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SOTF Mini Advanced Rules
Topic Started: Jul 24 2017, 05:31 PM (1,733 Views)
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This thread serves as a more fully detailed expansion of those rules found in the SOTF Mini Core Rules. In all cases, these are the rules the letter of which will govern enforcement. If you have specific questions about a given rule, please consult this document and then query staff if need be.

Both these rules and the Core Rule may be amended by staff at any time, with or without prior notice. Should amendment occur, it will be logged in detail, with before and after text comparison, in the appropriate thread.
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INDEX

  1. SOTF Mini Universes

    1. The Program
    2. SOTF-TV
    3. Second Chances
    4. Alternate Universes

  2. SOTF Mini Behavioral Rules

    1. Respectful Behavior on SOTF Mini and Related Sites
    2. Minimum Age for SOTF Mini Members
    3. SOTF Mini Policy on Honesty Regarding Personal Information
    4. SOTF Mini Policy on Multiple Accounts
    5. SOTF Mini Policy on Proxy Servers
    6. Contacting Staff Regarding Critiques
    7. Appealing Staff Decisions/Lodging Formal Complaints
    8. Requesting Kills from Handlers of Rolled Characters
    9. Requesting Hero Cards
    10. Required Reading

  3. SOTF Mini Content Rules

    1. SOTF Mini and Battle Royale
    2. Acceptability of Non-Original Characters
    3. Acceptability of Characters Named After Real Life Individuals
    4. On Plagiarism
    5. SOTF Mini House Style
    6. Proofreading, Grammar, Etc.
    7. Excessive Formatting
    8. Realism and Acceptability of Character Actions
    9. Content Warnings
    10. Extreme Content
    11. Large-Scale Area Changes/Destruction

  4. The RPing Process/Game Mechanics

    1. The Profile Template
    2. Realism of Characters
    3. Sandbox/Pregame
    4. Roll-Call Procedure
    5. In-Game Character Cap
    6. Character Adoptions
    7. Rolls and Deaths
    8. Protection Against Multiple Rolls
    9. Cards
      1. Swap Cards
      2. Hero Cards
      3. Card Deadlines
      4. Rescinding or Withdrawing Cards
    10. Two Week Activity Timer
    11. Inactivity and the Consequences Thereof
    12. The Away Thread
    13. Sandbox Inactivity
    14. Godmodding
    15. Use of Staff-Created NPCs
    16. Procedure for Collar-Related Deaths
    17. Area Thread Limit
    18. One-Shots
    19. Private Threads
    20. Concurrent Thread Limit
    21. Sandbox Concurrent Thread Limit
    22. Tagging Entrance and Exit Posts
    23. Danger Zones
    24. Designated Weapons and Supplies
    25. Confiscation of Possessions
    26. Scavenging and Finding Items in the Arena
    27. Supplies for Use in Escapes
    28. Escape Attempts
    29. Endgame Rules
    30. Winners, Other Survivors, and Epilogues

  5. Miscellaneous Rules

    1. Derivative Use of SOTF Mini Rules
    2. Staff Rolling Errors
    3. General Staff Errors
    4. Conflicting Ruling Prioritization
    5. Bans
    6. Main/Mini Staff Transference
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Universe: The Program

SOTF: The Program is set in an alternate reality where America is under the control of an authoritarian military regime, headed by a mysterious dictator known only as "The General." Much of the legislation of the government concerns the military and its affairs, and it encompasses a sizable chunk of the country's way of life. Two five year periods of military service are compulsory for all citizens, and may be called in at nearly any point in a person's life. Furthermore, the US incorporates a draft system, making it possible for even those who have served their ten years to be pressed back into military service. Crime is punished not by jail, but by additional years of service. All that is done, is done for the good of the American war machine.

Amidst all of the red tape and bureaucracy surrounding the military, one particular scheme stands apart, distinct. This is known as "The Program."

Taking place four times a year, The Program is broadcast live on TV for its entire duration, whether that be seventeen hours or eleven days, four hours (the respective shortest and longest records). What happens during The Program? Up to fifty high school students between tenth and twelfth grade take part in a deadly competition. It's kill or be killed—they must wipe one another out until only one is left standing.

The participants are seemingly selected by lottery. First the high school is chosen, then the year of the students. After that, the names of those who will be taking part in The Program are selected, and the students concerned are taken by the military for transport to the location of the game. This takes place on specific dates known as Announcement Days, where every student from every high school in America will assemble at their respective schools to hear the results of the lottery announced live, sometimes by The General himself. Not attending an Announcement Day, regardless of whether or not you are chosen for The Program, is an offence punishable by summary execution.


