This page is provided for convenience. It should generally match the in-game +policy command, but if they differ, then +policy takes precedence. (Feel free to update this page to match +policy, or ask staff to do so.)
- 1 Alts
- 2 Anonymous
- 3 Antagonist PCs
- 4 Arbitration
- 5 Assume Good Faith, aka Hanlon's Razor
- 6 Audience
- 7 Avoidance
- 8 Bans
- 9 CA Laws
- 10 Channels
- 11 Common Sense
- 12 Communication
- 13 Concealed Carry
- 14 Consent
- 15 Creepy
- 16 Cross-Sphere RP
- 17 Dead Horse
- 18 Defamation
- 19 Edgelord
- 20 Entrapment, aka Casus Belli
- 21 Equality
- 22 Erotic RP aka Tinysex
- 23 Good NPCs
- 24 Hand Waving
- 25 Harassment
- 26 Horrible Bosses
- 27 IC Introductions
- 28 Idling
- 29 Inactive
- 30 Job Handling
- 31 Jumping the Gun
- 32 Learning
- 33 Let's You And Him Fight
- 34 Mission Statement
- 35 Multi-faction
- 36 Nightzones and Dayzones
- 37 Not Fun
- 38 Nothingburger
- 39 NPC Play
- 40 PC Leadership
- 41 Police Gear
- 42 PrPs (Player-Run Plots)
- 43 Policies
- 44 Posing
- 45 Precedents
- 46 Privacy
- 47 PTMD (Post-Traumatic MU* Disorder)
- 48 PVP (Player versus Player)
- 49 Race War
- 50 Renown Transfer
- 51 Restricting RP
- 52 Retirement
- 53 Risk
- 54 Rules Changes
- 55 Safety Tools
- 56 Scorched Earth
- 57 Security
- 58 Slap Fight
- 59 Substitute NPC
- 60 Surveillance
- 61 The PC
- 62 Time
- 63 Toxic Behavior
- 64 Vacation (Inactive PCs)
- 65 Village Idiot PCs
- 66 Wallflowering
- 67 Wiki
- 68 World of Darkness - Content/Trigger Warning
- 69 XP Transfer
Make Alts. Don't abuse alts.
- Don't have alts in the same scene. If you find two of your characters in the same location, move one out.
- Occasional exceptions with OOC disclosure, staff supervision/approval, and minimal interaction are OK. (You can play both Flitwick and Neville during the welcome dinner, but you shouldn't play Neville in Flitwick's classes.)
- Keep the knowledge and experiences of each character separate. If you must, maintain a notes file or notebook for each character to keep track of what each knows. This is a good practice outside of alts to keep track of what you know vs what your character knows.
- Handwaving 'alt #1 ICly talked to alt #2 ICly off-camera' can easily lead to some sort of shenanigans. It may be okay if you disclose it up front and everyone involved agrees it's harmless, but err on the side of caution.
- Losing track of which alt ICly knows which things (not even bothering with the above handwave) can easily lead to a character allegedly possessing IC knowledge that in fact they had no valid IC way of learning, which is unfair to whoever was taking reasonable IC measures to keep that info from leaking.
- Having someone else's character relay information from one of your alts to another is usually okay, especially if you weren't sure what they'd do. Example: Alice and Bob go on a field mission, Alice's alt sits at HQ to stay in radio contact with Bob and provide infodumps in case anyone else visits.
- Don't dilute yourself. Make only as many alts as you can manage.
- If you plan to stop playing an alt, +request that it be retired.
- Talk to staff if you want to have alts in same or opposing factions.
- Staff reserves the right to disallow/delay/limit alts based on number of existing alts, activity level, and/or race/faction.
- Keep the same SEMAIL across alts so Staff can more easily tell who's who.
Telling staff "someone said X", without saying who, is generally unhelpful.
- We understand you may want to protect sources against perceived retribution, but usually we just want to explain if we feel they're off track.
- We understand you may want to avoid negative bias due to the identity of the source, but usually non-disclosure itself causes negative bias.
Posting an anonymous bbpost is acceptable.
- Use @name to change your name to e.g. "Prospect Signal", then bbpost, then use @name again to change your name back to normal.
- Staff can still see which player created the post.
- Don't be a dick.
This policy pertains to factions that are generally more antagonist/dark/evil compared to others for that race:
- Vampire - Sabbat
- Shifter - Wyrm, and to a lesser extent Weaver
- Mage - Nephandi, and to a lesser extent Technocracy
- Changeling - Shadow Court, and to a lesser extent Unseelie
- Demon - Ravener
Members of these factions are especially urged to bear the following in mind:
- Be OOCly polite.
- Stick up for your rights. 'Polite' does not mean 'doormat'.
- My squick is not your squick. Consider warning others up front and giving them a chance to avoid or at least FTB uncomfortable situations. Should you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, explain and remove yourself ASAP. See also: Consent - Sensitive RP
- Be familiar with risk policy and PTMD.
- Be aware that you may be putting yourself and other PCs in your faction on the radar of an opposing faction that outnumbers and outguns them, which may be OOCly unwanted by one or both sides. Even if you're okay with being PKed, consider how to have the PKs stop there while still making IC sense.
Antagonists (and in fact any PC) may pass themselves off as something else, including false entries on +roster etc. (with a staff-approved +note documenting the real situation).
- However, neither staff nor other players are under any obligation to make it easy for you, either IC or OOC. Some PCs are hyper-vigilant because they've been repeatedly burned by other PCs. Some locations (e.g. Garou caerns) are handwaved by staff as heavily protected (e.g. by powerful and vigilant NPCs).
- This may well lead to risk escalation if ICly discovered. (Even if PKing you doesn't undo past leaks, at least it prevents future ones.)
The Technocracy's mission statement (Precepts of Damian) has six planks. 'Destroy Reality Deviants' is one of those planks, and stupid hardliners trying to interpret it as 'kill all of them at once' are not tolerated. Unless you attack a Technocrat or use powers in front of a mortal, they'll almost certainly leave you alone. If you attack worse creatures, they may even help.
When any number of people get together, there is always friction and disagreement. Sometimes the disagreeing parties cannot come to an agreement for any number of reasons. For these situations, a member of staff can act as an arbitrator to get things resolved in a fashion as mutually agreeable as possible.
Staff is here to help keep the game running smoothly, not to fulfill some need for power. Because of this, they will do their best not to show preferential treatment to any player or staffer, they will work toward what they believe will best benefit the game as a whole, and they will maintain confidentiality as requested.
If any player or staffer has an issue with another player or staffer and feels that it can't be worked out directly, then staff should be contacted via +request. If the issue is with a staffer, then another staffer should be contacted via @mail instead.
When someone requests arbitration, do not pressure them away from it. Instead, simply inform staff of your concerns.
See Also: Policies
Assume Good Faith, aka Hanlon's Razor
The principles of Wikipedia's Assume Good Faith policy are equally valid here.
Hanlon's Razor says "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity". Going further, never attribute to stupidity that which can be adequately explained by them (or you!) simply not knowing all the details of the current situation.
City of Hope is a game of stories.
Our Mission Statement lays out how we work to create a suitable environment. Beyond that staff tries to stay out of the way; storytelling is the domain of the players, mediation is the domain of staff. We feel that when staff drives a realm of RP, the resulting stories tend to serve the staffer.
Game mechanics are present to facilitate storytelling but are subordinate to storytelling. The focus should be on the experience, not the outcome. Players are expected to coordinate out of character to establish the direction of a story. Game mechanics introduce detours and the chance of failure. Conflict and competition between characters is the necessary spice of the story. Conflict and competition between players is ultimately counterproductive.
We open our doors to anyone who can abide by our policies. Our chief concern is the ongoing suitability of the environment for storytelling. We do our best to keep that as the focus of our decision making: from individual player requests to the creation and audit of policies. We are human and thus are prone to error, inconsistency, and short-sightedness. We offer players patience and the benefit of the doubt and request the same.
In choosing to emphasize some aspects of a MUSH we must downplay or reject others. Each choice we make requires a sacrifice, making this game a great fit for some and unpalatable to others. We strive to provide a game where reasonable objectives are achievable. This favors goal-oriented, motivated players willing to build the world around them. Proactive players will find that their opportunities equal the effort they put into their respective spheres and RP at large.
Some people don't get along and are unlikely to do so in the future. Regardless of why, it's reasonable to OOCly ask that another PC avoid RPing with you and vice versa. The game is big enough that you should both be able to find others to RP with.
- It's strongly recommended that you let staff relay the request rather than sending it directly, especially if staff explicitly suggested the request.
- This can be lifted by mutual agreement.
- This only applies to IC, however you can also ask that they not contact you OOCly (+policy harassment). In either case, OOCly insulting or 'joking about' someone who's requested avoidance with you is Bad Form.
- You should specify whether this extends to all alts (to the extent that they're known) or only certain ones.
- This only applies to direct RP. It does not prohibit them from RPing about you with others, nor from getting involved in IC events that you're also involved in.
