ok so it is no small secret that fantrolls are, by and large, real bad news, right? so many of them are unoriginal or overdesigned or have bad characterization or whatever else. but i think that at its root, the problem is that people don’t use the full potential of the alternian canon to make their fantrolls. they don’t do their fucking research on what makes the canon trolls so interesting, right? and so then the fantroll comes out and they’re extraordinarily underwhelming.
i bring this next part up to draw a comparison: the ancestors were specifically created the way they were to lend justification for the way the A2 trolls turned out. it was to give us insight into the society that made them that way. your fantroll should be the same!! the reason so many of them are so lackluster while every single canon troll is endlessly intriguing (yes, even equius) is because they are all a reflection of their society. the society makes you want to know more about the characters, and vice versa. with such a fascinating canon to back them up, it’s a shame that so many fantrolls don’t measure up, right?!
soooo, i can’t exactly claim to be an expert but if you ask me??? for future reference when building a fantroll i would decide their characteristics in the following order. i’m going to use one of my own fantrolls as an example, so bear with me!!
1. blood color. don’t just pick the prettiest one! DO UR RESEARCH KID. a lot of people don’t seem to know this, but hussie has stated that there are canonically only thirteen blood colors: the twelve seen in canon, plus lime, which is located between sollux’s and nepeta’s color. all twelve castes (not thirteen, of course, since karkat’s mutant blood color is left out) have societal duties pinned to them, though we only know the purpose of a handful of them. tealbloods are legislacerators, limebloods are threshecutioners, etc. so when i sat down with myself and decided it was fantroll o’clock, i decided first of all that i wanted to create an indigo-blooded male. i picked indigo because it’s the caste i identify with most, but there are all kinds of good reasons to pick a blood color, just so long as you keep that color’s societal implications in mind. the purpose of the indigo caste is “subjugglation,” whcih keeps the lower classes in line. all indigobloods have the power of “chucklevoodoos”— in other words, the power to instill fear in people, especially via their dreams. chucklevoodoos are what’s responsible for the nightmares that plague the entire troll race, which in turn means that it’s only because of indigobloods that trolls need recuperacoons. that’s just a refresher, though— a history lesson was not my intention here, but the purpose of each caste IS really important to keep in mind, because you lose a lot if you leave out details like that in your fantroll creation.
2. moon (derse or prospit)— even if you aren’t building a sburb session this is good character information to figure out! it’s a good starting block for a character’s personality. i picked prospit for this character, because gamzee is the only one whose moon i have difficulty reconciling with his personality— and he’s a prospit dreamer too.
3. sburb title. again, this is really indicative of personality, and a really fun thing to build a character’s personality from. for example if your troll’s blood color and sburb title are at odds, then fitting their personality around that juxtaposition is AUTOMATICALLY MORE INTRIGUING TO WORK OUT than picking a title and then figuring out what blood caste would work best for them! my fantroll’s title is knight of mind, because a subjugglator being particularly hung up on logic strikes me as interesting and unlikely.
4. name. in homestuck, all the trolls’ names are references to ancient literature or shakespeare or pop culture or SOMETHING. you can make your troll’s name a reference to anything you want, or nothing at all, of course! but a name reference is another good starting block. for example, i named my indigo blood knight of mind dieter spivak. dieter is a german name, pronounced deet-er, but i realized right away that people would assume it was pronounced diet-er, like “one who diets,” so from there i decided it would be interesting to make him excessively health-conscious. accidental pun!
5. strife specibus. a list of kind abstrata can be found here. i picked staplerkind for dieter, because a subjugglator with health problems really sounds like a guy who’d appreciate swift, convenient deaths with a satisfying crunch to go with.
6. lusus. dieter spivak’s lusus is a seapig, because he’s named in part for michael spivak— a mathematician whose works invariably contain reference to yellow pigs. besides which, given the stereotype that generally comes along with pigs, we now have a nice juicy justification for dieter’s orthorexia: a statement against his lusus’s habits.
7. fetch modus. i only let myself choose from the canon modi (a list of which can be found here, but of course you can come up with whatever you want! dieter has the puzzle modus, same as jake’s, both because of his affinity for logic and his desire to have things quick and out of the way, which tends to backfire on him when he runs out of room in his sylladex’s storage. hint hint: it’s a metaphor for his life.
8. hive/environmental surroundings. for dieter, this was based on his blood caste— just a step down from a seadweller. he strikes me as a nomadic sort, wherever duty calls and all, bein a sugjugglator— so i made his hive a submarine. considering the vastness of the ocean, this would allow him to be as close to or as far from his lusus as he desired at any given time. also? this is alternia. a submarine needs a helmsman! helmsmen are usually yellowbloods, so bam, yellow pig connection firmly secured. this automatically gives me more insight into his personality as well, because if you’ve already gotten yourself a helmsman at nine sweeps then wow!! you must be one privileged asshole. is dieter a racist??? i think dieter’s a racist.
9. THEN, finally, after you’re done with everything else that will help you decide these details, is when you bring in the chumhandle, appearance/outfit, and quirk. remember that these three attributes are an audience’s first way of gauging your troll’s demeanor! dieter is tetchyCachexic, wears oversized sweaters and wrinkled khakis, and though i haven’t fully fleshed out his quirk i do know that he uses more punctuation than he strictly needs, because the guy is melodramatic ass hell. pun intended.
10. all of this makes it really easy to gauge a character’s personality and build a story around them! of course i’m not claiming it to be tha best method 5ever everyone else go home, but it’s what i use and it’s made everything run really, really smoothly in the creation of my fantrolls.
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