Alpha playtesters: This Code of Conduct does not apply to the public alpha. This is a draft in preparation for the beta. The values described here should still be embodied where possible, but they will not be stringently enforced.
Moderators may apply a variety of actions to punish violations of the Code of Conduct in a constructive way that is least disruptive to the community. The severity of punishment depends on the specific section of the Code that is broken and the pattern of behavior by the user. Every effort will be made to apply punishments fairly, but they will not be applied uniformly, and there should be no expectation that they will be.
- Verbal Warning: A moderator may issue and log a warning to the user about their unacceptable behavior with the expectation that it will be changed in the future. Warnings given, as well as how frequently warnings have to be given, will be taken into consideration when future punishment is determined.
- Temporary Character Restriction: For in-character issues, access to characters which have broken the rules may be temporarily restricted. This may also be done as a stopgap measure, to immediately put a stop to concerning behavior until the moderation team can discuss it. Character restrictions may last a few hours, or days, or potentially months for serious offenses. You may make or play other characters while a character is restricted.
- Permanent Character Restriction: If it is determined that a character's core concept cannot be reconciled with the Code of Conduct, but this is not sufficient to cast doubt on whether the player is a good fit for the community, access to the character may be permanently or indefinitely restricted. Access to a character may be returned if the player works with the moderation team to reform them into something acceptable to the community.
- Temporary Account Ban: For out-of-character issues in which a player is considered disruptive to the community or detrimental to the atmosphere of the game, they may be temporarily banned from participating in it. A ban is an encouragement to center oneself and a time for reflection. We hope that it will come as a wake-up call and mark a turning point in a player's behavior.
- Indefinite Account Ban: If it is determined that a player is not a good fit for the community, and their negative effect on it outweighs any positive contributions they may bring, their account may be banned indefinitely. Do not attempt to evade an account ban. Re-registering a new account, using another player's account, or enlisting another player to act on your behalf will be considered ban evasion. If you are caught evading an account ban, you waive your right to appeal it in the future, and your ban will become permanent, no exceptions.
- IP Ban: Users who receive permanent bans, such as for ban evasion, will have their IP address banned as well. This may affect other users besides the banned user, so if you share an IP with a user who is disciplined, consider encouraging them to take the lesson to heart.
The privilege to moderate is a burden, not a reward. Becoming a moderator does not grant you any special treatment; rather, it places additional expectations on you. Moderators serve the community in the interest of bettering it and ensuring that players are able to have fun. It is done as a means of giving back to the community and contributing to the health of the game. Moderators are expected to be mature, responsible, tolerant, and patient in their dealings with players, as well as adhering to the following principles.
- Do not abuse administrative tools for self-gain. Characters played by staff are expected to remain on equal footing with players, or even be at a disadvantage to normal players. Administrative tools are not to be used to provide advantages to the characters played by staff. They should not be used to reap rewards that are not available to the wider playerbase, or enjoy privileges that players cannot. Where tools are used to a character's benefit, it is expected that this is in the service of improving the experience of all players, not the moderator's experience; e.g. for special events or to drive narratives. Staff are expected to demonstrate humility and not "play to win" when they are advantaged over a player. Moderators with the power to influence the game and/or narrative are expected to do so as a Game Master would, i.e. with fairness and the players' satisfaction in mind.
- Do not pursue personal vendettas. Staff with the power to punish players are expected to do so from a fair and even-handed perspective. If they cannot do so, or it is easy to predict that the punished player will not perceive them as able to do so, they should recuse themselves from decisionmaking. Pursuing personal grievances with one's moderating powers is an excellent way to be swiftly removed from the moderation team.
- Take the high road. Moderators have a higher standard of behavior to live up to than players. Players are here to have fun. Moderators are here to facilitate that. Players need only abide by the Code of Conduct. Moderators are expected to model ideal behavior and control impulses which, while they may not specifically violate the CoC, are nonetheless detrimental to the community. Do not accept a moderating position if you cannot take criticism or even verbal abuse, especially as this is a family-friendly game and you will interact with minors.
