Basics of Across the Universe PolicyEdit
There are three types of roles at Across the Universe: the administrator, the GM’s/GH’s, and the players. Each role has distinctive responsabilities which this article will help to define along with other codes of conduct.
The administrator is a single individual that has all authority over the game and makes all final decisions. This person has the authority to delegate responsibilities to GMs and players; however, the administrator retains final authority over those responsibilities and their outcomes. The administrator also has final say over character approval, GM status, player admission, session rulings, player removal, and all other aspects of the game. In this position the administrator is to act impartially and fairly with discretion and without prejudice.
The Game Master (“GM”)
(a) Responsibilities of the GM
GM’s, or Game Managers, are players who have been entrusted with the responsibility of running sessions for other players. GMs are expected to act fairly in the conduct of their duties and are responsible to the administrator. Being a GM provides one with no authority other than to run sessions as their time allows. Occasionally, a GM may be asked to take on extra tasks for the administrator. The GM who agrees to do so should fulfill those tasks fairly and to the best of his or her ability. The GM is always responsible to the administrator for these tasks and should remember the administrator has final say.
(b) How to Become a GM
To become a GM one must be authorized by the administrator or one that he or she has delegated to perform this duty. Other GMs and players may suggest individuals to the administrator for consideration, but the final decision rests with the administrator. Length of time one has been a player is of little consequence to the final decision. Quality of roleplay, ability to resolve disputes, and overall maturity will be deciding factors. Once an individual has been asked to be a GM and has accepted, he or she should find another GM to explain Across the Universe procedure and the basics of running a session. During this training period the new GM will be called a Game Helper (GH). Once the new GM feels that he or she is capable of running sessions unattended he or she may ask the other GM to recommend them for full status to the administrator. If the administrator concurs then the new GM may consider him or herself a full GM and may run sessions at will.
(c) Prohibitions Against Abuses of GM Power
A GM should not run sessions for him or herself. A GM must remember to act fairly, impartially, and with respect toward the other players. A GM should also work in conjunction with other GMs to maintain the continuity of the IC world. GMs should be careful not to step on each other’s toes by paying attention to what others are doing with their storylines and not running sessions that contradict those previous storylines. Pay attention to the information presented on the IC world and work with it. Being a GM does not make one God. The GM’s entire purpose in being is to provide the session framework and storyline for the players to enjoy and roleplay within. Should a player dispute a GM’s ruling he or she should first take it up privately with the GM. If the dispute cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of both individuals then the matter should be brought to the administrator or one that he or she has delegated this responsibility to. Both individuals may present their points of view and then should remember the administrator’s decision is final. Disputes of this kind are not to be disputed publicly on any game related message boards.
(d) Experience Point Awards Given By GM’s
Session experience points (XP) may be awarded based on the GM’s discretion. Larger groups should be awarded larger XP awards than smaller one or two person sessions. XP awards are generally in the range of 1-4 XPs based on the duration of the session, the size of the party, and the quality of roleplay. Exceptionally poor roleplay may not receive any XP at all. Sessions comprising two or fewer individuals may not be awarded more than 2 XPs per player. To compensate for their time and attention, GMs may add 1 XP for a two hour session, or 2 xp for a session lasting longer than two hours, that they run to any of their characters. A session of particularly good quality may be brought to the attention of the administrator, who may choose to award more XP to the GM for a job well done. It is not suggested that a GM handle a session of more than 6 players by his or herself – but it is not 100% restricted. While it is possible to do, by fractionating the party into more than one group, this slows down overall play time as groups belabor to wait their turns and thus, it would likely be more productive to have a second GM involved in order to expedite matters as well as increase the fun.
The Game Helper (“GH”)
(a) Responsibilities of the GHEdit
Game Helpers fall into two different categories: GMs in training and individuals who wish to assist the administrator without becoming GMs who perform sessions. A GH performs tasks assigned to him or her by the administrator or one that the administrator has assigned to oversee the project the GH is helping with. GHs are also expected to help new players become acquainted with Across the Universe and answer any questions that might arise from new players to the best of their abilities.
(b) How To Become a GHEdit
A GH is given his or her title by the administrator or one that he has delegated this task to. As with GM candidates length of time playing matters little. Greater emphasis is placed on maturity, ability to get along with others, and dispute resolution. GH candidates may be recommended to the administrator; however, final say resides with him or her.
