New Cadet FAQ

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Welcome to New Cadet FAQ. This page should address the common questions cadets have when they're starting out on Federation Space. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please ask your bio evaluator, academy instructor, or one of the Academy admins.

Joining and Registration

How do I join the site?
To join, please head go to Join Federation Space and follow the instructions. Choose your top three department requests - Engineering, Medical, Science, Security, or Tactical. Next step is to email the Academy Admins. They will email you with further instructions.

Will I get my requested department?
We try really hard to give you your number one choice, but sometimes it's just not possible. This is why we ask for your top three choices.

How do I register my character?
The welcome email you receive from an Academy admin will ask for your character's full name and the email you'd like to use for the game. Once you reply, an email will be sent from a forum admin with your new username and password. You can then go to the Forum, at the top right hand corner you'll find the login.

Please Note: One of the Academy Admins will email you with Registration Instructions once you have applied to join. All registrations made before then will be rejected. You will not be able to post in the Holodeck training area until you have been registered.

I can only post in the Academy, help!
Cadets are only allowed to post in the Academy area of the forums until they graduate.

I'm a returning player, how do I reapply?
Returning players are invited to use regular joining procedures to rejoin the site. On the join form there is a space to submit your previous character's name. Returning players may also contact the Commander-in-Chief via email.

Documents & Must Reads

What do I have to read before I begin?
There are several pages you must read before you begin playing here on Federation Space: the Federation Space Constitution, and the Cadet Code of Conduct. When you post in the Auditorium that you have read, understood, and agree to abide by these documents, this is your way of signing and agreeing to these documents.

Any other helpful documents?
You're off to a great start by reading this! Other helpful resources are Introduction to Role-Playing, Character Development, In Game Problem Solving, and Federation Space History. The Academy also has further recommended reading.

Character Bios

I need help with my bio!
Please read the Character Development page. It will walk you through all the sections of the bio form, and give you examples of what we expect. If you would like further explanation or would like assistance, feel free to contact your bio evaluator or the Dean of Evaluations.

My evaluator asked me to make a change, do I have to?
Yes, you do. Your bio will not be approved if you don't, and you will not graduate the Academy. If we ask you to make changes, please don't take it personally or get angry. In the long run we are just trying to help you out. We're not trying to be difficult! You are very welcome to ask us why you'd like something to be changed.

Formatting Posts

What verb tense do we post in?
All in character posts are in third person, past tense. An example of this would be: Abby was excited to go skiing; she was so excited, she fell off her seat!
NOT this: I am excited to go skiing; I’m so excited, that I fall off my seat!

How do we properly space posts?
We use double spacing between paragraphs and between our character’s spoken lines. This just means when you write a spoken line with quotation marks “ ”, you would leave a space to indicate a break in the paragraph. Take a look at the example below:

The day was warm and sunny, with not a spot of moisture in the air. It was just the kind of day that Abby liked. She was peculiar that way, she liked the day either blistering hot, or frigidly cold. That way she could either spend the day laying on the beach, or she could go skiing. Today was the former.
"I just wonder what that Billy-boy is up to," she said out loud to the empty room.
Scanning their small but cozy apartment, it seemed that Bill was still out running errands. Abigail would have to head to the beach by herself, and hope that her hubby would be back in time to join her.

How do I post in italics or post thoughts?
All your character’s thoughts need to be written in italics. To do this, just press the I button above the posting box. Next write the thought and then press the I button again. Your character’s thought will then become: I can’t wait until I get to go skiing again.

How do I post in bold or use extra emphasis?
For extra emphasis in writing -- to make something really stand out -- we use bold text. The procedure is the same as italics, just press the B button above the posting box. Next, write what you want to be emphasized, and then press the B button again. You will then get: Abigail absolutely loved alpine skiing.

