Not that everyone likes to hear about it, but we do have rules here. The rules apply to both this RPG and the writers, potential applicants and veterans alike. You won't find these types here, nor do we accept them. This is just basic etiquette. More can be found at the end of this article.
"Sword of Damocles" Syndrome:
The "Ghost" Sim:
The "Clueless" Sim:
"MINE MINE MINE" Syndrome:
"Glory Hog" Syndrome:
Now, to expand on that...
In a true live action role playing game, all of the players get together to participate in a fantasy game, and one person, the Game Master (GM) takes on the role of referee. The GM oversees who goes when, and what is allowed and not allowed. In an E-mail Sim, the burden of what is allowed and not allowed is somewhat shifted to each of the players. When you post your creative writing effort, and submit your story to the group by clicking on the "send" button of your mailer, YOU are the GM at that point. And being a referee on a role playing game you should ask yourself a few questions about your submission.
"Given my character's biography and established game play thus far, would my character do this?"
"Given the Star Trek universe in which we are gaming in, would this possibly happen?"
"Will this entry greatly affect another player's character, or disrupt a storyline they are currently pursuing?"
"Have I used this player's character in a way that is consistent with their biography and established game play?"
"Will my post in any way alter the true Star Trek universe in which we are gaming?"
Basically there are two things you have to look out for. The first is that you do not write anything in your story entry that will drastically alter the current "story arc" established by the Captain's Logs. If you have doubts about an entry, you can always feel free to send a copy to the GM for approval before posting it to the group. We do intend to have certain story arcs (episodes) center around different crew members to ensure that everyone gets to be "the star" on occasion. When this happens to your character, you will be in the spot light so to speak, and the other players' character entries will take a secondary, or background role. Likewise, when another character has the spotlight, it is important that you still post, but in a way that supports the storyline, and the other players.
The second thing to look out for is when you use another player's character (star) in your story. If your use of the character is only minor, and doesn't really affect any other storylines currently in progress, then you are probably okay. But if your use of the character is extensive, you may wish to copy the player on your intended post before sending it to the whole group. Sometimes this can avoid problems later on because you made someone's character do something or say something that they would never do.
Stories that require a lot of dialogue between two player characters (PC’s) are usually best handled in a cooperative effort. One player will write out the story, with dialogue for their character and the other PC, and then mail it to the other player for review and / or revision. When both writers agree on the final story, it is posted to the rest of the group as an official entry. This kind of cooperation is encouraged.
The other way of developing a dialogue sequence between two players is a tag-team style, where one writer begins a post, sends it to the other writer, the other writer adds a chunk and sends it back to the first writer. Then, when both writers are satisfied with the story, they may choose to edit or clean up the story a bit before posting it. This is what I alluded to earlier as a JP, or Joint Post.
This type of collaboration usually occurs via priavet emails, but some writers prefer to write via instant messaging. This allows direct answer conversational pieces, where one or both of you can fill in the blanks after the speechwork is complete. Posts written in this fashion can conceivably be completed in a matter of hours, instead the week or more it can sometimes take when trading emails with your JP partner. This is and has been practiced by many members of the Galaxy writers both past and present.
Like all shows on TV (not just Star Trek!) it's not a very good practice to kill off the stars of the show. Since the other player characters are the stars...well you get the idea! Also, I'd like to add that because of our gaming timeline, we may occasionally get to interact with "Canon" Star Trek characters in the sim. When this happens, it's important to treat them as "special guest stars" and also not to hurt or change their established characters in any way that would cause inconsistencies when future Star Trek movies come out. This would be a quick way to get the GM to frown, as we are striving to make this simulation very true to ST universe, with a few modifications of course, since the movies takes place every few years, and we write every day. Most of these modifciations can be found in our database.
The GM's role in this sim will be to establish the storyline and provide guidance to each of the players. Outside of the official sim entries, the GM sometimes sends NRPG messages to some members of the crew from time to time to let them know pieces of the storyline that they need to describe in their stories. An example might be sending a message to the Tactical Officer explaining that he is picking up a warp trail shadow to the aft of the ship. Or telling the Doctor that when he/she examines a particular alien's injuries, he will die if not brought immediately to the ship. Then, in these players' upcoming simulation entries, they can present the information any way they like, as you each have creative license within your log entries, so long as the storyline is adhered to and none of the Simulation Etiquette rules are broken.
The last piece of advice I can offer assumes you write your stories "off line" as I do. I use a word processor to spell check my writing, handle word wrapping, etc. When I have finished a piece, before posting it to the sim, I always check my e-mail to verify that there are no new entries that will force me to have to revise mine. I can give you an example: In one sim entry I wrote that my character was in Operations and as he was leaving, told the Operations officer to contact him if he's needed (a minor use of the Operations officer character). However, before I posted the entry, there was a new message just posted, that placed the Operations officer on the Away team on the surface of the planet. I was forced to edit my entry to simply replace the name of the Ops officer with that of another NPC (non player character). But had I not checked my e-mail prior to sending my entry to the sim, the story would have put the Ops officer in two places at once.
In regards to NPCs (non player character) or "extras", you can feel free to create any new supporting characters you require, following the original guidelines in the database in regards to Star Trek races. On the Website under "Manifest" there is a complete crew roster where the GM will be listing all NPCs for the sim as they are created. They are listed by order of department and seniority to hopefully make it easier to quickly "grab" a couple of officers from whatever department you need. Unlike the "stars" of the sim, NPCs can be killed without too much worry (unless it's an NPC that everyone likes, then you'd probably be better off just injuring them), if it was one you created.
APCs, or Alternate PC's are created for specific reasons by their creators and cannot be killed off. Any plot devices that would directly affect the APC must go through the creator of the character or Department Chief. The contact will be listed with the APC.
That pretty much wraps up how the USS Galaxy E-mail Sim works. If you have any questions on ANYTHING related to the sim or your character, or the storyline at all, please send a message to the GM. We will be more than happy to answer any questions or listen to any input you'd care to provide. Also, be sure to correct any errors and re-read your story to make sure it's the way you want it.
Keep in mind, though, that mistakes DO and WILL happen, be it as a result of a slip on your part, or another's on your character. The key piece of etiquette I can offer here is to take a deep breath before berating them in private, or over our listservers. Arguing and flame wars do not solve the issue, but taking it to the GM can. Send an email off to the GM, and we will arbitrate the issue and deliver a decision that is to be regarded as final.
Try to resolve amongst yourselves first if at all possible, though. The GM may be the referee, but if we are able to pen a story, we can pen apologies as well. 99% of the time, the party who has erred will issue a re-write and/or an apology to the open listserver.