Liberation MUSH is a A World of Darkness 20th Anniversary Edition-based role playing environment set in modern-day Los Angeles, California.
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IC Setting: Unreal Estate
Los Angeles is a difficult city to define. According to the literati who flocked here in the ’30s to disdainfully pen scripts for a resented paycheck, L.A. is a land of sinister lotus-eaters whose shadowy estates conceal secret depravities from the stoic gumshoes ferreting her secrets. According to the television and movies of the ’50s to ’80s, it is a land of sex-crazed blonde bombshells, power-crazed young executives and unbridled opportunity. It was described by the media of the 1990s as a vast wasteland of ghettoes, where vicious gangs struggle with each other among the ruins of riot-torn communities terrorized by a corrupt police force.
In the 21st century Los Angeles has emerged as a leading global city, with an ever swelling population of millions and untold billions invested in Pan-Pacific aspirations and soaring property values, where crushing homelessness, addiction, mental health epidemics, systematic inequality and racial violence collide with the nearly unimaginable wealth, power and privilege of its ruthless elites.
OOC Philosophy: Five Core Tenets
- Not a Sandbox Game
- Liberation MUSH is fundamentally a narrative game, not a traditional sandbox as have come to exemplify most World of Darkness games. It has an active, ongoing world-building component, where Player-Characters will often interact with NPC factions that have their own agenda. Some factions will be almost entirely dominated by PC leadership, and some will be almost entirely controlled by NPCs, as best suits the ongoing, ever evolving story.
- You will find that Directors and specially vetted ‘Producers’ are responsible for most plot scenes, so as to ensure they remain integrated and coherent. PRPs are much more limited in scope than your typical sandbox game, and usually restricted to more mundane elements. We’d rather find the players who are the most creative and passionate PRP runners on other games and empower them as Directors and Producers on our game.
- We do not have an open chargen. All characters must be approved on a conceptual and narrative basis, beyond simply a narrow mechanical one. We have a ‘Tier’ system, which allows us to populate Featured roles (such as Prince, Primogen or Technocratic Administrator) and to encourage desired concepts (such as Bone Gnawers and Glass Walkers for the urban sept).
- There is no XP free for all here. Although there are no arbitrary XP timers, you must be able to justify every XP spend as if you were playing a character in a tabletop game.
- This means that in 9 out of 10 cases you don’t need to provide logs, but you should be able to quickly bulletpoint why it makes narrative sense for your character to increase in proficiency.
- Directors are similarly required to engage with their players as individuals, and to show consistency in their judgements without being arbitrary. Precedent matters – but only up to a point. Common sense and story matters more.
- No Dead Weight
- We want contributors not volunteers. For an example at the highest level, we only want Directors who would rather be storytelling and worldbuilding than doing anything else. We have put a lot of thought and effort into empowering Directors as storytellers here. It should be considered a privilege.
- Players are not dead weight. There is obviously, a certain level of activity that is required for a leadership position. If you seek that position of leadership (which brings with it a much greater access to narrative events), then we assume you wish to be engaged. However, it’s perfectly fine to take sabbaticals. When we talk about ‘no dead weight’ here, we mean leadership that grows ossified over time, and where people remain leaders or Directors, simply because they’ve always been one, regardless of what they’re actually bringing to the table.
- Liberation MUSH does not have ‘administrators’ or ‘builders’ or ‘renown monkeys’ or other such ‘volunteer’ staff as found on other, more traditional MUSHes. There are only Directors who must be storytellers first and foremost. A Director should be thought of as the nearest possible equivalent to an online tabletop storyteller.
- We have devised various systems to handle most bureaucratic needs. Some are coded, some are structural (such as the Producer or Renown system) and some are philosophical, such as clear lanes of communication and interaction to maximize productivity and minimize drama or distractions.
- Note: Producers are not mini-Directors. They are unique, specially selected agents temporarily empowered with the Director’s authority (a Producer has no inherent authority and as such, all Producers are unique to some extent) to fulfill a specific and limited task. Such as to portray an NPC in a scene, or help another character in their faction (never cross faction) with a build project or application. This might be an ongoing, renewed authority (such as handling scenes in the Digital Web based on pre-approved parameters) or unique and one time only. Some Producers exist only to set a good example and help newbies. They receive no special privileges and there is no special com channel for them.
- Clear Lanes of Communication & Interaction
- Liberation MUSH does not have a traditional staff hierarchy or use traditional staff commands and privileges. It has Directors, who interact with their spheres through a custom suite of commands that have been coded from the ground up by Ambrosia.
- Each Director is committed to their sphere – they cannot see the +sheets, +notes, +jobs or even the bboards of characters in other spheres. They cannot see characters in unfindable locations, and they cannot see the site info or alts of characters – except to know if one has already applied to their sphere or not.
- A Director cannot assist a character in another sphere, even if they wish to. This is deliberate, so that each sphere must sustain itself. Where there is sufficient interest, there will always be willing contributors.
- Each Director is entirely concerned with the IC inner-workings of their sphere. Directors may not discuss official matters with players outside the game, and players may not approach them with OOC issues concerning other players (those are handled separately by Sundance alone).
