Rule of Cool

Applying the Rule of Cool

This rule is not specific to Furcadia's official source material and background (the Furre!/Dragonlands game). It's usable in any Dream labelled Cool1, Cool2, or Cool3, to enhance that Dream's own Continuity. Here are the principles of the Rule of Cool:


1. Continuity.

A Continuity is a world or universe or dimension. Every Roleplaying game has its own Continuity, and what happens in one is not valid in another. Every Continuity is independent of all the rest. Several Dreams can share one Continuity, if its owners agree.


2. Acceptable Character Types Are Limited

You agree to not make up your own character classes, races, or major traditions. The Rule of Cool isn't free-form RP, but rather, playing in a shared world, with its own history already. Surprises are great, and creativity is wonderful, but too much can seriously hurt Roleplay.


3. The geography is mostly established.

Under the Rule of Cool, you agree not to invent IC locations outside of that Continuity. In the Dragonlands, this means the Olde World, Kasuria, and the Dragonlands. It's okay to make up the name of a village but you couldn't just invent the name of a capital city, because larger places already have names, for example, the capital of Kasuria is Malgrave. The purpose of this is to remove ownership of these places from the control of any one Furre; established locations are shared parts of the Continuity.


4. The Guiding Theory of Roleplaying: ICA=ICC

The guiding theory of Roleplay is this:
In-Character Actions lead to In-Character Consequences. This is abbreviated as ICA=ICC. It's considered very uncool to start a conflict without facing up to its natural results, for example.

Suppose that Liago the Lion throws his beer in the face of Grendilla, a powerful warrior. Under the Consent Rule (Persona Play), Liago can merrily run away or ignore it when Grendilla poses trying to punch him or attacking Liago with his sword.

Under the Rule of Cool, Liago is expected to respond to what Grendilla has posed. Liago may not just walk out casually. If Liago logs off (either by accident OR on purpose) Liago is expected to re-schedule a time when all the characters involved can meet and finish the brawl.


5. Show your respect for other players, OOCly if not ICly.

To show respect for the Continuity is to show respect for others. Your OOC reputation as roleplayer is quite important, and if you don't follow ICA=ICC, other players will very quickly spread that info about you. On the other hand, things that encourage others to RP with you are:

  1. Speaking in character
  2. Not using abbreviations like u instead of you
  3. Being careful to capitalize and punctuate, etc.
  4. Showing through your interactions that you're aware of what the other characters are like

When you multiworld, your ability to visualize the other character's appearance in your head is EXTREMELY poor, and to all but the most novice players, it shows. One of the easiest ways to show disrespect is to lag for four minutes between poses while you play another character in another scene. It might be just fine in Persona Play; in RolePlaying it's disastrous.


Descriptions

As a fine point, any information that could not be guessed just by looking at you, should not be in your description. If you must put in OOC info, enclose it in parentheses. Under Persona Play it's great to give people around you a helpful clue as to how to interact with you but in RP-- they're on their own! Be sure to leave out anything like the following:

(Friends with: Corrie, Mark, CG DJ, and Dogmaster)

(vampire)

(Member of Club D2D)

(looking for a mate)

A Roleplayed conflict can be handled many different ways. Some are not compatible with others, so, to avoid arguments, it's important to agree to one style before a conflict arises. Everyone actually has their own style, but to play in a large group, everyone has to make small compromises, to play the way enough other people happen to want to play. Here are detailed rules for handling conflicts, divided up into three stages of seriousness, to accommodate the three most prevalent philosophies of Roleplay under the different levels of Cool:

Cool 1

"Except for what the game world does
not permit, I control my character
almost completely."

This level of Cool keeps the
suspense, violence, and tragedy limited
to what you might see in a Saturday
morning adventure cartoon.


