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 Tyr's Laws of the Bridge

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PostSubject: Tyr's Laws of the Bridge   Sat Apr 25, 2009 5:53 pm

INTRODUCTION

While this forum is comparatively open and designed to encourage creativity, welcoming of all who wish to try their hand at collaborative storytelling-gaming, there are a few cardinal rules designed to protect the integrity of the stories here and promote respect among writer-players.

I. GOOD TASTE

This site is rated C MA - Cyber Mature. It is intended for mature members only. Some posts may contain violence, language or sexual content. Reader/writer discression is advised. Participation in any of the stories is completely voluntary. All posts are property of the writers. Consider yourself warned. Enter at your own risk.

With that being stated above, we must make mention of the age of our members. While we know it is very easy to make up a birth date to make yourself appear older, that is not necessary. We encourage all writers of any age who are of the mature, mental capacity to write and participate in any story on the site. This is a free site and with the disclaimer stated above, there is no way we can prevent someone from initially registering and participating in the stories.

Even so, the tone that has already been established in a story should be followed, and excessively crude language will probably get on everyone’s nerves. Furthermore, this is not an erotic writing site. While sexual content may appear in stories, we ask that writers portray such moments not with pornographic blatancy but with subtlety and suggestion that leaves us marveling at what good taste you have.

In line with the concept of good taste, it should go without saying that Respect is cardinal to everything we treasure at the Bridge, and there is no tolerance for personal attacks on other writers or harassment of any kind. While characters may be cruel and narrow-minded as the day is long, we writers must never be. You have been warned.

If we find you are not adhering to the cardinal rule of respect and using profanity to an excessive amount and/or writing lewd and sexually explicit posts, you will be prohibited from posting in the story line for a minimum of 30 days and your posts WILL BE DELETED from the story. Once permission to the story has been reestablished and you go back to using excessive profanity and/or start writing lewd and sexually explicit posts, we will ban you from the site entirely for as long as the site remains alive. You will receive no warning as it is stated plainly here what the consequences of your actions are. You will simply receive notification of your removal from the story and site after the action has been taken.

II. TYPES OF STORIES

There are generally two types of stories here. The most common variety is what we call free-form. These stories have no central moderator in charge, and all writers are invited to embellish the plot in any way that synergizes with the established characters and setting.

Some stories have a central moderator, who is responsible for maintaining the story world as (s)he sees fit. All characters must be approved by the moderator before joining these stories, and the moderator reserves the right to edit posts. Some stories are only loosely controlled by the moderator, while in others the moderator behaves like a traditional Game Master.

III. WRITING POSTS

First of all, all writing styles and abilities are welcome here. The best way to get a feel for how we do things is to read a few of the threads. Definitely read up on a thread before you commit to it, and keep an eye on: 1. The tone and setting, 2. What type of characters inhabit it, 3. Whether or not there is a central moderator running the story, 4. Pacing—how regularly are people posting?

Unless otherwise stated in the thread, all stories can accept new player-writers at any time.

That being said, please do your best to use correct spelling and punctuation. A few mistakes are understandable, but correct spelling and punctuation are necessary for other writers to understand you. It's a good idea to compose your post in a word processor that checks spelling and grammar before posting. If you can read this post, you understand basic punctuation. There is no reason to avoid using it but for laziness, which is not appreciated. While we can certainly overlook typos and mix-ups (we all make them!), we admire writers who try their best.

However, a special note should be made about character dialogue. While language should not be so flamboyant it detracts from the story’s readability, writers are encouraged to use slang and phonetically rendered accents if appropriate to their characters. And while all posts should be written with an English-reading audience in mind, a character of foreign origin may occasionally use his native tongue, with the caveat that a translation is provided (i.e. An elf may at times speak in Elvish, "Isti almae Ethlorvenevnar branosrennay osfin torhiresta Hilithgalhur Ethlirvalkethsay." (TRANSLATION: ‘I am Elven born of the High Elves.’)).

As a final word on writing, all posts submitted in a story thread should be at least two sentences or longer, or a minimum of ten words. The point of this rule is: Give us something to work with. Unless things are described well, other writers will have a hard time responding. While not all posts can advance a story by leaps and bounds, we should all strive to contribute something with every post we make, and three or four words just isn't going to do that.

The only other thing to say about posting is that all members are expected to post at least occasionally. This does not mean you must participate in stories in order to be a member of this forum (though we hope you will); it means you must sound in from time to time, even if you only make OOC conversation. Members who are inactive for three months will receive an emailed warning that their account is about to be deleted. There is a grace period of 48 hours in which you may make a post if you wish to remain a part of this community.

