This is a temporary page with the policies and procedures of the Shadow Accord event group. When the Shadow Accord Wiki is back up this page will go away and that will be the proper place to reference this information.
Northwest LARPers Organizational Rules for Staff v. 2014209.71 replaced by a vote by the head of staff on 2/26/16. It was changes to reflect our current team make up and update the rules to the current needs of the SA and Northwest LARPers.
Northwest LARPers Organizational Rules for Staff
Table of Contents
Section 1: Definition of Staff positions and responsibilities
Section 2: Rules and Rewards governing staff
Section 3: Process for becoming staff
Section 4: Process for changing staff
Section 5: Process for changing the Organizational Rules for players and staff
Section 1: Definition of Staff positions and responsibilities
“Or what’s all this then?” -Amber J.
The Treasurer: This position will be filled by the Nwlarpers board treasurer or their designated agent ONLY. Works with Check-in on Friday night of event. No volunteers. One assistant allowed for training purposes before replacing the current treasurer.
Treasurer responsibilities are as follows: Collect event fees on Friday and work with the ranger to ensure the site fees are paid. They are to make sure all players sign the waiver of legal responsibility and ensure everyone at game is over the age of 18 and fit to play. They are to keep financial books for NW LARPers, see that taxes and government fees are paid on time. They can be called on to schedule events with the ranger. They are to make reports on the financial situation to the Executive Officers on a regular basis. They can approve expenses by other departments under $20 and above $20 with a signed approval of an executive officer. They are also to insure that the legal waivers are signed by players at least once a year and help Deco team track game assets. They will also take meeting notes at official staff meetings or see that someone else does and post the notes to the forums if the executive officers do not do so. They assist Check-in with non-character paperwork. They manage the payments store for donations and credit card transactions.
Administrator of Nwlarpers (AN): This position can be filled by any trusted and technically proficient member of the playership or staff. There are up to two forum moderators and one Wiki Administrator. Not considered a head of staff.
Administrator of Nwlarpers responsibilities are as follows: They support and maintain the forum, website and guide all the forum moderators. The Administrator’s helps maintains the wiki and the gallery applications, as well as updates any static content. The Wiki Administrator’s updates any content, works to improve the wiki, works with the Character Guides and assembles relevant wiki articles into new editions of the Player’s Guide(s) under their direction.
Decorations(Deco): Seven full time positions filled from volunteers. Three volunteer positions allowed on top of the seven full time positions.
Decorations Team responsibilities are as follows: maintaining the atmosphere of the game. This includes maintaining the garb and props for CC/NPCs and set-up and take-down of the church, longhouse, inn, King’s Trust and tavern before and after events. They maintain assets between events. This means washing, repairing and properly storing them within a week of event. The Treasurer can request a accounting of all assets from them at any time. They are to provide at least one member to assist with the loading and unloading of the truck to make sure the proper things are sent to game and return to storage afterward.
Safety Team (Safety): Five full time positions filled from volunteers with cpr and/or first aid training.
Safety Team responsibilities are as follows: They are also responsible for safety and are to assess if something is a safety issue. They are to make sure there are adequate medical kits and supplies. At least some of their members must be certified to perform CPR and first aid with one on site at all times during events. They are replaced solely from the playership who has volunteered for the team.
Storytellers (STs): Five positions filled from former guest storytellers or the staff or an exceptional member of the playership.
Storytellers’ responsibilities are as follows: run the required cast characters (CC) and a few of their own plots in support of the story of the game. They are to provide a believable world by reacting to the players in a realistic manner and representing the greater world of darkness outside of town. They are also to ensure that while there might be emphasis on a faction in a given game, in the long run all factions get support and plots they can use to make the game a more rich and full experience. They own NPC policies and logistical matters directly related to ST camp. The Storytellers must submit requests for exceptions to normal duties to Executive Officers to vet. They hold the sign-in sheet and infractions log book during game.
Guest Storytellers can run at most two plots under supervision. They can also run errands for the STs and be full time non-player characters (NPCs) in order to earn experience (XP) compensation for their efforts. There will generally only be one at a time.
Check-in (CI): Four full time positions filled from staff or volunteers. Two volunteers.
Check-in responsibilities are as follows: Maintain and update copies of the character sheets of players. This includes tracking XP and awards. They are also to pass out cast character (CC) packets to players if necessary as they check in. They are to insure that the treasurer receives all the payments collected for event. They are also to refrain from sharing private character information with other players. They are to create and print the registration sign-in sheet, including XP info from pre-reg or volunteering and see that Storytellers hold the copy after check-in has concluded. Check-in and the Executive Officers get a copy after game. They are to make sure everyone in line has a character sheet in advance and facilitate the character guides’ work by sending new players with new characters to them.
Rules Team (Rules): Four full time positions filled from staff or the rules volunteers. Two volunteers to help test rules in addition to the four full time positions.
Rules Team responsibilities are as follows: Craft the rules in an attempt to promote a healthy and vibrant role play experience at game. The team is also tasked with explaining the rules to the playership on the NW LARPers site if there are questions or if a clarification should be made. They are expected to be active on the NW LARPers site. The rules team will debate rules changes internally then solicit comments from staff and petition Executive Officers for approval of the rules changes. They are to publish major rules revisions to the playership by a means that conforms to White Wolf’s (TM) rules. From there they can have them tested by selected volunteers from the playership and Staff. For major changes to the rules Executive Officers may require rules team to submit their proposals directly to the playership for feedback. Regardless any rules changes to the players rules are required to be communicated to the playership on the Nwlarpers site at least 2 months before they would be used at a game. Failure to post them at least two month before the next game will delay their use until the following event. The ST’s can waive this requirement for themselves if they unanimously vote to do so and the executive officers have been given a chance to review the new rules on behalf of the playership.
The end goal of this team is to get the rules to a position where they need very little change. When rules stability is achieved, the Rules team will serve as references for the playership, assist in promoting better play, and help adjudicate any rules disputes.
Character Guides (CGs): Six full time positions filled from staff or the playership. No volunteers.
