...Well, as serious as an amateur blogger like me can be, that is.
In this case, it is yet again about my magical girl story, Red Hood Rider. I've actually finished the script for the cover page, page one, and page two of the prologue--not much, but I did do it in text, as thorough as I could be to convey all the details. What I have, I absolutely love, including the alt-text and author comments. (Rather than rambling, I actually kept them simple one-liners! Do you have ANY idea how rare that is?)
But I did this primarily last night. (By which, I mean Tuesday night.) What have I been doing now? More details. I decided that the other magical girl would be ice, and have a (Blue/Cyan) Power Rangeresque helmet and uniform, but that the face would be open (so not a complete helmet), from the mouth to the eyebrows. (I decided there would also be a visor across the eyes, but that the eyes would still be visible through them at reasonably-close distance. I additionally decided she'd have a blue headband to help obscure her features further, and navy-blue cloth on the edges to help even more.)
I gave her a superhero name, Sky Shinobi, with either Shini or Sky being acceptable nicknames used by different people. I also decided on her real name, that being Whitney Hartly. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten into the details beyond that. I don't know what her spirit totem is called, nor what it is, either pre- or post-transformation. I don't know what she's like as a person yet, either; I simply haven't "met" her yet like I have the majority of my other characters. I've seen her form, but not how she uses it. I know she has a professional demeanor and is actually a paid superhero unlike the majority of them (more on that below), but I don't know what she looks like when she's not "on the job". I think that she's fairly calm and relaxed, though. Probably fairly casual, too, albeit always alert and never fully letting her guard (and therefore, never fully losing her business-oriented attitude) down. So basically a bit of a subversion of DefrostingIceQueen: she's defrosted already off-job (except when she needs to not be), but on-job is focused on the task, making her a level-headed asset.
I also vaguely got an idea of the fire rider. The best name I came up for her superhero identity is Pink Power Princess--not exactly original, but highly appropriate given that she's a magical girl, in a long, Disneyesque pink princess dress (complete with white gloves and high heels) with a small red wand, which is her spirit totem. (She also has blond hair, but wavy instead of straight. Think Princess Peach.) Regrettably, I don't know the spirit totem's name nor untransformed shape, nor do I know what her real name is. However, I decided that her preferred nickname is D.D. The name seems entirely unrelated to her, and it largely is, but that's the name she chose, and she has the right to that choice, it being her name and all. (After all, Red Hood Rider doesn't exactly have the most direct route into being transformed into Ruby as a name; the only thing Ruby has in common is that it begins with 'R' and is colored red.)
The lightning magical girl, though, I do know slightly better. Her superhero name is Violet Ranger, or Vili for short. I believe I already described her basic features, shortish hair (dark, dark purple), wearing basically female workout clothes being shorts and whatever that top is called (tube?), wielding a combat knife as her spirit totem. Though I don't know the spirit totem's name nor do I have her untransformed features nailed down (both like D.D.), I do have her real name, Suzanne, already down.
And that brings me back to Gary, who is the token guy Rider. Obviously, there's his name there already and by process of elimination he's the water Rider. But having him already established, I instantly got to know everything about him. Namely, his transformed appearance. He's basically wearing a nice suit with a masquerade mask, and that's it except for his spirit totem. Speaking of which, his spirit totem, Shining Armor, is manifested as dual weapons, one a shield, the other a sword.
The shield is a swastika-like pattern, with each arm being a scythe. (Not exactly an original weapon; you see it in a fair number of places, particularly anime. Just off the top of my head, it appeared as being on the robes of a main character in one anime that I can't remember, and Ichigo's fullbring in Bleach. That is what I'm talking about.) The four silver blades form a golden energy shield, which protects from all attacks, but also has some offensive capacity. However, offense is mainly left to the sword, which is a hand-and-a-half silver sword.
His superhero name? Silver Knight. Ruby gives him the nickname 'Tux', which mainly has to do with the circumstances behind his transformation into a Rider. See, Ruby was in the middle of a battle, and losing. Help was unavailable, and Gary was nearby, desperate. The only thing I don't know is what Shining Armor looks like when not transformed, but whatever it looks like, it came to Gary, told him what it is, and that he knew what to do.
And being short on time, Gary jumped to some quick conclusions on his design for his uniform. Why the suit? Because the first thought in his head was 'suits are sexy'. This also applies to the name of his superhero form (though it's never exactly clear if spirit totems are named by their Riders or Riders happen to inherit the spirit totem's name), and with this, he rushed to help Ruby, who was managing to hold on.
This, of course, sparked their rather snarky conversation. Keep in mind that while this is a magical girl story, Ruby started as a concept of being me drawn as a magical girl. And she's still more or less me. Which means she still acts like me. Now, the majority of the time, this is acting rather a bit feminine, because she's a girl and she knows it. Her girl self shows off rather well. But (just like with me) when hanging around male friends, she tends to pick up on some of their bad traits.
