Posting will be semi-weekly. Player posts are due by 23:00 Pacific Time (PDT or PST as appropriate, depending upon the time of the year) Tuesdays, and 23:00 Pacific Time Saturdays. Dungeon Master posts are due by 23:00 Pacific Time Thursdays, and 11:00 in the morning Pacific Time on Mondays.
Posting Contents (more than one post may be required)
Players should use the Acqua Alta thread for in-character discussion and narrative. Players should use the Out-of-character thread for posts that concern rules, game mechanics, and dice rolls. Sometimes, a player only needs to make one post to one of those threads. Often, it is necessary to post in both threads. It should be obvious which is required during each posting period.
Posts should be in accordance with the forum rules for Pen and Paper games. These can be found in the News & Announcements Section of the site.
Do not author a character's actions into your post unless that character is your own. This applies to player characters and non-player characters alike. As the dungeon master, I am exempting myself from this rule, but I will try not to abuse this privilege. If anyone feels that I am unfairly taking control of their character away from them, please message me and discuss this issue as soon as possible. However, taking control of characters in response to late or missed posts is another matter: I will not respond to criticism over that.
I will not specify further requirements for the format and nature of posts at this time. They will come later, but for now, do not feel constrained.
Multiple postings are encouraged, though postings made by players during the DM's posting period may not always be addressed. Feel free to make as many postings as you wish to respond to each other.
Posting Competitive Actions
First of all, it would be nice if we simply didn't do this. By competitive actions, I mean the sort of sequence of events where one character tries to do something and another character tries to stop the first character, and other related events.
If this does happen, and the situation is sufficiently important, we will probably settle it as an encounter, with proper initiative rolls. One side may be rescheduled to the "DM's posting schedule." Alternatively, I may present an alternate posting schedule, such as tri-weekly, until the matter is resolved.
That takes care of the game-mechanics portion. I will also have to consider whether such a situation was warranted or disruptive. When I make my decision, the interests of the players and the party will weigh more heavily than the natures of the characters.
Questions and Clarifications Concerning Specific Posts
I may have questions about a player's intent in a post. Please try to aim for resolving those questions within 24 hours after the posting due date or within 24 hours of my asking the question, whichever comes first. I realize that may be unreasonable or impossible, in which case I ask that you try to respond as soon as possible, based on your circumstances. If the question cannot be resolved, I will use my personal interpretation. However, there will not be any penalty beyond those dictated by circumstances against a player who doesn't respond in time, as this is a special situation.
Inevitably, we are going to make posts that can be taken more than one way. Especially in combat, this can lead to chains of actions being tied to an interpretation of a character's action completely different from what the player intended.
I am willing to sort out these misunderstandings and even possibly "turn back the clock," but only to a certain extent, and only if the situation can be resolved relatively simply. Sometimes, all we can do is sit back, shrug our shoulders, and curse fate. In general, I do not offer compensation for misunderstandings other than my apologies.
I ask that all players cooperate in this by showing patience and understanding.
I don't encourage them, because once a post is made, other players begin forming their reactions to it. However, if you feel you must, you can make corrections to your posts as needed, up until I make my post. If this starts to become an issue, I will produce further guidelines about the matter.
Posting and Initiative Count
Unfortunately, the time frame involved in play-by-post games makes it infeasible to specify that players post in the order of their characters' initiative counts. This will mean that some characters can act in accordance with the future actions of other characters, and some characters must act without properly knowing what a character did in the immediate past. For now, we are just going to have to live with this state of affairs. Perhaps we can see it as a reflection of the chaos of combat. Less flippantly, if this does become a serious hindrance, I will work to find a way to resolve it.
If a player misses the scheduled time, their post may still be valid if they get it in before mine, but that is not to be relied on. If I had, for instance, prepared a rough draft of my post that only needed some minor tweaking, my post may very well invalidate a player's late post. Furthermore, my post may occur at any time during my posting window, so it will always be a gamble.
A late post that I have time to respond to will not be counted as a missed post (see below). A late post that occurs before my posting but that I do not have time to respond to will be treated as a missed post, however. It goes without saying that a post that is made after I make my post will either be treated as a post in the next posting period (if it makes sense) or will be invalid and will be counted as a missed post in either case.
I would advise players who make posts after their due date, but before my due date, to specify whether the post is supposed to be for the past posting period or the next posting period.
What happens if a player misses a post? The world won't end, not even for that player. However, I reserve the right to control their character's actions for the duration of that posting period. I may have the character take no action, or I may have the character take an action that I believe is in line with their personality (based on my interpretation).
If a player misses more than four posts in a calendar month, they will enter a probationary period (see below). If a player misses four consecutive posts, I will take control of their character and move to retire the player, especially in the case of there being no communication.
Advance Notice of Unavailability
Players who have various issues to deal with can temporarily cede control of their characters to me, and even choose to leave some instructions concerning how they wish the characters to behave. I will try to play the characters reasonably. However, I will only do this a certain number of times, probably four to six, depending on circumstances. That should be sufficient for an annual vacation, or some other issue. Anything that goes beyond that probably will mean that the player needs to retire from the campaign, whether it's a reasonable situation or not.
Similarly, players can allow other players control of their characters if they inform me in advance, but I will only let this go on for the same amount of time, four to six instances, regardless of the willingness of the players involved.
Players who do not appear to be fitting in well with the campaign, whether it's an issue on their side, or my side, or something about the game itself, will be encouraged to examine their interest in the game and decide whether or not to withdraw from it.
If there are other people who are interested in becoming players, and if it should happen that I gain control of the player's character during this time, especially because of a missed post, I will probably maneuver that character out of the party.
Players who lose their place in the party in this manner may return if there is somehow a mutual sense that they can do so. However, they will lose their seniority in relation to any observers who wish to join the party.