RULES & STYLE
Due to the limited size of the Fawkes crew, players are only allowed to run two non-player characters (NPCs) in addition to their main character. All NPCs are the exclusive property of their creator unless otherwise indicated. Please do not imply or describe any significant action taken by another character or NPC in your own tags and solo posts unless said action has already been explicitly provided by the affected player or if you have received express permission from the affected player.
Please make sure that your characters are at least sociable enough to function along with the rest of the crew, even if they prefer to spend their off-duty time alone.
If you are interested in introducing a significant sub-plot constructed around your character's personality or background, please run it past the sim administrator ahead of time to make sure that it does not interfere too excessively with plans already made by other members of the crew.
Please try to limit references to people and facts from the current century or the last century, since throwing them in regularly tends to read as anachronism. A good rule of thumb would be to invent two properly futuristic references for every 20th or 21st century reference (e.g., it would be all right if your character liked the Delfonics, just so long as they also liked a few bands from their own time).
Please keep your characters as realistic as possible within the context of Star Trek and good fiction. There are many people inspired to sim from their desire to engage in wish fulfillment, and who like to create characters who possess relatively limitless talent, confidence and expertise. When they include weaknesses, they tend to be comparatively minor ones, or only have a detrimental effect on the character's ability to get along with others. Anti-social tendencies or impatience are the most common weaknesses in characters like these. If you find yourself choosing these characteristics while making the character extremely functional in many other areas, you are most likely on the wrong track.
We are trying to take a different tack. The best stories have characters who must rely on one another to survive; if you can, take a look at the crew members who are already here, and make an effort to tailor your character's personality or skills to fill a gap or two. Your character does not need to be the best at what they do, or the most experienced, or even particularly good. The more vulnerable your character is, the more relatable they become. If no one can compete with them, or if every challenge is quickly and readily solved, you will limit their opportunities to interact and engage with other characters.
None of the following are hanging offenses. Just do the best you can.
Your grammar may be edited for ease of reading after your posts are activated if deemed necessary. (The substance of your writing will not be affected.)
Please check out Lynch's Guide to Grammar and eHow's How to Use English Punctuation Correctly and How to Avoid Informal Writing if you can.
You should write the way real writers do and not simply the way you feel like writing. This is not your personal project. Other players have to make decisions based on what they get from reading your stuff; they have to be able to understand you. Standards of grammar were invented for this reason. They can screw anybody up, but they are not intended to spoil your fun. Think of using grammar the way you use turn signals on a car; you know what you were going to do, sure, but other people need to understand too, and preferably as clearly as possible. It is very easy to confuse people in e-mail exchanges. Be as clear and considerate as you possibly can.
Please place your punctuation within quotation marks unless you are adding a question mark or exclamation mark that was not already part of the quote. UK and Australia/New Zealand usually leave punctuation outside of quotation marks, I know; I won't make a big issue out of it, but for the sake of a standard format, at least try and keep it in mind. Likewise spacing. Even in the US some kids are still taught to place two spaces after a period, in the manner of older books. However, the majority of modern books rely on one space, as per the Chicago Manual of Style, and as you can see that rule is being followed here.
Additionally we use the US Navy Style Guide for military or naval terms, which dictates that ranks, rates, locations and positions are not capitalized unless you are addressing someone properly. For example, "Petty Officer Smith was very popular with the other petty officers," or "Captain Smith, please report to the bosun's office," or "engineers usually report to Main Engineering." Do not write "report to the Ready Room" or "report to the Bridge." Do write "report to the ready room" or "report to Bridge."
Likewise, acronyms are always in all capitals. Use "PADD," not "PaDD." (Or better yet, "tablet," since we have these things in real life now and since PADDs are Starfleet-specific.) "Conn" is a duty station, not a regular position, and need not be written in all caps.
Do not use apostrophes after numbers, unless leaving them out could confuse the reader; for example, write "the 1950s," not "the 1950's." Apostrophes are only to be used in possessive cases, not plural cases, even with acronyms ("NCOs to the quarterdeck," not "NCO's to the quarterdeck"). "It's" is a contraction of "it is," while the plural of "it" is "its."
