We use the RPG-Rating of 3/3/3. This board is rated PG-13 outside Mature threads.
Normal forum threads allow discussion of soft drugs such as marijuana and ecstasy, but only passing mentions of hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine, or meth. Strong language is allowed, assuming the language itself is not a slur. If slurs are used, please clearly tag the thread as having slurs used. Sexual content is allowed in passing, but not in graphic or narrative detail. Violence is allowed, but should not become detailed gore. Please do not link to illegal content on the site.
Mature forum threads allow all of the above, but do not allow the roleplaying of characters who present as children, are mentally under the age of 16, appear physically under the age of 16, or who would generally be considered to be newly born to be played in sexual situations.
The Discord is held to a more exact PG-13 standard. In the discord only passing mentions of soft drugs, slurs are forbidden, and swearing can be used but should not become excessive. Mentions of violence (such as in a TV show, book, or RP) are allowed, but should not involve gore. These rules also apply to outside links--if you feel something is borderline, please clearly mark it before posting it. Please do not link to illegal content in the discord.
A general reminder about the discord: The discord is for everyone. While it's fine to vent once in a while, the discord is really not the place for extended discussions about health concerns, mental health troubles, crime, etc.
What kind of species can I play?
We allow players to play all kinds of (non-copyright) species, as well as take creative liberties with them. We do not enforce any specific lore for different species. Just because someone plays their vampire as being unable to stand even a speck of sunlight doesn't mean your vampire must be the same way! Original species creation is also allowed, although we do ask that the species be balanced.
Can a character be in multiple threads at once?
Starlight Academy does not have a limit on the number of threads a player or character can be involved in. We operate on fluid time, which means that the exact time a thread is taking place will vary a bit. Just because a thread was posted at 2PM on a Sunday doesn't mean it's taking place at 2PM, or even on a Sunday. If your thread is posted more than a week from when it's taking place, you should mention in the thread when it's happening.
What kind of abilities aren't allowed?
Almost any ability can be played if it has enough limits. Pretty much the only things that are absolutely a no-go are omnipotence (being all powerful) and fourth wall breaking (knowing they're in an RP). Some very powerful abilities (such as reality manipulation or omniscience) will need a lot of limits placed on them.
How do I let someone know I've posted for them?
When posting for someone, the absolute easiest way to let someone know is to mention them in the post. Including @player in your post will send the player a notification that you've posted for them automatically. Please keep in mind that you cannot edit in @notifies. If you forgot to @ someone, your best bet would be to shoot them a quick private message via the conversation feature.
If the thread is already going, they likely have the thread marked as watched and will be alerted the moment you post.
ALT: What is 'thread tagging'? What is 'mentioning'?
How do I use thread prefixes?
Thread prefixes are the colored indicators in front of a thread title. They are only editable by mods and the creator of the thread, and exist to let other players know both what kind of thread it is, as well as it's current status.
OPEN threads are open to anyone who wishes to join. When making a new roleplay thread, it must be marked as either OPEN or PRIVATE.
PRIVATE threads should only be posted in by people who were invited by the creator. When making a new roleplay thread, it must be marked as either OPEN or PRIVATE.
EVENT is an additional prefix which must be used along with the open or private prefix. It marks the thread as being part of a site event or holiday. The thread itself should make it clear what event (or holiday) it's a part of.
MATURE is an additional prefix which must be used along with the open or private prefix. This prefix must be added to any thread which goes past our usual PG-13 limit, and is only accessible to those over 18 years of age.
FINISHED is added to a thread when the thread is finished. It can be added on top of existing prefixes, or replace the open or private prefix on a thread. It simply means that the thread is completed. It should not be added to threads which are dropped.
MOD NAME prefixes are used internally by mods so we can keep track of who is handling what. You can safely ignore them.
How does time work here?
Starlight Academy runs on a mixture of real and fluid time. If you make a thread on December 3rd, the thread is assumed to be happening either on December 3rd, or within a few days of it unless stated otherwise. Individual posts don't run on real time, but threads/aging/etc do. There are no time skips, and you can choose to RP at any point on the timeline. Want a flashback thread that happened ten years ago? You can do that as long as you mention it.
This means you can be in multiple threads for the same character, although it's still not possible for a character to be in more than one place at once unless that is a power they possess.
ALT: What's the time scale? Are there time skips? Do characters age?
What timezone do events and challenges run in?
The site operates off pacific time.
You can find the current site time by checking here.
What do I do when I'm finished with a thread?
Finished threads are not archived or locked. When you finish a thread, add the 'finished' prefix (either in addition to, or in place of the open/private prefixes) to let other players know you're wrapped up the thread.
ALT: Do threads get archived?
Complete Guide to the ICC
Registering an approved and active character for the ICC is a simple process, and once you know the steps it shouldn't take more than a few minutes to set up every character you wish to use.
The first step is to make sure that you have joined the ICC Discord server. The link to join is here. Once you're in the server, navigate to the #setup channel. You'll also need to have your character sheet open.
Step one in this channel is to register your character. You do this by typing the tul!register command. Here are some examples of how you might do this:
The part highlighted in red is your character's full name or, if they only have one name, their name with your username on the site in parentheses. Use quotation marks around this part to ensure that the entire name gets recorded.
The part highlighted in blue is the bracket that will notify the bot which character you are intending to post as.
