I realise these guidelines are long and quite in-depth. In three years of play, I have witnessed mass confusion through the failure to follow each one of these following points at one time or another. Consequently, I consider this grounds (and justification) to thoroughly map out the guidelines and expectations for players in the Saga. Players are free to do the same in their position, making it clear what they expect of a GM. Therefore: *) Please post at least once every two days, and notify the GM when you'll be away and out of reach. The GM can always be located via email@example.com or on MSN by the same address. *) Players are responsible for the actions of their character alone. In certain circumstances it may be helpful and appropriate to also write some of the dialogue for listed NPCs on the vessel. However, at no time are players to write the actions, dialogue or thoughts of other player characters in the game, nor those of obviously important GM NPCs (i.e., the current villains &c). *) Players don't have to worry about any rules or game mechanics in the Vikingsaga. Bearing in mind the guideline above (regarding character actions), the game is effectively freeform, and those mechanical details which must be resolved (especially combat resolution, &c) will be handled off-list by the GM using the King Arthur Pendragon role-playing system. *) Always read all the mail in your Inbox before writing replies. This avoids contradictory responses and annullments down the track. *) If the GM annuls your post, it isn't personal. *) Unless joining OOC banter, please don't reply GM OOCs on-list. If you feel the need to justify your actions, or whatever, privately contact the GM so as not to unnecessarily spam the list and undermine the GM's authority. *) Crop posts so that NONE of the e-mail form data (reply addresses, sender's name, hostmark, time and date stamp, &c) are left on it. *) Always crop the <response *your character*> flags from your replies. *) Crop posts so that there is a minimum of "old" writing. Try and keep it relevant to your character alone -- if the post you are replying to involves material for other players, let them catch up with it in their responses, rather than YOU trying to keep the information in circulation. Your efforts are appreciated, but it's much simpler and neater if everyone just includes the sections relevant to them. *) If replying to two parts of an e-mail surrounded by lots of extraneous information, for clarity's sake, divide your reply into two e-mails and send them sequentially. *) Always put your character's name in [these tags] the first time he speaks or thinks, and then after EVERY response flag. This is especially crucial if you are continuing to speak after asking for responses from another player or the GM, because when that player replies, if you do not have a [Name] tag prepared, his or her comments will then flow into your unsigned words, thoughts and actions (thereby attributing to him or herself, instead of your character). *) Your name tag is not a "floating" signifier. Therefore, please always write in complete sentences, and not just start with "Moves forward . . ." or "Stands and . . ." &c. We (the readers) always need to know WHO. *) Use <results> to find out the success of actions from the GM. Use <response player> to get a response from either another player or from NPCs. *) Apart from name tags, response flags and signatures, player descriptions come in four main forms: speaking (and whispering), doing and thinking. In each of these instances, the description should start on a new line. Furthermore: Speaking should be denoted by the use of "quote marks." Actions should be enclosed either side by ::double colons.:: Whispering is carried out using (curved brackets). Thoughts (the rarest of the four) are marked by ~tildes.~ Players should never mix these different types up in the same text block/paragraph. *) Don't rush your posts; a well-crafted post is a piece of art and admired by many. Keep in mind we have had, and continue to have, many people who are not players yet keep up-to-date on events in our saga via the public eGroups archive. *) Always try to proofread and spellcheck mail where possible. A few mistakes aren't anything to worry about. Constant misspellings, particularly of names, contribute to your "Karmic Debt." *) Please write in the present tense, third person ("he says" instead of "I said"). That way the game is something that is happening and "alive," rather than some stale history with no relevance to current readers. *) Try and avoid using obviously contemporary language (phrases like "okay" are particularly garrish when used in-game). If it is possible for players to emulate the way of speaking in the Icelandic sagas (which is, admittedly, not necessarily a "natural" way of speaking), this will contribute to the overall atmosphere, seriousness and epic feel of the game. The "one-liners" which mark other genres do not necessarily belong in this one. *) Try to avoid using crude language, except where it might be particularly effective (usually in a comical way). We are all adults, and such language hardly offends; however, vulgarity is an easy option, and easy options rarely make for memorable, distinctive and powerful speeches or descriptions. On the other hand, it is quite alright to use the word "fuck" when referring to the actual sex act (if that is the word your character would choose to use). From experience, other euphemisms for sex come across sounding entirely forced and artificial. *) Sometimes a foreign or specific word (or even just an obscure English word) will be used that deserves defining. Mark the word in your game post with an asterisk* and, once your post is completed, place a corresponding asterisk and a definition at the bottom of the page. Multiple asterisks can be used in cases where a post contains more than one definition (thus first*, then second** and third***). *) Please read the GM's OOCs--particularly those relating to these guidelines--and actually think about them and try and put them into effect! The GM can only be expected to repeat himself a limited number of times before taking some other action to make players adhere to gaming protocols. *) As far as gameplay goes, the best maxim is ACT, not REACT. This means taking the initiative, leading the plot and asking yourself with each post, "How am I making the game progress?" *) Do not ever change the subject bar in mid-thread. The eGroups archives are searchable by topic and this complicates matters, not to mention making it difficult for other players to follow. *) Players are welcome to start new threads at almost any time. Please make sure a descriptive paragraph is used to introduce the setting of the new situation. Also choose a subject title which is appropriate. If the title is a pun, please do not make it a contemporary "in-joke." *) Please do not write "End of Thread" or any such finalising statements which kill interaction *unless* a cross-posting or a timeline conflict is being resolved by cutting the present thread short (in which case it is also helpful to write in [square brackets] at the bottom of the page, and after any definitions, that "Such-and- such becomes "Title of other thread" or "Occurs in-between "First Thread" and "Another thread"). If unsure whether the thread is to continue, players always have the option to write <response if any>, thereby not obliging the other players to keep the thread afloat. *) Players are always welcome to start new threads at any time. Just be wise to the other events in surrounding timelines, and choose carefully your title for the new thread. *) Please understand that all the conditions above are pre-requisites for the game, and contribute to your "Karma" -- just as the Norns weave men's fates, so the GM and Odin conspire to oversee your success in combat. *) The GM is at all times available to adjudicate player disputes and receive and consider player suggestions, criticisms, requests and opinion -- provided the mail is directed privately and does not interfere with gameplay. *) As a new player, take these directions as guidelines, and not as rules. No one expects you to be flawless from the outset. New players enjoy a one to three month grace period during which they learn the protocols of the game. Thereafter, mistakes in posting, &c, are remedied with gentle reminders from the GM, until such a time as the guidelines are mastered, or it is apparent that the player is unable to master the guidelines. *) GMs usually make "remember to have fun" as their final statement when laying down the law on PBeMs, so here we will continue that tradition. The Vikingsaga is a game, albeit a serious one. There's a certain presumption that part of the pleasure of participating in this game comes from producing a story with a certain credibility and seriousness, as if representing the "elite" of what role-playing can be about. With these missives in mind, we wish you the best of luck for your time in the saga.