I figured I should post this, given that apparently this guide might help some people. Please excuse any wonky formatting, as this was literally pasted in here off-site from a Google Doc.
And here it is, ladies and gentlemen, boys, girls and people who prefer no specific gender identifier, the OC guide brought to you by PisceanWaterbender. Character creation is a somewhat tedious and meticulous process when done right, and I’m here to guide you through it as best as I can.
Trust me, I’ve been there with my OCs too, having personal experiences of mine, and I would say it’s in your best interests to follow these rules and formatting to get your character accepted and roleplay-ready as soon as possible. Most of this is grilled from both my own personal experience and advice given to me by other reviewers on my submissions, as well as advice and suggestions taken from randomly viewing other pages and seeing why a particular character was accepted or rejected.
So, without further ado, let’s get started. SPOILER WARNING - This guide is being written post-Volume 4, so any spoilers up until that point are unmarked. Read at your own risk.
Character profile: This is the side-box where you give your readers (and reviewers) the first impressions of your character. If you’ve ever been taught in an English class (or the linguistic equivalent of the class) that the most important part of a wow-factor essay was the introduction, it’s the same concept here. This is where you describe the character at their rawest level: their major likes and dislikes, basic appearance, age, any Faunus traits, all of that stuff. There will be sub-categories for these particular items as well right below this.
Setting it up: If you’re just starting the page, this is one of the primary things to try and add to it. You’ll already be in edit mode when first making the page, so all you’ll have to do there is to hit the “insert” button, and then add the “FanCharBox.” Double-clicking on this box will allow you to open up the specific categories in which you add the items listed below here. If you’ve already created the page, but did not add the FanCharBox, simply click Edit, where (in most cases) you will be given the choice of Source/Classic Editor, or the Visual Editor (If you’re on mobile, the default will be Visual, but if you prefer Source/Classic Editor, then you will need to click the down button by the Edit button and select “Classic”). Choose the one you want and follow the steps outlined above. (For adding links to this FanCharBox, you’ll want to use the [[Content]] format. For it to work the first time as a clickable link, you’ll have to have a page for that link already, though this is not necessary at first.)
Basic appearance: Here, you get to momentarily describe the raw details such as the character’s name; their hair, eye, and skin color; race; gender; height; etc. Some things to consider here:
Character Naming Part #1: Be wary of how you’re naming your characters. Make sure they follow the CNR--by first name only, not with nicknames or solely last-names, I’ve seen and learned that the hard way--(unless the character is somehow from before/during the Great War, in which case the character is exempt from the CNR) but also be aware that certain character names will only get you so far. For example, Sakura refers to “cherry blossoms” or “flowering cherry tree,” but because the name has been used in several other anime-mediums, it’s likely to be subject to a bit more skepticism when role-playing or being reviewed. Likewise, naming a character something super edgy like “Blood Lord” most likely won’t cut it either.
Character Naming Part #2: The many methods of CNR application that work here. I’ve seen anagrams, portmanteaus with names, and some really clever references by simply browsing through established characters. At its most basic level, words that mean a color (whether in English or not), refer to a color (Ruby = red gemstone), sound like a color (Cyril Ian = Cerulean), remind you of a color (Sun = Yellow), or are heavily associated with one (ex: Glynda means fair-skinned, which refers to white skin, therefore the color white) are usually the simplest and easiest ways to get this section done, but not the only ways. Be creative, and if the color association is not obvious (or even if it is), make sure your reviewer knows what associations you were going for in the Trivia section.
No silver-eyed characters, as that currently applies only to Ruby and Summer as “an extremely rare trait,” and very few people know about it. If you want a similar eye color, go for one of the many shades of gray. Otherwise, all colors of eyes are acceptable.
Hair and outfit color is not restricted, but be wary of color palette choices. Try to research and find what works well with something else if you really want a standout character. In particular, if you have a lot of bright colors, maybe try to find a darker color to offset this. (Yang Xiao Long, for example, has several bright colors in her palette: orange, yellow/gold, and purple. To offset this, most of her outfit is brown to make it easier on the eyes.) On the same coin, if your character has a lot of dull or dark colors, maybe try and add a little something for a pop of color, like a bright scarf or a vibrant eye color.
Make sure your age, height, and weight aren’t too unbelievable. If they are an abnormal size without a very good reason for it, the character will look really weird. Someone who’s 14 years old but is already past the 6’ mark and weighing 140 lbs soaking wet is going to look wonky to those who read it. IMPORTANT: Units of measurement are assumed to be in the Imperial system of measurement unless otherwise noted / marked, so be wary of this.