- Directors receive no special privileges or considerations. No Director is allowed to have a Tier I Feature role in another sphere. They are completely empowered as a tabletop storyteller within their domain, yet are the same as any other player where any other sphere is concerned.
- No Loaded Dice
- A story is only interesting and exciting when there is the potential for consequences. There are no ‘loaded dice’ on Liberation MUSH. All enemies and threats that have the capacity to harm PCs must be described and statted out beforehand.
- Directors and Producers are required to not artificially weaken or strengthen NPC opposition to account for the PCs in a scene. These facts should be determined independently, as makes sense within the game world.
- Instead of worrying about whether the PCs have too easy a time succeeding at a task, storytellers should ask themselves what possible narrative reason there might be for the PC’s easy victory, and what story complications might come of it. Perhaps it was a deliberate ploy to lull the PCs into a false sense of overconfidence, or to set them up for a later trap. It all leads to more interesting stories than arbitrarily prolonging an encounter.
- Do not worry about the PCs coming up against too serious opposition. However, they should have copious opportunities to either take or reject various precautions. Consistent world-building means that PCs will have many chances to get a feel for potential dangers and seek allies or make plans accordingly. There will always be the occasional PC who believes themselves invincible – and they must not be allowed to ruin the setting for those engaging with the plot more sincerely.
- The dice fall where they land. There is often an overwhelming temptation for a storyteller to take mercy on a player who risks losing their character owing to an unlucky dice roll. This has the end effect of cheapening the narrative for all other players in the sphere or even on the game.
- Respect For Players
- We will try our hardest to not waste your time.
- This does not mean we will allow you to have any magic item, or approve any character concept you wish. Since we are a narrative and not a sandbox game, we want to make reasonably sure that you can engage with the setting and the story in an entertaining and productive fashion. In the pursuit of this, we will often sink a great deal of time into working with players, and helping them refine their concepts and applications. Often it works out. Sometimes it doesn’t. All the same, maintaining a firm line on some fundamental thematic issues, does not constitute wasting a player’s time.
- We have no tolerance for Directors or Producers who foster negativity, act like weird cranks or become OOCly aggressive with players (such as using all caps or insults). Additionally, please refrain from OOC oversharing with your Directors. They are discouraged from responding in kind. No player should ever have to listen to a Director or Producer dump a barrage of RL complaints or meanderings on them for fear of adverse consequences or in hope of gaining an edge.
- OOC Disputes will never be handled through +jobs. They will always be handled real time by Liberation’s Lead Arbitrator, which is currently Sundance. This is because lengthy, drawn out OOC disputes have a tendency to poison the well and promote toxic behavior.
- Our +job system does not allow anonymous job comments, so you will always be equally involved in every conversation about your character.
- All players on Liberation MUSH have a right to privacy from unknown third parties. There is no ability to go DARK on this game to monitor channels or scenes. It is not possible to code any object or puppet to spy or log. You have a right to be OOCly aware of all who are reading your poses, @emits or says. This means that you cannot be spied upon by invisible objects (player or puppet) or staff.
- Common sense dictates that any single participant has the right to manually curate logs of any scene their character was ICly involved in and shared privately to whomever they wish. That can’t be policed. However, they cannot be shared publicly or edited (say on the wiki) without permission from all players. This isn’t some big rule – it’s mere courtesy as the hobby has fallen back on for decades. Furthermore, every player has the right to log any OOC interaction.
- Your @mails, pages or other OOC communications will never be spied upon by an unknown third party. However, if we suspect that you are using Liberation MUSH for RL illegal activity (for whatever bizarre reason), we’ll simply ban you. This is preferable to coding a suite of privacy invasive tools that might see legitimate use once every several years.
- A character’s bboards, +jobs, +sheet and +notes are only viewable by their own Director, or if they’ve been deliberately assigned to a specific Producer in some cases (such as a single +job). The exception to this is Sundance, who has total visibility for arbitration purposes.
- Characters are not allowed to set themselves unfindable, but they may have unfindable domiciles (such as bedrooms), or unfindable projects where it makes sense (hidden sanctums, sewers). Not even Directors can see unfindable players on +where.
- We will never ban you, or threaten to ban you for disagreeing with us about most things. Threatening players out of one’s own insecurity has an immensely corrosive effect on a game’s culture. You will not be banned, say, for accusing a Director of cheating. It will be investigated. You will not be banned for speaking up when you witness an injustice. We’re all too committed to this game having a professional reputation to cover for one person’s malfeasance.
- However: Bigoted and insensitive language or behavior on channels or in OOC communication will not be tolerated. It is a potentially bannable offense the first time. If you aren’t sure if something is ‘okay to say’ or ‘if people might take the joke wrong’, then perhaps just don’t say it. If you must, ask Sundance for clarity. Ignorance will not necessarily be accepted as an excuse. We do not accept racism, sexism, antisemitism, or anti-LGBTQ behavior here. If you have been targeted or have observed this behavior please let us know. Its important that people feel safe in this regard in any RL or online environment.
- Anything related to RL stalking or doxxing another player, regardless of when it happened, is a bannable offense.
- We will try our hardest to not waste your time.
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