Rules: Tell More More About "Lead A Horse To Water"
Play your own character only. Don't post actions or reactions for other characters;
don't post for their possessions or creations. Control only what you create.
This rule is often called "Freeform Rule Number One" because it is the foundation upon which freeform roleplaying stands. It is one of the simplest rules, but one of the most commonly broken.
All you need to remember is to post only what your own character does, or feels, or sees, or how he reacts to the environment. Never post for other characters, in any way.
Combat is one particularly difficult situation for many players to heed this rule. Often a player will post not only his attack but also the results of the attack -- and that is a violation. It is up to the defender to determine what happens to him because of the attack! An attacking character can swing a sword or shoot an arrow at an opponent -- but whether the sword cuts or the arrow pierces is up to the target.
Possessions fall under this rule, in the sense that a character cannot affect another person's physical possessions in the same way that he cannot affect the other person's body. A thief cannot steal a purse; the thief can post that he tries to steal the purse -- but it's up to the victim whether the purse is swiped, and whether the thief is noticed in the act.
When in doubt about this rule, try turning the tables: imagine that you are the other character, and someone is about to post an action or reaction for you. Wouldn't you feel slighted and robbed of control of your own character, if the decisions about what your character does and how he reacts to the actions of others is taken away from you?
Never take for granted what other characters in the game are going to do. Leave it up to them.
Worlde Arcane is a highly defined gameworld of several continents and dozens of locales such as cities, forests, deserts, seas, mountain ranges, and more. It is a rich environment offering sufficient defined content for almost any story.
Many areas have a button marked "Create New Area" so that players can make new locations as their stories demand. However, common sense must be used, in accordance with Rule #5 "Walking Through Walls (Without Magick)" and per the limitations listed here:
- Villages - A small community of no more than a few dozen people may be created wherever settlers might survive. Anything larger than such a tiny village would surely have been noticed by the official cartographers of Worlde Arcane. The population of such a village must comply with the Cameo NPC rules. The creation of new large towns and cities is not acceptable.
- Islands - Characters might encounter islands no larger than a couple of square miles in their travels on the sea: no larger island can possibly exist without having been noted and charted by the mariners of Worlde Arcane. The creation of new continents is not acceptable.
- X Planes And Other Worldes - Though several realms are known to exist beyond the material lands of Worlde Arcane, they are difficult to reach and impossible to return from. Any player venturing into alternate dimensions is considered to have left the game permanently. The use of "shadow-planes" and related dimensions, especially for purposes of teleportation, must comply with Rule #3 "Balance In All Things."
- X Event/Story Pages - Each page in the Worlde Arcane message board represents a physical area, e.g. Seven Oaks Tavern or the Gopago Desert. Some other message-board games rely on "chapter"-based message pages such as "King Hulgar meets Jezia" -- this is not the case in Worlde Arcane. Please do not create "event/story" pages because we will have to delete them.
(Characters other than your own character and those of other players are sometimes called "NPC's" per traditional roleplaying terminology.)
Supporting characters, such as peddlers, well-met travelers, or kinfolk, add interest and color to the tales of Worlde Arcane, and may be incorporated into storylines, either through regular posting or via blockquote tagging. These characters are considered to be temporary, however, and are generally used only to support the player’s main character or storyline activity. A more permanent supporting role, such as a sidekick or a familiar, is permissible as well; again, these characters may be included in the player’s posts, or blockquote tagging.
Some guidelines for the creation of NPC's:
- Cameo NPC's - You can populate the storyline in which your PC is active with additional "temporary" characters by writing them into your posts. You might, for example, arrive at a bazaar, wishing to buy a weapon or supplies -- feel free to write a cameo merchant into your post, if one does not already exist. There are instances where a player might need to interact with a guardsman or tavern wench, in which case the player may create and control just such an NPC. Generally these Cameo NPC's are meant for temporary story support and may not be carried through a story indefinitely. This is not a loophole to create multiple PC's.
