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2.9 Approving Characters

All topics in the Staff Guide discussed so far — installing and tuning Argo, appointing staff, creating realms, defining abilities, groups, objects, etc. — take place as the world is being created, before it is `open for business'... and, naturally, will continue as the world grows and develops. Once you have at least the core of your world built, and a workable set of database entries defined, you can accept character applications. The new players will develop characters, as discussed in the character generation sections of the Player Guide. The final step before active RP begins on your MUCK is character approvals. If you are using auto-approval with the +finished command, players can do this themselves. If though, you are requiring staff approval, a monitor will need to `check off' on new players before they can enter play and use the RP commands in IC areas.

Characters are approved with the +approve command (syntax: +approve <player>). Once a character is approved, she will have full access to Argo commands, and her interactions with the character generation system will change: advantages and disadvantages may no longer be purchased, improving a stat requires a higher number of points, and she can no longer lower stat levels or unlearn skills.

Requirements for character approval will vary widely from MUCK to MUCK, but some general guidelines may be offered:

Your MUCK will only be successful if players want to log on and enjoy roleplaying there. As a monitor, you can have a significant impact on whether or not this happens. Remember that not all new players will be familiar with MUCKs in general, and very few will be familiar with Argo or your MUCK. They have to take in a huge amount of information before they can participate enjoyably. So, simply being helpful is important. Don't make character creation more of an ordeal than it has to be. If a new player seems overwhelmed by choices, suggest starting with a character template, or remind her that she doesn't have go through character generation right away. This point deserves special emphasis: the monitor's job at this stage is helping players generate suitable characters, rather than `allowing' them to play.

The points system creates a level playing field, and getting the most value out of one's starting allotment of points is part of the game. So a character being `too powerful' should not as a rule be a reason for refusing to approve the character. On the other hand, it's quite reasonable to require that a character be balanced and appropriate to the theme of the MUCK. Just what constitutes `balanced and appropriate' will have to be determined by the staff, based on the type of world. One useful tool for discouraging inappropriate characters is the Social Advantage. If a player insists on playing a type of character that is technically allowable but against the spirit of the MUCK, require the player to take 1 to 6 levels of Social Advantage, defining it that the character had a very Unusual Background the would explain his status, and write an appropriate Private Background before approval.

The player will need to enter at least a skeletal background before you can approve the character: advantages and disadvantages — especially status — will need to reflect the character conception. If a player wants to start off a knight, for example, he will need to take at least 2 additional levels of status.

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