Chatbox New User Guide
#suburbansenshi IRC New User Guide
Revised as of Feb. 10, 2016
By Dr. Xadium and users of the #suburbansenshi channels
NB: For purposes of discussion, the term "IC" means "In character", (that is, you're playing a role) and "OOC" means "Out of Character" (when you are just speaking as yourself, the player-- the person sitting at the computer).
TO ROLEPLAY OR NOT TO ROLEPLAY
When #suburbansenshi2 started, it was just a place for people to hang out and talk with one another. Most of these people had pre-existing "handles" or aliases, such as Sailor Q and Shaldra Darkness. Some of these aliases had characters behind them. Others did not.
After a while, as people started to interact with each other more, roleplay started, and then plot arcs. But of course not everyone wants to be a part of those, or neccessary roleplay.
You do not have to Roleplay in #ss2, but know that most others do. We now have a dedicated OOC chat sidebar right next to the main box to make things easier. It helps to be a character of some kind, but we have had people who were just normal, everyday people saying hi and staying as themselves.
If you are not Roleplaying, and feel lost by the others doing their own thing, remember that this still is a place for talk. Ignore the others and talk about what interests you. You'd be surprised now many others may have similar interests to you, and will just start a conversation on the side. Following the storylines and whatnot is not required, though it helps.
Also, the #suburbansenshi2 RP box is a light "slice of life" environment. If you are starting a complex plot or event that will take over the entire narrative to the ultimate exclusion of all other activity (like invading a place that will need a large response by many and a pitched battle to be acted out), feel free to start it in #ss2 but then move it to one of the other RP boxes meant for that purpose, such as #ss3 or #ss4 for the playthrough and conclusion.
Another important thing to remember:
Anyone you bring into the box is a character. Even if that person is named after you, acts just like you in real life and doesn't have powers. Because this person will be stuck in a room full of other people who are characters, it would be unfair and annoying to have them do things IC and have you just blatantly "break the world" by not being affected. And if you ARE affected, then obviously you;'re not as divorced from the interplay as an OOC entity would be. Thus the distinction between your OOC and IC actions must be made with the /ooc text.
It's the only way to keep the rules consistent and applicable to everyone.
Remember: The you who is sitting on the sofa in the virtual environs of the chatroom is NOT the you at the computer, no matter how much you say it is.
GETTING UP TO SPEED
Most of the people here have been here for 3-10 years, and have "lives" for their characters. For them there will be a web of interactions and references that someone not RPing may not get. But is real life any different? Everyone has their story, it's just that usually you're not in a position to see it played out in front of you. Imagine the chatbox as a large high school cafeteria. You just have to find a place and sit down. Start a conversation and someone will join you. Eventually you will pick some things up by osmosis and not feel so isolated.
Another thing almost no one thinks to do is *Ask the other characters questions about what's going on*. Not "HEY GUYS WHAT HAPPENING IN THIS THREAD" but questions a person might ask another person, some as simple as "Why are you doing this?"
THE NATURE OF THE BOX
The enviorns of the #suburbansenshi2 chat are generally the Lobby of the HOTEL contained within Ten'ou House in Azabu-Juuban, Minato Ward, Tokyo. (It's the neighborhood Sailormoon) is set in. #suburbansenshi3's locales can vary anywhere in Time and Space.
The Roleplaying Environment is an example of "consensual reality". Everyone comes into it with their own continuities and powers, but they agree to a common foundation which loosely defines the parameters of their existence, i.e. We are in Tokyo, Sailor Senshi exist, people with Magical Powers, Aliens, etc exist (but their existence is for the most part kept secret from humanity at large), rei.bot is near or at the top of the food chain, etc. Beyond that just about anything goes, with the OPs / the admin being the final arbiter of what is ultimately allowed.
Because this is a consensual reality, people are free to bring as much of their reality with them as they want, but they do not have the right to simply sidestep someone else's continuity. If, for example, in your universe there is no equivalent of a Goddess of Love, you are free to scoff at Minako's claim that she is one, but when she uses her powers in a way that would realistically affect your character, you cannot simply ignore the effects by saying she doesn't exist. (A better way would be to say her powers simply don't affect people from your realm, but this must be done with limits, otherwise it's akin to godmoding).