If you'd like to add a second bracket, you can do so with:
tul!brackets add "Firstname Lastname" firstname: text
tul!describe "Roy Diez" ROY DIEZ - <url> - Roy is a normal looking 16 year old. He has super speed, and zips around when he moves.
What category does my character go into?
First, you need to determine whether you are making a full character or a named NPC.
Named NPCs are characters who are important enough to have basic information noted about them, but not so important as to warrant an entire character sheet. You can create a thread to keep all of your named NPCs here. Named NPCs should not be played too extensively and cannot be brought into the ICC.
If your character is important enough to warrant a full character sheet, then they will fall into one of two broad categories: primary or supporting. Both of these categories are denoted on the character sheet as a prefix placed before the title, available when editing the character sheet.
Primary characters are those who have their own forward momentum: plots that are centered around them, primary focus in your writing, and intentional development over time. These are the characters that you make for yourself because you want to play out their specific story.
Supporting characters are still fully fleshed out characters, but they are faded slightly into the background. Supporting characters are intended to help push along another character's plot or to fill a role that other characters may need. While they may grow and develop over time or as things change around them, the intention of supporting characters is that that they are more reactive rather than proactive like a primary character.
Regardless of whether your character is a primary character, a secondary character, or a named NPC, they will also fall into one of three further categories: student, academy staff, or citizen. While your character may definitely belong to multiple categories (everyone who is a student is also a citizen), you should choose the category that is most specific for your character.
Students are the children and adults who attend Starlight Academy from the Kindergarten to collegiate levels. Students may live on or off campus depending on their needs and most receive some level of financial aid to ensure that their needs are met while they are studying at the school. If your character primarily attends classes at Starlight Academy for any reason, even if they have a part time job or internship on the side, they should be categorized as a Student.
Academy Staff are the teachers, administration, custodial staff, and scouts who work for Starlight Academy and keep it running efficiently for the students. Staff typically live off campus, although there are exceptions, such as in the case of dormitory parents. If your character works for Starlight Academy as their primary occupation or career, they should be categorized as Academy Staff.
Citizens is the catch-all term for every character who does not fit into the two above categories. This counts characters regardless of their occupational or legal status, including characters who the island has not yet legally given citizenship to. If your character does not fit into either other two categories above, they should be categorized as a Citizen.
How many characters can I have?
There are no limits to the number of characters you can have. There's also no required post or activity minimums to make a new character, although we strongly encourage players to be up to date on their posts before making a new character.
ALT: Is there a limit to the amount of characters I can have? How many posts do I need to make a new character?
Can I play an OC from another series or fandom?
The short answer is no. The long answer is slightly more complex.
We do not allow fandom OCs. For example, your character cannot be a ninja from naruto, or a sailor scout, regardless of whether or not your character is a canon or your own original OC. The issue with this is that Starlight Academy takes place in our own world, so whatever series or fandom your character would be from actually exists as fiction in-universe. Having someone who has read Naruto meeting someone who is from Naruto would be extremely weird, and only complicates things if their abilities did not one hundred percent follow naruto canon.
If your character is a dimension hopper, the dimension they hop from should be original. They can be inspired in broad strokes - a universe where ninjas are super important for example - but should not be similar enough that someone reading the app would go 'this is clearly a Naruto OC'.
This also applies to other roleplays. While you are free to reuse a character you've used elsewhere, please don't reference any elements unique to other sites!
Every business should have at least one character connected to it.
How do you make a teacher?
The process for creating a teacher character is the same as making a student character. There are no extra requirements, and your first character can be a teacher if you'd like. Players who play teachers do not need to run classes, although they are encouraged to.
What if two characters share a body?
If you plan for the two characters to always be together, they can share an app! If they're going to separate sometimes, they should each have their own sheet.
Things to consider when making a character
Personalities should have both positive and negative traits.
Be wary of using diagnosed mental illnesses or other diseases when writing a character. It's important to be respectful and well read on the subject if you plan to roleplay it. If you're not confident in your ability to portray these things accurately and respectfully, you shouldn't.
Abilities should stay in the ability section.
Please don't include abilities you plan for your character to get in the future. The abilities on the sheet should be the ones they have access to when they're accepted.
Limitations are an important part of any ability. Things like ranges, strengths, etc help the reader get a good idea of what they're dealing with.
Starlight Academy is not a combat based roleplay. It isn't worth the effort to write extensive statistics or probabilities in your application. Noting that your character's demon detection is sight based is fine (and encouraged!), but don't include dice rolls, volumes, etc. Generally speaking, tell us what they can do and how they can do it, not the math of it all.
Don't plagiarize. Information shouldn't be copied from other websites or apps. If you're using something from someone else, make sure you have permission.
Being vague is fine, but give us at least something! If your entire backstory is 'they don't remember', players aren't going to have anything to work with. Similarly, we need to know how they got to the island, and what people would know.
Your characters history shouldn't change the real world. Saying your character is from Davenport, Washington is fine. Saying your character destroyed the real Davenport, Washington is not. Your application shouldn't prevent someone else's from making sense.
Don't include other people's characters in your application without having talked to them.
If taking a want ad, remember to check with the requester before posting your application. This can help avoid any confusion or issues that would pop up in play.
Consider your character's size. Having a thirty foot tall dragon might be cool, but the island as a whole is going to struggle to accommodate anyone past nine feet or so. Past a certain point, characters would likely have a human shape charm or a human size charm.
