FAQ

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Contents

BEFORE JOINING/APPLICATIONS

Concept

What the heck is Strange Trip?

Strange Trip is a text-based pan-fandom roleplaying game on Dreamwidth. It is intended to be on the smaller side, a tight-knit community of players who view the gameworld as a collaboration. Instead of sandbox to play in, it's a castle to build and people to build it with. Once your characters step through the front doors to the Madonna Inn, they become a part of an interdependent whole. Every character and every player is an important part of the game. While we've designed ways to allow players with limited time to stay involved, the game depends on the players getting and staying invested.

So, yes, Strange Trip is a pan-fandom "trapped in a pocket dimension" kind of a game, but it's also a game about teamwork, relationship-building, and survival, with a lot of adventure, laughs, and romance built right in.

Are there any rules in this game?

Yes. They are:

  • Be the player you want to play with. (Don't be a dick.)
  • Only invite players who are players you want to play with. (Don't invite other players who are dicks.)
  • Treat other players and other characters with respect. Get permission before you use a character or enter a private space.
  • Play cooperatively rather than competitively.
  • Play fewer characters, more often.
  • Play with more than one other player with all your characters.

Joining

I’d like to apply to Strange Trip. How do I?

Yay! Please see the Application page. Please find here all the information you need for how to apply to the game, what to do once accepted, and what to do if rejected.

What characters can I bring into Strange Trip?

You can play any character from any canon source, if there is enough source material to adequately define the character and enable you to play that character with multiple others. A bit part in one episode of television is probably not enough. If you really want to play the character, email the mods with your reasoning. We'd rather say yes than no.

You can transfer a character from another game. If you are transferring from a game that one of the mods plays in and they know the character, you don't need a full application. Just the basic information and the questions section.

You can reboot a character you played in a game your mods were in and treat the character as a transfer. If your departure point or other character choices are significantly different this time around, please write up a full app. Is it basically a new character? App. Is it basically the same character? No app.

We will consider OCs that have a) been played substantially elsewhere (i.e., an OC that is a transfer); b) an OC that is from some sort of game system that establishes character parameters - i.e., D&D, Shadowrun, KOTOR, etc.; c) an OC that is otherwise clearly defined and delimited. For an OC, we will expect a complete background, personality, and powers section. Since OCs are on a case by case basis, we encourage you to discuss them with the mods before writing an app so that any potential play issues can be resolved before you invest a lot of time in an application.

We encourage players to make thoughtful choices and bring characters who can contribute something unique to the game milieu rather than try to fill up canons or bring canon shipmates. That's not to say you can't bring canon shipmates. Just that you shouldn't bring them if that's the only reason you want to play them.

What kind of characters CAN'T I play?

There are really only a few. And when in doubt, ask!

  • Real people, including biopic versions. However, fictionalized versions of real persons, like Shakespeare's Antony or Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter or William Shakespeare from Shakespeare in Love are A-OK.
  • Gods. No one who has world-breaking powers. No one who cannot die. No one whose powers are greater than the Inn itself. If you have an idea for a character who might be confused with a god, or is some sort of demigod, talk to the mods. Likewise, archangels would require special approval. Here, we're more likely to say no than yes. So don't get your heart set on it.
  • Duplicates. The world only needs one James T. Kirk. On the other hand, John Watson (Sherlock), Joan Watson (Elementary), and James Watson (Sanctuary) are all very different characters. If in doubt, ask, but keep in mind the need for characters to play a unique role. If they're too similar to do that, they're probably duplicates.
  • Evil characters. We're not talking about thieves, grifters, assassins, repentant evil Queens. We're talking about characters who actively try to harm other characters. Conflict is fine, but playing a serial killer in a game this size isn't going to work.

How many characters can I have? What do I have to do with them before I can have another?

The current character cap is 6. We understand this can feel limiting to some, but as there are only 110 rooms at the inn, we want to maintain space for new players to join as well. We encourage quality over quantity in character selection.

