Basic Training

An online role-playing game is an text-based role-playing game in which gamers interact via creative writing.

Game Categories

Play By Chat

Some players and Game Masters employ chatrooms for gaming. In this format of roleplaying a team of players will often log into a chat room at a set time and they will participate in a game's storyline in real time, which can enhance the speed of play. With a Play By Chat game a player is required to stay online for the duration of the scene which can last for an extended period of time and, additionally, players have to describe in detail situations that their characters experience.

Play By Email

Play-by-email (PBEM) games are very similar to play by mail games except they utilize email as the delivery method. Very similar to classic tabletop roleplaying games, in a PBEM the Game Master initiates a plot and gamers will email their actions to either the Game Master or all participants on a Mailing List to collaborate. PBEM games have varying play rates with some PBEMs having daily, weekly, biweekly, or even monthly posting requirements for players. In some PBEMS that are known as sims the collaborative storylines are more emphasized with each player writing their own portion of the story, sometimes even controlling other people's characters in the process.

How to Participate

Participating in a PBEM Game can be exceptionally convenient as the messages typically come directly to your inbox depending on the format you selected to receive messages in when enrolling in the game.

  • If you receive Individual E-mails you can directly reply to a message and add your character's additions at the end of the message - only make sure you're replying to the group and not the individual player if you do this so that your work is shared.
  • If you selected Daily Digest you should copy and paste the message you're replying to in a brand new email message each time. You can copy and paste by highlighting the selected text, right clicking on the highlighted entry, and selecting copy or pressing CTRL+C. You can then paste the information into the message body by right clicking and pressing paste or pressing CTRL+V in the message body. You can then type your responses and send your message.
  • If you selected Special Notices or No E-Mail you will have to visit your message group page in order to post.
  • PLEASE NOTE: In some email clients messages may get clumped into conversations which may not show the most recent message in a post last. Always double check to make sure that you're replying to the most recent post in a storyline. Also, some email clients (such as Gmail) may not deliver your post to you as the original sender.

Play By Message Board

Play By Message Board (AKA PBMB Games) are online games hosted from forums. Forums allow players to re-read what they have previously written at a later date, and to read posts made by players in other threads at their leisure and may provide their participants with additional features to enhance gameplay. In this format players will sometimes be exposed to multiple threads simultaneously that they can participate in, sometimes with forums devoted to the main plot and some for subplots to avoid overlap in posting. At times it is possible for two people to post at the same time - a phenomenon known as cross posting - that may require Game Master intervention to repair.

How to Participate

Play By Wiki

A growing phenomenon, a Play By Wiki (PBW) game is a new format of roleplaying that utilizes a Wiki site for gaming purposes instead of a chatroom, email, or forum. Due to the high degree of editing that is possible normally a Game Master will be the primary editor of the groups and can edit the storyline as needed to avoid issues with plot or proofreading. The Wiki also provides an archive of all posting that has been done to the group to maintain an archive.

Game Participants

Game Master

The Game Master is the person who is responsible for the game. He/she sets the storyline and is responsible for ensuring that participants are playing the game. Typically the Game Master will initiate the primary storyline that the group will undertake and player characters post their additions to the storyline. In the event that an action of substance is taken by a character (some examples are firing a phaser, scanning an anomaly) it is the responsibility of the Game Master to post the results of this action. Now basic, non game altering actions you can take without awaiting approval. A Game Master can have any character injured within the group as part of the storyline, but he/she will not kill a player character without approval from that character's owner.

Playing Character

A Playing Character is a character played by a real person. This character may be based upon the player his or herself or the character could be a total opposite of the player. For more information on developing a Player Character please see Character Creation.

Nonplaying Character

A Nonplaying Character is a character that is not normally played by a Player Character and doesn't usually feature as many protections as a Player Character. They are created for storyline purposes and may not appear for more than one storyline. They could be seen as being the supporting cast or extras in a film. At present two distinct types of NPCs have been developed. There are Protected Nonplaying Characters and General Nonplaying Characters. A General Nonplaying character is not as developed as a Player Character and are usually only intended for a specific usage and may not exist longer than a single mission. Any player can create a General NPC; however, they cannot be created with a rank higher than that of a person's PC. The other type of NPC is a Protected NPC. A Protected NPC is owned by a PC and can be created for short or long term usage. A Protected NPC is normally approved by the GM for use and the rank will not exceed that of the PC.

Game Style

All the participants of games in the 16th Fleet are working on a large, interwoven story involving multiple characters on the same ship/station or, at times, multiple platforms. Because of this all games in the 16th Fleet post in the third person narrative format to help with story flow and development. While it is the job of the Commanding Officer/Game Manager to start the story off it is the responsibility of all players to contribute to the story to keep it flowing. Players create their own characters and descriptions of events and their surroundings during play. It is expected that a player should post, at minimum, one comprehensive post per week to participate. Each player brings a new perspective to a story with each post, so please be respectful of others. This is not a business, this is not work, this is for your personal enjoyment so remember that you also don't have to be overly technical in your posting and just tell your story.