- Sidekicks - Running a sidekick NPC to accompany your main character is acceptable, either by writing him into your character's posts, or making separate posts through blockquote tagging. However, a sidekick is not only a doubling of your requirements for maintaining a character, but he is also an asset that will generally count toward the main character's compliance with the Zero-Sum Rule (or, ideally, be so well-defined that he complies with the Zero-Sum himself). Sidekicks should not be taken on frivolously! A sidekick must remain with his patron. Each player may create and control one sidekick NPC per PC.
- Villains - Many stories rely on adversaries to oppose the heroes' efforts. Running a long-term villain is acceptable, either by writing him into your character's posts, or making separate posts using NPC blockquote tagging. However, like a sidekick, a villain increases your requirements for maintaining a character, and they should not be created frivolously!
NPC's outside your own storyline are not allowed. Creating anon-posted NPC's for use as additional characters is not allowed. Clarification: this means you are writing only in the scene your character occupies! Your "story" does not appear on the boards anywhere except where your character is at the time. Without this understanding, any player could simply say, "Yeh but all those NPC characters that I'm writing all over the game, hey, they're all NPC's for my story!" Sorry, but we cannot allow it.
Every character upon application is assessed for balance in strengths and weaknesses per Rule #3 "Balance In All Things."; the same rule must apply to any NPC and even to magickal artifacts (such as enchanted items). No super-powered PC's, NPC's, or objects may exist in the game.
An "NPC" is a "Non-Player Character." This term is a bit of a misnomer, because all characters in our game are controlled by players. The phrase comes to us as a leftover from systemized gaming wherein a GameMaster runs support characters to enhance the stories for his players. We keep the term solely because of its wide usage to distinguish main "Player Characters" (PC's) from characters that are primarily meant to provide story support.
If an NPC has a name, no other player may control him; treat him like any other regular character. This is our basic rule for whether a player may control an NPC. Every player must use common sense in all circumstances, but should always lean toward controlling only his own character, whenever in doubt, rather than mistakenly controlling someone else's character, which can cause misunderstandings and arguments.
Some NPC's take the form of gangs of attackers or hordes of monsters. In the case of, for example, a huge pack of orcs attacking a party of characters, it is permissile for the characters to post results of combat, to slay an orc here and there, to get one's sword bloody, even though it might appear as a technical violation of Freeform Rule Number One. Again, when in doubt, use common sense, and lean toward controlling only your own character, trusting that whoever created the orcs will post suitable reactions to your attacks.
Occasionally, characters will not post for a period of time. Unfortunately a missing player can greatly disrupt a scene, often completely stalling all the other players in the story. In this case, a suspension of FreeForm Rule Number One goes into effect:
- FIVE DAYS - If a player has not posted for five days, permission is granted for other payers in the story to post for his character, on the provision that no extreme or permanent change may be made to the missing player's character. For example, you may move that character, have him speak and act, interact with others, etc.; but you may not kill or mutilate him, obligate him to extended commitments, give away his prized possessions, etc. This is called "Carrying A Character (In His Player's Absence)." Temporarily, the character is owned by no one, and any player may post actions for him, in keeping with common sense and reasonable story progress.
- TEN DAYS - After ten days, if a player is still missing, permission is granted to remove his character from the scene, but only in such a way that the character might return if the original player resumes posting. For example, you can have the character move away to explore a nearby area, after which his whereabouts become unknown; but you may not kill him off. This is called "Exiting A Character."
- FIFTEEN DAYS - If fifteen days elapse without a post from the original player, his character must be exited from the scene in a timely fashion. The Missing Player guidelines are not intended as a loophole for players to inherit multiple characters, but as a method of preventing story stalls and smoothing the inevitable loss of players.
- UPON RETURN - If and when the original player again resumes posting for his character, FreeForm Rule Number One again goes into effect, and permission for other players to post for his character is revoked.