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The Xavier Institute Mod Journal ([personal profile] astonishing_xmods) wrote2014-08-24 03:48 pm
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Q: What is the Xavier Institute?
A: Xavier Institute is an Alternate Universe (AU) role play (RP) with a school setting. It covers middle school (grades 7-8), high school (9-12), and offers some college level courses. It is a boarding school rather than your average high school. It also has several instructors and adjunct staff. These staff members can live on or off campus. It is based on the school of the same name from the Marvel Universe. All characters are Mutants, though the school does not advertise this openly for safety reasons.
Q: So what does that mean?
A: First off, AU means that any characters apped to this game hav lived in this universe for all their lives. This is a psuedo-Marvel universe setting more or less identical to our own, except with mutants (it is not 616 or the movieverse or any given canon Marvel universe). They won’t remember ninja-land, wizard-land or super-space-planet because they never lived there to begin with. So this means you’ll have to come up with all new histories for where they lived and how they came to discover their mutant status. Of course, you’ll probably want these events to mirror their canon lives as much as possible – and of course, if your character grew up on Earth anyway in canon, you may not have to change much at all! But the most important, common factor here is mutation, and how it has changed their lives and brought them to the Institute.
Q: So, mutant powers?
A: Yes. This will be applied multiple ways. Characters without any powers in their canon proper will be allowed to assign powers to that character. They do not have to be mundane. Characters with a laundry list of powers in canon, however, will likely be asked to scale things back. Omega Class mutants will be appable, but only one per player and they cannot be your first character in the game. All powers apped with need to be related in some way. You can't have a grab bag of abilities. We suggest potential players stick with one power and go from there.
Q: What if I have trouble coming up with a mutant power for my character?
A: No worries; there's a wiki for this sort of thing. This site lists many many powers and abilities, but you're not limited to its lists. If you can make one more appropriate for your character, then go for it!
Q: What is the plot hook in this game?
A: Mutants, at large, are a minority race that is feared and misunderstood by much of humanity. However, with their unique gifts and talents, they can also do great good for the world. The enemies and challenges of humanity and mutants alike will be faced in this game.
Q: So where does this take place?
A: The academy is located at 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center (part of the town of North Salem), located in the very northeast corner of Westchester County, New York. However, certain events may send characters to any part of the known world and beyond. But, for the most part, the game will take place at the school.
Q: Mutants come to the Institute from around the world. Will my character have to know English?
A: Nope! We feel that the individual players can decide what language, if any, their character will speak. Of course the school offers all sorts of language classes, as well.
Q: So who can we app here?
A: Well, you can apply from pretty much any canon imaginable! If you can link us to it and show us it exists and we can understand it enough to judge your app, we’ll probably be willing to let it in. Obviously, you might run into trouble if you try to app Tony the Tiger or Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff, but we’re otherwise pretty open-minded! On the other hand, you can just app… anyone imaginable! That’s right, we allow Original Characters (OCs), though those will be put under a bit more scrutiny than normal apps.

All this said, one thing that must be kept in mind is that this game is based in a version of the larger Marvel Universe, and due to this, there will be certain 'big name' Marvel characters that will be off-limits. Sadly, this means Captain America, Spider-Man, and the like will not be allowed in the game, either for the sake of consistency or for later use in plots. That doesn't, however, prohibit characters with similar powers from being apped, like Mayday Parker (Spider-Girl), Miles Morales (Ultimate Spider-Man), Elijah Bradley (Patriot), among others.