The Philosophy of Cool 1

At this level of Cool, the dominant philosophy is that this is just a game, and that having fun is more important than being true to the character's fictitious personality. Cool 1 players may be expected to Retcon more freely than higher levels of Cool in order to preserve the Continuity:


The RETCON Rule

Retcon is short for RETroactive CONtinuity. Sometimes a player makes a mistake, for instance posing that they polish their sword when the sword was dropped elsewhere earlier. The polite thing to do is for the player to make a quick OOC announcement that the previous action didn't occur, and for other players to go on. (Acknowledge the retcon with PRIVATE pages please.)

You can only Retcon something that just happened. You can only Retcon your OWN actions. The purpose of a Retcon is not to explore a tree of possibilities relying on different decisions or let a player make up for an action that results in something they don't like. The purpose of a Retcon is to repair damaged continuity as quickly and smoothly as possible. Retcons can't be used to take back an action with a dice roll involved. Whether you succeed, fail or fumble, that action has already taken place in the game's continuity.


Character Sheets

You don't need an official character sheet, but at this level, you agree not to invent IC locations without permission from the one who owns the Continuity. (For now, it's on the honor system, unless your Guild is keeping records for you.) You're still expected to be familiar with what exists in the world (see The Dragonlands)


OOC Explanations

At Cool1, you can ask OOCly for explanations of IC events that relate to *your* character. Examples:

"Why does your character want to attack mine?"

"Does your character secretly intend to backstab me?"

Questions like "Are you a Vampfurre?" are not allowed.


Combat

At Cool1, Combat is decided by OOC Paging.

At Cool 1, you can NOT die during an IC scene. Your character can only die offscreen and after the curtain has gone down. Possible results of a fight include being Injured, Unconscious, and Captured.

You can not be Injured/Captured/Unconscious, etc. without your OOC consent. When you are somehow defeated in combat, your character spends time away from public areas for at least 4 RL days days. This keeps fights from being pointless although nobody died.


Captivity

Captives may not be injured, or otherwise abused. There's just no question here: A captive can be restrained and they can be moved to a new location but they can not be injured or otherwise abused. This is an OOC rule and you are expected to find an IC reason why this is so. If you can't, don't take somebody captive.

After 7 RL days, the Captive can choose to escape captivity without RPing an escape attempt. It is just assumed that the escape attempt was successful. To preserve Continuity, the Captor and Captive must OOCly come up with the escape scenario together.

Cool 2

"I exist in the Continuity. I have partial
control of my character."

This is the level of adventure you can
expect from a prime-time TV show or a PG movie.


Characters

Cool2 requires some kind of established background world. For the default Dragonlands information, see the Dragonlands Pages, and see Furre! rules to make a Dragonlands character. This system is detailed, and you can use the APPENDIX links to print out character sheets.

(Currently, RP is on the honor system and you should get with a Chartered RP Guild if you want anything more official at the moment. Expect to see this system implemented with code some time in the future, though! :)


OOC Explanations

OOC questions as could be asked in PersonaPlay and Cool1 are no longer legal at this level or above. Do not /whisper questions such as the following: "Why does your character want to attack mine?" and "Does your character secretly intend to backstab me?" "Are you a Vampfurre?"
If you need to know because you are using an ability/power on somebody else, first pose your action (if it's visible). This is called committing to the action: Under Cool2, you don't get the luxury of changing your mind about doing something when you find out it won't work.

For some actions, you'll still need to /whisper another Furre so that you'll know what to pose. Here's an example:
/martinshaw (I am making a Greeting Rattle; only a vampfurre can hear it; does your furre respond in kind?)
Kurry looks around the room silently...
MartinShaw's hackles rise but then he smiles charmingly.
(MartinShaw /whispers to Kurry, "Yes, I'm a vamp; I hiss back...")
Kurry says, "Hmmm..."

*** OOCly MartinShaw's player would now know that Kurry was a Vampfurre, even if MartinShaw was playing a mortal. The previous example will be greatly improved when such actions have been coded, --but for now, you are trusted to keep OOC information secret.


Alignment

Cool2 introduces the concept of alignments. Furres are Lightside, Neutral, or Darkside by nature. You choose this when you create the character. (It costs alot of experience points to change it.)

