Za Officer's Manual

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Member Expectations


In an e-mail based activity such as simming, communication is fundamental. We are all participating in this game as a pastime and understand real life commitments and other things may keep you from simming. That said, unless it is an emergency, you are expected to give your fellow players and your captain the courtesy of a short e-mail to let us know if something comes up that will keep you from participating for a few days. A "Hey, sorry, this week is crazy! Please feel free to move on!" message is all you need to send to the OOC list.

Maintaining good communication between you and your fellow players and captain is the most basic requirement before any consideration of promotion or assignment to a special role such as mission-specific NPC, department head, mission facilitator, etc.

Sim Regularly

The Za adheres to the fleet standard of an average of 3 sims a week/12 sims a month to be considered a full-time player. You are of course welcome to sim more than twelve times a month, but a minimum of twelve sims should be for your primary character (PC), a missions-specific NPC (MSNPC), and/or a mission-relevant personal NPC (PNPC). Simming for PNPCs or NPCs that aren't directly related to the mission or its subplots (i.e., not involving other players) may not count toward your full-time status if you find yourself relying upon them.

If you have difficulty simming at that pace, please contact the captain, as you will probably want to declare yourself as a part-time simmer. The requirement for part-time simmers is an average of 2 sims a week/8 sims a month.

You must be simming at full-time status to be eligible for a promotion or a department head position.

Unfortunately, we have found from experience on the Za and other ships in the fleet that those who cannot sim at least twice a week are unable to keep up with the story in an enjoyable fashion for either them or their fellow players. People tag them less, and then they feel they have less to contribute to, and it becomes a vicious cycle. If your real life circumstances have changed, please let us know, and we can try to find a solution, which may include taking a leave of absence.

Add to the Story

Your sims should come from the perspective of your characters and drive the story forward. Descriptions (:: Susan saw the really neat thing. ::) and thoughts (oO I wonder if she'll notice me. Oo) that originated in sims for other characters should always be removed and the events of the sim presented from your characters' perspective.

The Lists

The Za uses three Google Groups to handle communications:

IC Group

This is our in-character (IC) sim list where all of the IC action happens. We’re here to tell a story, so this is where we put it.

All Za writers are members of the IC group. This list is publicly viewable.

OOC Group

This is our thread for common OOC questions or announcements about happenings such as ship chats, new members, unexpected delays that prevent one from simming, or other things that are not IC. A good place to ask for general help!

All Za writers are also members of the OOC group. This list is private and only accessible to Za members after logging into Google.

Staff Group

In the staff group, staff members discuss story development, personnel details, long-term planning, and more. The Za mentoring program is also part of the staff group.

Membership to the staff group is by invitation only, based on demonstrated simming and OOC contributions to the ship. Staff members must be at the rank of lieutenant at least.

Operating Procedures

Creativity in your sims is encouraged!


No matter the original mission proposal or initial outline, there are no predetermined endings. Each and every one of your contributions, whether your PC is an ensign or a captain, can change the course of the mission.

Plot Twists

When introducing twists, consider whether what you're about to add follows logically within the evolving story. If so, you should feel free to go ahead and write! The only usual exception to this is when new additions take control of another writer's character out of that writer's hands. For example, you should never injure another character without talking to the character's writer first.

It is always worth contacting the command team or your mentor, too, if you think your plot twist may have a serious and unexpected effect on the course of the mission. Examples may include:
  • The addition of a new alien race that has not yet been involved in the mission. ("Sir, Romulan Warbird decloaking!")
  • Relocation of group of PCs that does not include your PC.
  • Destruction of an important building or ship.

Mission vs. Shore Leave

Generally, writing time aboard the Za is divided into two major blocks: missions and shore leave. Missions involve one or more central objectives and generally take place aboard the Za and associated ships, planets, etc. Missions are generally four to six weeks in length, though this may vary!

Between each mission, the Za crew has about two weeks of shore leave. During this time, there is no central plot and no general objective (or at most, a low-key "routine" mission that stays in the background), so it's a great time to have your character(s) mingle with others and develop relationships you otherwise couldn't during mission time.


