Thursday, June 30, 2011

Open Source Characters

One fun facet of the Mythos is how wonderfully public domain everything is. Until the day Victor Surge suddenly sends paperwork to the patent office and sues every single one of us (thus instantly becoming a wealthy man at the expense of hundreds of amateur writers and film makers), there are few restrictions on what can be written about.

Now, of course this doesn’t mean everyone has free rein over their content. Especially characters. While Slender Man may be open for every blogger and vlogger to include in their stories, someone like Zeke Strahm isn’t. Sure, there isn’t anything physically stopping you from making a series where Zeke Strahm and Damien O’Connor go on a road trip to Florida where they meet Noah and team up to fight crime. But unless you are one of the creators behind these character, or at least have the permission of those creators, said story will only be taken as fanfic, and not be accepted in anyone’s canon.

“But Omegaaaa!” You cry. “How am I supposed to create a sense of a larger, shared setting outside the confines of my single story if I am barred from using any material from other stories?” Well, crossovers are a solution. But that requires coordination, and planning ahead, and effort. But fear not, for there is another way!

That is the way of open source characters. Slendy is not the only public domain character within the Mythos; other creators have allowed for their characters to be used. Redlight is a perfect example of this; in the beginning, he was a character exclusive to the Core Theory story arc occurring on White Elephants and A Hint of Serendipity. Then, he made a brief appearance in a post on The Mystic. Following that, Redlight’s popularity seemed to explode, with him appearing in what seemed like everything ever. This demonstrated both the strengths and the weaknesses of open source characters. On the positive side, Redlight was the first major pan-Mythos antagonist who wasn’t Slender Man; whole story arcs were crafted based around this single character in several blogs. On the downside, not everyone seemed to agree on exactly what Redlight was like, and we had all sorts of interpretations. Then, there was the problem of Redlight appearing in every single blog ever at once. Which is something which should be rather difficult for a regular human. These problems were pushed aside when Redlight was changed into a hivemind, but by then Redlight was becoming less overused, and we didn’t need to really worry as much anymore.

Of course Redlight isn’t the only character available to the public (for another example, Agent Fisk, who has appeared in a handful of blogs outside of his original Seeking Truth/The Mystic). For the sake of organizing open source characters, and helping avoid some of the problems inherent in allowing anyone to use them, a topic exists on Slender Nation where creators can give permission for a character to be made open source, free for anyone to use, as well as include any information the character they think other authors would need to use them. (

Characters in this topic include zero’s Bleeding Tree, Gwenivere Greensleeves, The Bootmaker, as well as several others. If you’re someone involved in a Slender Man series and want to use this as a resource, go ahead. Just please remember the basics of courtesy; be respectful of the character. This is an opportunity to expand the scope of a story, or include an interesting character, not an opportunity for you to godmode your favorite protagonist by having them beat the crap out of every open source character in the Mythos. If you feel you need to contact the character’s creator if you want to clarify something about them, or just to ask permission to use the character, go right ahead.
Also, I apologize for the first few pages of the thread being about me making myself a character; Did not expect that joke to be taken as seriously as it was. Though I do find my multiple guest appearance to be hilarious.


  1. Despite it being a joke, are we, in fact, allowed to include you in our stories whenever?

  2. Yup. In whatever way you want.

    More open source...

  4. Tom from my blog is also an open source character.

  5. Hmm...its summer now. May have to set up a blog....