Likes and dislikes: Pretty self-explanatory, though I would try to make sure to have a reason for it unless it’s an arbitrary thing, like preferring dark chocolate over milk chocolate.
Everything else: Team name, partners, potential song themes, Semblance name, nicknames they’ve earned, etc...none of that stuff is mandatory if not applicable, but if it is, make sure it’s included. If they are a Huntsman or Huntress at one of the  presumably functioning academies [Haven & Shade], their team name, partner, and their Semblance (if they know it) should be included in the basic profile. All other stuff is not mandatory.
Section Summary: All in all, get your necessities out of the way, add a little fluff for well-roundedness, and if you still have issues or concerns, feel free to contact a reviewer or another admin on the site if necessary.
Appearance: And this is where the basic appearance comes to fruition in full detail. Please make sure to describe your character’s outfit in good detail and their physical traits (hairstyle, facial profile, athleticism or lack thereof, Faunus trait if they have it). This section becomes more important when making a civilian character, so keep that in mind. Depending on how detailed the description is, usually 1-3 paragraphs is sufficient to describe the character’s appearance, though with added detail this might shift to a higher amount to offset the amount of elaboration.
As with before, a few key things to note here when describing appearance:
With respect to appearance when naming your character, your CNR name choice does not necessarily have to be the color your character alludes to, though this is oftentimes the case for most characters. To give you my own example with my character Brandon Airgetlámh, his first name for the CNR is associated with the color yellow, but his main color is silver, which is associated with his last name. In this case, I made sure both of these colors were present within his outfit so that they were both incorporated. I’m not saying you have to do that, but it certainly helped me with outfit design.
In the case of Faunus: A maximum of one Faunus trait per person, please. This can entail, but is not limited to: ears, a tail, claws, skin, and more. Sidenote: If you plan to do an avian Faunus, please be aware fully functioning wings are not acceptable at this time.
As mentioned previously, no Silver-eyes.
By that same token as before, be wary of your character’s body dimensions.
For making better and overall more creative descriptions, try and elaborate with specific colors and shading, and overall try and do something different with each character unless you plan to make several characters to a certain theme. Give that character a pair of earrings, this one some asymmetrical piercings, and that one a freaky hairstyle. Whatever you can to put the “original” back into OC.
Backstory and History: Okay, so here’s where it gets a bit complicated. It’s been said in the past that people could crank out tons of characters a day if this pesky little category didn’t persist. Here is where you lay out their life structure and motivations, why they act how they do now, what influenced their personality, and importantly, how they got where they are now. Here you may also describe some key relationships with family and friends that might be important in later parts of your storyline (some people may also devote an entire section to this so they can go in greater detail, which is also fine). The target length of this section depends on the amount of experiences your character has had, how old they are (influences the first one a bit), and generally how well you can elaborate key points of their history for all to view. Just as a start, write 3-4 paragraphs for a decent backstory, and more if you have a character who requires that level of attention. When writing character backstory, please take note of a few things about what is now considered canon-acceptable:
Beacon Academy, as of Volume 4, is no longer an option for having current attendees, as it’s said to be currently overrun with Grimm. You may still make characters that attended there (whether this be within the year Beacon fell, or as an actual graduate of the Academy in previous years, like some of my characters.
As of Volume 4, Atlas Academy is also known to be currently closed for unknown reasons, so OCs that are attending there currently need to be adjusted for that plot point. Atlas has also recently had a Dust embargo placed on other Kingdoms and will be closing its borders, two very important plot points that affect just about every Huntsman.
By the same token, it should be noted that references to the 40th Vytal Festival Tournament and the Battle of Beacon are acceptable and (in the case of Battle of Beacon) encouraged, especially if it has an impact on where your characters are right now or personally affected them.
Please, please, PLEASE: Try your absolute best not to interfere with canon events in any major way. The story you make is about your characters, and you shouldn’t have to reinforce their credibility by having them interact with the characters in the canon story if you have a good standalone character. There are a few exceptions with this though, which may be used if done correctly.
