Back to index

Guidelines for planning and complaining:

All story ideas taking place on Saturdays (ie. the stuff everyone should read) must be cleared with me first unless I give explicit permission otherwise (as in, when we have a group I hadn't anticipated and need someone else to help with the story). In that case I would still like you to give me a rundown of what you're planning. If you must run your own story without restriction, do a sidestory (and make sure it won't affect other characters not involved). Sidestories may be done on AIM or Venura.

All new characters joining must have a character profile e-mailed to me and approved by me first. No new players (people behind the characters) will be allowed unless super-extraordinary circumstances occur.

If you have a problem with something that happens while you are playing, you MUST notify me IMMEDIATELY (as in, in the chat or an AIM Instant Message immediately after it happens). It is your responsibility to let me know you don't like something that moment--if you must get offline, plan to have your character leave a few minutes before you do, if this concerns you (that way you can be sure nothing happened that involves your character while he/she was there). Anything that is posted while your character is still in the room, happens, and will not be changed, unless you object at that moment, even if you leave the computer or sign off without reading everything. (By that token, I generally won't post more than one thing happening with your character until you reply. If you leave, a simple BRB message will let us know that you aren't there, though your character is.)

But in general, barring a computer freeze or other unforseeable event, you may not look at the archive later and complain about something that happened. If you are there and didn't put up the alert then, it happened. If you don't post that your character leaves it will be assumed your character is in the room as long as you are in the chat room (unless you've been inactive for an inordinate amount of time).

I am the GM, so my ruling goes, and my judgements will be the rules. If you really want something changed you must tell me yourself and have a conversation with me. Just saying 'change it or else' is not a valid option--you must negotiate with me. If you can't do that, then Libby can disappear your character or characters, and they may return at any time you wish.

Guidelines for posting:

All posts should be in the format:

NK: ::looks around, scared:: Where are we?

The first two letters (in all caps (NK), one cap and one lowercase (Nk), or even lowercase (nk); it doesn't matter, but please try to be consistent among your own posts) are the abbreviation for your character's name ("Nick," in this example). Actions, tones of voice, and the like are enclosed in ::'s. The dialogue that follows is what your character is saying.

All out of character/player speech will be enclosed in double (('s:

((Are we going to wrap this up soon? I really need to get offline.))

Also, please try to give other characters time to react to whatever you said/did. Don't post twice in a row unless no one else responds for a while.

Guidelines for playing:

First and foremost, never kill/permanently injure/scar a character without that player's permission. Doing so will result in Libby sending all characters backwards in time to before the death/injury/scarring, and the scene will be replayed. If a character does something to your character that you think will permanently injure them, let me know IMMEDIATELY in game (in (())'s) and we'll work it out.

Almost as important, try not to assume your action harmed another character.
Don't write something like:

NK: ::grabs Jay and drags him away::

This is not fair to Jay's player, who may have wanted Jay to struggle or yell for help. A better and more friendly way for Nick's player to post would be:

NK: ::grabs at Jay::

This leaves Jay free to reply:

JY: ::tries to break loose from Nick's grip::

If Nick's player really wants Nick to kidnap Jay, and Jay's player doesn't mind if Jay is kidnapped (don't laugh; quite often in my other yarn, I let my friend's characters do mean things to mine, in the interest of good storytelling), Nick can proceed to swiftly kidnap Jay:

NK: ::tightens his grip::
JY: ::can't free himself::
NK: ::drags Jay off::

But if Jay's player does not want Jay to be kidnapped, and Nick's player really wants Nick to kidnap Jay, things are a bit different. For one thing, the exchange might have gone more like:

NK: ::grabs at Jay::
JY: ::pulls away from Nick:: Let go of me!
NK: ::tries to grab Jay again::
JY: ::pulls away again::

Obviously, both players want different things. These characters will either have to fight (see below), or, if both agree, a coin can be tossed to see who gets his/her way. In such a case, the GM (Julie) will toss the coin. There will be no disputing the results of the coin toss.


If two different players' characters wish to get into a fight, a fight will occur, with the GM rolling for both sides if requested; else, the players will roll for hits. Each character has 8 health points, and a type, which he/she will declare before the fight. (Type stays consistent throughout the game; you can't decide to be a speed type one fight and a strength type the next.)

