Althanas 4.0 FAQ

Here you can find answers to questions about how the board works. Use the links or search box below to find your way around.

Welcome to Althanas

Welcome to Althanas.com, the Internet's most exciting fantasy play-by-post role-playing game. Althanas is a community dedicated to both innovative role-playing, and to improving the writing of its players. As a new member of the forum, we recommend reading through this guide as you create your character and explore Althanas' features.

What is Althanas?

Althanas, a Play-by-Post Role-Playing Game (or PbP for short), was founded in January of 2002 as a sister site to AllRPG.com. In a PbP, you create a character and write stories from that characters perspective, as you would in any piece of fiction. Often in a PbP, youll work collaboratively with other players, teaming up to write a story together. Wikipedia.com's entry on PbP offers a quick summary of this process:

"The first message posted onto a thread of that nature is usually one person laying down the scenario, starting a story about their character and inviting others. If successful, the thread then becomes an ongoing story in which players periodically advance the plot by reading the latest reply and then typing a short paragraph or two about what their character does and how the environment changes in response. These replies are often open-ended so that other players can continue."

Althanas is no different. What separates us from other forums, however, is our emphasis on improving the writing of our players. At the conclusion of each role-playing thread, Althanas staffers can offer advice and comments on how the story could be improved through a process called "Judgments." This follows a point based grading system called, Althanas Rubric," and is discussed in this section of the guidelines. Of course, this process is entirely optional, as many writers here are content simply to write for the enjoyment of it. The "No Judgment" option is available for such situations. Be sure to explore the various types of judgments, also outlined in this section.

Forum Registration

(Note: This section explains how to register on a vBulletin - most players will already know how to do this and should move to the next chapter, "Character Registration.")

The first step in becoming a member of Althanas is to register your user name - with this registered account, you will fight battles, participate in quests, and enter tournaments. Most of your writing on the forum will involve your character, so registering a user name with your character in mind is the first step towards making your stay at Althanas a worthwhile experience.

Once you click the registration link, youll be taken to a page asking for your date of birth (your own, not your characters). You will then be asked to agree to the forum rules.

Next comes a page which asks for your user name. Your user name does NOT have to be your character's name, but it is highly recommended. The rest of this page is self-explanatory, although we call your attention to the profanity filter at the bottom. This allows you to select words that you would like censored on the forum.

Creating Your Character Profile

The profile page serves as part of your character sheet for Althanas (it appears to the left of your posts), and filling this out correctly, as well as maintaining your Realm of Greeting thread (detailed later), is key to your character's success on the forum. Remember, the most important rule about your character is that he or she (or it!) must be your own work - you cannot role-play as Luke Skywalker, or Legolas, or Elton John. However, you may borrow or use parts of your favorite character, meaning that you can make a character that is based loosely off of him or her, provided you use an original name and make it so that the character you are registering isn't recognizable as a character from another setting.

Let's go over a few tips for the profile fields:

1) Full Name: The first field of your profile is Full Name. As mentioned before, your forum user name does NOT have to be your character's actual name. It's recommended to have your user name relate to your Full Name. It makes it easier for the other players to remember you, and lends credibility to your character. As fun as it might be for your user name be "Enter Sandman," after your favorite song, and your character's Full Name "Lord Deathwin," it would probably come off as more silly then cool.

If you have trouble naming your character, try using one of the internets fantasy name generators, such as the one found here.

2) Race: Althanas has no required race for your character, so he or she can be can be any common fantasy group (Human, Elves, Dark Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Goblins, etc.) or species you want, even one of your own creation. Keep in mind, though, that the regions which make up the world of Althanas are each dominated by one major race (the exception is the island of Coron, where populations are almost equal). Below is a small chart of the predominant race of each region:

Alerar: Dark Elves/Dwarves
Berevar: Orcs
Corone: Mixed
Fallien: Humans
Raiaera: Elves
Salvar: Humans
Deathain: Draconian/Fae

3) Age: For normal humans, this one is quite simple. When dealing with races that have extended lifespans, feel free to include an approximate human equivalent. Your character's age should be an accurate representation of his physical abilities. Most players, wanting a character that is somewhat realistic, will select a starting age when their character would be in his or her physical prime.

