Most people have enough common sense not to disrupt the general good atmosphere and good time of a game, and are decent enough to know when they're pushing things too far - but sadly, once in a while, there are times when things need to be reined in - and there's also got to be guidelines to make sure everyone is working from the same page.
This is why, even in a story-based game like Thunderbolt Black, we need to have some rules regarding playing the game, creating and playing characters, and even on formatting and presentation, to make things easy for everyone to understand what's going on.
None of them are particularly hard to follow - and it's easy enough to ask one of the GMs (Games Masters) if you're not sure about anything.
- Be nice to each other.
After all, we're all friends, and the aim of the game is to enjoy yourselves and have fun - but not at each others' expense. It's supposed to be fun for everyone.Remember - you might be loving every minute, but if no one else is, then something's gone wrong.
- We don't take kindly to Mary Sues around here.
Your character will be deleted or edited, if not changed after warning.
Having a character who is able to do everything and anything, and has no flaws or drawbacks is not only unspeakably dull, it's also unrealistic and frequently, a source of irritation for everyone else as they try to act as though they're the absolute bestest best character.
No one can be good at absolutely everything they try and do, and have contacts everywhere, and be a world-famous rock star, a stuntman, a world-class lover, and the super-bestest-ace that's friends and co-collaborator with General Thomas and commander of his own super-sekrit super-squadrin of stealf bommers with lazors that go pew-pew-pew.
Oh, and they're stupidly handsome. Don't forget that one.
In short - they suck. Don't make one, and if you're not sure, look at the other characters for comparison - they're all interesting, have flaws and drawbacks, as well as being good at what they do - and likable too.
- Equally important, and somewhat related Don't Powergame or God-mod your character
This means to spontaneously develop skills, abilities, or even physical traits that your character (or their aircraft and vehicles) did not have previously, and have had no hint of before that time, and especially have no reason for possessing, and they only turn up when it would be exactly the thing to solve that particular problem right at that very minute.
This is incredibly infuriating and idiotic as it makes your character able to do absolutely everything, and means that you can overcome any challenge - and leave all of the other characters kicking their heels and waiting for their chance to do anything. It's also exceedingly immature and childish, so in short - don't do it.
You'll get one warning - I despise this utterly.
- NPCs are the tools of the GMs
Do feel free to create them, but don't be surprised if we use them for plot purposes. On a same note, don't create too many - the point of the game is to interact with each other - otherwise, you're just writing a story with yourself as the main character.
- Don't control other players' characters without their express permission.
And even then - keep them in character.
This gets annoying for the player of that character when they're not able to behave as their character would have done in a situation, and had been creating a particular personality, set of quirks or foibles, or any number of other personal qualities of their character. The whole point of a role-playing game is to play your own character, not everyone else's, and it's meant to be a communal story, with a group of characters, none of which is the 'main' character, heroine or hero.
Conversely, though, it is acceptable to move a character in a minor way - for example, if everyone is travelling somewhere together and this has been stated, it's fair to assume that everyone has made it to the same place - unless one of the GMs, or that character's player had previously posted to specify otherwise.
- The GMs retain exclusive control of the plot
This is incredibly important to bear in mind. The Game Masters are in control of the plot, whether it be for a single mission someone is running, or for the overrall plot of the game, the GMs retain executive control, and if you're running a mission, make sure that you've okayed the events of it with the GMs (Silverwind and Ultrafox), before going ahead.
Similarly, don't just randomly have things happen or appear in the middle of a mission - whoever is running that mission might have specific ideas about their plot, and why it's going the way it is, and may not at all appreciate you adding random elements. By all means, ask first and they may say it's okay if it doesn't disrupt things too much - but they always have the final word!
- Keep your character in-line with the setting
Thunderbolt Black has a well-defined setting - it's a furry RPG, set in a world not too different from our own, with some advanced technology - commonly what's called 'five minutes into the future' or a 'techno-thriller'.
This doesn't mean that everyone is running around in powered armour, that there are psionic/psychic/superpowered characters, giant robots, magic, zombies, cyborgs, androids, vampires, angels, demons or aliens. Or any combination of the above.
This game is in a very distinctive setting - so stick to it! if your character is any of the previous things, or anything similar, you'll find they've been deleted, and you'll be asked to re-submit them - and this time, to keep them in line with the setting.
Similarly, please don't use fictional aircraft (such as the Firefox, or Airwolf, and such), or equip your aircraft with fictional weapons such as lasers or other unusual weapons unless it's part of that particular plot, or you have irrefutable evidence that it can be equipped with such things - we're trying to maintain at least some level of realism for the aircraft and weaponry in the game.
This also applies to your characters' weapons - while it is possible that you'd have a katana... it doesn't seem likely, since no army has used swords in combat for decades, and likewise for things like axes, or other medieval/martial arts weapons. Keep it with the setting, please!
- Keep it in the spirit of the game
We all like a moment of humour now and then, but it has it's place as much as everything. The middle of a gunfight or a tense aerial battle is no place to have your character start doing silly dances, voices, or practical jokes. There's a story trying to be told, and it's not fair if you suddenly decide to do somthing stupid just to draw attention back to your own character.
- We're rated PG-13
So please don't use endless amounts of profanity, or graphic descriptions of gore, torture, or sexual acts - hints and innuendoes are enough to let a reader's imagination do the rest. We're all old enough to know about these things, and there's plenty of ways to make it certain what's happened without having to resort to writing smut and gore-porn.