It is not required that you read all of this, but if you're new to the game it'll save some time and trouble for you getting started. Note: Not all simms are played in the same style. (not even close) Another note is that this guide is still incomplete. Any places mentioning demo posts will be updated when I have time to dig through some old posts and find some suitable demos.
New simmer's guide 101
Requirements to play
Chain of command
Gameplay (what to write about)
Leave of absence or sudden dissapearances.
The God Complex
All you require is an e-mail address, steady internet access, and enough time to write in anywhere from 1-3 times a week. No experience is required, and no background knowledge of star trek is required, though, being a star trek based game, having some basic trek knowledge is a good idea.
Things to consider when creating a character:
Don't get too descriptive about how beautiful your character is, we'll get the point.
Avoid the god complex. -see God Complex If your character does happen to be a bit of
a tough, resiliant, heroic fighting machine, that's alright. But try coming up with a
bit of a story for why your character is the way he is. -see Brent Spiner's bio for an example Brent Spiner was the first character I ever made, and was quite a superhero.
Social, professional (does the character respond well to authority?) emotional stability?
You can use existing star trek races or you MAY invent your own. Generally, especially if it's your first simm, stick with the ready made races from the Next Gen and DS9 series. I may allow races from Voyager also. Custom races are subject to approval and
if races start getting a little weird I'll have to ask you a lot of questions before it
can be played.
You don't have to be totally accurate, but give a brief idea of what strengths and weaknesses your character has in these areas, and whether they attended starfleet academy
or if they had any other training.
Anything in your character's past that has shaped who your character is.
You can make up a totally fake background of ships they served on, jobs they had, etc...
You don't have to go into great detail on everything. Stick to what interests you, as a writer, creating a character. What do you like about this character, and how can you explain who they are and how they got to be where they are now. You can be pretty mysterious if you like.
All of these things can be added to through gameplay, and only need to be brief summaries for a new character bio.
Chain of command:
There is an actual chain of command within the game, it's not just a formality. Higher
ranking players get put in charge of different sections of the story, as it unfolds.
Chain of command:
2nd officer-Lt. Commander (most likely)
Typically Lt. Commanders
And on it goes...
Don't worry about having a low ranking character, and don't worry about what rank you might end up with. You will be given a rank, and it does not prohibit you from much if you happen to start with a low rank. (the next section will give you some idea of what ranks are actually for in this)
The Chain of command in gameplay:
Here's why you have the chain of command.
Imagine you've been hired onto a team of writers, responsible for new ideas and adventures surrounding a new star trek spinoff series. It's not like any ordinary script writing job. To make things more creative, everyone who is hired on as a writer,
is also responsible for one of the characters in the story, and what they do. This is
intended to add more personality to the show. All writers on the team are also co-directors, and at different times are all given turns directing the action. More
experienced or well reputed members of the team are given more control over the long term
development of the story, and are given more behind the scenes information on the story
as it unfolds. The lead writer, typically (not always) takes care of some kind of a
skeleton storyline. (just the main plot, at most) And in posts, presents this to the other team members and generally he gets the ball rolling giving different team members
different roles in what's going on in the story. Team members who do not feel they are
directly involved in the story at that point in time, need not whine... If you're
character is not being actively used in the main storyline, that's the perfect time to
start up a sub-plot (with caution) or do some straight out character developement to show
the audience just what type of person your character really is. Think back to STNG for
typical subplots. Every episode would usually have the major political mission going on,
with discussions and tours of the ship, and a team down on the planetside of things, and
then there were other weird moments in the show of minor characters lives, or of Commander Data putting on a symphony, or reading really bad poetry about his cat... not
to mention all the visits to 10 Forward or the holodeck training and recreation programs.
So in general.... there's always something to post. If you think you have nothing to post, just fit yourself in, or do some character developement, but mainly, be casual, and don't worry about making super impressive posts, just write, and have fun. We're pretty
laid back about comedy aboard this vessel, just keep it PG-13 or under. (we get a little
R rated with the violence now and then) Intimate scenes are to be kept pretty discrete.
This is not a porn ship or a teen dating fantasy club.
-some example posts
Posts generally take place in the order that they arrive on the list. (NOTE: Always!!!
when you have finished your post, and are about to send it... save it in a .txt file, and check your mail for new posts... if there are new posts, read those first, and see if you
need to make any changes to yours to make it fit. If your post happens to take place
shortly before another new one, and theirs came out first, then just specify at the beginning of your post "this takes place shortly before that guy's post" Some posts will span numerous spots in a timeline (this is rare) Always make sure you clearly state any
jumps in the timeline. You don't have to be specific about the time of day, or the stardate, just give a brief idea (unless you're in a tight situation where a time bomb is going to destroy the ship in 10 minutes.... then, and usually only then would you worry about the time)
For people with no simm background this might seem all stingy and formal, it's not... it's pretty relaxed... and it just helps keep things in order.