- If you encounter them by accident (e.g. you go to a public hangout and didn't realize they were already there), both PCs should do their best to resolve things ASAP. It may be sufficient to stay in different parts of the room and stick to interacting with different PCs.
- Willful violation counts as a violation of harassment policy and will be dealt with accordingly. IC verbal baiting /about/ the other party, within their hearing range, is also Bad Form.
It is occasionally appropriate to remove a player from the game and prevent them from connecting and participating. Harassment and cheating are clear examples. For a ban to be appropriate the following criteria must both apply:
- The player (not the character) must be detrimental to the game
- The player (not the character) is very unlikely to behave differently in the future
The decision to be made is always whether or not the player will be a detriment in the future and it is almost always a judgement call; rarely something that can be decided using a set of simple criteria. A "3 Strikes" system allows a bad-intentioned player to get away with it twice and cuts off a well-intentioned player who's trying to do the right thing but makes mistakes.
Some things that are ineffective at improving the situation:
- Penalizing a character: taking away XP, stats, build projects, etc
- Shaming/belittling the player:
- Restricting the player/character's RP
When a player is being actively hostile to another player or staff they may be removed from the game for 72 hours. This is intended to stop the hostility in progress and demonstrate that staff are willing to act on it. Before such a temporary ban is enacted, the player must be advised by staff to stop but player persists anyway.
When a player is banned permanently, staff must make a +bbpost with a list of the affected characters and a brief, discrete synopsis of the reason for the ban. The list of characters is intended to let players know that those characters won't be returning and any RP hooks that depended on them should be resolved. Disclosing the reason is intended to provide a level of public oversight. This synopsis should not provide great detail for the purposes of privacy. Also for the sake of privacy, the post should not be made until four days have elapsed; staff will make mistakes and disclosing someone's alts unnecessarily is serious error.
A temporary ban is never to be publicly disclosed. Losing one's cool is human and not something that warrants permanent stigma.
When a player is banned over a specific encounter, temporarily or permanently, the player is entitled to have a log of the specific incident delivered to them within 24 hours. When a ban is administered based on a pattern of behavior it may not be feasible to provide a single log or a representative body of logs in this fashion. In such cases it becomes a function of best-effort.
The state of California has several laws that may be different from other states within the US. Because of this, we here at City of Hope have listed some of the more basic laws that will affect the world IC.
- Take note that this is a World of Darkness, and just because the laws are in place does not necessarily mean that they will be strictly enforced in all areas or even obeyed by all people. This is a dark, Gothic punk world, and these are dark times. Bad things can and will happen.
- Characters may violate these IC laws, though they may face IC consequences if detected. Characters acting IC to conceal such actions, or acquire and maintain a non-routine license, should consider having staff approve a +note.
- As a side note, some of the IC laws listed below have been modified to reflect the World of Darkness based theme for the state of California.
- The legal driving age in California is 16.
- The legal age of sexual consent is 18.
- The legal adult age in California is 18.
- The legal drinking age in California is 21.
- The legal gambling age in California is 18.
- The legal age to buy cigarettes/cigars in California is 21 (raised from 18 as of 2016).
- Smoking is banned in most public places.
- Marijuana is legal at the state level, illegal but generally unenforced at the federal level.
- Marijuana dispensaries are licensed and regulated.
- The legal age to start work in California is 16.
- Blades longer than 4" are illegal to carry in public.
- Adjust for common sense with kitchen knives and longer blades in cases.
See also: Concealed Carry
New players are automatically added to two channels, Public and Newbie.
Public is largely the face of the game, the cornerstone of the OOC community as a whole, the thing that gives new players their first impression. If that first impression is inflammatory, sexist, juvenile, raunchy, etc., then the game may lose someone who would otherwise have been a good player. (Opinions will vary; some people are set off by seemingly innocuous comments.)
Newbie is the main channel for requesting and receiving assistance.
- Requesting assistance: Please at least try to learn from one of the main rule books first. Asking about a couple things is fine, but if you need a complete walkthrough, please state that up front and see if anyone has time to take it to pages. See also CharGen Cheat Sheets. For more in-depth questions about game mechanics, try our Rules channel.
- Providing assistance: Please don't be sarcastic, as newcomers may not recognize it. Also, if you're not certain that your answer is correct, then please qualify it with 'I think'.
Please do not use comtitles on these two channels. This is also in the interest of keeping things simple for newcomers.
There are also some opt-in channels: NC-17, Debate, and Random. If someone asks you to move a topic to one of those, then please do.
Most other channels are related to a specific race or faction, and thus require PC approval before joining them. '@clist' will give you a full list. '+comlist' will show you which ones your PC can access.
See also: Communication
Staff are strongly encouraged to treat each character as if they have a version of the merit Common Sense. If a staffer sees a player about to do something that defies common sense thinking, they are encouraged to advise the player that whatever the character is about to do is a bad idea. Players are in no way obligated to follow "Common Sense" advice from staff. However, if the player elects not to follow the advice and the consequences are dire, the staffer is less likely to be sympathetic. Players are encouraged to ignore "Common Sense" advice if it would not be appropriate for their character's concept, mental state, or other circumstances.
Staff are not obligated to give out "Common Sense" advice. Staffers may forget, not realize the situation, or simply not feel like it. Conversely, staff is prohibited from encouraging bad decisions. Staff is not responsible for a character making good or bad decisions.
Communication is critical for any socially-oriented game.
- Out of character communication must be civil.
- Communication must not include arguments ad hominem: Attacking an opponent's motives or character rather than the policy or position they maintain.
- Some types of discussion are more acceptable on specific channels.
Tips for giving constructive criticism:
- Avoid shorthand. Don't just say 'toxic', explain what you think is toxic and why.
- 'Stop' may mean either 'permanently' or 'give it a rest', so make it clear which one you have in mind.
Tips for receiving a complaint:
- Apologize immediately, not grudgingly after a bunch of defensiveness and arguing and finger-pointing.
- Apologize genuinely. 'Sorry you feel that way' comes off as 'You're wrong'.
- If nothing else, apologize because apparently you did something non-ideal, even if you don't know what it was and/or you disagree with how bad it was.
See also: Channels
Concealed carry permits for firearms are issued at the discretion of the sheriff's department. "Good cause" is required.
- "I might need it for self-defense" is insufficient.
- "I routinely transport cash from my business to the bank" is insufficient. Random muggings/hijackings happen. You could hire an armored car instead.
- "I was assaulted" is insufficient. Random assaults happen.
- "I reasonably expect a specific person to assault me specifically" is generally sufficient.
- Active and honorably retired peace officers are exempt (CA Penal Code Section 25450).
A "consent-based" game is one in which players must consent to all changes to their characters, and can avoid such changes by withdrawing that consent, regardless of circumstances.
City of Hope is not a consent-based game. While conflict between PCs is not the primary focus of the game, it plays a significant role. Consent is taken into account, but its scope is limited.
Normally, the severity and duration of changes is limited by the risk system (+policy risk). Within reason, players can agree on an outcome that they all accept (+policy hand waving), including "fade to black" (FTB).
By choosing to play here, all players automatically consent to changes to their characters that would reasonably occur in response to their own actions ("IC actions = IC consequences" or ICA=ICC). This is subject to staff review, and requires a clear and convincing argument.
If you are uncomfortable in a situation, say so IMMEDIATELY. HOME is an option. You can also page block them, +help +pageblock for more details. If you are further pursued, IMMEDIATELY contact staff. You do not have to do anything that you are uncomfortable with.
This does not negate ICA = ICC. This policy is not about consequences for your actions. If you blow up a building, you might get killed. This policy is more about 'this is a sensitive issue and I do not wish to partake in this.' This might be ERP, it might be gore, it might be an abusive situation.
IMPORTANT: Look over the following for more information that ties in with Consent and Sensitive RP
While the World of Darkness contains mature content, not everyone needs to deal with all that mature content all the time.
Consider your audience. Mentioning that group X does dark things to non-members is one thing, but before going into detail, you should probably make sure they want to hear about it. Movie ratings may also be helpful, in case they didn't want that much detail.
Continuing to ICly and/or OOCly seek IC friendship, romance, TS, and/or creating/discussing other mature content with someone after they've hinted at IC and/or OOC lack of interest, even if they stop short of straight-up OOCly saying 'you're being creepy, I insist you stop immediately'.
- This may be okay, but you should seriously consider the possibility that they're thinking it but feel uncomfortable saying it.
- If staff tells you that you're coming off that way, then you need to knock it off completely until/unless someone explicitly OOCly says that they're okay with it.
- This especially includes trying to horn in on an existing IC relationship, either as an additional partner, or driving a wedge in hopes of replacing one of them.
See also: Consent - Sensitive RP
This policy pertains to RP where PCs from multiple 'spheres' (game lines: VtM, WtA, etc.) interact in some supernaturally significant way, e.g. apping a mage kinfolk, ghouling a kinfolk, sharing intel on a mutual threat.
