USAF Regulations Governing the Conduct and
Mission Parameters of all Stargate Teams

==== General Information about the Stargate PBeM ====

        The Stargate PBeM is fairly unique among most PBeMs in terms of how it is played -- free-form, meaning that no dice are needed, nor are there any complicated maps to learn; one can simply create a Stargate character and dive into the fray.  Another unusual characteristic is that the plots are generated by the players.

        The Gamemaster (GM) handles all administrative matters, straightens out continuity clashes if the players  involved are unable to do so, is responsible for introducing new missions when the players themselves don't and generally has the final word on any  game-related matters.  How specific missions are carried out is determined by the players in the game.

        The strength of our game is its players:  the GM directs the overall  course of events only if necessary by giving nudges whenever they might be needed -- but it is the players themselves who create and develop sub-plots through their own interactions.

        For this reason, development of character history and personality is greatly encouraged, as is player input into the storyline development.  In the story that is our game, a 'chapter' about someone moping in the canteen at Stargate Command back in Colorado because (s)he didn't ask out that  attractive new junior technician can be just as interesting as a battle with the Goa'uld, the aliens who are our enemy.

        The Stargate PBeM has several player characters, or PCs (the Stargate team  made up of 'main characters' created and controlled by the players), and over the course of the game will probably also generate many non-player characters, or NPCs.

        NPCs are a 'pool' of the rest of the characters in the game.  Players can create any NPCs they wish and control them completely... but then again, so can all the other players!  Once an NPC has been created, (s)he becomes 'community property'.

        Some of the NPCs, such as General Hammond, may become major characters in  the storylines and in that sense may come to seem very much like a normal  PC.  There will also be many generic NPCs, such as most of the technicians  and soldiers back at Stargate Command, who are just filler characters when  needed.

        We place a very high emphasis on character development in the game, so there will probably be other storylines going on at any given moment besides just the mission itself.  The overall feel of the game will be very similar to an episodic television drama such as 'ER' or 'The X-Files', in which each of the team's 'missions' function like the major problem in a television  episode, but there are other ongoing plot developments and personal issues that carry over from mission to mission.

        This game is an ADULT game.  From time to time the storylines will contain violence, language and intimate situations inappropriate for younger players.  IF YOU ARE A MINOR, THIS GAME IS NOT FOR YOU.  All the players involved in this game are college students or professional people in their 20s and 30s.

        The game itself is played by individual players writing self-contained 'story posts' --like mini-chapters in a novel -- about what happens next in the storyline.  In the game it is essential that players be able to borrow each other's characters in order to carry on dialogues and so on.

        Please note that unlike most PBeMs, this one is not played in a way in which players write only their own character's actions.  If you need to have your PC speak with another PC, you simply go ahead and have the other PC respond  to yours and do things.  Obviously you shouldn't have the PC contradict anything (s)he's said or done before, and you shouldn't do anything outrageous with anyone else's PC.

        Although the idea of other players writing for your character may seem alarming, many of the players have used this method quite successfully in other PBeMs and have seen that it is almost never the cause of any conflicts in the game.

        Players quickly become very good at learning each other's characteristics so they can write dialogue and actions that are consistent with how the other players have defined their PCs.  Players can use any PCs and NPCs in their 'story posts' that they like, and any (reasonable) locations and situations.   As long as the circumstances make sense, players can write their characters into any situation with any PCs and NPCs they wish.

        If two players send 'story posts' about the same situation at close to the  same time and they're not compatible, the one sent first takes precedence --  though as many elements as possible of the other should be worked into the 'official final version in order to avoid wasting all the time and work  that went into writing the 'other' post.

        This kind of scheduling conflict hardly ever happens, but on those rare occasions when it does, players are almost always able to sort those details out themselves.  If they can't, though, the GM takes care of it.   If a creative conflict arises, the 'story post' in question can be corrected  to reflect how the misrepresented character should have spoken or behaved.  Again... problems in this area almost never come up and the system works very well in practice.

        You don't have to wait for your 'turn' in this game; you may post as little as twice a month or as often as once per day.  Sometimes someone will end  his 'story post' by putting a situation into your character's hands, and sometimes you'll simply think of an interesting idea and want to write about it.

