OVERVIEW ★ GAME DETAILS ★ SHIPS & CREWS ★ UPGRADES ★ TAKEN CHARACTERS
PLAYER & MOD CONTACT ★ ACTIVITY & HIATUSES ★ APPLICATIONS ★ DROPS ★ EXTRAS!
PLAYER & MOD CONTACT ★ ACTIVITY & HIATUSES ★ APPLICATIONS ★ DROPS ★ EXTRAS!
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QUICK LINKS: THE SHOW | AUGMENTS | CREW STATIONS AND RANK | THE HS MARSIVA | THE FLEET | CHANGING SHIPS AND BECOMING CAPTAIN | COMMUNICATIONS (AND BROADCAST POSTS) | TRAVEL (AND ACTION POSTS) | YOUR FIRST DAYS ON BOARD (AND INTRO POSTS) | JOBS (AND STUFF TO DO) | LANGUAGES | RATINGS AND MONEY | GROWTH, HEALING AND DEATH | CANON UPDATES, HIATUSES, AND RETURNING CHARACTERS | AUGMENT MALFUNCTIONS | LEARNING SKILLS FROM OTHER CHARACTSERS | SPECIAL CHARACTER SITUATIONS | EARTH REFERENCES? | SPREADSHEETS
NOTE: If you have any questions about the setting or game's mechanics that are not answered below, comment to this post and we'll get back to you with an answer!
≛ THE SHOW ≛
So, that wide-grinning voice that likes to interrupt your day with cheery announcements? It keeps informing you that you're part of an intergalactic reality show. Apparently pulling beings from all over the multiverse, throwing them into an assortment of ships, and watching them follow a Hostship as it drifts ever-forward through space is a highly entertaining and lucrative source of entertainment.
The entity in charge of the show is referred to as 'Atroma', and no one will tell you what exactly Atroma is. It could be a person, a corporation, a planet, an entire race--the specifics are still a mystery.
No one will tell you who your superiors are, how long this 'cycle' of the show is, or who your audience is. If anyone is watching Drift Fleet in this stretch of the galaxy, the fleet hasn't found them yet... because no one in Marsiva's flightpath seems to have heard of it before. Go ahead and try asking them. Try claiming that you're trapped by the whims of some omnipotent reality show, and see what they say.
≛ AUGMENTS ≛
Regardless of their species, physical makeup, or abilities, every passenger in the Drift fleet will find themselves with an augment docked into whatever passes as the base of their skull. Made mostly of a plastic-like, synthetic material and a small amount of non-magnetic metal, they interfere with very little, and somehow go unnoticed by most scans. Most are completely embedded in the skin and show nothing but a small subdermal bump behind the left ear. At the player's discretion, the implant can stick out more--showing a node or band of some kind in white and black plastic, located somewhere between the base of the left ear and the spine.
Augments absolutely cannot be removed. Whatever technology brought the passenger to the fleet must have altered the makeup of their basic being, as even creatures referred to as 'gods' and 'spirits' are unable to separate themselves from the augment. Even if they are able to make their bodies completely incorporeal, the augment somehow goes with and continues to function. Passengers are filled with a crippling dread and psychological pain if they try to remove their own augments. Attempts to remove someone else's augment fills the remover with a similar dread, but to a lesser degree. Magics and other supernatural abilities seem to 'slide' off the augments, and mechanical attempts to remove the augments will result in catastrophic injury to the augmented passenger.
It is unclear how the augments function. The device doesn't seem to give off any signals, and no matter what it's scanned with, no electrical activity can be found. It doesn't even appear magical, in case someone tries to look.
Somehow, these augments upload important information directly into the minds of the passengers (regardless of whether or not said passengers have a biological brain). Most notably, new passengers will find themselves with a basic understanding of space and how to use simple technology. They'll also know enough to get around their SS ships and drive the small SR ("short-range") shuttles. They will know the basic parts of a space-faring crew and, depending on what starter skillset you choose for them, will gain a specific skillset pertaining to one of those positions.
Remember, just because a character has had those skills uploaded into their brain doesn't mean they're necessarily an expert! "Pilots" may still need practice, "cooks" may still suck at cooking, and an "engineer" might be just as likely to blow a fuse as the next guy. Their own skills, motivation to learn, and practice will determine how well they actually do at their job. Passengers may also upgrade their augments with additional skills, knowledge, and specialties as time goes on.
Any character is welcome to try doing anything around the ship even if they don't have the augment for it, but there's a very steep learning curve. Even if a passenger already possesses piloting or science-related knowledge, for example, they'll only have part of what is necessary to understand and use this fleet's equipment. It will take a very long time for them to master these new skills, and until then, a passenger with the required augment will be much better at it than them.
