V5 Rules Changes

MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

July 25th, 2011, 9:34 pm #1

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.

2. Roll-by-Character

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

MK Kilmarnock
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.

MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

August 27th, 2012, 4:24 am #2

4. Epilogue Rules

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.

MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

September 20th, 2012, 3:33 am #3

5. Conduct Regarding Rolls

Due to various incidents during the course of V4, the staff has decided to place more concrete limits upon posts to threads containing rolls, and upon messages related to rolls. The following rules now apply:
  • The handler of a rolled character may post one and only one time per thread in which they are rolled to request that their character be saved. They may post more than that to request death ideas, but we do not want threads cluttered with repeat save requests.
  • Handlers who are not rolled should not post to the thread to commiserate, to gloat, or to discuss. If something merits discussion, a thread may be started in RP Discussion for that (though these may not be started to
    request Heroes). Handlers who are not rolled are allowed to post if they have business related to the announcement, such as if they are playing a Hero Card.
  • Handlers who are not rolled are never allowed to post to the roll thread asking for kills. This behavior is very impolite, and the staff has decided to expressly forbid it. Offending posts will be deleted, and further consequences may ensue for willful or repeat offenses.
  • Handlers of rolled characters are not allowed to PM other handlers asking for Heroes. This can be very annoying, and is therefore disallowed. If you receive unsolicited PMs requesting Heroes, feel free to report them to the staff.
  • Similarly, handlers are not allowed to send PMs to the handlers of rolled characters requesting kills unless the handler in question has expressly requested PMs in the thread containing the rolls. This was a very big problem in V4, so the staff will be taking it seriously. Again, if you receive an unsolicited PM, feel free to report it to staff using the report function.
6. Hero Deals

After much consideration, the staff teams has decided that, as of the start of V5, we will no longer be recognizing Hero Card deals. The intention behind Hero Cards is to allow handlers to save characters that they like, not to serve as, effectively, a second Swap Card. As such, from here out, staff will not be treating deals as valid or binding. Staff will not be monitoring them and will not be acting as arbitrators for deals. The staff would like to strongly encourage a discontinuation of the practice of making Hero Card deals, since they violate the spirit of the cards. As such, deal proposals are no longer allowed to be posted in threads containing rolls, in Roleplaying Discussion, or elsewhere on the board. If you choose to make a deal, you must arrange it yourself, and accept all risk and responsibility associated with it, since there will henceforth be no enforcement of deals whatsoever.

MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

September 21st, 2012, 4:48 am #4

7. Acceptability of Characters Named After Real People Who Are Not Celebrities:

While we understand that many handlers like to insert fictionalized versions of their friends/family into SOTF, recent events have shown that this can be rather problematic. SOTF turns up fairly high on Google results, and people tend to be very displeased when their personal information is attached to a Battle Royale situation, especially if, say, they are written as psychotic players.

As such, from here out, the staff would like to make it policy that inserted characters must have their names changed enough as to be unconnected to their basis by a Google search, unless the basis of the character has given express permission for the usage of their name, with full understanding of what the site is and what sort of stories are told. We realize that there is no way to double-check this before it becomes an issue, but if it does become an issue, (such as if we receive angry PMs and emails from someone asking us to take their name off the site), the consequences will be very dire indeed. There is no way to automatically replace names, so any change requires a massive amount of staff time and attention. Even a minor character may end up taking hours of by-hand replacement. More than that, coming up on SOTF can be a bad thing for people when applying for jobs, and we don't want them to only find out after the fact that one of their friends accidentally caused them trouble.

This rule is in effect immediately, and applies to all V5 characters. If you need to change a character's name, let the staff know now, and it can be done. There will be no consequences for this, since the rule is new.

Note that this only applies to characters based on people/the names of people who the handler knows. We're not going to penalize you if a random person has the same name as your character; the odds of picking a name with nobody attached to it are fantastically low. Similarly, we will not be changing names of characters at the request of people uninvolved with the character/handler, as even a cursory glance at the profile should prove that there is no relation. Basically, it's the old disclaimer about resemblance to real people, living or dead, being coincidental: if it is purely coincidental, everything's fine.

MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

November 6th, 2012, 2:45 am #5

8. Prizes for the Best Death Award:

After much consideration, the staff has decided that, as of V5, the prize for the Best Death Award will no longer be a roll null. This change has been made due to the low participation rate in the BKA/BDA contest, coupled with the drastic, game-changing effects of roll nulls.

In V4, the greatest participation we ever saw in a BKA/BDA contest was approximately 30% of active handlers. The average rate of participation was much lower, typically less than 15%. The same core group of handlers tended to make up that 15%, and in several cases voting bias was rather evident. Moreover, having such a small group consistently assigning resources with the potential to determine the winner of the game skewed the process heavily based upon the tastes of a small section of the site.

We are considering alternate prizes, such as featuring a link to the death on the portal or featuring the scene in the scrolling quote. If you have any suggestions, feel free to PM them to SOTF_Help, but note that we are only looking for things that will not affect a handler's/character's chances in the rolls.

As the prize of BKA consists solely of in-game resources, it will continue as before.

9. Deadlines for Deaths and Contests:

From here out both deaths and kills will be held to the death deadline as regards contests. V4 had way too many delays, often due to the killers as much as the victims. Therefore, from now on, if a death is disqualified from contention for BDA, the kill will also be disqualified from contention for BKA. We will also no longer be rolling over deaths and kills into the next month's contest, even in cases where an extension has been granted. The bookkeeping involved is too much of a hassle, and it in effect promotes slower deaths, which we do not wish to do.

10. Roll Null Usage Timeline:

Due to the imbalance caused in the late game by roll nulls, potentially up to guaranteeing characters a spot in the finals, from now on roll nulls may be used only until the roll bringing the game to or below the final twenty-five characters. After that point, any remaining nulls will be held over until the next version. This prevents any character from getting a free ride, which has always been the intention of late-game changes such as rolling by character for the final rolls.

Please note that the staff does not know at this time whether or not roll nulls will be available in any form in V5. This rule is here to establish precedent, however, and so that if nulls are distributed, handlers will know from the start what the limitations on their usage are.

11. Hard Deadlines for all Deaths:

In the interests of avoiding the massive delays on deaths seen in some past versions, the following rules are in effect:

A death which runs over the deadline (or the extension period) will be considered equivalent to a character going inactive, in that the handler will receive an inactivity warning. This warning will function just like any other warning, as in, if their characters go inactive in the future, they will become terminal rather than receiving a warning.

More than that, any death that runs late, after a handler has received an inactivity warning, will be subject to inactive killing at staff discretion. While the staff will normally strive to do its best to allow handlers to keep control of death scenes, any death which runs an entire period overdue (as in, to the end of the next allotted death period) will be handled through SOTF_Help. This will occur without regard to any plans in place, in the most expedient way possible, meaning that it is strongly in the interests of any killers to make sure deaths run on time, as doing otherwise makes it highly probable that they will lose rights to the kill. This rule will only be waved in extreme circumstances, such as if a handler is Away for the entire period of time after the rolls. No matter what, however, any death that runs two death periods late will be handled by staff, even in the face of extenuating circumstances, so as to prevent the game from grinding to a halt.