Frequently Asked Questions, Ver. 1.2
1. What is this newsgroup for?
- A.G.V.T.M. is an in game forum to converse In-Character. It is not an online game, there are no storytellers, there is no plot. Contributors are trusted to act with a sense of 'fair game' in their posts and their characters. You do not need to describe your character actions or speak in the second person. This newsgroup is... a newsgroup, not a bar, not a haven, not a hang out... it's just what it appears to be. A newsgroup.
2. What is In-Character ? What is Out-of-Character ? What belongs on this newsgroup ?
- An In-Character (IC) post is one where you play one of your characters; on this newsgroup, it means that you're posting as that character. Think carefully about what your character would post. An out-of-Character (OOC) post is anything else. In-Character posts require no notification, it is assumed that you are posting as your character (it is polite to sign your character's name so people know what name to use in addressing you). An Out-of-Character should be noted to draw the reader's attention. The usual form is to outline the Out-of-Character section with <<OOC: -message->>
- A.G.V.T.M. is an IN-CHARACTER newsgroup. Almost all material posted here should be IC. If you have questions about game rules, White Wolf's upcoming releases, etc. etc., those should be posted on rec.games.frp.storyteller or alt.games.whitewolf rather than here.
- Some OOC stuff does belong on this newsgroup - for instance, this FAQ. Sometimes an OOC question arises from an IC posting, but if this turns into a long OOC discussion it should be taken to other newsgroups.
- IC stuff should be written as your character would write it - within reason. If your character is a Malkavian whose idea of fun is 500-line signatures that choke up the newsgroup, or e-mail abuse to all Gangrel, don't bring him onto the group. When your character gets obnoxious enough that other players stop having fun, it's time to stop. Arguing, calling people toadying pawns of the Elders, etc. is fine.
- You don't have to fake a vampiric email address, though. The game stops a little below that level of detail...
3. What about the background for my city ? Someone else has a different setting than me...
- Often several groups set their games in the same city, and have very different settings. This can cause some major problems : if Bern Darkmoor is trying to rally the Camarilla to free New York from the Sabbat, while Arthur-Trevor Lasher calls the Sabbat to liberate New York from the Camarilla, and Edgar of the Ba'ali is apologizing for letting one of his demons destroy the entire city, things will not run smoothly. Likewise, if William Gordon announces that he's made peace between the Camarilla and the Garou of Canberra, while Prince Rachel of Canberra announces that the Camarilla and Garou are now at war, it all gets confused. Here are a few simple guidelines : If your world differs radically from the "official" World of Darkness if the Sabbat have been driven out of New York, or the Giovanni have been wiped from the face of the earth, or Rio de Janeiro has just been eaten by monsters - try not to bring those aspects into the discussion. The official WoD may not be the best of all possible WoDs, but it's something we should all know reasonably well.
- If players from a particular area (like, say, Ontario) are well represented on the newsgroup, let _them_ tell what's going on in Ontario. They probably have a fairly good idea of what's plausible. (Because they live there, they're also much less likely to let it get eaten by monsters). Those who LIVE in the city or area in question have first call at defining the area. If a player actually lives in Kingston, but his game takes place in Miami, he should be careful of what he posts in case one of the actual Miami players is present on the newsgroup. The player in Miami will likely become quite annoyed to hear how her city is defined, most particularly if it isn't even close to what is actually going on there. These rules are meant to be broken, where it makes for a more interesting discussion. Just remember that there are many people on this newsgroup, and it needs player cooperation to keep it from disintegrating into is-isn't-is-isn't arguments.
4. How do the Camarilla, Sabbat, Anarchs and others relate on this newsgroup ?
- Again, act as you think your character would act. You may know the finer details of Sabbat unlife, but your Camarilla character would probably think they were a group of psychotic savages with no redeeming features. Ignorance is harder to role-play than knowledge, but the group gets very boring if everyone understands their "enemies" in detail.
