Though the IC premise of the game is one of court intrigues and potentially dangerous politics, OOCly the Staff desire a game where players co-operate to create the best possible story. With this in mind, the game’s consent policy is one that gives players a high degree of control over the fate of their characters, in particular concerning player-to-player interactions and to a lesser degree concerning staff-to-player interactions.
The basic premise is that within reason, the consequences of your actions—as they pertain to your own character—are yours to determine. You will not be killed just because you take part in combat. Your character cannot be cut down in the street just because you insulted some lady’s honour and her angry husband decided to send a hired thug after you. Furthermore, other players may not assume consequences of your actions for their own characters that are beyond what might be seen as reasonable consequences. If you roleplay that your horse escaped from the stables, another player can’t go ahead and pose that it kicked a child in the head and killed it.
The caveats of “within reason” and “reasonable consequences” are important to note. Consent is not something that can be used to hide behind to avoid any and all consequences. While taking part in combat does not mean consenting to a potential death, or to being maimed just because someone tries to cut off your arm, it does mean consenting to taking enough damage to lose if that’s how the fight ends up going. If you insult some lady’s honour, and her angry husband decides to challenge you to a duel unless you apologize, then that falls well within a reasonable response to the action that you initiated. If you roleplay that your horse escapes from the stables and runs through a group of children playing in the stable yard, then you can’t assume that it miraculously didn’t injure anyone.
The actual intention of a certain action also matters. Players should not feel that they have to consent to actions and reactions that arise from genuine misunderstandings. For one thing, the game is open to players with varying degrees of experience and varying levels of English, though that is not to say that an experienced player cannot make mistakes as well. If you pose something that is misunderstood by another player and this results in an action or reaction that you feel uncomfortable with, do say that you were misunderstood. You are not expected to just “roll with it” if you feel that the discrepancy compared to how your character should have acted is serious enough. In such instances, it is perfectly fine to want to redo your pose or explain yourself OOCly. But do not misuse this to try and escape consequences if something you did intend is taken differently than you expected.
If a player wishes to involve another player in a plot or more elaborate consequences following upon a certain action, this should generally first be discussed OOCly. For example, if Player A’s character wishes to attempt to steal something from Player B’s character, Player A would first need to discuss the basic idea with Player B. Player A could either approach Player B directly, or have Staff act as a middleman to keep player A’s identity secret (as far as is possible) OOCly.
While it is relatively easy to say how consent applies to actions in a scene, it can be harder to make it clear how it applies to spreading rumors about one another or making assumptions about what is or isn’t IC knowledge.
If a character decides to spread detrimental IC rumors about another character, the second character cannot put a stop to that by saying he does not consent to rumors being spread about him/her. However, he can +warn the first character that further rumors may result in actions being taken ICly. If the first character persists in spreading these rumors this would then be considered as consenting to a reasonable reaction from the second character.
Similarly, anything said or done in public that is witnessed or overheard by another player is generally considered to be public information. If you feel that someone should not be able to see what you are doing or hear what you are saying, you are encouraged to take OOC measures to inform players of the IC situation and/or to use code such as +groups (+HELP +GROUPS) and +whisper (+HELP +WHISPER) to make this plain. However, as we do encourage OOC communication, we also encourage players to consider asking whether or not some information would be known to them before acting on it, even if they would be within their rights to do so without asking.
As noted, Staff hope to create co-operative atmosphere between players. We feel that an important part of this is trying to be aware of what other players enjoy or do not enjoy in their roleplay and to communicate OOCly when there is any uncertainty at all about how to proceed. To facilitate the following commands are available:
+Prefs (see +HELP +PREFS), which allows each player to rate a selection of options that concern roleplay content and roleplay form. It also allows players to set a free-form comment about their roleplay preferences. Everyone should make sure to set their +prefs and to make a habit of checking the +prefs of others. It is particularly important that you set a free-form comment if there’s something you feel strongly about.
+Warn (see +HELP +WARN), which allows a player to send a warning to another player that they are pursuing an ICly dangerous path. If the second player persists along the same path, the player is now aware of the potential danger to his/her character, and is consenting any reasonable IC consequences. It is particularly important that you use +warn (or another means of OOC communication) if you are playing a character who is particularly violent and/or aggressive.
We cannot stress enough how much we want to encourage players to communicate OOCly in order to avoid causing hard feelings OOCly over IC matters. Communicating OOCly does not have to mean planning every step of a plot, but it does no one any good at all if someone hatches a plot and essentially forces someone to take part even though they have no interest in that particular turn of events. If a disagreement occurs, if communications break down, or if someone feels that they are having unreasonable consequences pressed onto them for some action or other, do not hesitate to contact a member of Staff (see +HELP +ADMIN and +HELP +STAFF) to mediate.
Staff always have the option to enforce consequences for actions taken by a character without first receiving consent from the player of the character. Staff do not need to use +warn first, though may do so. This option exists so that Staff can take any measures deemed IC to deal with whatever situations may arise.
For example, actions (in particular violent actions) taken against unplayed NPCs from the CDB or unnamed general NPCs may lead to consequences mandated by Staff as they represent any NPC on the game. They also represent the NPC population in general and will take actions on its behalf, for example by having public opinion swing against a character due to scandalous or unpopular actions.
Staff may also enforce consequences for actions between PCs when the action constitutes something that would have an NPC response, such as trying to murder another PC (even if this was agreed upon between players) or causing a scandal of some kind or other.
Players can use the +prefs/staff option (see +HELP +PREFS) to indicate whether or not they are interested in having Staff develop plots based on their backgrounds. This can, for example, include having an enemy from a character’s past show up to cause trouble.
Even if players choose not to have Staff develop such plots, there are some developments they cannot decline. Changes to family circumstances, such as deaths of relatives or even betrothals, are ultimately up to Staff. That said, Staff will not be forcing players into plots that are dangerous or likely to be upsetting to the player without first approaching the player about it. In general, Staff will almost always need to consult players to some degree, to ensure their availability.