Your character can't be directly related to recent real life people. You can't be the son of Bill Gates or anything like that. Further back (hundreds of years), you're welcome to reference historical figures. Playing a descendant of Attila the Hun is fine, just remember to leave room for other players.
No breaking the fourth wall. Characters can't know they're in a roleplay.
Characters should have human-level intelligence. Non-sapient animals and similar beings should be named NPCs.
Can personality traits be a weakness?
Personality traits or moral ideals should not be part of your characters abilities, either as a limit or a weakness. Saying that your character can do something, but won't for personality reasons (because they're too kind to ever torture someone, because they're a pacifist and wouldn't engage in violence) is fine, but this is a part of your characters personality, not their abilities.
All of this also goes for mental illnesses. While Starlight Academy allows characters with all sorts of mental illnesses to be played, we do ask that players be respectful of those mental illness. A part of that is recognizing that mental illness is not an impossible roadblock which can never be overcome.
In both cases, these apply only to normal parts of a character's personality, not magical versions. A compulsive liar is a compulsive liar, and this shouldn't be part of their ability set. If your character is magically compelled to make every sentence a lie, that would be considered a part of your characters ability set. Magical variations cannot be overcome by normal methods.
ALT: What if my character won't use their powers?
The following are some examples of abilities that would be accepted without pend:
Pyromancy (Active): Polaris can control fire, but can't make it themselves. The larger the fire, the more difficult to control - a campfire they could throw around without issue, but a raging inferno they'd only be able to control a part of.
Rune Magic (Active): Polaris can enchant objects with temporary magic effects given sufficient components and at least an hour of time. For example, they could reinforce a door, or make an orb give off light.
Super Strength (Passive): Polaris is really strong. They could lift a car without breaking a sweat.
Silver (Weakness): Polaris suffers from the most common of werewolf weaknesses: Silver. Just touching silver will burn them, and will trap them in the form of an ordinary wolf form until the next sunrise.
Notes on Abilities
Active Abilities vs Passive Abilities:
An active ability is an ability that can be turned on and off, even if your character does not have exact control of it. This also includes any items, which can effectively be turned off simply by removing the item.
A passive ability is an ability that is 'always on'. If your character is naturally faster than an ordinary human, that would be a passive ability.
Actives are like verbs: they're something your character does. Passives are like adjectives: they're something your character is.
Limits vs Weaknesses vs Flaws:
A flaw is a part of your character's personality that hinders them in some way. Being arrogant, being trusting to the point of naivete, being rude, etc can all be flaws. All characters should have flaws, because no character is perfect.
A limit are restrictions to an ability. These include things like range, usage limits, drawbacks, etc. All abilities should have limits, but what kind of limits appear on an ability depend on the nature of the ability itself.
A weakness is a portion of a characters abilities that makes them worse than a human. They are not the same thing as limits. If your character cannot use their enhanced regenerate when injured by silver, that is a limitation on their regeneration ability, not a weakness, because a normal human can't regenerate in that situation anyway. Something like a vampire's weakness to sunlight would be a good weakness. Players are strongly encouraged to include weaknesses in their characters.
When writing magic, it's important to explain how the magic system works, because SA does not have a standard one in the setting. What can your character do, and how do they do it? Are there things they have to do before casting? Make sure readers can get a good idea of what the magic actually does.
For the sake of clarity, a 'mental aura' is any sort of passive Area Of Effect which affects the way other players must roleplay their own characters. This includes abilities regardless of mechanism (a pheromone vs actual mind control), and would count any ability which makes a character act or feel a specific way. It does not count abilities which change what a character does or doesn't know (IE: an aura that lets the wielder know people's names, or an AOE which lets everyone within it communicate as if they had omnilingualism).
On the island, mental auras have a five foot range. You can read more about the reason this was implemented here.
Abilities with extremely narrow use cases may be exempt from this rule. If your character has a story ability that makes any other member of your original species drawn to them within a hundred foot range, that would most likely be accepted. Or if there are specific requirements to be met aside from just being within range, such as prolonged eye contact..
Art Usage Additional Details
Open and Closed Species (from Deviantart, FurAffinity, etc) are handled on a case by case basis. Most species will give a clear answer in their terms of service as to whether or not the lore can be used/edited/etc on other sites.
Webcomics are a grey area. Generally the rule of thumb is that if a webcomic is large enough to have a fandom and be selling comics for a profit, such as Mob Psycho 100 or Homestuck, they are free to use. Smaller webcomics, such as those posted by Tapas or other free webcomic hosts are not considered official art.
Fan games (such as fan-made spinoffs of larger franchises) and fan-made assets in games count as official if they have been released for sale.
Official art of Vocaloids (Which are an official product) can be used. For AUs, you'll want to check if the AU is considered official or not. Utaites, on the other hand, are not always commercial products, and you'll need to check if the utaite persona has been commercialized (selling merch, soundtracks, large patreon, etc).
The artists rule is law. If art would generally not be allowed to be used, but an artist says it's fine to use, then you're good to go. Vice versa is also true. If art would be fine to use, but an artist asks that you not, you can't use it.
Can I edit my character after approval?
You may freely edit your character sheet after acceptance. Characters may age normally, their personalities may shift, or their histories may be expanded without posting an update. If you're making a major change (retconning their age, significantly changing the character, or updating their powers), you should use the 'post an update' feature on their character sheet. Explain what the change is and why it's happening, and the mods will take a look at it to make sure everything is in order.
