Alts

Make Alts. Don't abuse alts.

Alt Rules:

  • Keep the knowledge and experiences of each character separate. If you must, maintain a notes file or notebook for each character to keep track of what each knows. This is a good practice outside of alts to keep track of what you know vs what your character knows.
  • Don't have alts in the same scene. If you find two of your characters in the same location, move one out.

Alt Guidelines:

  • Don't dilute yourself. Make only as many alts as you can manage.
  • If you plan to stop playing an alt, +request that it be retired (+policy retirement).
  • Talk to staff if you want to have alts in same or opposing factions.
  • Keep the same SEMAIL across alts so Staff can more easily tell who's who.

Antagonist PCs

This policy pertains to factions that are generally more antagonist/dark/evil compared to others for that race:

  • Vampire - Sabbat
  • Shifter - Wyrm
  • Mage - Nephandi, Marauder, and to a lesser extent Technocracy

Members of these factions are especially urged to bear the following in mind:

  • Be OOCly polite.
  • Stick up for your rights. 'Polite' does not mean 'doormat'.
  • My squick is not your squick. Consider warning others up front and giving them a chance to avoid or at least FTB uncomfortable situations. Should you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, explain and remove yourself ASAP.
  • Be familiar with risk policy and PTMD.

Antagonists (and in fact any PC) may pass themselves off as something else, including false entries on +roster etc. (with a staff-approved +note documenting the real situation). This may well lead to risk escalation if ICly discovered.

The Technocracy's mission statement (Precepts of Damian) has six planks. 'Destroy Reality Deviants' is one of those planks, and stupid hardliners trying to interpret it as 'kill all of them at once' are not tolerated. Unless you attack a Technocrat or use powers in front of a mortal, they'll almost certainly leave you alone. If you attack worse creatures, they may even help.

Bans

It is occasionally appropriate to remove a player from the game and prevent them from connecting and participating. Harassment and cheating are clear examples. For a ban to be appropriate, the following criteria must both apply:

  • The player (not the character) must be detrimental to the game
  • The player (not the character) is very unlikely to behave differently in the future

The decision to be made is always whether or not the player will be a detriment in the future and it is almost always a judgement call; rarely something that can be decided using a set of simple criteria. A "3 Strikes" system allows a bad-intentioned player to get away with it twice, and cuts off a well-intentioned player who's trying to do the right thing but makes mistakes.

Some things that are ineffective at improving the situation:

  • Penalizing a character: taking away XP, stats, build projects, etc.
  • Shaming/belittling the player
  • Restricting the player/character's RP

When a player is being actively hostile to another player or staff, they may be removed from the game for 72 hours. This is intended to stop the hostility in progress and demonstrate that staff are willing to act on it. Before such a temporary ban is enacted, the player must be advised by staff to stop, but the player persists anyway.

When a player is banned permanently, staff must make a +bbpost with a list of the affected characters and a brief, discreet synopsis of the reason for the ban. The list of characters is intended to let players know that those characters won't be returning and any RP hooks that depended on them should be resolved. Disclosing the reason is intended to provide a level of public oversight. This synopsis should not provide great detail for the purposes of privacy. Also for the sake of privacy, the post should not be made until four days have elapsed; staff is capable of mistakes, and disclosing someone's alts unnecessarily is serious error.

A temporary ban is never to be publicly disclosed. Losing one's cool is human and not something that warrants permanent stigma.

When a player is banned over a specific encounter, temporarily or permanently, the player is entitled to have a log of the specific incident delivered to them within 24 hours. When a ban is administered based on a pattern of behavior, it may not be feasible to provide a single log or a representative body of logs in this fashion. In such cases, it becomes a function of best-effort.

Common Sense

Staff are strongly encouraged to treat each character as if they have a version of the merit Common Sense. If a staffer sees a player about to do something that defies common sense thinking, they are encouraged to advise the player that whatever the character is about to do is a bad idea.