Character Guides responsibilities are as follows: To review any new characters created by existing and new players to make sure their concept makes sense, is conducive to a NW LARPers event and works with the setting. They are to try to review concepts before event but must stay available to Check-in team on Friday nights to answer any questions from new players. They are to define the general setting as it affects character creation and to create and edit the Player’s Guide. They advise ST and Rules on questions of World of Darkness canon. They are expected to be active on the NW LARPers site.
CGs must be familiar with all the current game rules including all organizational policies for players. All new character sheets must be signed or stamped by the CGs to approve them before they can be checked in. Alternatively Check-in can sign for them if they are provided a list of approved characters by the CGs. They are also to refrain from sharing private character information with other players. CGs can bring concerns about someone’s concept, garb or demeanor to the Executive Officers to determine if they will be allowed to play or asked to leave.
Executive Officers (ExO): Three full time positions generally filled from staff. Great care should be taken in their selection.
Executive Officers’ responsibilities are as follows: Arbitrate disputes between members of NW LARPers, supervises and supports all branches of Staff. (Including filling in and performing any staff duty if required) This consists of communication with staff teams, fixing communication between staff teams, fixing communication within staff teams, fixing communication between players and staff teams, and directly communication with players about the game. They appoint and remove the heads of staff but must consult with the board of NWlarpers if they wish to remove the treasurer. They can remove non-heads of staff if it becomes necessary but every effort should be made to handle things through the head of staff leadership. They are to require the departments to be ready for each event. They are responsible for the layout and formatting of the announcements/newsletter produced every game.
In general they are available to look out for the general playership’s interests in areas where full disclosure may not be appropriate. They also serve as points of contact for the public and are expected to be active on the NW LARPers site. Communicating with the Ranger and/or camp director on and off site and organizational purchases are an Executive responsibility. They can revoke anyone’s ability to donate if they fail to fill a special donation that was claimed and can reject any donation as inadequate. They are also responsible for the organizational rules for players/staff and enforcing the rules and maintaining the infractions logbook. (Please see the investigation process for more information) Executives should coordinate every work party that players are attending and attend if no head off staff is available to do so. They should physically attend every Head of Staff meeting.
Executives need to review the public version of the head of staff meeting notes generated by the note taker to make sure they were fit for general consumption and that they are out out on a timely basis. Further they are required to do an annual staff review within the first quarter of the year and look for signs of burnout in the staff. The position will normally have three trusted members.
Heads of Staff positions: Every team but the Executive Officers and the Administrator must have a head appointed by those same Executive Officers. These heads of staff create further policies that do not conflict with their teams official descriptions. These heads are responsible for attending any meetings called by the Executive Officers as well as the regular meetings that will take place at least once between each Shadow Accord event or see that a team member attends in their stead. They should try to attend work parties and can supervise them at camp. They are responsible for accurately communicating with their team members- making sure those members stay on message and are performing their duties. They can add and remove any member of their team at any time. They can be called on to be investigators and serve on tribunals as part of the investigation process. They are required to be more active of the Nwlarpers forum and held to a higher standard then normal staff.
Section 2: Rules and Rewards governing staff
“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Stan Lee
As leaders and public servants within NW LARPers, staff is held to a higher standard of conduct. They are expected to follow and safeguard the rules that govern all participants, player and staff alike. The staff are accountable to the Executive Officers as they are ultimately accountable to the playership, more so if they are the head of a department. No one person will be a member of more than one staff team, though they can volunteer for another team. Exceptions to the rules are extremely rare. When they do happen, they must occur with a consensus of staff and Executive Officers. If it becomes necessary for someone to fill more than one non-volunteer position within NW LARPers it should be temporary only, as defined as at most two games. Staff can be called on to serve on tribunals as part of the investigation process
To thank them for their efforts, Staff members will receive XP compensation commensurate with their responsibilities but will still pay a full game fee like everyone else expect STs who receive a free game. All staff will receive 6 additional XP beyond the normal 3 XP for playing for a total of 9. Temporary full time NPCs will get 3 additional XP for a total of 6. Further staff are considered preregistered so will never miss out on game due to camp capacity.
Volunteer positions are not compensated as staff, but may NPC as all other players.
Section 3: Process for becoming staff
“None of the teams are ever going to be fully independent entities that get to make all of their decisions in a vacuum. For the day to day operations everyone should just get out of their way and let them do their job, but larger decisions will still require working with everyone else.” -MOG
After a discussion with the other members of a department, the current head will nominate one or more of their volunteers, a member of the playership or another staff member to join their department depending on who is allowed to be nominated for their team. (See section 1: Definition of Staff positions and responsibilities for whom can be nominated.) The Head of Staff must email or PM their nomination to the Executive Officer email address or forum group.
If the head of a department does not nominate anyone or if the ExOs don’t believe their nominees can do the job, a general call for nominations will be made to the playership. Once the ExOs have approved a nominee they will be taken on unless there are two or more acceptable nominations. In that case then the staff will vote to determine who gets the position. If there are no active volunteers recruiting can be made from the general playership. If a whole department is empty, the ExOs can select a new head.
The position of Executive Officer holds the greatest responsibility. We want people tested by their time on staff to prove their intent and competence for the role. The two remaining ExOs will nominate interested staff members for the position and may nominate non-staff with like experience from other organizations. If more than one ExO position is vacated at the same time, the heads of staff will vote on the nominations made by the remaining ExO, or by all staff if there are no ExOs.
Section 4: Process for changing staff
“We want a healthy staff not independent fiefdoms that get in turf wars.” -Russell S.
Staff change is triggered by gross violations of the rules, unexcused inaction, to prevent conflicts of interest, unnecessary fighting with other staff departments, or by someone simply stepping down from their position.
ExOs themselves can be removed by a vote of no-confidence by a super-majority of the staff (66%). Any staff member can initiate such a vote on behalf of the playership or other staff provided they provide sufficient grounds for doing so, after an investigation of the alleged misconduct.
Section 5: Process for changing the Organizational Rules for players and staff
“I’d like to say that I think I’m learning more and getting more out of being on Team SA than I could possibly ever contribute… With a little grace, and a little humility, I know we’ll make it.” -Kristen M.