Having limited interactions with the canon teachers, professors, and in a couple of special cases, headmasters of the academies, is OK provided you don’t overdo it. It’s recommended that if you’re making an interaction with these groups that it is done in a class setting and to not form friendships that don’t exist. Be especially wary of talking with headmasters, as this could be seen as beefing up your character’s importance way too much and therefore interfering with canon. As of the end of Volume 4, headmaster interactions are not recommended and frankly discouraged, what with Ozpin considered MIA, General Ironwood closing Atlas Academy, and no information about the Vacuo headmaster, so interactions with these three should be considered null.
Knowing or hearing about some of the main characters or having witnessed their tournament matches is perfectly acceptable. In the case of the late Pyrrha Nikos, most people knew her as a star athlete, so you could say they knew of her but don’t make it that they knew her personally. There’s differences between the two, be wary of where those differences lay on the spectrum.
Don’t overdo it with the sob stories. Its great that you want a character with depth, who has had things happen to them in the past, but the thing is, you can’t let this sort of thing control and impede on all of their actions, because there has to be some level of retribution for the character in order for the character to be sympathized with. Nobody wants to see a Sad Larry who never has anything go right for him, who’s whining and looking for sympathy. Your readers will not respond positively, and in fact it might just give them reasons to dislike or hate your creation.
Nobody is perfect. On the flip side of this same token as the previous suggestion, everybody has problems they need to solve. Making a character with nothing particularly bad happening to them throughout their lifetime is fine in moderation (as with all things on this guide), but it makes the character a bit less relatable to your audience, and can make them seem like a simple background character you chose to throw to the forefront of your story if you’re not careful. However, if you execute this aspect right, this can give you entirely new angles to warrant sympathy from an engrossed reader. Genuinely struggling after a life of perfection and grace gives your character a sense of grit and toughness, and people will usually enjoy seeing someone work for their own goals. Or, by another extension, going from a life of simplicity to stress and complexity (or vice versa) is engaging, as it’s a period of change. Essentially, change is key, whether this be gradual through continued exposure, or a realistically drastic experience found in a single climatic event that changes everyone’s perspective.
Overall, don’t sweat this too much, and try to stay out of common edgy things that can make your character seem all too unrelatable or unlikable.
Personality: In this section, you can essentially summarize character traits along with a little reasoning for why they feel this way.
The reasoning: Were their parents super-strict, which is why they embrace the concept of freedom? Are they always perpetually happy because they suffered a horrible childhood, and laughter eases the pain? Give the reader reasons why a character acts in a certain way during a situation or perpetually.
Give your reader and reviewer reasons to identify or sympathize with your character. This can show in full the comprehension levels of your reader, and overall make your reader care for your character more by virtue.
By no means should you overdo it. If your character has a tragic past, give examples both of how they have moved on and how they have not moved on from that specific event through their actions and demeanor. If you overdo it on one aspect, the character loses relatability with the audience, and will therefore fail to make your reader care too much when something horrible or even delightful happens to your character.
Edginess done right: Just because something tragic has happened in the past doesn’t mean your character has to be a jerk about it now. In fact, it should make them seem more vulnerable, or give them a new, rawer side to explore that usually isn’t seen by the other characters. It’s all too common to see a Tall, Dark, and Snarky edge-lord with a tragic past that can’t learn from it and ends up lashing out at others just because he can’t live with himself.
Relationships: There are three main types here, which sometimes will intertwine depending on how your character views and interacts with others.
Family - Pretty straightforward, these relationships are usually marked by some good and some bad experiences, with a different mix of both depending on their background. Someone like Weiss Schnee is typically shown as having poor family relationships with the exception of Winter, which has a negative effect on the rest of her relationships. In contrast, Ruby and Yang have great relationships with their father Taiyang and their Uncle Qrow, while both (particularly Yang) still feel the effects of family problems due to both mothers of the girls being lost.
Friends / Allies - These are usually marked in a few separate ways where character growth occurs. With allies, the characters don’t necessarily have to like one another, and oftentimes don’t or won’t at first, but are united by a common goal and will usually put aside their own differences to get the job done. Friends are true allies of your character (typically), and will usually have a good enough mutual relationship to think similarly or agree to disagree. Testing friendships with problems (though not too often) that the two disagree on can be an enticing part of your story, and should be used to spice things up if necessary. As with all things, just be sure to keep this in moderation.