This is allowed, but not necessarily recommended. This may lead to IC discovery by other PCs and ICA=ICC, including risk escalation. Some pairings are much more likely to be friendly than others (but they might still end up at odds someday). It's possible that your thing will escape the IC notice and/or reaction of others, but you're not entitled to that. It may be worth creating an alt in order to avoid such complications.
The Masquerade, Veil, etc. apply not only to mortals (to avoid skilled hunters or just overwhelmingly large mobs), but also to other supernaturals. This is usually more pragmatic and situational, but it's still a thing:
- Do you really need to reveal that detail to them?
- Do they know/suspect/assume it anyway? (But still, do you really need to confirm it for them?)
- Is it likely to do us more harm than good, compared to not revealing it?
Game mechanics differences/oddities:
- In general, mutual OOC agreement is fine (+policy hand waving). If that doesn't work out, then ask staff, who may cite or create a house rule or just make a spot ruling.
- For combat, suggested guidelines are available at Combat.
- For non-combat (even if being resolved at combat speed), suggested guidelines are available at Dramatic Systems.
See also: Antagonists (Garou view Camarilla as antagonists, etc.), Multi-Faction
Occasionally, a specific topic of RP may cause so many headaches that staff may dictate how it gets resolved and insist that it not be pursued further.
This is a drastic measure and not to be used lightly. Examples of what will justify it:
- Severe OOC rudeness.
- Attempting to barrel at high speed toward violation of another policy.
Actual past example, of the 'super rude' variety: Player #1, feeling ICly scorned by #2 and #3, wanted to abduct them for a scene, show #2 video of #3 being killed, then reveal that the video was faked and vent about their feelings before letting them go. Had they OOCly explained up front (at least to staff) and been polite, it probably would have proceeded as desired. Instead, they yelled at players and staff alike that they needed to log into the game and do his thing Right Now. Staff intervened, declared that the relevant events had already ICly occurred as desired, and ordered everyone to drop the subject thereafter.
This policy pertains to unjustly harming the OOC reputation of a player or group of players by OOCly making claims that are false, partly false, true but significantly incomplete, and/or careless with the truth (even if they end up being true by accident).
Intentional violations are a Really Bad Idea and staff will deal with them accordingly. Accidental violations are accidental, but the violator needs to learn to avoid repeats.
The following are generally valid defenses:
- ICly making negative claims about the IC reputation of a character or group of characters, provided that OOCly it's clear that you're not trying to harm the OOC reputation of their player(s).
- Actually being correct. Some players actually are bad people.
- Reasonably believing that you were correct.
- Including reasonable disclaimers about the limits of your knowledge/belief.
- Being reasonably aware of your own role in the situation (as opposed to e.g. claiming 'all I did was X and then they did Y', when in fact you did a lot more than just X to bring Y on yourself).
- Merely stating opinion, including but not limited to 'X happened and I don't like that' (where stating 'X happened' is not itself a violation).
Lack of malicious intent is a gray area. If you trip up once but do your best to make up for it, that's one thing. If you're repeatedly careless, that's still a significant problem even if it was all unintentional.
Having your feelings hurt is not necessarily proof of a violation. It may have been a violation, or you may just be thin-skinned, or somewhere in between.
We don't want edgelords here. They are a net negative to the game, and should leave immediately and stay gone until/unless they stop it.
Creating PCs who are ICly racist/sexist/whatever can set up the following perceptions:
- You yourself are OOCly racist(/etc.) and get off on being ICly the same.
- Staff condones all of this.
- Any claims/reassurances to the contrary are blatant lies.
Please do not put yourself or staff in this situation lightly.
Some of these things are more expected of certain splats (e.g. sexual assault from Black Spiral Dancers), and you should bear that in mind before apping a target who belongs to that splat. Fade to Black, Avoidance, and other relevant policies are still a thing.
Entrapment, aka Casus Belli
Sometimes, Alice decides:
- Bob is a person of interest, but we're not sure what level he's on.
- Let's do X, and if and only if Bob responds by doing Y, then we intend to escalate (and possibly risk-escalate) to Z.
Provided that Alice has reasonable IC motives and legit IC info, this is okay. However, the following is almost certainly not okay:
- Alice and/or one of her buddies tries to set things up so that Bob thinks that not doing Y will screw him over.
This is not measured threat response, this is just bullying. Bob, upon realizing his situation, may just OOCly quit without Alice and company needing to go any further. This is unfair to Bob and thus unacceptable.
Z may include not only obvious direct measures like 'kill Bob' or 'lock Bob up', but also indirect measures like 'blackmail Bob into leaking more IC info'.
While we attempt to make the game enjoyable for many different types of people, certain things are beyond our capacity to deal with.
- We are not trained medical/psychological professionals. If an OOC/IRL issue comes up that requires one, where the game might be aggravating to the point of distress, then please seek one off-game. Similarly, OOC/IRL crimes should be reported to appropriate law enforcement agencies.
- Some of us have autism, dyslexia, or other similar conditions. We attempt to be understanding and accommodating and provide a safe space, but we also need to provide a safe space for others. Your condition is not an excuse for bad behavior. Please log off before the bad behavior starts (or as soon as you recognize it) and wait until after the trigger is no longer imminent.
See also: communication
Erotic RP aka Tinysex
- It's allowed. This is a thing that adults do.
- Sometimes it's covered by Fade to Black, sometimes it's RPed out.
- It should typically stay behind closed doors. +rules in public and common sense apply.
- ICly non-consentual / coerced is also allowed, but likely to lead to severe ICC.
- If you're risk 0 or 1, you can handwave that the attempt failed (but was still attempted).
- OOCly non-consentual / coerced is likely to get you permabanned. Don't do this. Don't do anything that even vaguely resembles this.
- If your would-be target doesn't want their RP to even include 'it was attempted', then do whatever it takes to make that happen. Ask for staff assistance if needed.
See also: Consent - Sensitive RP
If a NPC is working for a PC, then the default assumption is that they're reasonably competent, loyal, and ethical. This is based on the PC's relevant background(s) (Resources, Retainers, Allies, etc.) and desires (a mob boss will probably hire legbreakers who are okay with legbreaking).
If you're trying to sneak past such a NPC, bribe them to look the other way, etc., whether or not you're using a supernatural power:
- Do not just assume that you'll succeed.
- If there's OOC signage posted (e.g. object named 'READ THIS', +view, public +note), then read that first.
- If possible, OOCly contact the PC to work it out with them. In most cases, 'examine here' will tell you who that is. Otherwise, contact staff.
Staff on City of Hope feel that rules and consistency are important for balance in a game, however they shouldn't always get in the way of fun RP. When the most enjoyable outcome may be inconsistent with rules, theme, or storyline hand waving may be in order.
With hand waving players agree amongst themselves how a situation gets resolved without worrying about all the details. For example, two characters get into a fight. Neither is trying to seriously injure the other. They can decide for themselves who will win; they can reduce the combat to just a few dice rolls; or they can just rp the scene out, and agree upon an outcome. As long as everyone agrees the details aren't important.
Another common example is where the content of a scene is unpalatable to one or more participants. While everyone might consent to the situation and an inevitable outcome, the subject matter may be unenjoyable to play out. This is commonly called Fade To Black (FTB). No one should be forced to RP out a scene that everyone agrees is tedious or makes one of the players uncomfortable. In these situations, players are encouraged to discuss the scene out of character and come to an agreement, without having to RP it out.
While encouraged, hand waving has its limits. First and foremost, hand waving requires that all the participants agree. If agreement isn't met, a scene should be run according to rules, setting, and theme. If players can't agree on that they should seek Arbitration. Second, hand waving should never give any player an advantage that lasts longer than the scene or affects characters that weren't present. Lastly, hand waving can't be used to permanently alter the overarching story or setting; hand waving can't kill the NPC mayor or blow up the police station.
See Also: Arbitration
This defines 'harassment' in the sense of 'staff will take formal action when made aware of it'.
For private communication to be considered harassment, all three of the following criteria must be met:
- The recipient previously asked the sender to not contact them in that way
- The communication is unsolicited
- The communication is ongoing
For public communication (channels, +bb, etc) to be considered harassment, both of the following criteria must be met:
- The communication must be clearly regarding a specific player
- The communication must be clearly derogatory
The following are a few examples not considered harassment. They are bad behavior, and staff does not approve of them, but reacting to them at this stage is left up to the discretion of other individual players.
- Dick insults Ruth directly. Dick is being a jerk. Ruth should avoid associating with Dick in the future and if the insults persist, Ruth should request that Dick not contact her in the future. If Dick continues, it becomes harassment.
- Dick insults Ruth in private conversation with Whitney. Dick is being a jerk. Ruth and Whitney should probably avoid associating with Dick in the future. Dick is alienating other players and cutting off his own RP.
- Dick publically tells a joke about Ruth (or seemingly so) after Ruth requests avoidance (+policy avoidance). This likely comes off as an insult to Ruth and anyone else aware of the avoidance.
Harassment is taken very seriously on City of Hope MUSH. In cases of clear harassment, the perpetrator is likely to receive severe punishment.
