Your PC is not allowed to know any of your previous PCs. He is not allowed, ever, to know how your PC died unless he finds out ingame naturally, and is not allowed to do the same kinds of things your previous one did. If you want a Swordsman, take care of the one you've got: you will not be retreading! We do review all apps' account histories. We will decline any that seem too much like one of your previous PCs.
You are however allowed to know other players' PCs if they consent to the previous IC relationship. For example: long-lost relatives, old military buddies, Successian-Era collaborationists, etc. You must name the other PC, and that other player must email/message us to tell us it's all right for you to do this. You may not have an IC history with another player without that other player's consent. However, please don't retread by getting in with your previous gang of friends ingame with the new PC and think you'll just take up where Bob left off with Bob Junior. It'll annoy everybody of consequence.
Your character name can't look too much like your previous names, nor can it look too much like your account name. We also don't allow names to mimic staffers' names, but if you want to try to duplicate something ingame, we'll take that on a case-by-case basis (normally we'll warn you, and if you want to do it, usually that's fine as long as you know there might be some cases of mistaken identity!).
You must declare complete details about your PC to staffers. That means that if he has some big nasty secret parentage, you need to make sure we know about it and are onboard with helping you with its portrayal ingame. It also means that if you forget to include something really important, we might not let you do it later! We have no issue at all with just not consenting to a storyline we don't want, which would unfortunately make your PC look pretty dumb as the claims collapse around his ears. But we'll be happy, conversely, to help you with it as much as possible if you'll just get permission first.
We also will Google your character's name, and if it turns out to be a character from a video game or book, we'll probably decline it. Please don't do that to yourself or us.
We also request that you make your concept a little open-ended, especially if your character concept is a military one. Getting into military service isn't actually all that easy, and you may need a "day job" for a few IC (in-character) months to tide you over before you get that coveted dream position. Many players regard guard duty or soldiering as a "dump class" where they can go hack at stuff as they learn the ropes of the game, and our military orgs are more selective than that. Please read our documentation before making that plunge.
See the individual race writeups for lists of sample names!
Most new characters will be Sciallan, which makes life easier since Sciallan names are very familiar to English-speaking ears. Names like Thomas, Richard, and Aaron are considered very retro and traditional, much like how we'd think of names like Elijah or Ezekiel (though Old-Testament names like that aren't in vogue at all and aren't popular). For women, names like Marjorie, Talia, Yvette, and similar are perfectly fine.
The made-up "yooneek" names that pregnant teenagers think will sound just wunnerful for their babies aren't actually very prevalent. Braylee, Kaighden, Madison, and Mackenzie would be pretty out of place on SciallaMud. Similarly, ethnic names like Siobhan and Iuewan would seem strange to Sciallan ears. In the end though, this is just a preference, and if you can't think of anything, try it; if we think it's not too out of place, we'll let it in.
Names we won't allow include compound names (like WalksSoftly or NewSoul) or names from modern video games or movies. We also won't allow ethnic names from non-Continental countries or words that are from non-Continental languages--and not even all the Romance-language derived names work. We regret that if your name is not suitable, you'll have to re-app all over again, so please ask if you're not sure. We're very glad to tell you either way!
Once you get some RPPs under your belt, here's a bit of info about the other races: Lirwhinites always have at least two names (such as Rus Niak, Nerismen Thulevale, and Sharyandro Emis). They always use these names together--even Rus Niak's best friends would call him "Rus Niak". The names very rarely make any sense, and only occasionally will even direct family members share the same surname. Due to the Lirwhinite custom of fostering, it can be very hard to even tell who direct family even entails, since children get swapped all the time. That said, Lirwhinite names are where you get to "make stuff up" and be creative; as long as it feels and sounds like what we've outlined above, chances are it'll fly.
Flameholdans go to the other extreme, choosing staunchly traditional names for their children. Greek and Roman-influenced names are particularly prized. They always use clan names rather than a surname. As you can see, their customs regarding names reflect who they are as a culture: traditional, strong, and absolutely set.
Bilashans will almost certainly not be most players' concerns, but their names tend to be fairly normal-sounding, with an Eastern European tang.
Nobles of the Empire follow the naming conventions of their home planet, but with a twist: the higher up the station of the Noble, the more "naming rituals" he will undergo as his various titles are awarded and confirmed. Most Nobles will only have a first and last name. Higher-up Nobles will be "twice-named", meaning they will have a first, middle, and last name. The Imperial Family is traditionally "thrice-named." The additional names might be taken from other planets, so might not be Sciallan in origin. Also, sometimes Nobles will trade names, with two families agreeing to swap the names of two of their children (the children are usually very close in age, always infants or toddlers young enough not to realize their names have changed a bit, and always of the same gender) as a diplomatic way of communicating peaceful intent and respect. Name exchanges happen when the two children in question are infants. Commoners absolutely don't do this; it'd be terribly presumptuous. The custom is noted here only to explain why there might be a very odd sounding name in a Noble family.
Last names for regular Sciallans are about what you'd expect. Most are the names of occupations or a remark upon some ancestor's physical attribute(s), such as "Clerk" or "Brown." Last names like "BloodDrinker," of course, won't be allowed.
Do's and Don'ts
...No supernatural or unnatural eye or hair colors. No white or silver hair on non-elderly commoners. Albinos are allowed within reason; if we already have one or two floating around ingame, we'll probably decline another just to keep albinism as rare as it's supposed to be. Hair dye is known but rare outside of Priascialla and Lirwhin.