However, if you notify us in the ‘Comings and Goings' thread that you will be absent for more than three months but will be returning, your account will not be touched. This law exists to eliminate clutter on the roster and to encourage members to be mindful of the community aspect of this forum.

IV. CHARACTERS

All stories have a thread where you may post your character for assessment by the moderators and your fellow writers. When creating your character, keep in mind the level of ability of the other characters, as anyone who is inordinately more powerful will probably not make a good addition to the story.

You write your posts from your character’s perspective and are only responsible for your character’s actions. While it is usually permissible to give other writers’ characters appropriate dialogue and actions in order to allow your character to complete their action, you should never ‘take over’ other characters or dictate what happens to them unless the other writer has given you prior permission. If there’s something you want to have happen but are in doubt, simply PM the other writers concerned and they will probably be happy to play along.

You may have only one membership account, but you may create as many characters as you can handle. Characters are distinguished in a thread by use of a banner at the top of each post. Most people write for one or sometimes two central characters in each story they participate in, and then use NPC (non-player character) characters for plot devices. For writing purposes, you treat another writer’s NPC with as much respect as you do their characters, unless the writer gives you permission to use the NPC.

When it comes to respecting other writers' creations, remember that you are responsible only for your own characters and write only for them. Unless you have received permission from the creator, you may never kill another character, even an NPC. Chances are, the NPC’s creator has a plan for them and will be upset that you ruined it. For more information, see the Rules of Engagement, below.
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PostSubject: Overview of the Bridge - continued   Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:07 am

V. RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

Enforced to various degrees, depending on how strictly moderated a story is, the Rules of Engagement are based on the ‘T1’ rules for free-form fighting, as established by The RPG Club Administrator, Adam Wright, and as interpreted in The Nine Worlds collaborative storytelling forum. The central idea is that you may write your character’s attack or action, but it is up to the character on the receiving end to write the result.

The key to successful free-form combat is that you write your actions descriptively (remember other people must interpret and respond), and colorfully, as if the scene could appear in the pages of a novel. The basic factors to consider when writing these scenes are: 1. Follow the laws of physics (is your character wearing heavy armor? Then he probably won’t move as fast as the guy in a loin cloth), 2. Injuries hinder you, so take them into account, 3. Other characters’ actions affect you in some way, so respond accordingly, 4. No invincible characters allowed, 5. No one is perfect, so learn to mess up once in a while.

Keeping these practicalities in mind, when writing a combat scene against another player-character or NPC, you describe what your character does and the creator of the other character or NPC responds accordingly. Ideally, you should write actions against other characters in bold font to indicate ambiguity. For example:

Quote :
JERRY THE SNAKE:
Jerry saw the detective entering through the rippled glass on the office door and crouched behind an overflowing garbage can, hiding in the shadows.

Quote :
NICK DICEY:
Nick was tired after a long day of spying on disloyal spouses, looked forward to nothing more than throwing his feet up and knocking back a flask full of rum, but as soon as he entered his office, he saw a flicker of movement in the shadows behind his garbage can. The sight made him ornery more than anything, and in a wild swoop, Nick knocked the garbage aside and hauled up Jerry by his collar.

“What the hell are you doing here, you dirty rat?” Nick demanded, shaking him.

Quote :
JERRY THE SNAKE:
Jerry had earned his nickname because he was fast and slippery, and as the detective reached for him, he wriggled away, slipping from Nick’s grasps as the man tried to shake him. Jerry careened into an office chair and sent it spinning.

Still clutching the secret file to his chest, he thrust the chair at Nick Dicey and ran for the front door.

Quote :
NICK DICEY:
Nick leapt to the side, trying to dodge the chair, but it tipped over, tangling his legs and he crashed to the floor. Watching Jerry’s wiry figure vanish through his front door, he continued to lie on his side. Maybe he would just stay here and take a nap.

As you can see, each character ended their post with space for the other to react, and each determined the effect the actions of the other had on them. Their actions were within the bounds of the story’s realism and contributed to the plot. Nick may not have caught Jerry, but now he has something more to do with himself than spy on cheating wives and husbands.

Just to clarify, this type of free-form combat should be used not only when fighting other characters, but when fighting another writer’s NPC. The NPC’s creator will write the outcome of any actions taken against the NPC. In game-mastered stories, the moderator is responsible for writing the outcomes of all combative engagements.

