Our current forum is a temporary one while we build the ultimate user-interface and seek a server to host it on, but we nevertheless want to make the best of our time here as possible.
With that in mind, we’ve drafted a FAQ. If you have a question which you think should be added here, email the Member Support Coordinator or post in the FAQ Suggestions/Discussions thread.
1. What's a GM?
A GM, or Gamesmaster, serves as story-teller, describing the setting, and acts as officiant for questions regarding in-game 'rules' (like the laws of physics, how magic works, etc.), and may arbitrate the outcome of in-game actions (like whether a character's jump clears a pit, a shot hits its target, or an audience is successfully influenced by a character's speech).
They will create environments in which the player characters can interact, control the non-player aspects of the game such as the non-player characters (or 'NPCs') and random encounters as well as the general state of the game world, and will weave the other participants' characters' stories together. The GM is thus in charge of the in-game world and has the final say determining settings, environments, outcomes, and plots.
The role-play environment (or 'sim') could be metaphorically described as a movie or play, in which the players are the lead actors and the GM provides the set, the scenery, and the basic plot on which the improvisational script is built, as well as all the bit parts and supporting characters.
A good gamemaster draws the players into the adventure, making it enjoyable for everyone. Good gamemasters have quick minds, sharp wits, and rich imaginations. Gamemasters must also maintain game balance: hideously overpowered monsters or player characters are no fun.
The basic role of the gamemaster as described above is essentially the same in all our role-play environments (or 'sims'), although differing genres make the specific duties of the gamemaster unique to that system.
2. What's a sim?
A sim is, essentially, the "game" you are roleplaying. It is a simulation of a ship, city, or other location within the 'RPE' where the majority of your roleplaying will take place. There are often multiple sims within each RPE, and they may interact with each other, or they may exist in completely different time lines. The rules for each sim are determined by the SL, and the story is led by the GM.
3. What's an RPE?
RPE stands for Role Playing Environment. It is the world in which each sim exists. Generally, the RPE will be based on the source material used as inspiration for the sims within it; "Star Trek" would be an RPE, and all sims within that RPE would be based on the technology and storylines of the Star Trek universe.
4. Does the RPE also serve to provide a common timeline and other unifying elements to the games that are grouped under it?
The timelines of each sim don’t have to be consistent within the RPE. In the case of our Firefly sims, all of them are understood to be running roughly simultaneously in 2519 with the exception of The Academy; likewise the Star Wars sims are in two different timelines at present, with the Accipiter on its own and the rest of them set some 4,000 years later.
5. What do OOC and IC mean?
OOC means "Out of Character". Players are asked to type OOC before communicating as themselves rather than as their character, within any sim, to avoid confusion.
IC means "In Character" and is used to transition between Out of Character communications and In Character communications. So for example, if someone began their post with an Out of Character communication ("OOC: Sorry for the late post!") and then wanted to resume playing as their character, they would need to insert IC.
OOC: Sorry for the late post!
IC: Morgan O'Doyle slapped Corporal Rimmer in the face.
6. What's an SL?
SL is short for Sim Leader. The Sim Leader runs the sim. They are responsible for recruiting and approving new players, moderating their board, and appointing a GM. An SL may appoint themselves to be the sim's GM, or they might delegate that task to another.
They are accountable for their sim's success, and are the point person for any player issues, suggestions, complaints, or disputes. They report to the site management's General Coordinator.
In some cases the SL's character will be in a similar position of leadership within the game world (see "What is a CO?", below).
7. What's a CO?
CO stands for Commanding Officer, and refers to the in-game position of leadership in some RPEs. Sometimes the CO is also the Sim Leader (see "What's a SL?", above), other times, it is just a player role-playing a leadership position in the game. The CO might be the Captain of the ship in a ship-based sim, for example, or the senior officer in a military sim's team.
8. What's an ASL?
An Assistant Sim Leader is appointed by and reports directly to the Sim Leader. Sometimes the ASL will role-play as the 'XO' (see "What's an XO?", below), other times the XO has no in-character responsibilities within the sim. The ASL's responsibilities are determined by the SL and will vary depending on the sim.
9. What's an XO?
XO stands for Executive Officer. As with COs (see "What's a CO?", above) the title XO refers to an in-game position, in this case second-in-command.
In sims where the CO is also the Sim Leader, the XO is generally appointed to their position by the CO and expected to serve as Assistant Sim Leader (see "What's an ASL?", above) and take on some leadership responsibilities for the RPE. In other cases, the XO is just another role-played character with in-game leadership responsibilities but no more real life out-of-character responsibilities for the sim than any other player.
10. What's a 2-i-c?
See "What's an ASL?” and “What’s an XO?", above.
11. What is 'God-Modding'?
God-Modding is a term used for when a player assumes control of another player's character without the express consent of the other player. By dictating the outcome of a scene's actions the offending player acts as 'god' of the scene. This style of play is considered antisocial and is not encouraged.
Example: Joe punched Jack square in the stomach, knocking him down.
If the player of Joe posted the above, he is god-modding for this scene because he is not giving the player of Jack a chance to respond to the punch.
Corrected Example: Joe's fist struck out towards Jack's stomach.
Note: GMs have the right to dictate the outcome of a scene in order to keep the story moving and play fair for all the characters and can void or edit player posts, while Sim Leaders have the ultimate say and can void even the GM. If you feel you've been a victim of 'god-modding', let your GM and SL know.
12. What is 'Power-Playing'?
Similar to God-Modding but is sometimes considered more extreme. Power-playing often involves playing your character as being far more powerful than would be expected from the character type and/or more powerful than everyone else on the sim. An example of this could be a scientist who is able to out-solider a solider.
13. What is 'Meta-Gaming'?
Meta-Gaming is the frowned-upon convention of having your character know information that you yourself have gained from reading other posts but your character would have no idea about. For example knowing where something is or reading into actions of other players too deeply.
14: I have an idea for a Sim. What do I need to do in order to get the Sim up and running?
Email the Sim-Start Up Coordinator (named in the Coordinators thread in Management) or post a proposal about your concept in the Sim Proposals forum. A proposal can start as a mention just to see if anyone else is interested, and can grow into an entire area of sims.