What you need to know/take note of for RPing purposes:

  • The school/year of the students selected for the game will be announced ahead of time, and must be adhered to.
  • Unless their family has been in the US for multiple generations, students should not hail from a another country, and they should definitely not be on foreign exchange.
  • It is a criminal offence to own a firearm if you are not active duty military, so characters should not have any kind of expertise with guns unless it is extremely well justified.
  • The Program is common knowledge, as it is a TV show as well as a government scheme. Announcement Day's are always on the same dates, so are also known.
  • What happens to the winners is unknown to almost all—they vanish from the public eye and are not seen again by their families after the game's conclusion. The locations for The Program are different every time. No prior indication is given of which schools will be chosen.
  • Primary differences between this universe and our own are the justice system (offences punished by military service), firearm and travel restrictions (banned), military service (two compulsory five year terms), Internet restrictions, the expulsion of immigrants that weren't "American enough" some fifty years ago, and a ban on foreign goods/media (unless doctored to seem American made). The government is not overly oppressive except for in these key areas.
  • That said, anti-American material isn't allowed; it is a nationalistic dictatorship, after all.
  • Racism is quite institutional in Program America due to the emphasis on America being the greatest above all else. Whilst not state-sponsored, minorities tend to suffer from discrimination. Sometimes this is overt violence, but the most common form is subtle and insidious treatment like second-class citizens.
  • Patriotism and The American Way (war), are often drilled into children by parents, and many students may be to some degree raised with these social mores.
  • The Program has been in place since 2015. It is currently the year 2025.
  • If there is anything you are unsure about or think needs to be added, please contact staff such that this can be updated.






The following is the rough geography of the world of The Program:

American Colonized Territories

These areas are considered effectively part of the United States of America. They have been subjugated and/or annexed and pacified to the point where American citizens are permitted to move there, should they so choose. Natives are considered to be American, but for obvious reasons, they are looked down upon and generally treated with suspicion. It is also permitted to move to parts of the USA from these colonized territories, but this is very expensive and requires a rigorous background check to be passed.

  • Canada
  • Greenland
  • Mexico
  • Much of South America, with the exception of Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina
  • New Zealand

American Occupied Territories

These are areas subjugated by or largely under the control of the United States, but that have not had sufficient infrastructure, government, personnel, or general resources put into them to be considered viable living spaces for American citizens. While this is an objective for the government, to a greater or lesser long-term extent, suppression of resistance and maintaining order are considered to be first priority.

  • Paraguay
  • Chile
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Norway
  • Sweden

Active War-Zones

United States troops are committed in these countries. The conflicts might not be particularly active at any given moment, but they are nevertheless considered to be military operations. In the cases of fronts like Eastern Russia and parts of Africa, lines have remained static for years, and military bases have very nearly become towns in their own right. On others, there is near constant fierce fighting.

  • Argentina
  • British Isles
  • Large portions of North-Western Africa
  • Eastern Russia
  • Finland
  • Denmark (at the border to Sweden)






The Program has few special rules; it is the universe where games play out most like on the Main SOTF site. That said, from time to time a version may have individual quirks or rules (as in the first version of The Program, which was conducted without the use of collars or Danger Zones), and you should pay attention to any announcements made at the start of a version.
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Universe: SOTF-TV

SOTF-TV is set in an alternate reality, a dystopian future where the entertainment industry became stagnant. Everything seemed to have been seen, done, and written before. The populace became sick of endless sequels, reboots, and re-envisionings, and at the inauthenticity of much entertainment. The world, put simply, was jaded. Nothing new ever happened, everything was simply a rehash of a derivation of an imitation.

Then one TV show changed all that.

SOTF-TV is the undisputed king of the mountain, because it is real. Nothing approaches the raw intensity of high school kids in an extreme, life-or-death situation, and it draws millions upon millions of viewers every day of its broadcast. When the show is out of season, people watch re-runs or highlights or analysis or derivative works, holding them dear and rabidly awaiting the next edition.

Money? You couldn't believe how much this thing makes.

Drama will be drama, though, and the directors periodically throw in bizarre twists to the SOTF-TV formula, whether through exotic locations, strange weapons, or even interference with the contestants themselves. This doesn't tend to go down well with those who enjoy betting on the show, who often accuse the executives of fixing things, and some seasons attain infamy for being poorly handled, but nothing has ever come close to dislodging the juggernaut that is SOTF. Sometimes executives are fired, but the game always bounces back.

Contestants for the show are obtained through straight up abuse of authority. The producers are backed by the government, and if the men in suits show up at a school saying they want a few specific students, they are going to get them.


