The following are our rules regarding venue, membership, and play. These are very important and all participants in our scenarios should be familiar with them and follow them.

Section I

Since most (but not all) scenarios are played in the Phillips home, there are some very specific rules related to the venue which MUST be followed if players wish to be invited back for future events.

  1. Rule Seven Always Applies . . . Never Take the Piss. Yes, the very first rule is Rule Seven. That's because Rule Seven is Important! This rule has been around LARPing and Interactive Drama for years and while it is called Rule Seven, many troupes consider it the first rule. These are fun scenarios and we expect folks to have fun, but you should work at preserving the reality of the scene and the suspension of disbelief by staying in character as much as possible without screwing around or making fun or the like. Now, Rule Seven B is cited by many interactive drama troupes as unless it's funny but even then we prefer that the laughing be with one another and never never at other players or the activity in general. Stay true to the context and situation and have fun by playing your role well. Don't worry, you still get to socialize and have fun. We're not compete fuddy-dudders here.

  2. Interactive Drama means no voyeurs. There is no audience in the traditional sense of the concept. The participants in an Interactive Drama are both actor and audience. This goes far beyond even the most intense environmental or interactive theatres. You are actor and audience and author. So, this means that if you wish to attend a performance then you will participate as a character.

  3. Scenarios are played in English. Since so many of our players are American, Canadian, Australian, or other Expatriates living in Taipei - at least a few with very limited Chinese conversation skills - our games are conducted in English. Sorry, but we can only accommodate players with at least oral fluency in English. This does not mean that Chinese is not allowed. If two players are conversing in character amongst themselves and they wish to use Chinese, then there's no problem as long as they are using the language of highest common fluency. However, all official correspondence, instructions, and group discussions will be conducted in English. Those who are inspired by our efforts and wish to create a Chinese-speaking troupe are certainly encouraged to do so. In fact, we're happy to give advice and to point you in the right direction for resources. This web site is an excellent starting point.

  4. This is NOT an English class. While we conduct most sessions in English, this is not an English course (the only obvious exception to this rule is those events that are organized specifically for English learners). Yes, many of the expatriates who participate are professional English teachers and some folks do find these sessions to be great English-practice opportunities (Dr. Phillips has presented a number of papers to academic conferences on this very subject). However, the purpose of the troupe is for folks to get together for a chance to perform interactive dramas. Sure, interactive dramas are a great language teaching and learning tool (some of our members use them regularly for that purpose). However, that's not what the Taiwan Interactive Theatre Society is about. If you just want a chance to practice conversational English with some native speakers, please go elsewhere (of course, if your club, company, or organization would like to invite or hire Dr. Phillips to run a workshop or symposium on using interactive dramas for English practice or learning purposes, feel free to email Lorraine Phillips for more information on contracting a scenario or workshop or to join one of our professional English-environment events, but that's not what the general troupe events are specifically intended for).

  5. This is a Non-Smoking venue. If you feel you need to smoke during a scenario, you won't be able to, c'est la vie (sorry, but the only smoking allowed is outside away from the building). We do not take smoking breaks during a scenario for folks to run outside and light up. If you smoke before coming, please give yourself time for the smoke smell to air out of your breath and clothes. This is not merely a matter of taste as there are folks in the group with strong hypersensitive reactions to both the odor and the particles (for instance, Brian has occupational asthma which can be set off by cigarette particulates). The no smoking rules apply to indoor and outdoor venues. When this troupe meets, there is no smoking. Period.

  6. No drinking or drugs. This should be a no brainer but we spell it out here just so you know.

  7. Bring your own goodies to eat and drinks with plenty to spare for the goodies pile. Everything gets shared and we all contribute something. Mooching is strongly discouraged as is being stingy. Think of it as a potluck kind of affair for snacking during the event. Junk food or packaged snacks is fine (actually, it is pretty much expected). You do not have to overdo it but do contribute and participate.

  8. Help clean up the mess after the game. Please don't wait for the game reveal or your experience points and then leap for the door. The help is appreciated. If we have to pick up a disaster zone every time we have a performance, we won't host events very often. Folks who do not help straighten up may find themselves not invited to future events.