Don't use symbols to imply badge-transmitted dialogue (=A= or any variation thereof). We don't use symbols when we write dialogue generated from a radio, public address system or telephone; it isn't necessary in the case of commbadges, either.
Use as little punctuation as possible. Do not emphasize your meaning using formatting, e.g. caps, emboldening, or italics if you can possibly help it. Ideally we should be able to understand your emphasis solely from your choice of words.
Please try to avoid italics when indicating your character's thoughts. Instead write whatever your character is thinking and then finish with "he/she thought" or similar ("A bold idea, he thought.")
An example of shabbily-punctuated dialogue:
"I love you." Joe Said to the Physician's Mate, "But now your friend's must Die."
"I love you," Joe said to the physician's mate. "But now your friends must die."
It's all right to split an infinitive.
Try to set things in the order they happen. Bad: "Joe threw some garbage into the recycler after following Bob down the hallway." Good: "Joe followed Bob down the hallway, then paused beside the hatch to throw some garbage into the recycler."
Colons are for making lists. Semi-colons are for separate but related clauses within a single sentence. Dashes and parentheses are more or less interchangeable; the important thing is that the sentence should still make grammatical sense even if the parenthetical content is omitted.
Try to write anything that isn't dialogue in fairly formal English, avoiding cliches.
Posts don't need to be any particular length, as long as they have a point. Think of a scene in a movie; a good one takes the character or the story in a definite direction, either by creating or resolving a question, an issue, or a conflict. It may not be a long scene, but it ought to have an impact.
Nobody here bothers with mission logs, but if you want to, you can.
When establishing a location for your post, please move from the general to the specific, as in "Starbase 74: Deck 7, Residential Spaces, Compartment L-24-2-10."
When establishing a time for your post, please write M (for mission) # (for the mission day) : #### (for the time in military reckoning), as in "M1:1200," which equates to midday on Mission Day 1.
Instead of using "ON" and "OFF" to bookend your content, please use "< hr >" (without the two interior spaces; those are just there to avoid actually creating the line right here) instead. It creates a nice horizontal bar that separates your content from your headers. (I'll put one at the end of this thing so you know what it looks like.)
Putting your character's name(s) after the header is helpful for readers in distinguishing which player wrote which character, but doing so is not a requirement, and in fact is only very rarely employed here.
Posting activity requirements
Sometimes real life gets complicated, and often without warning. This is understandable. Still, the show must go on, and our crew is too small to suffer frequent and protracted absences by anyone, so the usual 'Three Strikes' policy used by most Obsidian Fleet sims isn't so practical here.
If you go longer than a week without tagging in, I will send you a polite e-mail reminding you of the fact. If you go three more days without tagging or at least responding to my e-mail, I will send you another, less polite e-mail - a warning, really. If you don't respond to that message within 48 hours, I have the option of managing your character for one tag.
You then have four more grace days to pull it together. If you can't, I will put your character(s) on Inactive status and NPC them often enough to keep the sim running smoothly. You still have the option of reactivating your character and starting the whole process over from the beginning. If you wind up putting us through it repeatedly, though, you may be permanently booted from the sim.
If you need to take some time off, for God's sake let us know. Any more than four days and we will start to worry. Please do not make us worry.
An ordinary Leave Of Absence (LOA) is good for up to three weeks. During that time, your character will retain her regular Player Character (PC) status, and none of your characters will be used by other players, though they may be moved by Liz just enough to keep everything from falling apart.
If you need more than three weeks, your character(s) will assume Extended Leave Of Absence status, which is good for forty days but also is a lot more complicated. Your Non-Player Character(s) (NPCs), if you retain any, will be rendered usable by other players, though none can not be changed in any significant way (killed, critically injured, get married, etc.), in any way that departs from their bio, and can only be used if absolutely necessary advance the plot.
Your PC is subject to the same restrictions, but can only be played by Liz.
Players absent for longer than forty days will be moved to inactive status. Inactive characters can be turned over to other players, made into NPCs by Liz, or accidentally blown out of the airlock.
If you want, you can give the other players advice on how you want the character handled in the event of an ELOA. We will make sure your desires are respected to the best of our collective ability.