What you need to know/take note of for RPing purposes:
  • There will be a number of preset years/schools that the students will be drawn from, so take note of these when creating a character and make sure you read up on others. After all, characters should know others from their school, and should not know strangers. SOTF-TV does not always imply multiple schools, but it is a fairly common feature of the universe.
  • SOTF-TV is public knowledge and is very popular with the age range the characters themselves are in. Everyone should know about it, and even those who are largely apathetic will have likely seen clips from friends, on the news, or so forth. Protest is decently widespread, and characters—even the most rabid fans—are not utterly desensitized to violence as a general rule. There is, however, a world of difference between watching SOTF on TV, where it's a million miles away and totally socially acceptable, and actually being on it, let alone in some other extreme situation.
  • Primary differences from the real world are the entertainment industry (films, television shows, and the like are viewed as stale, and anything made after about 2000 is likely to be somewhat obscure. Much of the media in the real world exists, but it tends to be poorly-received, shoestring budget, or niche appeal). Characters can still have interest in various non-SOTF media, particularly if it's vintage, it's just that it's very hard to find decent new stuff that does not relate to SOTF in some fashion. At the same time, there's a huge amount of SOTF-derived spinoff material, including music, video games, books, TV shows, and movies. Good ideas tend to be bought and subsumed by the SOTF industry.
  • There are often deliberate flaws in the design of the collars for SOTF-TV, as escape gets ratings just as much as mass murder. Don't expect them to be blatant, repeated, or easy to exploit, but they're there. The directors are also hesitant to detonate collars, because that's bad for TV.
  • The first version of SOTF-TV (Season Sixty-Five in-universe) took place in the fall of 2020, with Season Sixty-Six (the second roleplayed version) following in winter. Season Sixty-Seven will take place in Spring 2021. SOTF-TV was launched in 2006.
  • If there is anything you are unsure about or think needs to be added, please contact staff such that this can be updated.






While not required reading, a large amount of the history of SOTF-TV has been crafted by staff and members. An index for this may be found here, including summaries in varying levels of detail of many past seasons including all of the most recent ones except Season Sixty-Six (which is a work in progress). A list of past winners who have been detailed, including brief summaries, may be found here.

If you would like to contribute to the lore of SOTF-TV, you are welcome to submit work for inclusion. Past seasons should be suggested through this thread. SOTF-TV also has a special writing program called "World of TV," an explanation for which may be found here.





SOTF-TV has a number of special rules which differentiate it from the other universes, the most common of which are as follows:
  • Team Victory: Characters in SOTF-TV are sometimes grouped into teams. These are assigned largely at random, both in and out of character. Should multiple characters from a single team reach Endgame together, they may all win, and thus survive. However, it is important to note that, should the winner be determined by rolls, any characters rolled must die, even if one of their teammates is determined the eventual winner. This is to keep up fairness and unpredictability; it prevents a character with teammates in Endgame from having too notably higher odds of survival.
  • Ten-Kill Release: The producers often offer release to the first contestant to achieve ten kills. Should a character hit ten kills, they become eligible for removal from the game, should their handler choose. To remove a character from the game, please contact a staffer. We will ensure that an IC post from us, confirming this and removing the character from the game, is posted within three OOC days. Until the staff post has been made, a character with ten kills is still subject to rolls, and, if rolled, must still die. After the staff post is made, the character's story must be wrapped up within their next post. All characters are still subject to activity at all times. This is the same method which was used in TV V1, and it has now been explicitly codified. Should a character achieve ten kills and die, the reward will not be offered to a second character to hit ten. The producers aren't that generous. This rule exists to allow handlers to take the time they need to wrap island stories, while at the same time representing the risk being on the island poses and incentivizing speed should they wish a notable killer to survive.
  • Escape: Should characters successfully enact any part of an escape, they are still subject to rolls and activity until or unless staff states otherwise. This is an area we'll play by ear, but will generally default to the realistic choice; unless a kid is somewhere where they can't be killed, they'll still be subject to rolls.
  • Bandannas: In games featuring teams, students must wear an official team bandanna in a visible location at all times. Should a student not be wearing a bandanna for over thirty seconds, their collar will begin to beep. The rapidity will increase over the course of five minutes, after which the collar will detonate. The only exception comes if a bandanna is stolen, in which case the producers tend towards mercy. However, note that they pay close attention and are not stupid; any attempts to game the system will result in collar detonation. In practice, if you are unsure about the results of any course of action re: bandannas, please consult a staff member for a ruling.
  • Abduction Details: Students for SOTF-TV are all removed on the same day. Where and how, however, is not always consistent. Typically, some students are taken from their homes before school, while others are taken from class. Which method is used is the result of research from the producers; the kids are grabbed wherever they are less likely to resist and cause trouble. If your kid's parents might resist in any potentially-effective-or-violent fashion, then the students are taken at school. No exceptions. The TV operatives use force only if required and the minimum in those cases. They do not execute parents, protestors, etc. All kids are taken to a van and then knocked out via gas, to reawaken during the prologue. If you have any questions about this, please contact staff for assistance. Please check the information at the launch of each version in case of changes or exceptions to this rule.
  • Mentors: In versions with teams, each team is assigned a mentor—a staff-controlled NPC tasked with assisting their group of students to the best of their abilities. Each mentor will be able to address each of their students once per announcement cycle. Each is controlled by a single staff member (or, rarely, a non-staff handler), who is also responsible for reading all the kids assigned to the team they're mentoring. They will be the best staff member to approach for general issues or mentor-related specifics, as they will be familiar with your character. In the case of non-staff mentors, contact their handler for all mentor-related queries, and any other staff member for other matters.
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Universe: Second Chances

Second Chances takes place in an alternate universe where the various SOTF games never happened. There were no abductions, no death games, and no terrorists. The students populating the world have no concept of anything like SOTF beyond the events of previous versions of SC, because in their world, it's never happened. They don't "remember" anything about their respective versions or how their original incarnations died because for the purposes of the RP they are not the same character. They might look the same, act the same and have the same backstory, but always keep in mind that they are an alternate version to the original—they haven't come back to life.

