In addition to keeping your own elements realistic, you also need to be conscious of the larger setting you're operating within. If your additions contradict or interfere with either those of other SHs or those established previously by Setting, it can lead to a lot of friction, confusion, and player anger.
Part of being a community-driven site means that there isn't often a single authority on the IC settings. Our Setting Department can settle disputes between players or SHs when they came up, and keeps the wiki up to date so that folks can keep up to date on any changes, but department isn't solely responsible for adding content to the IC settings. That's for SHs and players to do.
Since SHs are often treated as a higher authority on the IC settings, we're responsible for being better versed in whatever area or elements we're dealing with, which often means a little research beforehand.
If you're going to run a session in a given location, take a moment to read its description and wiki page (if it has one) to get a feel for the history and the current status before you apply your own elements to it. It should help set a context and maintain and consistent understanding of the location the characters are playing in.
The same is true for organizations (like the Mage's Guild or the Followers of Light), nations, types of magic, exotic races and creatures, just about anything for which there's a wiki entry under Setting Information. You don't have to be a scholar, but it can be worth it to review the relevant details beforehand so that you're aware of the history and the context that other players may be bringing to the session.
If the wiki is sparse or non-existent on the subject, or if it's too much of a mouthful to easily skim through, don't be afraid to ask! Setting's other duty is answering SH questions about the IC settings, and they may have more up-to-date or relevant details for your particular needs.
Understand, you can change established elements of the IC settings through RP and sessions. Respecting the IC settings just means that you don't run roughshod over the settings the players know (and may love) before adding your own stories and elements to the mix. It also means establishing a realistic path from where things were to where they're going whenever an element of the IC settings does change under your watch.
The established settings works as a starting point and a framework within which, and on top of which, your own stories will take place. That history never goes away, even if the present changes. Respecting that means respecting the players and SHs who came before you and the stories they helped to tell, because others will later be respecting your own stories on the site.
Many of the sessions you run won't require Setting approval: it's only those that have a lasting impact on the larger IC settings that you need to check with them about.
Examples of when to contact Setting:
- A known organization is changing leadership, disbanding or starting a conflict with another organization
- A known location is being severely damage or altered
- A known NPC (like a king) is being killed, stepping down or starting a war
- Any extra-planar travel (or travelers, including your NPCs) is involved
- A very powerful artifact is being unearthed, or is in the hands of the NPCs
Remember, contacting Setting is best done before you run the session that's going to be impacting the IC settings in a lasting way. There's an old expression about it being easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Not so here: it's much easier to check with Setting first and find out of something is approved than to have Setting null it after the fact and make the time you and the other players spent essentially a waste.
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