4) Gender: Male, female, it, neither, or maybe even both?

5 & 6) Hair Color & Eye Color These fields involve aspects of your character's appearance. When it comes to hair and eye color, be creative - any combination of colors is possible.

7) Perk:You can leave this alone for now - it will come into play later on!

8) Occupation: If your character had a job before he or she was an adventurer, list it here. If not, then Adventurer is fine. Note, this is strictly story-based. On Althanas, your character's profession will not affect the gameplay, such as what items your characters starts with.

9) Weapon, Armor, and Skill/Item: Your characters favorite weapon, favorite armor, and a few of the skills or items that make him or her different from other characters. You will go into more detail about these choices when you make your Character Sheet in the Realm of Greeting forum.

10) Location: His or her hometown, or a frequented Althanas region.

Thats all there is to your profile page. Next we will discuss how to get your character approved so that you can begin to role-play on Althanas.

Your Character Sheet and the Realm of Greeting

After filling out your profile, your first stop should be to the forum near the top of Althanas, the Realm of Greeting. There you will make a thread (called a character sheet) detailing your character and the skills he or she starts with. You will also be asked to provide your character's history, and any equipment he or she starts with. Once you have posted the thread, a moderator will look to approve your character.

Here is the format of the character sheet and some tips on filling it out:

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Name:
Age:
Race:
Hair Color:
Eye Color:
Height:
Weight:
Occupation (Optional):

Personality (Optional): Give us an idea of your characters traits. How does he or she interact with other people? What does he or she think about themselves?

Appearance: Describe your character as he or she would appear to someone else. Links to reference material is allowed, but a text description is preferred.

History: You should make your character's history as detailed and as creative as possible. The more history your character has, the more interesting stories you will be able to write about him when you begin role-playing. However, be careful not to use clichs, or other commonly used plotlines. It seems that every other character's parents were killed in some accident or murder, and that their death was what led the character to become a hero. A detailed history is not required to play, but you'll find that building one helps you to immediately jump into your story on the forums. It will also help give direction for future character growth.

Skills: Please clearly define and list every skill your character has. Skills are subjective abilities, based solely on your character's knowledge, that can have an indirect affect on another character. Common Althanas skills are swordplay or marksmanship. You may include adjectives to describe your skills as well. For example, you can make your character a "master swordsman," but realize that your equipment quality and your tangible abilities might be too low to make this claim true. Skills are not moderated by the Realm of Greeting staff on Althanas. Instead, they are moderated by the judges who read your threads. We allow you to have as many skills as you want, so long as you don't powergame.

Abilities: Please clearly define and list every ability your character has. Abilities are tangible actions or traits that have a direct affect on another player. They includes magic, speed, strength, etc. Racial traits, like elfish reflexes, are also considered abilities. When considering racial traits, the moderators will ask you to compare them to a human. Each ability must be written individually on your profile. Characters can begin with three (3) abilities. This number increases as the character's level increases. Note: Control over magic of a particular type will be considered a single ability, however you will be asked what your character can do with it at each level.

Notes on Ability Combination. Recall that characters only have a certain number of abilities at each level.

-- "Stacked abilities," or individual abilities that combine to enhance the affect of the abilities, will be considered a separate, unique ability at each level. For example, a fire tornado created by combining wind and fire control would be considered stacked and would have to be listed separately of the fire and wind entries. Passive abilities (abilities that are always "on") that intentionally combine with active abilities are considered "stacked" as well. An example of this is the ability to see in darkness combined with the ability to create darkness.

