So you want to write a Shadowchasers fanfic. You’re in luck – more or less. Convincing me is a lot easier than convincing a real publisher.
Here’s what you do:
First, read the following guidelines. It will give you the history and structure of the Shadowchaser world, and some rules to abide by in any fic based on Shadowchasers.
Once you read them, e-mail me a proposal, containing a plot synopsis, containing the basic story and plot. If I approve it, you’re all set.
Now then. Shadowchasers. For most of what you need to get started, turn to Chapter 4 of “Yu-Gi-Oh 5D’s: Shadowchasers”, where Shichiro explains a great deal. I will discuss here what he does not cover.
When did Shadows first appear on Earth? This, not even Jalal knows. Some say that the cold hand that snatches them from their home has been doing so for as long as civilization has existed on this world. Shadows and humans have coexisted since the dawn of time, it seems.
Here is a rough timeline of the history of Shadow through the ages, as it pertains to the Yu-Gi-Oh universe:
10,000 years ago:
In ancient times, Atlantis hovers over the sea, powered by the evil magic of the Orichalcos. Humans and Shadows alike tremble in fear as Leviathan and the Legendary Dragons fight in a great battle, and all let out a sigh of relief as the side of Good is victorious, imprisoning Leviathan and sending its city beneath the waves. From this point, no Shadows, not even the most evil, desire its release, and it is forgotten until the present day.
5,000 years ago:
In present-day South America, the Earthbound Gods are summoned from the Underworld, and met with opposition from the Star Dragon King. Exactly what connection these demons have with Shadowkind is unclear, but in the resulting battle, the Dragon Star sends the Crimson Dragon to defeat the Earthbound Gods and seal them under the Nazca Lines. Shadowkind remains indifferent to this event, but clans living the area avoid the Nazca Lines until the present day, knowing that evil magic emits from them.
3,000 years ago:
In Egypt, Pharaoh Atemu is challenged by Priest Seto in a Shadow Duel, and later, both battle against the demonic Zorc Necrophades. (Abbreviated version of a much longer series of events.) Shadowkind are only spectators to these events, even though they have much to gain from a benign outcome – the creatures summoned by the participants are actually the ancestors of Duel Spirits.
1,000 years ago:
After avenging his father’s death by killing the wicked red dragon Malys, Jalal Stormbringer finds himself immortal and with a vast fortune. He is frightened at this point. He has heard stories of mortal beings who sought immortality and obtained it, only to succumb to madness after living too long past their proper lifespan. Jalal decides that to stay sane, he must have a purpose.
He thus finds five knights who, like himself, can see the Shadows, and forms a team. Calling themselves the Shadowchasers, they devote themselves to righting wrongs committed by Shadows, which most knights are unable to do. The Shadowchasers are officially founded.
More join the group, and it grows to ten, then to twenty. Jalal is surprised one day when a halfling maiden begs him and two other members of his group for help, saying that her sister has been kidnapped by an evil wizard. Jalal decides to help, does so, and in the process finds that protecting humans from Shadows is not the only purpose his group should have – it can go both ways.
The Shadowchasers now have their purpose, and more members join every day.
(From this point on, calendar dates will be used.)
Construction of Shadowchaser Headquarters begins in Yorkshire, started by the same clan of dwarves who made Jalal’s armor out of Malys’s hide. Jalal sends members of his group to the mainland continent to modern-day France and Spain. The Shadowchasers start to expand.
Shadowchaser Headquarters is ready to use. The Shadowchasers now have about 300 members, and they are now spread across Europe. Shadowkind in Europe now know and respect them, and alliances have formed with bigger clans.
Shadowchasers expand to Russia and Africa.
Also at this point, relations between humans and Shadows become very tense. Unkind words are exchanged, and clans start to dislike the Shadowchasers’ methods. Jalal thus meets with several representatives from the most powerful clans, led by the Incantifer, Maskent.
The Great Treaty is drafted. It outlines a set of laws that must be followed by Shadows who deal with humans, and puts the Shadowchasers in charge of enforcing them. In return, the Shadows are allowed to continue as their cultures dictate, and are granted immunity from any legal system except the Shadowchasers.
This Treaty will be revised several times over the years, but one part will remain constant: The Treaty acknowledges that conflict will occur between Shadowchasers and Shadowkind, and if that happens, any fight between them must be fair.
In the midst of Feudal Japan, Shadowchasers make their first base there. Also, with colonization of the Americas beginning, several Shadows leave Europe to join colonies in the New World. Some Shadowchasers go as well.