We're not interested in counting points or threads or making artificial play requirements. We're mods, not police. Be honest with yourself about what and how many characters you can play. This is intended to be a game where you can play one and only one character for years without being a second-class citizen. Playing multiple characters is permitted, but not required.

It's not a contest or a race. You do you, boo.

May I apply to play a previously dropped character?

  • Dropped characters are not retired. They may be apped by other players as completely new characters.
  • Dropped characters may also be apped by their original players. They must be apped as completely new characters.
  • Dropped characters may not be returned to the Inn for at least three months, whether apped by their original player or a new one. This does not apply to entirely different versions of the character, such as book vs movie versions.
  • Dropped characters may be re-apped with their memories of the Inn intact, only under these conditions:
    • The player is the original player.
    • The character has been away from the Inn for at least one full year.
    • The players of characters affected by the proposed return have been contacted and approve the return.

May I apply to play a character on someone’s reserve list or queue?

That’s trickier. Talk to that player about it.

Character Setup

My character is a fan of that other character, how does that work?

There is no canon puncture in Strange Trip. Your character may get a twinge of déjà vu, but they won’t recognize the person they’re talking to as that character from that thing they love. This is fuzzier with mythological characters that exist across multiple realms. When it doubt, talk it out with the other player.


What if my character doesn't speak English?

We’re deliberately fuzzy on this one for the sake for the fun. Do you see play potential in your character learning English? Go for it. Is it too much work and you want them to just know English? Go for it.

Do I have to use an st_ journal name?

Yes. If you’re having trouble coming up with one, please feel free to—

  • Email the player's list and ask for help! It's a lot of fun to try to come up with great names for characters that play with the beginning letters in interesting ways.
  • Look through quotes from your character to see if there are any phrases that work, like Caroline's "st_raighttovampire" or Lydia's "st_rawberryblonde".
  • Look at word lists for words starting with st.
  • Look at phrase lists for common words starting with st like stand, stir, stop, still and so on.
  • Think about st_ as "saint" and see if that helps.
  • Ignore trying to make a word or phrase out of it and just use the st_ as a prefix.

Can I use the same PB as someone else?

In the case of characters played by the same actor, always. In other cases, we generally prefer you not to do this, but we’re not going to make it into a thing. Whether or not that creates confusion for characters is something decided by players on a case by case basis for what makes good character interaction.

I think I still need help with how this world works.

Try out the wiki’s search feature before you give up. Then please contact the mods. We love helping!

HOW TO PLAY

How does play work?

There are three different kinds of play in Strange Trip:

  • Regular one-on-one or group text RP:
    • Logs - play done in email.
    • Threads - play done in Dreamwidth.
    • IM Logs - play done in some kind of IM.
    • Gathering Posts - event or setting posts that anyone can play in. If you need an explanation of how to play in a gathering post, ask a mod or fellow player.
    • Open Posts - a post by a single or small group of characters that anyone can tag; sometimes called an EP. These are strongly encouraged for players who find it uncomfortable to ask for people to play with.
  • Adventure-world RP:
    • once every few months a room will turn into a themed world where characters can go to get supplies for the hotel or engage with NPCs.
    • mods will provide some basic details and a few plot hooks that any player(s) can use.
    • any kind of play that's permissible normally is permissible in adventure-worlds.

Where do I play/post things?

So glad you asked! If you’re not sure where something should be played or posted, please consult Posting Guidelines.

How does participation in plots work? And can I run my own?

Please see the Adventuring page to answer all of your questions about how your character can get into trouble. We highly encourage all of them.

Are there dos and don'ts of character interactions?

To be brief about it--

  • Godmodding: Don't. At least without permission.
  • Showing your work: Do. If your character makes a major change, be sure to develop it along the way.
  • Pupsterbation: Don't. Your characters may know each other, but development should happen through other players' PCs. We recognize this is a small game environment and will naturally have some overlap. Use your best judgment.

To be less brief about it, if you've got 20 minutes, check out Are you a One Dimensional Role Player? for some great things to do.