If you believe that a PC leader is exceeding their IC authority, and/or creating a toxic RP environment by abusing said authority:
- +policy toxic applies as usual.
- There should always be higher-up NPCs who can intervene.
- However, staff actually having them do so is a last resort.
Guidelines for ICly learning that another PC is a member of your splat (race, faction, clan, etc.):
- Join your splat's channel and OOCly discuss things there.
- Go to a hideout (+help +hideouts). You can safely assume that anyone you meet there is a member of the relevant splat.
- However, please make sure you identify the right splat for that hideout, e.g. an all-vampire club versus a Camarilla-only club.
- You and another PC in the splat can OOCly agree to handwave ICly knowing or learning about each other via any method that ICly makes sense, including off-camera NPCs already known and trusted by both PCs.
- However, please make sure that both PCs are agreeing to the same thing. Here are some examples of past mix-ups:
- "One of us knows about the other" versus "We each know about each other".
- "Let's learn about each other in a scene" versus "Let's handwave that we already learned about each other".
- "Let's handwave that we already learned about each other" versus "Let's handwave that we already met, but haven't learned about each other yet".
- However, please make sure that both PCs are agreeing to the same thing. Here are some examples of past mix-ups:
- Check 'news' and see if your splat has any PC leaders listed. You can safely assume that you can ICly send word to them, even if you don't yet ICly know who holds those positions.
- Please do not assume that you ICly know about someone just because you OOCly see them on channel or +roster.
- Please do not assume that your splat has an IC 'Detect My Splat' type power. Even if it does (e.g. Celestials 1 for demons is pretty close), please do not use it on someone just because they're a PC (+rules sniping). If the PC consents to being sniped for this purpose, that's fine, otherwise they should ICly stand out from the crowd somehow.
- If you feel stuck, please contact staff for assistance.
Idling on grid is not a crime!
Players are given XP periodically just for being IC. We determine IC and OOC by your location: if you're on the grid, you're IC, if you're off the grid, you're OOC. The names of OOC Rooms are all colored a luxurious purple to be easy to recognize.
A common concern is that a player is on grid to soak up XP and not to RP. While this does happen, we prefer to trust players by default.
Here are our IC idling guidelines:
- Being IC to wait for RP with specific people is fine, in public or private places.
- If you're waiting for RP but not with specific people we prefer you hang out in public but don't require it.
We also offer an OOC Tavern called Poser's which features private OOC rooms where players can idle as long as they wish, although NO RP is to be allowed there.
Here at City of Hope MUSH we realize that players and staff will often need some time away from the game due to RL issues. Players should try to supply an IC reason for such an absence. If one isn't provided, other players should make assumptions as specified in '+policy time'.
To reduce database clutter and free up names, inactive PCs may be deleted according to the following criteria:
A PC is considered unstarted if it has not logged in for at least 14 days and does not have a Race set on its +sheet. Unstarted PCs are @destroyed outright.
A PC is considered unfinished if it started the character creation process (got Race set on +sheet), but has not logged in for at least 90 days, has not set any attributes, and has not been approved. Unfinished PCs are @destroyed outright.
A PC is considered unapproved if it has at one time been approved for RP but that approval has since been removed. This may represent retirement or a player being removed from the game. Unapproved PCs that haven't logged in for at least 90 days may be @decompiled, archived, and @destroyed, but can generally be reconstructed from a backup on request.
A PC is considered inactive if it is currently approved but has not logged in for at least 90 days. Inactive PCs may lose properties leased through +rent, but no objects they own are taken, transferred or @destroyed. Their objects may be moved off-grid. Their properties may be transferred but only on a case-by-case basis. Inactive PCs may be moved to a room called The Fridge but may leave at any time when they return.
A PC is considered abandoned if it is currently approved but has not logged in for at least 180 days. Abandoned PCs may have properties taken off grid, transferred, or @destroyed but only on a case-by-case basis. Abandoned PCs are periodically mass-unapproved, with a +note that they should be re-approved on request.
None of the above criteria apply to characters set on vacation. A vacation may be declared for up to 900 days (+help +vacation) and may be renewed indefinitely.
- If it belonged to a couple or group, the remaining active PC(s) keep it.
- Otherwise, if exactly one person/group called advanced dibs, they get it.
- Otherwise, if there are multiple requests within a week, then staff works something out on a case-by-case basis.
- Beyond that, it's first come first served.
City of Hope MUSH uses the Anomaly Jobs system to track staff to-do items. +request, +xpreq, and various other commands all feed into this system.
- NEW - Unknown amount of work
- 25% - Some work done, a lot left
- 50% - About half done
- 75% - Most done, a little bit left
- HOLD - Not actionable until later
- DISCUSS - Staff need to discuss it with each other
- GREEN - Not urgent
- YELLOW - Should be done before most greens
- RED - Should be done before most yellows
- White/Unset - WhoopingCrane needs to fix the bucket/request command
- When a job is assigned to a specific staffer, that staffer has accepted responsibility for that job. No other staff are required to look at it. Unassigned jobs are open to anyone responsible for that bucket.
- Due dates are intended as reminders. They're not a guarantee or deadline. If a job (such as a Query) has a specific deadline, it will be mentioned in the main text of the job itself.
Jumping the Gun
If you +request something and staff hasn't done it yet, then don't RP as if it was done, even if you're absolutely sure that it will be approved.
- You may turn out to be wrong.
- Another player or staff unaware of the +request may notice and perceive wrongdoing.
Example: You want to join a faction and then RP with an existing member at one of their hideouts. You can still RP with them, just somewhere else.
If staff has done part of it but not all, then it's okay to RP the part that's done, unless staff advises otherwise.
Here on City of Hope we do not require learning times for xp spends. Staff feels that if a player earns the experience then they should be able to spend it where and how they like within the confines of the rules of the game.
Let's You And Him Fight
Trying to incite PVP between other PCs / groups of PCs, while you remain safely on the sidelines, may be clever RP or an OOC dick move. Please discuss with staff before going down this road. Staff should update this policy with examples / general principles.
These are the principles that we think a game should be based on. These ideas are the basis for our rules and policies. These ideas tell us whether or not a change goes against the spirit of the Mush.
- To protect everyone, staff and players will have rules that they will have to abide by.
- Staff and players should be treated as equals and with respect.
- Staff and players should be fair and impartial in all aspects of the game.
- A staff member's or player's personal life is not the business of the Mush.
- Standards should be in place to ensure effective communication for players and staff.
- The game should create an environment that is friendly to all.
- Staffers should be competent in the areas they are assigned to.
- Staffers need to contribute to an effective presence in their area of responsibility.
- Staffers should put equal effort into every player they are responsible for.
- Between staffers, professionalism takes precedence over friendship.
- No player should give or receive an advantage that they did not acquire through role play.
- Players have the right to refuse to be a part of a storyline that they didn't involve themselves in.
- By choosing to take part in a storyline, players accept some responsibility for that storyline.
- Chargen should be thorough, but easy and swift.
- Nothing well justified should be rejected for a character.
- It should be easy for players to find role play.
- Experience should be awarded for experiences, not just successes.
- Documentation should be informative, up to date, easy to follow and easy to find.
- Code should fill the requirements of the game.
- Code should be well documented and easy to use.
- The grid should be attractive and conducive to role play.
- Decisions should be transparent. Where it doesn't violate personal privacy or storyline, staff are required to explain decisions to players and other staff when asked, and players are required to explain their decisions to staff when asked. Players are never required to explain their decisions to other players.
Each PC can only have one Faction on +sheet. This is intentional and will not change.
Many PCs effectively participate in more than one faction, e.g. a Tradition mage who's also Garou kinfolk.
- This is okay, but one still needs to be selected as primary.
- You may base your choice on which one you RP with more often, and/or which one you would more likely choose if they came into conflict.
- You can be OOCly granted access to the hideouts/bboards/channels of your secondary faction.
- If it has PC leaders, one of them needs to vouch that you're ICly in good standing with them. (If this appears to have been skipped, it probably just happened quickly enough not to incur an obvious delay.)
- This does not affect +census or +roster.
See also: +rules multiclass (and vice versa)
Nightzones and Dayzones
If a location is a nightzone, then it's always night there, regardless of what '+time' says. This is obviously convenient for PCs who are allergic to sunlight.
This doesn't mean the place doesn't exist during the day, it just means that all scenes occurring there are set at night. Maybe it's normally closed during the day. If you want to visit the location during the day, then use one of the RP rooms for that purpose.
Dayzones are the opposite, it's always day there. If you're allergic to sunlight and you go to a dayzone by mistake, then just OOCly excuse yourself and leave.
Nightzones and dayzones are marked as such when you enter a room or 'look' at it, as well as in '+hangouts' / '+dir' / '+hideouts'.
See '+bhelp nightzones' for the correct way to mark nightzones and dayzones.
If one player frequently OOCly annoys several other players:
- Staff will exercise their discretion based on who they think is being OOCly unreasonable (the one player, the others, or both), and to what extent.
