Mary Sue / Gary Stu

Who is Mary Sue? (And her brother Gary Stu) For those that have been roleplaying for a while, they know that Mary Sue is a name applied to any female character (Gary Stu is sometimes applied to male characters, though they may still be called Mary Sues regardless) who exhibits quite a few traits which inherently aren't bad on their own, but only when combined cause problems.

Common Traits

Some of these traits are:


  • Wearing the most stylish and expensive clothes when poor or having a limited budget.
  • Wearing clothes that don't exist in the time period or universe. (EX- blue jeans in medieval times.)
  • Wearing clothes that look good but would be useless for the situation. (EX- Skirts in -40 temperatures.)
  • Described by their creator as extremely beautiful. (Often stated to be beautiful by even those who wouldn't think the character as such. EX- Aliens with different ideals of beauty even saying he/she's beautiful. If others are stating the character is beautiful of their own accord then this doesn't count. This is specifically for writers describing their own characters beautiful.)
  • Any scars will be minimal, easily concealed or otherwise not affect beauty.
  • Injuries suffered never left (or will leave) lasting effects like disfiguration when they otherwise should.


  • May be able to perform feats that shouldn't be possible for them either due to age or experience. (EX- Ichigo Kurosaki getting his Bankai in 3 days when it's stated to take over 10 years.)
  • Performing feats that wouldn't be possible due to their powers/power levels. (EX- a rookie mage using the most powerful spell when they wouldn't have enough energy to pull it off.)
  • May have powers that they shouldn't due to age, race, location or universe. (EX- A human performing a magic spell in a universe where humans don't have that power.)
  • May have not have weaknesses typical to their race. (EX- being a vampire but having an immunity to the sun without an explanation.)
  • Any weaknesses that the character has which are not actual weaknesses. (EX- a love of chocolate is not normally a weakness.)
  • May be a rare (worse if extinct) race of character in the world. (EX- Being a Cetra in Final Fantasy 7.)
  • Or a Hybrid of two types of creature/races. (Worsened if the races are exceptionally rare, hate each other or are unable to have offspring. EX- A half Vampire and half Werewolf character.)
  • Any proclamations they are the best at anything. (Worsened if they are really young.)


  • Amnesia about history.
  • Overly exceptional backstory. (EX- they were a princess, had a castle, were rich, had 50 suitors, lived happily until they broke a nail, got a manicure, lived happily ever after.)
  • Overly tragic backstory. (EX- sexual assault, pregnancy, abusive parents, orphaned, raised themselves, had no money all in one backstory.)
  • Tragic backstory that is used to justify certain, often unrelated, behaviours. (EX- Had daddy issues is their reason for sleeping around.)
  • Tragic backgrounds but absolutely no ill effects at all. (This is merely to make the character appear special though negative events but the actual event itself is never used.)
  • (In fandoms) being related to the canon characters. Especially if the relation would make no sense. (EX- Dante and Trish from Devil May Cry's long lost daughter.)
  • Being wealthy with no reason/explanation given.
  • Possessing a rare or powerful item that wouldn't normally be entrusted to them. (EX- An 8 year old having the only weapon that can defeat the resident big-bad.)
  • Mental illnesses used to explain away negative attitudes. (EX- dissociative identity disorder to explain switching between being an arrogant jerk to a sex-crazed person to a more normal persona.)
  • The character always being right, in every situation, no matter what. EX- everyone else's plans failed but there's succeed. (Also crosses over into Godmodding and Metagaming territory.)
  • Acting out against authority but never receiving any backlash from it. (EX- Killed a police officer but never was hunted down for it/arrested.)
  • Never having any repercussions for racist remarks, homophobic slurs, etc… despite some should have occurred.
  • Never having any fallout from mistreating others.
  • Everyone loving them (even the villain/antagonist of the story).


  • Sharing the same name/details as the author. (This can be hard to tell though unless the player admits it… Though usually if this is an issue, other, more glaring issues will be present too.)
  • Being a wish fulfilment character. (EX- in Harry Potter games, the girl designed only to date Harry Potter or Draco Malfoy. Which if this is the case, refusing the character will likely end up with the player leaving the site rather than editing their character.)
  • Existing only to partner up with another character for romance plot or sex plots. (Worsened if claimed that this isn't the case but it clearly is.)


In many cases, having a few of these traits on their own is not a bad thing and will not make a character a Sue/Stu. The problem arises when either too many of these traits are present together or one trait is extremely prominent and problematic. (Like for fandoms, children of a pair of canon characters is often a massive issue. Many times because the pairing either doesn't happen or doesn't make sense for that child to be born out of that pairing. Like an 18 year old character with two parents who have only known each other 10 years.)

Anti-Sue/Stu effects

There are some things which can be added to characters to counter sue traits. These won't always turn a Sue into a balanced character.

  • Absolutely debilitating weaknesses. (Like an inability to even be around fire without breaking out into panic.)
  • For hybrid races, weaknesses of both races. (Even more if they don't gain the strengths from both races too.)
  • Allergies.
  • Scars that don't heal or can't be easily covered.
  • Injuries that leave lasting effects.
  • Being overweight.
  • Suffering repercussions for improper actions/behaviours.