Posting Guide

Below is a fairly comprehensive guide to the rules followed by a sample post. This is the reason you are entering the Academy, so don't worry about perfection right off! It's simple to use once you are acquainted, but takes just a bit of time to get used to. I promise you, that it will be come second nature to you in time ;O)

If you think you are going to be overwhelmed by reading it, then ignore it! Like I said, this is going to be the focus of your academy time, so there is no use in sweating it now!

The examples of what you need to know are in italics... just to catch attention.

Enjoy!

Player Guidelines

These rules are for members of the game to follow, they are there to make the game better for all. You must agree to them if you are going to play in our game.

1. NO extreme PROFANITY.

2. NO SEXUALLY EXPLICIT writing or dialogue.

3. Do NOT kill another person's CHARACTER.

4. Direct INSUBORDINATION is UNACCEPTABLE both inside and outside of the game.

5. Do NOT use the addresses given to you for GAME PURPOSES for ANY types of advertisements, joke lists, or other NON-GAME related functions.

6. Do NOT ask for a rank. A rank will be assigned to you based on your performance and your position, as well as any prior experience you may have.

Thanks to Shadows of the Dominion

Under Sixteen?

Recently, we've decided to increase the minium age of applicants to 16, this is because the bulk of applications under 16 are either time wasters, people who haven't read the instruction on how the game works, or don't understand what the game is about...

We run an extensive Academy for all new people to the game, with instructors who spend a lot of time making sure you are ready for the game at large.

However, we appreciate that there are always exceptions to the rules... if you are under 16 and have taken the time to read this and still want to play, before you fill out an application form, contact the head of the Academy and let them know you want to play and to keep an eye out for your application...

NPC/SPC

An SPC is a Special Player character, and as such can have one of two main purposes.

1. As a character regularly played by one player, either on their own ship or on another ship. As a general case, the player who created the SPC will be the one who writes for her/him, in the same way as a player writes for their PC. It is considered acceptable for someone else to write in a minor way for someone else's SPC; for example, Bree might go into Ten Forward at lunchtime and see Ro'Dal sitting at a table and join her. Now, as long as Sal hasn't posted Ro'Dal as doing anything else at that time or about that time (e.g. she's not on the Bridge or in a holodeck or sickbay or talking to someone or... well you get the picture!) then that would be acceptable. Connie has assumed that she's there but not that Ro'Dal is glad or sorry to see Bree or isn't about to leave or whatever. It's a reasonable assumption, if you like, that someone would be in Ten Forward at a mealtime. That would be OK. What would not be a reasonable assumption, to me, would be having Ro'Dal smile at Bree and say she was glad to see her. Or have her scowl at Bree and ask what she thought she was doing. That would be assuming a reaction and/or an emotion for Ro'Dal's player and for me that would be a step too far.

Another reasonable assumption would be that the TAC/SC and TAC/ASC (Tactical and Security Chief and Assistant Tactical and Security Chief) would be on the Bridge during a red alert (as would the Captain, FO, OPS and so on..). So if someone has an SPC who's a department head it is reasonable to assume that they are wherever they should be during a red alert or other emergency.

Where I would draw the line is in having an SPC make a verbal response, unless it is something like a superior officer issuing an order that would not normally be disobeyed. So for example, for the commanding officer on the Bridge (which could well be Bree) to say to an SPC CONN "Ahead Warp factor 8, Mr Sulu," and have the CONN respond "Aye ma'am!" would be OK. Or should the plot require it, it would also be acceptable to have the CONN respond, "I'm sorry, ma'am, I can't get more than Warp 3 out of the engines...There's something stopping it!" Either type of response is OK, since that's the CONN's job. But it would not be acceptable to post that the CONN refused to obey the order - that would have serious consequences for the character. Obviously any responses written should be as brief as possible and within the established persona of that character.

