FAQ

Primary tabs

1. General Questions

1.1 What is Phantagraphia.com?
1.2 What are Roleplaying Games?
1.3 What is Freeform Roleplay?
1.4 How do I win?
1.5 What is an Original Character?
1.6 What about Public Domain/Open Source Characters and Ideas?

2. Account Management

2.1 How do I make a New Account?
2.2 Can I have more than One Account?
2.3 How do I change my Account Settings?
2.4 How do I change my Player Profile?

3. Setting

3.1 What's the Main Setting?
3.2 Can I run a Campaign in a different setting?
3.3 Can I Run a Campaign in A Published Setting/With Another Game System?

4. Character Management

4.1 What is a Character?
4.2 Do I Need to Make a Character Right Away?
4.3 How do I Create a New Character?
4.4 How do I Change my Default Character?
4.5 What is a Character Profile?
4.6 How do I Create a New Character Profile?
4.7 How do I change the Order of my Profile Tabs?
4.8 How do I set a profile to Inactive?

5. Campaigns

5.1 What is a Campaign?
5.2 Where can I browse Campaigns?
5.3 How do I Join a Campaign as a Player?
5.4 How do I check the Status of my Character Application?
5.5 Instant Posting In Open Campaigns
5.6 How do I Create a Campaign as GM?
5.7 How do I add a New Thread to my Campaign?
5.8 How do I add a co-GM to my Campaign?
5.9 How do I know if people have Applied to Join my Campaign?
5.10 How do I approve a character for my Campaign?
5.11 How do I manually add a Character to my Campaign?
5.12 How do I remove a character from my campaign?

6. Lore

6.1 What is Lore?
6.2 Can I Create/Edit Lore?

7. Text and Formatting

7.1 How do I use the Text Editor?
7.2 How do I create a Link to Another Page?
7.3 How do I Post an Image?
7.4 What are Styles?
7.5 How do I create a Table of Contents?
7.6 How do I create an OOC text box?

8. Images and Uploads

8.1 Can I upload an Image to Phantagraphia?
8.2 How do I upload an Image to Phantagraphia?
8.3 What Are Common Images?
8.4 What Size are Campaign Images?

9. Reporting Issues

9.1 How do I report an issue?

10. Glossary


1. General

1.1 What is Phantagraphia.com?

Phantagraphia is a Freeform Roleplaying Game Forum.

1.2 What are Roleplaying Games?

In this context, roleplaying describes a game in which you adopt the persona of an original character in a fictional setting, writing out their actions, thoughts, and dialogue.  It's a unique mix of writing, acting, and improv.

1.3 What is Freeform Roleplay?

Most roleplaying games - such as Dungeons and Dragons - use die rolls to help determine the outcome of events.  In Freeform Roleplaying there are no dice, outcomes are determined by mutual agreement between players.  In some games, there will be a Game Master (GM) to decide these outcomes, but often players will need to work it out between themselves, collaborating to craft the best possible story.

Freeform Roleplaying is sometimes also called "Collaborative Storytelling" or "Diceless Roleplay".

1.4 How do I win?

By having fun.  Unlike a video game or a traditional board game, there is no set "win" condition for this kind of roleplaying.  While characters may fight, butt heads, and even become mortal enemies, players are all allies, co-operating and collaborating with each other to craft stories and have fun.  The point is not to win the most battles, loot the most treasure, or reach level 20.  The point is to enjoy yourself playing in a community of like-minded people.

1.5 What is an Original Character?

Characters at Phantagraphia should be Original.  They should be created by you, the player, not borrowed from a favourite TV show, book, or movie.  This basically just means you are not allowed to play direct fandom characters, such as Twilight Sparkle or Robocop.

You are certainly allowed to base your original characters on established characters.  All media is influenced by other media, after all, and we do not expect you to come up with characters and stories that have never been remotely conceived before.  This means, for example, it is fine to play a two-story tall robot who changes shape to become a fire truck, so long as his name is not Optimus Prime and he is not from Cybertron.

1.6 What about Public Domain/Open Source Characters and Ideas?

You are free to use open source/public domain characters, species, settings, and ideas, such as chakats.  However, you are expected to confirm that what you are using is public domain, and otherwise follow the relevant original content rules.


2. Account Management

2.1 How do I make a New Account?

Welcome to Phantagraphia!  In order to create an account and join the site, either visit the front page (phantagraphia.com) or click on Log In (upper right hand corner of your screen) and select New Account, or just click here.