≛ CREW STATIONS AND RANK ≛
There are only two official ranks within the fleet: "Captain" and "First Mate". For more information on how those ranks work, please see the ships and crews page. All other ranks are completely up to the characters to create and are not recognized within the Drift Fleet system.
Crew stations are more like the jobs a passenger can have around the ship--positions like pilot, engineer, lab support, etc. They exist completely independent of rank, and they can overlap (so a pilot could also be a captain, a security officer could also be first mate, etc). A passenger's station is determined by whatever augment skillset the player decides to give them when they join.
Passengers do not have to fulfill the station and skillset given to them. They can choose to take on another station (and be very bad at it), or attempt to dodge all responsibility entirely. However, it makes sense to have someone who's knowledgeable about engines to do the engine repairs, and someone with a medical skillset be the one in charge of the first aid kit--so passengers may find it much, much easier to fall into their assigned stations anyway. Having a passenger on your ship with a certain augment may also trigger certain improvements to the ship itself, which would be a silly thing to waste.
List of available augment skillsets (and the stuff that comes with them):
Skills: Basic aeroscience, flight and navigation technology (for both SS and SR ships), travel protocol and regulations, knowledge of flight and travel hazards, orbit/atmospheric knowledge, recognition of ship and engine models, ability to make basic emergency repairs, basic knowledge of beaming/teleportation technologies
Functions: Ship flight, navigation, atmo-entry and takeoff, establishment of proper orbit, autopilot programming, astrography, radar/scanning (second to communications), beaming/teleporting (secondary to communications)
Ship notes: The ship will not leave autopilot unless a passenger with this augment is on board. Ships in auto-pilot will only obey instructions to land, take off, and establish a holding orbit, which means they can visit worlds and stations--but not leave their established path to meet up with other ships in the fleet. Crews also cannot take on jobs available in the system until they have a pilot available to take them there.
Skills: Knowledge and basic usage of standard weapons, aerial and personal combat protocol, skill with basic combat (both in-person and on your SR ship), weaponry and armor repair and maintenance, usage of ship utilities (cargo, non-engine and non-computer machinery, basic emergency repair, basic automated med kits)
Functions: Personal and SR ship combat, weaponry management, grunt work, utilities, movement on the ground
Ship notes: When a passenger with this augment is present, the ship is stocked with basic ship weaponry (for both SS and SR), an armory room with standard automatic weapons for the security augmented character and standard sidearms for everyone else on board, basic flexarmor for the security augmented character, and basic armored spacesuits for all passengers on board. If there are more than one security augmented characters on board, each gets their own automatic weapon and flexarmor.
Skills: Engine knowledge and repair (SS and SR), repair and maintenance of ship machinery and systems, emergency machinery and power improvisation, knowledge of standard technology, basic robotic and computer knowledge and usage
Functions: Ship repair and maintenance, basic electronics/mechanics/robotics/computer management, equipment and machinery management, emergency flight and mechanical improvisation, monitoring and management of ship shields
Ship notes: When a passenger with this augment is present, the ship gains standard defensive ship shields (for both SS and SR), SR shuttles that can fit a small-medium second passenger, and the ship is stocked with standard spare parts and repair equipment. Shield and equipment bonuses do not stack if there is more than one engineer on board.
Skills: Communication technology (personnel and ship), telemetry technologies, knowledge of hailing/signal protocols, scanning and beaming/teleportation technologies, diplomatic protocols, basic repair and maintenance of communication devices, knowledge of ship systems for reporting purposes
Functions: Communication with ships/personnel, status reporting, sending and receiving signals/hails, scrambling and encoding signals, diplomacy, inter/intra-ship coordination, radar/scans (primary to pilot), beaming/teleporting (primary to pilot)
Ship notes: When a passenger with this augment is present, the ship gains a scrambling/encoding ability, and a full array of scanning/radar technologies.
LAB SUPPORT AUGMENT
Skills: Knowledge and basic usage of standard lab equipment, basic chemistry, basic first aid, and use of advanced automated med kits
Functions: Lab equipment, drugs, testing, personnel scanning, med kits, research, managing medicine and elicit substances
Ship notes: When a passenger with this augment is present, the ship gains a basic lab/sick bay, a small replenishing stock of basic painkillers and medicine, and the crew may formally request other medicine/chemicals. These bonuses do not stack if there are more than one lab support passengers on board.
Civilian augments come in several flavors, though the uploaded skillset is generally the same. Civilians are basically loaded up with only the default knowledge needed to get around the ship and pilot SR shuttles, as well as just enough about the equipment needed to perform their job. They don't get the specialized knowledge sets that the other augments do, but they have the option to change their augment to a specialized one at any time free of charge. Once they do, however, they can't ever go back to a civilian augment. See the "Changing Augment Skillsets" section of this post for details and the form.
