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Game Rules

Outpost Houtman Expectations

It is the hope that this document establishes a code of conduct in and out of character for members of the Houtman RPG with Bravo Fleet and game regulations.

General:

  1. We will not always agree on everything, but when we do disagree, it’s vital that those disagreements are handled respectfully. It’s also essential that it stops when a moderator (generally meaning the GM, AGM, or 2nd Officer) asks for a discussion to stop.
  2. The AGM and 2nd Officer assist the GM in the operations of Houtman.  Players should respect them as they would the GM.  However,  the GM holds the final say.
  3. Bravo Fleet’s Non-Discrimination and Harassment policy applies to every interaction you have as a member of this group, whether directly on the Houtman’s server or not, so please be courteous and respectful in your interactions with your fellow authors.
  4. Membership on the game’s Discord server is required to participate. You must also be a member of Bravo Fleet to join.
  5. The game manager reserves the right as specified under the fleet’s RPG policy to remove any player at any time, especially for conduct that does not align with these rules.
  6. “Command Staff”  in this document refers to the GM, AGM, and 2nd Officer as a collective.
  7. 2nd Officer functions as the liaison between the crew and GM/AGM.  2nd Officer is part of the Game Manager discussions, is apprised of all administrative discussions, and will be a mentor and a leader to the crew.  A company First Sergeant is an accurate word equivalent to this role.
  8. Houtman will operate with the goal of 4 to 7 players.

Activity Requirements:

  • Authors are expected to post or respond to a tag at least once every two weeks.
    • Solo posts should be at least 250 words long.
    • Joint posts should be at least 250 x n words long, n being the number of players writing in a joint post.
  • Authors are expected to respond to tags within 48 hours.
    • If an author has a secondary character, the requirements are per character, so you need to use both of your characters at least once every two weeks.

Applications & Characters 

  1. No Q or any alien race is considered hostile to the United Federation of Planets. No species from other franchises such as Star Wars, Stargate, etc.
  2. Artificial Intelligence, El-Aurians, androids, ex-Borg etc. will be considered case-by-case by the command staff. They will likely NOT be accepted.
  3. Custom races will be considered on a case-by-case basis.   In addition to a well-developed biography, you will also have to develop a history and cultural background of the species.
  4. Races at peace or allied with the Federation but not members of the UFP will require a well-developed bio. This includes a well-thought-out and reasonable explanation as to why they are members of Starfleet.  Command staff may decline the use of this character for any reason.
  5. Only characters with complete biographies will be accepted.  If you are unsure how to do this, contact a command staff member.
  6. A sample post is required.   It should be considered your character’s introduction to HoutmanThis will eventually be your very first post.
    1. It should follow posting guidelines of a minimum of 250 words.
    2. Formatting will be taken into consideration for approval.
    3. Some grammatical and spelling errors will be allowed,  but excessive could be grounds for denial.
  7. Join Discord and let the command staff get to know you and your character before you submit your application.
  8. Character rank should be appropriate for the character’s experience in Starfleet AND the position applied for.  Command Staff uses the US Military’s “time in service” requirements as a guideline. While not strictly followed, it should give you an idea of how long it should take to make a certain rank.  You aren’t be a Lt. Commander with one year’s experience (~10 years).
  9. Secondary characters are allowed and will be approved by the Command Staff on a case-by-case basis.
  10. Named NPCs are preferred.   If your character runs a department, please submit a list to the AGM or 2nd Officer so the NPC list may be maintained and updated. Disposable NPCs should be avoided if possible.

Content Guidelines:

(Excerpt written by: David |BFXO & jess91481, with some changes by GM)

Outpost Houtman is rated 212 on the RPG Rating Scale, which is intended to be suited to members as young as 16. This means that references to violence, cursing, and sex can be no more graphic than they are on shows such as Star Trek: Discovery, but more graphic than Star Trek: The Next Generation

