About The Lurkers’ Domain

 

Ah, The Lurkers' Domain. This one site has had more hosts than I have Malkavian voices in my head.

The Lurkers' Domain was an open group of message bases dedicated to gothic and sci-fi interactive fiction. The goal was create an atmosphere that allows for free creative writing with interesting characters, fun interaction, in a safe environment.

The stories are all archived offline. Eventually I have to restore everything to a new home. For now, however, the gilded coffin is buried again for a long deserved slumber.

For your edification, here is the FAQ.

What are the different ways to access The Lurkers’ Domain?
Currently, we are accessible as a web forum and as a group of mailing lists. In addition to reading the messages on the web, each forum is connected to a mailing list. This allows you to read and post in a forum directly in your email box if you prefer. To join one, please visit the website, create an account, and the subscribe to the forums you wish.

What else can I do at The Lurkers’ Domain?
Storytelling is the primary activity. Having said that, however, I plan to integrate a chat room, files, etc. to the website. There is a dice roller provided, for any and all RPG needs, like ’Battle Scenes’.

Is Lurkers’ Domain moderated?
Yes, all of the forums are moderated, but posts are not restricted in content. This is to be considered an adult forum for mature readers. All we really moderate for is the degeneration of a story or game into a discussion (which will be moved to its own thread), for abusive or threatening posts (which will be removed), and for spam (which will be removed). Only registered users can post messages, so there will be no anonymous posts allowed.

Are there disciplinary actions?
Yes, we believe in Three Strikes and You’re Out. The first offenses will result in a moved or deleted message, and an email sent to the user. Second offense will result in a degraded access level, known only as The Dungeon; reprieves come quickly if a user behaves. Third offenses will result in account deletion and banning.

What can I do if I’ve been banned?
It depends on why you were banned. If you can prove your account was misused without your permission, and is not susceptible to further hijacking, we will consider restoring your account.

How do I unsubscribe or leave the board?
From every forum page, there is a Forum Subscription link. From there, you can choose which mailing lists you wish to subscribe to or unsubscribe from. If you choose to no longer be a member of this message board, you can delete your account from the Profile page.

Who is The Elder Lurker Daniel?
This was a character name which was derived from the fact that I’ve been around the internet and BBS scene since the 80’s, but I typically end up as merely a ’lurker’ in most forums I’ve joined. I visit many discussion forums to learn something new, find an answer to something, or what have you. I usually only step up and voice my opinion when I feel everyone will find value in my opinion or to answer a question I know the answer to. Very rarely though, I find a reason to step out of the shadows and say something. In late 2001, I visited the Lilith ezBoard forum and began telling an impromptu, improvised story with another user. I donned the title ’Elder Lurker’ and it stuck. The forum moderator chastised the role-playing on her serious discussion forum, so I moved our small tale to its new home, The Lurkers’ Domain. The rest is history.

What is The Elder Lurker?
For this incarnation, he is a vampire and a powerful mage. He’s about 1500 years old, born in Scotland in the time of King MacBeth. He has visions of prophecy that too often come true. His sire is Darius, a 2500 year old vampire who tires of his immortality. In truth, The Elder Daniel has reincarnated many times prior to his Scottish birth, and is connected to Darius’ past. To learn more about them, please read ’Gothic Nights’.

Who is Lilith?
This question deserves its own FAQ, but as I don’t want to overwhelm you, I’ll tease you instead. She is Temptation Incarnate, the Queen of the Night, Mother of Nightmares, and some legends have it, the source of all vampires. In Jewish mythology, i.e., you won’t find this in the Old Testament, she was Adam’s First Wife, born at the same time as him. But when she refused to submit to him, she left him alone, and Eve was created from him to take her place. Some call her demoness, other goddess. She is the seducer of mankind, and the angel of freedom. Most importantly, she is my muse, both in this forum, and in my other fictional works. Therefore, you will be hard pressed to not find the Dark Mother in some form or another in this Domain. If nothing else, you’ll see she has a forum called Lilith A.I. named after her, which is a sci-fi forum about a spaceship that appears to be ’possessed’ by Lilith, the ship’s namesake.

Are the stories based on any particular system/series?
For those of us who have played various RPG, it will be difficult to avoid using certain descriptions, actions, and techniques. Also, we are influenced heavily by our favorite movies, TV shows, and books. While I hope you can all draw from these rich backgrounds, for more reasons than I can list, I have to ask that we try to avoid basing our characters and stories on any known RPG or program. Besides getting yourselves and us in a world of legal crap, I want everything here to be fresh, spontaneous, and ours. This is our domain. You can make reference to things if you are obvious about them. But try not to adopt them whole.

Are role-playing games allowed here?
Absolutely! If you have a favorite style for playing an online RPG, like Play-By-E-Mail, we will gladly host that here. Our forums can be tied to mailing lists, so this can easily be a home for such a game. I even wrote a javascript dice roller for everyone here to use. I just feel there must be a distinction made between stories and games. In games, for example, there are no-holds barred by the moderators of this forum, save the rules for the game.