A living organization needs flexible rules, but not too flexible. Any changes to the organizational rules for players or staff can be suggested to the Executive Officers by anyone. However, the Executive Officers alone will decide if they will put any rules changes into effect. Changing the organizational rules for players is fairly simple.
Any major changes to the staff rules, however, must also be approved by a majority of the Heads of staff. (51%) Such rules changes should not be done quickly but with a chance for input from the whole of staff. Major change here means: Changing staff responsibilities drastically, changing the rules for removing staff, or any change to the process for changing the rules.
Northwest LARPers is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, age, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.
This code of conduct applies to all Northwest LARPers spaces, including sanctioned game events and official forums, both online and off. Anyone who violates this code of conduct may be sanctioned or expelled from these spaces at the discretion of the Executive Officers.
Some Northwest LARPers spaces may have additional rules in place, which will be made clearly available to participants. Participants are responsible for knowing and abiding by these rules.
- Offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, body size, age, race, or religion.
- Unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices, including those related to food, health, parenting, drugs, and employment.
- Deliberate misgendering or use of ‘dead’ or rejected names.
- Gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behaviour in spaces where they’re not appropriate.
- Physical contact and simulated physical contact (eg, textual descriptions like “*hug*” or “*backrub*”) without consent or after a request to stop.
- Threats of violence.
- Incitement of violence towards any individual, including encouraging a person to commit suicide or to engage in self-harm.
- Deliberate intimidation.
- Stalking or following.
- Harassing photography or recording, including logging online activity for harassment purposes.
- Sustained disruption of discussion.
- Unwelcome sexual attention.
- Pattern of inappropriate social contact, such as requesting/assuming inappropriate levels of intimacy with others
- Continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease.
- Deliberate “outing” of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent except as necessary to protect vulnerable people from intentional abuse.
- Publication of non-harassing private communication.
Northwest LARPers prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. The Executive Officers will dismiss complaints that are founded on the discomfort of having a privileged position of race, sex, gender, or other identity challenged, but will review all complaints and investigate all those that fall under the terms of this policy.
In addition, the following are specifically not considered harassment:
- Reasonable communication of boundaries, such as “leave me alone,” “go away,” or “I’m not discussing this with you.”
- Communicating in a ‘tone’ you don’t find congenial
- Criticizing racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions
Northwest LARPers is a roleplaying community. Participants may encounter situations in which their characters are subject to conflict and unwanted behavior. Our games occur in a dark medieval fantasy setting, which may include fictional representations of character-on-character violence, intimidation, prejudice, and a number of other behaviors that would not be acceptable in real life.
Players are expected to clearly distinguish between actions directed at other players and actions directed at characters. Most in-character action is not subject to sanction under our harassment policy, so long as it clearly falls within the acceptable boundaries of roleplay. These boundaries are defined as follows:
- In-character action must not be motivated by a desire to cause real-life distress.
- In-character action must adhere to our safety policies, as defined by Safety team.
- In-character action must adhere to our rules and policies on physical contact, as defined by the rulebook and any clarification by Rules team.
- Players should be aware that depictions or descriptions of sexual violence, including simply mentioning them as part of a character’s past history, can cause real-life distress to other players.
- Players should be cautious about introducing such elements, and must cease the actions or descriptions if anyone present expresses discomfort.
It is possible for in-character action to unintentionally cause real-life distress. If a participant in a roleplay scene is uncomfortable to the point that they feel they are unable to continue the scene, they may request a Stand Down and either explain the problem or exit the scene. In the latter case, they must notify an Executive Officer of the situation.
If player A notifies player B that player B’s in-character actions are causing significant real-life distress, to the point of halting the scene, it is player B’s responsibility to cease the offending action.
This policy must not be used to deliberately avoid in-character consequences. If a player chooses to leave or halt a scene due to real-life discomfort, and the scene was reasonably likely have led to in-character consequences – up to and including character death – the other participant(s) in the scene may petition the Executive Officers to review the situation and attempt a resolution of the scene. At the discretion of the Executive Officer(s) involved, this may be handled immediately on-site or may be postponed until after the end of the event.
If you are being harassed by a member of Northwest LARPers, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact the Executive Officers at email@example.com. If the person who is harassing you is on the team, they will recuse themselves from handling your incident. We will respond as promptly as we can.
This code of conduct applies to Northwest LARPers spaces, but if you are being harassed by a member of Northwest LARPers outside our spaces, we still want to know about it. We will take all good-faith reports of harassment by Northwest LARPers members, especially Staff, seriously. This includes harassment outside our spaces and harassment that took place at any point in time. The Executive Officers reserve the right to exclude people from Northwest LARPers based on their past behavior, including behavior outside Northwest LARPers spaces and behavior towards people who are not in Northwest LARPers.
In order to protect volunteers from abuse and burnout, we reserve the right to reject any report we believe to have been made in bad faith. Reports intended to silence legitimate criticism may be deleted without response.
We will respect confidentiality requests for the purpose of protecting victims of abuse. At our discretion, we may publicly name a person about whom we’ve received harassment complaints, or privately warn third parties about them, if we believe that doing so will increase the safety of Northwest LARPers members or the general public. We will not name harassment victims without their affirmative consent.
Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.
If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the Executive Officers may take any action they deem appropriate, up to and including expulsion from all Northwest LARPers spaces and identification of the participant as a harasser to other Northwest LARPers members or the general public.
This anti-harassment policy is based on the example policy from the Geek Feminism wiki, created by the Geek Feminism community.
Q&A Regarding the Harassment Policy
Here are the responses from the HoS to questions about the policy. We will be working on making a few changes to the policy to make sure that it properly reflects these answers.
Question 1: This has some enforcement problems the other way. For example: “In-character action must not be motivated by a desire to cause real-life distress.” Okay, I don’t want people to be dicks to each other either. If an IG situation happens that causes one character to suffer, and this is WoD, how does one prove intent? If it’s a IG murderface, there aren’t usually witnesses. How will an XO decide this? As a player, I am even more limited in my IG decisions to be in conflict with someone (IE: create plot in a CvC situation) without spoiling it for the other player in advance or knowing them very well. Otherwise, I am acting in game based on assumptions about them, and them me.”
