Frequently Asked Questions
So what is this game about?
The Underground is an alternate universe (AU) game set in a supernatural version of modern-day London. It's a mix of urban fantasy and supernatural drama, with slice-of-life elements and political intrigue. The game mythology is loosely inspired by a range of canons, including but not limited to Being Human, The Dresden Files, Harry Potter, Teen Wolf, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries/The Originals, and X-Men.
What canons are allowed?
You can play any canon character from any medium. Since this is an AU game, you should fit the character to the world of the game. You can choose to make your character a London native, or have them move to London when they join the game.
There is no time limit as such for accepting characters from new canons, but information about it needs to be available in English and it should preferably have published in the UK as well. These will be treated on a case-by-case basis; please ask if unsure.
Are original characters allowed?
Yes. However, just like canon characters, they must be native to the world of the game. Fandom OCs will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
Can I play a non-human character?
You can, but there are some non-human characters that are a better fit for the game than others. For instance, you cannot play your character as a robot or alien. You can still apply for the character, but you would need to AU them as one of the allowed species in the game. For example, you could play a character who is a humanoid alien in their canon as a meta human. If you would like to play a character who is an angel or demon in their canon, you can AU them as a fae.
What supernatural species can I play?
There are seven types of supernatural beings in the game. They are fae, ghosts, meta humans, shapeshifters, vampires, werewolves and witches. See the People page for more information on each type.
Can I play a normal human?
Yes! There are a number of possibilities for involving humans in the game. For example, they might have supernatural friends, relatives or significant others. Humans can also be hunters. You can bring them into the game already aware of and involved with the supernatural world, or use their introduction to the game as their first encounter with the supernatural and go from there.
If I apply for a human character, can I AU them as a supernatural character like a vampire or a witch?
Yes, you can AU your character as any of the available supernatural species in the game, regardless of what species they are in canon. So you could app a human as a witch, werewolf, vampire etc. You will need to explain your choice in your application, so it's best to choose a type that you feel works well with your character's adapted back story and fits with who they are as a character.
Can my character be half-vampire?
No. There are some supernatural combinations which are allowed and some which are not. Vampires and ghosts are dead, so it is not possible to be half-vampire or half-ghost.
Werewolves either have at least one werewolf parent, or they were a different species entirely until they were bitten by a werewolf. Witches and shapeshifters may have one human parent, but they will still be considered fully supernatural. Meta humans often do have mixed ancestry, but you should still list their type as meta human. You can explain the specifics of their background in your application.
When it comes to mixed supernatural combinations (e.g. meta human/witch, fae/shapeshifter), generally speaking one side will win out over the other, so you should choose their dominant type. For example, for a character whose parents are a shapeshifter and a witch, you would classify them as one or the other, depending on what side best fits them, and explain their background in your application. Either the shapeshifter side would win out and they would be born with no magical ability, or the witch side would win out and they would have a particular talent for transforming into an animal but their magic would likely be less strong. Think Squibs or Animagi in Harry Potter.
The werewolf curse once activated is always dominant over any other type. For example, a character born of witch and werewolf parents would be a witch with a latent potential for becoming a werewolf until the day they kill someone and activate their curse. After that, they will be 100% werewolf and lose all of their witch abilities.
I want to play a character who was already in the game. Do I have to keep their previous game history?
Ideally, you would, although this will be discussed on a case-by-case basis. If you are happy to maintain continuity with the character's previous appearance in the game and pick up where they left off, that's great. You can do this even if the character died last time; there are always ways to bring a character back. Please discuss with the mod.
If you want to start over, then you can consider the following options:
- Amnesia, magically induced or otherwise.
- Retconning parts of the character's previous game history.
- Retconning the previous character as a random NPC.
The last option is the one you would need to request if you wanted to play the character as a different type to what they were previously e.g. a character who was played as a meta human that you want to play as a witch. However, please note that you would have to discuss and agree any retconning with the mod and potentially cast-mates and other game-mates who had significant CR with the previous version of the character. For characters who were only in the game briefly (two months or less) and didn't make much of an impact, retconning should be straightforward. In all cases, the impact on current in-game characters will take precedence over potential applicants. Please do ask and discuss your options with players.
Is there a character limit?
Nope! You can play as many characters as you like in the game, provided you are active with all of them. The only restrictions on character applications are as follows:
- You cannot apply for another character if you failed the activity check in the previous month.
- You cannot play multiple characters of the same type e.g. two vampires or two werewolves, except for humans. You can play as many normal humans as you like.