To create a new account you will need to provide a username (the name you will be known as on the site) and a valid email address.  Optionally, you may fill out a short, publicly visible user profile to let others know a bit about you.  At the bottom of the page you will need to check two boxes declaring you are at least 13 years old and accept the terms and conditions of the site, and fill out a CAPTCHA to prove you are not a bot.  Then click the Create New Account button.

2.2 Can I have more than One Account?

No.  Players are only allowed to hold one account, as stated in the Rules.  If you for some reason need to shut down your current account and change to a new one, please Contact Us and let us know.

2.3 How do I change my Account Settings?

You can change your password, email address, time zone, and whether you receive email notifications from the site by doing the following:

  • Go to My Account (upper right-hand side of your screen).
  • Go to My Settings

2.4 How do I change my Player Profile?

Your player profile is a publicly visible profile in which you can tell us a little about yourself, the person behind the characters, and provide contact information like email address and instant messenger services you use.  Be advised that anything placed on the Player Profile is visible to anyone visiting the site.  To change your Player Profile:

  • Go to My Account (upper right-hand side of your screen).
  • Go to My Profile (left side).
  • Select the blue Edit button.

3. Setting

3.1 What's the Main Setting?

The site's primary setting is The City - a huge metropolis built on an alien machine in a pocket dimension, where portals to other worlds and universes are a common fact of life. People of all descriptions from a million different worlds meet and mingle in the City, and launch journeys to worlds both mundane and fantastic.

You can go check out the Lorebook for more in depth information on the City and other worlds.

3.2 Can I run a Campaign in a different setting?

Yes.  You are free to create and play in any setting you can imagine, with or without connection to the main setting of the City.  You could run a sword-and-sorcery campaign with all original characters where no one knows that the City exists, or a starships-and-aliens campaign that can be visited casually by City characters, or any other variation. 

3.3 Can I Run a Campaign in A Published Setting/With Another Game System?

Yes, with a couple of major caveats:

  1. The setting/system must have a clear policy/licensing arrangement allowing its use as a campaign setting on internet forums and chats, and you will have to include a reference to it. Please note that this applies to settings designed for tabletop as well as those from other sources - unfortunately, a lot of companies like to send cease and desist letters to people playing their games on forums, because they still don't understand the internets.
  2. The existence of such a licence is not carte blanche to start posting full sourcebooks and modules. You are expected to respect copyright.

4. Character Management

4.1 What is a Character?

A character is a fictional persona you adopt to play and interact in the fictional settings of Phantagraphia.  While a character might be based on yourself, it is not you.  Characters are owned and played by Players, which is what you are, sitting at your computer (or phone or pad) reading this.  A player pretends to be a character the same way an actor in a play or movie does.

4.2 Do I Need to Make a Character Right Away?

Not at all! You can post without a character to the General discussion board, as well as in the chat room. Feel free to hang out and talk to people as long as you like before creating your first character.  Outside of the Campaign forum or scheduled chat sessions, there is no stigma against OOC (Out of Character) talking.

GMing a Campaign does not require a character.  If you are only interested in GMing, you can skip character creation altogether.

4.3 How do I Create a New Character?

  • Go to My Account (upper right-hand side of your screen).
  • Go to My Characters.
  • In the box titled New Character (right side) enter the name you want to use for the character.
  • Click the Create button.
  • The character will be created, and you will be redirected to the character's Manage page, where you can create and modify profiles for your character.

4.4 How do I Change my Default Character?

You can set any character to by your Default Character.  This character will automatically be selected by any character selection drop down in the chat room, forums, or campaign screens.  If you use one character exclusively, or more than any other character, this is a convenient way to keep them easily available.  To change you Default Character:

  • Go to My Account (upper right-hand side of your screen).
  • Go to My Characters
  • Select a character from the drop down box titled Default Character
  • Click the Set button

4.5 What is a Character Profile?

A character profile is essentially a description of your character, so that other players will know what she looks like, how she dresses, and what sorts of things she is capable of.  The standard profile includes both information that any character can tell just by looking at the characters - such as height, build, and general appearance - and information that would not be available to characters, but is useful for other players to have - such as skills, interests, and history.  A profile may even include information about a character that the character herself is unaware of.

Characters may have multiple profiles, usually used to describe different versions of them used for different campaigns.  For example, the base character Brianna may be an accountant, with profiles for a steampunk banker Brianna, a pirate quartermaster Brianna, and a space bureaucrat Brianna.