Also for the above plot reasons, certain X-Men characters are likewise unable to be apped. This is primarily limited to a handful of X-Men (utilized as NPCs at the school) and certain high-profile villains and allies. This may sound like a lot of restrictions, but there actually aren't as many characters off-limits as it sounds; we're just being intentionally vague to keep plotlines and future plans under wraps. The bottom line is, if you think a character might fall into one of these categories, please don't hesitate to ask! Odds are, even if they do, we can recommend a suitable substitute.
Q: Who in game can we play as? Just students or can we be teachers too?
A: Both teaching and student positions are open to be applied for. The administrative board and such will be mod-run, but normal teaching positions as well as other staff positions (counselors, groundskeepers, coaches and the like) will be able to be applied for. And of course, you can apply for students! If your character is an adult and doesn't really fill the "instructor" role, there are tons of adjunct staff positions for current and former X-team members that basically amount to odd jobs and eating all of the food. Perfect life, really.
Q: So do I always have to be the new student who pops in mid-semester?
A: You can either apply as a new student just transferring in or entering the school, or you can app in as a student who has been here for a while – there are plenty of NPC students running around, so you’ll just take one of their places. In either case, you’ll be given a new room assignment and a new roommate.
Q: Roommates?
A: Yup, as a boarding school, you’ll be set up in a room (segregated by gender) with another student, generally played by another player unless an NPC is requested or there simply is an odd number of players. When you first enter, your roommate assignment will be randomized. In addition to this, rooms will be occasionally scrambled for one reason or another. This is why new players who app in as “old” students can suddenly find themselves with a roommate they’ve never met before! After a month, you’ll be allowed to request room changes, both ICly (your character wants to get a room with their best friend) and OOCly (you and your friend think it would be hilarious if your two characters who hate each other got shoved into a room together!). And of course, you can always ask to be randomized a new roommate!
Q: So what’s the teacher’s living situation like?
A: Teachers have the option of living off-grounds or in the faculty/x-men living quarters. They obviously will have special rooms and generally nicer accommodations. Perks.
Q: What if I want to play someone as a student, but they’re canonically too old to be one? Is my only hope to be a really young teacher or pretend they flunked a few grades? Or what if my character is younger than 12 (AKA the normal minimum age for a 7th grader)?
A: We actually have a couple work-arounds for this. Students in their fourth year of high school will have to complete a faculty-approved senior project in order to "graduate" so even after the age of 18, they may end up sticking around for a few years longer perfecting that or taking more classes or higher-courses – the Institute has college level courses, after all. Of course, for those with the opposite problem, we can let you skip a few grades if you can justify it. However, the youngest we’ll allow is 10 years old. We encourage student characters to be in the standard age range of 12-18 and exceptions should be rare.
Q: What about characters over 20 or under 10 we want as students?
A: This is why we’re also allowing you to age-up or age-down your character.
Q: We can make our characters jump up or down some years when they enter school?
A: Since this is an AU, they won’t magically change age upon entering the game; they’ll have always been that age! You can apply for any character at any age (within reason) besides just their canon age. This isn’t just so you can play your favorite nine-year old as a normal-aged middle-schooler or that edgy nineteen-year old as still having a couple years of high-school left, feel free to do stuff for the heck of it. Maybe you want to play that 13 year old as a high school student, or that 17 year old as a teacher who isn’t amazingly young. Of course, be a little reasonable – drastic age-downs (taking a full grown adult and dropping them back into middle school, say) and drastic age-ups (taking your teenager and making them forty) may need a lot more inspection, and if it’s judged that you’ve pretty much just struck out into OC territory, we may not allow it (though you could always make a similar OC…). Again, we encourage student characters to be canonically in the standard age range of 12-18 and faculty characters to be over 18. Preferably older.
Q: What about changing sexes and/or genders?
A: That’s actually perfectly fine! Since this is an AU, there was no magical sex-change, simply they were born as whatever sex you want, or present whatever gender you want. We’ll also allow other changes or tweaks that you may want, but don’t go overboard – when all is said and done, they should still be, at their core, the same character as they were in canon – just older, younger, with a different body, gender-identity, or whatever else. We reserve the right to judge you have jumped off the deep end and created an entirely new character.