  9. Membership is open to Ages Seventeen and Up, but there are a few extra restrictions on those under 18 so know them . . . for the most part, we're open to anyone playing who is at least seventeen years of age as long as they can carry on a basic conversation in English. However, those under eighteen must have parental consent and that does not mean you say your parents are good with it, that means that at least one of your parents or a guardian actually has a real life conversation with Lorraine where they give explicit permission for their teenager to join the activities. No permission, no play. Simple enough. We just want to make sure that your parents know where you are and that they're okay with you travelling across Taipei to participate in the activity. Minors who do not have parental consent will not be able to play. We don't have many rules regarding who can join us but that one is very firmly fixed. The only exceptions to the age minimum are made by Brian and Lorraine for very exceptional cases typically with direct parental consent and involvement (for instance, a particularly bright fifteen year-old whose mother is playing might be given a role . . . while a typical twelve-year old probably wouldn't find the experience very worthwhile). Obviously, Adults Over 18 do not need such permissions (well, on our end, some folks may need permission from their spouse or significant other to play but we encourage folks to bring 'em along and let them play too!). This is a private troupe intended for socializing with particular circumstances and restrictions so we really don't want to have to hassle with liabilities or other legal responsibilities that come into play when you allow unaccompanied minors into the mix. So, only adults over the age of 18 may become regular members with the exception that responsible, creative, intelligent teenagers of age seventeen or older may play with parental consent and approval of the troupe organizers. This is easier and safer for all concerned. For the most part, troupe members are adults with special teen memberships for those who qualify. There may be very few exceptions to this but in such cases the absolute minimum age for participation is seventeen and even then parental approval and participation is generally expected. Prior approval for minors is required (speak to Lorraine and Brian for approval well in advance). Another exception is events that are tailor-made for young people (such as educational events for high school programs - contact Lorraine to arrange such events). Some rare events may be labeled as adult participants only so even exceptional minors may not attend those events.

  10. Children are usually welcome . . . but . . . the flip side holds true too . . . we are not your collective babysitter. Some folks can't play unless they bring their children so that's kool. Heck, the hosts have a daughter who has been around interactive dramas since she was a baby and so we think kids are great and we understand that sometimes folks can't play unless they bring their kids. You should let us know if you're bringing your kids though. Parents are responsible for managing the behavior of their own children and for looking after them although kids should be encouraged to play with one another when possible. Unruly or destructive children are not welcome (neither are unruly or destructive adults for that matter). Lorraine is not the group babysitter and neither is Kaye.

    Of course there is a caveat that some scenarios may not be appropriate for children if they address mature themes or subject matter or if there are adult situations, props, or costumes. In such cases the scenario director should let folks know well in advance so that they can decide if they wish to participate and so alternative venues or childcare can be arranged. Usually though kids will be around so scenarios should be kid-friendly. If you don't like to play around kids, then you're free to find a new venue and another group of players. Please do understand that while children of players are welcome we do not confer regular membership to minors. Older children who are with their player parents may participate in some games, but only under special circumstances.

  11. Membership is Open but . . . We're friendly folks, we welcome beginners and old hands into our events. If established players wish to bring a guest, please clear it with the event director AND with the hosts. If you live in the area, feel free to email Brian David Phillips and introduce yourself. However, do keep in mind that we don't want the numbers to get unmanageable. If for any reason Lorraine and/or Brian decide that someone is not welcome in their home, then boom that person is no longer invited, there is no voting on this as it is not a democratic point. Simple personality differences between players will be handled on a case by case basis but if we decide not to invite you anymore, c'est la vie, that's life, get over it and move on. In all honesty, if there's a personality conflict between someone in the group who is also a close friend outside the interactive drama context and someone who just comes for the events, we'll usually go with the closer friend. We don't like to make those sorts of decisions so please try everything else to resolve the matter before it gets to that. We play these scenarios because the activity is fun and it's a social activity. We'd like to think the people we play with are our friends. We want to enjoy the experience as do you, so we need to work together to that end. Honestly, we have had very very very few cases come up where this was ever even an issue and those were exceptionally rare circumstances. For the most part, people interested in participating in interactive drama events tend to be really good folks, friendly and helpful. You are more likely to make some really cool new friends than have any other issues with folks.

  12. Especially for wouldbe members . . . If we invite you into our home to play with us, membership in the group is always conditional on seeing how things work out. It's an audition of sorts that goes on for awhile. We want to see if you can fit in with our group of friends and our style of play and you should be checking us out for the same reasons. If we decide your playing style doesn't really mesh well with ours, don't take it personally (it's probably us and not you). If you are new and you don't like how the scenarios are played, you have the choice of continuing with us and enjoying the parts you do like or of moving on and finding another group. Taipei is a big city, there are lots of folks out there with whom you can play - feel free to consult the helpful articles here and on the Interactive Dramas site on how to start your own interactive drama troupe.

