It's a game, and games have rules & guidelines. They also have Safety & Suggestions. Here's ours...
Character interactions and correspondence should follow the social norms and expectations of the Regency. However, the rules of the period do not apply to player interactions. We're humans of today playing a game between relative strangers, so as such, all participants will conduct themselves in a manner befitting a modern, civilized adult. (In other words, be kind, respectful, and inclusive. Just be a good human!). Participation in this game is entirely voluntary. All participants must read, understand, and agree to, the following Rules, Code of Conduct, and Community Norms.
The rules and community norms of Yours, Etc. have been implemented for fair gameplay for the enjoyment of all. We've created these rules with the comfort and safety of participants and staff in mind.
3 Simple Rules
Be a Good (OOC) Human
A good rule for life and our number one game rule (and community norm): Be a good human. Letter Ink. llc, and Yours, Etc., is an inclusive game company. As such, we will not tolerate discrimination in any form. (Discrimination is a bias against someone based on race, gender, religion, age, physical appearance, disability, sexual preference, country of origin, occupation, etc.)
Major Event Negotiation
Story actions or Major Scandals that directly affect other characters require all players involved to agree and consent Out Of Character (OOC) to those story beats. This consent and communication must occur whether the characters would know in-game or not to maintain Player Agency. Further, we must ensure any proposed plotlines do not bump up against a player’s triggers. The Creative Team GMs ensure the proposed plot aligns with the world setting and then can plan for these events (and how the world responds).
Understand the Scope of Play
Players decide and control what their PC thinks, feels, does (being genre and game appropriate), and writes. Just like any in-person LARP or game, anything beyond controlling their PC moves beyond a player’s scope of play. (Chapter One play will not be open for "household NPCs" as in beta testing).The GMs curate and run the game world. Making world-controlling actions without prior GM approval alters gameplay for the entire game. It can potentially impact pre-planned individual PC storylines, undermining Player Agency. Finally, it creates unnecessary work for your GM Plot Goblins.
Example: A character can decide to open a café or small business because it has little effect on the world or other players, but a player cannot, however, choose to take an army to invade Spain, or that the Queen invited them to tea.
Code of Conduct &
Every game has a culture, and these established norms help keep the Yours, Etc. Community a welcoming, inclusive, and friendly space:
In many ways, this is a game of intrigue and gossip; while the gossip and drama IC are what we live for, the same in real life, not at all. All information, tone, words and interpretations in-game are strictly that and are separate from the OOC person(s) sending or receiving. Anyone struggling with character bleed is encouraged to actively separate Player from character and step away for a time to self-regulate and self-care.
It is sometimes difficult to read tone and intention as a text-based game and community. We must remember we all have different communication styles when interacting in our digital formats. When responding, be respectful and kind with other players and staff alike. When in doubt, asking for clarification is welcome.
We embrace the spirit of a “Yes, and…” playstyle (and similar styles) between players and support Player Agency.
Where applicable and where it is possible to play two characters simultaneously, we are all mindful of taking steps to minimize potential ‘metagaming’. As with other LARPs, this means incorporating OOC knowledge into play where the character would have no understanding or awareness of such knowledge. Metagaming is a form of cheating; it deprives players of the experiences that come from character discovery, and at its worst can give one character an unfair advantage while actively damaging or negatively impacting another.
A player is the only one who can determine the actions and thoughts of their character, including how they react to events and interactions. Such as, but not limited to, having romantic feelings or spreading gossip about another character. A player can only control their character, not those of another player (or World NPCs) unless given specific permission from that player - this moves beyond a player’s Scope of Play.
Example: Lord Muffin writes to Lady Scone to thank her for their tea last week, as is polite.
Lord Muffin may write open-endedly about their conversation, leaving space for a ‘yes, and’ response, such as “I found our discussion regarding the pastry trade most enlightening and wish to hear more about your sugary experiences…”.
He may not decide that Lady Scone had a particular experience or how she felt about it. For example, “I found our discussion regarding the illicit pastry trade most enlightening! Particularly how your anger interfered with your better judgment around where you chose to source your confections. I would advise restraint in your dealings with the sugary smugglers.”
Player actions are different from character actions. A character might not be a pleasant person to be around, but this does not mean the player is or behaves similarly out of character (OOC). Ultimately, this is a collaborative story-telling experience between players (as well as characters), meaning players work together to tell the most engaging story possible. While we embrace and support a ‘yes, and’ playstyle, players can always say no to proposed storylines amongst characters. No is a complete sentence.
