Chehon Region/Policy Roleplay
From Tapestries MUCK
The golden rule for roleplay in the Chehon Region is "do not disrespect other players". Cooperate with other players or, if you find yourself unable to do so, step back from the scene and the game and come back when you're calm. Don't ruin the experience for others.
A large amount of this document deals with conflict resolution. This shouldn't be interpreted as the administrators of the game expecting that you take part in combat or other heavy conflict roleplay: it is not a style guide. The content of the document simply reflects that conflict RP is where we anticipate the largest number of problems.
Definitions and Useful Tools
There are some terms which should be defined, and some roleplaying tools which are useful for enabling interesting play while avoiding the boring bits.
- "Retcons" or "declaring retroactive continuity." This is OOCly agreeing that a scene or set of scenes should have happened in a different way with different results. This is a powerful option to allow players to go back and tweak an event to help set the stage for additional RP that's more entertaining for everyone. Retcons must be okayed by all players involved in the original scene.
- "Nullification" Where players cannot agree on a retcon, this is the final fallback option: the scene in question is considered to have never happened and is eliminated from canon in its entirety, good parts and bad alike.
- "Fading to black" and "off-camera" events. Some events which might be inevitable in-character might be, for some reason, something that one or more players in the group either can't or don't want to actually play out. This can range anywhere from detention to beatings or worse, or even really boring, mundane things like mowing the lawn. (Show me someone that likes RPing lawn-mowing to an empty room, and I'll show you a dirty liar.) The assumption that some events happen even when people don't play them out helps to keep folks focused on the FUN parts.
- Non-player characters, or NPCs. Usually, any roleplay environment has far fewer players than there are IC people walking about. By including interactions with NPCs into your roleplay, you can help make the scene feel more realistic...and have a way to assume that various things happen in the background without your character having to personally attend to it. Bartenders, pedestrians, waiters, shopkeepers, and extremely bored customs officers are all excellent choices for NPCs.
IC and OOC
First, all players are expected to separate their own emotions and goals from those of their character. There should be a wall between your character and you as a player which provides distance from disappointment when things go wrong for your character. IC drama and conflict should be interesting and fun to roleplay, not stressful. Maintaining a separation between IC and OOC helps with that.
Areas are marked as either being IC or OOC.
- IC areas are for roleplay; all OOC conversation should be done using the "ooc" command and should either be about the scene, or should be only a brief diversion from the scene.
- OOC areas are for general OOC or OIC (half-IC, half-OOC) interaction. Canon roleplay in these areas is not a good idea, as the areas don't exist in-theme.
One purpose of the Chehon region is to maintain a single unified super-plot which every individual character's own storylines fit into.
- All roleplay falls into one of two categories: canon, or non-canon. Canon roleplay is a part of the region-wide storyline and can be referenced freely in other scenes. Non-canon roleplay is considered a separate "side-plot" which has absolutely no effect on the region-wide storyline.
- All public scenes are assumed to start as canon unless otherwise specified.
- In canon scenes, the actions a character takes and the consequences of those actions are persistent. Altering the actions themselves requires a retcon; altering the consequences can be done via a retcon, or some other thematically appropriate way.
However, there are times when events will clash with what a player has in mind for their character. The player of a character has final say what happens to that character, and has final say over what RP they participate in:
- OOC safeword/time-out will always be respected. In the event of an OOC time-out or safeword, participants in a scene need to stop what they're doing and talk amongst themselves OOCly to try to resolve the issue before play continues. If the cause of OOC discomfort or dispute cannot be resolved, the scene should be declared non-canon and retconned.
- Any player may convert a scene to non-canon if they dislike the lasting effect the scene in progress would have on their character.
Warning: Players who abuse this part of the policy in order to play an unbearable pain in the ass while avoiding any negative consequences for the character will be classified as trolls. Trolling is against policy.
There are types of play which are just unrealistic or unfair.
The use of information obtained via alts or a strictly out-of-character source should not be used in an in-character way where doing so would give one player an advantage over another without prior consent. Informational tools such as "WA" are provided to help promote roleplay, not to be used to gain some form of perceived advantage.
Similarly, alt characters or OOC calls to friends should not be used to sneakily get the upper hand in a roleplay without the permission of your RP partner(s). All IC information exchanges with other characters (such as calls for backup) should be roleplayed out or -- if the way you're calling for backup is invisible/inaudible/etc ICly -- should be mentioned OOCly so that other players are aware of the call and, if their character has the means, they can respond to it.
This said, some meta-information is useful. Finding people to RP with, having the latest bit of gossip without having learned it in RP, and that sort of thing helps to facilitate roleplay. Only meta-information which is used to cause others grief or disadvantage their characters is forbidden. Use your better judgement.
