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A Refresher from the Lore Office

May 29, 2022

Folks, the Fleet Action is here! And you know what that means?

Jigsaw puzzles!

Okay, yes, but what I’m here to talk about is writing. The Fleet Action includes a campaign, a big arc plot that anyone in the fleet can join in on. Storytelling galore! Writing and adventure! But we’ve also had a big influx of new people, and while everything in this news post is stated elsewhere (like our Canon Policy that I really do recommend everyone reads), this is a great time to give everyone a reminder of our writing policies.

And it never hurts old members to be reminded, too.

  • We have a wiki! If you have any questions about lore, you should try there first. It is not intended as a complete repository – Memory Alpha exists for Trek canon, and some things exist on too small or specific a scale for the LO to dictate.
  • BF operates with a hierarchy of canon.
    • Trek canon (that which is seen on-screen) is God, with behind-the-scenes info directly related to what we see (such as all the information which came out about the ships in Star Trek: Picard Season 2) close behind. This may be open to interpretation, especially when we have not had information on the state of some points in 25 or 100+ years, but it should not be contradicted.
    • Then comes Fleet Canon, which is where the Lore Office has filled in the gaps or advanced storylines for our own purposes. This should also never be contradicted – and questions of interpretation are easy, because you can ask the Lore Office!
    • Finally there is Member Canon. This is the writing of individual members – biographies, stories, game posts. It is only binding to the stories and games in which it appears – because it’s not realistic to expect every member to know what everyone else wrote, or even for the LO to have encyclopedic knowledge of everything posted on BFMS. As such, your writing shouldn’t do anything that requires other people to know about it – don’t change the fate of a canon world, establish something fundamental to all members of a canon species, etc. The galaxy is a big place; there’s lots of room for you.
  • You shouldn’t be writing about or including characters or ships from Star Trek canon! You can refer to them existing, but for eg, we don’t know what the state of Sisko or DS9 are in 2400, so don’t make it a key part of your writing; don’t be an old friend, protégé, relative, etc, of any canon Trek character, that sort of thing.
  • The Command Registry is a list of all ships available in Bravo Fleet. It is meant to be a rarely-changed archive so that ships can build up a history, to help maintain a unified canon, instead of ships appearing and disappearing. This repository is not the play-thing for you to create your own little task group. Do Not use ships in the registry for your writing if it’s not your own Command! There are many other names out there!
  • The brass of Fourth Fleet Command are identified and established as characters – it’s these fine folks. If you need a staff-level character to appear in your writing (for briefings etc), the LO has established such a character: Commodore Uzoma Ekwueme. He’ll show up, tell you what’s what, dress you down or pin a medal on you. Don’t kill him or make him evil. Otherwise, don’t create random extra Fourth Fleet staff characters. There isn’t an additional pool of admirals hiding just off the staff page – there’s (at present) six admirals – and three of them are Rear Admirals.
  • Please pay close attention to our Content Rules. In short: check if your Command needs to list its rating. And, to just directly quote this part from our policy:
    • Sexual violence should be addressed, if at all, with particular care. It should never be depicted directly in a scene, or be discussed by characters in any detail. Reference to sexual violence of any sort should never happen without the explicit OOC permission of every member involved in the story and, in RPGs, the GM. Stories may be removed at the Loremaster’s discretion, as per the above on appropriate content.
  • One final note that’s less about the rules and more about tone: Bravo Fleet has a frankly shameful history of failing to engage with the themes and tone of Star Trek. Starfleet is not a military (having weapons doesn’t make you military), Starfleet Marines have never, ever been canon, Section 31 (and equivalent depictions of Intelligence) is almost always written in a way which makes the reader want to die of embarrassment, and Star Trek is not a universe about the power of might making right. The Federation may be flawed but it is fundamentally a government founded on principles of respect, liberty, and the search for peace and knowledge. The Lore Office has worked hard to move away from depictions of Starfleet that would be more at-home in an unironic interpretation of the movie Starship Troopers. Work with us to tell stories that may be set against challenges, in a difficult universe, in places which are dark and where the right thing is hard – but are fundamentally about a hopeful view of the future and humanity, even if it’s working towards that view.

And take all of this good practice and let’s bring it to the latest adventure of the 25th century.