-- "Sequential abilities," or individual abilities that are used one after another to create a combination result, do not count as a separate, unique ability at each level. For example, if a character uses the wind to trip a character and then throws a fireball at him while he's on the ground, this "wind-trip-ball" is not considered a unique ability and does not have to be listed. This will be moderated by typical powergaming rules (which prevent the use of too many attacks in one post).

Equipment: It is not necessary to list all traveling necessities, but if you have items unique to your character, you should describe them under this category. Remember that you will be able to purchase more equipment for your character in our market forum, the Bazaar.

Familiars (Optional): A familiar is a minor adventuring companion, usually a small animal, demon, or humanoid of some sort. This section may be skipped if you do not have one.

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Once youve made this character sheet, copy/paste what you wrote into a new thread in the Character Registration Forum. One of our Approval Moderators will then read your character sheet, and if they feel it needs anything added to it or taken away they'll ask you to modify it. When a moderator determines that your character sheet is acceptable, they will then approve you and you may begin role-playing at Althanas.

Approvals are vital at Althanas because they prevent players from creating overpowered characters. Getting your character approved is a short process, and you can expect a waiting time of only a few hours. Please remember that YOU SHOULDN'T START A BATTLE OR QUEST BEFORE YOUR CHARACTER IS APPROVED. If that rule is violated, a moderator will close the thread until youve been approved, at which point the thread will be reopened.

That's all the information you need to start role-playing on Althanas! If you want to jump right in, feel free to do so - but if you'd like more information on how to introduce your character into the Althanas community, please continue to the next section. Also, if you'd like to learn more about Althanas's many unique features, you can do so by moving to the section entitled "Battles" and "Quests."

The Peaceful Promenade/The Bazaar/Introduction Forum/Chat

Those looking to jump directly into Althanas role-playing often start with The Peaceful Promenade. The Peaceful Promenade is an in-character forum where you can create open threads, and introduce your character to other players. Threads in the Peaceful Promenade can still earn you rewards (experience and gold), and you do have the option of having them judged if you so choose. It is typically a place without violence, but occasionally a disagreement can erupt to so much more.

The Bazaar is the Althanas marketplace - your character can buy almost any item there to use in role-playing threads.

Finally, the Introduction Forum is an Out-of-Character chat where you can introduce yourself to the members of Althanas. Tell us everything that's interesting about you, so we can welcome you to our forum. You are also more than welcome to join the site's chat, which can be accessed from the top of the page. Althanas' members are very friendly, and they would be more than happy to help you with any step in your character or role play creation. After you're settled in, chat can be a fun place just to relax and socialize with like-minded people.

Submitting Your Work (Judgments)

On Althanas, when you complete your first quest or battle thread, you will then submit it for judgment. This means a team of staff members will read your work, offer you feedback on your writing technique, and reward you for your efforts in Experience Points and Gold Points. These points can then be used to power up your character sheet later for further threads and stories. If you are not interested in having someone else comment on your work, know that there is a "no judgment" option available. You are not required to receive commentary. However, the option is there should you like it.

When submitting for a judgment, it is important to know what you are requesting. Take a moment to look at the descriptions below to help you select the proper feedback for you. As a note, you do not need to submit your character sheet for judgment. The Realm of Greeting Staff are already keeping an eye out for new profiles to approve.

Full Rubric:
This offers the writer the most feedback and is typically handled by more experienced staff. The judgment is graded using the Althanas Rubric and commentary is given under each segment. It will be common for the judge to pull out specific quotes to illustrate a point or single out errors. This judgment is the most time consuming, and wait times are estimated to be between two and four (2-4) weeks.

Condensed Rubric:
Instead of commentary for every category, the judge will only score and comment in the four master categories of the Althanas Rubric: Plot, Character, Prose, and Wildcard. Quotes and specific examples may be used, but are less frequent than in Full Rubric Judgments. These typically take around two (2) weeks to complete.

Competitive writing, such as battles, tournaments, and quest league entries, are always either a Condensed or Full Rubric.

Basic Judgment:
This Judgment shows point totals in the four main groups (Plot, Character, Prose, Wildcard) only, but the commentary is just three strengths and three weaknesses in the overall content. Previous basic judgments are referenced on additional basic judgments to discuss improvements. Improvements will be additional commentary after the three strengths and weaknesses on the additional judgments. Please note to the staff which thread was previously judged in this method. This Judgment can be completed in one to two (1-2) weeks.

Workshop:
Judging staff posts an entry into the Writers Workshop forum. Then, the thread receives rewards from an automatic score based on the community's upper average. The rewards are posted immediately and peer feedback is open for 30 days. This option is best for quick rewards and group input from your peers instead of a single judge. Anyone who contributes their feedback to a workshop will also receive impressive rewards.

No Judgment:
The thread is given rewards only based on a flexible average. No feedback or score will be posted. This is the best method for quick turnaround. These will be tended to by the judge administrator and awarded within 24 hours.

Creating Canon

Welcome to the Canon Submission Guide, your definitive handbook for world building on Althanas. Canon is the official lore of Althanas, including important locations, people and events. In other words, it is the foundation upon which our interactive world is based.

Much of our canon, especially region and historical information, has been compiled over the years by numerous content moderators. Some lands, such as Dheathain, were added through contests, and some events were added following major featured quests, like To Rule All Flesh, the XemZund Saga.

In the past, it was very difficult for individual players to affect canon, but that is about to change with the advent of this system. Starting now, players like you can submit your ideas and make them a permanent part of Althanas history. Our players have changed throughout the years, but the core ideas remain. If you submit something to canon, it will be here for years to come.

Affecting Canon

So, how do you affect canon? The short answer is to immerse yourself and your character in the Althanas setting. The long answer is to submit canon for moderator review. Keep in mind that not every idea, wiki entry or storyline you submit will become official canon, and thats okay. Everyone can have his or her own private storylines on the site, and that will always be encouraged.

What can be submitted to canon? Basically anything. Some common examples include:

Flora
Fauna
Races
Religions
Cultures
Locations
Cities
Subregion
Regions
Historical Events
Current Events


This is not an exhaustive list. Well even consider the more niched material, including songs, ales, or anything else you can come up.

All canon submissions will be reviewed by the content staff, then will be approved or denied accordingly. There are no set rules for the process, as all canon submissions are unique, but we will give fair consideration to everything we receive. Before evaluating the submitted material, the moderator will run a conflict check to ensure that there are no conflicts with existing canon. For example, if you submit the official tree of Corone, well make sure no one has previously submitted it. Then we run a 3 three factor review to determine what submissions will become canon. This is our standard for review.

The factors we use to determine what submissions will become canon are:

Severity
Scope
Permanence


Severity measures how much of an affect the submission will have on writing of other player characters. For example, killing the Jyas fourth cousin is less extreme than assassinating the Jya herself. Similarly, sowing political unrest in a city is less severe than inciting race riots against elves, which might prevent someone else's elf character from being in that area.

Scope measures the size of the submissions affected area. For example, adding an entirely new region or subregion, which would require major changes to the map, is larger in size than the addition of a small mining town in Salvar. Similarly, a border skirmish between fiefdoms in Salvar would be smaller than an all out war between Corone and Raiaera for control of Lornius.

Permanence measures the length in in time of the submission will last or remain effective. For example, a quest where characters discover, reveal and destroy an ancient evil in a closed fashion, would be less permanent than a meteor falling from the sky and permanently destroying a portion of Concordia.

Canon submissions are broken down into three tiers. Tier 1 submissions are generally mild in severity, scope and permanence. Tier 2 submissions are generally moderate in severity, scope and permanence. Obviously then, tier 3 submissions are generally great in severity, scope and permanence.

Submitting Canon Now that you have the basics, heres how to submit canon:

1) Click the Canon Submission link, located by clicking the "Lore" tab at the top of your screen as seen here:



2) Once youve arrived at the Canon Submission Link, choose a type of submission from the drop down list. If you do not see your type listed, please select Other. Here is what it looks like:



3) Choose your anticipated tier: 1, 2 or 3, as seen here:



4) Add required information, as indicated below.

Tier 1 submissions will include simple additions to the current regions, like discovering a new plant or animal. Submissions for tier one will require the following information:
- Name of item
- A Brief description including any special features
- Location
- A link to a completed wiki entry (stub) with all relevant info with suggested edits on core wiki pages

Typically, provided tier 1 submissions do not conflict with existing canon, we will almost always approve them. They generally only require a change or additional link to the core wiki pages.

Tier 2 submissions will include additions to the current regions that provide expanded information, like races, minor events, small cities, specific cultures, and religions. Submissions for tier two items will require the following information:
- For a new race, information on the history, appearance and any special traits
- For culture/religion, information on the history, core beliefs, important rituals, holidays, area of influence and major gods
- For cities, the location, landmarks, unique features, population & any other information that may set the city apart from others in the region
- For a historical event, information regarding the event, important participants and relative dates
- For current events, a link to a completed and judged thread incorporating the change with an attached summary
- For all, a link to a completed wiki entry, with all relevant info with suggested edits on core wiki pages

Our goal is to also approve as many tier 2 submissions as possible, though with greater discretion. When considering events, factors like number of participants in the thread and the score will also be considered. However, they are not dispositive factors, so do not be discouraged from submitting no judgment or workshopped threads as canon events.

Note: Tier 1 and 2 submissions VIA wiki (i.e. those that do not require completed and judged threads) are first come, first served. They can only be changed thereafter VIA quest. For example, if someone has submitted the official flower of Raiaera as a tier 1 submission, a second player cannot submit a change to the flower without a related quest.

Tier 3 submissions will include major changes to a region or the world as a whole. This will include the deaths of any major figures as well as the discovery of a new region or continent. Purifying the Red Forest is an example of a recent major Tier 3 canon change. Submissions for tier 3 items will require the following information:
- For a new region/continent- Size, location, population, history, dominate races, cultural and religious preferences, technology level, terrain, major imports and exports, weather conditions
- For a historical event, information regarding the event, important participants and relative dates
- For current events, a link to a completed and judged thread incorporating the change with an attached summary
- For all, a link to a full wiki entry, with all relevant info with suggested edits on core wiki pages

Tier 3 approvals will be rare, as they require quite a bit of input from content moderators and other staff members on how to properly incorporate them into the world, but again, do not be discouraged from submitting them. We will try to find ways to turn tier 3 submissions into multiple tier 2 submissions if there is no way to incorporate it as a major change.

5) Click submit. Please allow about 7 days for a submission to be reviewed and an additional 7 days for approved content to be added in important places.

Here is where you input required information and submit. You can adjust the text box size for your submission accordingly by clicking "Increase Size."



Rewards

So what does submitting canon get you? Other than instant recognition and a permanent spot in Althanas history, youll get a few extra neat perks:
Youll obtain the elusive Wiki Contributor Badge, seen here:
All of your wiki entries will receive the official canon marker, seen here:
The wiki entry you create will be locked for editing and will forever state, Submitted by [Your Name].
If you submit an event, youll be featured in the permanent timeline threads in each forum and the master regional timeline in the wiki. Note: Tier 3 event submissions will receive a permanent spot in the master Althanas timeline, as well.

If that isnt good enough for you:
Approved Tier 1 submissions net you 250 EXP AND 100 GP
Approved Tier 2 submissions net you 500 EXP AND 300 GP
Approved Tier 3 submissions net you 1000 EXP AND 500 GP

This is an addition to any bonuses received in the thread, if submitting an event.

You now know all you need to get started, so go out there and write your own legends!

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