- This includes, but is not limited to, ICly being incompetent or antagonistic.
- This may extend to disallowing new alts in the same splat, or in extreme cases, pro-actively removing an existing alt.
Sometimes there's a situation where:
- It makes IC sense to pursue some course of action (e.g. investigate something, shore up defenses and otherwise pre-emptively prepare for something).
- However, OOCly it appears that it would just require a bunch of staff paperwork over something that's bound to go nowhere (e.g. unapproved players, PRPs that fizzled out).
In such cases:
- Staff may take the Fade to Black (FTB) approach, handwaving 'these PCs ICly do their due diligence and can legitimately claim credit for it', without getting into exact details.
- The PCs are then generally free to handwave more specifics if they feel the need.
For the purposes of PRPs and small, player-run scenes, players can fill NPC slots with the following criteria:
- The player must OOCly use an approved PC to represent the NPC.
- The NPC must be an actual NPC. They cannot represent an approved PC.
- A player must be invited to NPC a scene. They cannot don an NPC role and enter a scene without the permission of those present.
- The player must temporarily stick 'NPC' in their name somewhere.
- The NPC player must be given direction about the role they're expected to play.
- The NPC player may vote/nominate and is eligible to receive the same. They're contributing to the story!
- Players may NPC as a wraith's shadow! YAY eternal torment!
Some NPC leaders may also have dedicated logins:
- May be played by staff, or by PC leaders with staff approval.
- Must be invited to appear in a scene.
- Must be identified as a NPC in +finger.
See Also: PRPs
Factions, sub-factions (e.g. packs) and other IC social groups need leadership. While staff needs to exert some amount of control, they don't have the capacity to drive all the appropriate NPCs. Even if they did, doing so would prevent great players from having the opportunity to shine.
Responsibility and authority can be bestowed upon someone, but leadership is a skill set which an individual must develop within themselves.
- Organizing your group around a collective goal.
- Setting an example of excellence within your organization.
- Motivating members of your group toward your collective goal.
- Providing the support your members need to accomplish the collective goal.
- Understanding and engaging the strengths of your group's members.
- Inspiring your group to follow your lead.
Leadership is not:
- Telling people what to do.
- Having the final say.
To achieve and retain an IC position, both the player and the character should display leadership:
- The player should do their best to initiate RP for the entire group, not just a subset of it.
- Other players who can't show up at a certain time should be offered things they can do separately.
- Individuals may be restricted in their opportunities if there's a sensible IC reason, e.g. if they have a history of serious IC mistakes.
- The character should demonstrate leadership qualities within the group that would cause those already in power to take notice.
- If no clear power structure exists, then consider the group as a whole.
It's completely reasonable for a self-serving evil scumbag character to be a fantastic leader. If you make characters genuinely motivated to work for you and cause great RP to happen, your leadership will be self-evident.
Being a good leader is very challenging and very rewarding. Staff is available to act as a mentor to anyone who wants to develop their leadership but isn't sure how.
While most spheres have NPCs written up in news, those NPCs are not intended for interaction with players. This has several implications.
- It means that staff don't have to allocate time to RPing those NPCs.
- It means that staff aren't directing RP within the sphere.
- It keeps the power out of the hands of tyrants.
- It ensures that PCs are prominent within a sphere by their own merit, not arbitrarily.
- It means players have to assume that those sphere NPCs are doing the right things and it requires players to perform a certain amount of hand-waving for the sphere to work.
All PCs in the sphere should keep that last part in mind. "The NPC leaders are doing nothing" is a persistent myth. Here's how to determine what the NPC leaders are doing:
- For straightforward, non-controversial matters, PC leaders can hand-wave what the NPC leaders are doing. They should OOCly explain that they're doing so. Staff will make corrections if needed.
- For more complex matters, discuss it with each other (via bboard and/or channel) and/or staff. Staff will RP the NPC leaders directly if needed, but this is intended as a last resort.
- There may be occasions on which the NPC leaders are in fact doing nothing, or at least not acting as thoroughly and quickly as the PCs would like. However, please do not assume that this is the case just because staff has not directly announced what they're doing.
- Staff can have NPC leaders step in and overrule PC leaders, but this is rare and reserved for egregious behavior on the part of the PC leaders. Usually, NPC leaders either agree with PC leaders, or at least don't feel there's any compelling reason to disagree with them.
- PCs can attempt to ICly contact NPC leaders and ask them to overrule PC leaders, preferably via +request rather than a full-blown scene. Again, staff can have them agree, but this is rare; more often, staff will decide that the NPC leaders have a negative opinion of your evidence, interpretation, and/or motives.
- Police officers are routinely issued Kevlar vests (+equip/types 36), batons (+equip/types 19), tasers (+equip/types 44), pepper spray (+equip/types 63), and one or more firearms (+equip/types firearm). These are marked as property of the police department. Ballistics are on file for the firearms. The officer is required to account for any shots fired, and may acquire ammunition at the station.
- Police officers are routinely issued handcuffs, their badge, a basic crime scene kit, a portable siren light, and a radio. These do not need +equip entries unless customized.
- Rifles and shotguns may be kept in the trunk of patrol vehicles. They are not routinely issued to detectives.
- Full automatics (SMGs and assault rifles) are kept at the department at all times, except when assigned to the officer for special duty purposes such as SWAT.
- +equip entries should be flagged 'Police Issue:Y' to distinguish them from personal weapons/armor.
PrPs (Player-Run Plots)
PRPs allow players to act as storytellers in a limited capacity. running scenes and stories hopefully without the need for staff intervention. Players running PRPs can incorporate NPCs to drive the story and get people involved in ways they might not normally be involved.
- If you're planning a PrP that is self-contained, involving no NPCs that exist outside the PRP, making no changes to the world outside the PRP, it is automatically approved.
- This includes talking about it to others. See "Containment" below for more.
- You'll need staff approval if you intend to run a PRP that:
- Permanently affects the world, setting, or theme;
- Utilizes sphere or key thematic NPCs (the Prince, the Hive Alpha, the mayor, established mob boss);
- Overrides player risk levels;
- Offers rewards to participants aside from +votes along the way.
Guidance for PRP participants
- If you find that the PRP isn't a good fit for you, respectfully tell the ST and remove yourself.
Guidance for PRP storytellers
- Communication is your friend. Ensure your participants know what to expect from the PRP (combat time vs heavy social time vs light social time). IC surprises tend to be fun, OOC surprises tend to be less fun.
- Planning is your second friend. You should have a rough idea of where the PRP is going and a rough idea of how players will get there.
- But be flexible! Players will certainly deviate from what you think they'll do. Adapt and keep moving. If the players deviate but it's fun, consider whether or not you have room for a tangent.
- Know how many slots you have available and what roles might be beneficial
- Expect that some participants will have to leave before it's finished, and others might join partway through.
- To keep things manageable, plan for five or fewer participants.
- Ensure you understand the theme and mechanics of a given sphere before involving it.
- Remember: you're volunteering to do this. If a participant is disrupting the PRP, remove them.
- Playing your own character in a PRP can potentially represent a conflict of interest. To minimize that:
- Minimize the dependence the other participants will have on your character.
- Minimize the benefit your character stands to gain.
- Ensure that your own character's gains are incidental to the PRP, not the objective.
- Regardless of whether you play your own character or not, you may vote/nominate and are eligible to receive the same.
- Log everything. Having the log of what's happened so far can help in many unexpected ways.
- Posting about the PRP on an IC news bboard makes it fair game for anyone to get involved.
- Before involving an on-grid location that you neither ICly nor OOCly own, go there and do 'examine here' and then ask that PC's OOC permission.
- If it's owned by a holding bit for abandoned projects (DowntownBldr, HarborBldr, etc.), then it's OK to use.
- If it's owned by another non-PC ('Grid Owner', 'Utility1', 'Utility2', or a staff bit), or if the PC hasn't logged in recently or doesn't respond in a timely fashion, then submit a +request.
- For gangs (+streetwise/map), you should also submit a +request. Some have PCs involved, some don't. Staff will let you know what's kosher.
- Involving RL celebrities is allowed at staff discretion. This shouldn't significantly change their lives beyond 'they played a concert in Prospect' or whatever. If you want more creative freedom, use a Suspiciously Similar NPC.
(Probably Bad) PRP Ideas
- Bone Gnawer tribebook meets "The Hangover"
- Eddie the Snitch has to go
- Strange things are afoot at the 7-11
- Why is this alley full of Progenitor intrusion clones?
Submitting PRP Ideas
Staff welcome your PRP ideas! Some players conceive, plan, and execute PRPs from beginning to end all on their own. This is great, but not everyone has that time or ability. Staff welcomes PRP ideas from players in any form. Submissions can range from a full-blown PRP down to a very brief summary. When ideas are submitted, staff would like to flesh them out as needed. If the original submitter would like to run it they are welcome to. If not, staff will look for a player who would like to run it. Ideas for open PRPs, sphere-specific PRPs, and cross-sphere PRPs are all welcome.