To put a trope title on it, while she most definitely is a girl, she has a ThoseTwoGuys/HeterosexualLifePartners relationship with Gary, in that they when in close proximity to one another can both seem like two guys arguing it out...which makes a lot of sense, given that (just like me) Ruby has lived the majority of her life as a physical male. She's a girl at heart, and has always had girlish qualities, but it was only fairly recently that they became as dominant as they are (like with me), and Gary has a tendency to bring out that other male side of her, albeit not consistently. (She is, after all...still a girl at heart.)
Very loosely speaking, you can think like Hermione Granger, in that yes she's a girl, yes she (especially as she matures into a young woman from the young girl she used to be) shows it off progressively more and more, but she also hangs out with "the guys".
So basically, in the heat of battle, Gary is all embarrassed, not even bothering to hide who he is to Ruby, they bicker, and Ruby dubs him, thanks to his suit, "Tux". Gary of course complains that he wants something cooler, but Ruby shoots that down. "No, you get to be Tux."
Which, given their relationship as good friends, sticks.
So with all this said, you can see that I've got the band mostly together. They're not quite there yet. I still have a lot of obvious details to work out. The finer points of their appearances, for instance, along with their general personalities in a lot of these cases. (I know that Suzanne/Vili is a little bit of a BloodKnight in that she kinda is...very, very passionate and eager to fight, but that's about as far as I got there.) But the team's coming together into rather the nice cast. I've even got the Rogues Gallery beginning to line up in my head!
But there's more. This being a superhero world, I decided to go into the politics behind superheroes a bit more.
Basically, there are three types of superheroes:
Vigilantes, Registered, and Professional.
Vigilantes are superheroes who are 'not in the system': they are anonymous and operating illegally. Superhero registration does not require the disclosure of any aspect of their real life, so there's generally no real excuse for a superhero to not get themselves registered, but some prefer it this way. OFFICIAL stance on Vigilantes is to arrest them and bring them in, unless in the middle of fighting a supervillain, but unofficially, most just let vigilantes operate as they like.
...However, if a Vigilante is brought in, then they are subject to punishment by the law: they are registered as superheroes (see below), and sentenced to...hundreds/thousands of hours of community service being a superhero. In other words, they're forced to do their work on a more regulated basis but otherwise do things the same way.
Registered superheroes, which the vast majority of superheroes are (including most of the cast), are superheroes who have registered in the system. This offers a few job perks: a registered superhero (unlike a vigilante) has Heroes Insurance--that being, under a variation of the Good Samaritan laws, they cannot be sued for their heroics. It also recognizes superheroes as being a second identity. Unregistered vigilantes have to obtain goods that they use in superhero form only by themselves. Registered superheroes can get a drivers license, credit card, and whatnot under their superhero name. Ruby, for instance, owns a car that is for her, Ruby, rather than her civilian identity that owns a different car.
The cost for registering is mainly public exposure, in that by being registered, you are easy to find and easy to also know the basics of, basics you might not want everywhere. In other words, the basic facts about you like general information about your powers and such, which is required for registration. (Note that even powerless normal humans have to register if they fight supervillains; their listed superpower is some variant on "Not Applicable; gadget user", which is why the majority of Vigilantes are normal powerless humans because registration puts potential security threats on them far more than most superheroes.)
The second cost to being a registered superhero is that you can be 'drafted' in times of emergency into service. This is not used lightly. Generally, if a threat exists, the local superheroes will take care of it. If a global threat exists, superheroes will volunteer on their own to take it down. But some threats are large enough that the superheroes volunteering simply aren't enough on their own. (Think like Avengers or maybe the "Base" Justice League: a small number of devoted heroes working as a team take care of most threats, but sometimes, they need outside help.)
And in those rare cases, registered superheroes are drafted to take care of the threat as best available. However, like with a real draft, there are exemptions. (Loss of the power you were registered with being the big one.) In the case of Ruby, she and all her companions are exempt because of their age: the minimal draft age is 21. Additional exemptions can be given under certain circumstances, think roughly equivalent to attending college, and that covers the rest, so while she would eventually be eligible for the draft, for quite a while, she's considered too young to fight on the front lines against her will. (There is, of course, no rule against superheroes of her age volunteering to take out the world-ending threat.)
The third category, Professional, is a logical extension of the second: these are superheroes that are actually paid to do work as a superhero. Registered superheroes, by virtue of registering, are authorized to do one thing and one thing only, that being to fight supervillains. Getting legal authority to do more than that requires additional certifications--generally easy to get, but not always convenient. (This is, incidentally, the other main source for Vigilantes: people who can't or decide not to get the additional certifications choose to do these extracurricular activities anyway, in spite of it being illegal.)
Professional superheroes, however, are trained and certified to do a variety of tasks, ranging from rescue work to normal crime fighting (rather than tackling supervillains, tackling common mobsters and robbers and such). They generally are mostly used to do things professionals could do, only faster, easier, and safer. Thus, they get government funding to help people.
Of course, this worldbuilding is largely irrelevant to the story, because while it is good trivia to know, it doesn't directly affect it other than occasional references to random background events and some hero designations, like the above of Whitney making her living off of it. But I loved doing it all the same. I think it really fleshes out the setting a lot, makes it feel like the whole world is there and existing, and what we see, this mainly-magical-girl-genre slice-of-life is only that: a small slice of the overall life of the whole world.
Well worth the hour and a half it took to write this.