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 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 
*) 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 
*) 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.

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