If you have a PRP idea to submit, please do so! (see '+help +pitch')
There has been a great deal of misunderstanding about what constitutes a 'self-contained' or 'closed' plot.
- It's in everyone's best interests to clearly identify who's in the circle of participants (PC and NPC), which events should be contained to that circle, and then stick to it.
- If it makes changes to the world outside the circle of participants and their stats and knowledge, then it is no longer self-contained.
- If you ICly tell a non-participant what happened, then that counts as a change to the outside world. This includes (but is not limited to):
- Posting to an IC news bboard opens it up to the entire game.
- Submitting a renown/harpy request opens it up to the entire faction.
- An intentional breach is sometimes a valid tactical move, but please discuss with staff before doing so.
- If containment is broken, then staff needs to work out the implications.
- Usually that's 'the IC events remain valid, but the one who broke containment has probably OOCly annoyed the others, and they may be less interested in RPing with that person in the future'.
- Sometimes an event will be retconned as 'didn't happen at all' or 'happened but differently' as needed to maintain coherent RP.
- As usual, gray areas are worked out based on common sense, balancing the needs of the many against those of the few, and distinguishing between honest mistakes and rampant carelessness.
City of Hope MUSH may need to add, change, or remove policies from the game. These changes will not be made without serious thought about how the change will affect players. There are no grandfather clauses for policies.
There are two common approaches to the order in which characters should pose.
1) Round robin, common in scenes with a small number of characters:
- Everyone poses once, then everyone poses again in the same order, and so on.
- If someone joins mid-scene, they're inserted somewhere in the sequence.
- If you're just listening, you can let the others know (IC and/or OOC) and take yourself out of the sequence for a while.
2) Three-pose rule, common in scenes with a large number of characters:
- Rather than a fixed sequence, just wait till at least three other characters have posed before you pose again.
- If a round robin scene becomes big enough, someone will probably suggest switching to this.
A large scene may also naturally organize itself into multiple sub-groups, where each character mostly interacts with the others in their sub-group and need not wait for others. The 'places' code is designed for this.
Please do not do multiple short poses in a row. Instead, combine them into one longer pose.
- Once you pose, others should be able to start working out their reactions to it.
- If you forgot something and feel the need to add it, just say OOCly that you're adding something, then write a follow-up pose.
When joining a scene already in progress, get at least some idea what's happening before your first pose. It doesn't make sense to run up and hug your friend if it turns out a NPC with a gun was holding them hostage.
Power posing is posing the actions of others without their OOC consent.
Because this is a form of one player forcing their will on another, we do not accept power posing.
This may also include posing the inactions of others, in a situation where they would reasonably act:
- 'Alice punches Bob', as opposed to just 'Alice takes a swing at Bob'
- Making a long speech, depending on context
- Leaving the room when someone has an obvious reason to try to stop you
Meta posing is posing information about your character that other characters might not be able to perceive, such as emotional state, or memories.
- Some frown on meta posing because they feel that they should only see what their character sees.
- Some celebrate meta posing because it allows others the chance to decide what their character picks up on, without the need for roll after roll.
- Because of the varied opinions on meta posing, and because the extra information can just be ignored, we neither endorse nor discourage meta posing.
Meta posing can be a useful way to convey OOC knowledge or mindset, where not doing so might cause others to OOCly think you're dumb or cheating or something. (Alternatively, you can use the 'ooc' command separately from your pose.)
If part of someone's pose is outside quotes, they may be meta posing! They may not be ICly saying that part out loud. Or they may have typoed. Please consider both possibilities, and ask OOCly if their intent seems unclear.
It's always valid to request a roll of Perception + Empathy (target does a resisted roll of Manipulation + Subterfuge) to pick up on someone's feelings.
- This applies whether or not those feelings were metaposed.
- This applies even if the target also metaposed keeping a poker face. Their poker face may not be as good as they think.
- Target may skip rolls and handwave that the other player succeeds.
- Any relevant modifiers (e.g. Poker Face merit) should be declared and taken into account.
Wallflowering is posing doing the same stuff that NPCs are routinely assumed to be doing in the background.
- Example: At a coffee shop, standing in line, ordering a drink, drinking the drink, and leaving.
While this may be realistic, it also doesn't give others any reason to think that interacting with you would be interesting. What about your character is interesting, and what can you do to reasonably hint at it?
In particular, if you show up and leave without posing at all, but you still want to have ICly been there, then you should OOCly make that clear before leaving. (For race/faction meetings such as Camarilla court, this is generally assumed.)
Occasionally, certain rules or aspects of the setting or storyline are vague or contradictory as stated by the book. When such confusion arises, a staffer running the scene is to make an on the spot decision to clear up the confusion and keep the scene going. Afterward, staffers must discuss the confusion and agree on one interpretation. Whatever interpretation is decided on becomes a "Precedent": how the rules should be interpreted from then on. The outcomes of any previous scenes stay the same, regardless of the precedent.
When new precedents are set, they are noted in the +rules system and announced on the Public Policies bulletin board.
See Also: Rules Changes
We at City of Hope MUSH respect the privacy of players and staff. We feel that having the personal security of knowing that you're not being eavesdropped on helps create a more comfortable environment. For this reason, only wizards have the ability to go dark. The only wizard on City of Hope MUSH is WhoopingCrane.
City of Hope MUSH is run on a hosted server/network with local access only available to WhoopingCrane and the hosting provider. Any records obtained via local access (e.g. packet capture) are to be used only to troubleshoot technical problems with the game, verify issues of harassment, and identify instances of cheating. In the past, such data has been used to verify harassment, troubleshoot an issue with +vote, and investigate suspected spoofed command output. Also note: the person hosting any game can see your password. DON'T REUSE YOUR PASSWORDS!
The use of the DARK flag by wizards will be at the consent of those being monitored unless there is evidence of OOC harassment or abuse. Packet capture will only be employed for serious incidents.
These limitations of monitoring capability grant players quite a bit of freedom. It is common practice on many games for staff to go DARK to avoid contact with players. We do not allow this, so in exchange for the extra privacy, players are expected to honor a staff member's Off-Duty status. Individual staff members may declare things like "I'm page-friendly regardless", but this is left to their individual discretion.
Also, use of the Unfindable flag is not restricted for players. Players are welcome to use the Unfindable flag as they see fit. Staff can still see the location of Unfindable players.
PTMD (Post-Traumatic MU* Disorder)
You're sitting in your haven, watching Monday Night Football in your underwear. The doorbell rings, so you go answer it. The visitor sees your face and then a flash of light from a suicide vest levels your house and turns you to ash.
- Someone knew where you lived.
- They didn't like your shoe color.
- They had Demolitions eleventy.
- They mind-raped some poor transient to pay you a visit.
You're sitting in your pack den, watching Monday Night Football in your underwear. All of a sudden your Coors Lite seeps into your hand, turning it to silver. And then your forearm, arm, and body. You fall over writhing in agony until dead.
- You called the brooding Euthanatos a caern-raping namer.
- They knew where you lived.
- They used Mage Spheres of whatever to turn you to silver.
You're sitting in the Elysium, watching Monday Night Football in your Elizabethan froppery. All of a sudden, a stream of shovelheads rush through the door with murder in their eyes and Molotovs in their hands. They burn everything and everyone to the ground, crying out to some false Vampire God who shares its name with an obscure French cheese.
- The Sabbat found out where the Elysium was.
- The Cam PCs didn't foresee a flood of suicide firebombers.
The above situations are all plausible things that could happen between PCs by some interpretation of the books. We do not let these sorts of things happen here. We firmly believe that players should not have to live in fear and attempt to prepare for every possible scenario in which they could get screwed. For some players that element adds danger and excitement. We choose to be story-focused and find these situations to be antithetical to good story.
I bring this up because some players regularly submit requests for things that they feel they need to protect themselves and their allies from PC-driven disaster. If you feel that there's an extreme threat scenario that you have to deal with, come talk to us about the threat instead. No NORAD-level bunker, magical wards, or standing army can protect your character better than we can. No level of walls or magic can make you feel safer than knowing what the boundaries between PCs are.
I leave you with an incomplete list of examples of things that will justify a PC being killed:
- Switching to the opposing faction
- Becoming combative in the opposing faction's official headquarters
- Making an attempt on the life of another PC or their close PC allies
- Making an attempt to destroy another PC's business or home
What will make staff kill a PC out of the blue? Nothing. If a player abides by policies and plays in-theme, we stay out of the way. In the event that policy or theme are being violated, it is not the character but the player that will be addressed.
PVP (Player versus Player)
Player Versus Player conflict is not the primary focus of the game, but does form a significant part.
- OOC communication is your friend. Many players worry about getting PKed when the other guy is just going for a whew-that-was-close moment.
- Be familiar with risk policy before initiating PVP, or in preparation for possibly getting pulled into it someday.
See also: Combat/PvP
For what should be obvious logistical reasons, staff strives to avoid/prevent situations where one entire race/faction is actively trying to find and kill all the PCs in another race/faction. Even if they're ICly misinformed and risk escalation is not granted, it would be a big complex mess. ICly, too, PC and NPC leaders alike are generally slow to agree that anything that would touch off such a war is worth the results.
