So, any outstanding issues or policies that need to be set? Not so much rules as meta-rules: what social conventions we agree to abide by.
I have a fairly extensive draft of a rules document by now, I'm not finished with it yet- it's long because it has a lot of explanation and contains many things we ruled in during SDNW4, the abridged edition would be comprehensible to SDNW4 vets and yet a lot shorter. What's important are the 'principles' at the top of the document, which I will reproduce here:
Rule Number Zero
DON’T BE A MORON, AND DON’T BE A PRICK.
This is the single most important rule. Most of you know how to do it. If you do not know how to avoid being stupid or obnoxious, I feel sorry for you. If you can’t help but be stupid or obnoxious in the game, then we have a problem. People will ask you to modify your behavior. If you don’t modify your behavior, you will make yourself unwelcome, and ultimately be asked to leave.
Doing things other players don’t like is not wrong, in and of itself. Indeed, the game wouldn’t get far without healthy conflict. You are encouraged to come up with interesting issues that bring you into conflict with some (or all) of your neighbors, if you feel any urge to do so. But these issues should be interesting, and they should be resolved in an amicable way. We do not want or need bad blood between players.
So if you do things other players don’t like, have sensible in-game reasons for them. Be willing to listen to reason and consider the other person’s point of view. Do not be arrogant or dismissive toward your fellow player. Be ready and able to accept that your nation cannot and will not get 100% of what it wants 100% of the time.
If you cannot follow Rule Number Zero, you shouldn’t be playing the game. Please save us the trouble of having to deal with yet another moron or prick, and go away and leave the rest of us alone.
Do I make myself clear? Good.
Rule Number One: Use Some Imagination
Be flexible, imaginative, and creative, in describing what your nation and people do among the stars. Try to think outside boxes. Without any prejudice to the ships of NASA, I can at least partly agree with the spirit of:
“I want magical entities, vibrating vehicles
To prolong to be to it abyss
Like fish of a timeless ocean. I want
Jewels, mechanics as perfect as the heart...
I want rockets complex and secret,
Sipping the thousand-year-old nectar of dwarf stars... "
Of course, if what really fires your imagination is a bit generic, then such is life, but try to have something unconventional, some great question that your culture addresses, some conflict that makes your characters interesting.
Rule Number Two: Points are Points are Points
The combat power of any military unit is measured in ‘points.’ It does not matter what the unit is, whether it is an Imperial Star Destroyer clone, a starship Enterprise clone, or a spacegoing oared galley. Points are points are points. Any arguments of the form “my X-point unit should beat your X-point unit because gigatons,” “because missiles are superior to beams,” “because beams are superior to missiles,” or any other such argument will have the moderator(s) landing on it like a ton of spherical masses of iron.
Rule Number Three: Most Rules Are Guidelines
All the rules below, with exceptions I explicitly state, are in some sense ‘guidelines.’ The advantage of following them is that you can design a nation for yourself with little difficulty, without having to pester game moderators, and automatically get something that is more or less ‘fair’ compared to what other people are doing. It gives us a baseline and standard of comparison.
However, if you have a cool idea that doesn’t fit within these rules, feel free to bring it up with the mods, bounce it around the OOC threads, and generally try and play with it. You are encouraged to be creative. The rules exist to make things easier for the average player, not to be a straitjacket for the extraordinary one.
Rule Number Four: Micronations
Basically, anyone who wants to participate in the game is free to create for themselves a ‘micronation,’ along with the major nation they may or may not be playing. This is a polity much smaller and weaker than a major nation, one which is usually confined to a single sector, and often to a single system. This offers more flexibility in storylines; it was used successfully in SDNW4.
A micronation should have very limited military forces, especially in terms of power projection. Players are cautioned against making up micronations just so that they have allies in the event of a conflict- micronations should have their own independent and interesting existence, preferably one that can act as a backdrop for more than one player.
Normally, a micronation should be assembled using 5 NCP or less. A lot of good micronations will be worth 1 NCP or less- single-system or sub-planet polities of limited economic strength. If you don’t know what NCPs mean, you will in a moment...
[more stuff ensues, not relevant at the moment]