Answer 1: Character justifications are considered as part of a formal complaint investigation process, where relevant. If someone feels they have been targeted due to their gender/sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or other out of character motivations, they can submit a formal complaint using the same investigation process we use whenever we investigate a complaint for Harassment, which is currently on the list of Infractions. As Executives, it is our responsibility to investigate such complaints, which often include speaking to the people involved and others who observed the situations. If evidence is found to substantiate a complaint, we will set up a Tribunal and present this evidence to the Tribunal committee to determine if there is sufficient reason to move forward on any punishments, if they are required.
*Note that this is not a change in the current policy, but a clarification of what may be considered harassment with respect to formal complaints.
Question 2: “World of Darkness as a setting involves some manner of bad things happening to people. Heck, a vampire can’t feed in game without doing damage to another character. How does a setting which predicates on conflict and bad things happening fit in with a policy where the IG has to stop when someone is uncomfortable? Sometimes characters might even victimize (defined by reducing the autonomy or choices) another without good OOG reason, and sometimes even no particular IG reason. Is this no longer viable at game?”
Question 3: “This policy must not be used to deliberately avoid in-character consequences. If a player chooses to leave or halt a scene due to real-life discomfort, and the scene was reasonably likely to have led to in-character consequences – up to and including character death – the other participant(s) in the scene may petition the Executive Officers to review the situation and attempt a resolution of the scene.”
Does this override the setting/WYSIWYG/Immersion, that a staff moderator needs to be involved before anything significantly negative can happen to another character? I speak somewhat in hyperbole, but the document doesn’t define terms in a such a way that this isn’t an outcome at least sometimes. The drama free character death is few and far between (and thank you for when it happens!).”
Answers 2 & 3: World of Darkness is a world setting with some very dark themes, and everyone has their own comfort level. This policy is in place to protect real victims of OOG bigotry, sexism, or racism. Some people are fine with concepts as dark and degrading as the mind can possibly fathom, but others have real life trauma that causes some subjects to become sensitive to the point that they have an out of game trigger. Characters’ stories are still the focus of the game, but if a particular action or scene affects the player to the point they experience OOG trauma, they are given express permission to leave a scene. For example, if someone feels triggered by a graphic depiction of a rape scene, they have every right to walk out of that scene. If someone claims they left a scene because “it was stressful” and it is found during investigation that they were deliberately avoiding in-game consequences for their actions, there will be an appropriate response. Abusing this policy will not be accepted. If anyone is found to be abusing this policy to avoid negative in character consequences for actions, punishment can be levied and go as far as banning the player or the player losing the right to play that character. The WYSIWYG of the game is something we will always aim to protect as it is core to the game, and changing that is not the intent of this policy. This policy is enforced inside the normal complaint and infractions policy.
Question 4: “This code of conduct applies to Northwest LARPers spaces, but if you are being harassed by a member of Northwest LARPers outside our spaces, we still want to know about it. We will take all good-faith reports of harassment by Northwest LARPers members, especially Staff, seriously. This includes harassment outside our spaces and harassment that took place at any point in time. The Executive Officers reserve the right to exclude people from Northwest LARPers based on their past behavior, including behavior outside Northwest LARPers spaces and behavior towards people who are not in Northwest LARPers.” How? What does this look like?”
Answer 4: Substantiation of claims will be required. Complaintants will initiate a formal complaint/investigation process in the exact same manner as any other complaint. Just as any other investigation, if the investigation team finds enough substantiated evidence that the complaint has merit, we go through the established process.
*Note that this is not a change in the current policy, but a clarification of what may be considered harassment with respect to formal complaints.
Question 5: “How is this not slanted toward those who know the staff better or have those friendships/ knows triggers others might not? What is in place to keep this and the other items from being abused? The power base of game resides largely in one household right now, and how does that household make sure they aren’t applying these and other rules with bias? (I ask this as someone who has lots of trust for those folks, but being above reproach means having something in place for those who DON’T know).”
Answer 5: The formal complaint and investigation processes are structured in such a way to alleviate bias on the part of staff, i.e. staff are selected for the investigation and tribunal teams such that they are not personally invested in the outcome. Complaints of harassment will still be processed through the formal complaint/investigation process, which is designed to determine if complaints are unfounded or merit a response (which is then decided by the assigned Tribunal).
The power does not reside in one “house.” The team in charge of investigating complaints for any reason (Rules break, harassment, etc) is the Executive Officers. This is still the case, and as it always happens, a Tribunal is founded to police the findings of the Investigators. Tribunals always consist of Staff from other teams. Because of the nature of complaints included in the Anti-Harassment Policy, the Investigator(s) assigned to cases will primarily be Executives because of the sensitive nature of things we may learn.
Question 6: “In the end, how does one enforce feelings and motivations rather than acts and behaviors, remain true to the setting, and give out just decisions based on circumstantial evidence? How does this work with the already in place infractions continuum?“
Answer 6: See previous answers. The policy addresses the concern of feelings vs. actions in that a lack of evidence leads to a conclusion that the complaint is unfounded. Substantiated proof can be anything from email logs, screen captures of chat conversations, or eye/ear-witnesses to such things happening. It falls perfectly in line with the current infractions continuum. These complaints are recorded and any evidence found is also saved for future complaints against the same person.
Question 7: “In order to protect volunteers from abuse and burnout, we reserve the right to reject any report we believe to have been made in bad faith. Reports intended to silence legitimate criticism may be deleted without response.” Another example of the org stepping in to determine intention. How? Define bad faith? What is the criteria a staff member will use to determine this? If it’s deleted without comment, what appeals process would someone have to that decision?
Answer 7: “Bad faith” is a phrase meant to explain someone trying to abuse the policy or complaining without full understanding of the circumstances. An example of “bad faith” complaints would be: “Jane Doe is a genderfluid person who prefers to go by John Doe. When confronted in game, someone decides to kill Doe’s character for trying to steal things from their cabin. Doe then says that the reason they were targeted for death is that they are genderfluid and that the person hates them out of game.” We hear about this and our investigation determines that the death was in response to the attempted thievery, thus the investigation concludes the complaint is unfounded. This would mean nothing is posted or put forward to the community as a whole, and no punishment is levied. For the appeals process, the policy is the same one outlined on the forum in the investigation policy (copied here for your convenience): “An appeal from a resolution committee’s ruling can be made to the Executive officers but it will not necessarily be heard unless there is new additional evidence or other mitigating factors. If there is fresh evidence or an error was made, an appeal can be made to a ruling by submitting a formal request in writing. Such a request should include a description of what the new evidence or error was and be sent to the Executive Officers via PM on the forum or by delivering one on paper to them in person. It is solely in the discretion of the Executive Officers if they will hear such an appeal.”