So minor use - saying that someone did something they would normally be expected to do, that they wouldn't reasonably not do, is OK. Anything that would have life-changing consequences is definitely not ok and in the same way that you couldn't do that for a PC, you can't do it for an SPC either.

2. Mission-specific SPCs. These broadly fall under the same rules as 'regular character' SPCs, although there might be other restrictions or allowances in force. Ideally these would be made plain in advance so that everyone would understand what is possible and what is not.

As a general rule of thumb Command staff (that would be CO, FO, 2O) also have the ability to 'use' (and here the term is very, very loose) PCs or SPCs in a very limited way. Generally this would only happen at the start of a mission or to give an important piece of information to the crew as a whole. So for example, if the Champlain were to  encounter another vessel apparently dead in space the post might go like this:

"Scan the vessel, Mr Spock," Rivers ordered the CSO.

After a moment Commander Spock replied, "There are three life-signs aboard, Captain, all on the Bridge. No life-signs anywhere else."

"Open a channel -" Susan began.

"Sir! Enemy vessel is powering up engines and weapons systems!" Lt Worf interrupted.

"Shields up! Red alert! All hands to battle stations!" Captain Rivers ordered.

It's OK to 'use' the characters like this because its necessary to establish something. But the Captain wouldn't assume that Spock was puzzled or that Worf was scared - or anything at all about what they were thinking or feeling. And this kind of 'use' must only be done when necessary. You could of course write:

"Scan the vessel, Mr Spock," Rivers ordered the CSO.

(reply Spock)

~Hmm, only three lifesigns and all on the Bridge...~ Susan mused. "Open a channel -" she began, only to be interrupted by Lt Worf.

(reply Worf)

On hearing that the enemy vessel was powering up engines and weapons systems, Captain Rivers immediately ordered, "Shields up! Red alert! all hands to battle stations!"

That is a much more unwieldy (and leading) way of doing the same thing and whilst it requires Spock and Worf to reply, I would hope they would reply to the situation in the first example too ;) And in those posts they are free to expand on what they are thinking and how they feel about the situation and so on. Or add in a little something of their own to the mix too.

This is something I would generally only do if it were the best and quickest way to establish something at the start of a mission, but it is seen quite often.

As far as your own SPCs go, only you can write anything life-changing for them. Life-changing would be anything that would have a major effect on what the character feels or what happens to them. So for example another player might want to invite your character on a date. They can issue the invitation but they can't decided whether your SPC accepts or not. Similarly no one else can decide that your character disobeys an order or anything like that. Even if the order is blatantly wrong or illegal, it is still your decision whether your SPC follows it or not. A grey area might be that they think your character looks momentarily indecisive whether to follow that illegal order or not. Personally I would write it so that it was clear that my character thought that your SPC could be feeling indecisive over following the order but not that my character saw or knew your SPC was feeling indecisive. It's a subtle difference but a difference nonetheless.

Finally, here is an example from my very early days in the game.

Susan was then a newly-graduated ensign (OPS) and I had been playing her as uptight, finding it hard to make friends and not very sociable. I also had something like that in her bio. The CONN player wrote a post in which his character chatted to Susan whilst they were sitting together at their dutystations, and the CONN decided it would be a good idea to have a party in Ten Forward. So he asked Susan to help him organise it and in his post had her agree, and he then announced it to someone else before ending the post.

That, to me, was going too far. She just wouldn't have agreed to something like that! But being very new, and not sure what 'went' and what didn't, I wrote a reply in which Susan was busy doing something at her console and not really listening to what the CONN was saying, just making random answers now and again. Then she suddenly realised that she had said yes to doing something she would really hate to do, but it was too late to back out now even though she really hated parties!

Now, however, I'd consider dropping a line to the CO asking whether s/he considered what the CONN player had written was acceptable. (For the record, as CO no I wouldn't consider it acceptable and would probably already have told the CONN to ask if the OPS player was happy with the post or would like a rewrite, giving her the chance to make her own mind up what her character would say. As CO I would certainly if requested by the OPS player tell the CONN to repost and allow the OPS to make her own mind up.) The thing is, in a way it looks a grey area because organising a party is not really a life-changing event - but it goes against what had been established for the character both in the bio and in posting. And for me the same rules would apply whether the character in question was a PC or an SPC.