Players might be familiar with the improv idea of “Yes, And”, allowing players to encourage each other’s stories in new and exciting ways that neither player anticipated alone. For example, a character may reminisce about a pleasant evening walk shared with another character. “Yes, and-ing” would be if that character agrees that this walk did occur and mentions how the flowers were charming in the sunset. However, players are under no obligation to say yes. We encourage creative ways of responding to plots that they are not entirely in agreement with using responses such as “yes but,” “yes with,” “no and,” “no but,” and “no with.”
This game also relies on rumours and gossip. Sometimes the rumours spread about characters are false or purposefully misleading. Players should feel empowered to contradict these falsehoods in character or make falsehoods of their own if they are so inclined.
For significant story moments players are encouraged to negotiate and agree with the other player(s) whose character(s) might be involved or affected. It’s perfectly acceptable if a character is unaware of these moments, leading to fun IC drama. Still, the players must be on the same page because, in a game where Reputation is so essential, the Game World’s responses to the actions of one character might ripple towards another. Additionally, the GMs will want to be aware of upcoming essential character moments to make other players aware of the drama as well! Players should not change or undo these important character moments without discussing them with those directly involved.
While one of the benefits of this game is that it occurs in the comfort of your own home, this also means that it does not have the separation of space and person that other LARPs might have, thus making the risk for character bleed possible. (Character bleed is the noted occurrence where emotions from a player’s character end up filtering into their non-LARP lives).
Players are encouraged to develop different routines and behaviours to help separate them from their character to provide closure to the in-character moments. Suggested routines include:
Only reading or working on letters in a specific location,
Performing frequent mental check-ins during letter-writing to assess character’s emotions vs player emotions,
Making a playlist of their favourite music,
Performing other self-care routines after letter writing is completed for the time.
Performing these activities can help maintain a player’s mental wellness through the duration of the LARP. For more information on character bleed, this is an excellent resource.
Triggers & Discomfort
A “trigger'' is something that causes someone to recall or relive a traumatic experience, experience and is associated with anxiety, emotional dysregulation, dissociation and a return or traumatic symptoms. Players with known triggers are encouraged to tell the GMs about them.
Triggers are sharply distinct from discomfort, or situations that players might find uncomfortable. While discomfort is obviously not enjoyable, it is something that can be worked through with communication between players and with GMs. If a player is not enjoying a plotline and finds it uncomfortable but not triggering, they are encouraged to discuss this with the players involved.
If there is concern for misconduct or other issues as related to consent, we ask that players attempt to resolve the issue as below. This is more directly related to OOC concerns, but feel free to reach out to staff for any in-character issues as well.
First: We strongly encourage players to exercise their Agency and resolve communication issues or conflicts between each other and within community norms.
Second: Where resolution is proving difficult, players may request mediation from staff. Mediators are there to facilitate a resolution discussion, not to pass judgment or decide on an outcome.
Next: Players may request an issue be brought to the attention of the Resolution Team if mediation hasn't worked. The Resolution Team will produce a final ruling with available options to secure an agreement between the players for moving forward, either together or separately.
Last: If there is a severe breach of the agreement or a situation warrants direct intervention, the owner takes over. The owner will have the final and non-negotiable decision on issues, particularly those which will affect the safety and wellbeing of players and the game as a whole.
Note: If a conflict directly involves a staff member, the matter goes directly to the Resolution Team. If the staff member is part of the Resolution Team, they recuse themselves, and the game Owner takes their place.
note: this pathway is currently under review and subject to change.
Blocking & Respectful Distance
Players who wish to not interact with another player can request a formal block or ‘respectful distance’ of in-game communication and mail. Not all personalities, playstyles, or communication styles mesh well. Players have the option to ‘block’ the Post if they feel triggered interacting with someone or that interaction has a significantly negative effect on their own game experience.
Staff will notify the player of the block and the need for in-game distance. Neither player will interact through letters, game-wide events, or any game-related RP (such as small chats on the discord community).
note: if a player feels another player is an unsafe person ooc and endangers or directly contradicts the rules or community conducts & norms and should not be engaging with this game, they are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org so we can ensure the most welcoming and safe space possible.