On a similar note, we’re allowing you to app from AUs with different histories to base as your “canon” – so if there are canon AUs (Age of Apocalypse, for example) or wide differences between versions (the various incarnations of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), all would be allowed simultaneously.
Q: So with all these “variations”, does that mean we can have a girl version, a boy version, a grown up version, a kid version and a secret 2nd manga AU version of a character all running around?
A: Sort of. This will be done within reason and it's obviously something you'll need to work out with other players. If you can give us something that makes sense, we'll allow it. Remember, this is Marvel. Anything can happen. But just because anything can happen, doesn't mean it should. Also, keep in mind that a player may only app one version of a character; kind of unfair to hog all the Kitty Prydes to yourself, isn't it?
Q: Can I have my character be from an alternate timeline then? Or the future? Or from another planet?
A: In the interest of keeping a reasonable scope for this game's setting, in spite of all of these being something that happens in X-Men continuity, they are not allowed to be apped to this game.
Q: So this is some fancy international boarding school. Does that mean my character has to come from some rich family?
A: Not necessarily! The Xavier Institute isn't really tuition funded. So anyone of any background can attend. Charles has never turned away a mutant in need just because they couldn't pay.
Q: So what grades are able to be apped into?
A: Well, Middle School (Grades 7-8) is generally 12-14, and High School (Grades 9-12) is generally 14-18, though we’ll allow as young as 10 and as old as about 20 for students. Teachers have to be legal adults, at least 18 but would prefer older. We’re allowing age ups and age downs, either to suit these requirements or just for fun. Additionally, because there will likely be content not suitable for all ages (drugs, sex and rock’n’roll), we’re requiring that all Players be at least 16 years old.
Q: Sex?
A: Obviously, sex, drugs and alcohol are prohibited by school rules, but we all know that’s not going to stop a bunch of teenagers from getting into trouble. We’re allowing sexual situations with characters of any age, but please be smart about it. If you present material that makes players very uncomfortable (such as say, a sexual situation between a 30-year old teacher and a 13 year old student), we may ask you to remove it. Also as a rule, any sexual situation involving a character that is younger than 16 must either fade to black or be taken off site. You can say it happened and treat it as game canon, but it can’t be actually played out on the game communities. For any sexual situation not falling under these categories, they are allowed to be played out but must be member-locked, hidden behind a cut, and marked with appropriate warnings. Players must be 18 or older for their character to participate in sexual activity.
Q: What about violence? X-Men is petty violent sometimes.
A: Anything involving graphic violence or other potentially offensive and/or triggering subjects should also be hidden behind a cut and marked with warnings, though they don’t necessarily have to be member-locked. The mod team would appreciate a heads-up regarding overt violence as there will be IC disciplinary action.
Q: What kind of school-related things can we do besides taking classes?
A: Lots of things! There are student council matters, elections, clubs and all the other things you might expect at a school. Oh, also you can become a member of an X-Team.
Q: Clubs? What kind of clubs? And X-Team? I can be an X-Man?
A: Well, pretty much any club you want within reason! Just run it by the mods and chances are, we’ll approve it if it’s reasonable. Though something crazy like the “Rocket Lawnchair Club” or something may need a bit more scrutiny. Either way, you get the idea.

And yes, part of the purpose of the institute is to train future heroes. This is a big part of the game, if you haven't caught on, yet. While very few characters aside from instructors will be X-Men right off the bat, students will be formed into various X-Teams as the plot progresses. More on that below.
Q: What happens if I drop? What if I reapp? What if someone else reapps as the same character?
A: Characters that are dropped are, to the general populace (student body and faculty), considered to have transferred/left the institute. Characters transfer in frequently so it makes sense characters would leave just as often. Should you decide to reapp and pick the character back up again, you can come up with any number of reasons as to why the character was absent ranging from illness to a family emergency to a family vacation to being temporarily suspended if the transferring out and back in idea doesn't appeal to you. Even death is possible, though a bit discouraged for non long-term players. If someone else apps the same character, the fact that this is Marvel helps. The revolving door of characters is kind of thing there, and personality changes and history tweaks are not unheard of. If Marvel can do it, so can we.
Q: Okay, so this all sounds pretty awesome. Where do I apply?
A: Well, you can go to our app pages and reserve pages (over here and over here, respectively). That will explain the apps, when apps open, and when reserves open. Players can only submit a maximum of two character applications per cycle.

Q: When can I reserve and/or apply? And what about Activity check?
A: We'll be following a strict schedule for these important dates. They are as follows:
AC start - 25th
Warnings - 1st
Ejections - 2nd
Reserves open - 3rd
Reserves end - 7th
Apps open - 8th
Reserves expire - 11th
Apps end - 15th
So generally, you have a week for apps, a week for reserves and roughly two weeks for activity check. Yes, some months are shorter than others (We're looking at you, February), but we'll work out those details when the time comes.
Q: So how about those X-Teams? Will my characters be able to form them?
A: Absolutely. The Institute is about helping students discover who they’re meant to be and if it so happens that your character is meant for leadership, then they could very possibly start up a team of their own. Of course, managing a team is a big responsibility, so you can’t just wake up one day and throw a bunch of your friends together and call yourselves a team; there’s a process. OOCly, this means coordinating things with your fellow players and making sure all of the participants have the willingness to go through with it. They take dedication, much like any school or sports club.