Players are in no way obligated to follow "Common Sense" advice from staff. However, if the player elects not to follow the advice and the consequences are dire, the staffer is less likely to be sympathetic. Players are encouraged to ignore "Common Sense" advice if it would not be appropriate for their character's concept, mental state, or other circumstances.

Staff are not obligated to give out "Common Sense" advice. Staffers may forget, not realize the situation, or simply not feel like it. Conversely, staff is prohibited from encouraging bad decisions. Staff is not responsible for a character making good or bad decisions.

Communication

Communication is critical for any socially-oriented game.

  • Out of character communication must be civil.
  • Communication must not include arguments ad hominem: Attacking an opponent's motives or character rather than the policy or position they maintain.
  • Offensive discussion should be moved from shared channels upon request, with the exception of the Random channel, and channels specifically designed for a certain type of potentially offensive discusison (e.g. NC-17, Debate).

Hand Waving

Staff on Let Freedom Ring feel that rules and consistency are important for balance in a game, however they shouldn't always get in the way of fun RP. When the most enjoyable outcome may be inconsistent with rules, theme, or storyline hand waving may be in order.

With hand waving players agree amongst themselves how a situation gets resolved without worrying about all the details. For example, two characters get into a fight. Neither is trying to seriously injure the other. They can decide for themselves who will win; they can reduce the combat to just a few dice rolls; or they can just rp the scene out, and agree upon an outcome. As long as everyone agrees the details aren't important.

Another common example is where the content of a scene is unpalatable to one or more participants. While everyone might consent to the situation and an inevitable outcome, the subject matter may be unenjoyable to play out. This is commonly called Fade To Black (FTB). No one should be forced to RP out a scene that everyone agrees is tedious or makes one of the players uncomfortable. In these situations, players are encouraged to discuss the scene out of character and come to an agreement, without having to RP it out.

While encouraged, hand waving has its limits. First and foremost, hand waving requires that all the participants agree. If agreement isn't met, a scene should be run according to rules, setting, and theme. If players can't agree on that they should seek Arbitration. Second, hand waving should never give any player an advantage that lasts longer than the scene or affects characters that weren't present. Lastly, hand waving can't be used to permanently alter the overarching story or setting; hand waving can't kill the NPC mayor or blow up the police station.

See Also: Arbitration

Idling

Idling on grid is not a crime!

Players are given XP periodically just for being IC. We determine IC and OOC by your location: if you're on the grid, you're IC, if you're off the grid, you're OOC. The names of OOC Rooms are all colored a luxurious purple to be easy to recognize.

A common concern is that a player is on grid to soak up XP and not to RP. While this does happen, we prefer to trust players by default.

Here are our IC idling guidelines:

  • Being IC to wait for RP with specific people is fine, in public or private places.
  • If you're waiting for RP but not with specific people, we prefer you hang out in public but don't require it.

We also offer an OOC Tavern called Poser's which features private OOC rooms where players can idle as long as they wish, although they are not generally intended for RP.

Inactive PCs

Here at Let Freedom Ring we realize that players and staff will often need some time away from the game due to RL issues. Players should try to supply an IC reason for such an absence. If one isn't provided, other players should make assumptions as specified in '+policy time'.

To reduce database clutter and free up names, inactive PCs may be deleted according to the following criteria:

Unstarted PCs A PC is considered unstarted if it has not logged in for at least 14 days and does not have a Race set on its +sheet. Unstarted PCs are @destroyed outright.
Unfinished PCs A PC is considered unfinished if it started the character creation process (got Race set on +sheet), but has not logged in for at least 90 days, has not set any attributes, and has not been approved. Unfinished PCs are @destroyed outright.
Unapproved PCs A PC is considered unapproved if it has at one time been approved for RP but that approval has since been removed. This may represent retirement or a player being removed from the game. Unapproved PCs that haven't logged in for at least 90 days may be @decompiled, archived, and @destroyed, but can generally be reconstructed from a backup on request.
Inactive PCs A PC is considered inactive if it is currently approved but has not logged in for at least 90 days. Inactive PCs may lose properties leased through +rent, but no objects they own are taken, transferred or @destroyed. Their objects may be moved off-grid. Inactive PCs may be moved to a room called The Fridge but may leave at any time when they return.
Abandoned PCs A PC is considered abandoned if it is currently approved but has not logged in for at least 180 days. Abandoned PCs may have properties taken off grid, transferred, or @destroyed but only on a case-by-case basis. Abandoned PCs are periodically mass-unapproved, with a +note that they should be re-approved on request.
Vacations None of the above criteria apply to characters set on vacation. A vacation may be declared for up to 90 days (+help +vacation) and may be renewed indefinitely.