Question 8: “Another question: aren’t changes to the rules/org rules subject to a 2 month “punt” for community feedback? Or had that changed too?”
Answer 8: The Two-Month Punt does not apply to organizational policies. The Two-Month Punt is a Rules Team specific policy in regards to changing rules about gameplay that the STs can waive if they are prepared to institute those changes sooner.
Question 9: “While they are being put together as a whole, I have a couple of situations I’d like to bounce off the policy. 1: I have a character from a marginalized religion, one currently in the spotlight and one that is canonically appropriate to be treated poorly. I did much research, worked extensively with character guides, and checked with folks of the faith to be sure I was being accurate and respectful to the best of my ability, and learned some great stuff in the process. But, part of playing this religion is the plot aspect of it being difficult to be of this religion in dark ages england. How should I approach this in game marginalized status, when there are people OOG that have this religion and they should not be marginalized/harassed OOG and what my character might experience could potentially fall into this policy? And 2: I have a character who is a bigot. Because dark ages England is what modern sentiments would consider sexist, racist, strictly adhering to a gender binary, full of superstition and religious persecution. An example of this is a relationship she has with a character who is a woman in power who wears pants and is a warrior. She leverages humiliation/ loss of face with the orthodox against this character IG, even when OOG our players are friends and even in game they have a certain respect for each other. But in order to play this character in the setting and with her particular predilections, she will pick on people who go out of line and break the norms. How does this fall into the policy? As it stands, I feel like I couldn’t play the character without putting myself at risk for having to defend myself OOG for things my character believes, and if I lose that defense, I could have some pretty nasty real life consequences….”.
Answer 9: Please review the section of the policy on roleplay again. All of these are covered by that section of the policy. This policy is designed to pertain to people’s OOG motivations, but it is not designed to limit characters’ actions.
Question 10: “References to other policies that would need to be updated to go with this one. So that the power/ ability to arbitrate is not kept solely with the executive officers, and so that there is some oversight, I would highly recommend that the anti harrassment process work with the formal investigation process as it already exists. While it seems the executive officers’ powers and responsibilities have extended much toward consolidation, it would protect this policy from potential bias to have a more transparent management of the complaints.”
Answer 10: Previous answers explain the way this works.
Complaints can be transparent, but do not have to be. If all parties involved choose to keep things private, this is something that is already allowed in the current policy.
Question 11: This document needs a lot of work; the Definitions section in particular. The underlying ideas aren’t bad.. but some statements take on a LOT of responsibility on the Org that I believe the Org is not capable of enforcing or doing so in a non-biased way.
While I do think we need to spell out a clear and concise policy that supports a safe and welcoming environment, i also strongly believe that people’s problems and hang ups should not be at the discretion or review of the Org. We expect people to be civil adults and we expect them to leave prejudices and biases at the door.”
Answer 11: We do expect people to be civil adults and leave their prejudice and bias at the door. That is exactly what this policy says in a more detailed fashion. This policy is designed to act as a roadmap to clarify expectations of behavior . It clearly defines actions that will not be tolerated. It also gives a clear track of what kinds of punishment will be levied against people choosing to break the rules of harassment based on bigotry.
Question 12: “Also.. the XOs may take action? What about the investigation process? Does this give the XOs blanket authority and authorization to pass judgement? I may be jumping to conclusions.. but this is a concern.”
Answer 12: Many of the previous questions covered these as well. The clarification is that the policy is using the existing formal complaint and investigation policy.
In regards to the authority of the Executive Officers, if the actions taken by any one player are deemed to be a threat to someone’s personal well being, the Executive Team already has the authority to eject players from site or ban them from the organization. This is an extreme situation meriting an extreme response. As with any ban, there is an appeal process , which is outlined on the Forum.
Question 13: “I have particular concerns about arbitrarily outing the accused or spreading their names to “third parties” (without even any specification that they’ve been found guilty). This is counter to the existing infractions system, which was informed by a number of difficult experiences that this community had previous to that point. I strongly encourage a rethink of that section and adherence to existing policy–or open a larger discussion about said policy before paving over it with something some person on the internet said.”
Answer 13: The third parties involved in this policy are people like the police. Information obtained through these investigations could easily turn up things such as finding evidence someone is sending emails that say things like, “I do not like that you are atypical gender so if I see you at game I’m going to kill you.” Things of this nature are extremely severe, and we want to protect our players above all. To make this clearer, the language of this will be cleaned up in the document to specifically point out the kinds of parties this information will be brought to. Keep in mind, this policy is written so that only in the most extreme cases does this information go beyond NWLARPers and Shadow Accord. The “General Public” is addressed in the way that we post the notification of a Ban or Suspension as a response to an investigation as outlined in the Investigation Process policy.
Question 14: This has too much direct power to XOs where a neutral investigation could and should be attempted. Too many time people cite to me to distribution of power in this org is a strength and by design. This policy runs counter to that philosophy and sets an, arguably, bad precedent”
Answer 14: This policy doesn’t transfer any new power to the XOs, it just further defines something already in the Infractions List (under harassment) and explains it more thoroughly to help us better protect the players.
Question 15: “We reserve the right to reject any report we believe to have been made in bad faith.” This is a terrifying policy. I have to side with Elyssa on this one and say that this is another example of the org stepping in to determine intention. And again- How? Define bad faith? What is the criteria a staff member will use to determine this? Also how do we know favoritism will not be used in these decisions?”