In this century, America’s fight for independence has everyone taking sides, Shadows included. As already stated, many of the Founding Fathers are Aware, including Benjamin Franklin. Some Shadowkind join their cause, while others become loyalists and support the British. Jalal tries to remain neutral throughout it all, not wanting to get involved in such affairs, but works very hard to prevent Shadowchasers with opposing views from coming to blows.
Meanwhile, the Shadowchasers continue to grow, and continue to expand. Australia sees its first group, despite still being mostly a penal colony. South America sees the arrival of a few Shadowchasers.
America is dominated by two events: Westward expansion and the Civil War. Shadowkind move west, and so do the Shadowchasers. During the Gold Rush, outlaw gangs composed entirely of gold-greedy orcs and evil dwarves are formed, and the Shadowchasers have their hands full.
During the Civil War, when abolition becomes an issue, only the ophidia and the dark elves object to it. The vast majority of Shadows are abolitionists, as they recall bits and pieces of even crueler slavery practices in the world where they came from. They fear that if slavery is not done away with, it will only get worse. Fortunately, it is.
The Industrial Age is a paradise for gnomes, as they get to ply their trade like never before. Jalal updates the Shadowchasers with more technology to keep in pace with the world.
When Prohibition strikes America, humans are not the only bootleggers. Dark elves run the illegal liquor trade, and Shadowchasers form their own squads to curtail it.
The Great Depression sees an influx of Shadowkind crime bosses, eager to prey on the weak. Jalal recruits more Awares to his group.
World War II has a side to it that many Mundanes do not know about it. As inhuman as most Nazis were, several of them were Aware, and let some of the worst Shadowkind into their ranks. Illithids used their psionic abilities as interrogators for the Third Reich, while ophidia allied themselves with the Germans. Some wicked Shadows were swayed by promises that once Great Britain fell, Jalal and the Shadowchasers would be obliterated. Jalal takes alarm at this, and orders his men to aid the Allied forces at any opportunity. When the Allies claim victory, two captured Shadowkind Nazis are executed, the first time capital punishment is used by the Shadowchasers in six-hundred years.
Late 1,900’s, early 21st Century:
In the Age of Reason, computers dominate the world. Sorcerers called Shadowjacks use the internet to work magic. Jalal upgrades the Shadowchasers’ technology constantly, and combines it with magic.
With the invention of the Duel Disk and the growing popularity of Duel Monsters, Jalal makes a proposal at the next summit to discuss changes in the Great Treaty. All too often, captured Shadowkind seek acquittal based on the grounds that they were arrested in a fight that was not fair. Now, if Duel Monsters were used to resolve conflicts, that argument could be done away with. In a duel battle, neither player knows what the other is capable of, and one draw can make a difference. It could not be more fair. The representatives agree, and the word spreads. Soon, Duel Monsters becomes the standard means of resolving disputes among Shadowkind.
What follows is the Shadowchasers’ reactions to various events in the Yu-Gi-Oh universe.
Since no Shadows were truly involved in this event, it was of no concern to any Shadowchasers. Jalal believed (and likely still believes) that it was just some tournament thrown by an eccentric. If he ever learned of Pegasus’s criminal acts, that would be Mundane law enforcement’s concern, not his.
This was not much of a concern to the Shadowchasers, because the threat it posed was stopped before it could threaten anyone in a public manner. Most of the populace believes that the Egyptian God Cards were nothing more than very powerful, but very non-magical cards, and even Jalal believed this until he did some research after Battle City. He was alarmed, and decided to keep a close eye on the one who owned them – Yugi – from that point on.
Jalal was pretty much clueless about the history of this event, and didn’t know what the Orichalcos was until it appeared. However, he now knows one thing about it – it is incredibly evil. Even if the Orichalcos has nothing to do with Shadowkind (he isn’t sure about this) Jalal now orders his men to report any mere mention of the name to him at once.
KC Grand Prix
This event was of no concern to the Shadowchasers, but certainly, many Shadows attended it.
Memory Arc and Ceremonial Duel
Surprisingly, Jalal only knows bits and pieces about this. Most of it was hidden from the world at large. He knows that the God Cards were buried forever, and was glad that they were. Otherwise, he didn’t know much about the series of events in this arc.
The Seven Stars
The mention of the Sacred Beasts quickly got Jalal’s attention, and he watched the events unfold carefully. However, he quickly realized, much faster than anyone else did, that most likely, the Seven Stars were not meant to defeat the young duelists.