The first step in writing a post is to make sure that you've read all the other posts that have come between your last entry and the entry that you're planning. Have their been any changes to your character's environment? Has someone entered or left the scene? Has someone spoken to your character or another? Has a fight broke out or some other event occurred? All of these are important to properly writing a response. Feel free to explore your creativity and remember you character's past while your writing. Try to avoid making your character knowledgeable about events that he/she should not know about. Most importantly, when dealing with dialogue, has someone tagged your character? A tag is when a character speaks specifically to another character for information and it is a request to respond.

After your reviewed the scene you're ready to get started with writing your post. Your post should contain the actions, thoughts, and speech of your character. You are sometimes being the originator of what is going on, but sometimes you are also being reactive to the writings of another. One great thing that any player can do is that he or she can set the scene by employing the character's senses in the message to describe what he or she is experiencing. What does your character think about what's going on around him or her? Is the character excited, have trepidations, or indifferent about what's going on? What about the character's thoughts about the people around him? All of these things give insight into your character and the scene going on. One recommendation that all players should heed is keep things believable. While the majority of our games are science fiction and anything can happen, if your character fires a phaser at the Warp Core or drinks a fast acting poison its most likely that he/she isn't going to have a good outcome. Try to keep your actions believable and consistent. Further, all of us have to remember that we can't always be the center of attention in a storyline. We need to support other players as they participate.

If you have a specific tag as part of a conversation you can post your answer where your tag was located. If you are having a conversation you can end your part of the post after the tag and let another player reply. You shouldn't assume an action or that the conversation is over after a tag unless your character has ended the conversation. Should an action deal with an event that is not integral to the main story and is between two players usually results will be decided between the two players. If two player characters get into a fight, for example, the results should be decided between those two players and will not require Moderator intervention and can be resolved via player to player tag. When you are posting you should try to leave things open-ended instead of final as no assumptions of success should be made. Here is an example:

Korok tried to kiss Riley. Korok kissed Riley.
Sovok attempted to neck pinch Sarah. Sovok neck pinched Sarah.

This format allows Riley's player to decide if Korok was successful. It also let's Sarah determine if Sovok did the neck pinch; avoiding contradiction in posting. In either of these scenarios if a player posted that he/she was successful against another player's action that is a bad phenomenon known as character hijacking (we'll talk more about that in a minute). One easy way to overcome these risks is to speak with one another off list about the storyline and, perhaps even, complete a joint post together off list before posting to help with the story flow.

If the action is related to the entire storyline then the Game Manager should decide how events transpire. Killing the Orion pirate, destroying the Romulan Warbird, or revealing that a Trill you scanned is really a Cardassian could damage the storyline as planned. In these situations it's better to let the GM decide how things transpired. You can tag the Game Manager to respond to an action and he/she will post the results. Here is another example:

Kane fired the phasers, trying to destroy the Borg Cube. Kane fired the phasers, destroying the Borg Cube.
Patty scanned the warp core, trying to find the malfunction. Patty scanned the warp core, finding the malfunction.

As said above writing this way gives the chance for the Game Master to respond according to what was planned for the storyline. If the Borg Cube was meant to survive it would do so, if it was meant to be destroyed then the GM would write it was destroyed. Same goes with Patty's scan. If she's meant to solve the problem the GM will say she succeeded, if she isn't then the GM can post that she failed. These decisions will be employed based on storyline need and not based upon favoritism or any other inappropriate means. Players should also be ready to expect the unexpected in any post. Some of the best storylines come from the unanticipated.

As players grow in ability it can become commonplace to want to explore a side story involving additional characters. The 16th Fleet is very welcoming of this creative process as it adds to the overall enjoyability of our games. Subplots should include more than one person and should be inclusive if other players want to participate. We are very accommodating of efforts to create side stories (or Side quests as they're called in the gaming community), but we like to work closely with the leader of the side quest to ensure it does not conflict with the main story or the overall operation of the 16th Fleet in entirety. All GMs are more than willing to work with a player to develop such a story that improves overall enjoyment of our games.

A final word of warning: avoid hijacking another person's character. This is strictly prohibited in the 16th Fleet as it is considered extremely inappropriate. Character hijacking is where a player takes over another persons character and posts a response from that character's perspective. There will be times when you will need to write in some actions of other players characters to keep things moving, but these should be minor actions only and never dialogue. An exception to this is if a commanding officer or team leader issues orders to a team of officers as it is safe to assume they will do what they've been asked to do. Another aspect of character hijacking that is easy to do is reading a player's thoughts or emotions if you're playing an empath or telepath. Each telepathic and empathic race has an oath not to read someone without permission or an order to do so. We respect that.

Out of Character Comments

Out of Character comments are real life comments and should be kept to a minimum in the game site. A player can ask a question about the game, a situation, or scenario at any time using OOC comments, but please keep general statements ("Did you catch the game last night?" or "What's a good movie this weekend?") to a minimum. This group does promote players to have friendships outside of the PBEM environment, but please use private email, facebook, messenger, or other social media program. Some games do have an OOC Board that players may also use for OOC comments. If you have any questions please feel free to ask your GM for help.

Real World


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