Answer 15: The current policy is designed and created to ensure fairness when handling investigations and formal complaints. Bad Faith is where you make a false claim, sometimes with the intention of hurting another. Personal bias is never an acceptable piece of evidence when brought forward to members of the Tribunals. The Executive team members are expected to remain neutral in the way that they handle investigations, and all evidence is then shared to the other members of the Executives. If someone has personal dislike for someone we receive a complaint about, one of the others takes up the investigation process. Any evidence found is put before a Tribunal of people comprised of members from at least three teams. One person cannot make a decision on this – there are always checks and balances.
Northwest LARPers Investigation Process
Section 1: Definition of Terms
These are the meanings assigned the following terms unless otherwise noted in this document.
Complaint- The formal statement communicated to staff that starts the investigation process. It is formal if it comes in writing directed to a staff member.
Investigator- The person empowered by the Executive Officers to look into the complaint based on the infraction list. (Below)
Evidence- Any written statement that can be attributed to a person with a reasonable degree of certainty or any thing directly witnessed by someone who the investigator trusts to be telling the truth.
Witness- Someone who directly saw the things complained of that violate the infraction list and will swear to it to the investigator and, if so asked, to the Resolution Committee.
Resolution Committee – the three staff members assigned to hear evidence gathered by the investigator.
Accused- The person being accused of violating the infraction list and/or player rules.
Accuser- The person bringing the formal complaint to the attention of staff.
Staff- A member who is serving in a position where they are being compensated with XP.
Section 2: Complaint Assignment
Complaints must be made formally to a staff member. (See section 1: Definitions) Please note that the infraction list is to be referenced when dealing with complaints. The complaint must be made within a month of the offending activity or when it is discovered.
In addition to describing the infractions the complaint must include a brief description of what steps the Accuser took to resolve the nature of the complaint before bring it to staff formally. If it is a case where no steps could be taken, state the reasons why they could not. If someone is making a complaint on behalf of another player they have to provide a list of who made the complaints and assure us that they wanted to make a formal complaint. If they cannot provide such a list or assurances they will not be allowed to make a formal complaint.
The complaint will be assigned to the head of the department that is most relevant to the nature of the complaint by the Executive officers. If there is no clear department involved, or if the head of the relevant department is involved in the complaint as accused or accuser or the chief witness to the complained of event, then the Executive officers will select another staff member to be the investigator who is not involved in the events surrounding the complaint.
In the case where multiple departments are involved the complaint may be divided into pieces so that they may be addressed by the appropriate teams. In this case a head investigator would still be responsible for making sure all the relevant information is gathered. The other teams providing assistance to the head investigator. The entire issue will still be considered a single complaint.
Section 3: The Investigator’s Duties
The investigator gathers the evidence and takes statements from the accused, the accuser and any witnesses. The Investigator can ask for assistance from more staff if they deem it appropriate or if the complaint is far reaching or involves many witnesses. The investigator will have a reasonable amount of time to investigate. Normally less then a month.
It is up to the investigator to find evidence or witnesses. The investigator must first make a reasonable attempt to investigate the situation without a public inquiry. If they can’t, they may petition the Executive Officers for permission to put a statement on the NW Larpers forums that solicits for private messages or other communications from the playership. This statement will only describe the incident in vague terms and not identify any of the parties involved. The request for public posting will be granted with a few exceptions. If the investigator wishes a public inquiry when a Executive Officer stands accused, their request is automatically granted.
Information gathered by the investigator will be taken to the Resolution Committee for a finding based on the evidence. Oversight of the investigator would be made by the Executive Officers not on the Resolution Committee with spot checks unless they are involved in the nature of the complaint.
Section 4: The Resolution Committee’s Responsibilities
The resolution committee is made up of one Executive Officer and two other Staff not currently involved in the matter. The Executive Officer on the resolution committee is not to provide oversight of the investigator and if possible the members of the resolution committee should not have heard the evidence before they meet formally to hear from the investigator.
The investigator’s evidence will be considered by the resolution committee and they will reach a ruling then report it to the rest of the staff within two weeks. The resolution committee may ask to question any witnesses directly if they think it necessary. The staff as a whole would work on the wording of the finding for publication.
An appeal from a resolution committee’s ruling can be made to the Executive officers but it will not necessarily be heard unless there is new additional evidence or other mitigating factors. If there is fresh evidence or an error was made an appeal can be made to a ruling by submitting a formal request in writing. Such a request should include a description of what the new evidence or error was and be sent to the Executive Officers via PM on the forum or by delivering one on paper to them in person. It is solely in the discretion of the Executive Officers if they will hear such an appeal.
Section 5: Publication of Results and other guidelines
After the staff has finalized their decision, it may be posted on the NW Larpers forums in a locked thread.
All parties may agree to not have the complaint or findings posted on the forums after it has been resolved, in particular if it was a mistake or misunderstanding. All parties would be the investigator, the Resolution Committee, the accused and the accuser.
Again, players are encouraged to talk informally with the other parties involved in an incident before making a formal complaint to staff. They can request staff utilize the ‘Infraction List’ in lieu of the Investigation Process as well. This process should be a last resort. We are a community first and foremost.
It is against the conduct rules for any player to make reprisals for use of the Investigation Process or otherwise treat a player unfairly for making a complaint. The intent is that this process won’t be needed. If it is, it will be fair.
Northwest LARPers Infractions List
v. 20141140.50 replaced by a vote on 4/14/16 by the heads of staff. The new version has more infractions spelled out and some clarifications.
Table of Contents
Section 0: Intent of the Infraction list
Section 1: Definition of terms
Section 2: The Infractions Continuum
Section 3: Infractions by area with examples
Section 4: Other related guidelines
Section 0: Intent of the Infraction list
Before we get started, I want to give you, the reader, some guidance on using the Infraction List. First of all, this document is meant to be used by staff to aid them in managing their departments. While it can be used with the Investigation Process, the intent is to try to avoid the formal investigation process unless it is absolutely necessary. (See the Investigation Process Above)
We are a community of like minded gamers and my hope is that we can work things out most of the time. That said I want you the playership to be aware of the normal punishments staff can hand out so that if they exceed their authority you can make a complaint to the Executive Officers. On the flip side if some one is being a problem and the staff does not want to punish them appropriately the playership can attempt to do so through the Investigation Process.
Section 1: Definition of Terms
These are the meanings assigned to the following terms unless otherwise noted in this document.