Standard policy on the Za is that you must write full-time for at least one full mission before your character receives her or his next promotion, regardless of what rank you begin at. If you arrive mid-mission, then you want to try and begin simming full-time immediately.

Note that being a writer-in-residence aboard the Za for a "full mission" means that you arrived no more than one week after the beginning of the mission. At the end of missions, the CO will present service ribbons to PCs and specific PNPCs as necessary. However, further PNPC and NPC awards can be given, as appropriate, by those characters' writers. As always, any large-scale changes should be discussed with the command team. Use your best judgment!

Promotion of Player Characters

Promotions occur after the end of missions. However, the timing of promotions within shore leave may vary: Sometimes promotions occur directly after the mission has ended, and sometimes they occur just before the next mission is set to begin. Your best resource for working toward your next promotion is the fleetwide Promotions Guide.

Keep an open dialogue with your mentor and the command team if you unsure what to do in order to achieve your next promotion!

Promotions of NPCs

Technically, only the captain can authorize promotions IC. However, you may want to promote one of your NPCs or PNPCs at some point if you started them at a rank below your own. You are free to create and promote NPCs up to your current rank. For IC "realism," you can tell your NPC/PNPC that your PC is recommending them for promotion (for instance, if your PC is the chief medical officer and your NPC is a nurse in his or her department), but you are free to then show them in a later sim having been promoted "off screen."

If you wish to have the actual promotion of your NPC/PNPC simmed, talk with your captain, who will be happy to sim with you to make that happen!

OOC Activities

Looking for something fun to do between sims? There's plenty of activities around the fleet!

Participating on the Forums

StarBase 118 and the Za isn't just a sim group or even a fleet of sim groups. It's a real community of fellow Star Trek fans from all around the world! Head to the forums and check in to your duty post forum. See what's happening on the Za forum or even stop by some of the other ship forums and say hello! The forums are a great way to meet people and make new friends beyond your ship. As you advance through the ranks, you will probably find yourself spending more times on the forums -- and even moderating some individual forums!

Building the Wiki

Where's your first stop when you want to learn more about a character, a ship, or anything else you encounter in the StarBase 118 universe? It's the 118 Wiki!

  • The wiki contains character profiles -- if you wish to learn more about a character, you would go to the ship page, look at the roster (or the crew nav across the bottom) and find the name you’re looking for. These are vital to learning more about any character, and as you advance in rank it is considered mandatory to keep it updated with awards, mission histories, etc.
  • The wiki also contains mission profiles -- an archive of missions with details that usually gets updated once a month that describes the mission of your ship.
  • Ship wiki -- contains many aspects of the ship that are important for you to know. It contains information on the campaign region the ship operates in, crew rosters, crew histories, crew awards histories, mission histories, technical overviews, namesake and dedication plaque, and links to the forums, the sim archive, and Google Group.


Check out the teams page to see what other activities are around the fleet you can join!


All graduates from the Starbase 118 Academy will be assigned a mentor on arrival aboard the USS Za.

Mentor Duties

See also: Za Mentors' Companion

The responsibility of a mentor is to act as first point of contact for a new player, to help them to settle in with the crew and to take an active interest in ensuring that they meet all of the requirements for promotion, providing support where necessary. A mentor will be expected to be in touch with his or her mentee at least once a week, and blind copy the staff list to all mentoring related emails.

In many cases, new arrivals may be self-sufficient, in which case their mentors may be in contact on a less frequent basis. Mentors may also be assigned to other writers with a specific need or interest.

Becoming a Mentor

Upon promotion to the rank of lieutenant, you may be asked to participate in the mentoring program as a mentor.

If you wish to participate in the mentoring program, don't hesitate to contact the writer behind the CO, Tony.


This version of the Officer's Manual borrows liberally from the Invicta Officer's Manual. Many thanks to the Invicta's command team for allowing its adaptation here!