See Also: Unapproved, Time, +help +vacation

Job Handling

Let Freedom Ring uses the Anomaly Jobs system to track staff to-do items. +request, +xpreq, and various other commands all feed into this system.

Progress Meanings:

  • NEW - Unknown amount of work
  • 25% - Some work done, a lot left
  • 50% - About half done
  • 75% - Most done, a little bit left
  • HOLD - Not actionable until later
  • DISCUSS - Staff need to discuss it with each other

Escalations Meanings:

  • GREEN - Not urgent
  • YELLOW - Should be done before most greens
  • RED - Should be done before most yellows
  • White/Unset - Gallifrey needs to fix the bucket/request command

Assignment:

  • When a job is assigned to a specific staffer, that staffer has accepted responsibility for that job. No other staff are required to look at it. Unassigned jobs are open to anyone responsible for that bucket.

Due Dates:

  • Due dates are intended as reminders. They're not a guarantee or deadline. If a job (such as a Query) has a specific deadline, it will be mentioned in the main text of the job itself.

Learning

Here on Let Freedom Ring we generally do not require learning times for XP spends. Staff feels that, if a player earns the experience, then they should be able to spend it where and how they like, within the confines of the rules of the game.

Exceptions:

  • Major power stats (Shifter Rank, Arete) are limited per '+rules minimum time'.
  • Raising abilities above 3 is limited to one per month per PC (not per ability).
  • Raising backgrounds (except Totem/Jamak) is limited to one per month per background.

NPC Leadership

While most spheres have NPCs written up in 'news', those NPCs are not intended for interaction with players. This has several implications.

  • It means that staff don't have to allocate time to RPing those NPCs.
  • It means that staff aren't directing RP within the sphere.
  • It keeps the power out of the hands of tyrants.
  • It ensures that PCs are prominent within a sphere by their own merit, not arbitrarily.
  • It means players have to assume that those sphere NPCs are doing the right things and it requires players to perform a certain amount of hand-waving for the sphere to work.

All PCs in the sphere should keep that last part in mind. "The NPC leaders are doing nothing" is a persistent myth. Here's how to determine what the NPC leaders are doing:

  • For straightforward, non-controversial matters, PC leaders can hand-wave what the NPC leaders are doing. They should OOCly explain that they're doing so. Staff will make corrections if needed.
  • For more complex matters, discuss it with each other (via bboard and/or channel) and/or staff. Staff will RP the NPC leaders directly if needed, but this is intended as a last resort.
  • There may be occasions on which the NPC leaders are in fact doing nothing, or at least not acting as thoroughly and quickly as the PCs would like. However, please do not assume that this is the case just because staff has not directly announced what they're doing.

See also: +policy PC Leadership

NPC Play

For the purposes of PRPs and small player-run scenes, players can fill NPC slots with the following criteria:

  • The player must OOCly use an approved PC to represent the NPC.
  • The NPC must be an actual NPC. They cannot represent an approved PC.
  • A player must be invited to NPC a scene. They cannot don an NPC role and enter a scene without the permission of those present.
  • The player must temporarily stick 'NPC' in their name somewhere.
  • The NPC player must be given direction about the role they're expected to play.
  • The NPC player may vote/nominate and is eligible to receive the same. They're contributing to the story!
  • Players may NPC as a wraith's shadow! YAY eternal torment!

