Guidelines to Deus ex Machina:
Creating a Persona

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About the Game

An Interactive Fiction is more of a story than a real role-playing game. To play the game, you do not roll any dice or keep track of numbers. Everything is taken care of through writing, and only writing.

You write stories surrounding your character(s) in the game to advance the story. Often, your travels and writings will make you cross paths with other characters. When this happens, you will have to E-mail the involved persons and plan out a unified story.

In the end, you get an involving epic, and you know that you were involved.

An Interactive Fiction involves lots of teamwork and tolerance. Communication, realism, and writing skills all matter in an IF. You must also be responsible and reliable. If you join, you may find that others will be waiting for your contribution to the story.

Participating in an IF is not for everyone, but you are certainly free to try it out for a week or two. If it is not your type of thing, then you may leave without any obligations.

It is also recommended that you have beaten Xenogears™, © for Playstation, or at least know the story by reading a script, or having someone else explain it to you. When you join, you are likely to see spoilers all over the place. I will try to make a script of the game, or at least, a story summary, available to people who wish to see it.

If you have any questions, ask me.

The Mailing Lists

There are two different mailing lists for Deus Ex Machina.
is the out-of-game list... it's basically the "infoline" you access if you want to learn about the game, ask questions, or talk publically about Deus Ex Machina. Basically, if it is not a story, you post it here.
is the Story List, the core of Deus Ex Machina. This is where all the stories are posted. Do not post anything that is not a Deus Ex Machina-related story. If you want to read stories only, you will subscribe to this list.

Join the Deus Ex Machina OOG Discussion here.

Join the Deus Ex Machina Story List here.

The Setting

Time: When the Game Started: June 26, V-498: Epsiode V, year 498.

Place: The entire Xenogears™, © World

In Deus Ex Machina, the main characters, such as Fei, Elly, Krelian, and Miang, DO NOT exist!

Instead of the regular villans and heroes, I let the players create substitutes of these characters. These characters fulfill the basic roles of their original substitutes, but it's important to remember that they NOT are the same people.

Access Substitutes Page to See which Character Substitutes Have Been Taken.

Although there are a few substitute positions left, you are most likely going to create your own original character. Just because your character is not a substitute does not mean he or she will not be important to the story. How important he or she turns out to be depends on how well you role-play!

As the IF plays out, the general end of the Playstation Game is realised. *Spoiler, highlight to read.* The same ending of defeating Deus and freeing the Wave Existence from the Zohar Generator will be achieved. However, the method to which the new characters will approach this end will be entirely different, and may take much longer or shorter than it took in the game. The actual task will be left up to the Main Character Players and myself to coordinate.

Rules For Persona Generation

Before you start, can I ask why do you make us fill out these P-sheets?

I make you fill out the P-sheet for three primary reasons. The first reason is to see if you're serious about getting into the game! If it takes a slight bit of work to get in, but you want to sign up, then you won't mind filling out a P-sheet. The second reason for filling out a P-sheet is that it often helps you start up with story plans and ideas. It also makes sure that you know who your character is! The third, and the most important reason is that, by creating a sheet about your character, the other players who this person is. If needed, they can write for your character, start interaction, and learn about who your persona is.

Can I refer to other Important Characters in my P-sheet (like Myaru, Darius, Mordon, et cetera)?

Yes. but not right away.

You may, ONLY PROVIDED that you have the verification of the player that your sheet involves. If you want to incorporate Mordon into your history (you might be a lab assistant or something), you have to E-mail the player (in this case, Wolf) and ask permission first. Write out your sheet, but submit it to Wolf before you go any farther with it. Be sure it matches his specifications.

This goes not only for the substitute players, but for any player in general. However, new players with characters that refer to another character is often approved more easily than a character who does not have any initial interaction.

Presentation of a Persona Sheet

If you create a character, be sure your sheet is well-done. One should, by reading your sheet, get a feel for what your character is like. Remember, this is not only for me, it's for yourself.

Imagine your P-sheet as something like a "Cover Letter" for a job. You want to keep your cover letter clean and free of errors! I don't like spelling errors or messy sheets. Make sure your sheet is line-wrapped properly (change your text to Courier New 12pt in your word procesor) and free of spelling and grammatical errors.

The following are the specific rules dealing with the actual Persona Sheet content.

P-sheet Content Rules

1) You will not make your character exceptionally powerful without my permission.

I do not like "god" characters. You cannot have an Omnigear, be genetically engineered to live for ten thousand years, have five-hundred years of a base for molecular engineering, or be able to destroy an opponent with a touch of a finger.