Darkness did not come across as much of a threat to him at that point (Jalal was wrong, but he can’t always be right.) Tania wasn’t much of a threat either. One Amazon is beneath notice. (An army of Amazons, and Jalal would have been worried. One, not so much.) Don Zaloog’s incompetence was immediately evident. Titan began as nothing more than a mercenary, and as far as Jalal was concerned, no matter what dark powers he got, that was all he would ever be. The fact that Abidos was a fraud came as no surprise to Jalal. He knew from experience that nine out of ten monarchs are nothing but lazy, spoiled brats who don’t do anything their entire reigns. Jalal admitted that Amnael was a good duelist, but the Shadowchasers had defeated alchemists of far greater power than him. So he too was no concern.
Camilla, however… The fact that a vampire was alive came as somewhat of a shock, let alone one who was using such powerful dark magic. When Jalal heard her goals, he prepared to take action, but only minutes later, she was done in by her own trap. Jalal decided to watch Judai after that, wondering if this kid was more than he claimed.
After the Sacred Beasts were defeated, Judai was considered an ally, even though he didn’t know it.
The Society of Light
At first, Jalal regarded Saiou’s Society of Light as nothing more than any other deluded cult that he had seen a thousand times before in his incredibly long life. All such cults he had seen tended to be disbanded after the leader was arrested and their members’ parents got ahold of them. However, the revelation that the one who was ultimately behind it was a cosmic entity called the Light of Ruin was somewhat of a shock. Once again, Judai solved the problem before Jalal could take action, but any mention by Shadowkind of the Light of Ruin bears close examination.
Most of this storyline occurred in other dimensions, where the Shadowchasers have no jurisdiction, so it had little bearing on them. It is important to point out, however, that Duel Spirits are not Shadows. The two are completely different.
Invasion of Darkness
This arc represented one of the most dangerous crisis to threaten the relations between humans and Shadows, and strangely, the Shadowchasers can take no responsibility for stopping it. The demon Darkness, whom Jalal had mistakenly disregarded as no threat, planned to merge the minds of all beings on Earth together into one collective consciousness. In doing so, he believed it would bring peace.
Jalal practically panicked when he realized what was happening. Darkness’s spell was trying to merge humans with Shadows. That was like combining oil and vinegar. Jalal knew that it would not bring peace… Darkness’s utopia would be struck by utter madness once it was complete.
Jalal and the most powerful Shadowchasers managed to resist the spell, and tried their best to search for a means to reverse it. They didn’t manage to… Judai figured it out. He got the victims he knew to reject Darkness’s world, and it spread to all other victims. Finally, Judai summoned Elemental Hero Divine Neos, and one mighty attack banished Darkness from the face of the Earth.
The Shadowchasers will not be caught unawares a second time. Darkness is now on their ten most wanted list, and powerful wards circling the globe will warn them if he ever returns from whatever dark realm he calls home.
For information on how the Shadowchasers respond to this arc, see the original storyline.
Assume that any city with a population of five million or more is home to a team of Shadowchasers. In more sparsely populated areas, one Shadowchaser will do, and he travels a lot.
Shadowchasers also have a navy of sorts, to handle aquatic races, like merfolk and sahuagin. They tend to use magic to breathe underwater rather than technology (less bulky). One Shadowchaser ambassador is always present at the Citadel of Ten-Thousand Pearls, an enormous underwater city in the middle of the Atlantic, ruled by Sultan Yasuf Alrahad. This city is the melting pot for underwater races.
The Shadowchasers work like an international police agency, much like Interpol. However, they only have jurisdiction in crimes involving Shadowkind. If a Shadowchaser sees a crime that only involves humans, the most he can do is call the regular police.
Shadowchaser Headquarters is a city onto itself. It contains courts, office buildings, residential buildings, libraries, and an underground prison complex.
The Great Treaty:
Drafted by Jalal and Maskent long ago, the Great Treaty is the document that keeps the peace between humans and Shadowkind. It is a very long and very complex treaty. It grants Shadowkind freedom of religion (so long as their religious practices don’t hurt anyone), freedom to act as their cultures dictate (likewise), a guarantee to be left in peace so long as they do not violate any terms, and immunity from any legal system except the Shadowchasers. In return, they promise not to harm humans in any way. Also, the Treaty demands that if a conflict between Shadow and Shadowchaser occurs, the fight must be fair.
Contrary to what one may think, the majority of Shadowkind favor the Treaty. Most often, only races who traditionally or historically regard humans as enemies oppose it, and they are vastly outnumbered.
Jalal and several Shadowchaser representatives meet with Maskent and several Shadowkind representatives once a year at a neutral location to discuss possible changes and amendments to the Treaty. Major changes are rare, but the Treaty has been adjusted over the centuries.