Romantic / Love Interest - Pretty self-explanatory, with the two usually having a mutual friendship enough that they develop to this stage. If you delve into this type of relationship, be aware of a few things. First off, don’t make it a one-sided relationship. The things that Mr Grey and Edward Cullen do are not acceptable in a real relationship, with Mr. Grey being quasi-abusive towards Anastasia and Edward just being a general creepy guy who is borderline possessive of Bella. Secondly, vivid descriptions of naughty scenes should not be included. It’s enough to say that the two went to bed with one another, and leave it at that. Failure to follow this rule will result in warnings, bans, and/or page deletion of the offensive content.
Powers and Abilities: First things first: If you have a civilian character, this section is not necessary to your character unless they have something of note to mention here, like a knack for baking with their profession as a baker. As for the other characters who are categorized as “Combat Ready,” or are at least on their way to getting there, this section describes in greater detail their combat and noncombat related skills, weaponry, and abilities. Each of these things has it’s own section, so bear with me here.
Skills: Typically used as a way to describe certain physical, mental, and technical abilities for additional character originality and well-roundedness. This can be any range of skills, from being a good cook, to having exceptional balance, decent strength, or even the ability to be a terrible dancer. You decide.
Weaponry: This category is where you describe and name the weapons your character has, and what their functions and capabilities are. A few key things:
Please make sure that the character doesn’t have more than 2-3 weapons or combat-gadgets in total (For dual-wielders, their main weapons count as one entity). A Velvet-like character who has a large repertoire of weapons for every situation is not going to be fun to roleplay with. Side-gadgets and weapons should also be limited to one function if possible.
For main weaponry, it’s recommended that the number of possible transformations be capped at 3. As of right now, Blake Belladonna and Velvet Scarlatina (technically) have been the only exceptions in the canon series, and having that many different transformations will be undoubtedly harder to work with, especially when there’s a greater number of them. In my book, a travel/inactive mode does not count towards this amount.
Aura & Semblance: Okay, so here’s where things can get dicey if you’re not careful about how you balance things out. Making an acceptable ability requires some imagination and some semblance of a concept of balancing your positives and negatives to be truly successful. This section will be somewhat longer than the others as it has a lot more restricted content, so bear with me please.
Aura: You can describe their Aura Color, effects, and their strengths / weaknesses here, especially if this is an important part of their combat (usually it is.) Still, this portion is optional.
Semblance: There’s quite a few possibilities, but exercise discretion on what is considered “acceptable.” Some suggestions for basic abilities include but are not limited to: elemental generation/manipulation like Pyrrha’s, perception-based powers like Emerald’s, stat boosting Semblances like Weiss, or enhanced senses just to name a few of many possibilities. Some things you should be cautious of or avoid entirely:
Having a Semblance similar to a canon character - This is something deemed possible, as many abilities shown in-series have been inherently similar (in particular the usage of clone-based abilities from many canon characters). If making one of these, please attempt to have at least one to two discernable differentiations from a Semblance a canon character has exhibited, both for individuality and acceptability purposes. For a rough example: if your character has something similar to Ruby’s Speed, instead of bursting into rose petals and going in a mostly straight line like she does, have your character go on in an arc-like fashion and leave behind bird feathers.
Glyphs - This is really left to reviewer and roleplayer discretion, though the name itself is likely to make you become cannon-fodder if made too similar to the Schnee glyphs. Like the suggestions above, add differences to the overall mechanics if you REALLY want an ability like this for your character.
Summoning - Again, up to reviewer and roleplayer discretion, and must be carefully attuned so that it can remain passable as a Semblance. As of now, this is a touchy subject and we still don’t have a lot of info on this aspect yet, so be extremely cautious if considering using this.
Selective Semblances - Okay, so a few things with this one: you can’t make sound-waves or light only affect certain people, it just doesn’t work like that. Light, sound, and other ranged things affect anything and everyone sans the user, as waves cannot choose to not affect someone. It’s one thing for your character to become invisible to the naked eye, but it’s another to bend the light away from people’s eyes so they can’t see.
Perception-based powers - Nobody wants a Semblance like Emerald’s messing with their mind, because that’s just not fun in a roleplaying based situation. Be cautious when constructing one of these.
Incorporeal substances becoming corporeal - Sound waves, shadows, and light are not solids, and therefore cannot be solid in the typical sense. Even Blake and Sun agree, as their clones are empty copies which can exert forces if necessary.
Chain Semblances - Viewer discretion when making these, as making unbreakable chains and large quantities of said chains is both annoying and hella OP.