Maintenance - Understands the utilities of the ship, how to maintain them, and how to do basic repairs. The ship will construct a supply room and outfit itself with tiny, basic cleaning droids (space roombas that also catch vermin) when one of these passengers are present. These bonuses do not stack if there are multiple maintenance passengers on board.
Cook - Understands how to work with molded protein in addition to previous cooking knowledge. The kitchen gets a two-burner stovetop, extra pots and pans, a pantry stocked with dried potato flakes, flour and sugar, powdered milk, canned meat product, dried fish strips, dried vegetables, dry beans, peanut paste, and vegetable oil. These bonuses do not stack if there are multiple maintenance passengers on board.
Personnel Support - General title for civilians who serve a personnel-oriented purpose (ex. counselor, nurse, personal assistant, teacher). The ship constructs a new room with their name printed on the door. The room is outfitted with a desk, chairs, and a small couch, but can be redecorated and repurposed to better fit the occupation of the civilian. Each personnel support passenger on board will get their own room.
Tactical Support - General title for civilians who serve a tactical or utilitarian purpose (ex. recon, cargo worker, scout, combat support). The ship constructs extra storage compartments, hidden out of plain view. The more tactical support passengers are on board, the more hidden compartments there are.
≛ THE HS MARSIVA ≛
Marsiva is a monolith. It looks like a massive, black ovoid with a few lateral rings of lights and glowing windows. She's easily big enough to house the population of a large city. Despite her resemblance to a space station, she drifts along in utter silence. Messages sent from her are rare, and are always made up of simple text. There is the theory that she houses whatever party is responsible for producing the Drift Fleet program, but none of the program's transmissions are ever sent from her direction. SS ships and shuttles can come close to the Marsiva, but can never find a way in... So, the mystery of most of her inner workings remains.
There is one area of Marsiva that every passenger sees at one point or another--the Hospitality Deck. This is where brand-new passengers arrive first, and where grievous injuries are treated (if you can reach Marsiva's beaming range in time). This is presumably also where destroyed passengers come to regenerate, since they wake up in the Hospitality Deck's medical ward like any other patient.
Everything on the Hospitality Deck is clean, silent, and automated. Contained mostly all in one open space, there are cots, exercise equipment, and a large viewing bay where passengers can sit in front of massive bowing windows for an unparalleled view of the void. Screens placed around for entertainment pick up any local broadcasted programs, or revert to the default Drift Fleet Encouragement Messages. Bland, uplifting instrumental music that is designed to offend the lowest percentage of listeners can also be played. The unisex showers and supply closets connect to the main room, as does a fully-automated cafeteria serving above-average processed fare. The medical wing is down the only accessible hallway, where all care is provided by robotic equipment. There isn't a single living staff member to be found on the entire wing.
There is no one there to question, no way to have a conversation beyond following Atroma's dubious request to have all comments and questions filed along the appropriate communication channels. Marsiva just continues to drift along her predestined track--never slowing, never turning, and certainly never stopping.
≛ THE FLEET ≛
The Drift Fleet itself is made up of numerous smaller ships, all in various states of upgrade and repair. While all seem to require a pilot to fly them and a crew to maintain them, the ships suddenly take on levels of automation when a crew is found to be lacking members with vital skillsets. The ships are apparently capable of functioning under basic autopilot and performing simple self-maintenance until passengers with suitable skillsets take their places among the crew.
Once crews fill out and begin to approach capacity, new ships are released from Marsiva to join the fleet. The ships come pre-named, and though a strong theory reigns that the Hostship herself manufactures the ships as needed, they don't have the spotless gleam of a brand-new machine, and look absolutely nothing like anything else belonging to Marsiva.
Though each have their little quirks and features, and gradually evolve into vastly different creatures as they are upgraded, the ships of the fleet all start out basically the same. They're cramped, unimpressive little things, with only rudimentary weapons and utilities to speak of. The ships start with basic communication and navigation arrays, simple short-range teleportation and tractor beams, two SR (short-range) pod shuttles, and basic utilities such as trash compactor and washer/dryer. They also come with their very own host of small mammalian pests living in the ventilation systems.
When passengers with certain augments show up on board, the ships self-remodel to offer the appropriate rooms and improved facilities earned through having those specific augments on board. When those passengers leave the crew, the augment-related improvements disappear along with them. However, upgrades that are purchased by the crews each month are permanent and specific to that singular ship. The exception to this is when an augment-specific room is upgraded, and then the passenger with the augment leaves the crew--in this case, the ship still records that it received the upgrade, but the room doesn't become available again until the crew regains a passenger with the appropriate augment. (example: you will still have an awesomely-upgraded science lab, but it only reappears when you get another lab support officer on your crew.)