How do I post communications or the computer's voice?
When we receive verbal communications through a comm device, such as your comm badge, from another crew member or the computer, we need to drop the quotation marks “ ” from it and instead use brackets [ ]. So if I were sending you a comm message, in your own post it would look something like this: [Taylor here. Please report to the Holodeck for your final examination.] If you are the one speaking to somebody through a comm device, you would still use the quotations “ ”. For example:

Abigail's comm badge chirruped, and the voice of the Dean of Evaluations came through. [Halpert to Taylor, did you get that paperwork I sent you?]
Pawing through the stacks of PADDs that lined her desk, Abby indeed came across a pile of them. Looking at the sender line, she could see they had come from the office of Evaluations.
"Yup I did!" She replied through the comms.

Also, when you make a communication to somebody, remember to post it where the person is. So for the above example, my reply would get posted with brackets around it, wherever Halpert happened to be.

Why do you guys place so much emphasis on Spelling and Grammar?
The reason why we stress spelling is because, let's face it, this is a written RPG. According to the Constitution the purpose of the site is to bring together a diverse group of writers with a common interest in Star Trek, friendship, mutual respect, and the art of writing. We're not overly picky about spelling as we know that not everyone is a master of the English language: everyone makes mistakes. All we ask is that you spellcheck posts. Many web browsers (such as Firefox) come with built-in spellchecks. I usually write my posts in Word first, run the spellcheck, and then post them. Spellcheck is just a small step that makes a big (and obvious!) difference.

Can I use smilies in my posts?
Please only use the smilies in Out-of-Character posts (see below) and in Hailing Frequencies.

Can I post in a different colour or font?
No. Please use the generic white text that the board uses, as it's our default.

When writing a post, should I refer to somebody by their full rank or their abbreviated rank?
This is really up to you, or your CO if they have a preference. I know when I make a post I play it by ear, because depending on the situation it could be either. Usually though, I use the full rank. For example if my character was speaking to an Ensign, she wouldn't say "Hey Ee-en-es Mathers, come here!" which is what would come out if I wrote it "Hey Ens Mathers, come here!" For the post I would include the full rank, since that's what she'd say. "Hey Ensign Mathers, come here!"

There are exceptions, of course. For example, sometimes ranks get nicknames. A Lieutenant Junior Grade is sometimes just called a JG or Jay-Gee. This shortening is intentional, so "Hey JG Mathers, come here!" Just like sometimes a Lieutenant might be just called an LT or El-Tee. Those are intentional shortenings.

There are also cases where your character might be writing a letter to somebody, or looking up a personnel record, so the abbreviated use in your post is appropriate. For example:

Abby opened the message that was addressed to her from her husband. She was eager to read it, as it had been a few days since she'd spoken to Bill.
[To: Capt Taylor, Abigail
From: Cdr Halpert, John
Re: My replicator
Message:
Halpert,
When I ask my replicator for coffee, it laughs at me and dispenses water. Stop messing with my replicator (and my COFFEE!).

As you can see, the abbreviate ranks were used in the message. But it's good to check with your CO what their preference is.

Out of Character (OOC)

What is Out of Character (OOC) posting?
OOC Posting is when you want to write something out of context and character of the game. For example, you want to talk to another player about something not in regards to the storyline. Whenever you want to do this, surround the text with OOC brackets == ==. Also keep OOC posting at the top or bottom of your post if you're including it with in character posts.

When do I not need to use OOC brackets?
You do not need to use OOC brackets when posting in your ship's crew announcements section, or in Hailing Frequencies or Red Alert.

Plots and Subplots

What is a main plot?
A plot affects the entire ship (in contrast to a subplot, that is an underlying story within a main plot). They are directed by the ship's GM, and usually affects the ship as a whole. For example, a main plot would be the USS Enterprise being sent on a mission to save Risa from space pirates.

What is a subplot?
A subplot is an underlying story that falls within a main plot. A subplot can be run by any player who has received prior approval from their ship's CO or FO. You must get this approval, just in case your subplot conflicts with a main plot. And example of a subplot would be a character who wants to write the next great holonovel.