Investigator: The person empowered by the Executive Officers to look into the complaint based on the infraction list.
Private Warning: A private warning can be given by Private message, in person with no non-staff witnesses, in writing at event, or by e-mail. Every attempt should be made to keep it between the staff member and the individual involved. It can be fairly informal. It will be entered in the Infraction Log at the staff member’s discretion if they believe it is warranted. (Minor Infraction)
Public Warning: A public warning can be given on the NW Larpers Forum, in front of other general playership at event as long as it does not overly break game, or in the game publications. This will almost never be done on a first offense and must be done by a head of staff or Executive Officer. (Minor Infraction)
Loss of Privileges: Examples- The loss of the ability to donate, NPC, be a volunteer, play restricted characters, tend fires, post on the forums or any other privilege granted by the organization implicitly or expressly. (Minor Infraction)
Asked to leave game: The player must leave the current event if it is safe. If it is not safe they cannot continue to participate in the game and must stay in out of game areas. (Major Infraction)
Suspension: Someone can be uninvited from game for one to three games. (2-6 months) (Major Infraction)
Banned: The individual is indefinitely removed from the playership. They may not have a forum account nor attend games or NW Larpers functions for at least a year. (Ban Infraction)
Staff: A member who is serving in a on going position where they are being compensated with XP.
Infractions Log Book: A digital book kept by the Executive Officers between games and a physical sheet at ST camp during game. It can be used to document private warnings or other staff actions taken at game.
Section 2: The Infractions Continuum
While all infractions will have a range of punishments based on a first time violation of the rules, I think it is important and useful to list the full range of punishments that can be meted out, from smallest to largest. Note- these punishments are completely independent from any moderation on the NW Larpers Forums, though such moderation may be relevant to any investigation and may count toward making the punishment harsher under these rules.
The range of punishments is as follows: (See Section One above for a definition of these words)
Private Warning (Minor Infraction) –> Public Warning (Minor Infraction) –> Loss of Privileges (Minor Infraction) –> Asked to leave game (Major Infraction) –> Suspension for one, two or three games (Major Infraction) –> Banned. The Investigation Process would be required to ban someone. Also of note: Three documented minor infractions can add up to a major one and two major infractions can lead to a banning subject to Executive Officer Review.
Lastly, note that the severity of the infraction can escalate the response, e.g. a serious infraction can bypass lower level punishments and go directly to loss of privilege or being asked to leave game, even if it is the first occurrence.
Section 3: Infractions by area with examples
There are several discrete kinds of infractions. Most violations are either: safety issues, forum issues, game rules issues, serious criminal offenses, or failure to follow rules associated with a privilege. Here are some examples along with the range of punishments staff can hand out in a similar situation.
A safety issue would normally have the following result: Private Warning –> Public Warning –> Loss of Privileges.
For example: Frank S. keeps improperly building and/or maintaining fires. The first time they caused an issue they would generally be given a warning. If Frank kept doing things wrong after a warning or caused a fire though neglect or intentionally overbuilding the fire, they might lose the privilege of building and/or maintaining fires.
Dodging weapons check. Weapons must be checked every game to ensure safety of fellow players. Per general safety related issues, Private Warning –> Public Warning –> Loss of Privileges. This means no boffer fighting. Your Garou has been declawed, for instance, and you’re no longer able to brawl. For whatever reason that the weapon isn’t checked, be it that a weapon was checked at the previous event or the player made their own with the acceptable materials and feel it’s safe, this is an important step to ensuring the well-being of other players. What may have been fine one event may have sustained damage between games. Even brand new high quality latex weapons can be damaged or unsafe to begin with.
For example: Crafty McGee makes his own sword and brings it into game without getting it checked. He feels it is safe and can’t be bothered to have it checked. In this case since Crafty was willfully avoiding the weapons check he would likely get a public warning and his weapon would then be checked. If it failed he would not have a sword even if he had a valid tag. If he was found to do this again he could lose the privilege of using a sword.
Game rules violations are taken very seriously and would follow the following chart. Private Warning –> Public Warning –> Loss of Privileges –> Asked to leave game –> Suspension for one, two or three games –> Banned. The Investigation Process would be required to ban someone. This is a complicated area so I will give two examples.
Example 1: Jack Dan calls 2 damage when he can only do 1 by his mistaken belief that he had augment 1 by misreading the moon phase but stops doing so after being corrected by a rules team member. In this case there would be no further action as Jack, after being warned, corrected his behavior.
Example 2: Chet Cheatham is wearing plate armor and has had health levels and armor explained to him in the past by staff members after previous questionable incidents. Chet gets in a fight and has taken a total of 12 damage, 6 of which was absorbed by his armor and 6 of which was taken in health levels leaving him at 4 health with broken armor. He then goes into another fight without healing and without mending his armor and pretends that he is still at full health and is wearing full armor. He then takes another another 16 damage in that fight and claims he is at 2 health. This is cheating. In this example, given the history, Chet would likely be suspended or banned after an investigation.
Meta-gaming amounts to social cheating. It occurs when a player takes information they learned out of game in game in a way that benefits their character or their friends despite there being no way their character should know it. As our game has no rewinds, this can seriously hurt the narrative of the game and is another form of cheating. Punishment would follow the following chart. Public Warning –> Loss of Privileges –> Asked to leave game –> Suspension for one, two or three games.
For example: Kassie Nosy over hears a conversation at a party where she learns that Gabe’s character is a secret vampire. Kassie then tells Jimmy in a way that makes him think she learned it in game. Jimmy challenges Gabe in game on account of him playing a vampire. This is not fair or right! This is cheating by Kassie. In this example she would likely get a public warning at the very least because this could have had terrible repercussions for Gabe’s vampire that now can’t be fixed in the narrative of the game.
Serious Criminal offenses are not tolerated. Asked to leave game –> Suspension for one, two or three games –> Banned.
For example: Jim Bob is fighting with his boffer and Jill gets hit in the head on accident. She kicks him in the groin intentionally and seriously in response. In this example Jill would be asked to leave game at the very least.
Failure to follow rules associated with a privilege is a good way to lose that privilege. Private Warning –> Public Warning –> Loss of Privileges.
