someone, irrational or not, and lets stick all of this under enemies for ease.
Here are some questions you might want to ask:
- What absolutely gets on your characters nerves, and they're likely to dislike anyone who displays that trait or interest? This could be irrational or logical, we all have those!
- What about your character might get on other people's nerves, and they're likely to dislike your character?
- How observant is your character in relation to those around them? Do they assume people are friends even if they're not, and thereby make enemies? Or are they the kind to make enemies at every time, and just not care about it?
- Does your character hold grudges, or let things go very quickly?
- How does your character react to anger? Do they forgive and forget quickly, or do they hold on to things? Do they overreact that just makes everything worse?
- Are they more likely to dislike someone if they are hurt, or if a friend or family member is hurt? Do they tend to dismiss friends having enemies as them being melodramatic?
- Does your character give a bad first or second impression that keeps people away from them? Is it likely that they can move past this at all?
- Is your character competitive, and if so in what areas? Are they likely to be a sore winner or a sore loser? Or are they really competitive in game but then drop it, leaving them confused when people are upset with them?
Here on Elias we absolutely love a crackship, and we often have things planned out well before we get to the shipper stage of things. However, even if your character is married, that doesn't mean you can't consider other options, including past and one-sided crushes, to bolster a new and interesting plot. And of course, if you are looking for a crackship but don't have any ideas, sometimes putting some information in here can be enough to give ideas on what can happen with someone else.
Here are some starting off points in terms of romance:
- What is your character's sexuality? This isn't just a one or two word answer, but some details would be good, especially since most of sexuality is a spectrum.
- How romance savvy is your character? Again this can include info on sexuality - have they figured it out, have they even considered it - but also, do they pick up on romantic cues, or think some are there when they aren't at all?
- What is your character's past romantic history like? Whether there's been a lot of exes or none, that can tell a lot about a character and how things might go.
- Does your character have any hang ups from past relationships that they have trouble moving past? Did they have a relationship with a redhead that went terribly, and now will never date a redhead again? Have they only ever been in relationships and don't deal with being single well? Are they constant cheaters, lining up a new relationship as the old one is dying?
- how does your character respond being flirted with? Are they likely to make the first move and be super flirty, or do they take a while to warm up with others? Are they likely to respond better depending on the setting?
- What is your character's views on true love, soul mates, and love at first sight?
- What is your character looking for in a relationship? So they want flings, or something long term with kids and a white picket fence?
- What is your character's type or preference, if any? Can include things like gender, age, appearance, sense of humour, anything that makes them feel attracted to someone else (assuming they do).
- How often does your character date? What is their dating profile like? Are they on dating apps, how do they put themselves out there?
- Are there any plots you, as a player, want to try out? Things like one-sided crushes and short term relationships, or even exes, can be really fun, and it helps if you point out what you're on the look out for.