Sometimes strange things happen and entire crews are rearranged from ship to ship, or individual ships may be lost or destroyed. When this happens, purchased upgrades go with the ship.
A new ship starts with a capacity of five crew members, all of which share one bunk room (two sets of bunked beds with a single cot inscribed with the word "captain" on the frame), and small lockers for belongings. In the lockers are a few pairs each of: cotton underwear, white tank tops, and utility jumpers (in both beige and charcoal) correctly sized to the passenger. The bathroom utilities consist of one closet-style toilet, and a pair of showerheads in a separate shower room. There are no dividers between showers, and there are ten minutes of hot water available each hour. Basic amenities are generated in a self-replenishing cabinet unit. The recharge time for each round is one week.
Standard dining and recreation is limited to a one-table galley, which doubles as a the central seating area. Appliances include a beverage dispenser (water, tea, cola, orange-flavored drink), microwave heating device, small combination refrigerator/freezer, and a basic formed-protein food dispensing unit. Protein comes in both soft-solid and liquid-gel textures (something like tofu and gel toothpaste). There are a dozen flavors available: chicken, wheat, mixed vegetable, cheddar, spicy chili, teriyaki, peanut butter, cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla, banana, and unflavored. It is dispensed at room temperature, but can be warmed in the microwave or chilled in the refrigerator. The passengers are encouraged to come up with inventive recipes with this versatile foodstuff.
- Asian Chicken - Chicken solids and teriyaki gel, with sticks of vegetable solid on the side
- PB Sandwich - Peanutbutter and banana gel on slices of wheat solid
- Banana Treat - Cinnamon and banana gel on vanilla solid, chilled
- Mac and Cheese - Small cubes of wheat solid with cheddar gel, heated
- Bananapop - Sticks of banana solid covered in chocolate gel, frozen (note: gel does not actually freeze)
There is a treadmill set up in the cargo bay for exercise needs. Have fun!
≛ CHANGING SHIPS AND BECOMING CAPTAIN ≛
Every Saturday there's something known as the Drift Fleet Shuffle, an event where new characters get assigned to their ships, dropped players disappear from theirs, and any pending requests to be transferred to a new ship are accepted. Requests to become the captain (or co-captain!) of your ship are also processed at this time.
To learn more about any of this, check out the ships and crews page.
≛ COMMUNICATIONS (AND BROADCAST POSTS) ≛
Every ship in the fleet is part of a "communications network". Messages can be broadcast to the network as text, audio, or video. They can be picked up in real time, but will also remain in "network storage" so that other people can pick up and respond to the message later. For example, if someone sends an emergency broadcast to the whole fleet, even people who are six hours late can still find the message and reply to it.
You can also send other data files over the network, such as digital coordinates, pictures, reports, and even viruses. Files can either be stored for access on the network itself, or sent to a specific ship for immediate download.
This way, individual ships can broadcast messages and communicate with the entire fleet at once, using the network like an intra-ship phone and filesharing service. Any ships you might encounter outside of the Drift Fleet will need to be contacted via longwave broadcasts or hailing signals, but that technology is separate from the network.
Broadcasts can be encoded to filter to certain ships only, but only if the sending ship has a communications officer on board--and once the encoding array exists on the ship, typically only passengers with pilot or communication augments will have the knowledge to use it.
Individual passengers are also equipped with personal communicators. They are designed to be kept easily in a pocket or clipped to something, and every person knows their personal frequency number. Passengers can either send a message to their whole crew at once, or filter their messages to one (or more) specific crewmember's frequency. Passengers can only communicate with others outside of their crew if they know their specific frequency number, and it doesn't always work so well--on a bad day, your communications may be subject to heavy static, interference, or extremely long wait times between sending and receiving. Also, curious communications officers can browse the waves and tune into any frequency of personal communicators, so the conversations might not always be private.
And while hailing outside ships and encoding messages can only be done by a communications officer or pilot, anyone can use the personal communicators and network. Furthermore, both the personal communicators and network stations around the ship are known to occasionally malfunction, misbehave, or simply turn on at the whims of Atroma--which means it's entirely possible for something to be broadcast to the entire fleet on accident. Think of how the ratings will soar!
≛ TRAVEL (AND ACTION POSTS) ≛
In-game, action posts are anything not recorded on the communication network, but still played out for whoever might be watching the show. After all, it would make for a boring cycle if everyone just texted each other over the network all day.
Passengers will be spending a lot of their time with their contracted crews, but, there are plenty of ways to interact with other crews, too! And though space may look empty and vast, there is plenty to do out there in the black.
Unfortunately, all ships start out on autopilot, following a set track alongside the Marsiva. They can be told to land, take off, and orbit around stations and planets that the Drift Fleet visits, but unless someone with a pilot augment is on board, the ships cannot do much else. Any character may jump in a SR shuttle and go flying wherever they'd like--but their range is very limited, and it would be unwise to fly far from the hostship.