Not all Shadows are covered by the Treaty. Only sentient, civilized races are. A “sentient race” is defined as a race of beings that possess intelligence, sapience, and self-awareness. “Civilized” means some sort of social structure. The jungle giants who live in the Amazon are primitive tribesmen who reject technology, but they freely deal with (and sometimes trade with) other races and humans that are Aware, so they are considered civilized and fall under the Treaty.
According to one clause in the Treaty, Jalal (or his chosen heir in case he dies) must keep one copy at all times, and a Shadowkind representative (Maskent, or whomever he designates to keep it if he should die) must keep the other one. The copy kept by Jalal is kept in a secret vault located somewhere in Northern England. According to rumor, this vault has no living guardians, and the traps and animated constructs that guard the Treaty are designed to kill anyone who actually breaks in. This is not true. However, anyone who even tries to break in would quickly be captured by the security system, which would also alert Jalal himself, who would come personally to apprehend whoever dared try to steal the document. Most likely, Maskent’s copy is under similar guard.
In addition to a Duel Disk, most Shadowchasers carry a sword, forged by a dwarven smith, which is of superior make than most blades found in museums. They might also carry any number of magical potions and tools to make their job easier, much like a policeman carries handcuffs and pepper spray. Shadowchasers are trained to pilot D-Wheels, and they tend to use them rather than cars.
Shadowchasers are allowed to carry firearms – with conditions. They must abide by all Mundane laws for a civilian carrying one in their area, and must obtain the necessary permits on their own. This law has been the same since the gun was invented.
Before creating a Shadowchaser character who uses a gun, review the gun laws for the country he is in. A Shadowchaser in Japan will not be using a handgun – only the police can legally carry handguns there.
Of note, guns are not of much use against Shadows, so few Shadowchasers use them. Shadows tend to be magical creatures who can recover from bullet wounds in seconds, if bullets can wound them at all. Whoever is dumb enough to use a gun against a troll deserves what he gets.
Whatever weapon a Shadowchaser carries, he only uses it if his quarry violates the Treaty and decides to not fight fair (in which case the Shadowchaser is no longer bound by it either) or his quarry is not covered by the Treaty.
Dealing with the law:
Jalal always makes deals with members of government who are Aware so that the Shadowchasers can move about unmolested. These members of government know that common police cannot handle Shadows, so they have little choice but to deal with Jalal. For this reason, a Shadowchaser need not fear arrest, and if he is for some reason, he knows who to call in order to get the charges dropped. (If all else fails, Jalal has the best lawyers in the world on his payroll. Judges and prosecutors often become frightened when hearing who a Shadowchaser’s defense attorney is.)
No permanent Shadowchaser bases are stationed in any country where relations with NATO are shaky, such as Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. However, Jalal maintains relations with the Aware members of those countries, and if they need help with a Shadow-related problem, Jalal will send aid, providing that his men receive complete diplomatic immunity and exception from any social law. Middle Eastern Muslim countries cringe at the thought of letting female Shadowchasers come to their country violating the visitor’s dress code, but Jalal will not negotiate. And if these terms are agreed to and someone tries to arrest the Shadowchasers anyway, whoever sent the force to do so finds only one member returning, the only one still able to walk. This injured, frightened soldier tells his superior that they beat his group senseless, and then vanished into thin air. Relations with Jalal will be incredibly difficult after that.
As far as dueling decks go, a Shadowchaser can, for the most part, choose almost any deck and any strategy he desires. There are only a few guidelines for this. They may not use illegal cards, naturally. They are discouraged from using FTK strategies (such as the notorious Magical Explosion FTK Deck), as these types of decks are controversial to begin with, and Jalal does not want Duel Monsters challenged as the medium of handling conflicts.
There is no rule against using Venom Decks, but Shadowchasers are warned to use extreme caution if they must do so. There is definite evidence that the key card of this deck, Vennominaga, the Deity of Poisonous Snakes, had its design based on the ophidia’s evil goddess Seghulerak (just how this happened, no-one knows). Seghulerak can actually channel her avatar through this card when an ophidia uses it; whether she can do so when a member of another race uses it, no-one knows, but it would be wise not to take this chance.
Jalal also cautions against using F.G.D., as he is suspicious about this card. He believes that Tiamat, the five-headed queen of evil dragonkind, might be able to influence the world in some way when it is summoned. Jalal himself has a copy of this card, but has only used it twice in the past; both times, he was certain he heard sinister, unclear whisperings in his ear when the Monster was summoned, but the duel ended before the voice could become clear. Jalal has resolved to only use it again if he has no choice, and if a definite link to Tiamat is discovered, he will make that known.