- You cannot play more than two characters from the same canon.
Can my character keep their canon powers?
If they are meta humans, then yes. Otherwise their powers will depend on their species and should be adapted for the game. See the Powers page for more information.
So my character is ridiculously overpowered...
This will be judged on a case-by-case basis. Every character in the game is assigned a strength and magic rating, to help determine how characters compare to each other. The scale goes up to 10, but in practice most characters won't score higher than a 7. If your character could legitimately score 8 or above, their powers may be reduced to make them more comparable with other characters in the game.
How does the game work?
undergrounds is the main community for in-character interaction. There is no required format for posts to this community. You can write in present tense, past tense, prose, bracket-style, whatever you prefer. The only rule is that only in-character activity can be posted here, and you should place any mature content behind a cut.
abovegrounds is our OOC community for discussion between players e.g. plotting posts, CR planning, player and character introductions, etc. Mod announcements, activity check and other important posts also go here.
Finally, we also have a meme community at thetube. Test drive memes are posted here, and players are also free to post memes of their own. For the most part, memes are not considered game canon. However, players may choose to incorporate meme threads into game canon at their own discretion.
Is there a network?
No. Instead, characters have access to the modern-day communication methods and platforms that you might expect e.g. calls, texts, WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, etc.
You are welcome to add an IC contact post to your character's journal, which other characters can then use to get in touch with yours. If you want to send a message to multiple characters and you'd rather not comment individually to their contact posts, you can post it in the main community instead as long as it is labelled clearly.
Please note that while virtual communication between characters is allowed and often useful for passing on information or making plans, the main focus of the game is on face-to-face interaction. For that reason, text messages, phone calls and other forms of virtual-only communication cannot be used as activity proofs.
What is the timeline of the game?
The game runs in real-time, roughly speaking. That is, it takes place in the present day. One IC day therefore corresponds to one OOC day. However, it's fine to back-date and forward-date posts as necessary.
Because the setting is London, the game runs according to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) in the winter and BST (British Summer Time) in the summer.
Will current events feature in the game?
Yes and no. The calendar will feature local holidays, traditions and events, such as Bonfire Night. You can also assume that the weather in the game is the same as the real London, so if it snows then there will be endless traffic jams and news reports about it in the game just as there would be in real life.
However, please be sensitive and don't include references to recent serious or tragic real-world events. While the game world is set in London, it is still a supernatural AU. References to real local events such as art exhibitions, shows or concerts are fine and fun to play with, and it's also fine to make general comments about crime rates in parts of London and things like that. But running a plot based around a real-life tragedy that happened recently would not be acceptable.
What about pop culture references?
To avoid breaking the fourth wall, please assume that any popular canons you might mention either do not exist or have a fictional alternative. So Arthur Conan Doyle didn't write a popular series of novels about a detective called Sherlock Holmes who lives on Baker Street. But he might have written some novels about another detective. JK Rowling didn't write any books about Harry Potter. But she did write about a different fictional wizard. And so on.
See this player-created spreadsheet for an updated list of alternative canon names.
What happens when characters drop from the game?
They might stay in London, in which case they will become an NPC. Or they might leave town. Or they might die. Players can decide their character's fate when they drop. It will be assumed that characters leaving town will do so around the time that the player drops. If you choose to kill your character, the exact circumstances of their death will be open to their faction to determine when drops are announced either in the monthly plotting post or in the AC results post.
Alternatively, you can plan and play out your character's exit from the game. Make it as dramatic and/or as tearful as you like. This is why players can post notice of a drop up to six weeks in advance, to give you the chance to say your IC goodbyes.
If a character idles out without posting to the drop post, their fate will be decided by RNG. The exception to this is characters on the Elite list, who are important to their factions. In this case the character's exit will be discussed and decided by the relevant players in their faction.
What happens when characters die?
They're dead. Usually. Character death is normally permanent. However, this is a supernatural-themed game so there are always loopholes. You can choose to kill your character and then play them as a ghost. You can also choose to kill your character via turning them into a vampire. (Ask for mod permission first.) Finally, you can choose to kill your character for real in which case they will be dropped from the game.
Does that mean that dead characters can't be apped by anyone else?
Remember those loopholes? Yeah. So either your character was Really Alive All Along or a fae brought them back to life for a laugh or a witch performed a black magic ritual... You get the idea. Death isn't meant to be cheap, but like so many supernatural canons, it's amazing how the main characters always seem to come back.