ICA=ICC still applies, in a sense: whichever PC(s) committed the inciting ICA, the ICC should ideally hit the same PC(s), while having minimal effect of others in their splat who did nothing to sanction it.
When retiring a shifter and apping a new shifter PC of the same Changing Breed, you may request a renown transfer as follows:
|Old Rank||New Rank||New renown and minimum time|
|2||1||Halfway to rank 2|
|3||2||Minimum for rank 2|
|4||2||Halfway to rank 3|
|5||3||Minimum for rank 3|
Philodox renown chart:
|Halfway to 3||1.5||5||1.5|
Example: A rank 4 Ahroun retires and apps a Philodox. The Philodox starts at:
- Rank 2
- Glory: 1 permanent, 5 temporary
- Honor: 5 permanent
- Wisdom: 1 permanent, 5 temporary
- Minimum time for rank 3 is reduced from 3 months to 1.5 months
If there's a choice of distribution (e.g. Ragabash), then the PC can pick whatever spread they want.
No player or character may forcibly prevent another player or character from RPing with a third player or character.
The purpose of our game is RP, so preventing RP defeats our purpose. No player may act to forcibly inhibit another player's RP with a third player. The relationship between the characters is not relevant, even in relationships with established dominance: Shifter/Kin, Vampire/Ghoul, Demon/Thrall, etc. This limits IC methods (e.g. Dominate with a command of "avoid that person") as well as OOC (whatever that might include). Players are welcome to negotiate restrictions between each other (e.g. "I'm okay with being Dominated to avoid them" or simply "I'm okay with being convinced to avoid them"), but this is non-binding. Everyone is entitled to the freedom to find RP where and when it is available.
The spirit of the policy is that inhibiting another player's RP is unacceptable. Players must respect the freedoms and boundaries of other players. This should not be confused with sensible IC repercussions; consorting with the opposing faction or a widely-accepted enemy group (e.g. infernalists) may be a crime or carry significant negative social implications. If you're an Anarch, then you can certainly advise another Anarch to stay away from Camarilla or Sabbat members, mages, shifters, whatever-- but the other Anarch can choose not to take your advice.
Combat at risk 2 or higher can result in imprisonment (per +policy risk 2) and isn't related to the above. However, if a player finds their character imprisoned for this reason, they should consider setting themselves to lower risk in the presence of the imprisoning player after the imprisonment is over.
If you plan to stop playing a character, please +request that it be retired. This may happen for a number of reasons:
- Real Life has reduced your time available to play.
- The character is painted into a corner by events, or by the absence of others.
- The concept turned out to be less interesting than originally expected.
Explicitly retiring a character is helpful to others, as it lets them know that the character is gone and they should work out how to move on. If you have any alts, it can also benefit one of them (+policy XP transfer).
Characters who haven't logged in for six months are periodically retired en masse.
Bringing back a retired character:
- Generally allowed, just have an idea of what they were ICly doing during the retirement period.
- If they were facing ICA=ICC, they still are (unless circumstances later changed in their favor).
- If they were declared dead, it may be retconned with staff approval.
- Retired characters are periodically auto-purged from the database. Data can generally be reconstructed from backups on request. Alternatively, you can just reconstruct yourself with chargen-level stats.
Although City of Hope MUSH intends to follow White Wolf canon, in some few instances we may feel that a particular rule or storyline aspect does not fit with the rest of the World of Darkness. To make things fit together better, we will make changes to the rules, setting, or storyline. These changes are listed in the +rules system, and when a rules change is made, it will be announced on the Public Policies bulletin board. When a rule change is made, there is no Grandfather Clause unless it is stated in the +rule system.
See Also: Precedents
The OOC well-being of players is important to us. While we are ICly the World of Darkness, and OOCly not a full consent game, we are open to discussion of problematic content.
In particular, you can always leave a scene without OOC penalty (but with the understanding that staff may be called on to determine what ICly happens to your character at that point, or whether their IC presence is retconned).
There are also various safety systems for negotiating content adjustments. This page lists a few.
- If you have a problem but don't know how to approach discussing it, then one or more of these systems may help.
- No one is obligated to abide by a specific safety system, unless they agreed up front to do so.
- You can always ask, and other players will often be accommodating, but sometimes you may need to leave a scene rather than derail it for other players.
If your instinctive reaction to an IC action you don't like is to try to 'destroy' everything the other PC is doing in that area, then you are probably overreacting, and putting yourself firmly on the wrong side of '+policy not fun'. (Exception: if your PC has the Vengeance flaw regarding that PC or area. But you should considering buying off said flaw with XP.) It may also drive other PCs to try to destroy everything you're doing, and they may be better armed.
Instead, we recommend that you discuss the following with the player and/or staff:
- What the IC action was that you didn't like
- Why you didn't like it
- What options are available for your IC response, and what IC responses you would likely receive in return
The resulting discussion is likely to produce some other ideas, possibly including the other player taking further IC action in an attempt to mitigate the situation.
This game, its website, and other services all rely on the servers on which they are run. Bringing weaknesses in any aspect of this system to staff's attention will be rewarded. Any attempts to subvert this system will be dealt with swiftly and possibly without warning.
Attempts to subvert this system include but are not limited to:
- Use of soft code to gain information that should be gained ICly, use of soft code to gain privileges not administratively granted, use of soft code to disrupt the activity of the MUSH
- Use of known or predicted vulnerabilities in TinyMUX, Apache, or other software in use on these systems or on the website.
- Denial of Service attacks, distributed or otherwise, including but not limited to: traffic flooding, SYN flooding, RST attacks, fragmented packet attacks (Teardrop, etc), email flooding, and activity intended to consume excessive CPU time, memory, bandwidth, or storage
- Forging of IP datagrams, email, instant messages, web posts, or other traffic such that it appears to come from this network
- Other activities deemed disruptive to our network and systems.
Corrective action for these activities varies in accordance with the severity of the actions and can range from a simple warning to blocking at the firewall and contact with the offender's ISP.
In summary, do not attack us.
The following type of thing is considered acceptable:
- Alice and Bob (Gaian Garou) would enjoy the challenge of a fight with Charlie and David (Black Spiral Dancers).
- However, Alice and Bob don't particularly care which BSDs they're fighting, just the greater variety of powers/items/tactics (rather than a ST having to create and direct NPCs). They have no vested OOC interest in ending Charlie or David's RP, may not even ICly know that they're BSDs, and don't want it to affect future social RP with them.
- Charlie and David feel the same way in the other direction.
- The four of them agree in advance to apply NPC substitution: For the purpose of Alice and Bob's RP, Charlie and David represent Wyrm NPCs who just happen to have Charlie and David's stats/etc., and any followup investigation will lead to more NPCs (not to Charlie or David or their PC buddies). Similarly, for the purpose of Charlie and David's RP, Alice and Bob represent Gaian NPCs.
In general, NPC substitution means that actions RPed by a player based on their own PC's stats/items/knowledge/whatever were ICly performed by a NPC who happened to have the same stats/etc., instead of (or in addition to) that PC.
- This allows those actions to remain IC, but disconnects them from the specific PC.
- This requires mutual agreement or staff approval. Don't do dumb things and then try to weasel out of ICA=ICC this way.
The original use case for NPC substitution was this specific recurring pattern of OOC mistakes:
- Alice ICly does something that Bob wouldn't like.
- Bob ICly finds some evidence and starts investigating.
- It turns out that Bob's evidence was invalid, but it wasn't his fault, e.g.
- Alice had ICly concealed that evidence, but the documentation of her doing so was overlooked.
- Bob was operating on hearsay from Charlie, who got his OOC/IC info mixed up.
In such cases, staff will generally approve a retcon that applies NPC substitution to Alice: she still did the thing, but some NPC also did a similar thing, and all of Bob's stuff is switched to this NPC.
This policy covers when information from OOC surveillance (including but not limited to camera objects created using +vend, or objects with the PUPPET flag) does or doesn't count as valid IC information.
Prospect is ICly a large city. Public grid rooms are ICly large, e.g. 'Comet and Ash' in '+map/downtown' really represents about one square mile that contains that specific intersection. The surrounding areas are even larger, e.g. each room within '+map/desert' represents a couple hundred square miles.
Thus, when your place (personal or faction build project) is attached to a public grid room, RP in that public grid room may be ICly near that place, but not necessarily; it may be several blocks away, instead. Be careful about making assumptions.
In particular, while you're allowed to put an OOC camera object in that public grid room, that's only valid IC information for events that are ICly close enough to your place. Similarly, if grid room G contains faction hideout H, then declaring 'anyone who enters H is scanned by (cameras, NPCs, etc.)' is valid, but declaring 'anyone who enters G is scanned' is not (see +rules in public and +rules sniping).
Some factions may have spent the time and effort to establish more extensive surveillance networks. These should be reasonably effective, but never 100 percent foolproof. Staff is currently in the process of discussing guidelines for where and how to draw the line.