How does archiving work?
Archiving is not the same thing as killing a character. Archived characters will continue to exist, and can still be freely mentioned. For example, if a teacher was archived, characters could still mention having them for class.
Why should you archive?
You should archive any character you don't plan to use in the near future. If you do plan to use them--but maybe not for months and months--there's no issue with archiving them. Archived characters can always be restored. Archiving characters helps claims and site statistics remain useful and up to date, and helps players find new plots for their characters without having to dig through characters that aren't available for them to roleplay with.
How do I archive?
It's simple! Drop a post into the moderator requests thread with a link to the character sheet and a note you'd like them archived. You can also drop a link in the #mod-request channel of discord.
How do I unarchive?
If you'd like to recover a character from the archive, you'll post in the restoration center.
ALT: How do I get rid of a character? How do I restore a character?
How do I join an existing business?
If you want your character to work at a player own business, your best bet would be to contact the player directly. Assuming they sign off on it, you'd post your new job in the claims here and update your application.
ALT: How do I get a job at someone else's business?
What do I do if my character's species changes?
On the Manta Carlos Islands, it's actually quite common for someone to transform into another species, voluntarily or not. This can be from a vampire bite, werewolf, zombie, curse, corruption, or any other transformation. There is no special process for this, and it's treated just like any other change to your abilities. The only extra step is posting in mod requests (either on discord or here) to have your character's species tag changed.
How do I restart a character?
If you have a character you'd like to play but aren't satisfied with for whatever reason, you have two options for how you can start over.
If you are starting from scratch, replacing the old character, or only keeping a small part of the app, then you post the new character as if it were an entirely new character. However, they must change the characters name. This could be changing the last name slightly, but the thread title must be different.
If you're fine with your current roleplay status, but aren't happy with how your wrote their application, that's fine! You can tweak a characters age, appearance, personality, or biography freely. If you'd rather play a character a few years older, that's fine! You can make these changes without issue using the post an update feature.
Wherever possible, we prefer that people keep the same application. Changes to the application and even major retcons can be done through the post an update feature. However, sometimes making an entirely new app makes more sense, like if someone is coming back under a fake name, or entirely discarding their old self. In these cases, it's fine to make an entirely new app. However, you must link the character's previous application under additional info. These apps will be treated the same as a new character in terms of pends.
Starlight Academy is a magical academy, and it seems to grow on it's own at times. Some people swear a certain building was two floors before, but as far as others can remember, it's always been three. It's a sprawling campus with a large amount of buildings, comparable to a large college campus.
ALT: How many buildings are there? How big is the school?
All About Dorm Parents
What is a dorm parent?
Dorm parents are members of the academy staff who are responsible for the care of underaged students living at the dorms.
What are the dorm parents responsibilities?
Dorm parents are usually responsible for a group of students, around a dozen for high schoolers, and smaller groups for younger students. It's their job to regularly check up on their students and make sure their needs are being met, and to be the first point of contact for any issues involving the student that would require a legal guardian.
Aside from this, how actively the dorm parent is involved in their students lives is largely left to their discretion. A dorm parent may choose to pay extra attention to younger students or students who might need it, for example.
Who can be a dorm parent?
Any member of the academy staff can also take up dorm parent duties in addition to their regular jobs. If you wish to have your character be a dorm parent, feel free to mention it on the app for a new character or make a note of it in the claims thread.
Is there a list of all classes?
No. The majority of classes happen 'off screen'. It's safe to say that all the standard class types get covered, while more specific ones may or may not. There's no master list of what courses are available.
What are the ages for each grade?
Grades are based on the american system. As follows:
Remedial: Umbrella term for those in specialized classes to catch them up to where they should be for mandatory education. Special Education: For those with special needs, who might have a difficult or even impossible time learning. Preschool: Generally 4-5. Kindergarten: Generally 5-6. Elementary: 1st is 6-7, 2nd is 7-8, 3rd is 8-9, 4th is 9-10, 5th is 10-11, and 6th is 11-12. Middle: 7th is 12-13, 8th is 13-14. High: 9th is 14-15, 10th is 15-16, 11th is 16-17, 12th is 17-18. College: A student going straight to college will generally be 18-19 in year one.
There is a high level of variation here, and all ages are effective human ages. Different species might scale differently.
ALT: What age should my student be? What grading system does it follow? What school system does the site follow?
What classes can teachers teach?
Pretty much anything. Starlight Academy is a hugely varied school that has everything from kindergarten to college classes. You can have organic chemistry and a history of magic class side by side without issue.
What language is everyone speaking?
The common tongue of the Manta Carlos Islands is English, which is spoken by the majority of the residents, although it is not the first language of the majority. The school's classrooms are enchanted with a mutual intelligibility charm, allowing everyone to speak and be understood clearly. Language classes have the option of using a modified version of the charm, which can be disabled as necessary.
However, this is not the language everyone speaks - many characters do not fully understand English, and speak in their own native tongues. Personal language charms exist, and may be provided by the government or bought with personal funds as needed.
While your character can speak any language you'd like, we are an English language roleplay board, so please keep the roleplay itself in English. You can indicate what language a character is speaking out of character, without actually writing out their speech in another language. If you include non-English dialog, you need to include a translation somewhere in the post.