If a pilot is on board, ships are still required to stay within Marsiva's range as she drifts along her track, but this range is actually quite large. At standard cruising speed, the SS ships can get about 24 hours away from the Hostship before they must turn around and come back. So, the farthest any two ships can be away from each other is about 48 hours. Once a week, a ship's engine will be capable of a short-range warp that can cut 6 hours off of their trip. A ship will not warp if the jump will take them beyond Marsiva's range.
Each ship with a default arrangement comes equipped with two SR (short-range) shuttles that can carry a single passenger and a small amount of cargo--roughly what would fit into the trunk of a car. They also come equipped with 24 hours of engine charge. Default shuttles have no weapons or armor, are capable of short bursts of speed but are otherwise kind of slow, and must recharge their engines back at SS ships.
Pilots and communications officers are able to use the short-range teleporter to beam people and objects on and off the ship, either by tracking the location of their personal communicator, or by being given specific coordinates to direct the beam. Anything within the confines of a ship cannot be beamed out of it by another ship, without access granted by the ship's pilot or communications officer.
Otherwise, characters can move between ships that have a sealed lock connecting them, or put on space suits and travel outside the ship (assuming your pilot can get you close enough). Space suits come with six hours worth of air, magnetic boots, light personal propulsion systems, and can be tethered to the ship for safety.
All of these rules can be overridden by Marsiva herself, of course. Ships absolutely cannot escape her control. At any time, she may take over and manipulate her fleet, and occasionally does so. Ships and passengers can neither lock her influence out nor escape her range. Any ship that attempts to leave her range will have a short countdown before it is remotely destroyed, and any passengers attempting to leave her range will be immediately beamed onto Marsiva's Hospitality Deck.
≛ YOUR FIRST DAYS ON BOARD (AND INTRO POSTS) ≛
Upon waking with that strange chill in your bones, you will find yourself nestled in one of the comfortable bunks on Marsiva's Hospitality Deck. The network is typically left open and broadcasting at all times, so the fleet will likely be listening in on your first moments of consciousness. Don't worry if it's embarrassing--the audience loves that kind of thing!
You will also find that any open wounds (unless they are supernatural and somehow important) will have been healed, usually without scarring--but not always. You will be wearing the clothes you last remember wearing, but they will be clean and fully repaired. Consider it our welcome gift to you.
New passengers typically spend a few days on the Marsiva, along with whatever other passengers happen to be there at the time. They are free to mingle with each other, make full use of the Hospitality Deck's amenities, and chat with the rest of fleet over the network while they wait for the next Drift Fleet Shuffle. The Shuffle occurs every Saturday, and this is when ship-transfer requests are processed and new crew members are properly added to the fleet. So, depending on what day of the week they appear, the longest any passenger must wait on Marsiva is seven days.
You will find out your initial crew assignment when you are finally teleported to their bridge! Everyone loves a surprise! There will also be a flutter of confetti, playful and welcoming musical tune, and small plate of chocolate-flavored dessert cream sent along to celebrate. You may then put in a request to transfer ships anytime after that, but must still wait for the next Drift Fleet Shuffle before it is processed.
≛ JOBS (AND STUFF TO DO) ≛
While crews can hook their ships together and hang out for a game of poker and some nacho-flavored protein, there are plenty of other ways for passengers to entertain themselves. Each month, a broadcast will go out informing the fleet of the way-stations, planets, news, warnings, events, and work available in the area.
Way-stations are numerous and often entirely-automated locations where crews can rest, refuel, and hang out. Many have utilities uncommon on the ships, or other points of entertainment, making them popular destinations for the fleet as they pass by. These are good places to run into other passengers, either by happenstance or by arranged meet-up.
Planets and large space-stations are less common, only occasionally coming into range of the fleet, but it is highly recommended that passengers visit them when they can. The audience loves a good on-world episode, and there are many goods and services on these planets that passengers should take advantage of while they can.
Work and other events available in the area will be noted, whether they're legitimate or otherwise! While Atroma doesn't condone illegal activities, it would be wrong of them to keep information from the passengers. It also makes for great ratings.
≛ LANGUAGES ≛
By the miracle of technology, the Drift Fleet has fully integrated its passengers into their new home, languages included! Whatever "Folkspeak" is, every passenger now both speaks and reads it. It is the standard language of the systems along the Marsiva's path, and is now also the native language of every passenger in the fleet.
Along with Folkspeak and whatever languages they might have known before joining the Drift Fleet, passengers now also understand when any of the following languages are spoken:
- English (and all variations of Common)
- Elven/Elvish (all major versions)
Note: While characters can now understand these languages when they hear them, they would still have to spend time learning that language to speak it themselves. This automatic augment translation also does not apply to written texts.