Declaring that an action against another player's character is automatically successful without their explicit OOC consent is not allowed. All actions taken against another player's character should be worded as though they are attempts, not that they're assumed to've succeeded. The other character's player then decides how successful that action is.
- Example: "Teal smacks the wolf across the mouth, then drives a fist into his stomach." is bad. "Teal reaches out to smack the wolf across the mouth and -- if he does -- follows through with a short uppercut towards the wolf's stomach." is much better, and less likely to make people mad.
- Players who indicate that they're in "dynamic" mode [mechanism for this to be determined] are allowed to take mild, non-damaging, non-permanent actions against people flagged the same way and assume automatic success. This flag indicates that the player is comfortable sacrificing a bit of control in order to speed up their roleplay.
- If all players in the room and the scene/event agree upon it, the powergaming rule may be suspended entirely. (Hint: Most people suspend the rule completely or in part for sexual scenes.)
For our purposes, godmodding is setting up a situation in other players' characters -- without the player's consent -- are forced to either act a particular way or be almost certain to suffer significant lasting consequences. Being "mouse-trapped" takes all choice and interactivity away from the player, essentially making the player a spectator in the godmodder's narrative. Situations which trap a character into a narrow set of unpalatable choices should be run by the character's player before they arise ICly.
Burden of Power
Roleplay is a cooperative endeavor. A rich thematic environment requires characters of many different types and with varying levels of power and influence. Some characters will be more influential than others, and that influence can mean the character has more of an effect on the direction of scenes and plotlines than others.
Players of particularly powerful or influential characters are expected to display particularly good judgement. Any such player whose play often results in a negative experience for the majority of other players involved will come under scrutiny and may be subject to wizard action.
Prohibited characters are those who are forbidden to be played without explicit permission from a wizard. Such characters either hold some sort of absolute authority, are unreasonably powerful, or otherwise cause sufficient problems that their use is restricted in order to avoid their dominating every aspect of thematic RP.
- Wizards: Specifically chromatic wizards. Wizards OOC construct and have no IC presence. Related are guardian spirits which are nebulous protective entities that provide varying amounts of protection to certain communities and the planet as a whole: these entities are also restricted from play. The Wizcorps have a monopoly on this sort of character. It's possible to play an imposter or charlatan but those usually have a very short life span for a variety of reasons.
- Unique, top-level authority figures for core building: The Chehon City Council, the heads of founding houses/corporations/etc of the city, and so on. Basically, any leader, co-leader, or vice-leader of any wizard-created organization. This does not apply to organizations which are part of the non-core player-administrated public building.
- Important, non-fluff NPCs: These characters are flavor for the setting, and are reserved for use by the wizards. We may have plans for these characters, or we may just want a ready pool of sources for plot hooks and catalysts for events. Wizards may grant permission for these characters to be played under certain conditions, or may specifically ask someone to play one to enrich the RP environment; in that event, there'll be a list of player-run NPCs posted somewhere to avoid confusion.
- Real people and/or copyrighted characters: Copyright issues aside, we want original characters and original content on Tapestries. Original is interesting, and we like interesting. This is core policy, and applied MUCK-wide, but is repeated here for clarity.
- Any character that automatically causes changes or harm to those around them: Perpetual powerplay. Do not want.
- Layleauxian officials: As per core Tapestries policy.
- Chehon Law Enforcement & Internal Security: Chehon has no law enforcement agency. The criminal justice system is based on bounties and independent contractors with authority limited to their current contracts. Internal security forces are A Very Big Stick which is reserved for wizard use or which will be used with wizard permission as a part of planned events.
In-character organizations which meet the following criteria are forbidden. Individuals from such an organization may be played, but no branch, headquarters, or other organized and cooperative segment of such an organization will be allowed:
- Any real public or private corporations with active, current trademarks.
- Any real, contemporary political party, organization, or movement.
- Any real, historical political party, organization, or movement who -- as a major part of their platform -- advocated or participated in slavery or genocide.
Restricted Public Themes and Content
For the protection of the MUCK and the comfort of its users, several forms of roleplay are restricted in public (core and unlocked public building) rooms. These are:
- Sexual content involving characters under the age of 18.
- Sexual content involving characters which are visually indistinguishable from a real animal.
- Sexualization of urination, defecation, and blood.
- Excessive, explicit violence: examples include -- but are not limited to -- total body disruption, dismemberment, viscera, and consumption of another (living or dead).
- Any hate crime towards a real-life demographic.
Individual zones may permit any or all of the above themes/content, or may place additional restrictions on themes/content, so long as the differences are clearly stated in the zone's policies.