Shadowchasers are required to locate and buy cards on their own; they are not salaried, but each one is given access to Jalal’s account at the Royal Bank of Scotland by means of a check card. (Jalal gives this to an apprentice when he is sure he or she can be trusted.) Shadowchasers are allowed to withdraw from this account within reason, and Jalal has a small army of accountants monitoring it to make sure that no-one abuses this privilege. (Incidentally, the funds at the bank do not nearly constitute all of Jalal’s wealth. A lot of it is invested in stock and other funds. Jalal is particularly fond of long-term annuities, because he knows he will be around when they mature.)
Shadowchasers cannot shoot lightning from their hands or fly (unless they actually study wizardy), but they do know some special techniques that make them far better fighters than even the most skilled humans. They learned most of these techniques from Shadows.
Most Shadowchasers have super-fast reflexes, fast enough to cripple the hand of anyone pointing a gun with a well-placed karate chop. They also know just where to strike, so that their fists can hurt even a creature who cannot be harmed by ordinary weapons.
No Shadowchasers story would be complete without Jalal. He is the heart and soul of the Shadowchasers, not just their leader, but their founder.
As you already know, Jalal was the son of a dragon and a human woman. Most believe that his mother was some queen or princess, or even a female knight. In truth, she was little more than a farmer. She did not know that Jamor was a dragon when she first met him; she did know later. One thing she possessed in great amounts was wisdom, and she passed it onto her son.
Jalal has occupied his time almost constantly for the past thousand years, knowing that he must maintain his purpose if he is to avoid going mad from the hundreds of years he has lived, and all the memories he has accumulated. So far, he has done an excellent job. Meditation and massage therapy daily help him as well.
Jalal is both a warrior and a sorcerer, and by using his spell that lets him project his image globally, he can find time for every member of his group. However, this image can only appear in a building that he owns, or in one where a magical beacon has been cast by someone else. Some believe that he can actually appear in more than one place at once, but this has not been proven.
Some credit Jalal’s success to powers he does not have. They say he can see the future. How else would he have known to buy stock in both Starbucks and Amazon when it first became available? Jalal refutes this claim, saying that he bought stock in Starbucks because he enjoys coffee, and when he tasted what the new store had to offer, he found it excellent. As for Amazon, it was hardly the only online store he was interested in.
Jalal puts a little of himself into each Shadowchaser he recruits, giving each one the following Synchro Monster:
JALAL THE DRAGONBORN (Monster Card)
Card Description: Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner Monsters
This card cannot be Special Summoned except via Synchro Summon. Once per turn, during your Main Phase, you can pay half your Life Points to remove from play 1 Normal or Quickplay Spell or 1 Normal or Counter Trap from either Graveyard to place 1 Rune Counter on this card (max. 1). At any time during your or your opponent’s turn, you may remove a Rune Counter on this card to duplicate the effect of the card that was removed from play as this card’s effect.
All Shadowchasers are expected to carry this card in their Extra Decks, and all of them do. Even one Shadowchaser who played a deck designed to counter all Special Summoning by using Vanity’s Fiend and Royal Oppression kept it in her Extra Deck. This is more than a card, it is a Shadowchaser’s connection to the life he leads, as stated by words on the back that only he can read:
“The card you hold is your bond to the path you walk, and the cause you have pledged to. Use it for no purpose except in the service of that cause. Ignorance is not bliss, but knowledge is not power.”
It is not widely known, but this card has another effect. If this card is ever stolen, or its owner falls out of grace, the following words appear added to the effect:
If this card is summoned by a duelist who is not authorized to use it by Jalal Stormbringer, remove this card and all cards on the controller’s field and hand from play.
Any thief who thinks he can use this card for evil purposes might never check the effect before attempting to do so, and then learn about it too late. Note that it is possible for an opponent to use this card by using Brain Control, Creature Swap, or a similar card effect, as that is a legal move.
In any story that takes place in the original anime era or the GX era, this card still exists, but it is not a Synchro. It is an effect Monster. Use the following statistics:
JALAL THE DRAGONBORN (Monster Card)
This card cannot be Special Summoned. Once per turn, during your Main Phase, you can pay half your Life Points to remove from play 1 Normal or Quickplay Spell or 1 Normal or Counter Trap from either Graveyard to place 1 Rune Counter on this card (max. 1). At any time during your or your opponent’s turn, you may remove a Rune Counter on this card to duplicate the effect of the card that was removed from play as this card’s effect.
Once again, the added effect appears if it is stolen.