Some NPC leaders may also have dedicated logins:

  • May be played by staff, or by PC leaders with staff approval.
  • Must be invited to appear in a scene.
  • Must be identified as a NPC in +finger.

See Also: PRPs

Nightzones / Dayzones

If a location is a nightzone, then it's always night there, regardless of what +time says. This is obviously convenient for PCs who are allergic to sunlight.

This doesn't mean the place doesn't exist during the day, it just means that all scenes occurring there are set at night. Maybe it's normally closed during the day. If you want to visit the location during the day, then use one of the RP rooms for that purpose.

Dayzones are the opposite, it's always day there. If you're allergic to sunlight and you go to a dayzone by mistake, then just OOCly excuse yourself and leave.

Nightzones and dayzones are marked as such when you enter a room or 'look' at it, as well as in +hangouts and +dir.

See +bhelp nightzones for the correct way to mark nightzones and dayzones.

PA Laws

The state of Pennsylvania has several laws that may be different from other states within the US. Because of this, we here at Let Freedom Ring have listed some of the more basic laws that will affect the world IC. Take note that this is a World of Darkness, and just because the laws are in place does not necessarily mean that they will be strictly enforced in all areas or even obeyed by all people. This is a dark, Gothic punk world, and these are dark times. Bad things can and will happen. Characters may violate these IC laws, though they may face IC consequences if detected. These should match RL laws; any discrepancies will be fixed as they're brought to the attention of staff.

  • The legal driving age is 16.
  • The legal age of sexual consent is 16.
  • The legal age of majority (adult age) is 18.
  • The legal drinking age is 21.
  • The legal gambling age is 18 (21 for casinos).
  • The legal age to buy cigarettes/cigars is 18.
  • The legal age to start work is 14.
  • Daggers, automatic knives, sword canes, and weapons with no "common lawful purpose" are illegal.

Concealed Carry

Concealed carry permits for firearms are issued at the discretion of the sheriff's department. "Good cause" is required.

  • "I might need it for self-defense" is insufficient.
  • "I routinely transport cash from my business to the bank" is insufficient. Random muggings/hijackings happen. You could hire an armored car instead.
  • "I was assaulted" is insufficient. Random assaults happen.
  • "I reasonably expect a specific person to assault me specifically" is generally sufficient.

PC Leadership

Factions, sub-factions (e.g. packs) and other IC social groups need leadership. While staff needs to exert some amount of control, they don't have the capacity to drive all the appropriate NPCs. Even if they did, doing so would prevent great players from having the opportunity to shine.

Responsibility and authority can be bestowed upon someone, but leadership is a skill set which an individual must develop within themselves.

Leadership is:

  • Organizing your group around a collective goal.
  • Setting an example of excellence within your organization.
  • Motivating members of your group toward your collective goal.
  • Providing the support your members need to accomplish the collective goal.
  • Understanding and engaging the strengths of your group's members.
  • Inspiring your group to follow your lead.

Leadership is not:

  • Telling people what to do.
  • Having the final say.

To achieve and retain an IC position, both the player and the character should display leadership:

  • The player should do their best to initiate RP for the entire group, not just a subset of it.
    • Other players who can't show up at a certain time should be offered things they can do separately.
    • Individuals may be restricted in their opportunities if there's a sensible IC reason, e.g. if they have a history of serious IC mistakes.
  • The character should demonstrate leadership qualities within the group that would cause those already in power to take notice.
    • If no clear power structure exists, then consider the group as a whole.

It's completely reasonable for a self-serving evil scumbag character to be a fantastic leader. If you make characters genuinely motivated to work for you and cause great RP to happen, your leadership will be self-evident.

Being a good leader is very challenging and very rewarding. Staff is available to act as a mentor to anyone who wants to develop their leadership but isn't sure how.

See also: +policy NPC Leadership

Player-Run Plots

Player-Run Plots (PRPs) allow players to act as storytellers in a limited capacity, running scenes and stories hopefully without the need for staff intervention. Players running PRPs can incorporate NPCs to drive the story and get people involved in ways they might not normally be involved.