Having said that, where it can be dealt with in game without making the other player (or their character) look stupid, then that is the way I personally prefer to go. But it boils down to player happiness.

I would always, where possible, allow the SPC's player to make up their own mind what they want to do or the way they do something. For example to grab someone's arm and pull them into a corner or into a room with you by force might be OK if your character is bigger or stronger than the other character. But you can't assume they go with you willingly. For dramatic purposes you might also assume that they stay while your character speaks to them, but you don't make assumptions why they stay or even that they are actually listening. But there needs to be a good reason that you make that assumption (maybe because you need to move the plot along or something like that). Then it's up to the other player to decide how their character responds, and what they have their character think or feel about being pulled somewhere and talked at.

NPCs are just what the name says - Non-Player Characters and as such may, according to the rules, be written for by anyone in any way - even killed off. However, it is considered both good practice and good manners before doing something life-changing with an NPC  to first ask the player who created them (especially if they are using that NPC regularly), and I would strongly encourage you all to adhere to that. Some people put a lot into creating an NPC, perhaps with a view to later using them as an SPC if the character works out, and we should all recognise that. NPCs, if written for by someone other than their original creator, should always adhere to behaviour and characteristics already established.


Usage Tags

"Normal Speaking"
-Example: "Uh, yeah. I did do that, but I didn't think you knew!"

=/\=Combadge=/\=
-Example: =/\=Bridge to Transporter room one, BEAM HIM OVER NOW!=/\=

~Personal Thoughts~
Example: ~Hmm, I think I am getting hungry~

::Telepathic Speech::
-Example: ::Not a chance, Imzadi. There is nothing you can do to convince me that you are right::

 


Perspective

Everything in-game is taken in the third person. Meaning, you are describing actions as if you are watching them, in past tense... not as if you are *doing* them at the time. Two sentences follow to show you the difference.

-Correct Version: John pulled the phaser to his shoulder and took sight down the berral. He gently pulled the trigger, and grinned as the first Borg in the line fell. He jumped to the side as a drone took a swing at him, and extracted a knife to bury deep into the mindless drones heart...

-Incorrect Version: John pulls the phaser to his shoulder and takes sight down the berral. He gently pulls the trigger, and grins as the first Borg falls. He jumps to the side as another drone takes a swing at him, and extracts a knife to bury deep into the mindless drones heart...

See the difference? We do as much third person perspective as we can, it helps keep actions in line without screwups.


NRPG VS RPG

Role Playing is the art of living another's life in a fantasy world. However, its very often true that we want to say something as ourselves, something that wouldn't fit in-game very well. So... there is a simple way around that. If you have a statement or announcement that *isn't* game related (or is, but not in-game), you put an NRPG (Non-role playing game) message in front of your statement, and when you intend to go back into game place a RPG before it.

:Example:

John pulled the phaser to his shoulder and took sight down the berral. He gently pulled the trigger, and grinned as the first Borg in the line fell. He jumped to the side as a drone took a swing at him, and extracted a knife to bury deep into the mindless drones heart. Another drone hit him from the side, knocking him half way across the room before he came to a hard stop at the foot of a bulkhead.

NRPG: Uh, guys... can you come help me before I become toast?!? :O)

RPG: John jumped back up, only to find his Phaser rifle missing, so he grabbed at his side arm and began wildly shooting while looking for an escape.


Header And Footer

These are two very important parts of the post. The header is at the start of each post, and tells location/time/name... etc. It is also used when a significant amount of time passes or location changes dramatically.

The typical header is...

(Base Location - Location, sub location - Rank - Name - Time)


or...