  13. Gender and Experience Mix. If at all possible, we'd like to maintain a nice balance between novice and experienced players as well as between young and older players as well as between novice and experienced players - although, most folks have no prior experience with this sort of thing when they join us and even most of the veterans haven't been doing it all that long. We would also like to have a good mix of men and women so couples are very welcome. Given the nature of the beast in our experience and typical gender balance in scenarios, while new single women tend not to create a problem with troupe balance, new single male players are encouraged to join with a new single female players to balance things out. Normally, we don't turn folks away if they show an honest and sincere interest in becoming dedicated and contributing members of the troupe who we can depend upon. Couples or mixed-gender friends are especially welcome. Parents with older children interested in playing are encouraged to encourage them to play as well, likewise young people are certainly welcome to encourage their own older friends or parents to play as well . . . or, not, if that's more comfortable for you. As long as you're interested and as long as we have some balance, we're usually good. If you're really interested, let us know . . . regardless of your experience level, age, or gender. If there's space, we'll most likely give you a try. If not, then we'll tell you straight up. If you have any questions, just email the Coordinator.

  14. This is a Social Interactive Drama Event NOT a Dating Service. While we think it is nice for single members of the appropriate age and-or appropriate gender to find one another at our events, that's not why we're here. The purpose of the troupe is to get a group of open-minded interesting folks together, play interactive dramas, and have fun doing so while enjoying one another's company. Of course, on the flip side, we're just thrilled when in the course of a season of interactive dramas folks in no relationship or an appropriate alternative discover they have more in common than our little scenarios and through a process of informed consent begin a journey down the road to a caring, mature, and loving life together. However, that should not be the expectation from the get-go.

Section II
  1. The Scenario Director is always right. Okay the director is usually mostly right. In the course of a scenario session, the director may make instant rulings regarding rules, conflicts, situations, or what-have-you. Within reason, the outcome of that ruling holds. If someone discovers later in a chronicle series that the ruling was not quite whatever the official rule states, then future runs may follow the official interpretation (or the director's official ruling on that interpretation). We learn from our mistakes but we move forward and don't whine about it later. Of course, players may object to what may seem to be grossly unfair rulings, but for the most part we go with whatever the director has decided at the time of the ruling and most decisions would not be reversed. Note Please: Directors should try very hard not to abuse this power in favor of being an arbitrary toad or use it as an excuse not to learn the rules or their scenarios.

  2. Actions have consequence. Although this is just a game, players need to feel that there are real consequences to their actions. If they screw up, then there has to be some sort of retribution - in fewer experience points but also in terms of plot. The Director will not let them burn the village and then leave it's smoldering ashes never to return again.

Section III

There are some things that we hope all our players would keep in mind. Most apply to other LARPs as well. Many of these are adapted from the Mind's Eye Theatre and Helsinki Chronicles conduct rules.

  1. Don't sign up unless you intend to attend and play. These are scheduled costume interactive dramas that we play. If someone signs up and then doesn't show it causes all sorts of problems for other players. Sometimes the entire plot can be completely ruined. Folks who miss scenarios they signed up for may find themselves in peripheral roles in the future and repeated offense will likely lead to a player being barred from further participation.

  2. Be in costume. These are costume interactive dramas that we play. While there are plenty of folks in the troupe willing to help out with last minute costume alterations and the like right before a session begins, we prefer players have costumes ready well in advance. The scenario descriptions usually have costume suggestions so if you sign up early enough you should have plenty of time to put something together. A simple costume is better than a totally lame one or none at all. There are folks in the troupe who are more than willing to help others with costumes, just ask. Those who habitually come without costumes may find themselves booted from future scenarios.

  3. It's only a game. Don't take things too seriously. That only spoils the fun for yourself and others. If your character dies, so what, it's just a piece of paper anyway. Likewise, when the scenario is over, it's all over. Don't call folks at two in the morning to make up strategy. Let the director, other players, and yourself have a life.

  4. No touching. While some scenarios may call for violent or intimate action on the part of the character towards another character, the players must never touch other players without explicit permission. There are mechanics to simulate violence, never play rough. Violators of this rule will be ejected from the event and will very likely not be asked back, period.

  5. No stunts. Sure, your character may be a super powered being or vampire able to leap from building to building but you're not. All potentially dangerous scenes are to be simulated using metasystems or scenario mechanics. If you really want to hang by your toenails from a balcony, join another troupe where idiots are allowed. We have absolutely no interest in participating in someone's nomination for a Darwin Award.

  6. No weapons. Some scenarios call for characters to carry weapons such as swords, blasters, or personal antimatter grenades. Costume weapons are fine, as long as they are non-lethal. You may not carry any sort of weapon that could be used to actually harm another person. Nor may you use toy guns that look like the real thing. Colored plastic water pistols or plastic or foam rubber swords are okay. If you carry a sword as part of your costume, it may not be drawn from the sheath at any time nor may other players touch it. It may look cool, but even adults can hurt themselves rather stupidly.