When someone makes a PC character that character in definition has a mind, body and spirit of its own, its very own identity, and hopefully remains three-dimensional in personality. The player character is a special character differentiated in the game from NPCs because the player has control over themselves rather than the staffers and are unique in their own ways whereas NPCs tend to be driven towards a direct goal for a plot line on behalf of a Storyteller.
Therefore it is NOT necessary to follow the status quo when making a PC here on City of Hope. We look forward to those players that seek out individuality and uniqueness in their character, though also, we do not mind those who wish to stick to stereotypes: these can still be fun to play. It is against MU policy for anyone on City of Hope to hinder a player for OOC reasons, such as one's feelings about another's concept.
Some MU*s utilize compressed time, where time happens faster on the MU than in real life. Some MU*s utilize expanded time, where time happens slower on the MU than in real life. City of Hope MUSH does not utilize time compression or expansion: it runs in real time. We feel that whatever time ratio we choose, it will never match the pace that people RP at. We chose real time because, if we can't make time run at the same pace as RP, we'll at least make it easy to schedule things.
Prospect is in the Pacific time zone. '+time' will show you what that is. As noted above, the pace of RP will always vary; determining the actual IC time of a scene may require hand waving, especially when scenes intersect (Alice and Bob moved from a coffee shop to a bar where Claire and David were already RPing). See also Nightzones.
If your RP is based on the assumption that certain IC events will occur without interruption, or at least that you would normally notice and react to any interruption immediately, then you should make this clear up front. Consider pro-actively informing staff of your intentions, especially if it crosses multiple IC days. (Example: Alice OOCly has to leave, but plans to drive Bob home or magically monitor him to ensure he gets home safely.)
There is no correct assumption about what a character has been doing while the player was away from the game. If someone does not log into the game for a week, it doesn't mean they've gone missing, it just means you haven't run into them. The safest assumption is that they've been busy, but everything is normal.
This includes server outages. If the server is down for three hours, when it comes back up, game time is three hours later.
On the other hand, if a character has been gone for months, there's a greater chance that the player is indefinitely tied up by Real Life or has lost interest in that character, and so it becomes safer to assume that their character is also drifting away or at least seeming to do so. If your SO hasn't RPed with you or OOCly kept in touch for three months, it's generally safe if you want to handwave an off-camera breakup.
If you believe that another player is creating a toxic RP environment:
- It's okay to +request and bring it to staff's attention.
- Staff is probably already aware what they're doing, but not always.
- Staff may or may not agree with your opinion of how bad it is. 'Toxic RP environment' does not mean 'anything I personally don't like', it depends on what's ICly normal for that race/faction according to canon.
- Staff may or may not consider it an IC situation that can reasonably (and thus should be) addressed ICly by working with other PCs.
- It's also okay to ICly point it out and/or otherwise respond to it and/or encourage other PCs to do the same.
- This may result in ICC for players on either/both sides, depending on the situation.
- Staff can be consulted on targeted questions like 'Is <one specific tactic> likely to work well?'.
- Staff is less likely to answer broad questions like 'What tactics are most likely to work well?'.
Vacation (Inactive PCs)
Here at City of Hope we realize that players and Staff will often have RL issues come up in which they will need some time away from the MU. Should a player need to take an OOC absence they should try to supply an IC reason for the absence. If one isn't provided, other players should make assumptions as specified in the 'Time' policy.
To help avoid cluttering in the database and the grid, approved characters that have not logged on to the game for three months will be put into the Fridge where if they log on again before another three months they can access the grid again without staff help. Approved characters that have not logged on for a total of six months will be put into the Freezer where they will still be able to log on but will need staff assistance to get out and back on to the grid for further RP.
Village Idiot PCs
This policy pertains to PCs who do ICly dumb things (due to statted flaws, IC or OOC bad grasp of tactics/strategy, or any other reason).
This is allowed, but not necessarily recommended. This may lead to ICA=ICC, risk escalation and/or avoidance. This may also lead to ICC for other PCs in your faction or otherwise theoretically on your IC side, who may attempt pre-emptive measures to prevent you from dragging them down with you.
If you have a flaw, then you need to RP it. But you can choose to not take that flaw during chargen, or buy it off with XP (if it makes IC sense for it to go away).
If you're ICly or OOCly unfamiliar with your race or faction, then you can ask others to help you learn. But they're not obligated to spend their time and effort spoon-feeding you on-camera. You should have access to at least your game line's main rulebook, and even if you don't have that, you can at least read the quickstart PDF as well as the White Wolf wiki. Lack of Lore is not a defense, as the first dot is intentionally free of cost, time limit, or other restriction in all circumstances. You may want to consider choosing your faction accordingly, e.g. the Garou Nation is large and relatively unforgiving, while many sorcerers and psychics are completely individualistic. Also, some forms of IC incompetence are likely to draw much more severe ICC, e.g. 'mage gets drunk and throws up in back seat of other mage's car' versus 'Gaian kinfolk ignores clear signs of vampirism and ends up blood-bound to vampire PC'.
If you ICly or OOCly ask before taking some action, then you will generally get credit for that, over and above acting without asking first. This includes OOCly asking staff, see Common Sense.
Wallflowering is posing doing the same stuff that NPCs are routinely assumed to be doing in the background.
- Example: At a coffee shop, standing in line, ordering a drink, drinking the drink, and leaving.
While this may be realistic, it also doesn't give others any reason to think that interacting with you would be interesting. What about your character is interesting, and what can you do to reasonably hint at it?
In particular, if you show up and leave without posing at all, but you still want to have ICly been there, then you should OOCly make that clear before leaving. (For race/faction meetings such as Camarilla court, this is generally assumed.)
It's okay for you to show up while ICly invisible (wraith, Obfuscate, etc.) and wallflower. However, it's equally okay for others to decide to get up and leave. As an alternative, consider submitting a +request to staff (this isn't guaranteed to work either, but if it does then it may reduce metagaming).
Our wiki can be found at http://www.cityofhopemush.net/ and it's a great resource for players to share information.
It's important to note that the wiki is a player-maintained resource. While staff does monitor and contribute, they may overlook some things.
The canonical sources for policy and rules information are +policy and +rules respectively. The canonical sources for chargen information are MTPDATW Chargen and the Sphere Information Room. If the wiki disagrees, please inform staff so that a correction can be made.
See also: Wiki Content Guidelines
World of Darkness - Content/Trigger Warning
City of Hope MUSH is set in the World of Darkness. Accordingly, it includes dark adult themes, including but not limited to:
- Violence and/or prejudice based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
- Sexual assault
- Emotional manipulation
These topics are not the primary focus of the game, but sometimes they do come up.
- There may not be advance warning. They may be present at the start of a scene, or come up mid-scene.
- Players may express a positive attitude toward them, IC (my character wants to do/see these things) and/or OOC (I want to explore RP that includes these things).
- Players can generally opt out of these topics when they do come up, to avoid the OOC emotional harm of continuing to deal with them. (If you're familiar with the 'X card' concept, this is basically it.)
- Players who would suffer OOC emotional harm from having these topics brought up at all are strongly encouraged to look for games with a different setting. (If the X card isn't enough, then this game isn't for you, and we're not going to bend it drastically out of shape for you.)
- Players are encouraged to document (+finger and/or wiki character page) which of these topics they OOCly want to avoid and/or explore, with the understanding that others may not notice ahead of time.
- Players who want to OOCly discuss and/or defend these topics (e.g. 'I feel suicidal', 'is _____ racist?') need to restrict it to the Debate channel.
The 'rating' of scenes varies from G to PG to PG-13 to R to NC-17, depending on factions/individuals and location. Players may explicitly aim for a certain rating and reject anything exceeding it, but there's no guarantee that someone won't try to exceed it (until after the scene is concluded). Examples:
- Gaian Garou at the caern may be G-rated (greeting newcomers), or not (describing the hideous appearance and actions of the Wyrmspawn they've been hunting, possibly including lots of profanity). Similarly, going out and fighting Wyrmspawn may describe all those same things, plus gory details of dead/injured bodies.
- Anti-authoritarian mages may run their mouths about how all cops are terrible people and what should happen to them.
- Consentual sex is sometimes covered by Fade to Black, sometimes RPed out. (Either way, it should typically stay behind closed doors; +rules in public and common sense apply.)
There is no specific criteria for transferring XP from one character to another. The risk system allows players to control their own fate so PC death doesn't automatically imply compensation. On request, staff will generally transfer up to 20 unspent XP from a character that is being retired to another new or established character. Any situations in which a transfer of XP may be appropriate are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. This includes Demon death, even when the demon will be transferred to a new host.
- A player may retire a mortal character and have that character's lifetime XP transferred to a new supernatural character awaiting approval or recently approved.
- Similarly, a player may retire a kinfolk with no gifts or other powers and transfer (50 or lifetime XP, whichever is less).
- After transferring already-spent XP, the retired character may not return to play unless an equal or greater amount is transferred back to them.