4.6 How do I Create a New Character Profile?

  • Go to My Account (upper right-hand side of your screen).
  • Go to My Characters.  You will be presented with a list of characters you have created.
  • Click on the Manage Profiles button next to the appropriate character (second column).
  • From the drop-down box titled New, select the type of profile you would like to create.
  • Click the Create button.
  • Complete the profile form. Any sections left blank will be excluded from the final display.
  • If you would like to save the profile as a Draft, click Save as Draft. Draft profiles:
    • Are only visible to the author
    • Can be deleted
    • Can be edited multiple times before publishing
  • When you wish to publish the profile, you can click Save and Publish

4.7 How do I change the Order of my Profile Tabs?

When a character has multiple active profiles, these are visible on her public profile as tabs at the top of the page, which other players can browse through.  To change the order of these tabs:

  • Go to My Account (upper right-hand side of your screen).
  • Go to My Characters.  You will be presented with a list of characters you have created.
  • Click on the Manage Profiles button next to the appropriate character (second column).
  • You will be presented with a list of existing profiles for that character.
  • Using your mouse, Drag and Drop items on the list to change the order profile tabs will appear in.  The topmost profile will be the left-most tab.

4.8 How do I set a profile to Inactive?

Sometimes you will have published profiles (not working drafts) that are no longer in use.  These can be made Inactive to prevent them from cluttering up your public profile with extra tabs.  Direct links to the profile will still work, but it will not automatically appear as a tab.  To set a profile to Inactive, or to change an Inactive profile back to Active:

  • Go to My Account (upper right-hand side of your screen).
  • Go to My Characters.  You will be presented with a list of characters you have created.
  • Click on the Manage Profiles button next to the appropriate character (second column).
  • You will be presented with a list of existing profiles for that character.
  • Click the large Active/Inactive button next to the profile you want to change.

5. Campaign Management

5.1 What is a Campaign?

Phantagraphia's Campaign system makes organizing and managing your games easy and intuitive.  Campaigns collect and organize threads and players under a single heading to be displayed on a single page.  You never again have to worry about losing track of a thread or forgetting which characters are involved in a story.

The threads and characters collected into a Campaign can be related by a single story narrative, a location or setting, a main character, or anything else the Campaign's GM chooses.  A Campaign may be a single thread story between two characters, or many threads following multiple characters in multiple stories across a single vast world.

Campaigns contain the following information:

  • A Title
  • The campaign type - this determines how characters are added to the campaign:
    • Open: Any player can add their character to an Open campaign immediately.
    • Sign Up: Players can submit applications for their characters, which a GM must approve.
    • Closed: Characters cannot be added except by the GM
  • Tags - These help classify the campaign, indicating setting, genre, key locations and NPCs, etc. Each tag is linked to an associated Lorebook entry.
  • GMs - GMs are in charge of running the campaign. All campaigns have at least one GM.
  • Description - a short description of the campaign.
  • A list of threads in the campaign
  • A list of characters in the campaign
  • Submission Guidelines for characters
  • Other Information - any additional information the GM wants to provide
  • The campaign Wall - All players can post comments on the wall to ask questions, or just leave comments about the campaign.

5.2 Where can I browse Campaigns?

All the campaigns on Phantagraphia are listed on the Campaigns page, which you can reach using the navbar at the top of the page.  You can also visit the Campaigns Forum to directly read the threads people are playing in.

5.3 How do I Join a Campaign as a Player?

Once you have found a Campaign that interests you, you may want to submit a character to play in it.  To join a Campaign:

  • Go to the Campaign's page.  This can be reached by finding the Campaign on the Campaigns page, following the link in a forum thread, or following a link found in the Lorebook.
  • Read any submission guidelines included by the Campaign's GM.
  • Click the Join button at the top of the Campaign page.
  • Select the Character you would like to submit to the Campaign.  You may also include a short note to the GM, if you wish.
  • Click Submit.
    • For an Open Campaign, your character is now registered and you may begin posting immediately.
    • For a Sign Up Campaign, you will need to wait for GM approval before you can begin posting.

5.4 How do I check the Status of my Character Application?

  • Go to My Account (upper right hand side of your screen)
  • Go to My Campaigns (left side)
  • If you have characters awaiting approval for a Campaign, they will appear in a list under Pending Applications.
  • Once an application has been accepted, it will be moved to the list titled Campaigns

5.5 Instant Posting In Open Campaigns

You can post to the threads associated with Open Campaigns without having a character in the Campaign; any character you post as will be automatically added to the Campaign.

