Mindscanner Issue #78
Summer 2010

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Imperial Xeno Legion
The Top IXL Guideline
by KwISt

Admirals shave in the morning, just like everybody else... one leg at a time.

Shameless plug:  The new software for the KAG Domain is being developed and tested as we speak.  If you would like to volunteer your efforts in programming, content creation, or graphic design, join Cap'n qurgh and I in the yahoogroup for KAGDomain! http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kagdomain/

I could ramble on about guidelines for IXL.  As I am collecting materials for The Black Rope official IXL newsletter, you can bet a lot of guidelines and advice will show up there.  But here, I'm gonna make this easy, for both you and me...

...Here are is the #1 top guideline of the IXL.  Let's face it: Three can be a juggling act, so why should you need more thoughts to juggle around in your head if I can boil the important ones down to ONE?

Guideline Number ONE: "The costume should say it all, clearly and concisely."

How often do you tell a joke to a friend, only to have to explain it?  Let's face it, if it needed any explanation, your audience probably felt it wasn't much of a joke! The same holds true of costumes.  If it isn't recognizable, it will beg the question "why?"  If it is instead extraordinary, people might look for a saving grace... but unless it sheds all ordinary affectations, completing the illusion, then even the extraordinary gets lost on them.

Take for instance the usual Trek characters.  Klingons are dressed like Mongols.  If the wardrobe artists added silky ropes, laces and ribbons, the Klingons would end up looking less like space-faring warriors and more like a European beauty pageant.  Wardrobe instead adds metal, harnesses and chains.  Now they look more like a futuristic hobnailed roller-blading team—Success!  By shedding the ordinary (as ropes and laces can still have logical use on the battlefield, but look wrong), we are left with a species who are characteristically extraordinary.

Similarly, the "easy road" to costuming IXL characters is to pick simple Trek makeup like a Bajoran or Trill.  (These fit the cliché of "The Dreaded Trek Forehead Disease," so are affectionately called the "Bajoran Crinkles" or the "Trill Measles.") But as simple as they are, they have a huge advantage of being recognizable.  And if they are adorned as gracefully as on the characters of Star Trek, then onlookers will enjoy the results as much as meeting a Trek extra, live and in person.

If the costume is just too alien for words, that can be a good thing.  Size, shape, glitz, and "biosubversity" can make for award-winning masterpieces.  But you shouldn't have bits of the ordinary that you have to explain.  I hope I never hear a conversation that goes "No, I'm not part of the zombie walk!  I'm wearing a lab coat and hospital scrubs because I'm a sixth generation hybrid Snausagen from the distant planet of blah blah blah..."  Once it begs explanation to make sense, it already lost an audience.

 - L.Gen. KwISt
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