How do I start a Role-Playing Game here?
I like to make every RPG based here its own forum. This means if you want to start a new game, I ask that you drop me an email with the type of game you’d like to run. I will then set up a forum for you and make you a moderator of that forum.
Once the forum is created, as the GameMaster, you should start three separate posts. (You don’t have to, I just find this works well.)
The first thread should be for all outside discussion of your game, including dice rolls and other game mechanics, and all mundane discussion of the game.
* Your first post here would announce your desire to run a game, inviting members of the Domain to join. This message should ideally lay out your requirements and requests for the game. You should set this first post as Sticky/announcement so it remains at the top for easy reference.
- Which RPG system and setting will you be playing?
- Is there a specific era for the game, or a specific city?
- What is the maximum (and minimum) level of player allowed to start?
- Will you allow the players to create their own character sheets with stats, will you alter it when submitted, or will you generate all stats?
- What other ground-rules will you set up?

The second thread would be for all of the players to post their character sheets and background stories and info.
* Your first post here should list either your NPC characters here as examples, or you should list the basic requirements for your players to provide.
- Will you require certain abilities, limitations?
- Will you require each player introduce their character with a background story?

The third thread would be for the Game itself. ONLY posts by the players and the GM will be allowed here, and everything should be in character.
* Your first post here would ideally be a description of the setting, mood, and situation that the player will initially find themselves.
- Do you presume all of the initial players know each other, or is this first setting a bar/inn where the players will walk in and find their adventure?

As the Master of this Domain, I will actually step aside and allow the GM to control what happens in their forums. They will be the moderator there. The players must respect them as such. If rules of your game, or the Domain are being violated, I will step in if requested.

This will only happen in a few cases.
- If there are disruptive people dropping into a game who are not players, and this is becoming a problem, I can set up UserGroups which include only the Players and GM, and make that the requirement to post in a forum.
- If need be, if a player or other user is consistently abusing the forum, I will have them barred from the forum, and potentially the Domain.
- If the GM is abusing their power as a Moderator, they will be disciplined, and could have their Moderator status stripped from them.

What is interactive fiction?
There have been many definitions of this, from its initial use by Infocom games like Zork, to books like Choose Your Own Adventure. But, we use it here to describe a style of fiction writing that is akin to a group of people telling a story, improvising situations, causing and resolving conflicts, in a world where anything is possible.

What is the difference between this and ’role-playing’?
Those familiar with role-playing game systems like D&D and World of Darkness will know what I mean when I say there is a definite difference. While certainly these stories told here are very character-centric, and are usually first person, this is not an RPG. There are no dice rolled, no rules pertaining to combat, no pre-determined characteristics. Feel free to immerse yourself into your characters, and do not feel restricted to one character. Try NOT to write the dialogue or actions of another writer. Be patient with other writers; it is not uncommon for users to be absent from the forums for a while. The emphasis here is to tell some amazing stories and have fun.

How are conflicts between characters resolved in a story?
All of the stories here are meant for the enjoyment of every user. Some writers thrive on action, and this naturally involves confrontations between fictional characters. We call these fights ’Battle Scenes’ and can be fun, and is the sole exception to the ’no dice’ rule. There is no standard for dealing with this here; I’d be happy to set up one. In general, these are prose descriptions of your characters actions, waiting for your opponent’s actions. There are to be NO lethal blows dealt to another author’s character. Such actions can and will be reversed, if the ’dead’ character’s author requests it. An author can kill off their own characters at will. Often what works best is for the battling authors to discuss via private messages how any random chance via dice or RPS (rock/paper/scissors) will influence a battle. A dice-roller has been supplied for such use.

What is sci-fi?
To most people I know I don’t really need to explain, but I will attempt instead to describe what I’d like to see here. We are all influenced by the ’standards’ of Science Fiction. From Issac Asimov to Douglas Adams. From Star Trek to Star Wars. The best sci-fi tends to explore the human condition by placing it in unimaginable new worlds. While certain technologies are invented to explain ’futuristic’ capabilities, often times many become stock, expected fare. Spaceships, lasers, teleporters, green-scaled aliens. There’s a line between using and abusing these technologies. I would love to explore as much uncharted territory as well as technology. But, please, feel free to use the known world of jargon and tech, so long as we can avoid TradeMarks. No Klingons, Jedi, etc., please.

What is gothic fiction?
The same can probably be said for this. Far too often, ’gothic’ is mislabeled as ’horror’. True, gothic fiction often involves vampires, were-wolves, angels, demons, blood, sex, etc. But ’gothic’ is more of an exploration of the darkness that pervades our world. Like sci-fi, these dark creatures are tools for delving into the human condition, the darker half of our psyche. Heroes can come from the darkest places in these tales, and evil-doers are people just like you and me. Immortality and its trappings play the largest role, and remarkably so does romance. These tales are typically set in the here and now, but background stories will be rich with history. Gothic creatures typically have weaknesses, or some can appear godlike. I’d like to see a happy medium here. The stories here should not become, ’let’s slay all of the vampires.’ Even the brightest creatures of the light cast shadows, and they will never be able to destroy all of the darkness. Embrace your fears and you might just learn something.

 Posted by at 3:40 PM

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