For example: Atlas Actorson is given explicit instructions by ST camp for how he is to play the Great Fenris. Instead, Atlas runs from all battles and says that wraiths are the wolves new gods. In this example, ST camp can suspend Atlas’ NPC privileges for a set period, or forbid Atlas from NPCing from that point on.
Another Example: Chess Mate shows up on Saturday morning to check in without giving any notice after being warned he needs to on the forum. In this case, Check-in team could refuse to let him check-in or give him a public warning! Losing the privilege to check-in late effectively means you could miss a game!
Dereliction of Duty (Staff) It covers just not performing one’s job after warnings. Private Warning –> Public Warning –> Loss of Privileges. It may lead to loss of the ability to serve on staff. For more intentional rule breaking, look at another rule.
For example: Ken Kenderson is on Safety Team and he sees a dangerously built fire. He walks on without taking any action. He then leaves game unexcused. These are both Dereliction of Duty. This would lead to him likely being fired from his position and would in addition put an offense on his record that might stop him from being hired onto staff in the future.
Ad hominem (personal) attacks on Staff. This will not be tolerated. Public Warning –> Loss of Privileges –> Asked to leave game –> Suspension for one, two or three games.
For example: Sylvia Sharp is at check-in. She berates a member of the staff for making a simple math mistake, swears at them, and accuses them of trying to cheat her. This is going too far and, in this example, Sylvia would be asked to leave game.
Avoiding Check-in/Character Guides/Treasurer is not wise and can get you in trouble. Private Warning –> Public Warning –> Loss of Privileges –> Asked to leave game. Not paying for event is not fair to everyone else and not being prepared is much the same.
For example: Ferris Faker wants to try Shadow Accord but does not want to pay for it. He shows up at game and snags a blank character sheet. He fills it out but does not pay, talk to the Character guides or go through check in. He is discovered on Saturday night. In this situation, since Ferris did it on purpose, he would likely be asked to leave game or at the very least get a public warning and have to pay. Additionally, he might not earn XP!
Lying to Character Guides about your concept or trying to play a restricted class without permission could lose you the right to play one. Private Warning –> Public Warning –> Loss of Privileges.
For example: Sara Slippery tells character guides that she is going to play a unrestricted cub but she plans to play an elder. She puts more on her character sheet after getting it approved and goes into game trying to play a restricted elder character. She is discovered by one of the Character Guides when they hear that she is playing a elder poorly. In this case, Sara would lose the right to play a restricted character, her current character, and would likely get a public warning.
Poor Sportsperson-ship is a catch all category for anyone who is intentionally making trouble out of game to other members of the community. Private Warning –> Public Warning –> Loss of Privileges.
For example: Jack Jackson has a problem with a group of players who he thinks killed his character for a poor reason. He tries to make them look bad out of game by starting a whispering campaign against them and every new character he makes hates them. In this case, Jack would get a public warning but if he kept at it, all his minor offense warnings might add up to a major offense penalty. Or, if he already had major offenses, this could lead to a ban.
Egregious Breaking of Game is continuing to constantly break game or doing so in a very disruptive way. Private Warning –> Public Warning –> Asked to leave game. It is not asking for legitimate rules clarifications or to report a medical emergency.
For example: Clara Catperson breaks game to show everyone in a room a cat video on her smart phone. This would get her a public warning. If she kept breaking game with that cat video she would likely be asked to leave.
White Knight/representing others without their express public permission is not just a forum infraction but could happen before or after an event outside of the forums. Please encourage others to bring up their concerns with staff directly either in private or in public. Private Warning –> Public Warning –> Loss of Privileges.
For example: Eager Everett is trying to win a argument on the forum regarding a new staff policy. He claims to represent others who are not active on the forum: “Other people who don’t ever visit the forum agree with me but I can’t tell you who they are but I feel I must represent them.” This kind of exchange is not very helpful and can lead to unproductive arguments. In this case, Everett would get a private warning but if he kept at it may lose the privilege of having a forum account. If the speech is outside the forum, you can earn minor offenses that can add up to bigger ones.
Forum issues are largely not covered in this document and I would encourage everyone to be familiar with the rules on the forum. One can lose one’s ability to have a forum account and still be able to come to game as an extreme example.
Section 4: Other related guidelines
When possible, someone should be given the benefit of the doubt. All players are encouraged to correct simple mistakes by others, but should summon a staff member if the person is not understanding or seems to be willfully bending or breaking rules or being unsafe. If there is a serious incident, players can invoke the Investigation Process, but this should be reserved for the more extreme cases or patterns of willful ongoing minor infractions. For more details, see that process.
Asking for clarifications on rules and how to do things safely will never be frowned on. We are all here to help and have a good time. Part of that is understanding the rules and ways to be safe at game.
Ban Appeal Process
A person who has been banned from Shadow Accord may ask for an appeal after a minimum of one year from when the ban was placed. Once the person has told the Executive Officers officially and in writing that they are asking for an appeal, there will be a post created in the General Game Information forum asking current players for any input on this person to be sent privately to the Executive Officers via private message (PM). No information will be considered via any other electronic means. The person in question who is applying may also, if they so choose, gather character witnesses and heads of other local LARPs to give input on their behalf. All this information may be released privately to the rest of staff to verify it, when it is is reasonable to do so, and will be released directly to the person who submitted the appeal. At no time will names go on a record. Only the Executive Officers will know who provided what information. If it is deemed relevant who submitted what then the Executive officers will ask that individual if they are ok with sharing their name.
After at least a month of gathering information, the Executive Officers will bring the information to the next regularly scheduled Heads of Staff meeting. (These meetings occur between event dates.) They will review and discuss the information and then vote whether or not to allow the person a second chance. Each Executive Officer and Head of Staff gets one vote. (9 votes) A vote in favor must have 3/4 super majority to allow the person to return to Shadow Accord. (7 votes: Abstaining from voting or missing the meeting is considered a no vote)
If the vote does not pass, the person may reapply in one year but if their appeals are rejected one more time the ban becomes final. In the case of a ban in place for breaking state or Federal law, or in a case where the game site does not allow the person on their property, an appeal will not be considered.