  7. Don't freak the mundanes. If we use an outside venue, be aware that not everyone you see is involved with the scenario. Try not to go out of your way to disturb or impress outsiders. In the case where there is an emergency or the like, then all play is suspended.

  8. Have Fun. The whole idea is to have fun, not to "win" or "kill as many other characters as you can" or "conquer the world." It's to have fun. Your character usually has scenario-based goals so try to accomplish those goals within the confines of the rules and the context of the scenario. If you don't accomplish your goals but you managed to have a good time while helping others have a good time, we can't ask for any more. Even a player whose character is defeated in abject humiliation wins if the performance was enjoyable for himself and others.

Section IV

These are some addendums and clarifications to the rules above which will help guide players in having a good time. Many of these are adapted from the Helsinki Chronicles troupe.

  1. Do not confuse in-scenario and off-scenario. In other words, if someone's character insults your character it does not mean that that person is insulting you. Never carry off-scenario grudges (or friendships!) over into the interactive drama performance. This should be obvious, but it is such an important point that it bears repetition.

  2. Play your character. Think about who your character is and try to act like him or her, even if it means doing things that you consider stupid, or even suicidal. The essence of good roleplaying is being able to stay "in character". It's hard, but when it succeeds it creates a good game for everyone (and some memorable situations... :-).

  3. Avoid off-scenario mode. Off-scenario is evil! Well, maybe not evil, but it sure does get in the way of running a smooth and enjoyable event.

  4. Learn the scenario or system rules. That doesn't mean that you should memorize every detail, but try to become familiar with the abilities that your character has and with the basic game mechanics. Having to ask about rule details in the middle of a scenario situation easily spoils the atmosphere. Not all scenarios will have formal rules but there is always an implied system of some sort. If you're not sure what it is, ask and find out. For the most part, the Taiwan Interactive Theatre Society performs interactive drama scenarios that rely upon very simple metasystems or rule sets as we tend to focus on the experience of improvisational theatre-style roleplay rather than on mechanics. However, even the simplest system is still a system.

  5. Try to hide the system mechanics as much as possible. If possible, do the rock-paper-scissors dance out of general sight, and then act out the situation. This way everyone sees what is going on, and things feel more "real" (instead of abstract game mechanics). In fact, forget mechanics if it's totally obvious what would happen (i.e. an powerful warrior with tons of muscle throws you, a frail ninety pound weakling, against the wall and you don't have any special abilities that might help). Improvise, act things out, yell if the situation calls for it! The emphasis should be on acting, not system details. The acting is what other players will remember you by (or not remember you by, as may be), not by how many bids you won or lost. Think about the most memorable characters in the scenario run, and try to figure out why they were memorable and not just "faces in the crowd"...

  6. Do your best to have fun. If you're bored, and you really can't think of anything to do, talk to a director... I'm sure we can think of something. Usually there's a lot of things going on during a scenario, a lot of it is just hidden. Try to figure out who is hiding what, and why.

  7. The session is not over just because you've "finished your goals." Don't give up on the rest of the players and their plots just because you seem to have finished your goals, please stay in character and help others to continue having a good time. If you're not sure what you should be doing, tell a director and ask for some guidance. If the scenario is well plotted, there should be plenty for you to do. If the scenario has holes in it, then the director needs to know so that things can be patched up. It's perfectly appropriate for a director to give additional goals or information to a player in order to "keep things moving" and help everyone have a good time.

  8. If you don't feel like playing your character, the whole event bores you, or something else is seriously wrong, tell the directors about it. Please! Don't go around killing other player characters "just because you're bored" or something else idiotic, that is a very easy way to seriously piss off other players and the directors. We mean it. This comes from experience.

  9. Tell us (the coordinators and directors) what you liked and didn't like about that event, what you would like to do next, plot ideas, anything at all. This troupe is very much run by players for players.

  10. Remember the "roleplay" word. In a nutshell: acting is good. Good acting is even better. Simulating combat etc by acting it out is very good. Simulating the use and effect of vampiric Disciplines by acting is also very good. Anything at all that makes the scenario and the situations more "real" to players is a Very Good Thing. Let yourself go, it's very much ok to yell if your character is angry or in a killing frenzy or just feels like it!

  11. Off-scenario is bad. We've said it before, but it needs to be stressed. Doing everything with game mechanics with no acting is very bad ("And now I do a Social test against you to talk you into supporting my plan"). Always getting together with a certain player no matter what your characters are (because you are friends in real life) should be avoided. Spoiling the scenario for other people is very bad. Spoiling the event for other people with stupid behavior in such an extent that the directors or hosts get complaints from other players is very, very bad, and is one of the few ways to get yourself kicked out of the troupe for good.

Taiwan Interactive Theatre Society

實境RPG (角色扮演遊戲真人版)


Interactive Dramas