≛ RATINGS AND MONEY ≛
Since your characters are supposedly part of some intergalactic TV show... They're frequently told to keep their ratings up! Ratings are an invisible score given to your character depending on how much they're entertaining the audience. It's entirely up to you to decide what kind of ratings your character is getting--whether they're doing great, in-between, or if they're just not that popular with the audience. A character's ratings can change from day to day, or remain mostly steady... And it's completely up to you to decide what affects their ratings in the first place. Ratings are only here to be an IC incentive for characters to get up and do stuff.
The biggest reason for your character to want good ratings? That's how they get paid. By default, everyone gets a tiny allowance for being on the show, but this flow of money can be increased as the character rises in popularity on the show. They can also get "bonuses" when they do something that really boosts their ratings (and it might convince them to keep doing it!). Money can be used to buy things at stations, on-world, and sometimes off the Drift Fleet's home shopping network... It can also be used towards ship upgrades and personal augment upgrades at the end of every month.
Money comes in two forms: chips and credits. "Chips" are the universal hard cash, and they look like small rectangles made of synthetic material. Carrying chips comes with the benefits of convenience and flexibility--you can use them anywhere, you can squirrel them away off the grid, some places don't accept credits--but it also runs the risk of theft. Virtual currency is generally referred to as "credits", which are automatically generated from your character's ratings. Their credits are loaded onto a digital "bank account" on the passenger's augment, and bound to that augment ID--preventing theft. Whenever a transaction is made with credits, they are automatically subtracted from this account. They may check their credit amount from most terminals, located on their ships, stations, and even some worlds. Most terminals can also transfer credits into chips, and vice-versa.
Characters may also encounter "local currency" when they visit new systems. While each system might have its own local currency of varying worth, most have services to convert local cash to the universal type--which can be loaded into either chips or credits at the character's request.
Another reason to get good ratings? The Drift Fleet is one of the biggest shows in the galaxy, which means there's a lot of competition between companies to get their brands into the program. As such, characters who are getting good ratings may occasionally receive sponsor drops from corporations, delivered onto their ship for the whole audience to see. These drops will be beamed directly onto the ship's cargo bay, and are usually filled with company-branded, cheaply-made supplies and foodstuffs. More often than not, they will also be in bulk.
Examples include: a month's supply of sugary brand cereal, a whole crate full identical stuffed animals, a shipment of "high quality" vodka that tastes more like drain cleaner, a delivery of two-dozen heavily-branded toothbrushes, a large box of boring white bread, a set of hats with company logos on them, etc. Shipments may contain notes that promise future sponsorship if characters endorse their brands. Players are encouraged to make up their own companies and silly promotional drops whenever they'd like--as long as the things being dropped are never actually that helpful.
The last reason to get good ratings is because that's how you win. The person with the highest ratings at the end of the "cycle" gets to leave the Drift Fleet! At least, that's what they keep telling you...
≛ GROWTH, HEALING AND DEATH ≛
For the most part, passengers' bodies will continue to function as they should, during their time in the Fleet. There are a couple of exceptions, however... One being the matter of "aging". It might be the augments, or it may be some other unexplained aspect of their journey, but it seems that passengers' rate of growth will have been tampered with. Aging will stop altogether. A teenager, for example, will notice that their hair and nails continue to grow (at a slightly slower rate, strangely) but there will be no other evidence of aging over time. That teenager would be a teenager for the duration of their stay. Passengers may also notice that degenerative afflictions seem to be halted or slowed in their progression.
And, as it will likely come up at some point during their long journey, with so many friendly travelers in such close, intimate proximity... No passenger will ever get pregnant, regardless of gender, situation, magical capacities, etc.
When passengers are wounded, they have a few options for treatment. Automated med kits aren't too hard to find and are a good basic option, if you can find someone who knows how to operate it. If the wounds are severe, you'll need a lab specialist and the right equipment, or be close enough to the Hostship to beam the patient aboard the Hospitality Deck. While it is normally impossible for someone to beam onto the Marsiva from the outside, it seems that passengers with severe injuries are another story. Sometimes, if the injured passenger is close enough, and entirely alone or helpless, the Marsiva will beam them aboard herself. Then, the robotic assistants there can take care of just about any patient--as long as they are still alive.
If they are not, however... that's another story entirely.
Death is taken very seriously in the Drift Fleet. While such drama can understandably boost ratings for a short amount of time, witnessing the death of a passenger is rough on the audience. It is generally not encouraged. Luckily, the technology aboard the Hostship is such that a passenger can be reconstructed and brought back to life. Within an hour after death, a dead passenger's body will be beamed back to the mothership. What happens after that point remains a mystery--though any passengers that happen to be on the Marsiva's hospitality deck can see the character in a healing vat during their last week of reconstruction.