One final thing about this card: Do not create a Shadowchaser character who builds his whole deck around it. Someone who did this could send powerful Traps and Spells like Huge Revolution and Mega-Ton Magical Cannon to their Graveyard simply to use this card’s effect. If a Shadowchaser created a deck like this, he would be abusing the position and privileges he was given, and he would be reprimanded.
Finally, here are rules to follow in a fanfic.
Time periods: 5D’s is the standard time period for Shadowchasers fics. However, you may submit a fic set in the original anime time period or the GX time period. You must work hard on them, however.
You may even submit a story that takes place before dueling exists. But you must work very hard at this type of story. With this sort of storyline, I’ll only accept the best.
Duel Structure: In all duels, you must use real-life rules, not anime rules. I will not accept fanfics that do otherwise.
For Turbo Duels, use the rules for Speed Spells presented in the prologue for my fic. And do try to make a Turbo Duel exciting. This is dueling on motorcycles, after all.
If the story takes place on or before the Dark Signer Arc of 5D’s, the original Speed World is used in Turbo Duels. For stories that take place around the time Season Three begins, Turbo Duels use Speed World 2. (If you need information on this version of the card, I will supply it.) Make sure you are prepared to use the version of Speed World that is required.
If you choose to use Speed World 2, you must never write a duel where the situation ends up with a duelist at 800 Life Points or fewer, and could be defeated if his opponent simply draws a Speed Spell. This scenario has been done twice in the anime, and has already gone stale. Do not use the scenario again. (Personally, it is my belief that the whole concept of Speed World 2 was a mistake, but there’s little we can do about it.)
Cards you may not use: First of all, you must follow anime continuity. For the most part, do not use unique cards unless it is the actual owner using them. Jack Atlas is the only one who owns a Red Dragon Archfiend (most of the time, see below), so this card should not show up unless he guest stars. Do not use Destiny Heroes unless it’s Edo Phoenix using them, and do not use Crystal Beasts unless you plan on Johan showing up. You get the idea.
It may be possible for someone to use cards like this, under very special conditions. A villain may forge counterfeit cards, as Luciano was apparently able to do with Red Dragon Archfiend. (He actually created three of these fakes to be utilized by a Riding Roid that impersonated Jack; however, while they had the effects of the real thing, the colors of each of them were clearly wrong.). However, some cards simply could never be faked (the imposter was completely outmatched when Jack defeated them with Majestic Archfiend Dragon).
The same goes for unique cards used by villains, by the way. No-one except Placido can use Machine Emperor Wisel Infinity. And do not assume that these cards, to give one example, are free for the taking if they survive the current arc. (Regardless of what happens to Placido, even bad guys have rights regarding their possessions.)
If the time period of the proper owner is past and he has retired, they might be used by his son, daughter, ward, apprentice, beneficiary, or other heir. But be very careful when using such a plot device.
There are also cases where cards might be unique, but we aren’t certain. Handle this on a case-by-case basis. We don’t know for sure whether or not the Fortune Ladies that Carly used as a Dark Signer were unique (or are, if she still has them, which she might), but it is okay to assume that they are not. On the other hand, it is best to assume that Rua’s Power Tool Dragon is indeed unique until Rua’s connection to the Crimson Dragon is revealed. (And he most certainly has one, as the Crimson Dragon thought it important enough to save his life after Luciano tried to kill him.)
Of special case are cards used in the manga. The various Yu-Gi-Oh manga comics are non-cannon in regards to the anime. Thus, cards that are presented as unique there (such as the Planet Series in the GX manga) need not be unique here. Also, if there is ever a direct conflict between the status of a card in the manga and its status in the anime, the anime takes precedence. (Tragoedia is an example. It is not a card at all in the manga, but a character. In the anime, however, it is a regular card, and is clearly common enough for Jack, Crow, and Bruno to recognize.)
One special case: DO NOT use Dark Synchros or Earthbound Gods under ANY condition unless you have express permission from me. (These cards are also considered unique cards, but fall under other special rules that I cannot reveal here.) If you do have this permission, I will explain the rules for using them.
I make it a point not to use illegal cards, but I will cut some slack for other writers. You may use them if they fit two criteria:
1. They must have been used in the anime after the first episode of Yu-Gi-Oh GX.
2. A hero character must have used them while performing a heroic action.
One exception: Do not use Painful Choice. Manjoume can be considered a hero character (more or less) and may have used it doing a heroic action, dueling his brother, but this card is incredibly broken, and should not be used.
Also, Kaiser is not considered a hero after becoming Hell Kaiser. Some might interpret him as such, but I will not get into that debate. For this purpose, he is not considered one. Period.
