Let's talk about Expies.

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Let's talk about Expies.

Post by Daisz on Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:56 pm

Lately, I've been becoming more and more active in watching roleplay in our rooms, and I've noticed an epidemic that seems to be spreading by the minute. This is a problem more prevalent than even Sues and Stus have become. It was already present before, but after looking through this subforum itself, I realized how truly detrimental and widespread the problem is. "But what is an expie, Daisz?" you might ask. "Are those like, people who have Windows XP?" No they aren't. An expy is a character that is purposefully and plainly heavily based off of, if not plagiarizing the entire concept of, a character from another series - basically, knockoffs. Since that's a lot of big words, let me break down some of the signs of an expy, listed in order of relevance:


  • Expies will be often, if not always, a clear, deliberate reference to the character's personality, traits, abilities, and/or backstory. Random coincidental similarities (ex. "Wait! Her character is really clumsy and falls a lot, like that one girl from Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya!" or "Hold up! Actually, his parents are dead, just like Batman!") do not count. Instead, look for blatant references, often stacked up one after another (ex. "His brother is dead, but wait! Now he's got one blue glowing eye! On top of that, his character biography is written entirely in the font 'Comic Sans', likely as a homage to the original character! AND his name is Sans!")
  • Expies will often, if not always, carry some reference to the character's physical appearance in their character description (including not limited to: appearance section, provided illustration, or more blatantly the simile (i.e. "My character looks like Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider series.") This is less common, because if an Expy already resembles the character, the creator will often make superficial changes to the expy's physical appearance in order to try and distinguish the expy and the character apart.
  • The creator of the expy themselves will sometimes take note of these above signs somewhere in the description. For instance, "His backstory is xxx, just like xxx!" or "She looks a lot like xxx from xxx, who she shares the same name with!"

"But Daisz, why do you caaaare?" comes the whine from the peanut gallery. "It's not even any of your business. It's not harming anybody, is it?"

Well, to be fair, it is. When your so-called "original character" or "OC" is a direct ripoff of Goku, it can be a little hard to deal with you, because simply put, nobody wants to RP with a character that they've seen before. The argument "but what if they don't know Goku" is subjective and therefore invalid, because 'what ifs' aren't really helpful when the rest of the RP room is frowning upon you. Just saiyan.
On top of that, expies break the entire concept of originality. Although the character the expy is based off of may be extremely well-written, the fact that the expy owner themselves had to copy and paste that quality means that the expy is not of good quality itself.

More than that, though, even though we have a rule against outside fandoms in the RP room when it comes to official roleplays, expies seem to slip by undetected, because they're not 'exactly' the character from the outside fandom. I'm not saying making an Expy kills people. It just takes away the fun of roleplaying with you, when we're looking for new, original characters that we can find out more about. That have nuanced backstories, and unique strengths and flaws, and, well, put the 'original' in "original character".

Thanks for reading this! Let me know if there's anything I've missed, or share your opinion in the posts down below.
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Re: Let's talk about Expies.

Post by madman404 on Sat Nov 05, 2016 5:06 pm

All of this. I swear, if I see another Sans (bone related pokemon) or Undyne (fish pokemon) I'm gonna go nuts.
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Re: Let's talk about Expies.

Post by Rotom's Pokedex on Sat Nov 05, 2016 6:17 pm

For sure. I agree with all of this. I only did this once, and it really wasn't fun to play around with, so I dropped the idea soon enough, thankfully. But, as madman said- I cannot stand to see one more Sans-Like OC.

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Re: Let's talk about Expies.

Post by Psychoreality on Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:27 am

I made Vegeta (Vileplume) as a joke throwaway OC for an MM one time. I don't think I'll ever go back to this myself, ESPECIALLY after all of the ones that have popped up over the last year or so.
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Re: Let's talk about Expies.

Post by Samtendo09 on Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:25 pm

Yeah, expies are not really fun to roleplay with. I had met a Gengar named Sans and I am not comformtable with that too much. Like you said, being an Expy of someone is basically removing the originality of OCs. It might become a new pet peeve for our RP room too if it is not addressed.
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