One exception to these rules of combat would be random encounters with minor ‘bad guys.’ In free-form stories, any writer may introduce a random encounter (as opposed to an NPC character), and when facing the opponent you may write not only your character’s actions, but the outcome as well. If you are uncertain of whether or not a new threat is a ‘random encounter’ or an NPC, PM the initiating writer and ask.

VI. COMMON PITFALLS

Here are a few things to avoid. It’s surprising how many people accidentally fall into these pitfalls, so make sure you’re forewarned and forearmed!

A. Don’t be a Mary Sue

A Mary Sue is a character who has a solution for every problem—their store of experience and skills grows with every inconvenience, no matter how minor or vast, they encounter. Mary Sue can build a fire in a blizzard using just a shoelace and a dead leaf; Mary Sue can contact headquarters because, even though everyone’s supplies were lost, she always carries a radio in her shoe; Mary Sue can build a cabin, ballroom dance, pack a parachute, wield ancient magic, beat the fencing master, field dress a wound and always wins at poker. And there is no surer way to kill a good story than to bring a Mary Sue to the table.

Stories rely on tension to keep them moving forward. If that tension keeps going slack because Mary Sue keeps fixing every problem, the story is going to get very boring. So whatever you do, don’t be a Mary Sue.

B. Don’t God-Mod

God-modding is making your character god-like by rendering them invincible to almost everything that happens to them and bestowing powers upon them that no one character in the story should have. This is another excellent way to kill a story.

Characters in adventure stories should be heroes, and to be heroes, they need to struggle against odds that seem greater than themselves. If your character has strong powers, make sure you balance them out by giving them great weaknesses, too. Unless the story caters to ridiculously powerful beings, demi-gods and vampire lords typically make poor character choices. The only exception is if you are playing a major villain against whom the heroes must fight.

Remember, all writers love their characters and want their characters to contribute meaningfully to the story. If your character is so powerful that they don’t need the help of the other characters, they probably don’t belong in a community story.

C. Don’t Be Omniscient

Omniscience is when one writer decides to move all the characters and NPCs, whether or not they ‘belong’ to that writer, around on the chess board, like an omniscient god—especially to suit their own purposes. The easiest way to avoid this is to stick to your own characters’ perspectives and follow the Rules of Engagement.

If you are worried that someone is using your character inappropriately, simply PM that person and explain your feelings. Otherwise, it’s always alright to PM a moderator.

However, as stated previously, it’s usually okay to give other characters some lines of dialogue or actions that are true to the character in order to keep the story moving forward. Also, when a plot-device springs, characters may not have much choice over what happens to them—but these actions are only performed when supporting the integrity of the story.

The danger comes when you ‘make’ other characters do things they wouldn’t, write defining moments for other writers’ characters, or otherwise manipulate the story to your own advantage. That’s the best way to upset your fellow writers.

On that note, don’t let your character be omniscient, either. You character only knows what he has heard and seen for himself. Unless he has used a spell or planted a bug (ahead of time!) that tells him what’s happening elsewhere in the story, he should never react to or plan for situations outside of his own immediate circumstances. And unless he’s a bona-fide mind-reader, he doesn’t know what the other characters are thinking, either, and so he shouldn’t act like it. Remember: It’s not about being the coolest, it’s about writing a good story.

D. Don’t Avoid Communication

You might be surprised how much planning and double-checking can go on behind the scenes of some of our stories. We don’t like stepping on each other’s toes.

If there is something you want to bring into a story or allow your character to do that requires another writer’s cooperation, just PM them. Most people are happy to play along and will be glad that you checked with them first. Especially if that other person is the story’s moderator.

By the same stroke, if you are worried about something someone else is doing, PM them and ask about it. One PM now can save a lot of grief later.

VII. CONSEQUENCES

We understand that those who are new to community writing and play-by-post gaming may make a few innocent mistakes along the way. The moderators are here to work with you and we know that most people’s mistakes are tempered by good intentions. However, those who refuse to follow moderators’ recommendations and continue to flaunt the Laws of the Bridge will find themselves banned.

If you register with the Bridge then do not post anything for 90 days (three months); you will receive the e-mail notification listed below sent to the e-mail account you registered with:

Hello,

Your account on has been judged inactive by the Bifrost Bridge forum administration team.

If you wish to stay in our community, please connect yourself to the forum - http://www.bifrost-bridge.com and post in one of the many threads. If no activity is done within the next 48 hours, your account will be deleted.

Thank you,
The Bifrost Bridge Admin Team


By publishing these Laws of the Bridge here, all who post in this forum are considered aware of and subject to them.

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Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.
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