This guide is meant to serve as a helpful updated version of the current character creation guide which we have that is almost three years old. The purpose of this is because while that guide is effective, things change with the times and thus, having a guide which is old and oudated is going to do none of us any good, so, without further ado, let's get down into it.
I must note that this guide is meant for characters that one may RP with and throw into Pending, if you intend to write AU fanfics and whatnot, this guide may not be for you, however, if you intend to throw your character into the gauntlet known as Pending, then I highly recommend that you read this through.
So, each character has a basis, a first name. I'll stop here and say that we incorporate Monty's Colour Name Rule and make it mandatory for the first name of a character. Here's how Monty's rule works. It either means a colour, is something which is a colour, or something that makes you think of a colour. Your OC's first name could be something like Hex, way to make that work? Hex - Dark Magic - Purple.
It's always interesting to base your character off of something, whether it be a historical figure, fairy tale figure, or even a landmark of some sort. While this isn't necessary, it's always nice to have something to base your characters off of, makes life easier.
Eye colour, hair colour (unless bald), all basic things, height weight, everything from the bottom up can help in developing your character into what they are.
Currently we know of three distinct species within RWBY, Human, Grimm, and Faunus, the third having a humanoid shape but with a distinct animal characteristic, or may not be so distinct depending on the animal. Half-Grimm, while can be made, are not acceptable via Role Play Standards, and we accept any manner of Faunus, mammalian or otherwise.
The starting step of each character. While this can be a simple task, I highly recommend you try and give your character some features in terms of clothing, accessories, even birthmarks and such to make them unique in their own little fashion. Sure it's easy to get the basic, t-shirt, jeans, running shoes, boom, done, it's also way more interesting to add some features such as patterns and such on the clothing, or maybe some bodily accessories which are unique. Then again, this is only a suggestion, letting your imagination run free, however, is easiest with this. Then again, try to stay away from the absurd, like an outfit consisting only of betls.
Protip, I recommend you steer clear of giving your character silver eyes if you intend to toss it into Pending, fair warning. Check the rules if you're wondering why.
It's always nice to have an image to accompany your character, there are plenty of ways to do this.
First off, the Artist of The Fanon page has plenty of users who draw excellent art and for a small fee, are willing to draw your character for you. Plenty of names there, don't be afraid to commission any of them for some nice art.
In terms of character creators, the best ones currently are probably chibi maker by Gen8 on deviantart, dreamself.me, and rinmarugames. Feel free to google any of these and find the one you like the best if commissioning an artist isn't wholly up to your taste.
The core of your character and what determines not only how they interact, but their mentality in battle as well. However, this can also be the cringiest section due to people being excessively "edgy". Examples of edgy characteristics is a loner, someone who hates everything, constantly glaring, etc. Just characteristics that make a character dark, gloomy and sullen and whatnot. It's okay to have a bit of edge, but I highly recommend you don't go for copious amounts, makes it hard for your character to build relationships and whatnot.
There's also the whole thing of making your character a "Mary-Sue" or a "Gary-Stu" and whatnot.
Avoid contradictions and cliches, contradictions are stuff like: "She's happy all the time, but saddened by..." etc. You'd think that this is common sense, but that isn't the case sadly.
In terms of personality flaws, it's no problem to have some of those, in fact, it's encouraged, having a picture perfect character with no flaws is quite bland and uninteresting, if their perfection leads to flaws, that's even better. What I mean by that is that they can get so caught up in one aspect of themselves that it turns into a notable flaw. I can't really explain it, you're going to have to figure that out for yourself I guess, just something to keep in mind if anything.
Weapon and Abilities
How your character fights and what they use to fight. This area can be tricky to make how you want within the guidelines, but with a little work, wonders can be made. Characters fight using dust, their weapon(s) (Max of two separate weapons, read the rules to find out what is and is not acceptable and whatnot), utilities, semblances and aura which basically doesn't differ whatsoever from person to person.
It's a good idea to avoid cliche weapons that every second person has, things like katanas, tonfa, pistols, etc. Try being unique with your weapon and it's recommended to give it some transformations to give your character some extra ways to fight. Note that having a weapon that can turn into two completely different weapons isn't that good an idea because frankly, that means leaning three different distinct styles which can be a pain. Weapon's like Neptune's are a good example because it goes from what appears to be a pulse rifle, to a spear, and then a trident. There's not much difference between the spear and the trident, so the same style can work for both. But say you have a dual tonfa sword spear, that's three different weapons and three different styles. Students are basically kids, they won't have the proficiency to deal with a collage of weapons. Then again, to each their own.
Semblances can be tricky, but again, read the rules and you'll figure out what works amd what doesn't. I highly recommend making a semblance based on the character's personality or an event from their past. Take for example, a person who maybe had a traumatic experience with lightning, or lightning caused a major shift in their life, or maybe is just plain fascinated by lightning, may have a lightning based semblance.
Making your character a jack of all trades is hard to justify seeing as they're just teenagers, maybe if you worked it out properly, it'd work, but a teenager being good at everything under the sun and being basically unbeatable is ridiculous. Take Pyrrha for example, she was Christened as "The Invincible Girl" and in the end was completely mollywopped by Cinder.
The backbone of your character. What you use to justify everything from the personality, to their clothes, to their weapons and how they fight and whatnot. If your character is going to become a Hunter, then try making events that lead up to that decision, or trying to give them a reason to become a Hunter. Just all of a sudden deciding to risk your life to fight monsters and other evil things is quite outlandish and unorthodox, but possible. Try to give some reason and justification behind it.
Also, why would a top-of-the-line Huntsmen Academy give acceptance to any Average Joe? I'm not saying make them stand outt oo much, but at least make them able to slay Beowolves.
While depressing stories may be enjoyable to write, they're so cliche and a dime a dozen. Very often do I read parents being killed by Grimm, Parents being slaughtered by White Fang, etc. Yeah, it's good and well, but try not to overdue it with the depression and mind break that turns your character into a broody gloomy as heck person.
It's a good idea to create a trivia section stating how your first name relates to a colour if it isn't obvious.
I recommend not making adapted media characters from other anime and such, really hard to adapt some into RWBY.
Maybe I'll toss more in here as thoughts come.