        Mystery, suspense and combat should be a good percentage of this game, with the rest being mostly personal development.  Of course, we'll hopefully have a healthy dose of pure humor, too -- amusing banter between team members,  awkwardly funny situations and other silly things.

        Good action periods are needed, but it shouldn't be the majority of what's going on;  after all, seeing one's one-dimensional character become three-dimensional is one of the central purposes for role-playing in the first place.  As a last word, whatever you do, be reasonable and play within game standards.  Try to act 'in character'; don't have your PC do anything that a serious, dedicated professional wouldn't do.

==== The Ten Commandments of Stargate ====

1.  Do not post more than one 'story-post' per day (no length limit, though).

2.  Post at least once every two weeks.  PCs of players who do not do so will be transferred from the team to a support job at Stargate Command, thus freeing up a spot on the team for a new player to join the game (and a new PC to join the team).

3.  You may include any other PCs in your story as long as you write them sensibly... in other words, don't kill them, mortally wound them, have them go insane, or otherwise act 'out of character'.  Causing problems like minor wounds or kidnapping by the enemy are okay as long as you leave plenty of options open.

4.  Please be wildly creative with the planets we visit, but don't mess with Earth.  Killing General Hammond, causing a second ice age or melting the polar ice caps, for example, would be real pains for all of us to have to deal with within the game.

5.  To help others, put a little identification label at the bottom of your 'story posts'.

6.  There is no limit on the amount of non-story-posts you may write.

7.  Precede story-post subject headings with 'SG' in the subject line.

8.  Precede continuity-post subject headings with the 'SG!!' in the subject line.

9.  Precede administrative-post subject headings with 'SG@' in the subject line.

10.  Game management will do its best to work with all players to take decisions based on consensus, but should it become necessary, game management reserves the right to take any unilateral actions (on any time frame they deem appropriate) to maintain the integrity of the game and/or the enjoyment of the majority of players.

=== Nitpicky (but very helpful) Labeling of Posts ===

#1: LABELING POSTS IN THE SUBJECT LINE

        SG - 'Story posts' are parts of the story you write, like chapters in a book.

        SG!!   - 'Continuity posts' are used to straighten out confusion that arises  when two people write story-posts placing one character in two places at the same time, or when someone makes a mistake that confuses others and it needs fixing.

        SG@  - 'Administrative posts' are rules, lists, rosters, memos, biographies, etc.

Here are some examples:

        SG Gen. Hammond Runs Amok!
        SG!! Maj. Anastoff Didn't Bring the Whoopie Cushion
        SG@ Names of all Sharks in Stargate Command's Swimming Pool
        SG Lt. Col. von Deling & Dr. Jo Sneak Into Broom Closet Together
        SG!! Gen. Hammond Doesn't Wear a Toupee
        SG@ Roster of Stargate Command's Housekeeping Division

 #2: END-POST INFORMATION

        To help out the next player who wants to write a 'story post' that picks up where yours left off, you should put a little 'identification label' (see commandment #5 above) at the bottom of your 'story posts' .  The purpose is simply to keep things straight and avoid confusion.  Your 'identification  labels' should contain:

        1st line:   name(s) of character(s)
                (sometimes people put PCs first line, NPCs second line)
        2nd line:  their location
        3rd line:   what they're doing
        4th line:   date and time

Here are some examples:

        Lt. Col. Deling, Dr. Jo, witch-doctor lady
        the temple by the grotto
        digging frantically to find the buried talisman
        Sunday 1033 hours

        Major Anastoff and the girl from the village
        the hut in the woods
        Getting some sleep (or just 'getting some')
        Sunday night into Monday 0700 hours

        PCs:    Lt. Col. Deling, Major Anastoff, Dr. Jo
        NPCs:  witch-doctor lady, girl from village
        the system of caves beneath the village
        freeing the prisoners
        Monday, 1030 hours

=== Posting Formats ===

        You have the option of two posting formats for yours 'story posts'.  You can use either format you like at any time for any post; just don't switch formats in the middle of one!  The first available format is plain text, just like a short story or novel.  Whenever you might use this method, it's easiest if you stick to 'the third person'.