(Starfleet Academy - Academy Offices, Outside Lodona's office - Ensign Richard Marlin - 09:00)



The footer is nothing more then a reply tag, and a statement of who wrote the post. (We give credit where credit is due!)

An example one as if sent from me, Jeremy Trout, and I wanted the Doctor and the Commanding officer to answer my post, would be...

(reply CMO, CO, Any)
(posted by Jeremy Trout)


Time



Time can be an issue if you have never used Military (24 hour) time. Everything in game is done in such methods, since it can get REAL confusing if one just puts something like "1:00" Is that one in the afternoon, or morning?

On the other hand, if you say 0100, or 1300... you can never get times confused!

If you have never used Military time before, then here is a simple formula for you.

Military time runs from 0100 (one in the morning) to 2400 (midnight) if you have a time past 1300 hours, and you want "Normal" 12 hour time, you simply subtract 12 from the base time. .

For example:

2200 hours
22 - 12 = 10
so, 2200 hours would be 10:00 PM (all numbers past 1200 are PM time.)


22:30 would be...
22 - 12 = 10
so, 10:30

 


Sample Post


...and after all that confusing jumble, here is what you get!
I have included an example of every tag possible.

(USS Victory - Deck 12, Security Center - Lt John Fulgood - 1504)

=/\=All hands, this is the captain. The Borg have boarded! Security to Deck 14!=/\=

John grinned, and stroked his phaser rifle as he considered just what he was going to do to the Borg. The battle outside was not his problem anymore, the Borg had invaded his home turf, and he was going to make them pay! His squad leader called for everyone to hustle, so John stood and began following the heard to the turbolifts and Jefferies Tubes. It was a mess, everyone was trying to get there at once.

~Maybe by this time next week, I will actually see some battle~ thought John with disdain.

(USS Victory - Deck 14, Corridor - Lt John Fulgood - 1512)

John kicked at the deck plate he had just removed, and crawled onto the corridor floor from Jefferies tube 13-b. He stood up quickly, and covered the exit as his comrades exited, and sniffed the air. The smell of ozone and high energy filled the air, and gave John a sense of impending battle. His senses reached battle readiness as adrenaline filled his veins, and caused his lips to curl in a cruel smile.

Once everyone from his squad was out of the tube, his Squad CO said "Alpha team, down the corridor. Beta team, cover them. Leap frog down until you see the enemy. No survivors!"

John nodded, and moved forward as he was in Alpha team. It wasn't but a few moments before he caught the first whiff of burnt flesh and destroyed electronics. He turned a corner, and was met with a horrible sight. His friends and shipmates, on the ground dead. All mingled with the dead or twitching bodies of Borg Drones.

... and at the end of the corridor, more Borg Drones, moving their way fast.

John pulled the phaser to his shoulder and took sight down the berral. He gently pulled the trigger, and grinned as the first Borg in the line fell. He jumped to the side as a drone took a swing at him, and extracted a knife to bury deep into the mindless drones heart. Another drone hit him from the side, knocking him half way across the corridor before he came to a hard stop at the foot of a bulkhead.

NRPG: Uh, guys... can you come help me before I become toast?!? :O)

RPG: John jumped back up, only to find his Phaser rifle missing, so he grabbed at his side arm and began wildly shooting while looking for an escape. A squad member of his standing beside him suddenly gave a loud yelp as she was grabbed, and the Drone infected her with the bio-virus that turned good people into mechanical monsters. John winced, and called out "Susan is infected, Doc!"

His squad leader yelled back "Kill her, we don't have the time to save her!

John turned to him with shock on his face, "Not a chance, Sir!"

(reply Squad CO, any)
(posted by Jeremy Trout)


The End???

NOPE!
This is only the START!


Once you are out of the Academy, you will join in an endless set of adventures, only restricted by your own imagination!

I welcome you to Starfleet Academy, Cadet... and hope you will join us for the long haul ;O)

Written by Jeremy Trout

Star Trek : Freedom - Posting Guide