Before using fan-made cards, including mine, ask permission of the creator.
Do not use any anime-only cards that are clearly broken. Inukai’s Trap Trip is an example of this. You shouldn’t be able to do with one Trap Card what you’d normally need Mask of Darkness to do. His Slime Hole was even more broken. This card did with no cost what you would need to combine Soul Exchange and Mystik Wok to do (and made it a Trap, no less). The sole exception to this rule is if using a broken card is part of the whole plot (like how The Seal of Orichalcos was used).
Enchanted cards with great power like Philosopher’s Stone-Sabatiel should only be used in the way they are used in the anime: as gifts from higher powers when the need is great enough, and then taken away when their purpose is served.
Do not use an anime-only card when a real card exists that will suffice. The anime did this by creating a card called “Trap Recycle” that was used by Ghost, which had almost the exact same effect as Trap Reclamation.
Do NOT, under ANY condition, use the anime version of Card of Sanctity! This card is the king of cop-outs. If a card this powerful existed, it would be as rare as the Shonen Jump Championship Des Volstgalph, but in so many fanfics I have read, everyone has one! I will not back down from this rule. Find another way to get a duelist to draw cards. (I suggest Morphing Jar, which is a perfectly legal card.)
Do not use Cookie Cutter Decks all the time (or even most of the time), and do not give everyone the same cards. In real life, everyone uses Solemn Judgment and Phoenix Wing Wind Blast (or at least they used to). That should not be the case in a fanfic. A good fanfic is one that shows creativity, and if everyone uses the same cards, it is not creative.
Also, the video game YGO 5D’s Stardust Accelerator presents a number of Speed Spells which are basically nothing more than Speed Spell versions of regular Spells. Do not use these. If these Speed Spells existed, there would be no point to the rules of Speed World.
When using cards that only exist in the anime or manga, be careful. Be sure to use the most agreed-upon interpretation of their effects. My suggestion is to use janime.net for a source in this manner. You can also try to use Yu-Gi-Oh Wikia, but be warned – they are far from reliable.
Special rules for creating fanmade Synchro Monsters: Synchros are a fact of life in 5D’s. It’s okay to create your own, but be careful. It’s easy to get carried away.
Synchro Monsters tend to be more powerful than their Level would suggest. Having said that, if a Synchro is very powerful, it usually has specific summoning requirements. It might require a certain Type, Attribute, or Archetype of Monster for the Tuner, or for the Non-Tuners, or require more than two Monsters. Yusei’s Warrior Synchros are very powerful, and they all require specific Monsters as Tuners.
The same rules go for fanmade Tuners. Level 4 Tuners are rare, and many tend to have conditions attached to them, in much the same way that Level 4 Monsters with more than 1,900 Attack Points do. However, a Tuner’s condition usually has something to do with what Monsters can be Synchro Summoned by it, or what non-Tuners can be used when you do so.
One final note. Do not make any Elemental Hero Synchros. The Elemental Heroes specialize in Fusions, so having a Synchro Elemental Hero would make little sense. Do not make Destiny Hero Synchros either, since the Destiny Heroes were created by Edo’s father, who is now dead. The only Destiny Hero support in the anime that was made by someone else is Destiny End Dragoon, and Edo would be very careful about new Destiny Hero support being made.
Guest Stars: Want Yusei to show up? Or maybe Jack? Be careful!
Before you have a guest star show up, take note of the timeline, and how your fic relates to the anime. Take my chapter in the original story where Crow appeared. It took place right after he escaped from Security in his first appearance, so that was okay. But if the action of my fanfic was happening at the same time that Yusei was dueling Kiryu, Crow could not have taken a nap and appeared in Ember’s dream.
Also keep in mind that you likely know things that your guest star doesn’t. If you have Jack appear right after the events of Ep. 39, he believes that Carly was sacrificed to the Earthbound Gods. He won’t know the truth until eight episodes later, even though you know, so make sure his actions are in accordance to what he knows and believes.
Avoid clichéd material: Try to be original. Don’t make every threat have to deal with orcs, dark elves, and ophidia. Don’t write stories that are nothing more than imitations of Lovecraftian mythos or Harry Potter books. There are a universe of possibilities.
When designing a villain, be creative. A Shadowkind need not be humanoid. Be creative with deck choices too. Don’t assume that just because a villain is an undead sorcerer that he’ll use either Zombies or Spellcasters. All ophidia don’t use Venom Decks. In fact, most rank-and-file ophidia likely don’t use the card that can channel their goddess’s avatar.