GMs and GM-Input

What are GMs?
GMs or Game Moderators, are there to guide a ship's mission along. The GM supplies information about the main plot, and it is your job as a character to write what you see, and what your reaction is. The GM will then continue to supply more of the plot based on how you reacted.

What is GM input?
Asking for GM input means that your character has done something that has an unknown outcome. For example, they used their tricorder to scan a strange substance - the results of the scan, unknown to you, would need to be filled in by the GM.

How do I ask for GM input?
Just add an OOC tag at the bottom of your post asking for input. You can be general == GM-input, please. == or you can be more specific ==GM-input please: What is this unknown substance.==

So I can't do anything with the GM saying it's okay?
This is true within reason. Obviously if you were to shoot somebody, you would need GM input to see if they jumped out of the way or were killed. But you don't need GM approval to eat, take scans, or hypothesize an answer. Use common sense, but if you're in doubt then ask up the chain of command.

Can a GM kill or hurt me?
GMs can injure any character, providing that character can be fixed good as new afterwords. They can kill characters providing they can be resurrected again. GMs cannot kill or injure a character permanently without the player's permission.

NPCs

What is an NPC?
Non-Player Characters, or NPCs, are characters used by players and GMs to help fill the crew gaps in ships. Starships usually have large crews and since we don’t have enough players to fill all those roles we use NPCs. We have two types of NPCs: Independent and Temporary. In the case of both NPCs, you play the character from the NPC’s perspective – almost as if you have a second character.

What are Independent NPCs?
Independent NPCs are like a PC, in that they get played as their own character. These NPCs are also registered and you can distinguish them through their character names. You’ll see something along the lines of Ensign Doe {Taylor}, with the PC character’s last name in brackets at the end. And while these NPCs are similar to PCs, they are not a second rated character – you will not earn points or medals with an Independent NPC as you would with your PC.

How do I make an Independent NPC?
First off, you must be a Lieutenant Junior Grade (Lt [JG]) or higher. Next you must make a bio, using the format of the NPC Bio form. Next you submit the bio to your Commanding Officer for their approval. Once you get their approval, they will walk you through the steps for registering an independent NPC.

What is a Temporary NPC?
Temporary NPCs can be created by anyone. They are not as developed as Independent NPCs or PCs and they do not have bios. They are usually created for quick tasks, and are used for times when you need to post with other players on the ship. Think of them as throw away characters, you use them a few times and when they've served their purpose, you usually stop playing them.

How do I make a Temporary NPC?
To make a Temporary NPC post, all you need to do is place an OOC notation at the top of the post. You’ll probably see several variations, but they typically look like: ==Ensign John Doe – Temp. Engineering NPC ==

Can I make an NPC of any rank?
No. You can only play an NPC that is up to one rank higher than your own. This means that if you’re an Ensign, you can have NPCs that are Midshipmen, Ensigns, or Lieutenant Junior Grades. If you want to play an NPC that is enlisted or in a different military, the same rule would apply. Just check out the Rank Comparison chart to see what you can play.

PCs and Alts

What is a PC?
PC is short for Player Character. It is your main character while you are here on FedSpace. PCs are rated, meaning you earn points for posting with them.

What is an Alt?
An Alt-PC (or Alt) is short for Alternative Player Character. It is a second rated character, who you earn points for posting with them. Your Alt cannot play on the same ship as your PC.

So I can have more than one points-earning character?
Yes, but only with approval.

How do I start an Alt?
You must be the rank of Lieutenant or higher, and have permission from both your current CO and the CO of the ship where your Alt will play.

Chain of Command

What is the Chain of Command?
The Chain of Command is the order in which you should go should you require any assistance with an issue or have any questions or concerns in or out of game.