This game environment is small. Do I have to wait until my character meets a person onscreen to know them?

It's really up to you, but the main setting of this game is an inn made up of a handful of buildings, a few dozen people, and not a lot to do. What we recommend is that after a month or so, your character has seen everybody and knows their names. Have a look at the Orientation Seminar for more.

How can I use the NPCs?

At the inn, the staff and the ghosts are more or less dolls for you to pose however you like. The ghosts can’t be permanently banished. Please be warned that harassing the staff will probably result in other characters getting upset with you.

During Otherworlds, do whatever you like with the NPCs, but, y’know, please consider what the logical consequences are.

Staff

The hotel has a staff, yes. But it is only, always, and exactly five people. They are:

  • The Innkeeper, "Darryl" - male - attends the front desk and the lobby, and patches room to room calls.
  • The Chef "Kahni" (or Kenny) - male - somehow available for every meal, and somehow manages to make something chicken-adjacent at every meal. Chicken sandwich, chicken Caesar salad, chicken eggs Benedict. If you ask for french fries, you're going to get fried chicken tenders. Chicken. Period.
  • The Groundskeeper - female - does the gardening and watches the stables and bike shed if there's no one else doing it; also decorates for the various holidays as directed by the Innkeeper. Has no idea what the flowers are called or what's growing, and is offended if you suggest she should.
  • The Housekeeper - gender-fluid - cleans the rooms unless otherwise directed; mostly provides fresh sheets, towels, soap and supplies, but will tidy up and make the bed if you don't put out "do not disturb". As the hotel becomes full, defaults only to occupied rooms in need of towels. Somehow, the Housekeeper always knows.
  • The Maintenance Man - who is paradoxically female - keeps the hotel functioning in terms of furnace, lights, water, wiring, phones, and such; also kills scorpions and spiders and such as needed.

They have no distinguishing features or characteristics. In fact, you find it difficult to remember what they look like when you're not talking to them, and even if they are right there, it's nearly impossible to describe them to someone.

Additionally, while they are knowledgeable about their basic functions and the hotel, they cannot provide you with any information about supplies, events, exits, entrance, history, and so on. They do, however, all have an obsession with offering your fresh towels at every possible opportunity. Except the Chef, who only wants to know if you want chicken.

What you should know is that they keep the hotel supplied and in working order at the most basic level. Everything else is up to you.

Ghosts

If you have a room with more beds than people (not more spaces in beds than people; ie, a king bed counts for one person), you will either have a ghost or a PC for a roommate. PC roommates will not be assigned except by request or when single rooms run out. If you do not have a PC roommate, however, you will have:

  • 1 ghost per unoccupied bed
  • the ghosts can have some personality; enough to be interesting and annoying to your PC but not enough to substitute for a live human friend
  • the ghosts cannot leave the room and will only interact with visitors to the extent it's necessary to be annoying or intriguing
  • the ghosts can be exorcised from the rooms for up to 48 hours by those with appropriate skills, but they will return and be as annoying as ever (possibly more so, since they'll be pissed off at being tossed out of their rooms).

There are a few ghosts inside the hotel who are not room ghosts. These can actually be exorcised effectively. This will happen just often enough to make your characters believe it's possible to get rid of their ghosts if they just try hard enough.

THE WORLD OF STRANGE TRIP

How big is this pocket universe?

The radius of the bubble is four hours out from the inn and is thus dependent on how fast you’re going. At normal walking speed, probably somewhere around ten miles. At that point you’ll find yourself turned around somehow, even if you swear you were going in a straight line the whole time.

You’re flying at high speed and you end up many more miles away? Yes.

You’re deliberately trudging and you end up only one mile away? Yes.

Do keep in mind, though, that this means there isn't a physical bubble anywhere. Because people travel at different speeds, you're not going to hit a wall or anything of the sort. It's going to feel just like you're actually free, until eight hours later, you've somehow come right back where you started.