If you think that exceptional power is an integral part of your character, then you may E-mail me and formulate an argument. However, it will likely take a lot of convincing to make me budge.

I've also been seeing a lot of "Jack of all Trades" characters... in VERY large scale. The person will be a Solaris Gear Commander, but he will also be familiar with designing and building gears, biological sciences, and professional cooking, to boot. Try to avoid this. Most people can do a few things well, but when it comes to complex things like gear engineering, biological research, playing tuba in a professional band, and painting with oils, you don't expect characters to be good at them ALL.

2) You will not recreate exact copies of any of the main characters from Xenogears™, © or any other video game, movie, novel, etc.

A "main character" is any character with a portrait that appears in Xenogears. Please do not create exact copies of "Fei", "Bart", "Krelian", and so on.

You can borrow elements from these characters (for instance, you can make your character a schizophreniac, like Fei, or be a dabbler in machines, like Citan), but you cannot copy them outright. This is called "plagiarism" and is a direct violation of copyright law.

Likewise, I don't want main characters crossed over from other video games or novels. Again, you may borrow elements, but crossover characters are frowned upon.

3) Please use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

This is important for your Persona Sheet, but it is especially important for the stories that are submitted to the mailing list. It's a drag to read something that's marred with errors.

I don't mean that you have to be absolutely perfect and write with flawless English, but I at least want you to know a few fundamental rules, such as:

"Use periods at the end of your sentences".
"A sentence must have a subject and a predicate".
"A comma splice uses a comma to separate two main clauses".
"You must start a new paragraph whenever you introduce a new speaker".

If you don't feel confident with your English, you might not want to join until you feel more comfortable.

4) Please avoid the following list of cliches:

  1. Making your character an everyday wanderer or a drifter

  2. Making your character exceptionally knowledgable for his age

  3. Making your character best friends with one of the Country rulers

  4. Making your character a solo raider of Excavation sites

  5. Giving your character nearly invincible armour

  6. Having your character's gear "found" somewhere, totally by chance

  7. Stealing your gear from excavation sites, Gebler Docks, or the Battling Arena

  8. Having your character acquire a gear from the "___ Military", but have him quit and still having him keep the gear.

  9. Making your character from the Solaris Military, but yet, is not a fugitive. (Solaris doesn't let its soldiers go that easily.)
  10. Making your character's gear a totally unique, special model that cannot be acquired anywhere else (there ARE standardized models out there).

  11. Giving your character a gear at all. Gears aren't the world, and not EVERYONE has a gear. They're expensive.

The above list has points that are commonly seen in most sheets. You *can* incorporate the above into your sheet, but if you do, try to do it in a new, unique way. The point is, be different.

The observant will notice that many of the cliches deal with one common point. DO BE WARY if you're considering giving your character a gear. Know how to write for a gear, know how much a gear costs. Do some research on military weapons, play some BattleTech, and read the "Gear Conversion Chart" on this page under the "World" link.

Likewise, be realistic, and be sure your character concept "fits" in the world of Xenogears. Keep your character down to earth. Don't invent space aliens, visitors from the United Earth Alliance, or make your character the human embodiment of the Eldrige. I encourage uniqueness, but there's a line between being unique and having an idea that cannot be role-played. If you have any concerns about your character ideas, please E-mail me.

Please remember that military gears are very hard to come by, and that only the military, or very influential high-class noblemen would have any sort of gear. Compare a gear to a military F-16 today. How many people own F-16's and pilot one in their spare time? How many people go out and buy F-16's for their children? Not many. Granted, the situation in Xenogears is different than in today's world, but the idea doesn't change. Please keep in mind that gears, even the most simple civilian models, are extraordinarily expensive, and that not many people will be able to buy them.

Restrictions For Characters

The following is a list of restrictions for character backgrounds and ideas. This is not like the previous section in that you are NOT allowed to do them, but instead restrictions in that you should contact someone before you go ahead with the idea.

If you want to write a character who lives, lived, or was born in Shevat

please E-mail Amber Michelle at Title it clearly, such as "New DeM character from "yourname": I want to be Shevite." Include your P-sheet and state why you want your character to be Shevite. Amber will give you advice on how to integrate your character better into the history and current affairs of Shevat.

Submitting The Persona Sheet

Submission Process

When you submit a persona sheet to me, it goes into my Inbox and I read it at my convenience. I tend to favour P-sheets with good "cover letters".

