A Crash Course In Roleplaying
Welcome to the Crash Course In Roleplaying guide. In this guide, you will learn what is expected from you in /vg/station's Light RP environment and why you just got a one hour ban from having your character say "AYY LMAO XD" and "LE GRIFF :^)" at a rate of five chat windows per second, or a fifteen minute ban for fucking up and saying ";Hello guys" in OOC. You will also be taught what "Metagaming" and "Powergaming" really is (it's not a way for antagonists to whine after being robusted) and why rules preventing those are enforced. If you are still with us after that, we will give you short tips to immerse yourself and others in the game, because Space Station 13 is not Trouble in Terrorist Town, and playing it as such is a disservice to everyone, including you.
Without further a due, let's begin.
IC and OOC
IC and OOC are respectively the In-Character and the Out-Of-Character chats. Both of these chats serve a very specific purpose and despite Light RP, misuse of these chats will lead to punishment.
The IC chat is derived into two categories. Speech (using the "Say" command) and Emotes (using the "Me" command). Both of those are performed by your player character (hence why they are referred to as in-character) and are directly affected by your current conditions (dead, not dead, mute, deaf, paralyzed, stunned, no headset, in space, buckled, handcuffed, muffled or gagged, etc). Needlessly to say, being dead for instance will impair your abilities to communicate with your fellow crewmen, as losing your headset will prevent you from using the in-game telecommunications relay system.
The OOC chat is unique in that it will be performed by you, the player behind the screen using your real handle (using the "OOC" command). You can use the OOC chat regardless of the current status of your player character, even if you are not technically playing or are long deceased.
Now that both chats have been clearly defined (exceptions and clarifications will be listed further below), two hopefully simple rules will be introduced to you. These must be acknowledged and failure to apply them will lead to a kick, muting or escalating bans.
IC in OOC : Relaying information pertaining to the currently ongoing round, wherever it regards your player character and his status, anything you're having trouble with, anything the station is confronting or even that fagget trator George Melons who just Parapen+C4'd you. Any obvious case of IC in OOC, even if harmless (accidentally broadcasting what is obviously IC speech using OOC) will almost certainly lead to a standard fifteen minute ban
And people yelling ICK OOK BAN HE in OOC. Broadcasting information that specifically targets and threatens round antagonists or sufficiently spoils the current gamemode or round events, intentionally or not, can and will very likely lead to heavy ban sentences. Posting about the current round in the 4chan thread before it ends is also IC in OOC.
OOC in IC : The polar opposite of the above, but still important to understand. While roleplay is very lightly enforced, it is expected that your player character behaves like an actual being expressing himself through vocal discourse during a work shift on a space station. More to the point, "McGreyshit says, "XDXDXD I rbsted the shit out of you go and cry in OOC bitch"" will not be tolerated. If nothing short of absolutely devastating brain damage would make you vocalize what you are currently saying in real life, it doesn't belong in IC, period. Dank memes, smileys, parenthesis, 13375P34K and messaging shorthands are prime examples of this. Out-of-character terminology such as "round", "gamemode", "admin", "antag" and the like is also a bad idea. Consider using "shift" instead of round and "gods" instead of admins.
Further details below for specific situations and other chats.
While it has already been stated emotes are in-character, they function in a more specific way than simple vocal speech :
- Emotes are defined as any gesture that can be performed by using any part of your body. Some emotes can be performed automatically depending on the situation (screaming, gasping, coughing, etc), but using the "Me" chat command (instead of "Say", thus for example "Me "flips the bird"") allows you to make literally any emote possible and imaginable.
- While no-one really cares if your emoting bears more information than anyone could hope to decipher from someone pointing at a maintenance airlock, it is important to understand that emoting is not your backup chat in case your character ends up mute in some fashion. More specifically, while it is obviously fine to gesture to try and save your hide if your vocal cords have been secated, literally using the Emote command as you would use the Say command and simply writing things like "Me "Help that faggot trater George Melons tried to kill me"" will not be tolerated and will likely lead to admin intervention. Try to act it up at the very least.
- To add to the previous point, try to be at least considerate of what your character can actually do, if for anything but the enjoyment of other players. The Mime cannot flip you the bird if you disable his hand.
- While it is much less general, the Mime's entire existence derives on this. Since he is mute, he is expected to act and gesture to get things going his way (or cop out and write down/PDA message information). Note that Mimes can break their vow to talk, but doing so robs them of their powers and usually makes them valid to kill (please check with an admin beforehand). Talking Mimes are also suspicious if the roundstart Mime went missing at some point.