What's the school schedule like?
Starlight Academy runs year round, using the following schedule:
September 1st: New school year begins, Term 1 September 25th - October 8th: Start of Term Break November 19th: First quarter ends December 11th - January 3rd: Winter Break February 18th: Second quarter ends, end of first term March 12th-25th: March Break May 20th: Third quarter ends May 21st-31st: Spring Break August 18th: Fourth quarter ends, end of second term, school year ends August 19th-31st: Summer Break
ALT: When is summer break? When does the school year start?
Why is the forbidden forest "forbidden?"
Entry to the forest is not illegal, but is against the rules for academy students. The forest gets its name from the ENTRY IS FORBIDDEN signs around the forest. This portion of the forest has a high amount of dangerous creatures located within, and trails into and out of the forest come and go seemingly at random.
What is provided to students?
Living on Campus
Students who arrive on the island without any parents, legal guardians, or who are otherwise unable to live by themselves will be assumed to live in the dorms barring any unusual circumstances. For students under the age of 18, they will be assigned a dorm parent. Dorm parents are members of the academy staff whose job is to keep an eye on the students and make sure their needs are being met. For legal purposes, the Academy itself and the dorm parent are considered an underaged student's legal guardian.
The dorms are coed, meaning all genders can be found within the same building. Students are only separated by age. Primary school students, secondary school students and college students will be grouped together. Remedial students are placed with those of a similar emotional age. Most dorm rooms contain two bedrooms with a shared living space, meaning most students will be sharing with one roommate, however configurations for up to six students in one dorm exist.
Students that are grouped together under one dorm parent will generally be grouped together, taking up a wing of a dorm. This wing will most commonly have a shared living space, containing basic furniture, a small kitchen, and any personalized effects the dorm parent may choose to include. The dorms themselves already contain furniture, a private bathroom, and a fridge for the high school and up students.
There are also private dorm rooms, for students who wish to live alone, that are available on request. However, these are only given out for students with specific requirements and are generally allowed on a case by case basis.
What does the Academy provide
Until their education is complete, students are able to live in the dorms for free. The Academy will provide uniforms, toiletries and food from the cafeteria for free while they reside here. Students also have access to non-magical medical care and free counselling whenever it is needed.
In order to accommodate students academically, they will be provided with all necessary books and stationery, as well as a basic laptop and flip phone to stay up to date. This phone can be replaced by a smartphone, should the student foot some of the bill.
The academy will also provide students with a small allowance every week. Note that this is a small allowance, students might be able to use it to purchase some food in the city, but it won't be paying for the latest video games unless they've been saving for a while. This money is stored on the student's ID card, which can function as a credit card when making purchases.
The academy has also made arrangements with multiple businesses within Manta Carlos to provide students with in-store credit, so that they may purchase a few items like clothes or other basic amenities.
How do open topics work?
An open topic is a thread that is open for anyone to join. If a thread has the 'open' prefix, it means you don't need to check in with the creator before joining. Open threads should be set in a public place, and will generally have some kind of hook to make it easy for someone to join in easily.
Joining an open thread:
Before joining an open thread, there's just a few things to keep in mind. While an open thread should be open to anyone, please check the first post. The author might have left some notes or requests for the person joining. You'll also want to make sure that the thread doesn't have a 'finished' tag.
Threads that already have multiple pages but still have an open tag can technically be joined, but please read the whole thing before joining, as the thread might have moved away from an open area (and the creator simply forgotten to remove the tag).
Making an open thread:
If none of the open threads catch your eye, you can make one of your own! To make one, just RP a thread starter as normal, and then set the thread prefix to open. Once that's done, you'll want to post it in the open thread listing, filling out the form inside.
Keep in mind that you might not have someone instantly join your thread, but the more interesting and open a starter is, the more likely someone will join it. Open threads are most successful when their opening post or their ongoing action could naturally draw a wide range of other characters to get involved.
ALT: Open topic, open thread, starting a thread
Plots and Want Ads: What's the difference?
Here on SA, we have several different ways of plotting with others, above and beyond simply joining open threads.
The Short Version
Want Ads are for specific, limited time roles that you want other players to fill for you.
Plots are for discussion of events or other ongoing plots.
Groups are plot pages specifically for organizations, clubs, groups, or families.
The Long Version
Want Ads: These are what you use when you're looking for something very specific. If you want a roommate for your character, you want a want ad. When you need a character to fill a certain position (mentor, love interest, etc), you want a want ad. Want ads should be for a limited number of people (generally one or two), and should be fairly specific about what you want.
Some people do want ads on a first come first serve basis, which is assumed to be the standard. Others prefer to run want ads on a tryout basis, and field several options before deciding. If you are planning to run your want ad on a tryout basis, please make this explicit in the ad itself.
Want ads expire after a month with no activity. If you're still looking, simply bump them every month to save them from the archive. If one gets archived that you want to keep, just let the staff know and we'll dig it up for you. If a want ad is fulfilled, please tag it with the fulfilled prefix. You can have an unlimited number of want ads, but please try and keep it reasonable.
Groups: Groups is a subforum where any club, family, or other group can have a dedicated plotting thread. Group threads should include who can join (students, citizens, anyone) in the first pose, as well as any restrictions on membership. Threads must use one of two prefixes, either Open (accepting new characters), or Closed (not accepting new characters, but still being discussed).