Second Chances is the version closest to the Main SOTF game in story. In the SC universe, a group of terrorists, led by the mysterious Victor Danya, kidnapped thirty-eight students from Colehurst Secondary School in Highland Beach, California, executed one, and forced the remainder to fight until a sole survivor (Nick Reid) remained. They then vanished... until 2017, when they returned to enact their schemes once more.

Characters in Second Chances should fit comfortable into the real world—in fact, the biggest hurdle will likely be the removal of universe-specific elements for characters hailing from The Program or SOTF-TV.





Second Chances has a number of special rules, mostly related to use of characters, as all characters in this version are returning from past games.

The following characters are eligible for Second Chances versions:
  • Any character from Main who did not win or escape and did not feature in a past version of SC. Characters who are rolled may not be submitted before their deaths are completed on Main.
  • Any character from a Mini or AU who died in that game without winning and did not feature in a past version of SC, except BR AU characters.

The following characters are ineligible for SC2:
  • Any character who won their version, regardless of whether or not they subsequently died or what form their victory took (ten-kill winners from TV and any sort of co-winner are thus out).
  • Any BR AU character.
  • Any character who featured in a past version of SC proper (characters who were submitted but did not end up in-game may be used for later iterations of SC).
  • Any character who escaped their home version or otherwise survived the island.
  • Any character from RPs not officially hosted by Main or Mini (ex: Mercy Street, Arena, REvo)


Differences from the first run of SC are that Endgamers are now allowed, and escapees are now not allowed.

If you are submitting someone else's character and secured permission somewhere other than one of the SC planning threads, please forward proof of that permission to staff. You must secure permission of a character's original handler unless that handler is unreachable, in which case a handler who adopted the character is acceptable. If all handlers who have held a character are unreachable, that character may not be used.

If you do not have an eligible character of your own but still wish to participate, check out the planning boards, where many handlers offer their characters for use.
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Universe(s): AUs

Alternate Universes (AUs) are smaller, often handler-run games hosted on SOTF Mini. Thus far, three AUs have actually been run: The Battle Royale AU (which was not completed), SOTF: Evolution, and Virtua-SOTF (which was initially intended as a third primary universe, a role taken by Second Chances due to handler response). AUs are the responsibility of their creators.

After much consideration, staff has decided to, on a trial basis, once again allow handler-run AU games to be hosted on Mini. There are, however, a notable number of restrictions and caveats at play. We feel that all handlers, prospective AU-runners and prospective AU-players alike, should be aware of the following:

AUs operate somewhat outside the realm of normal Mini play. They are typically not hosted with involvement by staff. As such, staff make no guarantees and offer no endorsements of any AU as a collective (unless specifically stated otherwise in the context of a given AU); AUs hosted on Mini fill a role somewhat akin to more formalized and glorified Other RPing games. Staff have taken certain precautions to ensure a baseline level of competence in the running of AUs, and to increase the likelihood that they run to completion, but that is the extent of staff's involvement. Caveat emptor.

If you would like to run an AU, you must fulfill the following requirements:
  • You must be a handler in good standing with a record of participation on Mini. This means you must have either played one game on Mini to completion or have been an active member of the Mini community, RPing in a game of some variety, for at least six months. Playing in AUs does not count for playing a Mini to completion, but it does count for being an active member of the community. Being in good standing means that you are not on final warning and have not been banned in the past year.
  • You must provide staff with a complete AU setup to begin the process. That means that you must have:
    • A summary pitch of one to three paragraphs explaining what your game is about. This is quick and to-the-point.
    • A list of ways the AU's rules differ from the rules of Mini. Every difference must be carefully noted. Profile templates are the most common point of departure, but weapon assignments, Danger Zones, inactivity, Endgame and Epilogue procedures, and so on all also merit mention.
    • A document detailing roleplaying information that handlers should know. This is a direct, out-of-character summary of the ways your setting differs from the real world.
    • A tentative timeline/planning document. This lays out the number of characters the AU is designed for, as well as a general schedule for applications, game start, rolls, etc. This must include a clear ending point. This should not be keyed to actual dates (January 27, November 4, March 19, etc.) but rather to markers (Day 1, Month 4, Week 2, etc.). Note that there are a number of major restrictions on game-runners in this arena, explained in later sections.
    • A fully-detailed arena. This means all areas fully written and detailed. Each area description should be a small to medium paragraph that gives sufficient information for handlers to roleplay around. Notable objects and points of geography should be clearly pointed out.
    • A Prologue, as well as any non-handler-influenced fluff and flavor text. The Prologue gets the game started, so is needed right at the start. If there are any non-player-based elements of the story that will play out over the course of the game, they should also be prewritten.
    • Information on any and all twists, turns, and deceptions perpetrated over the course of the game. If all the characters are going to be bombarded by gamma beams halfway through and mutate into dinosaurs, staff must know in advance. If nobody really dies but in fact merely awake from a dream, staff must know in advance. We realize this crimps the style of AU-runners a little, but there's enough of a history of questionable game turns that staff insists upon this point.
    • As a further note, your AU may not be set in any of the primary Mini universes (The Program, SOTF-TV, or Second Chances) without prior staff approval (which will almost certainly not be granted). Your AU may not be linked to AUs run by other members without explicit permission provided by them directly to staff (and this includes "spiritual successors" of the sort where the serial numbers have just been filed off—the distinctions should be very clear). You may, however, launch your AU under the banner of Virtua-SOTF so long as it otherwise meshes with that universe's core conceits.
  • You must name a second, and have them contact staff accepting that role. A second is a handler trusted to take over running of the AU in the event of your loss of interest, disappearance, banning, etc. The second must fulfill all other criteria here as well, and must not have their own AU in the queue. Staff reserve the right to promote the second at any time should they judge the game's initial runner to be acting in bad faith or have abandoned the game. Should a second be promoted, they must immediately find a new second of their own. A second may or may not have a game role prior to their promotion (such as, say, being allowed to handler applications and assist in rolls). You may additionally promote up to two further assistants to handle such matters. These further assistants must meet all other criteria here, but may have their own AUs in the queue or in progress.