- While Silicons can emote (even the AI, basically a big sentient computer cube with a display), they can also trigger some special emotes using the "Say "*emote"" template. The emote will only broadcast if a correct instruction is provided (You can use "*help" to find out what you can do). This command is usually praised for allowing Cyborgs and MoMMIs to beep, ping and buzz profusely.
Radio Usage and Spam
The ingame telecommunication-relay-based intercom, headset and station-bounced radio systems (also known as the radio, the comms or "The thing you talk into") can be accessed by wearing a headset on your ear and usage of the proper key when communicating vocally ("Say "[key] [Message]""). Traffic on the radio can go from frantic during serious and rapidly developing events to almost absent during graveyard shifts and when the Traitor bombs half of Telecommunications.
While all radio "abuses" are expected to be dealt with in-character (slander, lying, meaningless information), any obvious and serious misuse of ingame speech that leads to OOC problems (which, outside of OOC in IC which was detailed above, generally means rapidly copy-pasting walls of text and thus flooding the chat window) will obviously not be tolerated. Copy-pasting information ten degrees above motor mouth, (such as hyperlinks or code) levels in an attempt to jam the chat will lead to the admins taking action. This is even more likely to happen if you use the radio to that end. And if for any reason you decide to start reading pornography over the radio, you will very likely end up becoming a victim of the Adminbus, especially if you're reading "Woody's Got Wood"...again.
Deadchat (also known as Ghostchat, the Observer Lounge and Butthurt Central) is a strange creature and a mix between in-character expression (it is still your character talking even if he's dead, because there is an afterlife after all, and it's full of complaining about the living) and obviously out-of-character information (who killed who, what is going on in the round, what gamemode it is, what those goddamn admins are busy doing, etc). Simply put, Deadchat is where all your chatter should be going once you're dead (unless you are absolutely certain the information you're about to give doesn't relate to your character or the ongoing round, as stated in the IC in OOC rule) while being ridiculously lax about what is being discussed. If you want to discuss what you had for lunch or write an essay on how that item that broke your skull needs to be nerfed, go ahead.
Note that in the event of you being revived in any fashion whatsoever, any and all information you have learned in Deadchat must be voided under the consideration of Deadchat broadcasting out-of-character information. We are aware it's quite hard to sweep out of your mind the very precise list of round antagonists and all the juicy information you have learned while you are dead, but at least try to not act on it at all until your now-living character gets a good reason to know about it (more information will be given about death and memory later). Any obvious failure to do so will be treated as Metagaming and punished.
LOOC stands for Local-Out-Of-Character, and as its name implies is a chat specifically designed to discuss out-of-character information with characters near you. This is almost always intended to have casual out-of-character chat with nearby ingame players, or inquiry mentoring or ask questions to nearby players without voicing it in-character or bothering general OOC. LOOC should never be used to relay in-character information or to bypass restrictions on IC and Emote chats. It is a local OOC chat, and that is about it. Do also note that admins are always shown LOOC chatter, so don't think you are being smart in using it to Metagame.
Metagaming, Powergaming, Validhunting
Behind those three potentially obscure terms lies another important part of your Light RP experience. As you might be aware right now, most of the game revolves around the action of the round's chosen antagonists against the station and its crew. While the antagonists are expected to get good and avoid being caught or robusted, there are many actions that you, as a non-antagonist player (non-antag) should never take to foil antagonists. Furthermore, due to the fact that the entire round revolves around the antagonist's in-character actions, it is expected that no out-of-character information crosses over in the hunt for valids.
Metagaming and Metacommunications
Metagaming is, to put it in a very thorough fashion, "any act that leads to out-of-character information about the ongoing round or current events being used by a player to change the behavior of his character or perform specific in-character actions"
Another way to put it is that Metagaming is using information on the current round obtained from OOC means in any IC fashion. The following are all cases of Metagaming :
- Using information from the OOC chat. This information shouldn't be present according to the IC in OOC rule, but in the event that such information sneaks through, you will be expected to not act on it.
- Using information from the 4chan general or potential future equivalents. Since /vg/station has no ability to moderate or obtain the IP of 4chan posters, any verified use of thread information will be dealt with harshly.
- Using information from chats external to the game. This is the definition of Metacommunications. Due to the fact that external chat utilities cannot be monitored and their use cannot be noticed outside of someone ratting the users out or the behavior of the chat's users giving away their coercion, any verified case of Metacommunications will lead to a no-warning no-discussion permanent ban for all parties involved.
