A Little Introduction
While this is called the 'Team Fortress Character Guide', a lot of the information contained within can be applied to fan characters with many different origins.Team Fortress 2. A team-based FPS romp through a crazy little universe set in an alternate universe version of the 1960s. With a story told mostly through comics and official timelines, an economy based on hats, accessories and bizarre weapons, and a very blurred line between reality and fiction, the game has many fans and an incredible potential for fan fiction. Where there is potential, there are stories...and unfortunately, when stories are written, Mary Sue tends to rear her speshul snowflake head. Mary waltzes in through the Fortress doors and, like a black hole, she warps the very fabric of time and space around herself to fit her needs. Also like a black hole, it's hard to tell where Mary will show up next. Alright, ladies and gents. Mission begins in ten seconds. Last one alive, lock the door!
Deploy a Backstory, here!
This is the essence of a character. Give them a good one, because your past defines you in ways that you don't even know.Amnesia is generally a bad route. There are multiple kinds of amnesia and multiple causes for each, and unfortunately the brain doesn't work immediately, so it sometimes takes years for an afflicted person to regain things, if they ever do. Try to avoid an overly-abusive childhood. If your character does have a particularly nasty childhood, the worst thing you can do is have the character whine about it all the time. Generally when people experience terrifying events, they refuse to talk about it.Above all, be logical and historically accurate. Even in the crazy world of TF2, there is a history that you have to follow. As for how your character gets into the mercenaries, they have to know what they're getting into. The motto of Mann Co. is 'We sell things and get in fights'. RED and BLU hire mercenaries, not secretaries. They would be legally required to mention 'Oh, by the way, you're going to kill people.'
Prepare for your examination...
I'm going to go ahead and say this. A girl with oversized breasts, a skinny waist, stick-thin limbs or muscle-less arms is not going to be a good fighter. Maybe it's just because I've taken a lot of health classes, but it drives me absolutely crazy when I see little girls(usually their age is early to late teens, but they're usually so skinny they look like 6-10 year olds) with the title 'Heavy'. The Heavy's minigun, Sasha, weighs 150 kilograms. If your character only weighs 90 kilograms, they probably won't be able to lift Sasha, let alone be able to carry 'her' while 'she' fires 200 rounds per minute...and that doesn't even get into the weapons with kick-back. (Not the Insecticon, the force of momentum from a discharged gun.) Soldier's rocket launchers have exhaust ports in the back to account for recoil, but the hand-held weapons don't account for it, so you're getting the force of it. Thin characters are much more acceptable with Snipers, Spies or Scouts, but a Scout has to have quite long, muscular legs to run with. Long, unbound hair is dangerous. Long hair is easy to grab, easy to get tangled in things, and incredibly easy to light on fire, especially in the era of beehives and gallons of aerosol hairspray.On that note, abnormal hair colors tend to stray towards Sue category. Most people didn't have hot pink or electric blue streaks in their hair. If there was any hair highlighting at all, it was just a slight bleaching.
You're a disgrace to the uniform!
Skimpy clothing, exposed skin, unbound hair, skin-tight clothing, graphic T-shirts...please stay away from these. I'm very much aware that this is the same universe that lets you wear a giant eyeball for a hat, but since Saxton Hale can recognize hippies on sight, the world still runs on the fashions of the late 60s. The early years of the 60s were a lot like the 50s. Women were dressed conservatively, usually in little dresses with pleated skirts, silk gloves for formal occasions, and rather simple patterns. If a woman wore pants, she wore them for only the most casual occasions. Pants weren't popular in the workplace for women, pants were never worn to school, and they were really only acceptable at home. The latter half of the 60s gave birth to the fashions everyone remembers. Bell-bottom pants, belly buttons, wide collars, floral patterns, miniskirts and go-go boots. That being said, it ruins the illusion when a character, especially a girl, shows up in, say, a graphic T-shirt and a pair of baggy jeans. Another problem with exposed skin, skin-tight clothing and unbound hair is that it's impractical for battle. If your character is prancing around on a battlefield with exposed flesh, they are a prime target for bullets, hits with a baseball bat, syringes, lasers, and fire especially.
Here's a gadget you should build...
Unless your character comes from, say, the future or the 'real world', you should not have an I-Pod. In the TF2 Canon, the only place that would have technology like that is Australia and possibly Mann Co. However, Mann Co. exists to 'sell products and get in fights', so most of their technology is used for weapons or silly hats, and judging from the fact that the rest of the world still seems to have developed along the same technological path that the real world did in the 60s and 70s, Australians are very stingy with their technology. In some cases, a person from the future or the 'real world' can work well, but it's harder to pull off.
You're a wee lil' lass, ye are!
Age is important! While there aren't really canon ages for the mercenaries, most of them are older males. Scout is an obvious exception(although one of his items says he's 23). As for the others, with possible exceptions of Sniper and Pyro, these are grown men, hardened from years of war, hardship, getting 12 PhDs or misplacing skeletons. I have seen a lot of underaged Medics and Engineers. You can't graduate high school at 14. Child prodigy or not, it is extremely difficult to skip a grade, let alone several. I skipped kindergarten because I could already read at that age, but the school officials were completely against the idea until my parents proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Everyone thinks I'm just a one-eyed bloody monster...
The pinnacle of Fortre-Sues is that everyone loves them, everyone hates them, or the worst one, which is everyone important loves the Sue and anyone who doesn't is evil/a jerk/creepy/humiliated, etc. And usually, everyone loves/hates the Sue before they've even met him or her. This can be justified with some characters,(I.e, Pyro, Scout, and possibly Engineer. Pyro sees the world as a magical rainbow candyland and just wants to 'play' with the 'cherubs' of BLU Team, so he/she/it/the Pyro loves pretty much everyone and everything. Scout's a womanizer and Engy's usually a soft-spoken, hospitable ol' boy.) but you're going to have some trouble befriending a man who avoids everyone else and throws his own piss.
Lot o' good that Soldier training did ya!
I mentioned this earlier, but the character has to know what they're getting into. They need some training or at least experience. That's why people in the army go through boot camp. You can't just pick up a gun and expect to know everything about it.
Even if there's no specific 'training' they can go through, they should have experience. Sniper spent years in the wilderness hunting animals, which prepared him for spending time up in high places, shooting Scouts. Pyro...let's just leave that one alone. The fact that Spy can instantly kill someone with a single backstab implies that he's been doing it for years.
I could go into a lot more detail, but these are the most obvious ones that apply to TF2 Sues. It's always important to pay attention to the details of the world your character is from!