...No "children raised by wolves" or "those assassins killed my family but raised me for some weird reason" or "hermit in the woods dispensing knowledge" apps. Absolutely no "brigands/orcs/wolves/Bilashans destroyed my entire village" apps. Yes, there are some villages that have been destroyed by fire or disease, but the Empire is lawful enough that unless there was some serious provocation, no bad guys would be that kind of stupid.
...No amnesia apps. No multiple personalities or "hears voices telling them to act out" either. Any and all serious mental illnesses will need clearance from your GMs.
...No homicidal maniacs or other concepts doomed to short life. If you have a history of repeated short-lived PCs, you will be asked to start playing more constructively and possibly put on a disciplinary path for improvement. SciallaMud is not the game for that kind of play style, so if that's what you like doing, please do everybody a favor and try something different here!
...Tattoos are fine; piercing is allowable depending on concept. Most societies on Scialla do not pierce more than their ears. "Tribal" tattoos are unknown and will not be allowed. "Tramp stamps" are also unknown. Flameholdans do tattoo, so please see their race writeup for more information. Very Noble families also utilize tattoos, too, so it's useful to learn about this custom.
...No special object requests beyond Walmart-level basic stuff (inexpensive heirloom jewelry, for example) unless it is an RPP role. No RPP role requests other than what's on the website. No skill swaps after the first hour of your PC's life. Nobody can add psi to your PC so if you didn't roll it, please don't ask.
... ABSOLUTELY no "I know you said none of these, but..." apps.
The First Question: Where Are You From?
If you are a zero-RPP Sciallan, you won't be from Valrona at all. You'll be from either another Eastern City, or you'll be from way out west among the frontier towns, where power doesn't work and life can be pretty harsh. All new PCs will be, in-character, new arrivals to the city, so you won't be expected to play as if you were an old-timer. You'll be a newcomer, with expectations set accordingly. You also cannot be from Priascialla if you're a 0-RPP character, for obvious reasons. Priascialla is where people go when they die and they've been very, very good.
A few specific town names for newcomers:
Bear in mind that if you're from anywhere along the Eastern Seaboard, chances are you'll be literate, unless there's a pressing reason not to be. If you're from way out west, you might or might be, according to your preference; if you are illiterate, just let a staffer know and make sure it's in your background as to how you escaped the technically mandated schooling. (For example, if your parents were very hardworking farmers or miners working alone, they might have pulled you out of school early or something.)
People tend to migrate somewhat among the cities, going wherever they think they'll be able to make money. It's not unheard-of for a normal person to move into Valrona hoping to find a good job. Life in one city's pretty much like another, so preferences for climate and general ambience figure in heavily. You could be in Valrona for nothing more than liking the shopping better than in your previous city.
Being from the far frontier might be somewhat trickier. There isn't a lot of traveling between the frontier and the Eastern Cities, and immigrants from that far outside the Perimeter are seen very much as yokels and bumpkins (which they are, really). Out west, those same folk see themselves as hardworking, self-sufficient pioneers and the Eastern Cities as decadent, corrupt dens of iniquity (which they are, really). If you choose to RP such a concept, be aware that your frontier immigrant will probably feel like a fish out of water, and very likely he's going to see a lot going on he neither understands nor approves of.
You also might choose to be from the capital city, Priascialla. Being right smack dab in the middle of the Perimeter, power works here, and most of the miracles of modern life can be had: computing machines, energy weapons, spaceships, groundcars, you name it and it's probably here somewhere. Since it's expensive to live here, and because it's seen as the zenith of human habitation on Scialla, it's a bit like living in Aspen, Colorado or Manhattan, New York: it's hard to imagine leaving such wonders, but hey, people do all kinds of things that others don't understand sometimes. Was your heart broken? Did you inherit some money and decide to travel? Did you get accepted at the University? Maybe a relative's promised you some opportunities? Something made you chuck it all and head for the (relative) boonies.
Zero-RPP chars won't be from offplanet, but you'll run into others who've chosen to run characters who are. Just so you're able to interact with them ingame, here's some info about why offworlders would choose Scialla:
Flameholdans almost never travel alone, but sometimes you'll run into singletons who are teaching at the University or who've been sent to seek specific and certain information. Most of the Flameholdans you see will be there with their clans, notably with contingents of the Flameholdan Guard.
Lirwhinites often do travel alone or with just one or two servants. They are an intensely scientific race with intensely far-reaching vision. Lirwhinite students often choose to study in Valrona. Non-students might also visit for the long term to enjoy the benefits of the vast library here, or to learn about other things of their own choosing--for example, one might be here to study the ecology of the fauna of the Wilds.
The Second Question: How Did You Get to Valrona?
Valrona is the start city to the game: urbane, sophisticated, known for its university and its opportunities. It's one of the major hubs of the Eastern Cities, with smaller villages all around feeding into it. Its location along Iscine Bay is also ideal, almost right in the middle of the arc of the coastline, giving it a commercial appeal that can't be beaten.
The answer to this question, then, can be as varied as the characters. A person from a wealthy family might go there for educational purposes or to start a business. A poor person might go there because the streets are paved with gold. A refugee might take shelter there, a jaded priest might find solace and renewal in the chapterhouses there, a mercenary might go there hoping the constant bickering along the borderlands will bring him or her wealth beyond the dreams of Avarice.