What is the Chain of Command for the Academy?
For the Academy, the Chain of Command is as follows, starting from the first person who you would contact and going up from there:

  • Bio Evaluator or Academy Instructor
  • Dean of Admissions or Dean of Evaluations
  • Superintendent

What is the Chain of Command for my starship?
Once you're posting to a ship, the Chain of Command is as follows. We’ll start from the first person who you would contact, and then go up from there:

  • Department Head (DH)
  • First Officer (FO)
  • Commanding Officer (CO)
  • Fleet Commander (FC)
  • Commander in Chief (CinC)
  • President (Pres)

I'm having troubles with the next person in the Chain of Command, what do I do?
If you are having any problems with someone in the Chain of Command, you should speak with their direct superior. So if you feel you can't talk to your Department Head, then speak to your First Officer. If you can't speak to your Captain, then go to your Fleet Commander.

Ranks and Points

How do I get promoted?
All characters start off at the lowest level in the game, which is Cadet. Once you graduate the Academy, you are promoted to Midshipman. You will earn points each month for your participation in the game, which will determine what rank you are. We do encourage you to play for fun, and not just to earn points and get promoted.

What are the ranks I can achieve over time?
For a list of ranks, please see the Rank Explanation page.

What is a rank cap?
Rank caps are in place to keep the levels of membership at an even rate.

Players are promoted up the ranks until they reach the rank of Lieutenant (Lt). Players must complete their command officer training and be offered a department head spot before they are permitted to advance to Lieutenant Commander (LCdr). They are then capped at Lieutenant Commander until they are promoted to First Officer, whereby if they have the points they reach the rank of Commander (Cdr). Commanders are capped until they are promoted to Commanding Officer, whereby if they have the points they are promoted to the rank of Captain (Capt). Captains are capped until they are promoted to Fleet Commander.

Can I get around the rank cap?
Rank cap removal is very rare, and can only be done with the approval of the CinC or President.

Graduation

What happens when I graduate the Academy?
When you graduate, an Academy admin will promote you to midshipman and assign you to your new ship. Your new Fleet Commander will welcome you to their Fleet, and your new CO or FO will email you. You'll then get to start posting on your ship!

Miscellaneous

What is character hijacking?
Unless you have permission from the player, you cannot post any speech, thoughts or movements for another character (PC, Alt, or NPC) that isn’t yours, unless the character has already done so in game. This is called character hijacking and is not permitted on Federation Space. Some players might not mind, but even minor things such as the nod of the head or a shrug of the shoulders can be considered hijacking. So if in your next post you said that Abby Taylor suddenly appeared and started dancing the Hokey Pokey, you would have hijacked my character.

I'm confused, and am not sure what to do next!
Talk to the person who is next in the Chain of Command. While you're in the Academy, that would be your Evaluations Officer or Academy Instructor. Once you graduate, that will be your Department Head. We're here to help you out!

My AI / another player is taking too long to post! What do I do?
Please keep in mind that Federation Space is not a chat site. Some people can only post every couple of days, because we do have lives outside of the game. If your AI is taking more than 6 days to post, then please contact one of the Academy admins. If once you graduate, another player that you're posting with or the GM is taking longer than 4 days, please contact your department head, FO, or CO.

Why do I have to go through the Academy?
All new and most returning players must go through the Academy to ensure they know the rules, policies, and procedures of the game. It also ensures a certain level of mastery of gameplay, and that their bio meets our minimum requirements.

Why does it take so long to go through the Academy?'
We try our best to train cadets in a timely manner. The time spent in the Academy depends largely on how quickly the Cadet picks up required skills.

How do I write stardates?
Here on FedSpace we write stardates a bit different than typical Star Trek canon. We use the current date and rearrange the numbers. First you take the first, and last two numbers of the year (2010 becomes 210). Next you take the two numbers in the month (May becomes 05). Then you'll insert a period, follow by the two numbers of the day (The 9th becomes 09). So the stardate for May 9th, 2010, will become 21005.09.