The key then, is to be flexible with how the rest of the universe can interact with you. Now, of course, if you have an area of expertise (say you are a Jedi) and another PC is acting in a way that totally violates the canon of your universe, feel free to call them on it, assuming it's a well-established canon universe, and not just a background you made up or pulled from a fanfic (unless the mutual consensus is that backstory has the force of box-wide canon).
HOWEVER: Keep in mind that you are not playing a Warhammer, Star Wars, Star Trek, Star Ocean or Sailor Moon canon character in Suburban Senshi. You are playing a Warhammer, Star Wars, Star Trek, Star Ocean or Sailor Moon-TYPE character. What that means is you follow the basic rules of your universe, but you can't beat someone over the head with them, because Suburban Senshi canon (where any and all threats can be nullfied at whim) trumps all.
#suburbansenshi2 is not about being 100% In character. 100% in character means DEATH. 100% in character means Professor Tomoe makes you all his daimon hosts after Jedite sucks out your life force and Luna-P eats your soul. Then Sakura April the killbot frags you.
You don't-- and shouldn't-- walk around being aggressive and angry all day because that's how Jor EL the emperor of Krypton did it.
Think this way: At an anime con does Vampire hunter D KILL Alucard? No.
It helps with the realism and suspension of disbelief if your characters have a good background that explains why they have certain things. For example, Michiru's wealth is explained by references to her lineage; she just doesn't "have" tons of money for no good reason. Since this is primarily an anime universe, realism isn't the MOST important thing, and being a stickler abnout characters not behaving or reacting realistically will just get you a headache, but at the same time characters should make an attempt to react logically as to the circumstances. If, at one time, a character freaks out because their children are being threatened, they should not then be indifferent to the same thing happening to another character later unless that's a part of the character's inherent design.
Another thing that helps with realism is keeping rare things rare. For example, we went through a period where everyone and their brother had Force Powers from Star Wars. Force-users are rare outside of Jedi. If you're not a Jedi, it should be improbable for you to have Force Powers-- if you still do, it better be a big part of your character and not just some tacked on ability that gets trotted out every now and then. Rare items should also not be stupidly easy to get and manipulate. Everyone and their brother can't be finding the Dragonballs every five minutes, for instance.
IN-CHARACTER AND OUT OF CHARACTER
Take as an axiom that anything not explicitly said Out of Character to you is merely play-acting and in character by the other player.
As a corollary, DO NOT slip into the habit of asking Out of Character questions to someone In Character. This has happened before. It muddles the context of the conversations, confuses people not privvy to whatever side-band conversations or interactions have gone on out of the channel, and it just leads to passive aggression on the part of players who have to basically start to be vent their OOC frustrations IC.
This leads to a blurring of the lines between OOC and IC where players bascially become passive-agressive, taking out their frustrations on the player through character interaction, or, in the opposite, assume that an IC action is aimed squarely at them OOC when that may not be the case in reality.
Remember that psychologically, even though what goes on in the box is ostensibly an organic work of fiction, for all intents and purposes, players become their characters, even a little bit. Jabs and hits can be felt as viscerally as anything experienced in reality. If care isn't taken to force a distinction between OOC and IC, feelings can quickly get hurt. This is especially the case for people who are bascially just playing themselves with an alias.
Two basic things to remember:
Leave your baggage at the door. Don't bring it into the box.
What happens in the Box, stays in the Box. Don't drag your fights back out or let them hurt your feelings. It's all just a game.
WHAT IS GODMODING?
No godmoding others. If your character is named Bill and you're dealing with Bob and you say "/me and Bob go out for dinner" you've just godmoded Bob because you assigned his character an action without his consent.
"God Moding" is in essence when someone's character has the ability to do practically anything without limits or boundaries. An example is when they simply cannot be harmed by any and all means other RP-ers try-- It can be killing or injuring a character without the player's express permission, It can be when they simply can't be hit and dodge all attacks or anything for this matter aimed at them. It can also be using other characters that other people RP with. In other words, if you do not RP as Legolas, then you cannot have Legolas say anything, or do anything, without the player's express permission. The absolute worst is when they make out another character to be what they're not, just to make their own character seem superior. They make others seem weak, screaming for help, when they've made it quite clear about their advantages and strengths. This is called power-play, a strain of God-Moding, but instead of just being irritating, it's offensive to boot.
This is a prime example of God Moding: Player A: Punches Player B Player B: Dodges attack, grabs Player A and throws him. Player A flies at Player B, who warps behind him and slashes Player A in the back.