- Treat players with respect. Do not demean, belittle, mock, or gossip about players to their faces or behind their backs. Do not use official moderation channels to demean players or their characters. Do not say anything to other moderators about players that you would not say to their faces. It is your duty as a moderator to create and foster a welcoming environment for players. It is expected that you will control petty impulses.
- Protect victimized players. Treat reports by players and moderator conversations as confidential. Do not reveal the identity of players who have reported violations; it is paramount that players feel secure in reporting behavior that makes them feel uncomfortable and can have faith in the moderation team that this information will not find its way to the players that make them feel uncomfortable. If the resolution of an issue requires divulging information about the reporting player, seek permission first.
The following meta-behavior is considered unacceptable in this community. This is a family-friendly environment in which all players should feel safe and comfortable. Breaking these rules is almost certain to result in a ban as it is a strong indicator you are not a good fit for this community.
- Bigoted or hateful behavior. The use of slurs, hate speech, hateful imagery, or references to hateful content will almost certainly result in a swift banning of your account without hesitation. If it is suspected that in-character prejudice is a veil for or allusion to out-of-character prejudice, you will be warned, and depending on your reaction to that warning, you may be banned. If you suspect you have opinions which may run afoul of this rule, keep them entirely to yourself. If your inclination upon reading this rule is to complain about it, consider not participating in this community.
- Sharing of personal information without consent. This includes but is not limited to "doxxing." The public availability of the information is not a mitigating factor. If there is any question as to whether or not a player would be comfortable with you sharing personal, out-of-character details about them, do not share the information. If a player allows information to be shared, and then later changes their mind, cease sharing or discussing the information. Violation of this rule is likely to result in a warning if it is believed the offense was not malicious, or a ban otherwise.
- Soliciting of personal information. Do not pursue information about a player's real-life identity or circumstances, particularly if they are not comfortable revealing it. If they want to share it with you, they may share it without being requested. Especially do not do this if the player in question is a minor. If it is suspected that you are grooming another player, you will be immediately and permanently banned with no possibility of appeal.
- Romantic or sexual harassment. Pornographic content is not permitted in this community, and that extends to sexual jokes or advances. If your behavior is borderline, a player may ask you to stop, or they may ask a moderator to intervene on their behalf. If you do not heed warnings, you may be banned. Likewise, if you pursue romantic interactions with a player who does not reciprocate, cease them immediately. Take no for an answer. Repeated romantic harassment of a player, or "clinginess," has a low tolerance and will likely result in a ban. If the harassment is in-character and isolated to specific characters, those characters will likely be restricted.
- Harassment and bullying. The sharing of explicit or graphic/shocking content will result in an immediate ban. If you engage in targeted harassment of another player, expect a moderator to intervene. If you have out-of-character grievances with another player that do not rise to the level of Code of Conduct violations, and you are unable to mediate these interpersonal issues yourself or with the help of the moderation team, then inform the player that you do not wish to interact with them anymore and do your best to avoid them. Failure to respect this decision may result in restriction of the offending characters, with possible escalation to a ban on repeat offenses. Behavior for the sole purpose of insulting, offending, or harassing another player will likely result in a ban.
- Sharing, alluding to, or soliciting illegal content or activities. This game is hosted in the United States and is subject to all applicable US law. For the purposes of compliance with that law, do not share or allude to evidence of criminal activity. If you are not certain whether content would be considered illegal, err on the side of caution.
- Revealing character ownership without consent. It is no one's business who plays a character except the owner of that character. For the purposes of immersion, taking characters at face value without the burden of meta-knowledge about the player is often taken seriously. If a player has previously revealed their ownership of a character, do not spread this knowledge without their permission. If you suspect that a player is abusing their confidentiality to go against the wishes of another player, report it to the moderators.
