These News files overview how Roleplay works, specifically how TPs, Logs and Emitting other characters are handled. And of course, the golden rule about Consent.
For players who might be more familiar with tabletop role-playing games, you might notice our game has no stats as well as no set rules for how combat rounds, damage or dice rolls work. That is because, unlike most tabletop role-playing systems, we resolve conflicts not with external devices like dice but by consent between players. But what does this mean for you?
Most importantly, it means that you agree with your fellow players with what happens, specifically by declaring what occurs to your character based on actions set in motion by the other players. For example: if Batman throws a punch at the Joker, it is Joker's player's decision if the blow hits or not as well as just how much damage it does. There is a certain silent contract that you agree to be fair, reasonable and generally allow other characters to achieve something at least once in a while. You also agree that if your character doesn't succeed every time, you won't call foul. Batman doesn't hit the Joker every time.
Consent also extends to actions or events that make individual players uneasy in a scene. If something occurs that causes a player to feel uncomfortable and they request a change, adjustments are required to make all players feel like they can continue the scene. A player should never be forced into participating in a scene or TP that they find difficult to continue. Characters should also never be included in TPs or scenes without the player's prior agreement. Any breach of the consent contract will be considered a major violation, and will almost certainly result in at least one strike if not more serious action by Staff. Consent-based games only function when everyone can play nice and fair; if you prove you can't do that, it will be noted.
A TinyPlot, or TP, is a series of scenes that you have that create a larger story over a period of time. To use a comic book metaphor, if each individual scene is considered an "issue," then the TP would be the collected trade paperback of the entire arc. A TP can be short, just a handful of scenes that touches only a few people, or more involved, involving multiple characters and teams and taking place over a matter of months. Sometimes TPs can crossover with each other in single scenes, or merge to a single conclusion. There are three types of TPs: Global, Team and Personal.
Global TPs are those that are run by the Staff and will affect the widest amount of characters. These might involve a massive alien invasion, odd and dangerous occurrences or changes in the geo-political structure of the world. Universe Unlimited actually has a singular ongoing Global TP: the mystery of what caused the world to change. Staff will occasionally have scenes that further along this story, and will make postings well in advance so that you can schedule your involvement. While most Global TPs will be plotted and scheduled by Staff, we are always welcome to suggestions from the player base. If you have an idea for a Global TP, send a +pitch to staff, formatted at +pitch <TP title>=<TP details>. We plan to choose the best submissions to be run as Global TPs, working with you to make them the best we can for all involved.
Team TPs are exactly what they sound like: TPs that primarily involve a single team. The outcome of these will often have major ramifications for the team involved, or for several of the members of that team. It might involve an extended adventure in an exotic location, or a major villain returning. Maybe there is a traitor within the ranks of the team, or a member is in grave danger and the other members must save him or her. Team TPs should be cleared with your OOC team leader before you begin, to make sure that any major changes are approved before you get too deep. Team TPs are a great way to have epic, amazing stories with the people you RP with the most.
Personal TPs involve only a handful of characters, often a sub-section of an already existing team. It can be someone's past coming back to haunt them, or a mystery that must be solved. Perhaps someone is forced to face their personal demons or make a decision about their future. The best thing about Personal TPs is that they don't require any permission, as they directly affect only a small group of people. Still, they are very helpful as character development, and are often the easiest way for you to get engaged in a new character.
Put simply, emitting is controlling any character other than the one you've apped for. Feel free to emit any low-to-mid powered OCs, including those that might be associated with established organizations (HYDRA, League of Assassins, etc.) While we allow you to emit most unclaimed FCs for one-off scenes, we do have a few rules.
If you have a particular scene in mind that you want to run, check to see if any Staff are on duty, either on the Info channel or by page. If any Staff members are around, please ask if you can use the character you're interested in emitting, understanding that Staff's decision is (as always) law. Generally, if you don't have a character acting wildly out of her or his usual routine (IE, Tony Stark robbing a bank), we'll allow it. Also remember that Alt Conflict rules still remain; emitting your characters arch-enemy is generally frowned upon and will likely be rejected when you ask Staff. If no members of Staff are available, feel free to emit characters for reasonable scenes, using your best discretion. Either way, please post a report of any scene with any emitted, unapped FC onto the news boards. Staff reserves the right to "retcon" any scene we find unreasonable out of the game's history, with possible repercussions for irresponsible players. If too many players abuse these rules, we will unfortunately have to initiate a stricter policy. We don't want to do that. We want to have fun.
Of course, with every rule there are a few exceptions. The characters that appear on the Staff NPC List should not be used without written permission by staff, even for that 3 AM spur-of-the-moment RP. If you're planning on using any unapproved FC for more than one scene, it should be first submitted to staff in a +Pitch as part of a TP, especially if the scenes could have a significant impact on the future of the emitted character. We might even make you a char-bit for the TP. Any character that DOES have a currently active player can't be emitted without express consent of the player to the emitter. Emitting a character on the Staff NPC list without Staff approval or emitting a character with an active player without consent will make Staff very cranky.
Universe Unlimited doesn't require that you submit logs to prove your activity. However, we do suggest having at least one person keeping a log of the scene for later posting on the UU Wiki. This serves a few purposes. It primarily creates a record of the history of the world for later reference. This makes it easier for people to pick up characters later on if they become available for application. This also gives players a way to stay up to date with current events in the game world. And finally, it allows people to enjoy the awesome scene that you and your fellow players created.
Of course, some scenes don't need to be added to the Wiki. If Wolverine and Jubilee have a scene where they share lunch and discuss nothing of great importance, it probably doesn't need to be posted. Logs should always be posted with a rating (using the MPAA G-R ratings), as well as an explanation for the rating. Sexually explicit scenes should never posted to the Wiki; such logs will be deleted immediately, and players deemed responsible will be given a strike.
One final note about logs: it should go without saying, but information learned from logs should always be kept firmly in OOC-knowledge. If Guy Gardner is revealed to be a traitor to the Justice League in a log that only involved villains, other members of the League should not be automatically aware of the betrayal. Of course OOC and IC information should always be kept separate, but logs in particular have a habit of being abused. Don't do it, or Staff will be very disappointed in you. And you might get a strike to boot. For making us sad.
In Game Time
The world of Universe United can be described as "Modern Day Plus". For the most part, the world resembles the one outside your window; the "Plus" denotes that technology is slightly more advanced due to various scientific discoveries occurring decades earlier than they did in the real world. Actual AI technology and full sensory holograms are consumer realities, though still considered cutting edge technology and prohibitively expensive. Other advances like human cloning and accessible space travel exist but aren't public knowledge.
Dates for scenes in game should generally correspond to the date of the real world. This isn't inflexible, however; if you want to set a scene a few days forward or behind, then by all means. There is no need to bend over backwards to explain why you're having a scene in the office, when you're playing on a Sunday. Similarly, scenes do not need to necessarily reflect the time of day you are playing. If you are playing at midnight, by all means set a scene as being in mid-day. As long as the scene takes place in the general same time of year, then you should be fine; running your big Chanukah scene in July, however, can only lead to confusion.
Two final notes. Feel free to assume the passing of time between scenes as appropriate, or a direct continuity, regardless of how closely the two scenes actually transpired. If you find yourself locked into a scene, either due to a TP or a paused scene, feel free to keep playing and insert any scenes as occurring previously chronologically. Don't allow any one scene to make another scene possibly; if Wolverine can be in five separate places in comics, he can do the same here.