- Using information acquired while dead to act when revived (especially in obvious cases like rushing out of the Cloning Pod to smash someone's head in, and "discovering" they were a Traitor) is considered as Metagaming.
Metagaming in general will be dealt with harshly, especially if the collected information has been used to significantly alter the course of the round, for instance by ratting out and eliminating antagonists or by getting one back into the round (for instance by giving the location of your body to living players through external chats)
While Metagaming can be described as the use of OOC information IC, Powergaming can be defined as "the use of any game knowledge about antagonists or potential events, in a fashion that would be completely obscure to a character, to overpower antagonists or any player and to anticipate events in a ridiculous, out-of-character fashion"
Powergaming cases are harder to delimit than Metagaming since an experienced player is bound to have far more awareness about the station's general fare than their character could ever hope to. Thus, it is important to point out obvious cases of Powergaming which will almost certainly lead to admin intervention, and decline from here until we find the line between acceptable behavior and real Powergaming :
- Altering the Silicon's laws in anticipation of specific antagonists when no proof of their presence has been given. Changing the AI's laws to a more wide-reaching lawset like Robocop is fine.
- Setting up a scheme to thoroughly check crewmen for antagonist behavior or suspicious items without probable cause, or using specific and otherwise abnormal counter-measures to foil antagonists before any proof of their presence is given. In short, hunting for antagonists or trying to foil their plans when you have no reason to. Obvious examples are randomly arresting people in the hallways and searching through their inventory for unlocked PDAs or traitor items, or generally deploying counter-measures to specific antagonists "just in case" (such as installing manual valves in Atmospherics in the event of a malfunctioning AI, splashing everyone with holy water to find and smite Vampires or mass-implanting loyalty implants to prevent Cult conversions)
- Trying to prevent antagonists from achieving their objectives before you are even aware of said objectives and the antagonist's presence. For example, throwing all spare jumpsuits in the Singularity Engine to make sure Traitors can't steal them if it is their objective, or killing and incinerating all the monkeys to ensure Changelings and Xenomorphs can't use them for their own devices. Placing the spare captain's ID in your locker is fine, just don't space it or give it to the clown.
- Acting on someone due to their behavior that, while being perfectly compatible with the in-character reason of their presence of the station, can be considered as a "likely action for an antagonist" out-of-character. For example, randomly searching a Toxin Scientist or a Virologist because "these jobs are usually done by antagonists to cause station damage" or executing someone for a Space Law offense that is not even worthy of a life sentence because the crime appears to have been done "to antagonistic ends".
- Obtaining gear as a non-antagonist illegally without probable cause (often linked with Greytiding which is usually done by Assistants, the name coming from their jumpsuit's color) or "since it could come in handy". For example, looting the Armory as a non-antag not only to deny the guns to actual antagonists, but to have a weapon of self-defense if you get attacked by an antagonist. Grabbing that shiny, shiny thing across the window bay or rushing to get the insulated gloves is fine, literally gearing out as Terminator and running around the station with more offensive capability than a Deathsquad Officer as an Assistant is certainly not.
- Going on a proactive and prolonged hunt for antagonists as a non-Command and non-Security player without probable cause. A Medical Doctor shouldn't be patrolling the maintenance tunnels wielding a syringe gun and a flashbang grenade, he should be doing his job. The only time where hunting for antagonists is fine for any player is when station operation has been compromised so much that continuing to do your work is immensely counterproductive (for instance, with a Wizard or a Blob, or when everything is going to hell and you just have to save your hide)
Due to the nature of /vg/station as a Light RP server, the following points should be made :
- While acting against specific antagonists before their presence is confirmed is unacceptable, it is judged fine to start a round in the mindset that there will be an attempt by some sort of antagonist to damage the station. Securing sensitive items (securing, not hiding or destroying) and cracking down on sudden and unexplained violence and break-in attempts into secure areas is judged fine. Note however that only Command and Security crewmen should actually be on the lookout for antagonists from roundstart, since their job is respectively to keep their departments secure and functional and keep the station safe. All other crewmen should be doing their job until shit eventually hits the fan.
- To further the above point, it is estimated that all crewmen are trained to recognize and deal with all antagonists as perfectly as the actual player is. If you hear there is a Cult going about, it's perfectly fine for your character to suddenly remember his extremely thorough training on what the Cult of Nar'Sie is. Furthermore, all crewmen are trained to recognize (recognize, not prosecute) antagonist actions or items when they directly see them (for instance a Changeling absorbing someone, a Cult rune or an airlock being emagged). Just remember that until you actually confirm said antagonist, preventing a specific type of antagonist is not fine.