Furthermore, staff are taking a page from the Mafiascum playbook and imposing a number of restrictions upon all first-time AU runners, as follows:
  • The game must be keyed to between five and twenty characters. While twenty characters is a small number indeed, staff is keen to see AUs not bite off more than they can chew. We recommend but do not require a one-character-per-handler limit in light of this, at least until a decent number of handlers have had a chance to apply.
  • The game should have an ideal duration of no more than six months, including applications and allotting roughly one month for Endgame (unless there's a very good structural reason to believe Endgame will not take that long). Staff are totally aware that things come up, delays happen, etc. and you will not be punished for such occurrences; at the same time, we must be convinced that the plan is made in good faith and some level of realism assuming an optimistic yet plausible scenario.
  • The game should not monkey too much with core game mechanics and twists. This is a judgment call, and staff don't mean to hamper creativity and is open to a level of negotiation upon this point. You should feel free to consult with staff on given mechanics, twists, etc. prior to drafting your AU, so you're not unpleasantly surprised come your submission.

Upon successful completion of your first AU, all these restrictions become negotiable in the future. To have these restrictions tentatively lifted, you must have completed your own AU from start to end, or have been appointed to running a game as a second before the 25% completion mark. These restrictions apply even to staff members who are not admins—we mused on this, and while staff all have experience running games, the level and duration of that experience is pretty variable and there's no fair way to draw a line there. Admins can do whatever they want.

Staff do not run quality control on submitted AUs unless something is blatantly unworkable or slapdash. AUs live or die by whether or not handlers are intrigued enough to participate in them. We leave that decision to the community.

An AU that fulfills all criteria will enter a queue on a first-come-first-served basis. Staff will launch AUs at a pace no greater than one per month (defined as at least thirty days between launches, not calendar months). The pace may be slower as staff desires, and game launches may be held to avoid conflict with primary Mini launches. AUs will be kept in their own little section at the bottom of the board, and likely be archived in an umbrella forum once a sufficient quantity exist. They already have their own channel on the Mini Discord, and are welcome on the Mini Wiki.

You may enter a new AU to the queue as soon as one of yours is complete. You may establish persistent universes and continuity between your AUs. You may also, if you so desire, spin your AU off into its own site. The Mini staff requests that if you do so, a link back to Mini appears near the top of the board in question (in the rough equivalent of the "Important" section on Mini). Mini will link to your board in the section that hosted your AU. You are welcome to port over any text from your version (including the whole thing's text as an archive if you so desire) but we require that it be noted that Mini was the origin.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact staff. Also, staff reserves the right to terminate this program at any time, without any notice. Should this occur, AUs in progress at the time will be allowed to continue. Those in the queue may or may not be allowed to launch—no promises on this point. We hope not to pull the plug on this, but it is a possibility we note in the interests of full disclosure.
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SOTF Mini and Battle Royale

In the worlds of SOTF Mini, unless stated otherwise, Battle Royale, Koushun Takami’s novel from which the basic premise of SOTF was derived, does not exist, for a number of continuity reasons. If Battle Royale did exist within continuity, it would predate many of the initial SOTF events. This, in turn, would suggest that either the various forces (the generals of The Program, the TV Executives, or Danya from SC) based their actions on the book (which would stretch believability and the tone of the story) or b. Koushun Takami in some fashion became aware of their plans and chose an incredibly circuitous route of warning the public (which would stretch believability and tone in much the same way and drag a real life individual into the plot in a way that feels uncomfortable and invasive). As such, no references to Battle Royale should be made, and any extant references should be considered non-canon.

