Playing (and storytelling) in Ask Again Later means that you have read the following rules and guidelines for how to conduct oneself at game, and you agree to abide by these principles:
- This is a game that does not shy away from difficult or heavy subject areas and real-world issues, particularly those that might exist in a small-town rural setting. This can include racism, sexism, bigotry, homophobia, transphobia, and other negative aspects of a conservative society. It also includes strong language and depictions of murder and violence. Where these elements occur in game, they will be approached in a thoughtful manner and not for mere shock value. The storytellers (STs) and players also agree to respect each other’s boundaries, and players will have the opportunity to limit their exposure to content that they do not want to experience out of character.
- The STs will provide content warnings for specific content that may not be expected at game. This means that certain things will not receive a warning, as they are pervasive throughout the setting and can be encountered at any time. This primarily pertains to the conservative values, strong language, and depictions of general violence/blood/supernatural horror elements mentioned above and in descriptions of the game’s setting and tone elsewhere on the website.
- The STs and players agree to respect a player’s requests within reason. For example, while a player can expect her wish to not hear a specific offensive slur spoken in her scenes to be honored, she cannot ban all strong language from game. As another example, players can choose to engage in challenging topics less directly by having certain scenarios narrated rather than acting them out–instead of having a character shout racist slurs at another character, they may say, “And then I say a bunch of racist things.”
- The fact that the STs have established general warnings for these elements should never be seen as a justification for deliberately making other players uncomfortable.
- Players ultimately are expected to know themselves and their boundaries better than anyone else. Players should assess their own needs and tolerances and will be trusted to decide for themselves whether this is a game they will be interested in joining.
- The STs will ask players what their “hard no’s” are. Unless the STs inform a player that their requests cannot be accommodated because it would require significant alterations to the game setting, a player can expect that he will not encounter these elements in game. The STs will work with individual players to understand what accommodations they may need in order to provide a positive gaming environment.
- Players are assumed to be comfortable playing out the full implications of the characters they have pitched. This can include scenarios such as those referenced above. This can also include accepting the consequences of your character’s actions.
- Example: Someone who is playing a character who hangs out with a rough crowd and often speaks without thinking can expect that someone might start a fight with their character, without advance warning for the player. This carries with it the possibility of losing the fight.
- Example: A player whose character is a thief may have to deal with what happens to their character when they get caught, regardless of whether the player wants their character to get caught.
- While players are in full control of their characters, they have agreed to play in a game that has a certain tone and revolves around certain themes and dramatic poles. As such, players agree to work within this framework and will not try to reshape the world or feel of this game into something far removed from the Ask Again Later that was pitched to them.
- The STs are here to resolve problems that arise between players. If character conflict veers into player conflict, the STs have a responsibility to be available to players for assistance, and players should feel comfortable approaching the STs if such a situation arises. This also applies to conflicts between a player and an ST. The STs also will make available an anonymous channel for bringing concerns to the team, in recognition that players may not always feel comfortable voicing their concerns or revealing information with their names attached.
- While a player may have goals for their character–and those goals may be at odds with what other players want their characters to accomplish–this game is not intended for players who go into it with the mindset of “beating” any other players or “winning” the game. The intent is for this game to tell a story; there are individual losses, but those losses should not feel motivated by out-of-character player action against another player. Anyone who uses this game as a means to target another player will not be welcome back. Characters can certainly compete with each other or even wish to harm each other, but players are expected to have the maturity to distinguish between in- and out-of-character motivations and to interact maturely and respectfully with other players.
- Relatedly, players should understand that all player characters are equally important to the game. No one, regardless of pivotal they are in any plot, should play their character as if they were metatextually “more important” to the story than anyone else’s. Players need not hold back from fully inhabiting more domineering characters, but they may not use the excuse of roleplaying in order to prevent other players from engaging in the game.
- While players can have their characters touch or otherwise make physical contact with each other, any actual physical contact between players should be done only with explicit consent.
- There will not be an assumed firewall between character information and player information. While the STs will intercede in situations where they feel a player is improperly using out-of-character information to create an unfair advantage, they will not be monitoring all player communication about the game. This means that players discuss their characters, plots, and plans at their own risk. Anything they tell another player is information that they can assume the player’s character has as well.
- Players will also be mindful of the fact that, even where they do not object to sharing information about their character, other players may not wish to know any information that they have not obtained in-game. Players should take care not detract from another player’s experience by sharing unsolicited information.