- Abuse of moderation or rules. It is not acceptable to use the moderation team as an avenue through which to harass other players. It is not acceptable to wield the Code of Conduct as a weapon to attack players you dislike. Reports should be made in good faith. Falsely reporting players, impersonating staff, or lying to moderators to try and influence the outcome of a report, is likely to result in a ban. Do not backseat moderate; if your input in interpreting the rules is wanted, you will be invited to join the moderation team. Otherwise, leave enforcement of the rules to the moderators.
Farwoods is a roleplaying-enforced game. You must roleplay your character in order to play this game, and roleplay is considered the foremost concern. All members of the community are here to pursue interesting narratives. Please avoid these behaviors so that you do not disrupt the experience of other players.
- Not roleplaying your character. When you create a character in Farwoods, you are expected to have an original character in mind, whose personality, mannerisms, and motivations you will adopt while playing that character. Think of yourself as a writer, collaborating on a book by providing a single character in it. Keep out-of-character conversation to the appropriate channels. Please do not simply play your character as yourself. Characters can be a valid means of self-expression or introspection, but self-inserts uncomfortably blur the line between in-character and out-of-character and are likely to result in problems. If you do not roleplay a character, you are likely to receive a warning or have that character restricted.
- Metagaming. Metagaming is the act of abusing out-of-character knowledge (also known as "metaknowledge") for material in-character benefit. You are expected to partition to the best of your ability what you know from what your character knows, and your character should only act on the latter. For example, if you learn out-of-character that other characters are planning to ambush your character, but you receive no in-character warning, changing your character's behavior anyway may draw suspicion of metagaming. Repeatedly acting on information that your character has no way of knowing, suggesting a pattern of exploiting metaknowledge to give your characters an advantage in the game, may result in corrective action. This prohibition is one-way; while your character can only know what has been revealed to them in the game, players are free to discuss characters however they want.
- Playing to win. The style of "playing to win" is opposed to playing in order to create a good story. Characters who prioritize the mechanical portions of the game over the social, roleplaying aspect may be restricted. The same applies to players who cannot accept their character not coming out on top. If you are unable to take your character's defeats in stride, or have a tendency to take them personally, your character may be restricted for your sake as well as others'.
- Abuse of multiple characters. You are allowed to have as many characters as you like in Farwoods, but your characters are forbidden from assisting each other materially. You may not transfer items between characters, use magic to benefit your other characters, or otherwise use one character to make another character's life easier. This is considered antisocial behavior which runs counter to the design of the game. To avoid violating this rule, it's recommended that you avoid involving multiple characters in one narrative where possible, so that you are not compelled by the narrative to assist one character with another. Lenience may be granted when abiding by this rule would reveal ownership of your characters due to circumstances outside your control.
- Scripting or botting. You may not use scripts, macros, or bots to gain an edge over other players. Do not presume that your use of scripting cannot be tracked or will go unnoticed. Do not use scripts to circumvent the idle timer. You are expected to be present and playing while you are logged into the game. Do not use macros or bots to automate the process of gathering resources, crafting, or fighting. Characters who use automation to optimize gameplay limitations will be restricted. Persistent use of scripting or botting will be considered playing to win and may result in a ban. If you are attempting to make up for a limitation of accessibility which makes it more difficult for you to play the game, consider working with the developers to improve the game's accessibility for you instead.
- Trolling or griefing. Do not play characters with the intention of worsening the experience for other players. Do not make or play intentionally disruptive or generally unpleasant characters. It is not acceptable for you to choose to have fun at the expense of other players. Moderators have latitude to interpret your intent as well as your actions and justifications when determining whether your character's behavior is intentionally disruptive. Acting to disrupt or deteriorate the experience of other players is not acceptable even if it is "in character" for you to do so. Your contributions to the game's narratives will be evaluated when complaints about your behavior are received. Do not attempt to hide behind faithfulness to a character's motivations or concept. You created the concept and chose to execute it and are responsible for its impact. If you do not make positive contributions to the game's stories, you can expect your characters to be restricted or your account to be banned.