Plots: Plots are the most general of all options, and go in the subforum. Plots holds everything that isn't either a group or a want ad. General things like calls for employment, etc should be placed in the plot forum.
Threads in the plot forum expire after three months with no activity. Players can have as many threads as they want in the plot forum, but once again, please keep it reasonable. Threads here must use one of two prefixes, either Open (accepting new characters), or Closed (not accepting new characters, but still being discussed).
ALT: What's a plot page? What's a want ad?
What's the difference between noncon and dubcon?
WARNING: Noncon and dubcon mention, including scenarios detailing different types.
Here at Starlight Academy, we highly encourage all members to tag their noncon and dubcon threads as a courtesy to other members.
NONCON (non consent) is any kind of content that features at least two people in a sexual situation that is nonconsensual for at least one person in the party.
DUBCON (dubious consent) is trickier. Technically speaking, all dubcon is noncon by definition: if both parties cannot or will not fully consent, it's noncon. However, some people are bothered by one and not the other, so dubcon is distinguished. Dubcon is not forcible, and tends to be more dubious in nature. For example:
Example A: A sober person and a drunk person are flirting. Sober person has sex with drunk person, who seems willing but is inebriated, so their ability to consent is questionable even if they're an eager participant.
Example B: John and Mary do not like each other but have some sexual tension. Mary decides she wants to have sex with John, and he pretends he doesn't enjoy it and rejects her advances, but secretly he actually is into it. Though he adamantly does not give his consent out loud, in his mind he is consenting.
Example C: Adam is staying over at Nancy's. Adam and Nancy both are attracted to each other and have sex frequently. Nancy falls asleep, and while she is asleep Adam has sex with her. Though she has consented in the past, she did not give consent in this specific scenario.
Example D: Helen decides to have sex with Jamie. Jamie doesn't say no... but she also doesn't say yes, and her body language indicates she is uncomfortable. Although she did not revoke her consent, she also did not give her consent.
What is OOC? What is IC?
OOC stands for 'Out of Character'. This is any forum, thread, etc that is written from the perspective of the writers themselves, rather than your characters. Rules are OOC. The community lounge is OOC. You're not writing anything in here from the perspective of your character. While you might be writing about your characters (such as in a profile or plot page), you're not writing from their perspective.
IC stands for 'In Character'. This is the opposite of OOC, and means you're specifically writing from the perspective of your character. RP posts should be entirely IC, although some people might make OOC notes at the end of a post, such as:
(OOC: Do you want to wrap this thread up?)
It's important to remember that IC and OOC should stay separate. Just because a character doesn't like your character doesn't mean that the player doesn't like your character.
How do I drop a thread?
Starlight Academy is extremely laid back when it comes to dropping threads. Threads that are dropped do not have to be announced or posted somewhere--they remain where they are, not going into the archive or anything like that. We do encourage players to add the 'dropped thread' tag for organizations sake, but this isn't mandatory.
On the social side, it's standard (and respectful) to give players a head up before dropping a thread. While no one is required to role play with anyone else, not giving your partner a heads up before abandoning a thread is considered very rude. Depending on how important the thread is to their character, not giving them a heads up could significantly impact their character.
This doesn't have to be a long conversation - for simple threads, just a short message (PM or otherwise) saying that you aren't feeling the thread and would prefer to drop it is just fine.
Remember that roleplaying is about communication!
How do I drop a plot?
Dropping a plot is never something anyone wants to do, but often it still has to be done. Sometimes the plot isn't going the direction you hoped. Sometimes you simply don't have the muse to post for it. Sometimes you aren't feeling a character at all. Regardless of the reason, the most important thing about dropping plots is being able and willing to communicate with the other people in the plot. Expressing the fact that you're struggling with the plot ahead of time can help the other people involved adjust the plot so that it works, preventing the drop at all.
However, if it's already at the point where you'd rather drop it, it's again important to communicate. Going radio silent, or dropping a character and having the other people involved find out that way is always frustrating for everyone involved. The PM doesn't have to be long or drawn out - simply explaining that you don't want to continue the plot because of difficulty posting (or whatever else reason) is just fine.
How do I drop a character?
Mechanically, dropping a character on Starlight Academy is a simple affair. All you have to do is post a link to their profile in the mod request. Their application will be archived, and the next time the claims are updated they'll be removed automatically.
Otherwise, it's generally considered polite to let people know you're dropping a character if you have either threads or plots with them. Giving people a heads up before you drop a character is ideal, but even if nothing can change your mind or make things better, it's still better they hear it from you rather than finding out on their own.
What does it mean if a player is inactive?
Starlight Academy does not delete player accounts who have previously been active on the site. Instead, those who are no longer active on the site are set to inactive status. On the default skin, their names show up white rather than the default green. The characters of an inactive character are archived, their claims are removed, and any plot pages, businesses, etc are archived.
Inactive status can be removed by checking the restoration center and following the instructions there. Players are encouraged to restore any characters they might want to return to playing at the same time.
Members are marked inactive after A) one month with no posts (in character or otherwise, hiatus posts count), or B) shortly after they've indicated they're leaving. As long as a player makes at least one post a month (even if it's just an update to their away saying they're still gone), they won't be archived.
Long term members seeking to retire from active roleplaying but remain around the community are encouraged to check out retirement.
ALT: How do I stay active? Do you do activity checks?
Who is the cat in people's avatars?