Unlike in the last version of this game, Teams will not be managed by the mods. In fact, we're taking a rather hands off approach. There are some requirements, however. Namely, there needs to be at least one adult adviser to each team; either one of the NPCs or one of the capable faculty. Team leaders, and the make up of their teams, are left entirely to the players beyond that requirement. The only times the mods will intervene is if IC actions beget that IC consequences are needed. The formation of the teams are left to the players. There is a directory of current teams here [LINK].
Q: What communities are you using?
A: This is a community-based game, so we have a few communities to be used: [community profile] xavier_institute is the main community, where all the Intranet posts will go – these are first-person reply and response deals. [community profile] xavier_institute_logs is the Log community, where in-person actions and events will happen, logged in either 3rd person prose or action style as the players choose. [community profile] xavier_institute_ooc is the OOC community where out-of-character business like intros, hiatus announcements, drops, and plotting can all take place. Memes and Test Drives will also be posted there, for the time being.
Q: What if a canonmate wants to app in and coordinate AU Histories with my character but my character is already in play?
A: We understand that canon relationships are a lot of fun to carry over into AU, especially when such relationships affect a character's personality a lot. That being the case, with mod approval, we will allow retconning/rewriting of an accepted character's AU History to accommodate the new character. It's Mahvel, baby.
Q: What is the Intranet?
A: The Intranet is a school-only social network system that allows both students and faculty to communicate amongst each other. Every student is assigned a username upon enrollment as is the faculty when they are hired. The interface is similar to other international web communities the characters may have encountered or used back home. Their username is not the DW account name. Instead, it is just their initials and a randomized seven digit number.
Q: How do you access the Intranet?
A: The Intranet can be accessed by any internet capable device such as a laptop computer, a desktop computer, iPad, Smartphone or stationary terminals located in the library, student lounges and faculty offices.
Q: Internet capable devices? Does this mean we have access to the World Wide Web (WWW)?
A: Yes, you do have access to the WWW or global network. The school places very heavy content filters on anything cross-posted to the Intranet, so there will be no pornography or other inappropriate content allowed in the Intranet or school terminals. Character personal internet devices are another thing. Those do have free access to the WWW and therefore all characters can make use of it. Inappropriate content is still prohibited and, if caught, there will be disciplinary action.
Q: What type of entries can be posted on the Intranet?
A: There are three types of entries possible - Text, Voice and Video. All school terminals are capable of these functions, as are most laptops, but if your character's personal device that you've chosen them to use does not contain a web camera, video posts would not be possible. It is assumed characters have multiple ways of accessing and posting to the Intranet.
Q: What are filters?
A: A filter is a specific setting on an entry that restricts those capable of viewing specific entry or response in question. The standard filters are [Faculty] and [Student] though it is possible that the faculty user settings could allow faculty to view everything under the general [Student] filter. In order for regular faculty to view the general [Student] filter, they must ICly request an override from the Administration. Meaning contact the mods about it with a reason for the override.

It is also possible to filter entries and responses to specific usernames aka other people or a specific group of people. All that needs to be done is to use the handy-dandy filter application that does all the work for you if you're not particularly computer savvy.
Q: What about those characters that are super computer savvy? Can we hack filters?
A: Yes! If your character is particularly skilled with computers or has a related mutant power and it's listed in their application, it is possible to hack various filters depending on the skill level of the character. All filters created using the supplied filter app are fairly easy to hack, but it is possible to create custom filters without using the pre-coded ones. That means there are various levels to filters and hacking. We do not allow ooc tags such as '90% unhackable' or 'moderately hackable'. Please do not use them or we'll have to unleash the Brood.

Please keep in mind not everyone can hack at the high school level and it's even rarer at the middle school level, mutant powes aside. Also, if your character wishes to hack a non-general filtered entry or response, seek player permission before doing so. Communication is very important here!
Q: Can the system as a whole be hacked/messed with?
A: Yes it can, if the character is of a very high computer savvy/hacker level or related mutant ability. This MUST be specified within the application as well as the general type of things/reasons the character would mess with the network. All system-wide disruptions need to be mod-approved as there are members of the faculty specifically for maintaining and trouble-shooting the Intranet. And just because something worked once doesn't mean it will always work.
Q: Can a character with the right skills post to the Intranet as 'anonymous'?
A: As with the previous question, this is something only a highly skilled character would be capable of an also needs to be mod-approved. Removing the username tag is very difficult and even then there are ways the faculty tech monkeys can trace a post. It's best to not give this a try as such entries and responses are instant red-flags that garner attention. But it still can be done.
Q: This sure looks nice. Who did all of this aesthetic work?
A: [ profile] kvatch and [community profile] vigils are to thank for all this lovely coding and graphic work. We are in their debt.

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