*jumps up onto a small stage, a giant display of graphs, charts, statistics, and expert testimonies appearing behind her. She paces back and forth for a moment, adjusts her glasses, then taps the wooden pointer against the floor for attention as she stares at one side of the audience*
So! You want be a cross-over Warmonger? That's great. Now, according to my research and the think-tank I've employed, there are a few things that should to be considered before and/or during your campaign. Keep in mind that this is not an end-all, be-all, gospel from the cross-over comic gods. Results and mileage may vary.
First! Communication is the problem AND the answer. You need co communicate with your team, the writers/artists that you want to involve with your cross-over war, and any other groups you wish or allow to be involved with your endeavor. The two that take top priority should be your team and fellow writers/artists; your team for obvious reasons and your fellow writers/artists because, well, they're letting you muck around in their little universes. If you suddenly claim that you've killed one of your fellow writers/artists' characters (especially a main/prominent one), they're going to get mad.
Which brings us to our next point: You win some, you lose some. An army that steam-rolls it's way through each battle is boring to readers and can ruffle the feathers of your fellow writers/artists. Going back to communication here, talk out what's going to happen. Will your forces win? Will theirs drive back the invaders, and will your forces return at a later date to try again? Did your forces have to do a strategic withdrawal because the Grand High General forgot to take the muffins out of the oven before invading? Did you even have to fight?
*pauses, then points at a graph*
If you would turn your attention to graph A-1, I have some results from the think-tank on this matter. Our group indicated that a high level of what we'll call successful attempts is preferred; readers may not take you seriously if you lose every single battle. Your successes should be tempered with unsuccessful attempts, one unsuccessful to every six or so successes, and intentions to return at later dates with different tactics help create a sense of suspense. Comedic reasons for a success or lack thereof are entertaining, but unless you intend to have a slap-stick comic, comedy during your attempts should be used sparingly.
*whirls around, pulls down a projection screen, and starts a slide-show*
I've been using the word 'success' and 'unsuccessful' a bit. What do I mean by it? Simple: you do not have to use your army and crush everyone underfoot to win a battle. Diplomacy can work, especially if your army is looking at a world that would mesh well with your intentions and therefore provide you with willing allies. Kidnapping, blackmail, and extortion can get you supplies, technology, and cannon-fodder. Subterfuge in the form of feeding an unsuspecting characters info that to make them think you represent the 'good guys' or buying off corrupt characters is also effective. You could also use brainwashing, quietly and quickly snatch a characters and replace them with clones or robot look-alikes, or help a character through a incredibly difficult task in exchange for their promise to assist you, etc.
Successful means your strategy works. Unsuccessful means it fell through for whatever reason. Your tactics may even appear to have worked, only to fall through/backfire at a later date. Which can lead to more plot possibilities. Communication with your fellow writers/artists is key, and may lead to things that you didn't consider before! A fellow writer/artist who's running with you and has your war as canon in their comic may even ask you to do something special for them.
*turns off the slide-show, dramatically snaps the projection screen up, and points at some poll results*
When asking the think-tank on what character types should be included in a comic such as this, a total of fifteen types were suggested. When put to a vote, a Leader-type, a Brain-type, Militant-type, Comedic relief-type, and Mysterious-type were the top five choices. When asked about the qualities these types should have, our think-tank came up with the following:
*she rolls out a white-board and starts writing with a blue marker*
A Leader should be intelligent, diplomatic, and manipulative. He/she should know exactly what to say, do, or offer to get people to work for him, and at least have some knowledge in all methods/technologies that his/her forces are using. He/she should also be very charismatic; more than the promises, he/she needs to INSPIRE his/her underlings.
The Brain is the undisputed smart one in the bunch. He/she should spin wonders of Science and Technology as easily as a little old woman knits doilies. Given appropriate time (and storyline value), he/she can crack any code and fix any technology-based problem. Often, the Brain is recruited because the Leader saw genius where his/her peers saw only a mad scientist with crackpot theories.
What wonderful devices the Brain makes, the Militant uses with finesse on the field of battle. Militants are strong with a good deal of intelligence and charisma; not only is he/she fighter who can use a weapon, he/she is familiar with several forms of combat and knows how to effectively use most weapons. A Militant can also play the part of spy or assassin, and are usually the one to direct forces on the battlefield.