That's Starlight Academy's lovable mascot, Polaris! When an account displays this avatar, it means they've yet to set a personal avatar.
How do I become staff?
You can see information about applying to staff here.
If you're leaving the site (for vacation, for good, because you're ill, because you're busy), please post in the coming and going forum to let people you're RPing with (and the staff!) know that you'll be gone, and hopefully when you'll return. If you're quitting for good, just mention that you don't plan on returning and the staff will archive your characters (although they can always be recovered if you change your mind).
ALT: How do I go away? What if I'm quitting?
How should I tag threads?
Tagging is NOT required OR enforced.
(but it would be nice if you did!)
Thread tags are a system used to organize your threads. While technically anything can be used as a thread tag, we have a set system for what should be a thread tag, in order to let people easily find their posts.
To add a tag from the new thread page, scroll underneath the post box itself to see a section to add tags. From there, you can fill in individual tags before posting.
To add tags to an already existing thread, head to the thread itself and click 'Tags: edit' on the left side under the title. This will pop up a box allowing you to tag without editing the whole post.
Tags have categories!
You can view all the tags and their categories on the Tag page. We ask that when you create a new tag, you edit it so it goes into the right category! You can edit the category by clicking on said tag and going to its page:
Categories meanings Character: The name of a character in the thread. Content Warning: Anything that might be upsetting to someone, or sensitive subjects. Events and Challenges: All events threads should have their proper event tag! Groups: Clubs, Organizations, Groups, and Families belong here. Location: A specific location — usually someone's house or a business. Misc.: Anything not in the other categories! Relationship: All relationships. Species: This is for staff only, but it's how we label each character profile.
So how do we use tags here?
DO: "Guinevere Haze" DON'T: "Guin" Why: You should always use a full name or a Name (Username) when tagging a thread, otherwise you could get multiple characters in one tag.
DO: "Guin/Loch" DON'T: "Guinloch" "Murderbang Couple" Why: When tags are entered into the system, they are all automatically set to appear as lowercase. I might confuse your ship and delete it if this happens and it looks like a name. Please keep the exact formatting as exampled above.
DO: "Birthday" DON'T: "Guinevere's Birthday" Why: This is just one of those things that works better vague, because lots of characters have birthdays, so why should your character have their own special tag for such a common event?
DO: "Guinevere's Apartment" DON'T: "Apartment" Why: This thread is already in the Apartments forum!
DO: Really, don't do this kind of tag. DON'T: "Ferris Wheel" Why: This is both simultaneously too broad and too specific. There is nothing important about this Ferris Wheel, so it isn't worth mentioning.
DO: "Bijou Characters" DON'T: "application" "thread tracker" "plotter" Why: We already have forums to mark what the threads are for, but if you want an easy way to find all of your characters at once a good way is to tag them as your own.
DO: NOTHING! or, if the thread takes place in a different time, "Flashback" DON'T: "Summer" "Spring" "December" Why: Unless your thread is not taking place in the exact month/season we're presently in, there's no need to label it.
DO: "Snowball Fight" DON'T: "snow/snowing" Why: The tags don't need to say what the weather is in your thread. You should include that in your posts instead!
DO: "Christmas" "Chick Fil A" DON'T: "Xmas" "CFA" Why: Abbreviations are bad and it's possible not everyone will know what your abbreviations refer to.
DO: "Gore" DON'T: "Dismemberment" "Decapitation" "Etc" Why: You want to keep these warning tags very broad. We don't need to know all the gory details in the tags.
DO: "Sick" / "Illness" DON'T: "Cancer" "Flu" Common Cold" "Diabetes" Why: Same thing as above but a little milder, there just isn't much reason to have such specifics.
DO: "fluff" "fighting" "sex" DON'T: "Cool" "awesome" "sexy" Why: Try to avoid adjectives as much as you can. These are labels, not descriptions.
Character Tags: This is the main one. For every thread you make, tag your characters name - please use the full name, as shown in the character app. If your character only has one name, please tag them as "Name (Username)", for example: "Paragon (Bijou)". Tags are not case sensitive, so PARAGON, Paragon, and paragon would all act the same. Clicking a character's tag will bring up a search result page showing you all the threads they've been in, essentially functioning as a character-specific thread tracker. Every time you make or join a new thread, just tag your character, and you'll automatically have a nice list.
Content Warnings: The 'Mature' prefix is mandatory for threads over PG-13, but it can also be unclear. A Mature thread could be so because of sexual content, gore, violence, drug use, or a variety of other topics. In order to make it clear just what kind of content the Mature tag indicates, we'll be using tags. This will allow people who want to avoid some kinds of Mature content (such as gore) to avoid it without having to avoid the whole tag. Suggested Mature content tags include: Sex, Violence, Drug Use, Suicide, Abuse, Noncon, Dubcon, Unsanitary, and Gore. While it's good to be clear on what content it is, please also don't be too specific. Content Warnings are helpful, but not mandatory. Content Warnings are NOT enforced. They are not meant to be trigger warnings.
Event Tags: We've already got the event prefix, but that just says that it is an event, and not what the event itself is. Every event will have a specific tag associated with it, listed in the announcement itself. Generally this will be something like 'The Bonfire' or 'Secret Santa'. Please don't include the year in the tag!