Always start your post with the following info:
Lt. Commander whatever your name is
and the position you play
if your post takes place out of sink with the timeline then mention that right here
Then you begin by typing,
your entire story part goes in here
Then post your name and rank again, and if you think there might be some confusion about
what's gone on, you can put a brief summary here. As a CO, this is where I would be stating, ok, this major even has happened, These 3 crew members are aboard "whatever vessel," this group of players is on the planet, your mission so far is ..... and the rest of you are on the ship... post as you please.
How does the actual post get written?
Your posts consist pretty much of character actions, and conversations, or sometimes
background info. NOTE: NEVER NEVER NEVER EVER!!!! EVER!!!! Post in first person.
You are not your character, please remain in a different world then your character lives
in. Your character is fictional, is not alive, and is part of a fictional trek universe.
Any players who say otherwise may be dismissed. :)
-put some demo post here
Please talk about your character from a narrative perspective. Anytime you describe your
character as I, it's easy for us to lose track, since 12 different people are adding to
this story, it would really make it hard to read if everyone is calling their character, "I" .....
Conversations are pretty straight forward, just check out any demo post, or step into the
game, read a few of the incoming posts, and you'll get the idea. Action, is always
Another important note is talking over a comm link, or some other device....
You must mention when players are talking over a comm link of some sorts...
We're pretty relaxed about how you do this, as long as it's clear to the readers.
Just check out how we do it in a demo post, or read when you join.
Major plot changes must be ok'd by the CO or the XO first, you should do these privately
by e-mail, not through the mailing list. (yes, that's the secret, the entire game is played on an internet mailing list...) This doesn't have to be done often, but if you're
planning something cool, it's often fun to make it a surprise to the rest of the crew, and keep it off the mailing list. Try not to overplan things (this is the best advice
for any CO or XO) You may make some really cool plans, but 9 times out of 10, it A)
won't happen as you planned, or B) you won't get a chance to post it because someone
else has written something else in that totally nullifies any idea you had previously.
When that happens, relax, step away from your computer, throw some water on your face,
and do some quick thinking, or just come back later. For players who have more influence
on the plot, this happens all the time, and it can get pretty frustrating, so lesson
learned. Don't overplan. (there is only one time I have totally overplanned something
that it actually worked... and even still, 90% of what happened was unplanned... talk
about obsessed, I even drew maps of the place....lol)
Most of the time if you make a mistake it's no big deal, and we'll take it easy on you.
There's one place you need to take extra special care, and some players don't like this
feature of the game, it can be quite confusing.
If you've read the demo posts, you'd notice by now, even though one person wrote the post
that person is essentially acting as the sole director of a short scene in our series.
When directing combat scenes or conversations, you have to control movement and speech of
of players characters. Now be nice. Treat their characters with respect. Don't kill
off their characters, or injure them, or scare them, unless you've talked about it with
them off the list before posting. If it wasn't arranged or agreed to I will simply
disregard any portions of the post that go too far. This can be a little scarry at first, trying to decide, what would this persons character say, how would they respond...
Don't worry about getting it totally right when you first start... it comes with time.
Everytime a new character shows up every player is responsible for watching how the new
player behaves, and doing their best to accurately portray that in their posts. Mistakes
happen, don't worry about it... and don't be too stingy about how other players use your
character. But it is WRONG for another player to post you stepping out of rank or doing
anything that you're character wouldn't normally do under the circumstances.
For actual description of combat or of general scenes, you don't have to go into a lot of
detail. Think about it in the show, which action scenes are the really cool or really
fun one's that are considered main scenes, and which one's are just short fillers that
don't really need a big description. Or in a covert mission... what is it at that moment
that sets the mood in the show? The dusky appearance? Or is it the smell of that Jem Hadar soldiers underwear drying overhead as you're hiding in the laundry chute to avoid being captured?
The character lifespan within reason, is as long as you want it. Your character
never has the risk of dieing (at least not without being brought back in some
mysterious way... they've always gotta make a sequal don't they?) So in action
scenes, it's not like a dice rolling rpg... all the action scenes are strictly
written, and I don't evaluate your actions and tell you the outcome, you write it
how you see it, and how you would want it to happen. Joke around with it, make
fun of all those B-grade action movies well you're at it. So you're character is
alive until you say otherwise... and if you suddenly dissapear from the list and
don't mail in, we'll put him in cryo stasis or something just to be mean.