(c) The Differences Between a GM and a GHEdit
The main difference between a GM and a GH is sessions. As you will recall the GMs main and only function is to run sessions. A GH cannot run full sessions. A GH may run NPCs and add to general roleplay in ways that do not require rolls on the part of the players or any permanent IC affects. If a GH feels in the course of the NPC interaction a character preformed worthy of an XP award, the GH should contact a GM to award said XP.
(d) Restrictions Against Abuse of GH PowerEdit
GHs may not run anything for their own characters. They may not edit character sheets without express permission from the administrator. Dispute resolution involving a player acting in GH capacity and a player or GM follows the same procedure as for full GMs.
(a) Enforceability of RulesEdit
All individuals in the game, including the administrator and the GMs are also players. All players are expected to abide by the rules. This is necessary for the game to function in a fair and enjoyable manner. In addition, players are expected to show basic politeness and courtesy to one another.
(b) Application Required to JoinEdit
To become a player one must submit an application. This is not as difficult as it sounds. We simply wish to know if you are the type of player who would enjoy Across the Univers and fit in well. You should receive an answer within twenty-four hours. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and agree to abide by the rules of Across the Universe. Once a player has been admitted he or she should become familiar with the rules and abide by them at all times.
(c) Violation of Mixing IC and OOCEdit
Players may not insult one another in mean spirit out of character (OOC). In character (IC) is a different matter entirely. IC two players who are friends may have characters who hate one another and they may fling insults daily. OOC the two would not bear ill will toward one another for what happens IC, as they know that part is fictional. This illustrates the heart of online roleplaying games: the difference between IC and OOC. What happens IC is not real, it has no bearing on anyone’s life or emotional happiness. If you find that what occurs IC has serious bearing on your real life, and are beginning to blur the line between fantasy and reality, then please seek professional help before continuing with us. IC is fiction. The characters we roleplay are actors on the stage we have created here. If a character does not like one of yours IC do not assume OOC that the player behind the character does not like you as a player, that is probably not the case.
Now that the difference between IC and OOC has been explained it should be pointed out that what is permissible IC may not be OOC. Characters in the game are allowed to be evil, rude, cold hearted, and any other manner of impoliteness. At this point it should be noted that while the playing of evil or rude characters may appeal to some individuals, it would be in good form for each player to have at least one character of a good or friendly disposition to make the IC game world more inviting and welcoming to new players. OOC players are expected to be courteous and civil. Players are asked to restrain OOC use of profanity and blatant sexual imagery. Players with OOC disputes arising from matters not directly related to the game of Across the Universe are asked to take their problems elsewhere and to resolve their differences outside the game world. Across the Universe's public message boards and OOC chat areas are not to be used for OOC fighting, name calling, finger pointing, and whining. Any use of them as such will result in the immediate removal of all postings pertaining to the topic and possibly the player’s expulsion.
(d) Dispute ResolutionEdit
For disputes arising between players that relate directly to the game world both parties should seek out and agree upon an impartial GM to mediate the dispute and render a final decision. If the two parties cannot agree upon a GM to mediate for them then the administrator may appoint a GM to the position, if he does not perform it himself. The final decision of the GM may be appealed to the administrator, who retains final say. To begin this process all parties involved should find a GM, or email the administrator so that one may be appointed. A simple, generic note on the OOC boards stating player one and player two need a GM for mediation will also suffice as long there is no other information presented. The OOC boards are NOT the place to present or plead your case.
(e) Prohibition Against OOC HarassmentEdit
OOC harassment of players will not be tolerated. Harassment may take the form of rude or obscene OOC posts or having one’s characters always appearing where someone else is roleplaying without an IC explanation. This will not be tolerated. In addition, players are urged to avoid these forms of behavior over various non-game forms of communication such as email or ICQ. While these areas are not game related, and thus not under the domain of Across the Universe jurisdiction, action may be taken if the administrator is presented with compelling evidence that a player has become a malicious nuisance to another player and the problem is affecting the player’s ability to continue roleplaying in Across the Universe.
(f) Violation Involving HackingEdit
Attempts at hacking of Across the Universe s code, abusing a system glitch, or any other misuse of the technical side of the game is, needless to say, grounds for being removed from the game.
(g) Improper Use of OOC KnowledgeEdit
One last crucial aspect of the game is not violating the separation of IC and OOC. They have a wall, just like religion and state. Don’t cross it, bad things happen when one does. Do not use information obtained OOC for IC purposes. A player may know something, but that does not mean all of his or her characters know that information as well. Characters may only act on what they have a reasonable chance of knowing IC.
In Across the Universe Players may raise the levels of their character's skills and traits by applying the XP they earn through roleplay. Players may raise the skills of their characters according to this table: