What Is Velvet Skies?

  • February 6, 2006 at 8:18 pm #1643
    VEST Paradox

    [div align=”center”]What is Velvet Skies?[/div]

    Velvet Skies is a role-playing game set during Victorian London in the year 1871. If you are unfamiliar with a role-playing game you can read up on them here [ Role-Playing Games ]. In this game you play a character, and through that you create stories, plots, and intrigues. This is a game based around the creation of stories and fiction, set with rules to let you know just what your character can and cannot do. Through interaction with other players and events throughout the game the story of your character is molded and in some cases drastically altered as you play. Any number of stories can be created, and any number of events to go with them. You are the player, you create the character, and with the character you shape the course of the game. The game is fundamentally a Gothic Horror game, though elements of weird science, steampunk, and romance are surely to be found.

    The Rulebook

    Even though the game is built around storytelling, it's still a RPG and has rules to follow. The Rulebook began in a more simple form in 1996 as part of the game Black Bayou, but has evolved over the years. This current set of rules was done in order to streamline and balance the game so that no single Breed is more powerful or potent than any other. For the most part, the rules have been completely re-written to fit into the scope of this era, not only the time frame, but the general principles and ideas behind the games creation.

    The rules are used to arbitrate scenes that cannot be resolved through Role-Playing (i.e. combat in most cases) as well as defining what your character can and cannot do. Everyone would enjoy playing a fabulously wealthy, gorgeous, genius, but how many wealthy, attractive geniuses do you know? This is a game of make believe, but it's confined with the laws of reality. It possesses science and the supernatural, but when it comes to the rules, these are concrete concepts to order the game and make things fair and balanced for everyone.

    You should take this opportunity to scan through the Rulebook. You don't have to memorize it or even read it all right away. Just try to gain a basic understanding of the world and of what your character can do. The Rulebook is conveniently located on the web page in the forums and can be navigated like any other forum. Be sure to read through the rules in the Core Rules section so you'll learn the technical aspects of creating your own character.

    The Storyteller

    A storyteller is a referee who has been fully trained in using the following rules as well as the concepts of scenery, time and distances. The players decide what the actions their own characters take while the Storytellers describe the actions of everyone else in the game (Non Player Characters). Storytellers are also available to be referees during fights or during scenes where a witnessed dice roll is required. They have been dubbed in the past as, “The impartial observer; the hand of fate.”

    The Dice

    Throughout the rules, you will find references, which say things like, “2d6+Willpower” as a mere example. 2d6 is a universal role-playing game abbreviation meaning, “roll 2 six-sided dice” Don't let this scare you, rolling dice online is much easier than you might think. America Online has provided a convenient command for rolling dice in the chat rooms for both AOL and AIM. On an open line, you type: //roll. It's that easy. When reading the rules, you will also encounter phrases such as, “roll 2d6+Willpower.” These are handled by rolling 2d6. You take the result of the roll and add the listed statistic or modifier for a grand total (see Character Creation for more information).

    Role-playing in the Chat Rooms

    In an offline role-playing game, the players orally describe their character's actions. The same can be said for online role-playing except that we type our character's actions and comments. We have a series of codes that we use while playing in the room to signify certain types of action and speech as well as where our characters are located should they be outside the coffee house, The Athenaeum, which serves as the main scene of the game.

    As you have learned, Velvet Skies is a text-based role-playing game. This means that you read what everyone else is doing, and then you type your response to their actions. Now, there comes a point when typing and / or reading skills play a definite roll in the outcome of a Role-Played scene. This especially becomes an issue when one persons typing skills so outclass another persons, that it causes a major disadvantage for the less experienced typist. As a general rule of RP Etiquette, each player involved should take turns in performing actions and/or responding to a conversation. Consider Role-Playing to be broken up into rounds just like combat is. You state your action then give the other Role-Players an opportunity to state theirs as well. If possible, limit your RP to 15-second actions. Think of how much your character can do in 30 seconds, and send that in one group of lines, then give the other player a good 2, maybe even 3 minutes to get their actions out. This ensures that the Role-Playing is performed fairly and all characters involved in the scene have a chance to react. In most situations, a fast typist abusing their typing skills to get in more then 15 seconds worth of action before allowing others to react causes nothing more than confusion in the scene being played. However, this can become an extremely unfair advantage in cases such as when the use of non-combat masteries, skills, or other IC actions where one player is attempting to get in 3 or 4 actions against another character without allowing that other character to react. If such an abuse occurs, the character who was not allowed to respond properly to the actions going on should contact the room host (VECH) at the time for instructions on what to do. It would then be decided if the scene needs to be overturned, or if it will be allowed anyway.

    When you wish your character to take an action, you simply describe the actions in as much or as little detail as you desire. Because of chat room smileys and other problems, we now use a novel format to describe action. Actions are just normal text. For instance:

    Harold Haversham : Walks into the Athenaeum and peers around for his host for the evening.

    When you would like your character to speak to another, you simply type the spoken text in quotes as seen above. You may occasionally wish to mix actions with spoken text.

    Reginald Longstreet : “Over here good chap, so glad you could make it!” He said as he moved through the crowd to guide his guest to their table.
    Harold Haversham : “Why Reginald, I wouldn't have missed it for the world!”

    Many of the supernatural characters in the game are gifted with the ability to speak with their minds. We call this ability Telepathy and have a special way to indicate when we use it. Enclosing the text in dashes (– –) helps others to know that if their name isn't in the field, they do not hear it.

    Reginald Longstreet : — ( Harold ) You know they plan on executing hi tonight don't you. They found him guilty of Heresy; he's to be burnt at the stake. —

    There are times when we'd like our character to either take action against another or attempt to do something that involves the hand of fate. There are several ways of handling this.

    When you wish your character to take an action that directly involves a character, the situation may be resolved with the use of dice rolling. This is where the Character Sheet you will later create comes into play. At this point you may wish to find a Storyteller to help judge the contest or you could all decide to go at it by yourselves. For a simple, one roll action (using a mastery, for instance) you can remain in the main playroom. These simple rolls do not really disrupt the role-playing that much. However, if your scene will require multiple die rolls, we ask you to please meet in a Private Room so that you do not disrupt the other players. For more information about combat and taking other actions, please see the Combat chapter.

    Alternately, you can choose to contact the player of the character you wish to take action against and tell them that you are doing something to or against them. If you choose to role-play the scene out without using your Character Sheet or rolling dice, you are free to do so, however this must be a mutual acceptance. Any special abilities or masteries that require a roll to activate them must be rolled and posted in the ST's Lair on the forums.

    Questions and Comments

    We welcome the questions and comments of anyone who wishes to express them. Please feel free to contact any of the room hosts you see in the game room either while they were hosting or in email and they should be able to help direct your email to the appropriate staff member. Feel free to send any mail to VEMailroom@aim.com with your question and it will be redirected to a host working in the proper area.

    Glossary of Terms and Role-playing Symbols

    [plain text] designates a role-played action.
    — — indicates the use of Telepathy or similar ability
    * before the text indicates that the character is outside the Athenaeum
    + before the text indicates the character is inside the main scene, The Athenaeum, but is in a separate room (the bathroom or office, for instance).
    J* is used when you are playing your character in jail.
    [ g ] indicates a grin
    [ eg ] indicates an evil grin
    [ weg ] indicates a wicked evil grin
    [ w ] indicates a whisper
    [ vqw ] indicates a very quiet whisper
    [ m ] indicates a mumble or words spoken in a muttering tone

    2d6: This is the universal abbreviation for rolling 2 six-sided dice (//roll).
    Action: The activity a character participates in. When the player takes an action for his character, they describe what the character is attempting to do.
    Background: This is the past of your character. It is a vital tool to understanding who and what your character is. It is also the first step of creating a character.
    Breed: Velvet Skies has many different types of beings roaming the landscape. We classify these beings by their true nature, or breed.
    Character Sheet (CS): This is the form we use to keep track of our characters. The items listed on this form detail the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of our characters. You must first have an approved character sheet before you can take actions that require dice rolls.
    In Character (IC): This is a phrase used to describe a scene, action, and comment; basically, anything that is considered to be “in game” and something a character may be aware of.
    Modifiers: These are numbers that are added to a dice roll that mix an aspect of your character in with the die roll to improve their chances of succeeding. A modifier is found by adding other statistics and skills of the character together. The three Modifiers are Awareness, Discipline, and Presence.
    Non-Player Character (NPC): This is the term used to describe a character that is not controlled by a player. A storyteller is generally the one who plays the role of a NPC.
    Out of Character (OOC): This phase is used when referring to something or idea that is taken out of the context of the game. OOC represents something you might know as a player but your character wouldn't know because it isn't “in game.”
    Player Character (PC): This is the term used to describe the character that a player has created and controls.
    Round: A confrontational encounter is divided into rounds. A round represents the amount of time it takes for each combatant to take an action. For the sake of simplicity, a round is defined as a standard 15-second time span.
    Scene: The scene is described as an entire encounter. The scene often changes with the scenery and the situation. For easy reference, you can assume the following: When the confrontational situation begins, so does the scene. When the encounter ends, the scene ends as well.
    Skills: Each character has certain abilities, which they have learned throughout their lives. Everything from playing musical instruments, firing a pistol to performing a back flip to driving a carriage could be considered a skill.
    Statistics: Statistics are the part of the character sheet that details the direct qualities that make up our characters. The statistics are: Body, Mind and Soul.
    Storyteller (ST): A Storyteller is a referee who has been fully trained in using the following rules as well as the concepts of scenery, time and distances. They are also referees for character conflict as well as witnesses for die rolls.
    Target Number (TN): A target number is the total the score of a die roll must meet with the character's modifiers added in order for the action to succeed.
    Turn: The turn is the time span it takes an individual character to take their action. There are as many turns in a round as there are characters and non-player characters involved in the scene. Almost any action may be attempted during a turn, so long as the action would take no more than 3 seconds.
    Vis: Each breed has certain “mystical” abilities that only they can learn. These abilities are powers granted to them by their true nature through hard work and study of themselves. Each breed's powers are called something different, Mortals have Abilities, Magi have Spells, and Psions have Talents. As new breeds open up or are added to the game, their unique powers will also surface.

    In Closing

    We appreciate your interest in the game. Once again, welcome. We look forward to meeting you under the Velvet Skies.

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