There are some ideas to avoid. Do not go into great detail about the war in which vampires were wiped out. The explanations that Camilla and Shichiro gave were more than enough, and no-one should be casting blame at this point. Having another survivor show up is okay, but keep in mind, he or she need not be as evil as Camilla was. (Remember, in this world, not all vampires were bad.)
Do not completely screw up the system. Do not have Jalal turn against his own men. In fact, try not to let Jalal get more involved than necessary. He should exist as an advisor and a consultant, but rarely as a hero himself. Also, do not mess up the storyline of the anime too much. Do not suggest, for example, that the Dark Signers actually had a noble purpose for doing what they did that justified it. Stay within the set parameters.
Do not “reveal” that a character who was introduced in the anime was actually a Shadowkind. Keep all established characters human. Also, if you want to make it so an established character is Aware (as I have done with Jeager) get my okay first.
Avoid pathetic villains: One constant annoyance in YGO fanfiction I have seen is pathetic duelists as antagonists. Pathetic duelists are ones who are, quite simply, stupid.
Some of these characters are surprised by the use of a card that no-one in real life is surprised by. No-one at this point should not know about the effect of cards like Cyber Dragon and The Fiend Megacyber. If a duelist doesn’t know that they can be summoned without Tribute, he shouldn’t be dueling.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you know a real card’s effect without having to look it up, assume that only a complete idiot (or someone who knows nothing about the game) wouldn’t know its effect.
Another breed of pathetic duelists, which has, sadly, appeared in the anime several times, is the type that underestimates Monsters with low Attack Scores or Levels. Even Kaiba was guilty of this. A smart duelist knows that low Attack Scores often means powerful effect, and making fun of a duelist who uses these Monsters never turns out well for the villain who does this.
In the 5D’s era, mocking Monsters with low Attack Scores is even stupider, since almost all Tuners have low Attack Scores. If anything, a smart antagonist should be cautious of Monsters with low points.
Other pathetic villains are ones who use cards that no duelist would be caught dead with, or ones that make no sense when used in his deck. I once saw a fic where the hero character (I use the term loosely) played the worst Warrior Deck I had ever seen – no Command Knights, no searchers, it included Luminous Soldier and Throwstone Unit, and his ace card was Buster Blader, a Monster that did not belong in a Warrior Deck. This character was supposed to be the United States champion, which made me think that the author was a more pathetic duelist than the character. When designing a deck, have it make sense.
Be careful with villains that are beyond pathetic: Beyond pathetic villains are a subclass of pathetic ones. They can actually be used – sparingly.
A beyond pathetic villain is typically one with a huge ego and absolutely no common sense. Two examples that have appeared in the current season of 5D’s are Garome and Cid. Both of these guys thought that beating Jack would be a simple matter. Sure, Jack had survived deadly Shadow Duels that would make the typical duelists’ worst nightmares seem like birthday parties, but these two common crooks thought for some reason that he could be beaten easily. More than likely, Jack was thinking “What a dope” when he faced each one.
As you might expect, a beyond pathetic villain uses a deck that is also laughable. Garome used a strategy that might have seemed sound, but when you looked at it, using it against Jack was a pretty stupid idea. (Jack used Smile Angel to win because he wanted to prove a point, but he had other ways to win. Summoning Token Monsters to your opponent’s side of the field like Garome did is a very bad idea when your opponent is known to use Synchro Monsters. Just ask anyone who owns a copy of “Ojama Trio” that he can’t give away.)
Fortunately, losing seems to teach these characters a lesson. There has never been a case in the anime of one of them returning. This is how they should be used in a fic – as comic relief, and as one-shots. If the heroes have seen a lot of doom and gloom and need a break for something easy, this may do the trick. But be sure to use this plot device sparingly.
Avoid lazy villains: Some villains are presented as dark embodiments of Evil (with a capital E), yet all they ever do throughout most of the fanfic is stay in some secret location and watch everything that happens. This is fine if you want to keep the villain’s identity secret, but if his identity is known to the reader, it’s the mark of a lazy villain. This is why Saiou is an exceptional villain while the Infinity Trio have yet to make any mark on the third season whatsoever.
Have villains take initiative. Don’t make them into couch potatoes. Famous villains like Dr. Doom and Magneto often control things from remote locations, but they also confront their heroic foes directly several times. In this day and age, when a villain does nothing, it’s more the mark of a coward than anything else.
This doesn’t mean they have to go right out and fight the heroes one-on-one. Having them confront the heroes in various other ways (like the ways Da Pen
did early in the first fic) are also possibilities. Give the villain his due.
Well, that covers everything.