- Erotic roleplaying. Depictions of sexual acts are prohibited. Characters who engage in sexual roleplay will find themselves restricted, even if done in private. All sexual conduct between characters must be taken off-site and out of the game. Romantic conduct is acceptable, so long as it is consensual, not excessive, and does not border uncomfortably on the sexual. If your conduct makes other players uncomfortable, stop, or your character may be restricted. If you wouldn't put it in a book for children, don't write it here.
- Godmoding. Deciding what happens to another person's character without their consent (i.e. "god mode"), through roleplay rather than sanctioned game mechanics, is not acceptable. Attacking a character, knocking them out, stealing from them, crippling them, et cetera, can be settled through acceptable gameplay channels in accordance with the Code of Conduct. You may not dictate anything else about another person's character, particularly things which would permanently affect them in the storyline, without discussing them first out of character and agreeing upon it. This includes adult and unpleasant topics like maiming, death, torture, and other physical and psychological trauma. Respect people's limits for subject matter and abide by them. If at any time a player revokes consent for what is going on, retcon and rediscuss what is necessary to move forward OOC.
Combat in Farwoods is a system meant to resolve conflicts which cannot be resolved through roleplay. Roleplay takes precedence over combat at all times. Do not make characters with the intention of treating it like a videogame or other players like mobs. When playing a combat-capable character, follow these guidelines to determine if it is appropriate to engage in combat.
- Never introduce yourself to someone by attacking them. If an encounter is your first interaction with another character, you are required to engage them in roleplay. Attacking someone who has never interacted with you previously will be considered griefing and is a surefire way to get your character restricted. You must use your words (or emotes) to engage with a character before you are permitted to use your weapons.
- Give characters the opportunity to concede. Before you are permitted to attack a character, you must first make clear what you want from them. You may only attack a character if they refuse your demands. Do not attempt to circumvent this by demanding the right to attack them. You may also attack a character if they are making demands of you that you don't wish to comply with, though it would be considered best practice to inform the character of your refusal before initiating combat. Attacking a character, refusing to comply with their demands, or fleeing a character, are all grounds for that character to attack you.
- Grounds for combat is persistent. If a previous interaction with a character has given you justification to engage them in combat, you are not required to roleplay with them before attacking them again. You are permitted to attack characters who have deliberately made an enemy of you without warning. For example, if you've demanded an item from a character, and they fled rather than give it to you, you are permitted to attack them the next time you see them in order to down them and loot the item from them without first demanding it from them again.
- Grant opponents the opportunity to reconcile. If a character has in the past refused your demands, but later expresses the desire to reconcile, that opportunity for roleplay takes priority over your justification for combat. If a character wants to negotiate and comply with your demands, you are not permitted to continue attacking them until they next provoke you. If a character tells you to stop attacking them, hear them out at least long enough to determine if they are attempting to reconcile.
- Do not fish for grounds for combat. It is not acceptable to make escalating demands of a character in order to force combat on them. Your character should have a goal they are attempting to reach which is separate from merely attacking someone, and if the character allows you to reach that goal, then that is the end of your demands towards them and you must let them go. Outrageous or impossible demands will be considered griefing, as will repeatedly making new demands when a character complies to try and force them into refusing you.
- Secure consent for sparring or duels. You may attack a character if they agree to spar with you, subject to the conditions of the sparring. Duels should include a win condition, past which only normal justification for combat applies. If a character at any time revokes permission to spar, or forfeits a duel, you must return to following normal combat guidelines.
- Immediately retcon mistaken attacks. If you attack a character without meaning to, use OOC channels to promptly make this mistake clear to the player and give them the opportunity to recover. You can apologize in character instead if you so choose, but without making your intent clear out of character, moderators may determine you to be in violation of the combat guidelines.
- Play out conflict in good faith. It is acceptable, even necessary, to play a villain. All good stories have conflict, and all good people need bad people to oppose. When making a combat-centric character it is expected that you will leverage your combat capability to feed yourself and participate in the economy. However, you must accept the responsibility that comes with this role, and play it amicably and with respect for others. If you are unable to keep conflict in-character separate from out-of-character disputes, do not play a combat character. When others take your in-character actions personally and express that to you, especially those with no combat capability of their own, try to remediate those grievances out-of-character to the best of your ability or else involve the moderation team.