Does the world have normal weather?

Unless otherwise specified by mods (usually for plot purposes), the weather at the inn is the same as the weather in San Luis Obispo, CA.

How does time flow in Strange Trip?

The date is the same in and out of game. If you start a thread on February 28, assume that it is also February 28 in the thread, unless otherwise specified.

How does this affect my character's age?

This is really up to you and your character, if an upcoming birthday should be acknowledged or not because a year hasn't passed since the last one.

Does anyone ever leave the inn?

Outside of Otherworlds, the only way for a character to leave the inn is to be dropped from play.

What are these Otherworlds you speak of?

Periodically, a room at the inn will become a portal to another reality. This door will remain open for a period of about two weeks give or take. It's a time to get your adventure on, stretch your legs, see what your characters will do in completely different environments. At the end of that time, when the door closes, your character will be back at the inn, though.

GETTING SETTLED AT THE MADONNA INN

Out of Character

Who do I talk to if I need help with something?

If it’s a specific thing in the game, you’re best off asking whichever player(s) are associated with it, but you can also direct questions to the mailing list or to the mods. We like helping.

How do I make my wiki pages pretty, too?

Please see Templates for a selection of templates to use for your character page and your player page. If you are new to wikis, take a look at this page on formatting as well. Or just run around and borrow code from other pages, s'all cool.

In Character

How do characters enter the inn?

ICly, characters are deposited somewhere outside the main building or in the lobby. From there they will be greeted by two characters assigned to you for your arrival threads. If your character arrives with a motor vehicle, that vehicle will vanish once they leave it and go into the lobby. Any other belongings will remain.

What will my character be provided?

Your character will have a reservation in their name ready for them upon arrival. They can collect their key from the innkeeper at the front desk. If you are not sure where that room is, please consult the Room Assignments page. Caroline Forbes will also be providing them with a gift basket.

Does my character have to sleep in their room?

Technically no. If your character makes friends, starts seeing someone, or just feels like moving in with someone else, they are welcome to start sharing another character’s room. If you’d like to make that room change official, please let the mods know so that we can modify the room assignments list.

What do characters do all day?

That’s largely up to you. Boredom is indeed rampant among the inhabitants, but you might want to take a look at Jobs, Projects, and Wants to give you ideas.

LIVING AT THE INN

What technology is available?

The hotel technology level froze in late 1995. They were in the process of a changeover to DVD, so they have the newer movies (from 1995) on DVD and some early release classics. Most everything else is on VCR. DVD and VCR can be rented for your room, and movies selected from The Library. As it is a luxury hotel, there's sufficient variety to keep most people busy awhile, especially with having to share.

Computers are big and boxy. Slower than dirt. And stuck in the Netscape era. The Web is in its infancy. Google doesn't exist. There's no outside the hotel to connect to, so there is only a rudimentary internet bulletin board and the software for the business center. Unless or until you program more, but keep in mind, these computers are on an intranet that it dial-up. They won't interface with your laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc.

There is no wireless internet. No cell service. Calls can be made room-to-room either through the front desk or by following dialing instructions. These are strictly analog phones. Neither they, nor the lobby phones, nor the pay phones will dial out.

What's the food supply like?

Unless your character can cook, you get whatever the kitchen staff provides. The Chef will only cook chicken dishes. PC chefs can cook other types of meat, vegetarian, or vegan dishes. Where do ingredients come from? The inn provides. Your character is also free to cook on their own.

Alcohol is varied and plentiful. Don’t hurt yourself.

There are vending machines that stay stocked, but they are coin-operated. Once a month, the coin boxes are emptied and mysteriously returned to circulation. How you get coins is up to you and the people who have access to some.

Is safe sex even possible?

The inn provides.

What is transportation like?

Aside from whatever your character is capable of, be that walking or flying or whatever, you’ve got horses and you’ve got bikes if you can ride them.

How does money work?