It takes two weeks from the point of death for a resurrected patient to be stable enough to be released. Upon waking, the patient will be extremely weak and ailing for anywhere from one to three weeks, depending on both constitution and luck. They will be plagued with fever and occasional hallucinations for the first week, with continuing fatigue, phantom pain, and nightmares after that. The symptoms fade slowly until full strength and stability is regained, though patients often complain about a lingering and haunting sense of dread that comes and goes, and may never leave completely...
Those patients that claim to retain memories from their time of regeneration talk of shadowy beings, icy spirits, a looming sense of great evil, and a mishmash of personal memories and fears. This is likely nothing more than the harmless antics of a healing brain, or maybe something the Atroma threw in for a little reality show drama--but it is distressing for the patient nonetheless.
Newly-healed passengers can be beamed back aboard their ships as soon as they are released. They may also request to join another ship, especially if their old ship was the reason they wound up back on the Marsiva to begin with.
≛ CANON UPDATES, HIATUSES AND RETURNING CHARACTERS ≛
Players can canon-update their characters at any time. We ask that all players either message the mod journal or ping/plurk the mod plurk account and let us know when they're planning to canon update, but it's mostly for our own interest, so you don't have to wait for confirmation before going ahead.
In-character, players can play out their update in pretty much any way they would like. New information is typically downloaded through the character's augment. This sometimes manifests in what feels like an augment 'malfunction' where the passenger is suddenly knocked unconscious or falls asleep, and this can last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of weeks (the span of a hiatus). Other characters maybe disappear from the ship and presumably enter a temporary cryosleep for some amount of time, to return to their ship afterward feeling cold and carrying a strange sense of dread. While their fellow passengers may wonder where they've gone, their names will remain in the network register, and all of their personal belongings will remain in their rooms, unlike when a passenger truly disappears from the Fleet. In either case, characters will wake up with memories they didn't have previously, and they can either feel like they've been away (back in canon) for a while, or they can feel like they've never left. Play it however is most convenient and fun for you
If a player is updating to a significantly older version of their character, biological changes will carry over from a their new canon point (such as aging, any new scars, etc.), but situational factors such as active injuries, exhaustion, being covered in dirt, etc. will not. These changes can happen either slowly or suddenly while they are unconscious.
Players who are going on hiatus are welcome to assume that their characters will be running around and doing their usual thing while they are away from the game! However, players also have the options similar to the ones above for their characters while they are gone-- having them either fall unconscious on their ships, or disappear for presumed cryosleep, while they are gone.
To let us know you're going on hiatus, or for more information on how hiatuses affect things like AC, head over to the Activity & Hiatuses page.
Characters who are dropped and then later re-apped into the Drift Fleet also have a few options on how this can be played. Returning passengers can either come back with no memory of ever having been on the show (essentially coming back for a fresh start), they can believe they have gone home and had experiences there before coming back, or they can wake up on the ship feeling as though they're picking up right where they'd left off, as if they'd only taken a short nap. In all cases, however, there is the option to also carry a lingering sense of uncertainty and unease. Something scary happened to them while they were away, even if they cannot remember exactly what it was. Some passengers may have the odd half-remembered sense that they'd been "somewhere else", somewhere they've never been before, but cannot hold onto any details beyond that. Again, this experience is there for players to use if they want, but is entirely optional.
≛ AUGMENT MALFUNCTIONS ≛
Rest assured, your Atroma-sponsored augments are made of the highest quality materials and are virtually flawless. However, passengers may experience the occasional glitch when this perfect technology is forced to interact with their unpredictable and (usually) constantly-decaying organic bodies. Every once in a while, something might go wrong with an augment's programming, or it may have an unexpected and temporary effect on the passenger's brain. They have also, on rare occasions, been known to cause drastic changes to the passenger's chemical and material makeup.
Mental changes are by far the most common, and may include losing memories, being unable to lie, slight mood adjustments (happiness, paranoia, sadness, rage, competitiveness, cheerfulness), compulsions, or almost anything else you can think of! Physical changes are more rare, but no one can miss it when they do happen. These can include turning into an animal, aging down, returning to an earlier canonpoint, changing size, genderswapping, losing abilities, becoming magnetic or charged with static electricity, becoming immune to the ships' gravity drives, periods of hyperactivity/lethargy, insomnia/hypersomnia, headaches, etc.
There are some restrictions, of course! Augment glitches do not change the core personality of your character, they just add a boost one way or another. Characters cannot age up, and you can't use the glitches to play an AU version of your character. Augment glitches don't need mod approval or notification except in two cases: when a character is becoming very dangerous, or when a character is being genderswapped (due to being a potentially sensitive subject for many players depending on how it's handled). Otherwise, you are welcome to glitch away! However, don't hesitate to message the mod journal if you have any questions, or if you want to double-check if an idea you have is okay to play out.