If you do have a character in an open campaign, you will have the option of switching to your full character list to post as another character.

5.6 How do I Create a Campaign as GM?

The Create New Campaign button can be found on the Campaigns page, the Campaign Forum, and under the My Campaigns section of your My Account page.

5.7 How do I add a New Thread to my Campaign?

The Add Thread button is found underneath the list of threads on the Campaign page of any Campaign you GM.  Players with characters in a campaign cannot add a new thread themselves, only the GM and co-GMs can add new threads.

5.8 How do I add a co-GM to my Campaign?

On the Campaign page of a Campaign you GM, you will see a list of current GMs, and a text field that says Add GM. Enter the name of the player you would like to add as a co-GM and click Add.  You must add a Player name, not a character name.

5.9 How do I know if people have Applied to Join my Campaign?

  • Go to My Account (upper right hand side of your screen)
  • Go to My Campaigns (left side)
  • If there are characters awaiting approval to your Campaign, there will be a note in your Campaigns I GM list letting you know.
  • Applications awaiting GM approval are also visible to the GM on the Campaign's main page.

5.10 How do I approve a character for my Campaign?

Characters who have been submitted to a campaign you GM will be visible to you and your co-GMs.  To add a character to the approved characters list, click the Add button next to their name.  Otherwise, you may click the Reject button to remove the application from your list.

5.11 How do I manually add a Character to my Campaign?

On the Campaign page, there is a text field under the lists of Approved and Pending characters.  You can manually enter a character into your campaign by entering the Character name in the field and clicking the Add button.

5.12 How do I remove a character from my campaign?

On the Campaign page, click the Remove button for that character.  A GM can remove a character from their Campaign at any time.


6. Lore

6.1 What is Lore?

The Lorebook collects information on the setting, factions, important NPCs, alternate worlds, and other things that do not fit neatly into individual character profiles, but are noteworthy enough to be written down for everyone to see.  Lore is a collaborative effort on the part of all our players to create a deeper, richer setting for everyone.

6.2 Can I Create/Edit Lore?

Yes.  Any player can create Lore, or edit entries in the Lorebook.  We only ask that you familiarize yourself with the Lore guidelines and respect the edits and Lore created by other players.  Some Lore is marked Not Available for Use or For Use with Permission, and these entries should not be edited without the original author's approval.


7. Text and Formatting

7.1 How do I use the Text Editor?

Every post you make on Phantagraphia, whether in the forums or in the Lorebook, will use a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) text editor called CKEditor.  The editor gives you many options, much like a typical word processor.  You can use the options on the editor to make text bold, italicized, or underlined, and to change the indents of a paragraph, or align paragraphs to the center or right of the page.  The text editor also includes a built-in spell check.  A couple functions deserve special mention and are covered in the following questions.

7.2 How do I create a Link to Another Page?

Select the words you wish to use as the link, and click on the button that looks like a link of chain (upper right of the text editor).  This will open a popup page that will ask you to include a URL.  If the page you wish to link to is part of Phantagraphia, you may leave out the "phantagraphia.com" part of the URL.

7.3 How do I Post an Image?

Alternative Text appears hereTo place an image in your post, click the button that looks like a picture of some mountains (upper right of the text editor).  This will open a popup page that will ask for a URL for the image you wish to include.  You may also click on Browse to use an image you have previously uploaded to Phantagraphia.  You can change the dimensions of the posted image and add alt-text, which will appear when a mouse is hovered over the image, and may be used to attribute the image's creator.

7.4 What are Styles?

Styles are used to create headers (such as in this FAQ) and other stylistic text blocks.  They can be set using the Formatting Styles pull-down in the upper left of the text editor.

7.5 How do I create a Table of Contents?

In the forums or the Lorebook, you can create a Table of Contents with the tag {TOC}, substituting regular square brackets for the curly brackets.  The Table of Contents will be generated using any line with the Heading 3 format.

7.6 How do I create an OOC text box?

An OOC text box like this can be created using the OOC style, found in the Styles drop-down on the post editor.  They are used to differentiate Out of Character speech or information in an otherwise In Character post.