Although you may "sign things to your account," there is no payment necessary for rooms or anything inside the hotel or its shops with the exception of the vending machines (and if you break things, they'll be fixed within an hour). Since most of the work for which you'd be paying -- tips for servers, room service, etc. -- will be done by other guests, commerce proceeds on a barter system.

If someone has a valuable skill or item that they wish to sell, they may do so for money or services as they choose--with the understanding that money is worthless within the hotel.

Outside the hotel, in OtherWorlds, money may well be of use; however, it won't always be currency you're familiar with. If you acquire things while in an OtherWorld, please make sure to account for the value somehow (yes, that can mean stealing if you’re clever and quick).

Remember, you can coast and not add value to the system, but eventually, some PC is going to call you on not pulling your own weight.

What about the shops?

The Madonna Inn has a gift shop that contains all the usual kitsch and sundries that you might need while at a luxury hotel. In addition, it stocks basic medical supplies, like first aid kits and cough lozenges. There are magazines (refreshed monthly) and books (refreshed far less often, although there is a limited library). It is liberally supplied with journals, pens, notepads and writing supplies.

The Boutique has designer clothing, swim suits, shoes that rotate on a seasonal basis. It's not an 'anything you want' shop, but there are high-quality goods available.

Both the gift shop and the boutique will alter their offerings subtly in keeping with the OtherWorld soon to open.

Additionally, there is a "Lost and Found" composed of random items left behind by previous guests. It's never full outfits or anything especially matching. It's considered good form to leave something if you take something. And when characters leave the games, their belongings are distributed to the Lost and Found, which must be run by PCs.

Please check with the mods for anything larger than a breadbox and more complicated than a Discman. The mods will then decide based on lulz, dice rolls, or petty whim. (In general, the answer will be no. Lost and Found is for...well, the random sort of stuff in a hotel L&F. Forgotten nightgowns, one missing sock, a pair of cufflinks, etc. If you want something more complicated, have your PC find it during one of the world adventures.)

OOC HELP

How do I help my character network?

There are a number of ways both in and out of game to get your character making connections.

  • Get acquainted with general activity and what your character should notice with the Orientation Seminar.
  • Find your neighbors with Room Assignments
  • Connect through potential Jobs.
  • Help out with Projects
  • Volunteer them to meet and greet new characters by entering them in the OOC Volunteer Pool
  • From time to time we post memes in the OOC comm that can help you generate ideas.
  • And never be afraid of thread-begging on the mailing list or in Slack, just to see what happens.

I think the time has come to drop a character/leave the game. What do I do?

We're always sorry when this happens, but always supportive that players do what is best for them. If you need to drop a character, we ask you to take three steps.

  • First, let your canonmates or any players of characters close to your character know so that plans can be made.
  • Second, please alert the mods. We'll take care of wiki edits and whatnot from there.
  • Third, please let the email list know. If you do not feel comfortable doing this for whatever reason, please let the mods know so they can do this for you.

I'm having trouble with another player.

Disagreements happen.

  • Dos:
    • Talk to the other player. We know it's uncomfortable to talk to someone when you're mad or scared or sad, but there's just no other way to resolve the problem.
    • Try to see where the other person is coming from.
    • If it's an RP problem, you have our permission to be creative to resolve it as long as you do it together.
    • Take a few deep breaths and a day off. Remember, while it's an important game, it is a game. Not getting your way isn't the end of the world.
    • Be patient. Some people need more time to process answers and emotions than others. Give other people the room they need to communicate well.
    • If you can't work it out, or you're just too worked up to handle it on your own, talk to one or all of your mods. That's what we're here for.
  • Don'ts:
    • Gossip. Just don't. Your problem with Player A is your problem. No one else's.
    • Backstab. See "Don't be a dick."
    • Cause drama. Conflict happens. Don't disrupt the game or the community with it.

At present, the players are all friends and all know each other. We'd like to keep it that way, even when we start adding new ones. It is possible to have a game with no drama, and we're setting the bar exactly that high.

We love you guys!

-- Allie, Silensy, and Umi