The challenger rolls first. What damage is done is based solely upon the opponent's type.

Average characters are faster than strength characters, and take less damage per hit than speed characters. If the opponent character is an "Average" type, the challenger will hit for one point if the challenger rolls a 4 or 5, will hit for two points if he/she rolls a 6, and will not hit if a 1, 2, or 3 is rolled.

Strength characters are fairly slow (so they have trouble dodging), but take a bit less damage per hit than average characters, and absorb hits much better than speed characters. If the opponent character is a "Strength" type, the challenger will hit for one point if the challenger rolls a 1, 2, 3, or 4, and will not hit if a 5 or 6 is rolled.

Speed characters can dodge most blows, but if they are hit, it hurts a lot. If the opponent character is a "Speed" type, the challenger will hit for four points if the challenger rolls a 6, and will not hit if any other number is rolled.

When an attacker misses, he/she does not need to describe what kind of hit he/she was trying to do. You can always roll first and describe the hit afterwards.

Next, the defending character rolls. The same principles are followed. The challenger then rolls again, followed by the defender, until one or the other character has 0 health points. (If the challenger reduces the defender to 0 health points, the defender may take his/her turn. If this turn reduces the challenger to 0 health points, then neither character wins.) Once a character is at 0 health points, he or she is generally considered unable to fight (which means the character is unconscious or just too tired to fight, or otherwise unable to continue).

The goal of "Freak Show" is not to have lots of fights, though they almost inevitably occur once in a while. Certainly, this is not a story about wandering the countryside and killing things. But fighting may be the easiest way to give your character a chance to get out of some situations, or a good way to unleash your character's anger towards another character. But don't pick fights needlessly, and it can be more fun to find a way out of a situation that doesn't involve violence, if it's possible.

What if your character doesn't like to fight?

First off, I doubt any character will never fight. Let's say your character was getting kidnapped, and you as a player didn't want it to happen. Would you let your character be dragged out without a struggle? If you did, would it be fun?

There might be some situations where your character is pushed past his/her normal limits to fight. (If his/her friend or lover was in danger, for instance, he or she might suddenly fight viciously.) That's part of what can make yarns interesting.

But let's go back to the kidnapping example. Let's say you don't want your character to get kidnapped because you would find it boring. You can try calling for help, and maybe someone else will come and keep you from getting kidnapped. You can try to come up with other creative ways to get out of the situation. Failing that, if the kidnapper agrees, you can do the coin toss as discussed above.

If none of those things works, your character might have to actually fight. But it doesn't have to be so bad. The opposing character will be trying to punch you, but he/she will presumably be the attacker. If you really can't stand fighting, when your roll gets a "hit" in, why not just say the opponent missed you and hit a wall/object instead (if he missed) or that when he hit you, it hurt his hand/foot too (if he hit)? I'm sure you can come up with more creative terms and ideas than that. Try throwing the contents of your purse at the opponent, or attacks that are clearly non-lethal, but certainly painful. In the end, if your character wins a fight, he/she will have somehow incapacitated your opponent. It might be harder to do without punching him, but it's possible.

Micellaneous guidelines:

Nothing sexually explicit. Kissing is OK, hugging is fine, but anything more overt than that should be taken offscreen and implied in a manner like:

JY: ::goes into the bedroom::
DY: ::goes with him::

And try to keep everything pretty clean. There's not much nead to curse too much. At the very least, keep to network TV standards (which, frankly, is not asking very much...).

Do NOT take anything personally. If everyone (players or characters) seems to hate your character, that doesn't mean anyone hates YOU. It probably means your character's being mean or doing some silly things or trying to run the yarn, all of which are bad. Try not to get so attached to your character that you take any bash on him/her personally.

Players, try not to bash other characters inside or outside of the game. If your character seriously dislikes another character, fine, but I hope you as a player will try not to constantly say how much you hate another character (even if you really do). I want this to be friendly.

If you have any problems with another character or player, anything in the yarn, or me, please don't hesitate to let me know, OK? I'm as new at GMing as most of you are to playing, so it's kind of guesswork for all of us. Let's all try to get along.

Back to the Freak Show page