Alright, everyone. V5 is still a ways away, but we want to let you know about a few rules changes that are going to be in place, in case this affects your planning/character creation. As new rules are finalized, they will be added to this list.
Without further ado, here they are:
1. Escape Reform
The method in which escapes are handled is being changed pretty drastically for V5. As usual, escape attempts are allowed. If you want to try one, send the staff a PM, detailing what your character wants to do, ideally step by step, as well as a list of all the characters involved.
Unlike in past versions, though, the staff will not be pointing out any flaws in the plan, aside from physical impossibilities. Should you choose to enact the plan, you will need to handle it step by step. After each step, SOTF_Help will let you know what happens, either by PM, or, if you do something that would result in your character's death, by posting such in your thread. At that point, you will get to write the death.
In short, what we're doing here is bringing realism to escape attempts. If your plan has flaws, it'll kill the character who is trying to implement it. Realistically, they wouldn't be able to try again if their first plan wasn't perfect. They'd get blown up. If your plan involves other characters, we will need a direct PM from each handler involved, stating that they are approving their character's involvement and potential death. Basically, escape plans now have a very heavy risk associated with them, so consider wisely before enacting them. Also, a note: security has been tightened, the collars improved, etc., so no method floated in V4 will work.
The old rolling system (roll a handler, then one of that handler's characters) was created, in part, due to the environment of V2 and V3, when replacing characters was easy and those handlers with multiple characters tended to be the most involved and active. That has changed drastically with V4, and V5 looks to be following suit. As such, we will now be rolling differently.
The rolling list will include one entry for each character, like so:
1. Aaron Hughes
2. Jennifer Perez
3. Everett Taylor
4. Kimberly Nguyen
5. Rhory Anne Broderick
6. Ivan Kuznetsov
7. Liam Brooks
Each handler may still be rolled only once per roll set, until the rolls to determine the finalists.
The results of this will be that single-character handlers will have more of a chance to make it far, since they will be statistically less likely to be rolled. What this does is rectify one of the bugs in the current system, specifically, the fact that it highly favors handlers with multiple characters. This, in turn, increased the number of "fodder" characters. Under the new system, handlers with more characters are more likely to be rolled, but, as they lose characters, the odds of them being rolled decreases proportionally.
This will hopefully allow handlers to viably play only a single character without being quickly rolled out, thus removing any reason for handlers to enter characters they don't actually want to play.
3. Acceptability of Characters
While this has been mentioned before as a guideline, we are now formalizing it as a rule. All characters must be original characters. What that means is, you may not submit characters from movies, comic books, etc. You may not submit characters who are direct inserts of celebrities. You may not submit profiles written by other handlers without their express permission. The staff will be googling every character's name as part of the approval process.
Note that coincidental name matches are fine. For example, V4's Quincy Jones is nothing like the musician of the same name. Quincy would be totally fine under this policy.
Also, in the interests of realism, we will not be accepting close relatives of those from past seasons of SOTF (or any escapees, winners, or survivors of any nature). Any character of first cousin or closer status to a past contestant will not be approved.
This rule does not mean that you cannot take inspiration, even heavy inspiration, from other sources. We all do that. It does mean you can't lift characters wholesale.
The following rules apply to the winner of a version. They are designed to be as nonrestrictive as possible, and are pretty much a formality to ensure universe continuity and plot cohesion.
- No killing non-original characters without staff permission. The basically means you can't kill Greynolds unless the staff says you can. This is because often there are plotlines involving NPCs which span versions. If the character you wish to kill was created by another handler, then you require that handler's permission as well. You're welcome to kill characters of your own creation, including characters you create in the epilogue, as long as the other guidelines are followed. Also, if you have a great idea for killing a non-original character, ask! Staff are really receptive to well thought out ideas.
- Epilogues should be realistic for the setting. No ascending to godhood, for example. No sudden military intervention spelling the end of the AT. Stuff should be kept reasonable, to the same standard as is expected in-game.
- Leaping off of the other points, at least one staffer should review the epilogue for continuity purposes prior to publication. This is just to make sure that nothing will contradict the world/story. It's to avoid stuff like a handler showing that Danya's home country is really France or something silly like that. It also lets staff exercise some mild control over the preexisting characters used without crimping creativity.
All of these things basically boil down to: Communicate with the staff and keep stuff reasonable for the world. As long as you do, there should be no issues whatsoever.