It's come to my attention recently that the New Characater Guide makes reference to allowing 'secret powers' because two rather trollishly bad applications took advantage of this and arbitrarily decided that some of their powers would be secrets.
Kat has suggested to me that I amend this section to clarify that it is not for such arbitrary purposes as getting to lob a fireball at someone in combat that they didn't know you could do, and then yelling "haha! It was a SECRET" when they ask you what the fuck you're doing OOC.
The purpose of having an ability not listed in your application is to be able to make use of some special flexibility if you have a plot device you do not wish to reveal to the other people you're writing with. For instance, if you have a weird amulet (how unoriginal, I know) that does something or if you've been cursed somehow that will provide an interesting situation for others. That's why it says 'for plot purposes'. Just happening to be able to regenerate and throw fireballs while getting to hide that ability from other writers so you can pwn them is not what that's there for. God damn. And if you thought it was you don't belong here, because as soon as you try to pull that everyone will think you're a powergaming douche and stop writing with you.
One of these trollishly bad apps actually listed their 'secret power' right in the application as though it wasn't a secret to you or I, but a secret to the other characters. That's some logical brilliance right there. Why hadn't I thought of that?
Anyway the rule won't get changed because those who use it wrong demonstrate their own mentality in doing so. We can tell a lot about a person by the type of mistakes they make. Anyone who knows me here knows I'm a reasonable person when it comes to applying rules, so please don't come to me asking me not to use this as an excuse to jump on people's backs. You know I don't.
Another issue that's come up more than once with new apps is this taking advantage of the request at the top of the new character guide that reads: "Currently requested characters: Bad guys, evildoers, greedy characters, amoral characters. You will be given more leeway with powers and abilities if you choose a character designed to give other people a challenge."
That was never supposed to override the dozen or so times in the rules that it says to start small and not powergame. However, sometimes it seems to give this impression. So I'm going to adjust the wording on that a bit.
Finally, we do have a lot of shifters, mainly werewolves, these days. People like to write those types of characters apparently. Some of you may remember about a year ago this issue came up as well. My position then was that I have no problem with it, and I still don't. Eventually, it might get weird, but for now we have discussed it and my position is still that it's ok. I am going to put a note that we have a lot of them, however.