Plot and setting
What is the game plot?
Broadly speaking, it's supernatural politics. There are many supernatural communities in London, and they may co-operate with each other or they may compete for power and territory. The game is designed to be player-led. There will be mod support to help facilitate this, but ultimately the game narrative will be created by players.
There are various game mechanisms in place to help players develop the game plot:
- A monthly plotting post which includes information on the state of the game so far. Here players can plan their territory claims for the next month. This post also includes a list of plot ideas that players can claim for the following month.
- A monthly calendar which includes seasonal events. These provide opportunities for characters to mingle and develop CR, and can be used as a setting for player-initiated plots.
- Bimonthly test drive, which is incorporated into game canon.
- An activity rewards system, which enables characters to increase their rank and therefore their power and influence in the game.
- A bribery and petitions system, through which characters can influence the rules that govern the game world.
- Every three months, a reward will be offered to the most influential faction in the game.
- When territory battles and disputes occur, there is a mod-run system in place to determine the outcome.
What about NPCs?
There are various NPCs in the game, most of whom play a background role. The main mod NPC is Sylvia Redbright, who is the head of the Redbright Institute. Her purpose is to provide information about game mythology and history, guide and support her factions, and potentially become an ally or an enemy to player characters. Other NPCs can be played by the mod when requested or required for particular plots, but for the most part they are invisible.
Sylvia is one of the elites, the most influential characters in the game. Player characters can become elites by advancing to the highest ranks, gradually replacing the NPCs on the list.
Finally, there are minions. These are invisible or player-controlled NPCs that make up the numbers in the various factions. The more minions you have, the stronger your faction. See the Minions page for more information.
What are factions?
Factions are supernatural groups, communities or organizations. Each faction has its own rules, territories, allies and enemies. To start, characters can only join one faction. However, they will have the opportunity to switch factions or join a second faction during the game, as long as their roles do not clash. See the Factions page for more information.
Why aren't there any factions for ghosts, humans or meta humans?
There are no species-specific factions for these types, but they can join other groups. For example, the Redbright Institute has a majority population of meta humans. The Hillingdon Clan is another likely home for them, and both factions have roles that can be filled by humans and meta humans.
Ghosts by their nature don't belong anywhere because they shouldn't be hanging around in the living world in the first place. But don't worry, your ghost character won't be doomed to a sad and lonely afterlife. Choose the faction that best suits their background and the relationships they had when they were alive.
None of the factions fit my character. Do I have to join a faction?
You do have to join a faction. If there isn't a faction that you can see your character joining, then you may want to reconsider their suitability for the game.
What is the ranking system?
The ranking system determines how much authority your character has within their faction, and therefore within the game as a whole. There are five ranks, with one being at the bottom and five at the top. Characters progress through the levels the longer they are active in the game.
Characters don't necessarily have to start at the bottom. Their initial ranking will be determined by the role they are best suited to within their faction, along with player preference. However, it is unlikely that any character will be ranked higher than level 3 when they first enter the game.
A character's ranking is not just a number; it changes the role that they play in the game. Higher ranking characters are expected to lead their factions and help direct their strategy within the game. Higher ranks require greater plot involvement, and therefore have higher activity check requirements.
What are territories?
London is divided into 33 territories, which correspond to the London boroughs. Territories are ruled by different factions, and can be won or lost depending on how the game progresses. See the Territories page for more information.
How are territories won and lost?
There are three ways to gain a territory in the game. The first two guarantee that you will win a territory, while the third depends on various factors.
1. Claim a territory as an activity reward. This reward is only available to level 4 or 5 characters.
2. Claim a territory as the most influential faction in the game. This is a potential reward offered every three months to the most active faction.
3. Make a move on a territory as part of a player-initiated plot. In this case the outcome is not guaranteed and will be decided based on the power of the competing factions.
See the Territories page for more information.
What is the Other Realm?
The Other Realm is an alternate plane that exists alongside the ordinary world. It is another version of London, and the home of the fae. See the Setting page for more information.
Can territories in the Other Realm be won and lost too?
No, the Other Realm works differently to the mortal realm. The fae of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts divide the Other Realm between them. See the Territories page for more information.
Where can my character live?
Anywhere you like, as long as it's in London. You can decide where your character lives. However, for the sake of convenience, it is better to place them in a territory that belongs to their faction. Living elsewhere could be dangerous.
If your character belongs to the Seelie or Unseelie Court, then they should live in the Other Realm. All other characters should live in the mortal realm.