Players have a number of rights when playing in Dark Eclipse. Players have the right to....
|Play||The right to participate actively in the game|
|The majority of the time a player spends gaming, he should be making decisions, exploring, creating, overcoming challenges, or otherwise acting upon the game world in some way. Players come to play, not to watch NPC theatre or feel as if they are gaming in a linear environment. Notice that I say the majority of the time. Non-interactive elements are not forbidden, but they should not take up more than 10% of the playing time. (This is the absolute maximum; many gamers would contend that non-interactive elements should take up no more than 1% of the playing time of the game, if that.)|
|Win||The right to have a strong chance of succeeding at properly prepared-for endeavours|
|If players enter into challenges and have properly prepared they should expect a strong possibility of success. However, if the players run off without appropriate preparation or do not have appropriate levels of foresight or follow through, they can expect a much lesser chance of success.|
|Question||The right to seek clarification of any rules|
|The player has the right at any time to call for an OOC moment to ask for clarification on any rules. Furthermore, the player has the right to be confused and for guidance from the storytelling staff in the matter of further character development.|
|Disagree||The right to disagree with Staff rulings and argue his or her case|
|The player has the right to disagree with a ruling made on the floor by the narrator in charge of the scene once and at the time of the disagreement. The narrator should give the player enough time to make their case before making their final ruling. The player does not have the right to continue to badger or harass the narrator after the ruling has been made.|
|Arbitration||The right to appeal rulings on gameplay to the full Staff|
|If a player disagrees with a ruling, he should continue the scene so as not to interfere with the gaming of others around him. At the end of the night, the player has the right to put forth a concern to the entire storytelling staff for further review. The ruling after this appeal is final.|
|Make Decisions||The right to make meaningful, roleplay-oriented decisions|
|There's a carnival game called “Whack-a-Mole.” You stand in front of a table with a lot of round holes in it, and at irregular intervals a mechanical mole pops up at random from one of the holes. You have to hit it with a big rubber mallet before it disappears again. You get points for every mole you hit, and the game ends when you have missed a certain number of them. There's no decision-making at all. That might be OK as a three-minute, one-dollar game for little kids, but as a video game, it won't do.
The right to make decisions is related to Sid Meier's definition of gameplay as “a series of interesting choices.” Personally I think his definition is a bit too vague, but if a game is nothing but a series of physical challenges with no decision-making, it's lame. It takes almost no design effort to incorporate some decision-making into a game. With “Whack-a-Mole,” all you have to do is make some moles worth more points than others; then the player has to decide whether the optimal strategy is to wait for the high-value moles to be sure of getting one, or whack away at everything and risk missing the valuable ones.
|Swift Death||The right to die quickly once character death has been assured|
|If the player has made a decision, or failed at a challenge, that will inevitably lead to character death, then the character should die promptly. The game must not keep his hopes up, stringing him along for minutes or hours, before revealing that he has lost his character. This only applies if there's no way out, of course. If there's still a way to come back from the brink, then obviously he should be given the chance to do so.|
|Leave||The right to leave a scene or game at any time|
|The player has the right to leave the game for any reason at any time, either permanently or temporarily, so long as they are willing to accept the consequences of their actions, and that quitting a scene in anger does not remove your character from the scene or shield it from consequences of that scene.|
|Player Representation||The right to put concerns to the Player Representative rather than directly to Staff|
|The player has the right to put forth all concerns to the player representative instead of directly to the storytelling staff. The player does not have the right to complain anonymously and expect their complaints to be given any weight. The player also has the right to ask the player representative to advocate for them in any situation which negatively affects them as a player (not character).|
|Have a Voice||The right to have a say in staffing decisions|
|If the players feel that a storyteller is not meeting their needs, all active players* have the right to call a vote (tabulated by the player representative) of no-confidence against a storyteller. If there is a simple majority seeking no confidence and the players are willing to lend their names to the request, that storyteller should step down by the end of the next session. Furthermore, if the storytelling staff wishes to add to their number, the players have a right to hold the same vote to voice their approval or disapproval of the choice.|
|Not Be Insulted||The right not to be deliberately and personally insulted|
|I downloaded somebody's version of Minesweeper for my cell phone the other day. Minesweeper is one of those games that you can lose instantly, by pure bad luck. It's a short game, so that's OK. But in this particular version, if you accidentally trigger a mine, the game puts up a message saying, “Better learn the RULES,” and that's simply insulting. Of course I know the rules. This need to taunt the player for making a mistake, or losing the game, seems to be a weakness of some storytellers, and it's a bad practice. With a lot of games, the only way to win is by repeatedly losing until you know your way through them. If I'm going to be subjected to snide remarks every time this happens, a lot of the fun goes out of the game. It's a sure sign that the storyteller is storytelling for himself, not for the player. Notice that I said “insulted,” not “offended.” People can be offended by a lot of things, often without the storyteller intending it. But an insult is deliberate and personal, and there's no excuse for it.|
- Active players are players who have attended a minimum of the last three out of four game sessions.