  • Language: Infrequent, mild swearing is permitted.
      1. Mores differ on how much swearing is appropriate. Different regions treat different expletives differently (c.f. The word ‘cunt’ in American English vs most of the Commonwealth countries’ regional Englishes.), so this policy will be enforced with grace, but, unfortunately, is an instance where American English will serve as the standard, as that is the dialect most prominent in Star Trek.
  • Picard brought us the first instances of “fuck” in Star Trek, which limits how crass one should be on the Example, but it should be highly infrequent.
        1. Generally speaking, fuck should be used to express exasperation not to describe sexual behavior. “Fuck!” versus “He fucked him.” Use your common sense, here.
      1. Keep in mind that Starfleet officers, while explicitly not part of any military, are disciplined professionals. Regular swearing on the bridge would not happen, and it’s likely something that could have (mild) in-character consequences.
  • Sex: Mild sexual innuendo and references permitted.
      1. This is not Game of Thrones; we’re also not the Brady Bunch. If are referencing sex, consider why you are doing so and what it’s adding to a particular scene.
      2. References to specific sexual acts should generally be avoided (and, again, think about why you would make them at all) but you don’t have to pretend a couple is celibate either. Fade to black when Star Trek would.
        1. “You were great last night.” ← OK. It references sex (maybe), but doesn’t get too specific.
        2. “He [blanked] my [blank] in the Jefferies tube.” ← Pushing it, as it’s a reference, not a description.
        3. “The two of them [adverb] [sex act verb] each other, starting with their [adjective] [body part, pl.], and working down to the [body part]…” ← Just no.
      3. This restriction is not meant to be regressive or prudish, but to ensure that our content is appropriate for all members. Sex and love are great–and our characters are sentient beings who are likely having it. We don’t have to ignore that, but we also don’t need to read the play-by-play of your cybering.
      4. Sexual violence is never appropriate content for this group.
      5. Sex scenes between the characters of two players are NOT allowed.  They may date or even marry, but intimate scenes are not permitted under any circumstances.
        1. The command staff must be notified in writing by both players of the intended relationships between two player characters.
        2. The players will be asked separately by a command staff member if they are comfortable with the interaction. If there is any hesitation, the relationship will not be allowed.
  • Violence: Mild violence is permitted
    1. One of the great things about energy weapons is that they don’t tend to leave gruesome wounds. Either it stuns, kills, or vaporizes a being entirely. As this is what we deal with most, leaving the description to ‘a dead body’ is sufficient, as there wouldn’t be maiming and that sort of thing. There’s no need to go into a lot of blood and gore to get the point across because that’s not a standard genre feature.
    2. Keep the above in mind that phaser firefights are to be expected when the story calls for them.
    3. The use of modern-day firearms, on the holodeck or not, should follow the same general guidelines of phasers regarding gore.  Some mention of blood may be used if necessary
    4. Anything between characters aboard the ship itself more severe than a fist fight should be run by the GM.
    5. Self-harm, sexual violence, and domestic violence are not appropriate content for this group.

Posting & Tagging

Posts should be written in a third-person narrative format, as seen in most novels and short stories.  Please spellcheck and proofread. Special care should be given to match the tenses of a post.  If OP starts a post in the past tense, please maintain the past tense throughout.

When starting a post, be as specific as possible regarding location and date/time in the heading boxes.  We use a standard date system and the 24-hour clock (i.e. February 1, 2374 23:00).  When changing a scene, you may put that into the body.  Acceptable examples would be:

  • Bridge, 13:00…
  • -Mess Hall, Later-

The use of “=/\=” for combadge communications and the “~” for thoughts is considered outdated and is discouraged.  Use standard quotation marks and italicize the spoken parts.

  • The captain’s voice rang hollow over the combadge,  “Ensign Davis, please report to my ready room.”
  • That could have gone better, Ensign Davis thought as he left the ready room.

The proper names of ships, shuttles, and stations should be in italics such as USS Defiant or shuttlecraft Galileo.

  1. The prefix of a starship is not italicized. U.S.S. or USS is acceptable.
  2. Specific proper names of stations like McKinley Station are italicized. Stations with an alphanumeric identification, such as Deep Space 9, are noted in plain text.

Every post has two options at the bottom right margin: “save” and “publish”.  Save simply saves the edits for later.  Only the players whose characters are added in the character section can see this post.   New edits will appear as a green dot next to the story title on their BFMS page.  Grey dots indicate no new saved content.   Use the save function between TAGs when you are doing a joint post.

Publish is reserved for when the post is completely done, edited, and ready for the entire fleet to read. Yes, your published stories are public.  Only select the “publish” button once.  It may take a few seconds to respond and look like it’s doing anything.   Hitting it multiple times causes a system bug and nominates you multiple times for rewards, and causes problems for OCS

TAGs & Stage Directions

TAGs are simply used to inform individuals in joint posts that their participation is needed.  Using Bold format helps make the tag more visible in the post and should look something like this:

[TAG Ga]

[TAG Science Team]

Refrain from controlling the conversation by Tagging and then continuing.  Sometimes it’s the best worst option,  but it is considered rude.  Use your best judgment.

Once you have saved your post go over to Discord and go to the #Tagging channel and type: TAG @[individual’s ID].  If multiple stories are being written at a time, add the story title.  If you have responded to several tags across two or more stories, “@[individual’s ID] Full TAGs” is often used.

Stage directions can often be written into the scene as narrative prose. When needed, please be aware that players have autonomy over their character.  You shouldn’t tell them how to react or what they should say.  This is called “autoing”.   However, insert that into the tag if you can’t write external forces into the narrative.

[TAG Ga  – When you go into the cave you will notice that your tricorder is not working correctly due to interference]

Summary:

Outpost Houtman is a fully collaborative RPG for Bravo Fleet.  As a player, your involvement is crucial to the success and failure of this game.  As such, this RPG requires a considerable amount of commitment, but in turn you get to have your say in how the game is run. From rules all the way down to the story.

Missions will follow a sandbox open-style narrative.  The GM doesn’t want players to help tell her story. She wants you to help tell our story. This allows you to expand the story within the framework of the mission as you see it. If your addition does not work you may be asked to change that part.  GM has the final say.

Future mission ideas are always open for workshops in Discord. There is no guarantee that if and when your mission idea is put into play, you have the chance to change the game’s direction.