New? Returning? Confused? This Quick Start Guide is here to explain to players new or old the ins and outs of the Floating Castle. If you think there’s something missing, or another question you’d like us to address, please let us know in the Discussion Thread.
What is the Floating Castle?
The Floating Castle is a castle that floats in the sky above the lands of Orono, the Veil, Lamada, uh, and several other places.
The Castle isn’t actually a castle-- it is a structure composed of 100 landmasses known as “floors”, plus an Underground that seems to be in some form of hammerspace, and not visible. Characters ascend to the next floor by unlocking them in boss battles.
Originally, the characters’ goal was to reach the 100th floor, the only way to leave the Castle. While that is still, broadly speaking, the goal, the geography of the Castle has changed. Now, rather than a tiered structure, the whole Castle is one large continent, with each “floor” still a distinct region, spreading out in an upward spiral pattern from the first floor in the centre to, presumably, the 100th floor somewhere in the far reaches.
How do we play?
The Floating Castle is, at its core, a collaborative writing game. Teamwork is one of the hallmarks of the game. In regular rounds of turns, the GMs will assign quests to pairs of players, based on our knowledge of who is available to write and who will work well together (factors include writing styles, timing/ time zones, and character interaction).
Every quest must be completed in one post, jointly written between the two players to whom it was assigned. The one-post limit means there is an upper limit of 60,000 characters; there is, however, no minimum. You may divide the work between yourselves and your characters, and solve the quest, however you like, so long as the quest is completed to fulfill the quest goal and within the stipulated time.
Main quests are always given a week-long time limit, with time rounded up to end at a midnight. If you and your partner cannot finish within the given time, there are three options:
- Notify one or both of the GMs in a timely manner (i.e., minimum 24 hours before the deadline), and request an extension on the quest.
- Notify one or both of the GMs in a timely manner, and request that the quest be reassigned.
- Allow the quest to be marked a failed quest, with the possibility of the GMs writing a failure resolution. (Note: There is no penalty per se to a failed quest, but it will make your characters look less competent than you’d probably like. There is also no penalty to reassigning a quest-- which essentially means in canon it will never have been assigned to your characters-- or taking an extension, which also needs no canon acknowledgement.)
In addition to the regular quests, players may request an Underground quest any round that they are not assigned a regular quest. They may request Underground quests alone, or in groups of two or three (groups of more than three will be considered, but are generally too unwieldy to finish a quest in a timely manner). Underground quests usually, but not always, take place in the Underground; they are considered to be more difficult quests primarily because of their shorter time limits (which are adjusted on a quest-by-quest basis, but generally come out to 24 hours per player).
Players may post at any time in the sidestory thread. This is not a thread for quests. You are free to give your character additional adventures in this thread; however, no rewards will be given for Sidestory posts. It is an opportunity for additional character development and interaction-- you may post alone or in groups of two or more, you may post as often as you like, and you may post “current” stories or flashbacks/ post-dated posts. This thread is optional and totally non-compulsory.
During holidays or other opportune moments, we open additional “Special Event” threads. These threads vary in purpose, ranging from Sidestory-like threads dedicated to posts relating to a particular event, to optional quests that any player or group of players may fulfill in that thread in order to get a set reward.
If at any time you are too busy, or otherwise uninterested in writing for FC, that’s fine! You can step away for as long as you want, with no penalty to your character, and let the GMs know when you’re ready for quests again (or just start writing in the optional threads when you feel like it). If you see other characters doing lots of stuff in sidestories and other threads, don’t feel intimidated! The point of those threads, and the quests threads as well, is to foster character development and story arcs and to have fun, and are not indicative of the level of involvement that must be present.
If you do have a problem with your character being “left behind,” here are three possible solutions:
- Decide that your character is doing just as much stuff, only “offscreen”-- just because it isn’t posted doesn’t mean it can’t be happening!
- Write your own thing, or ask someone to write that thing with you.
- When you feel like it, write a post-dated sidestory about your character. It’s never too late to say “This took place six months ago:”
How do I join?
You make a submission on the Character Sheet thread. Follow the guidelines in creating a scout, mage, or warrior class to begin. If you’re confused by the guidelines in the Character thread, check out our character-creation walkthrough below.