The glitches are relatively harmless and temporary for whoever they're affecting, as the augments are self-healing and correct the malfunction within a few days, to a maximum of two weeks. While players can mess with their characters via their augments whenever they'd like, there may also be in-game events involving mass augment malfunctions as well.
≛ LEARNING ABILITIES FROM OTHER CHARACTERS ≛
Due to the law of Conservation of Dimensions, the ability to learn abilities from characters outside of one's canon is somewhat limited. That doesn't stop people from learning as much as they can, of course, nor does it make all those how-to books you find on other planets worthless. Cross-canon skills (meaning abilities, magic, talents, etc. that the character would not have been able to learn in their own canon) that characters pick up during their time in the Drift Fleet will be about as effective as a level 1 personal augment upgrade. The mods may increase this capacity in the future, as the game and characters progress.
However, the effort that goes into sharing cross-canon knowledge also has the potential to improve abilities that a passenger already possesses. For example, Zuko's recent lesson in lightning magic might make his firebending easier to control. Anakin Skywalker might not be great at throwing fireballs, but he might learn something about the Force while taking firebending lessons.
Also, this limitation does not include purely physical or mental skills, such as knife-fighting or meditation. Skills that have no supernatural elements to them at all are likely fine to learn without limitation. Feel free to message the mod journal if you have any questions or need an official ruling on anything.
≛ SPECIAL CHARACTER SITUATIONS ≛
What happens if a character is a vampire who'd burn up the minute they fly too close to a sun? What if they're an AI with no body, or they have powers based on Earth that would get messed up if they were in space? What do you do when your character has a special need that's not met by everything noted above?
The Drift Fleet would never bring in a passenger that it wasn't ready for, so if there is something that they absolutely need in order to survive or function, the Atroma will do something to accommodate it.
For example, vampires sensitive to solar radiation will find a compound coating the windows that keeps out the harmful elements of solar rays. Those that need to consume blood (or other unsavory dangerous requirements) might find that there are pills stocked in the kitchen that provide the nutrients they need, or their augments might have altered their digestive systems entirely. Perhaps there is a spigot on the typical protein foodstuff machines that produces a synthetic version of what they need. They might not have their urges entirely quenched, but they will at least survive in relative comfort.
In almost all cases where a passenger has some vital need, there will either be some small change to the fleet in order to accommodate, or the augment has made some small change to the passenger to make it not so much of a problem anymore. In every one of these cases however, the change is not a drastic one, and it is of no practical use to the rest of the crew. It is up to the player to decide how these changes will be implemented.
≛ WHAT'S WITH ALL THE EARTH REFERENCES? ≛
Those who are aware of Earth species and culture may comment on the disproportionate number of humans and humanoid species in the Drift Fleet crews. There are also a strange number of humans populating the planets and stations along the Hostship's rout.
In fact, anyone who knows about Earth might notice that the Drift Fleet program itself is startlingly similar to the "reality television" programs that are so popular there...
That is strange, isn't it?
≛ SPREADSHEETS? WHAT?? ≛
If you're like me and the word 'spreadsheets' strikes a deep loathing in your soul, or if you open the AC and Upgrade links and want to cry, never fear! I promise that it's not as scary as it seems, and that it really is there to make life simpler on everyone. So, here is a little guide to help you out and know what you're actually looking at--
Activity Sheet: That's this thing here. This one is super easy. First, take note of the little tabs at the bottom that have the names of the months on them. Make sure that you have the current month selected. Then, all you have to do is find the row with character's name on the list (it's organized alphabetically by however it's written), click the cell in that row where the URLs are supposed to go, and paste whatever links will fulfill your AC for the month. If you want, you can also click the 'status' cell next to your character's name and pick the appropriate status from the drop-down menu that appears. This isn't vital though, so don't worry about it if you miss it. And that's all! The sheets save automatically, so you can just close the page when you're done adding your links.
Upgrade Sheet: The Upgrade sheet is this one, and it looks kind of busy and intimidating at first glance. But it's very similar to the AC sheet in that you just make sure the correct month tab is selected at the bottom, then click in the cells you want to edit and type what you want it to say. Each month (if you opt to purchase an upgrade) you will be putting your characters' names into one cell on either on the augment or the ship-upgrade side of the sheet, and then typing in what upgrade you'd like to purchase for them that month. And just like the other sheet, edits are automatically saved, so you can just close the page when you're done.
For both sheets, you can update them at any time, change it as many times as you want, and we will check over them at the end of the month. Also, if something is still confusing or you want help of any kind, please don't hesitate to plurk or message one of us! We would love to help make this as easy as possible for you! And then you too can feel like some kind of technological wizard~
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