For full details, see Player-Run Plots

Post-Traumatic MU* DIsorder

You're sitting in your haven, watching Monday Night Football in your underwear. The doorbell rings, so you go answer it. The visitor sees your face and then a flash of light from a suicide vest levels your house and turns you to ash.

  • Someone knew where you lived.
  • They didn't like your shoe color.
  • They had Demolitions eleventy.
  • They mind-raped some poor transient to pay you a visit.

You're sitting in your pack den, watching Monday Night Football in your underwear. All of a sudden your Coors Lite seeps into your hand, turning it to silver. And then your forearm, arm, and body. You fall over writhing in agony until dead.

  • You called the brooding Euthanatos a caern-raping namer.
  • They knew where you lived.
  • They used Mage Spheres of whatever to turn you to silver.

You're sitting in the Elysium, watching Monday Night Football in your Elizabethan froppery. All of a sudden, a stream of shovelheads rush through the door with murder in their eyes and Molotovs in their hands. They burn everything and everyone to the ground, crying out to some false Vampire God who shares its name with an obscure French cheese.

  • The Sabbat found out where the Elysium was.
  • The Cam PCs didn't foresee a flood of suicide firebombers.

The above situations are all plausible things that could happen between PCs by some interpretation of the books. We do not let these sorts of things happen here. We firmly believe that players should not have to live in fear and attempt to prepare for every possible scenario in which they could get screwed. For some players, that element adds danger and excitement. We choose to be story-focused and find these situations to be antithetical to good story.

We bring this up because some players regularly submit requests for things that they feel they need to protect themselves and their allies from PC-driven disaster. If you feel that there's an extreme threat scenario that you have to deal with, come talk to us about the threat instead. No NORAD-level bunker, magical wards, or standing army can protect your character better than we can. No level of walls or magic can make you feel safer than knowing what the boundaries between PCs are.

This does not mean you can avoid ICA=ICC by staying at home all the time. However, even in ICA=ICC situations, it does mean that your would-be attacker must accept some risk as well. Here is a non-exhaustive list of examples of things that will justify a PC being killed:

  • Switching to the opposing faction
  • Becoming combative in the opposing faction's official headquarters
  • Making an attempt on the life of another PC or their close PC allies
  • Making an attempt to destroy another PC's business or home

What will make staff kill a PC out of the blue? Nothing. If a player abides by policies and plays in-theme, we stay out of the way. In the event that policy or theme are being violated, it is not the character but the player that will be addressed.

Police Gear

  • Police officers are routinely issued Kevlar vests (+equip/types 36), batons (+equip/types 19), and one or more firearms (+equip/types firearm). These are marked as property of the police department. Ballistics are on file for the firearms. The officer is required to account for any shots fired, and may acquire ammunition at the station.
  • Police officers are routinely issued pepper spray, handcuffs, their badge, a basic crime scene kit, a portable siren light, and a radio. These do not need +equip entries unless customized.
  • Rifles and shotguns may be kept in the trunk of patrol vehicles. They are not routinely issued to detectives.
  • Full automatics (SMGs and assault rifles) are kept at the department at all times, except when assigned to the officer for special duty purposes such as SWAT.
  • +equip entries for personal weapons/armor should be documented as such.

Posing

Power Posing

Power posing is posing the actions of others without their OOC consent. Because this is a form of one player forcing their will on another, we do not accept power posing. This includes things like "Alice punches Bob in the face" where Bob dodging or something is a reasonable possibility; "Alice swings a fist at Bob's face" leaves room for counter-action and is thus okay.

Meta Posing

Meta posing is posing information about your character that other characters might not be able to perceive, such as emotional state, or memories. Some frown on meta posing because they feel that they should only see what their character sees. Some celebrate meta posing because it allows others the chance to decide what their character picks up on without the need for roll after roll, or allows them to show that their character is ignorant of something but their player is not. Because of the varied opinions on meta posing and because the extra information can just be ignored, we neither endorse nor discourage meta posing.