Not only do Furres have alignments but places do, too. It's the nature of the Furcadia universe that beautiful locations help lightside people to fight, while frightening and ugly places make it harder. Conversely, the bad guys (darkside characters) do better in the scary areas, and do less well in the colorful cheery happy and well-populated areas. The OOC owner of a Dream sets its Alignment, on a scale from -3 to +3. (Mycroft's, for example, is +3, while Harshlaw is -1.) (See the Furre! rules if you want more details on this.)


Combat Under Cool2

Combat is decided by using the Furre! combat rules. You may NOT opt to avoid combat-- even if you did nothing to provoke the other Furre. You can be hurt and, if rendered unconscious, captured, without your OOC consent. Under Cool2, you can only be killed with your OOC consent.

There are three possible levels of injury: Injured, Heavily Injured, and Near Death. (The fourth status you can be, of course, is Uninjured.) To prevent conflicts that don't result in death from being meaningless to the rest of the Continuity, healing time is measured in real time. If your Furre appears on a public RP map then they aren't in a safe place resting and they don't heal.

At Cool2, both combatants roll d20, applying modifiers for the location's Alignment. The highest roller is Winner and the lowest is Defeated. Then Furres pose the combat results for the benefit of others and each others.

Cool 3

"I embrace my destiny, and I shall live like a hero in a chaotic world."

Under Cool3, your Furre may be killed without your permission. The action is still limited to what is PG but the flavor of the game can be much more grim. This is the kind of action you might expect in a horror movie.

Frequently Asked Questions About COOL

1. What is "Cool"?

The Rule of Cool is an advanced rule for those who want a shared history and setting (called a Continuity), and a method of resolving conflicts. The biggest difference between Persona Players and Roleplayers is that Persona Players follow the Consent Rule but Roleplayers play by a Rule of Cool.

There are three levels of Cool, called Cool1, Cool2, and Cool3, with 1 being the easiest and 3 being the toughest. There are three different levels because different players want different levels of control, and these different levels DEFINITELY don't mix well with each other.


2. Where can I Roleplay?

Our default Continuity, the Dragonlands, is open to any player who has read the Dragonlands web page. This map is accessed by going to the west end of Meovanni Village, to the door marked In Character Roleplay Only, Please. Anybody in this area is expected to be a Roleplayer playing by the Rule of Cool1, according to the Dragonlands web page and Chartered Roleplaying Guild.


3. Why would anybody want to give up control of their character?

The higher a Continuity's Cool, the less control you have, but the more prestige you get. This prestige comes from agreeing in advance to make personal sacrifices for the sake of drama, and for being willing to take the extra time and effort to uphold the Continuity. Roleplaying makes you feel more like you're sharing a world with others, and contributing in a valid way.

There ARE limits to what another player's character can do to yours: Because Furcadia is a PG-rated game, patently adult actions and storylines are not permitted. That means there is no [@$%!#] or torture in the Dragonlands Continuity.


4. Do I have to use dice?

Roleplaying generally involves the use of dice for those actions that are dramatically important. At Cool 1, you may use dice when you feel it's appropriate. At Cools 2 and 3, you're expected to use dice when skills or abilities (listed in Furre!) are involved.

It was once imagined that pure roleplaying wouldn't need dice but the truth is, OOCly negotiated outcomes, especially in a running conflict between the same players and characters, get stale fast without dice. Online RP must be able to stay fresh and interesting even when played 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for decades.


5. Can two Chartered Guilds share a Continuity?

No, they can't. An RP-oriented Guild includes both its good guys and its bad guys, with everyone in it playing by the same rules. Somebody who refuses to play by the rules will be kicked out of a Chartered Guild. If you are kicked out of a Guild, you cease to exist in its Continuity, so only one organization should have control of it.

To avoid confusion, an in-character group that exists inside of a Roleplaying Continuity is called a Faction. We avoid using the word Guild to mean a specific guild, such as a mercenary company or an adventurers' coterie.

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