How do you avoid godmoding, you ask? Good question, and it's very simple to do. Just add two words to your action. "Attempts to." the word "attempts" solves a multitude of sins. It enables your opponent to have a chance to counter, which is all we ask. Consider the two following sentences:
Paisley shanks Bob with a steak knife.
Paisley attempts to shank Bob with a steak knife.
In the first sentence, Bob is just dead with no chance. In the second, he can turn around, block with a pan, run away, faint, or yes, get shanked. But Bob has a choice in the matter.
Remember, one day your character may be in Bob's shoes.
Don't want to make your character look wussy by dropping in "attempts"? Use Phrasing, like so: Compare the two sentences--
Hotaru hits Haruka with a baseball bat.
Hotaru angrily swings a baseball bat at Haruka.
As you can see, in the second sentence Haruka still has the ability to dodge, but Hotaru's savagery is undiminished.
In short, dont' assume victory in your action statement.
For the love of god, be nice to new people unless they're insultive or obviously trolling. We were ALL new once. don't lecture them on not /join ing the first thing off. Welcome them, get to know them, then teach them the controls.
GOOD CHARACTER DESIGN
Try not to have your character be just a mirror of you if you're going for more than "I'm playing myself." RP is supposed to liberate you from your life's problems, not mirror and magnify them.
If you play multiples, keep them distinct. Don't have them all run in, scream and run out. Develop them. Make them different people.
Your character also doesn't have to be super-ultra-mega-powered. Look at Spider-Man and his villians. Moderate powers and high tech. They operate in a limited scale, don't try to rule everything or destroy the world and are still plenty interesting. Yes, there are some very powerful characters here, mainly due to the DBZ like powerups that have occured over the years, but this isn't a competition for tests of strength. Leveling to the heighest heights won't earn you any prizes.
Some people love their characters. A lot. And in a comedy / Drama based RP like Suburban Senshi, those characters are going to get mocked or get in trouble. It's not a question of IF, but of WHEN. How you handle this is critical.
This is a group environment. If you start something, others will run with it. And it may get away from you, taking on a life of its own. When that happens, if the plot has left you behind, do not bitch. Do not whine, or try to retcon it. If you are made to look silly, don't pout, or throw an OOC hissyfit. That will just make people want to rub it in more. Your cries will fall on deaf, uncaring ears.
You have to pick yourself up and work around it without retconning. Slowly get back to normalcy. If it's a plot problem that's formed, and you don't know what to do, ask on the forums or PMs. Do not complain in channel that you don't know what to do. Looking for help offline is preferable. This is how you gain respect and co-operation.
This also applies OOC. Criticism of your characters, done constructively, is not a bad thing. If it's just and proper criticism and you're willing to listen, you will grow.
BEHAVIOR IN CHANNEL AS REGARDS IN CHARACTER INTERACTION
Bascially react as your character would if you are roleplaying. Be logical about it. Be aware that what you do will be responded to by other characters. Don't just "hit and run". Stay and face the consequences. If you act like an ass, you will suffer the fate of an ass. Running just makes you annoying to the other players. Running indicates you're not interested in interactions with your fellow players, that you just want to sow chaos and not be held accountable for it.
Learn well that words are not actions. In a text-based environment, this is a hard lesson, since words convey actions and they therefore evoke an emotional response.If someone is merely _hypothetically_ talking about eating your kids, it's all right to be irritated and maybe defensive of your kids, but it is NOT all right to pre-emptively attack them unless they do more than just talk.
It is generally accepted that If a character notes something in the box, 'out loud' in purple text, the general gist of what they processed is comprehensible to others from body language and the like.
If you are involved in an interaction that threatens to break out into a full-scale chaotic maelstrom of activity that would overwhelm the box, then you are advised to head to #suburbansenshi3 so that the normal flow of conversation can continue in #suburbansenshi2.
Remember Starcat's 4 steps:
Step 1: Recognize serious reactions and not serious reactions.
Step 2: Try to move serious reactions that will spark chain reactions to #ss3, or at least try to not take over #ss2.
Step 3: Remember that this is a place for FUN. Drama and angst are fun sometimes but when it drags on over days without moving or letting up, it begins to drag everyone else down.
Step 4: Even if you've got a [serious] plot going on, be open to a little fun.