Similarly, The Hunger Games would be exceedingly unlikely to be published in the various Mini worlds. SOTF predates The Hunger Games both in and out of character, and a world where such events occur with fair regularity would probably not turn to them as literature for adolescents, or would not do so in such a condemnatory fashion. Thus, references to The Hunger Games should similarly be avoided and those in the text should be treated as non-canon.

Other death game type stories are on a case-by-case basis, but any stories that involve bomb collars, a bunch of kidnapped teens, and a limited arena exclusively populated by the combatants are probably out, especially if they’re not in some fashion clearly fantasy or science fiction in genre. Stories featuring only a few of these elements are probably fine, though.

There is, of course, one major exception: the universe of SOTF-TV. There, SOTF-themed media is incredibly common, and indeed a large amount of knockoff-SOTF style stories abound. That said, Battle Royale and The Hunger Games are still out—in this case, to avoid the implication that either they ripped off SOTF-TV or that SOTF-TV ripped them off. It's cleaner overall to make this a blanket rule than to fiddle with possible implications for a single universe, especially when there's little to no narrative benefit for doing so.
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Respectful Behavior on SOTF Mini and Related Sites

SOTF Mini is a large community with members from a wide range of backgrounds, and as such it is natural that conflict may arise. We request that members handle disagreements maturely and civilly, without resorting to insults or personal attacks. This holds true even if someone insults you first; in such cases, report the problem to the staff team, which will decide what action needs to be taken. Retaliating weakens your case, and if you strike back incorrectly or out of proportion with the initial slight, you may end up the one in trouble.

Listen to staff members. If a staff member says to stop doing something, stop doing it. If you have concerns about their ruling, do not argue it in the moment; instead, appeal to staff as a whole. To do so, contact any staffer and let them know that you want to lodge an official complaint.

Do not link to pornography (real life or animated) or to real life violence. A bloody anime fight or a clip from Saw would be fine assuming you warned other members what was coming; a video of a real life soldier getting blown up by an IED would not. Violating this rule is potentially grounds for an immediate ban, because many of our members are minors and it’s something Zetaboards and our community take very seriously. If you must share porn, do it through AIM, Skype, email, or something else totally unrelated to our site. If it’s off our site, we don’t care. There are tons of places to get, share, and discuss pornography on the internet. We are not one of them, no matter how into it all involved parties may be.

SOTF as a site respects the gender identities and sexual orientations of its members, and requires that all members do the same. You’re not going to get in trouble if you accidentally misgender someone—it happens—but if a pattern of disrespectful behavior becomes clear we will crack down quickly and severely. Similarly, racism, sexism, and religious discrimination are not okay and have no place in our community. While characters may be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., we require that none of our members act as such on our site.

There are a few special rules regarding the Discord server and the Wiki, outlined below.

Chat Rules:

Our Discord server enforces a strict code of conduct, as follows:
  1. If someone asks you to stop doing something offensive, comply with their request. If you suspect but are not completely sure that you are being inoffensive, knock it off anyways. If you think you're being harmless, be prepared to explain why to the staff should the situation escalate.
  2. If you have an issue with someone's behavior, ask them to stop. If this doesn't work, report it to staff. If you escalate the situation or retaliate, you will share responsibility if/when the staff does get involved.
  3. Criticism of characters/expression of opinions is allowed. We are a writing site, after all. Relentless mocking of characters is not. That's what PMs are for, if you really must do it. We want all our writers to feel welcome and safe in chat. Saying, "I do not like character X because their reactions are unrealistic and they seem lacking in emotional depth," is fine. Saying, "Character Y's dumb and gonna start eating corpses now, 'cause he's the Blood Boy of Program!" is not. If you're unclear on the line, ask someone else's opinion.
  4. Listen to the staff. We're not tyrants. We are here to make sure all the members of the site feel welcome. If that means telling our friends to calm down, we will do it. It's nothing personal. If you ignore staff, you may be kicked or temporarily banned from the channel at will.
  5. Violation of the chat rules may result in temporary or permanent suspensions from the chat, the site, or both.


Wiki Rules:

The Wiki is a place where you are allowed to express your opinions of characters, including negative opinions. However, we ask that you still frame these opinions respectfully. We also ask that you sign any comment you leave. We’ve had past incidents of members hiding behind anonymity to insult and flame each other’s writing. This is totally unacceptable. Any anonymous comments, good or bad, will either be removed or, if their author can be determined, that information will be attached to them by staff.

The Wiki is primarily an informational resource. We have a sense of humor, and making jokes is fine, so long as these jokes are constrained to non-informational parts of the Wiki. You can make jokes on member pages, comments sections, and circumstantially in the trivia section. Do not insert jokes into the summary sections of pages. Do not delete other members contributions to the Wiki unless they fall outside the rules or are factually incorrect.

If you do not use the Wiki responsibly, your editing privileges may be revoked.
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Minimum Age for SOTF Mini Members

We require all members of SOTF Mini to be at least thirteen years of age for several reasons.

First off, our site tends to feature content which would, at a minimum, be considered PG-13. While we understand that some children are more mature than others, thirteen is the age at which the board software allows us to draw the line.