        The other posting format is for the convenience of those who've been PBeMing for awhile and have grown used to this kind of system.  It uses a short set of symbols to distinguish actions from dialogue, indicate speaker,  and so on.  Here they are:

        [ ]    Indicates the person currently speaking
        " "   Indicates what a given person is saying
        * *   Indicates any action that is going on
        ~ ~ Indicates what your character is thinking
        + + Indicates people communicating via radio
        = = Indicates people communicating using telepathy

        All this business of two posting formats may seem a little confusing, so here's an example of the same short scene, rendered both ways:

SAMPLE SCENE #1:  PLAIN TEXT

E-mail message subject line:  "SG: Arrival!"

        Lieutenant Colonel von Deling shivered involuntarily with cold and glanced up from where he'd landed.  His teammates lay strewn nearby and were slowly getting up, too.  He checked his gear, then looked about him  apprehensively.  He'd just come countless light-years in a matter of  seconds, and he never knew on what kind of planet he'd land.
        "Hmm... temperate climate... deciduous forestation..." said a female voice from close by.  It belonged to 'Dr. Jo', who turned towards von Deling and smirkingly proclaimed, "Yep, it seems a lot like home, alright!"
        Rolling his eyes, von Deling turned from the lady scientist to his second in command, Major Anastoff, who was scrutinizing the treeline at the edge of the clearing.  "Everything all right, Dimitri?" queried the team leader.
        "Uhh... don't look now, boss," responded Anastoff in a tight voice without taking his eyes off the forest, "but we ain't alone!"  von Deling squinted in the gathering darkness and felt a chill run down his spine when he saw many pairs of eyes...

von Deling, Anastoff, 'Dr. Jo', rest of team
clearing in forest on new planet
being watched
Sunday evening, 1830 hours

SAMPLE SCENE #2:  PBeM FORMAT

E-mail message subject line:  "SG: Arrival!"

        *Having come through the stargate to a new planet, the team feel the usual side-effect of a numbing cold.  Shivering, they get up from where they've landed in a forest clearing, check their gear and begin to examine their surroundings.*

[von Deling]  ~Wonder what kind of cannibal paradise we'll find this time?~

['Dr. Jo']  "Hmm... temperate climate... deciduous forestation... (*turns towards von Deling, smirking*)  Yep, it seems a lot like home, alright!"

[von Deling]  (*rolls eyes and turns to Anastoff, who is scrutinizing treeline at edge of clearing*)  "Everything all right, Dimitri?"

[Anastoff]  (*keeps watching forest, replies in tight voice*)  "Uhh... don't look now, boss, but we ain't alone!"

*von Deling squinted in the gathering darkness and felt a chill run down his spine when he saw many pairs of eyes...*

von Deling, Anastoff, 'Dr. Jo', rest of team
clearing in forest on new planet
being watched
Sunday evening, 1830 hours

=== 'CALLING THE BALL' ===

1.  A player may 'call the ball' to write the next 'story-post' in the game at any time after the previous 'story-post' has gone out, PROVIDED NO ONE  ELSE HAS ALREADY WRITTEN ANYTHING ELSE OF ANY KIND TO THE GAME.  This is to prevent heaping confusion on top of confusion if, for example, somebody tries to 'call the ball' whilst there're a 'SG!!' continuity debate still raging about the last post.  Obvious exceptions:  broadcast congratulations  ("Nice post, Bob!"), etc.

2.  A player 'calling the ball' is stating his/her intention to write the next 'story-post' in the game WITHIN 24 HOURS OF THE TIME (S)HE 'CALLS THE  BALL'.  If the player fails to submit the thus-promised story-post within the 24 hours, (s)he loses exclusive rights to write that next 'story-post', and it's 'open season' once again.

3.  Three strikes, you're out: should any player 'call the ball' and then  fail to deliver the 'story-post' within 24 hours more than twice in the life of the game, that player loses all 'ball-calling' privileges for one calendar year.

4.  You can't call your own ball any player BUT the player who just put up the last 'story-post' may 'call the ball'.  If you post and then think of a great idea, you'd better type fast.  This is to prevent someone from 'calling the ball' on all his posts 14 times in a row and thus being the only writer in the game for a month.

5.  Twenty-four-hour time periods shall be reckoned (and any necessary announcements made) by the GM based solely on the date- and time-stamps on *his* E-mail as he receives it.  I have a cracker-jack server, but give yourself a little insurance; if you 'call the ball', don't wait 23 hours to  post if you can possibly help it.

6.  Obvious exceptions will be made AHEAD OF TIME by the GM on a  case-by-case basis.


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