Relationship Tags: This one is more for fun. If you've got a ship you like - say, John and Angela, you can stick a little tag on all their threads so you (or someone else) can easily see all the threads they have together. Romantic/sexual ship tags MUST be Name1/Name2 format. For family/friendship tags, the format should be Name1&Name2.
Location Tags: If you are roleplaying in a thread that takes place at a location more specific than the forum you're in, such as someones apartment or a business, tag it!
Misc Tags: These are odds and ends, generally used for conveying things like tone, or anything else that isn't covered by the above tags. For example: angst, fluff, breakup, proposal, therapy, hurt/comfort, family, or even selfthread!
What are trophies, and how do I get them?
Trophies are automatically gained when you meet the requirements and meet certain milestones. You can find the full list of trophies here.
How can I see parsehtml when editing my signature?
Unfortunately, you can't. Parsehtml does not function in the signature editor. HOWEVER, it will still work on the forums. If you still want to use Parsehtml, you can edit it while viewing a post of yours to see what the signature will look like.
What are conversations? How can I create one?
Conversations are messages sent directly to other members. Sometimes these are called private messages (or PMs).
If you want to create a conversation with someone either click their profile image and the 'start a conversation' button or click the square button at the top of the page near the alerts to create a conversation. From there you can add the person you wish to talk to by typing their name in the 'participants' section.
ALT: How do PMs work? How do I create a private message?
How do I delete pms?
Just choose to leave a conversation, and the PM will be removed from your inbox.
ALT: How do I delete a conversation?
How do I delete a post?
Members do not have the ability to delete posts. If you've double posted or need something deleted, please contact a member of the staff.
How do I code for this site?
This post serves as a guide to the utter basics of coding on SA. Primarily, it exists to help those who already have at least some coding experience get used to Xenforo. If you're looking for a full guide of how to make tables and post templates... unfortunately won't find it here.
GENERAL BASICS OF SA CODING:
YOU CANNOT USE BBCODE WITHIN PARSEHTML TAGS OR VICE VERSA. IT WILL BREAK YOUR ENTIRE CODE.
The first rule above all is that if you can do it just in BBCode, do it just in BBCode. It'll be way easier on you, and have way less compatibility issues. Plenty of things can be done without BBCode, and pure BBCode is more likely to be compatible with phones and other out of date browsers. Similar thing with drawers - really, try and avoid them if at all possible (spoilers can now be nested, so use those instead).
That said, if you want to do fancy things, here we go!
First of all, absolutely don't do any coding in the default WYSIWYG editor. Before you do ANY coding, you're going to need to head into the default BBCode editor. To swap over, click 'use BBCode editor' in the top right.
From there, you need to wrap your HTML in parsehtml tags.
There are a few tricks with this. Everything inside a parsehtml will be treated as HTML, which means line breaks are ignored. To line break properly, you need to add a <br><br> or a <p>.
CENTERING A WHOLE TEMPLATE:
This is a bit of a tricky thing. Essentially, wrapping a parsehtml inside another tag will cause issues. You can't, for example, wrap the whole thing in center or align=center tags, as it'll just break the parsehtml.
Instead, make the first thing inside the parsehtml a <center> tag, and wrap the whole template in it.
RANDOM TIPS AND TRICKS:
Don't use hard numbers for width. If you set the width of a table to, say, 400px, than anyone on a mobile browser will have the contents extend off the screen, making it impossible to read. Stick to % instead for mobile-compatibility.
If you have a header and a footer but don't have any code effecting the middle, you can use more than one parseHTML. Just end the one at the top and start a new parseHTML at the bottom, allowing you to type in the middle without line breaks.
Don't feel the need to get fancy. People have made some really nice looking plotters and trackers, all without touching parseHTML at all.
SWAPPING FROM JCINK:
Jcink is pretty similar to how we do things here. Basically, just swap dohtml tags with parsehtml tags, and the overwhelming majority will work with only slight edits needed.
SWAPPING FROM PROBOARDS:
A bit trickier than jcink, because proboards uses an expanded form of BBCode rather than parsing HTML. The absolute easiest way is using the inspect element feature. I'm using google chrome, and I'll use that to explain how to do it. Pull up your proboards post template, and right click the template itself (the text is probably the best) and choose 'inspect element' on the dropdown.
From there, the inspect window will pop up, either along the bottom of your window or as a separate window. The part of the HTML that makes up your post text should be selected (grey highlight in the picture). Running your mouse over the different elements will highlight them on the template. Find the part of the code that includes all elements of the template but not the site itself, and right click that.
From there, right click and choose edit as HTML. This will bring you up a selection of your entire template - just copy paste the whole thing. From there, you're basically done. Slap it into a parsehtml tag on SA, and the template should be mostly converted. Some small things might need tweaking, but this takes the majority of the work out of recoding a template for SA.
In my example template, I just need to change the indent on the tag section at the top, and revert it to a normal tag.
ALT: Do I use HTML or BBCode? Do I need to use DOHTML? How do I make post templates?
How do I report rule breaking?
Please contact a mod or admin, either by PM or over discord. Include any screen shots you might have, and explain what happened.
What do people get banned for?
Starlight Academy has an extremely low ban rate, and we ban only when necessary. The majority of people banned are banned because they are lying about their age, and viewing (or participating in) 18+ content while underage. We take this rule very seriously. If you've registered and have lied about your age, you must contact the admins--the only way it won't result in a permanent ban is if you tell the admins yourself.