- The following items, while obviously being antagonist items, are considered fine in the way that you should certainly not try to get your valids, else the gods potentially shaft you for being a no-fun-allowed validhunter : The Syndicate Balloon (purchase of said balloon means the Traitor just doesn't care since he just wasted all his telecrystals and is running with a big "Hey look at me I'm a Traitor" sign) and the Syndicate Soap (it's a bar of branded fucking soap)
- Carrying antagonist items does not make one an antagonist, but expect sec to stare daggers at you if you don't have a good reason to have it. If you find some emag on the ground, give it to sec asap, so they know that you're not planning any nefarious deeds. Basically, don't get caught with it if you're getting searched or you'll regret it. If you have any reason to doubt that this person carrying an emag is actually a Traitor, apply that doubt. Unless the crewmen was acting antagonistic, executing someone for owning an antagonistic item they have a plausible explanation for is a quick way to get the boot.
Validhunting is "the act of intentionally going out of your way to find and take out of the round anyone who is flagged by server rules or admin intervention as "valid (to kill)"", which usually means antags, catbeasts and anyone who has been flagged by godly intervention or any Nanotrasen report as such.
While killing people that you are allowed to kill through server rules is obviously not against said rules and admins are wholly responsible for anything they clearly suggest to players, it is generally judged undesirable behavior to completely go out of your way to take antagonists out of the round when you aren't part of Command and Security staff (as stated in the Powergaming section above), though the specific nature of /vg/station's culture ensures that many players will do so anyway. Antagonists should keep this in mind, as the confirmation of an antagonist's identity is very frequently followed by lynch mobs hell-bent on robusting them.
While you will almost never get in trouble for it unless you are completely unable to justify how you discovered the antagonist outside of Powergaming and Metagaming, repeated offenses coupled with general undesirable behavior can lead to a Rule 0 ban.
Remember that antagonists are players, and that getting picked as an antagonist is already rare enough. While antagonists are expected to never consider non-Security personnel as complaisant to their actions, it is very annoying to discover that some random Assistant slipped you, rummaged through your backpack, found an electromagnetic card in your box and immediately proceed to slip-lock you and beat your face in just because "you are an antagonist". Given that Validhunting is often linked with Powergaming, any non-Security personnel who suddenly "discovers" the presence of an antagonist via the methods in the section above and proceeds to lynch them will likely get in trouble. Of course, if they did all of that after your status as an antagonist was confirmed by someone else then they're perfectly justified in robusting you.
Death and Coming Back
In Space Station 13, death is a pretty big deal, especially if your body is unrecoverable (in which case you have no hope of being revived unless you had gotten a cloning backup when alive and someone double-checks them). But no matter what happens to your earthly vessel once you pass away, your soul goes on to the afterlife as a really spooky ghost. Yes, a ghost.
Death is widely considered as out-of-character. While it is common for ghosts to idly discuss what is going on in the current shift and what caused them to arrive here, discussions completely unrelated to the game can and will crop up, along with things that are obviously not in-character (such as discussing the admin's actions). As such, all information incurred during your death must be discarded before you return to life. This general guideline should be followed :
- If you are brought back directly from your dead form (for example as a manifested ghost), you are allowed all the information you have incurred when you were alive, or during your time when dead. Note however that you should not mention purely out-of-character things (for example if a player was banned) unless you can manage to reasonably formulate it in-character. Also, remember that giving incomplete or even misinterpretable information is much more fun than giving some random player an encyclopedic reading of literally everything happening in the shift.
- If you are brought back from your dead body (cloned, defibrillated, brain transplant or having your body be brought back to life in any other way), you retain all memory up to your killing blow (including what actually killed you, and whom if they did not disguise their identity). For obvious reasons, anything you have learned after dying and ghosting from your body should be discarded completely. You certainly shouldn't pop out of the cryogenic pod screaming the precise list of all antagonists in the round
- If you are brought back from a genetic backup, you remember everything up to the point where that backup was taken. So most likely not who murdered you.
- If you are brought back from the dead as a whole new mob (Dionaea, Alien Larva, Mouse, Borer, Posibrain etc), you do not remember anything whatsoever. You are a brand new player. Attempting to cut old loose ends after you come back in this fashion, for example as a Dionaea, will lead to extreme expediency from the admins.
Having someone you murdered revived is already problematic enough, don't push it by using the knowledge you amassed while dead to overpower players. In case you really have trouble forgetting all this information, for whatever reason, please just log out once you die. It'll be less painful for you in the long run.