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What is ASR?

ASR is short for alt.starfleet.rpg, the name of a Usenet newsgroup, as well as the interactive fiction club which operates under its auspices. It is a role playing game, for lack of a better description. The 'campaign' is set in the universe of Star Trek, some fifty years after the events of Star Trek: The Next Generation. If this sounds interesting, check out the group in your newsreader.

I see the USS WHATEVER on the newsgroup. Obviously, that's a ship, right? But what does that mean?

Those ships are what we call role playing units (you may have seen others--like SB/starbase, DS/deep space station, [FT]/free thread). They are players who follow one storyline together, each of whom has a character with a senior staff position (engineering officer, security officer, etc) on the ship or station in question.

So how do I join a ship?

The way ASR runs, you do not join a ship (or other unit) directly. You join the club. We have a system in place to acquaint you with the rules and customs here, so you don't have to guess at what will be expected of you.

So how do I join this club?

In order to get started, you need to send mail to the Chief of Star Fleet Operations. Include your name, email address, and the name of the character you wish to play. You should also develop a short bio (you can use our biographical file generator if you are unfamiliar with the process) which at minimum includes information like species, gender, age, speciality, history, and personality profile. Later, one of the fleet commanders will help you embellish the bio and will tell you if your character idea is playable in the ASR universe.

I always wanted to be a Star Fleet Officer. Can I use my real name for my character?

No; we ask that you do not use your real name for any of your characters in alt.starfleet.rpg. We are not a Trek SIMM but rather an interactive fiction forum. As you play the game, you will see that writers are often quite different from the characters they play. We've found that character interaction tends to go much more smoothly if there is a clear distinction between the player and the character. Besides, this gives people the opportunity to play species, genders, and interests that are not their own.

Please keep in mind that many ASR players are quite serious about the writing element of the game and want to interact with credible characters rather than just projections of the players' own personalities.

Right, so I didn't use my real name. Can the Fleet Commander still refuse to approve my character?

Yes. Why? This is to make sure that we don't have disruptive characters assigned to ships. 'Disruptive' includes things like active connections to the mafia/underworld and/or rival intelligence communities, extraordinary offensive psionic capability, "hard" immortality (Q like beings), felony criminal records, training as an assassin, etc. These are precisely the same things that would cause MUSH/MOO wizards to refuse to approve you and are generally not conducive to good role play.

The Fleet Commander also looks closely special "red flags." These include enlisted service experience (mustang or fleet appointments), special operations training, marine/naval commensurate commissions, non-felony criminal records, conscientious objection, unusual age, awards/medals/decorations obtained at Star Fleet Academy, unexplained leaves of absence, obscure racial origins, shapechanging/shapeshifting ability, soft immortality, extensive psychological problems, and other such exceptional characteristics.

The character probably *will* be approved, but you are encouraged to -balance- characters and use such backgrounds *only* if you are responsible with them. Things that confer 'status/advantages' over others are subject to a certain scrutiny. We expect you to remember that you are playing and writing with other people. Nevertheless, some of these "red flags," if used *responsibly* do make for very interesting characters. We are not trying to limit creativity, but we have a responsibility to make things fair and fun for *all* players. Good judgment, character balance, and maturity go a long way.

OK, I now have a character approved. What happens now?

New players are integrated into ASR directly; they move from the office of the Chief of Star Fleet Operations to the fleet commander of the intended unit. Once the new player reports to the fleet commander, they will go over the new player's bio to ensure it is balanced and playable. Fromt here, the new player sent on to the unit on which he/she will play.

Any training will take place after the player reaches his unit; this training, provided by the command team of the unit, will show you the mechanics of the game in what amounts to 'on the job' training. You will also receive the ALB QuickStart Guide which tells you more about how to play the game.

I've got a lot of RP experience. Can I start out as a Captain?

While we do sometimes take into consideration previous exerience in other role-play games, in practice all new players to ASR start out as Ensigns or Second Lieutenants. We have found that regardless of prior RP experience, ASR is somewhat unique in its organization and structure. There is a rich implicit culture to be absorbed. Also, with nearly 200 people around the world from all walks of life, there are lots of things which make 'good captains.' Rather than asking people to submit 'real life resumes,' all players start on an equal footing and are selected for command roles based on how they perform here. Furthermore, there is no 'rank reciprocity' with other Trek based organizations. The characters have rank in ASR not the players. We do, however, welcome experienced players and Trek enthusiasts and find that almost without exception 'talent and knowledge will out.'

I'm not a Star Trek expert. Can I still play?

Yes; by all means. ASR attracts a lot of people with very different interests--some are Trekkers, others are not. We have units that emphasize gaming, others that focus on interactive storytelling. Regardless of your area of interest (classic Trek, hardcore science fiction, military fiction, space opera), there should be at least one ship in ASR to accommodate your tastes.

Is it possible to play multiple characters?

Yes; however, you must demonstrate a certain level and consistency of activity on your unit first. For further information, see the Second Character FAQ.

Another question: This is the world of TNG, where are the USS ENTERPRISE, DS9, and the USS VOYAGER?

In deference to Paramount/Viacom, we do not use the USS ENTERPRISE or USS VOYAGER or any of the main characters for our active role play (though brief mention may be made of them). DS9 does exist, but is not in active play and is not staffed by any characters in the series.

ASR Prime? ASR Origins?

ASR Prime is the original universe and timeline. It occurs a few decades later, following the events of TNG.

ASR Origins is a timeline based on the J. J. Abrams Star Trek movie.

OK, one more question--I've sent mail to the Personnel Officer, but haven't gotten a response. What do I do now?

Please remember that all the administrative work in ASR is done by volunteers. Unlike SIMMs or similar games, people do not schedule themselves to be online at certain times. Everyone has a real life. Please be patient. But, if you've waited more than 3 days, mail the Chief of Star Fleet Operations, directly. If you still don't get a reply, send mail to the Commander-in-Chief, Star Fleet.

OK, so I read this whole FAQ, can live with the rules (and am still interested.) Where can I go for more info?

Visit our website, or lurk on the newsgroup or our web archive.

Welcome to ASR!

Document History:

This document was edited by Scott Lusby, and was authored by D'Maris Coffman and Andrea Schalk.