This ties to the second reason: to participate in SOTF requires an account, and accounts may only be freely registered by individuals of thirteen years of age or more. There is a way to bypass this, but it involves parents filling out paperwork and sending it to the Zetaboards staff, which is far too complicated a process to be worth allowing for something that probably shouldn’t happen anyways for the reasons mentioned above. As such, the board automatically bans accounts registered with underage birthdays.

Should a member be discovered to be lying about their age and actually be under thirteen years old, they will be immediately banned, and this ban will not be lifted even when they turn thirteen. We are very serious about this.

If you are still a minor in your country, but are older than thirteen, we request that you exercise good judgment and discretion when participating in our site. Don’t do anything that wouldn’t be okay with your parents. Recognize if the time isn’t right for you to participate in our site. We will always be here later.
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SOTF Mini Policy on Honesty Regarding Personal Information

Due to the way Mini’s community functions, and to various incidents over the years, the following rules are in effect regarding personal information and the sharing thereof on the site:
  1. Nobody is ever required to share information. If a member requests information and the request is denied, that's fine, and the member choosing not to reveal their information should not be harassed. If you want to make up a fake name for use on the site, that is fine as long as you let everyone know it's not your real name. That's a perfectly acceptable part of internet privacy, just let us know you're taking these precautions.
  2. Any information you choose to share should be true. Should it come out that you have lied, that will be a bannable offense. We're being very hard-line on this because SOTF is a close-knit community. We've had members meet offline often. Romantic relationships have started through the site. Dishonesty represents a serious problem, possibly even one that goes beyond a betrayal of trust to affect offline safety of our members. This is an area in which we cannot compromise.
  3. SOTF respects that gender identity is not an easy or simple subject. This policy in no way obligates transgender, gender-questioning, or genderqueer members to disclose that they fall into any of these categories. It does, however, mean that masquerading as a gender you do not identify as will be treated like any other lying. (Note that this also in no way obligates anyone to come out before they're comfortable doing so. We understand that this is a process, and staying closeted until you're comfortable is expressly not a violation of this policy.)
  4. Similarly, deception through misdirection or "guessing games" is also forbidden. If you wish to keep your personal information private, that is fine. Do not, however, use it to tease or entice other members. Do not attempt to convey incorrect impressions. Do not lie through omission or implication. All of these things, depending on the incident and context, may be subject to the same punishment as any other lying.
  5. This policy does not mean you can't joke around in chat or be humorously dishonest. The key thing here is, everyone needs to quickly find out that you're joking. As an example, a well-established handler claiming to be the opposite of who they truly are in chat as a brief joke is okay because everyone knows the truth and it's easily verifiable. Running jokes are okay. Attempts at legitimate misdirection are not. If in doubt, ask the staff; we keep member confidentiality in all cases where it is not a matter of individual or community safety.
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SOTF Mini Policy on Multiple Accounts

On SOTF Mini, members are not allowed to have multiple accounts simultaneously active. This is because we only allow a certain number of characters per player, and various other game mechanics are tied to players rather than characters.

There are some rare instances where a member may wish to change accounts. If a username change is all that is desired, that can be easily accommodated through this link or by PMing a staffer. Should you want a whole new account, however, please let staff know that you had an old account and tell us which it was. We're fine with accounts being switched if there's a good reason or if it has been a long time since you were around and you want a fresh start. Many of our members have fallen into this category in the past. We need to know about it, though, so that we can track things like adoption eligibility, activity warnings, and staff notes/warnings between accounts, and also so that the old account can be locked as a security precaution.

Running multiple accounts at once is effectively cheating, and will result in a ban. Changing accounts without notifying staff will be frowned upon heavily, and will result in a ban should it be determined that any inappropriate action was taken or that any notable advantage was gained. Otherwise, the offender will be warned and may face further consequences (up to and including a ban) depending on the circumstances and staff discretion.

If multiple members are accessing the site from the same location (siblings, roommates, etc.) please let staff know right away. These situations can cause false positives in the system, and you’ll be in much better shape if staff is aware of your situation in advance.
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SOTF Mini Policy on Proxy Servers

Due to several notable incidents of ban evasion, the staff team disallows the use of proxy servers to log into the site. This is not a decision we have made lightly, but it is our belief that it is the best option for the community as a whole. For those who do not know, proxy servers hide the location of your login. They provide no other real utility, and as such are most commonly used as a tool to evade security precautions. They are not the same thing as naturally refreshing IP addresses (which many countries and internet service providers utilize) and if your IP frequently changes for reasons besides proxy use, you have no cause for concern. We are implementing this rule to better allow us to quickly weed out potential security threats and spam accounts. The response/repercussions for handlers using a proxy will vary according to the situation, but if we have any reason to suspect that they are ban-evaders they will be banned as such.