- Good faith applies to the victim too. Bandits play a role in the player economy, and getting things from other characters is often how they make their living. Do not abuse game mechanics like scrapping to deny your belongings to people when you would otherwise be unable to stop them from taking them. Combat characters willingly take many handicaps to provide you a good experience, and roleplaying things out takes priority. If you have no choice but to give someone something and can't talk your way out of it, hand it over or let it get looted off you if they successfully down you. Destroying it to stop them from getting it ruins their experience and will be considered playing to win.
Please note that these guidelines apply only to initiating combat with someone. Once combat has begun anyone may do as they please to anyone who is participating in it. Also please note that in zones where combat is not possible, like the Morenth Library, it is not possible to acquire grounds for combat. The library is a safe zone, and if you make demands of people there and use them as an excuse to attack them outside, it will be considered fishing as per #5. You may only secure grounds to attack someone if you have any way of actually following through on your ultimatum at the time.
Taking items by force is inevitably a matter of contention. Some players do not like the idea of having things stolen from them regardless of the circumstances. However, theft is a necessary part of the in-game economy and acts as a check on the ability of players to amass goods. If you are playing a character who steals from other characters, follow these guidelines to ensure that you are playing fairly and your character's actions are a positive contribution to the narrative.
- Items outside of a locked burrow are fair game. If a character wishes to keep an item absolutely safe from theft, they can leave it in their burrow with the entrance locked. This is the 100% guaranteed means of protecting items from thievery; carrying an item or leaving it outside of a locked burrow is voluntarily giving up that protection and consenting to the possibility of having it taken from you.
- The Library exists to protect players. Characters cannot be harmed, stolen from, or meaningfully threatened while inside the Morenth Library. If you do not want to be stolen from, go to the Library. If you want a place to resolve disputes in which neither party can resort to combat, go to the Library. Outside of the Library you are subject to the demands of other characters who are stronger than you. If you feel their demands are unreasonable, report them to the moderators. Otherwise, hire a bodyguard; this circumstance explicitly presents an opportunity for characters who are combat capable but do not want to resort to banditry to earn their keep.
- Follow the Code of Conduct when playing a bandit. The narrative is more interesting when characters live outside the bounds of socially acceptable behavior. If you are going to play an outlaw, you are necessarily going to need to take things from people, since they won't be much inclined to give them to you out of charity. Some leeway is granted for villainous characters because they are contentious by nature, but the more stringently you abide by the rules and combat guidelines above, the less you need to worry about people complaining about what you do.
- Do not exploit game mechanics when robbing burrows. There are plenty of countermeasures to safeguard items inside of locked burrows. If it is possible to reach items in a burrow, then they are fair game to steal. However, when breaking into a burrow, you must maintain continuity. Do not abuse mechanics which are designed to prevent forceful imprisonment to escape from a burrow with stolen goods. You must leave the burrow legitimately. If you find yourself stuck inside a burrow while stealing from it, either wait to be caught, or retcon the theft by returning the goods before you un-stuck yourself. If you are relocated out of a burrow due to network circumstances outside your control, you must return to where you were before you disconnected and then leave legitimately in order to avoid punishment. If you are unable to do so, promptly inform a moderator of the situation before the owner discovers they have been stolen from. They will be able to return the items and retcon the theft for you. Failure to proactively correct the situation when you exploit game mechanics during a robbery, intentionally or not, may result in you being punished for playing to win.
- Contribute to the narrative when pickpocketing. Using skills to undetectably steal from characters with no recourse will be considered playing to win. You must make it possible for characters to figure out where their things have gone, even if not immediately. It is not interesting or fun to have items vanish from your inventory with no way to solve that mystery. In short, leave some connection between the disappearance of items you have pickpocketed and your character that is possible for other characters to figure out, even if that is just that they saw you passing by them earlier.