All members of USS Excalibur are required to meet the following expectations:
The staff of your group understands this is a game, and other things can and will take priority. That said, unless its an emergency, since the game we play is email based, communicating with the group is of the utmost importance. It lets the group know if there is a problem, if we should continue to post without you, and if we have other reasons to be concerned. A short single sentence or two to the OOC group, the CO, or the XO is all it takes to let us know.
- One of the considerations for promotion and other activities (writing for secondary characters, MSNPCs, etc) will depend on how well a player adheres to this expectation.
- A simple email along the lines of Hey, folks the next couple of days will be busy, but I should be able to sim Tuesday will typically suffice.
2. Sim Regularly
In order to keep the story moving on the Excalibur, and in the Fleet in general, all full-time members are required to post at least 3 times a week. This allows the players around you to keep the story moving and to keep each individual player from falling too far behind. If you are having an issue maintaining this pace, reach out early to the Commanding Officer, the Executive Officer, or others for assistance as soon as possible.
Full-time players are eligible for promotion, positions such as Department Heads, and to take on responsibilities such as posting for secondary characters, PNPCS, MSPNPCs and others.
Some common scenarios:
- What if I'm in a scene and everyone has already answered very fast, can I go ahead and reply again?
- Yes. Keep in mind, you shouldn't feel rushed to post over and over, but don't feel as if there is an imposed 'pause' in your writing if everyone involved is getting along and having a good time.
- What if I've written a scene and there are others who haven't responded in 2 days? What should I do?
- After 48 hours, feel free to respond. After 72 hours you are expected to continue regardless so that your own writing does not suffer.
- I don't feel like the scene has progressed very far since the last time I've written, what should I do?
- Feel free to progress it! While we do have a mission plan, there is nothing set in stone! Captains, Ensigns, and everyone in between can advance the plot!
3. Sim Appopriately
There are three main points to 'simming appropriately': correct content, correct knowledge, and correct actions.
- Correct Content
- When you sim take extra care to remove characterizations, descriptions, thoughts, dialogs, anything your character would not be privy to. For instance, remove the way the previous player described the scene along with dialogs you might not have heard and similar things. After you do that, move on to fill in your own descriptions based on what your own character experience. When this is done well it can really give readers a great insight into your character, and how they perceive things.
- Correct Knowledge
- Starfleet Officers are the tops in their field. That said, they are not omniscient and they are not all-knowing in all fields. We would not want a great Engineer to perform open-heart surgery, and there are going to be lots of areas where officers are going to have gaps in knowledge and talents. Along with this natural lack of talent and knowledge, there will be times when a character might not know something due to rank, position, or other factors. Trying our best to write to our characters' limits as well as their strengths can make our game even better.
- Correct Actions
- We try to allow all writers to play and have fun. The best way to do that is to give them control over their own characters, in writing terms, their Agency. In practical terms we let writers write their own characters' actions, thoughts and voices - including moving them, assuming they say certain things and then acting on it.
There is a slight possible exception to this. Sometimes a set of characters might assume if orders are given a character follows them. For instance, a Department Chief orders Ensign Jones to Engineering. Unless Jones' writer specifically indicates he's not going to follow orders its probably safe to assume he's going to make his way to engineering.
- Another, non-obvious, way of controlling a character's way is by advancing the plot in a single sim to the point other characters have little to nothing to do. This commonly occurs when a player both introduces and solves a problem in a single sim, not allowing other players any sort of input into the story. One way to guard against this is to read your sim and ask 'if I was writing for the other players, could they change the outcome, or did they just observe the entire time?'. If the other players just got to observe, that's a problem.
- A character is a security officer and before they write their scene an enemy ship decloaks. They start their sim and write that a boarding party of three materializes on the bridge. Their character springs into action, doing flips, taking cover, and killing all three members of the boarding party. In the end, there are tags for the other players, but the boarding party is dead and ultimately nothing they do will change the outcome.
- The above is a classic example of a powersim and should be avoided at all costs.
4. OOC Conduct
The general rule for OOC Conduct on the USS Excalibur is be kind to each other. Do not post offensive, graphic, or inappropriate material to any of the Excalibur or SB118 groups or chat systems. If you feel an issue is developing OOC, please contact the staff as soon as possible so it does not fester.
5. Deleting Posts
If an error is made, always try to fix it in a sim. It is extremely rare for the CO to rescind a sim. If you are unsure how to work with something that has been written reach out to some of the more experienced members of the staff to see if they can help you accomplish the goal you have and connect it up with what has already come out.
For some extra pointers on writing great sims take a look at a great guide written by one the fleet's best.