If you have any questions about this rule, or if you believe that you have a legitimate need to use a proxy to access our site, please PM Mini Help. We're very willing to discuss the situation and to make case-by-case exceptions given adequate reason; we simply want our official and default stance to be clear here.
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The Profile Template

SOTF Mini uses a specific template for character applications. It is available at the top of the application board during each registration period. We require it be followed exactly—including bolding, punctuation, number and location of line breaks, etc.—for a few reasons.

First off, the formatting actually does have an impact when profiles are imported to the Wiki. An incorrect template can break a whole Wiki page, which can take a lot of time to fix. Since it’s something that can be easily stamped out during the application process, we harp on it.

Next, we expect members to proofread their profiles closely and spend time making sure that they’re in as good shape as possible before submitting, out of respect to the staff members who volunteer so much of their time handling critiques. By holding members very closely to the template, we incentivize slowing down and taking some time to proofread and make sure everything is ready before clicking “submit.”

If you fail to properly adhere to the template, your application will be kicked to the back of the queue with a note on what adjustments are required to bring it in line with the template. Only once the template is correct will you receive a full critique.
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Realism of Characters

We ask that all characters be relatively realistic and grounded high school students, with exceptions as appropriate based on the individual Mini universes (Program characters may hold different values, TV characters may be more okay with the game, etc.). Mini's tone is relatively realistic on the whole, and much like a wizard would be out of place in a procedural legal drama, characters who don't mesh with a universe's tone and style stick out unfortunately.

There are a lot of arguments to be made for characters that are more out-there or jarring in some genres and mediums, but collaborative roleplay is not one of them. A character who, say, practices witchcraft successfully is not only jarring compared to the main plot but also stands out compared to all the characters around them in an inappropriate fashion. We want each version to hang together as a generally coherent story, which means characters should feel like they inhabit the same universe and play by the same laws of physics.

In general, if a character isn't someone you could easily imagine existing in and interacting with a real life high school in a reasonable fashion, they're probably not a good fit for Mini. If something is so rare that it likely only applies to a one or two people in the country or world, it's probably an inappropriate trait for a Mini character. Real life has outliers and unique situations, but in Mini we have to keep an eye towards the entire game and we have to treat all submissions fairly. If we approve an Einstein-level intellect in one instance, it's not fair to deny others submitting similarly-unlikely characters. Thus, allowing technically-possible-yet-highly-unlikely characters creates a very real risk to the game's tone on the whole. We tend to skew towards asking for characters to be toned down or made more grounded for this reason.

We realize that many handlers like basing characters on themselves or on events they or those they know have experienced. We realize that it can be frustrating to be denied on grounds of realism for events which actually occurred in real life. The fact of the matter, however, is that this is a concession to keeping the average strangeness of each version in check.

Each version of SOTF Mini is the story of a really strange, extreme event already. Being abducted and forced into a death game should be by far the most interesting and unlikely thing in your character's life—otherwise, it seems a bit of an anticlimax. Please keep this in mind when creating your characters.

We are aware that there are certain ways in which the overall Mini storylines and universes are not particularly realistic. Just off the bat, they tend to feature knockout gas more in line with pulp espionage stories, Program features a dystopian American dictatorship, TV sees widespread popularity of the death game, etc. While we've moved the overall plot in a more grounded direction over the years, some of these quirks are still in play (and even intrinsic to the games), and we stand by both them and our standards for realistic characters. The key difference here is that realism allowances in the plot tend to be necessary for the very existence of the story we're interested in telling, and are by and large handled in an upfront and consistent manner. Individual outlying characters are not. To put it simply, games on Mini take place in a world where knockout gas works and where a death game can be run. It does not take places in a world where an average high school contains multiple Einstein-level geniuses.

If you're more interested in a less grounded game, that's totally fine! Our style isn't for everyone. There are lots of more cinematic RPs out there, and, thanks to The Hunger Games, even a decent number that share our basic premise. We've even occasionally seen less-realistic side games such as SOTF: Evolution, which featured characters with superpowers, and SOTF: Zombies in Other RPing on Main which featured zombies. We do ask that you do your best to treat the tone of the main games with respect, though, since they're what everyone's here to play and we make their parameters pretty clear from the start.
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Acceptability of Non-Original Characters

All characters submitted to SOTF Mini must be original characters. What that means is, you may not submit characters from movies, comic books, etc. You may not submit characters who are direct inserts of celebrities. You may not submit profiles written by other handlers without their express permission. The staff will be googling every character's name as part of the approval process.

Note that coincidental name matches are fine. For example, over on Main, V4's Quincy Jones was nothing like the musician of the same name. Quincy would be totally fine under this policy.

This rule does not mean that you cannot take inspiration, even heavy inspiration, from other sources. We all do that. It does mean you can't lift characters wholesale. Your character should always be primarily your own original creation. Elements of homage, parody, and inspiration are fine, but they should be just that: elements that contribute to an overall original character.

Also, in the interests of realism and overall game tone, we will not be accepting close relatives of characters featured in past SOTF Mini versions (or any escapees, winners, or survivors of any nature) unless specifically noted otherwise in the information for a version. As a default guideline, any character of first cousin or closer status to a past contestant will not be approved.
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