If you want to run an event, run it by people in the forum to gauge interest. Get X to book a time for your events in the Calendar. DON'T Try to run your whole plot as background happenings in #ss2. Do a few one off incidents for flavor in #ss2 on nights when no plot is happening in #ss3, then once attention is had, shift the investigation over to #ss3. After a few nights of this kind of investigation, move on to scheduled events in #ss3 that greatly advance the plot which players can focus on, and run through your plots that way.
Remember that planning an event for a certain date will have ramifications well before that date, If you're scheduled to take back your stolen fortress on Tuesday, you'll be IC preparing from Sunday up through the event.
If you are planning an arc, remember the following:
Shorter is better. Long, Drawn-out arcs can be better dramatically, but drag it out too long and people (or you) may lose interest in seeing it to a conclusion.
Things don't always have to be all doom and gloom. Fun activities and quests can do much to relieve stress and make the box an enjoyable experience for all.
FINISH. Don't drop your arc midway, even if you've annoyed people. Work to address the complaints instead. Remember that you're not the only one getthing something out of your arc. Others have invested hours of their life following your adventure, and they have invested themselves emotionally in the game. It's unfair to them to just abandon the attempt without attempting to make things right. Don't leave your arcs in limbo, either. Remember. What you start will have an impact on more than just you. It will affect all the others in the box. It can be more important to them than to you.
Try not to have arcs that involve only one other person "dominate" the box. By "dominate" I mean that the ratio of screen real estate that is given over to your arc matters dwarfs the conversation of the others around you by a large margin. (If there is no one else in the channel it doesn't matter, obviously). Your unique situation shared only by yourself and maybe one other is simply not interesting enough to warrant that level of exposure. Take it to #ss3, involve the others or tone it down. If you don't, the chances are people will just tune you out automatically no matter what you say later on.
Reward other players for playing. If your arc basically exists to level you and you alone, i.e. "Hey everybody come fight with me so I can get a new piece of armor for me, take the bullets in the chest while I level, there's a good chap", then no one is going to want to play with you anymore, because there's no point other than to make you look good.
Do not step into other people's universes, or expect them to help you do so. There are players here who are expert in certain areas. Xadium, for example, with Doctor Who. Ikari Shinji with Star Wars. Solarchos with Warhammer 40k. Shaldra Darkness with Star Ocean. They know their canon in and out, and have brought it to the box as part of the larger tapestry. If you are a newbie and trying to work in the framework, understand that the players who come before you lay out a lot of the rules as to what is what.
Shinji's Star Wars take, for example, will supercede that of a Jedi who just walks in. If Shinji states that the SW universe is currently set in the time of the Rebellion before Return of the Jedi, if you come from a time after that movie, you are from the future. You cannot say that the entire SW universe as it relates to the box has passed the movie. Similarly, if you choose to play in a constrained area such as that, you must be consistent with it, and if you choose to set an arc in it, it is YOUR responsibility to do the independent research and get your plot in line with the elements of what has come before.
People here are helpful, but also have lives. They cannot give you all the answers you seek, and if they have to spend time doing so, then they might as well run your event for you. You must treat them as a resource to be used sparingly. This is not an excuse, however, for not filling them in on what you're doing, which leads us to:
If you have a problem or concern with someone, tell that person via email or a PM. Do not worry about hurting their feelings, because if you say nothing, and continue to have a problem, things may just continue to get more and more tense until things reach a breaking point where feelings can be hurt even more badly than you now fear.
If you're planning to do something that involves someone else's character or universe, tell them beforehand. Tell them as much as you possibly can before you start things. Give them time to ponder before they reply. Don't rush them. People are busy with school, work and life-- if they're that important to you, they're worth waiting for. Forcing them into things will just cause problems.
If you've been dragged into a situation by another player and you want out, talk to that player.
a) The level to which you're wanted in the activity.
b) Your restrictions.
c) If you HAVE to be in all the way. If not and you want to back off, do it. If you do, and it's just too much, say so and politely decline.
If you need to criticize something, tell people directly. Too much indirection means the message can get lost, and it just makes things difficult for you and the person you're trying to help.
|Thanks to Azure, David O'Cain, Furu, Jack Flagg, Kibiuni Hikari, Mango-chan, Maya, Raihosha, Roomie Rantsom, Potamos, Souldier, Shaldra Darkness, Shinji Ikari, Solarchos, Starcat, Wolfwood, Yaijinden and everyone else who participated in the OOC Nights and informed this discussion|