After submitting, we will let you know if you need to tweak your character. Otherwise, just let either of us know when you’re ready for quests, and we will put you on the super-special-and-nonexistent roster. (If you don’t hear from us, assume you are in-- you don’t need to wait for your character to be accepted unless we come to you with questions.)
Every successful quest in the Main thread and the Underground gets your character a reward, which helps the character become more nuanced and specialized. If you have a reward in mind that you want, wonderful! Let us know any time. If you don’t, that’s fine, too! The GMs periodically contact anyone with outstanding quest rewards to discuss ideas for what to give your character. Generally, we’ll have a few things in mind in case there’s nothing you want after we get the conversation going.
You cannot “force” a reward for yourself against GM approval. Obviously, we want you to be in charge of what you get, but we have a discussion first because if something is just too powerful or out of place, we will say no-- even if your character seemed to actually get it during the quest. If possible, we’ll work out a compromise-- say, part of that reward now, and keep working toward it over the course of your next few rewards.
How can I help with my own plotlines?
The best way to help us is to tell us things. Just like in an ARG, if we know what you’re planning, we can help you make it work and make it awesome. If we don’t see it coming, it’s not going to trip us up-- we’ll just have to step on it. There’s a cool reward you want your character to get? Tell us in advance, and we’ll help you structure your rewards so that you get it. There’s a plot development you’re planning, or something at the end of your next quest that might affect the other player characters? Tell us about it, and we’ll help you make it work without conflicting with everyone else’s crazy plans. Any time you have a plan, it is not bothering us to drop us a PM saying “hey I would really like this to happen.” That way, when it does happen, we’re not stuck saying “This really doesn’t work with the Castle; you’re going to have to retcon it.” Instead, we’re right there beside you.
How do I catch up or keep up?
We have a handy Index that categorizes every thread in this subforum, pointing you to what’s what, and where you can get more information on everything. Some highlights to repeat here are:
- The Recap, which is a summary of the most important events, designed to get you caught up on the Castle without having to read through everything ever. The Recap is curated by the lovely Tohrinha.
- The Timelime, which is a list-form laconic summary of each post, in chronological order. The Timelime is curated by Qara-Xuan Zenith.
- The Chatroom, where we all hang out and chill and talk about stuff, including (sometimes) FC. The chatroom is a great place to contact a) the GMs and b) your fellow players, and to discuss whatever’s on your mind or ask for help.
I don’t understand the setting.
The Castle is an anachronistic fantasy setting. There is, of course, magic. All players start off as normal humans, yes-- but they can change, if that’s what their writers want, as they accumulate quest rewards. Is there technology in the Castle? Quite possibly. Right now, none of the major characters have access to or knowledge of advanced technology-- but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. It’s a big Castle, after all; who knows what might be on the upper floors?
What about timing? Quests of the same round are approximately simultaneous. If one’s posted first, and the next one up wants to make reference to it, great-- then they’re in sequence. If one’s in the morning and the other’s at night, then that. But roughly speaking, they’re simultaneous. The same goes for Underground quests, unless otherwise marked. When you make a post, you are always encouraged (but not forced) to put a little note at the top saying exactly when it takes place in relation to other events, in order to facilitate smooth timelining; if you don’t, it’s all right, and we’ll figure out a sensible place to slot it in.
Another note about the mechanic here: The Floating Castle is all about teamwork. We write together, we work together. Even when they don’t like or trust each other, all the PCs are essentially on the same side. No quest will ever require PvP-type behaviour from PCs unless requested by those involved. Any fight between PCs is only viable if both writers want it to happen, and are comfortable with the way it’s going to go. PvP must be consensual. If two or more players want to fight, they can notify the GMs in a PM, either over the forums or neatchat. As well, to avoid things getting too drawn-out, PVP must be resolved in a single post, whether in quest or sidestory form.
PvP is not a requirement. Sometimes, however, PvP is a natural occurrence in character interaction. PvP is an option as long as you deal with it in a mature manner. If you don’t want to write PvP, you will never be asked to write something that makes you uncomfortable.
On the note of requesting/ suggesting quests, players are free to suggest quest ideas to the GMs at any time. These suggestions can be with or without suggested players to send on them; however, you may not suggest a quest for your own character. The GMs reserve the right to use, adapt, or ignore any suggestions we get.