As I read the sheet, I am careful to note things such as your character's personality, the background and history, plot hooks, and general concept. If the general concept does not fit in the Xenogears world, or if your character does not have detailed background/personality fields, I will usually reject them right away.

Other errors, like spelling mistakes, controversial character ideas, contradictions in your persona sheet, missing fields, or cliches usually warrant a "re-send", in which I reply to you, tell you what is wrong with your sheet, and ask that you resend it to me completely, with any appropriate or additional changes. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU SAVE YOUR P-SHEET ON YOUR LOCAL DISK. If I ask you for a re-send, I will delete your sheet until you send it back to me. If you do not re-send your sheet, I assume that you have lost interest. I will NOT prompt anyone to send their sheet again.

If your sheet goes through without any difficulties, then I will reply to you, tell you that you have been verified, and then ask you to write an introduction story for your character. Your character is accepted at this point, but I will not add him or her to the Persona Sheet on the web page until you send me an acceptable Story Introduction. Below, in the section "What do I do Now", I give some advice as to what you can write for an introduction post. Doing this lets me know who is willing to do a small amount of reading and writing to post. You will send the introduction story to me, and if I give it an "okay", then you will be permitted to post it to the list.

The corillary to this is that as soon as you create your character, start thinking about a story idea, because I will ask you immediately afterward for a story. You may want to scan the Persona Sheet on the list and read some of the archives on my page or on Onelist to learn about characters who may be involved with your own, and about the current events. If you have an idea of where your character is going, story-wise, you will be able to express your character better in a P-sheet, and you will have an easier time getting into Deus Ex Machina, not only through the Joining Procedure, but also in the storyline.

Details about the Fields

The fields for the Persona Sheet are relatively self-explanatory, but I would like to give some help about what should go in each area. The following is a very important document and should be viewed by all new players.

Persona Sheet Fields

Saving and Editing the Persona Sheet

You cannot fill in the p-sheet directly from your browser wndow. The best way to edit the sheet is to:
  1. Click on the link to the P-sheet
  2. Save the P-sheet to your local Hard Disk (as Plain Text). This is usually found under "File -- Save As".
  3. Open the P-sheet using Notepad (or similar)
  4. Fill in the fields

Once that is done, you should save the file to your local drive, then send it as an attachment to Arcana and Hobbes.

I understand that not everyone (such as WebTV users) has access to a text editor. In this case, you are best off cutting and pasting from the "p-sheet.txt" file to your E-mail window, and typing from there.

Submission Guidelines

For the quickest response, be sure you use the link at the bottom of this page, OR carbon copy your sheet to both Hobbes and myself (Arcana). If one of us cannot read it, then the other will, for a quicker turnaround time.

The persona sheet will be read fastest if you have it saved as Plain Text. To guarantee this, use Notepad to edit the sheet.

Persona Sheet Fields

Read about Gear Classes

Acquire the Deus Ex Machina Persona Sheet


My Character Is Accepted, But I Don't Know What to Do!

Many people ask me for advice on how to get started, so I will post some information here.

Before you do ANYTHING ELSE, be SURE you post your P-sheet publically to the mailing list! There's no better way to get yourself noticed than saying, "This is the character I plan to play. I want to do this-and-this with him/her and get involved in this-and-that."

The best way to get started is to write an introduction post for your character that describes him or her. A good topic may be a "How your Character Got to Where He or She is Now" or "A Day in the Everyday life of your Character". You can post the story to the list. It will take a while to show up, since I have to read it and verify it, but when I do, then you're free to post more. In fact, I probably won't post up your P-sheet until

Basically, the goal is to present your character to the other players. You want to let the readers know what your character is like in writing. The P-sheet is all right for a quick summary, but we want to know what your character does in his or her day, how he or she reacts to other people, and how he or she thinks. The introduction post is also a great opportunity to reveal something about your character's past and his or her life conflicts.

Once you establish basic character traits in your post, other players might begin to think, "Maybe this character can belong in my storyline".

Do not be afraid to write multiple solo posts. When the time comes for interaction with other players, you may wish to give a public call on the OOG list asking for a certain character, or you may want to privately E-mail a player and ask if your character can be involved in their plotline. Remember, the key is to let everyone know something about you and your character, so that someone will either want to E-mail you, or so that you will be able to E-mail someone else, and that person will be able to say, "Oh, so you're the writer for so and so? I've read that post."

So my advice is to write an intro post, then keep tabs on the characters that you like so you can E-mail them and ask to get involved.
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