- Do not reveal secrets that your character would not have, and try not to act out of character for the sect or group to which you belong. A member of the Black Hand who admits to being so generally dies very quickly, at the hands of the Black Hand. Many of the sects and groups, clans and bloodlines have secrets that they guard very jealously and will kill to keep. In addition, there is a LOT of misinformation out there...
- At the same time, even the most timid characters may be interested in finding out about their enemies through a "safe" medium like this. On this group, the Camarilla and Sabbat have discussed their differences in a very civilized manner. But remember that they _are_ still different sects, and that your elders may be reading this newsgroup...
5. Aren't we breaking the Masquerade by posting to this newsgroup ?
- We would be, if this was a newsgroup. In reality, all vampiric computers are set up with a special encrypted connection to a secret vampiric billboard that emulates a normal newsgroup... Therefore this is NOT a breach! In other words - yes, but we overlook that for convenience here.
6. Can Garou/Mages/Wraiths/Changelings/whatever post here ?
- This newsgroup is assumed to be a secret guarded well enough that the NSA don't know of its existence. If it's kept that secret, the average Garou or Changeling wouldn't know about it either.
- If a Garou were to post to this group, the Camarilla and Sabbat would both do their best to trace them and destroy them to protect their secrets - so before your Glass Walker posts, ask yourself if he really wants to announce his presence...
7. When should I e-mail ? When should I post ?
- Remember, anything you post has to be sent to thousands of machines, and costs a LOT of money. If your post is only of interest to a couple of people, consider e-mailing it to them instead. If you have something to say that you really don't want your elders to read, you should definitely consider email.
8. My character is a fifth generation Tremere Justicar. Everyone else should defer to him. Right ?
- Kindred on this newsgroup have no way to know that you're who you say you are. Postings can very easily be forged, and many Kindred go out of their way to avoid being traced. The only way to gain respect on this newsgroup is to earn it by being an intelligent and worthwhile conversationalist. And if you want _your_ character to be the Tremere Justicar, remember that lots of storytellers have already decided on a Tremere Justicar who isn't you...
- Postings of the "I will get ten Glass Walker elders to trace you and kill you" variety are usually laughed at and then deleted. Character power levels are also unappreciated when thrown out for all to see. This is bragging and power gaming. Methuselahs have better things to do than monitor the internet, and most likely wouldn't understand the technology . Bragging about how you single handedly killed ten elder Garou will get your character invited to visit a number of cities and may result in requests for your storyteller's contact information. Many of the participants in A.G.V.T.M are or have been storytellers and few have any patience for poorly run games, Monty-Haul stories, rules lawyers, politics and combat-gamers.
9. Can I tell people what I know about the WoD ?
- Within reason. "I know this Tremere in London who's very good at treating blood diseases, here's his address" is fine. Spilling out the secrets of the Black Hand is not. The darker secrets of the World of Darkness stay secrets because they're well guarded. The Black Hand would not recruit someone likely to reveal their secrets to all and sundry, and they'd most certainly kill you the moment you did so. Or before - Auspex is a scary thing. Apart from that, it upsets the entire mood of the WoD.
- If all Kindred knew the difference between a Child of Gaia and a Black Spiral Dancer, the WoD would be a very different place. As a player you may know a great deal, but your character should know much less. It is not common knowledge that Tremere diablerised Saulot, that the Salubri are actually "good guys", that Vicissitude produces nasty side-effects, or that werewolves are anything more than rampaging animals. All these are widely-known RUMORS; your character may have heard them all, but how is he to know which of the million rumors he's heard are true ?
- Keep in mind that some players don't know all the secrets of the WoD, and that you make it very hard for someone to play (for instance) the Giovanni Chronicles if your character tells everyone else what happened on 4/4/1444 and afterwards.
10. What about these 'party threads' - those don't look like posts to a newsgroup?
- Occasionally, one of the posters to this group may decide ICly to throw a party or some other sort of gathering which will spawn a 'party thread' in which, rather than writing all posts as if they were being written to a newsgroup, people will describe their characters attending the party from a narrative point of view. Here are a few guidelines for running or attending 'party threads'.
AGVTM Event FAQ