8. Images and Uploading

8.1 Can I upload an Image to Phantagraphia?

Phantagraphia allows players to upload their own images to our server.  Any image uploaded to Phantagraphia must follow the site rules regarding content and terms of service.  Any images uploaded to Phantagraphia should be original or public domain, or the player uploading should have explicit permission to use the image.  Any image uploaded must obviously be legal to view and possess in the U.S.. and Canada.  Please only upload images for use on this site.  Uploaded images can be no more than 2MB in size.

8.2 How do I upload an Image to Phantagraphia?

  • Go to My Account (upper right hand corner of your screen)

  • Select the tab File Browser

  • You will be presented with two folders.  One is titled Common and contains images provided by Phantagraphia for use by any player.  The other folder will be in the format u###.  This is your own personal folder, where you can upload and access your own images and files stored on Phantagraphia.  Each player has a unique personal folder tied to their player ID.

  • Select the folder titled u###, where the "###" is a unique number sequence identifying you as a player.

  • In the upper left of the File Browser window, a button labelled Upload should now appear. Click on the Upload button.

  • Select Browse and find the image on your computer that you wish to upload.

  • Once a file has been selected, click Upload to begin uploading the file to Phantagraphia's server.  Files must be no larger than 2MB in size.

8.3 What Are Common Images?

When accessing the file browser, you will see a folder named Common.  Images and files in the Common folder are available to all users of Phantagraphia, to use however they choose.  These are mostly standard genre images for use in the Campaign system.

8.4 What Size are Campaign Images?

The image box on every Campaign page is restricted to 480x480 pixels in size.  Any larger image set as a Campaign image will be resized to a maximum of 480x480 while maintaining aspect ratio.


9. Reporting Issues

9.1 How do I report an issue?

To report technical bugs, rules violations, or harassment, please contact Bob the Outcast or WhatkinPG.  We are happy to address your concerns, answer any questions you might have, or help out in any way we can.  Additional Contact Information can be found here.


10. Glossary

If you are new to online roleplaying, you may be encountering some slang you are unfamiliar with.

GM: Game Master.  A GM runs a Campaign, or a specific story in the chat room.  The GM is responsible for controlling the setting and story and determining the outcome of any player actions.  GMs are also known as Storytellers, Dungeon Masters, Directors, and other titles, depending on the RPG tradition one is most familiar with.

Campaign:  A story or set of stories organized around a common core, such as a location, plot, or characters.  Campaigns on Phantagraphia may be just a single thread and a couple of characters or may include several threads and dozens of players.  Campaigns are also called games or RPs.

Character:  A fictional persona adopted by the players on the site, much as an actor portrays a character in a play.  Characters are also called PCs (Player Characters), Avatars, or Toons.

DM: Dungeon Master.  Another term for GM (above) originating from the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game.

Freeform:  A style of roleplaying in which players determine the outcome of character actions by mutual agreement and collaboration, rather than with numbered statistics and die rolls.  Can refer to any informal system of gaming.  Also called Collaborative Storytelling and Diceless Roleplay.

IC: In Character.  Actions and words said by a player's fictional character, within the fictional setting.  As opposed to Out of Character, where the player herself is speaking.

Lore:  Back story and setting information.  Lore often refers to the Phantagraphia Lorebook, but may be used to refer to an individual character's back story.

Mun: Mundane.  Another word for Player.

Munchkin: One who Power Games (see below).

OOC: Out of Character.  Things marked OOC exist in the real world, outside the fictional world of the game.  When you speak OOC you are speaking as yourself, not as your character.

OOC Information:  Information that players have access to but characters do not.  As a player you can read a character's profile and see their entire history, abilities, and weaknesses spelled out for you.  Your character, however, does not have access to that information, and must acquire it in play.  Allowing characters access to OOC information is a form of Power Gaming.

PG: Player God.  Another name for Player, originating from the MZDM roleplaying message board.

Player:  The person (you) controlling the characters in a Campaign or chat room game.  Players are real people, treat them as such.

Power Gaming: Controlling someone else's character, forcing outcomes without giving other players a chance at input, or otherwise playing selfishly with a goal to "win" at the cost of other players' fun.  Power Gaming is not allowed on Phantagraphia, as expanded on under Rule 6: Players and Characters

Roleplaying:  A form of gaming in which players take on the role of fictional characters to interact and adventure in a fictional setting.  Also known as "the best way to waste time" and "way cooler than video games".

RP: Literally "role play".  When used as a noun it usually refers to a specific game or session of roleplaying, and is interchangeable with Campaign.