Comedy reliefs are not always slap-stick. Maybe they're a bit naive, maybe they have certain behaviours that are humorous. Also known as the 'plucky sidekick', they often occupy or aspire to the role of psudo-leader. They often share many of the same qualities as the Leader, but at the same time possess at least one quality or behaviour that holds them back. Uprisings and take-overs from within are usually instigated by the Comedy reliefs.
The Mysterious takes care of the things that the Brain and the Militant can't. Usually, they deal with the 'supernatural' areas, be it through magic, psychic powers, a faith, or a mystical object. However, they can just be an alien that has technology so far advanced that it looks like magic or something as mundane as a hypnotist that's good at brainwashing.
Now, you can mix and match these types all you want. You can have multiples of most of them -- I wouldn't suggest multiple Leaders or Comedy reliefs, since they'd be trying to undermine each-other -- and you can come up with more types if you choose. Keep this in mind, though: don't make your cast TOO big. Too many characters can dilute the plot, especially when there's a chance that you might be using cameos. And don't make your characters overpowered, no-one likes an invincible, all-knowing character that can't be scratched and turns all their foes into peanut-butter sandwiches.
*she flips the white-board over to the clean side, puts down the marker, and steps to the front of the stage*
Now! If you're an aspiring cross-over Warmonger and can take some of these suggestions to heart and use them OR if you're a Warmonger that I've based some of this on, then -- check this out, double thumbs-up for you -- good job! You can collect your gold-star stickers at the end of the seminar... unfortunately the cookies were stolen and devoured by the think-tank.
*she turns slightly to one side, staring at the other half of the audience as she casually hits the palm of her hand with the pointer*
Readers, Forum-goers, and Others That Are Not An Original Or Planned Part Of The War... this segment is for you! It is by the will of the Warmongers -- past, present, and/or future -- that you will or will not be allowed to participate in their war, and to what extent.
The words I want you to repeat are the following: Communication, humility, and acceptance. Ready? All together, now!
*she points at a pie-chart that looks like Pac-man trying to eat a strand of hair*
Now, communication. Just like for the Warmongers, communication is the problem and the answer. More so, a problem. Think about it; the Warmongers are usually a small team that are outnumbered many times over by the Readers/Forum-goers/Others. If the Warmongers kept tabs on EVERYTHING you do, then they'd have an even more limited amount of time to... erm, monger their war. Especially if you're on several different forums, e-mailing, messaging, etc.. Never, EVER expect an immediate response; at best, be content if you get a quick note back three weeks later.
Humility. No matter how bad-ass and all-powerful you can make a character/forum-personality/whatever to participate, you shouldn't. Make the character bad-ass and all-powerful, I mean. In your head, you might think your self-insertion character is tough enough to take down the Warmongers all by your lonesome, but it's not going to happen. Tone it down and instead make something interesting that the Warmongers might be inspired to use. Not to toot my own horn here but I had a character that, honestly, had very little involvement with the last Crossover War -- real-life issues have an annoying habit of taking over -- yet managed to get someone's attention and got a couple cameos and later tapped for something a bit more significant... and the worst she did under my direct control was steal some salt shakers!
Also, humility extends to other Readers/Forum-goers/Others. Don't expect to be able to jump in halfway through the involvement and expect everyone to suddenly defer to you and make you their leader when someone else has already been given that role by popular demand. Respect is earned, mmkay?
Acceptance goes hand-in-hand with humility and communication. Accept that the Warmongers and your peers may not and probably will not turn you into The Big Hero. Accept that the Warmongers may not specifically include you or your actions/efforts. Accept that the Warmongers may be so busy that they can't answer you in a very timely manner.
Accept that you are an outside force, and that the Warmongers might out-and-out ignore you for the sake of the story.
The Warmongers and their fellow writers/artists are here to tell us a story. This story may or may not include you; and if they do include you, they may only include parts of what you do. They may even modify what you've done to better suit their story. Trying to hijack the story can lead to the Warmongers burning out and ending the comic abruptly.
*looks at watch*
And, that is all the time we have for today. Dr. Orcott's lecture will begin in a half-hour; I didn't get a copy of his notes, but what I heard in the lounge is correct, it should be a lesson on how to properly vacuum your toast. My next seminar will be Friday at 2pm, where we will be discussing the population of people in Massachusetts' with heterochromia versus the rubber-duck population in Wisconsin and the direct impact this has on Yankee Candle purchases.
Have a good day.