Auto-hit/dodge - A big no-no, as abilities that can’t be thrown off in some way (like the ability to make a bullet heat-seeking, or becoming temporarily intangible/invincible) are hella OP unless you can guarantee that it will not result in a guaranteed hit or dodge, hence, it is no longer auto-hit/dodge.
Transformation - As of now, what with an inherent lack of canon info, a Semblance that allows a mythical transformation is not allowed, but a normal animal can work if written well. Considering the revelations with Qrow’s Semblance of Misfortune, his ability to become a crow [which is not his actual Semblance but might be a part of it] is a poor basis for this, and care must be taken when forming one of these.
Time - An ability involving this strictly on the base level is OP. Alternate versions of this ability, like Weiss’ Time Dilation, are an iffy road to take, as those are merely time-perception and reflex enhancing abilities, which are passable but left up to the reviewer’s discretion.
Black Holes/Insta-Death - Just don’t, if you really want a character to be accepted. This is grounds for auto-rejection.
Blood-based powers - These powers are both hella edgy and horribly inefficient considering what circumstances are necessary to make these work. As of now, any form of blood-based power is something I personally would not deem acceptable. Sidenote - (I might be slightly hypocrtitical with this though, since I'm possibly going to attempt making one of these in the future that would work.)
Reality-altering & “Always-on” - Something as arbitrary as Qrow’s Semblance can either work really well or really badly, and we honestly don’t know the extents of how far it can warp things. Until further evidence is given, please refrain from using abilities similar to this unless given explicit permission from the appropriate authorities here on-site.
Semblances that go past Aura - We currently have no canon information about this right now, and until that point we can only assume that such an ability does not and cannot exist. Adam Taurus does not work as a credible argument, as his Moonslice attack on Yang is assumed to have completely depleted Yang’s already combat-damaged Aura and managed to sever her arm in the process when it was depleted.
Additional tips: Designate your character’s particular strengths and offset these with some weaknesses. I’m seen some people insert actual roleplay stat charts like this image below, taken from the OC page “Varus Sion Millena,” though this is completely optional. This concept of strengths and weaknesses applies for Semblances as well - common ways to nerf potentially powerful abilities to make said abilities more likely to be accepted by reviewers and roleplayers include but are not limited to - A High Aura cost / drain-rate, near complete concentration needed, sensual strains, time limits, situationality, that sort of stuff.
~Note: This particular example isn’t the greatest, as his stats aren’t as balanced as they could/should be, but provides a decent overview of what you can expect if you want a full chart like this. ↑
Trivia: And here is where any other information about your character you’d like to include should be placed, along with necessary explanations for unclear or out of place things in the backstory. Here is what should be included minimally:
CNR Explanations: Be sure to add this unless the character has a very obvious color name, like Violet. Don’t assume your reader knows anything, make sure you explain it just to make sure you don’t get dinged for a simple overarching rule. Additionally, adding links to where you found your information can help streamline the CNR checking process, which saves reviewers time and energy and makes them more likely to accept your character or to give you more helpful information on other sections since they will have some extra time to devote to reading it.
Inspirations: If your character has an inspiration or an allusion to something, explain what it is and add how they took from it, or what the similarities are.
Other things: There are several things here you could possibly do. Some of my own examples would include, but are certainly not limited to:
“Like the rest of her team, Marion has a last name that begins with ‘B’.”
“Brandon’s Semblance references the properties of elemental silver, with the highest thermal and electrical conductivity of all metals.”
“Team BLSM has a plant motif, seen in Samantha through both of her names, with Samantha meaning ‘God’s flower’ and Blodwen meaning ‘white flowers’. As the word ‘flower’ is redundant, it’s better read as ‘God’s white flowers’.”
“Goji and Marion have red and blue eyes, effectively symbolizing their opposing ideologies, through these ideologies are reversed from their normally associated color. Marion is cool, calm, and collected with red eyes while Goji is hotheaded, rash, and nervous with blue eyes.”
“Luna is the only naturally left-handed character on Team BLSM, as Brandon is a learned-ambidextrous fighter but naturally right-handed.”
Point being, you can do tons of interesting stuff with this section, and oftentimes this little area can make a world of difference for a much more fleshed out and interesting character.
So, that should about wrap up this guide. I sincerely hope this helps you with creating some good characters in the future, worth a thousand engaging roleplays. Please let me know if there’s anything I missed in this guide, and if I have, please feel free to suggest things to add, and I’ll consider adding them to it. Until next time, my friends.