Leave of absence:
We all know that this is a game and that life can be EXTREMELY hectic at times. This
usually involves, school, work, family, and other stuff that you don't want to talk about. On one ship I was running a player had to take a 3 month LOA for military duty.
If you have to go on vacation, or if you are in the middle of midterms or finals with
college or things like that, then just mail me, the CO a brief brief letter saying so,
and saying when you expect to be around again.
If you suddenly decide to leave the game for any reason... that's fine, leave as suddenly
as you like, but just let me know so I can make your position available for someone else.
If you'd like to remain on the e-mail list afterwards you may do so.
If you are constantly mailing in saying I can't post I have to much homework, I am going
to slap you! Grow up and post, or just quit. Don't waste our time.
Occassionally, players have been disconnected from the internet without any chance to
notify the rest of the team. If this happens, just see if you can make it over to a friends place, or a public library where you can use your e-mail address, and send us a
tiny letter saying what the situation is, and whether you want to stay on the game or not. We won't hold the game for you, but we'll make sure your position is still there when you get back, and we'll keep your character going for you. However, should this be
the case, try to keep in touch at least once every 1-2 weeks until your back online.
This is also a good time to recruit another player by telling your friend you need to use
his computer for an hour a week to play this awesome online star trek game, and well,
you take it from there :)
It took a friend of mine 3 weeks to get me to apply for my first simm... (during that 3
weeks he kept hearing me say, "Jason, e-mail simms are for dorks!"
His persistance paid off. I ended up being the XO on a ship where he was only a Lt. at
the time. And you're not a geek if you love these games, you're a sci-fi loving amatuer
On a sad note, occassionally I have heard of players not posting, because they were dead.
Death happens, and I wish I could ask that if you were recently part of one, that you
could let me know you won't be around to post anymore...
I have only heard of this happening once... if possible, let someone know about the game,
and tell them to e-mail the CO if something really weird happens... this obviously isn't
a priority for you or them if something really serious is happening, but eventually we
like to find out. Even though you never meet most of the people you play with, when
you're writing, and you're all part of the same strange sci-fi creation, you tend to have a strange and occassionally sincere connection with long time simm friends. Hey, if I
could afford it, I'd have a simmers reunion from the first ship I was on. Travel
expenses might be a bit high though. LOL.
If we are not notified of your situation, we will remove your character from play, but we
will leave a list of abandoned characters on our site, as well as their bio's and contact
And now onto another sad note:
THE GOD COMPLEX...
This is one of the most common problems with new players. When I started I was bordering
on a God complex but I was joking around with it so much that I managed to sneak it by,
and I gave most of it pretty good explanation.
The Bio I have for Brent Spiner is pretty much unmodified from its origional creation in
the fall of 1998. So it's a perfect example of how much I will typically let you get
God character's are tougher than everyone, don't get injured, get all the chicks, know
..... ok forget most of those hollywood movies you've seen.
If you want a God character that you can get away with, try most of the characters Bruce
Willis has played. Specifically from Diehard. Or try a less serious type of character
like Will Smith played in MIB. These movies have good examples of how to play the tough
hero character, but still be semi-realistic about it. I don't know if I can go so far as
to allow anything as powerful as your general Bruce Lee type character (that kind that
wins 30-1 fights, and isn't tired) Normally I won't, but it really depends on how you
play your character. Another perfect and interesting character example is Indiana Jones
played by Harrison Ford. You can take just about any other movie that Harrison Ford or Tommy Lee Jones have been in as another good example of how to play a character reasonably and still win all the action scenes, or at least get out alive.
One other advanced comment to add, is if you messed something up to big, and it's too late to go back and fix it. There's always a way to salvage it. Like the fact that the
pre-troglodyte timeline says we were doing covert missions in the gamma quadrant...
(you see the hole in the plot here?) If you think about it, DS9 fans would know about most of the covert missions to the gamma quadrant, since DS9 is located within site of the wormhole. (that also being the only known way in or out of the gamma quadrant)
So how come we were never on the show? How come Benjamin Sisko never mentioned it to Odo? Quite simply, it was so top secret that the writers of the show, and benjamin Sisko
didn't want to let the audience know about it.
LOL... this kind of an excuse is actually acceptable in some situations. Remember, an
author doesn't have to explain everything... but when you leave something important,
fairly unexplained, you might want to consider joking around with it, to cover things up.
I often do this so I don't have to bother thinking of how things happened.
Any other notes, well, learn as you play.
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