ASR Manual Chapter 1: Introduction

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This is the Alt.StarFleet.RPG Manual, the comprehensive reference guide to the Alt.StarFleet.RPG (ASR) online shared-fiction writing and role playing club. It is intended to provide a summary of all that a player needs to know to play ASR. This full volume is intended, primarily, as a reference book to the club. The QuickStart Guide provides a brief summary of all that you need to know to get started, but this volume provides a greater breadth and depth of information.

This document is maintained in HTML format. Graphics are reserved for the appendices only to keep loading times low.


A Few First Words...

Welcome to the beginning of a grand journey of exploration!

"I had the ambition to not only go farther than man had gone before, but to go as far as it was possible to go." -- James Cook


You have found the Manual for Alt.StarFleet.RPG (ASR), a collection of documents intended to provide an overview of the rules of the game and a reference to other useful information.

ASR is an online club for writers, role players, and Star Trek fans based on the Usenet newsgroup alt.starfleet.rpg. We are one of several shared-writing clubs in cyberspace. In ASR, hundreds of people from all over the world read and write stories in the universe of Star Trek.

Not all of us are die-hard Trekkers, our players come from all walks of life. What brings us together is the common enjoyment of interactive drama -- the opportunity to write in a cooperative and structured forum.

Experience in traditional role-playing games, creative writing, naval protocol, military decorum, or Star Trek trivia are *not* required to join or to flourish in ASR. We have a structure in place to help new players become acquainted with our rules and procedures, and experienced people ready and eager to assist in getting settled in a Role-Playing Unit.


Online Role Playing

ASR has been variously described as a role playing game and a shared fiction anthology. By the nature of non-face-to-face role play, both terms are accurate descriptions.

Each player in the game writes in the personna of a character on board a Federation starship, space station, or any of a variety of other settings. Through the course of different adventures, and misadventures, usually cast into the framework of mission orders from Star Fleet Command, these characters interact with one another and develop both as individual characters and as part of a crew. In this sense, then, the game is much like any other role playing game where a real person, the player, creates a character, a fictional personna living in another universe, and interacts through this character with others in that world.

Of course, since most people in ASR seldom actually talk to each other, the medium for communications is the written word. Each person adds their own distinctive writing style and ideas to a collective story which takes place in the world of Star Trek. In this sense, the group is about shared writing and produces material which could be called a shared fiction anthology.

Now, I've mentioned the terms "Star Trek" and "Star Fleet" a lot. That's because this game has chosen that universe to set its story in. However, that doesn't mean that all, or even most, of those involved are fanatical Star Trek devotees or that they go around wearing plastic ears and Star Trek uniforms.

In other words, while a good working knowledge of role playing games, creative writing, and Star Trek can be helpful in ASR, they are by no means prerequisites for joining the group. All that you need to play is reliable electronic mail service and the interest to work with a group of other writers to produce a story and to have fun doing so.