Retirement

If you plan to stop playing a character, please +request that it be retired. This may happen for a number of reasons:

  • Real Life has reduced your time available to play.
  • The character is painted into a corner by events, or by the absence of others.
  • The concept turned out to be less interesting than originally expected.

Explicitly retiring a character is helpful to others, as it lets them know that the character is gone and they should work out how to move on. If you have any alts, it can also benefit one of them (+policy XP transfer).

Characters who haven't logged in for six months are periodically retired en masse.

Bringing back a retired character:

  • Generally allowed, just have an idea of what they were ICly doing during the retirement period.
  • If they were facing ICA=ICC, they still are (unless circumstances later changed in their favor).
  • If they were declared dead, it may be retconned with staff approval.
  • Retired characters are periodically auto-purged from the database. Data can generally be reconstructed from backups on request. Alternatively, you can just reconstruct yourself with chargen-level stats.

Substitute NPC

Consider the following situation, which has actually happened at least a couple of times:

  • Alice ICly does some nefarious thing.
  • Bob ICly finds some evidence and starts investigating.
  • It turns out that Alice had ICly concealed that evidence, but the documentation of her doing so was overlooked or whatever.
  • Alice's successful concealment should be honored, but we don't want to retcon Bob's RP completely out of existence if we don't have to.

In this situation, it's acceptable to handwave the existence of a similar NPC doing a similar thing at a similar place (but inadvertently leaving some evidence), then retcon that Bob was investigating them instead.

Note that Alice cannot unilaterally handwave this (e.g. because she actually did leave evidence behind but doesn't want to deal with ICA=ICC). It requires mutual agreement or staff approval.

The PC

When someone makes a PC, that character by definition has a mind, body, spirit, identity, and three-dimensional personality of its own. It is not necessary to follow the status quo. It is not necessary to avoid the status quo. It is against game policy for anyone on Let Freedom Ring to hinder a player for OOC reasons such as "I don't like your concept". Staff will explain when they feel a PC is unworkable for IC reasons such as "such-and-such group would quickly notice and attack with massive force".

Time

Time Ratio

Some games utilize compressed time, where time happens faster on the game than in real life. Some games utilize expanded time, where time happens slower on the game than in real life. Let Freedom Ring does not utilize time compression or expansion: it runs in real time. We feel that whatever time ratio we choose, it will never match the pace that people RP at. We chose real time because, if we can't make time run at the same pace as RP, we'll at least make it easy to schedule things.

Philadelphia is in the Eastern time zone. +time will show you what that is. As noted above, the pace of RP will always vary; determining the actual IC time of a scene at any given moment may require hand waving, especially when scenes intersect (Alice and Bob moved from a coffee shop to a bar where Claire and David were already RPing), and agreeing on minor local variations like "this scene takes place after sunset" is fine. See also +policy nightzones.

Away Time

There is no correct assumption about what a character has been doing while the player was away from the game. If someone does not log into the game for a week, it doesn't mean they've gone missing, it just means you haven't run into them. The safest assumption is that they've been busy, but everything is normal.

This includes server outages. If the server is down for three hours, when it comes back up, game time is three hours later.

On the other hand, if a character has been gone for months, there's a greater chance that the player is indefinitely tied up by Real Life or has lost interest in that character, and so it becomes safer to assume that their character is also drifting away or at least seeming to do so. If your SO hasn't RPed with you or OOCly kept in touch for three months, it's generally safe if you want to handwave an off-camera breakup.

See also: +rules time

Wiki

Our wiki can be found at http://letfreedomring.wikidot.com/ and it's a great resource for players to share information.

It's important to note that the wiki is a player-maintained resource. While staff does monitor and contribute, they may overlook some things.

The canonical sources for policy and rules information are +policy and +rules respectively. The canonical sources for chargen information are MTPDATW Chargen and the Sphere Information Room. If the wiki disagrees, please inform staff so that a correction can be made.