Table of Contents
- 1 1. What’s the Terms and Conditions all about???
- 2 2. How can we voice our opinion constructively, or get changes made?
- 3 3. My image!
- 4 4. Insurance
- 5 5. Intellectual Property
- 5.1 When the Terms and Conditions say “DK and it’s licensors”, what does that mean?
- 5.2 Why does the ownership of NPCs go to “DK and it’s Licensors”?
- 5.3 So if I write some fiction featuring my character, DK has a cause for action against me because they own that IP?
- 5.4 So what can I do with stories I write about my PC or the DK world?
- 5.5 Does this mean I can’t post RP things on the forums or post about my character on the wiki or other DK web pages?
- 6 6. Code of Conduct.
- 6.1 Why have a “no rape” clause in a fantasy game, don’t we “murder” people in a fantasy game?
- 6.2 What is the purpose of the PvP clause?
- 6.3 But what constitutes PvP?
- 6.4 Re: The alcohol and orange headband policy: What about those times designated after game is completed? Must we still wear orange headbands?
- 7 7. Miscellaneous
- 7.1 In 8.3.b, 9.1, 9.4 Why are observers released from liability from injuring us or our property? Releasees include observers, why are they protected from willfully disrupting the game and/or causing participants injury?
- 7.2 In 9.2 of the Terms and Conditions, what do you mean by a Dying Kingdoms tax?
- 7.3 To my knowledge, Dying Kingdoms is not an organization of any sort right now. Will that have an effect on the enforcement of this document? Who is Dying Kingdoms and how is that denoted?
- 7.4 In the terms, what do you mean by ‘profit’? Is Dying Kingdoms a for-profit organization?
- 8 8. The spirit of DK.
1. What’s the Terms and Conditions all about???
Check back on this FAQ in the future, as people ask questions DK Staff will do our best to answer them!
Wow, the game is getting THAT large to require Terms! The DK Terms and Conditions sounds really cold and intimidating!
Sorry guys, we love our players. This is legalese, and a certain amount of legal language is going to be used in these sorts of things. We don’t mean to put you off or scare you off, but we have to codify long term policies with DK into text, especially as we have an influx of new players who have not been around to assume long term practices. If we lose players because of this, we are truly sorry to see you go, and would rather you stayed. But since we have to protect DK staff and the IP belonging to Dying Kingdoms and Jesse Heinig, there really aren’t a lot of “plain English” ways to state some things. Most of the LARPs in the USA have a waiver you sign, we are just catching up with the times. And we appreciate your understanding.
Contracts like this one are never retroactive and we can’t force you to play DK and agree to them, however, you must agree to them if you choose to play DK from now on. The Terms and Conditions should be an evolving document that changes when the need arises. However, those changes might not happen immediately, as it took a long time to put this together as is. Unfortunately, there really aren’t a lot of plainer English ways to state certain things.
2. How can we voice our opinion constructively, or get changes made?
Are there productive ways we can make suggestions that may be considered for future versions of the Terms and Conditions Agreement?
Yes, please email Robert Telmar, DK Public Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org and understand that your issues will be looked at.
Thanks again to those of you who have been brilliant and positive going forward with this process.
3. My image!
What rights does DK have to my image?
We take no responsibility for any photos taken at game and claim no ownership of them, normal photography rights apply for photographers taking pictures and we are not responsible for third parts posts by players or anyone else at game. We will, however, remove photos from our official FB pages, web pages and wiki pages if a player so requests. If we want to use you in a DK brochure or for DK promotion, we will ask you and seek written permission.
Dying Kingdoms can’t be held responsible for strangers showing up to public locations, or conventions, or walking by at one of our private campsites, and taking a photo of you and posting it on the Internet. Dying Kingdoms *could* explicitly prohibit all photography at an event, but the only way to effectively do that would be to outlaw cameras, phones, and all electronic equipment that looks like it could take a photograph or image. It is virtually impossible in today’s day and age to guarantee that an image of yourself, wherever, showing up somewhere without your permission. Because people have cameras and access to the Internet, and no one can stop it. However, you can withhold your name from such photos, and you can also approach DK players who have cameras to ask them not to take photos with you in them. Please consider, that might effectively curtail any photographs at all of DK. Anyhow, that is a matter for private governance, DK can’t be responsible for everything every player or attendee does at an event. DK can only restrict as much as is reasonably possible.
Staff is always available to govern the use of cameras. We will do our best to post a notice before each game that photography must be approved by staff, and we will try to brief each photographer on the guidelines that staff has decided on. If someone is being a creepster about taking pictures, talk to staff, and we’ll ask them to stop. Worst case scenario, the creepster does something awful, and gets banned from DK forever. Everyone wins. Except the creepster.
We have a list of people who have said “Don’t tag me in pictures!” Please view that list and do not tag the people on it in photographs.
When you limit Video photography the way we limit it in the terms, why isn’t still photography limited in this way?
If we limited still photography the way we limit video photography we would have to prohibit all cameras and make players get permission for the use of cell phones with cameras. This is not practical.
In miscellaneous, the article where DK says it doesn’t carry insurance, it says DK doesn’t have insurance. But doesn’t DK have its own insurance policy to cover people getting injured at the game?
DK usually (but not always, depending on the site and type of game) has a site insurance policy that should cover site liability insurance, 3rd party property damage insurance, damage to premises insurance, and sometimes (but again, not always) covers medical payments for accidental injury at each individual site. However, we do not carry a personal insurance policy for any of our players. So, while we can possibly contribute a little to medical care if people get injured, it is very unlikely you’d receive any medical benefits at all from our policy and so we’re recommending you cover yourself too as an extra layer of personal coverage.
5. Intellectual Property
When the Terms and Conditions say “DK and it’s licensors”, what does that mean?
Dying Kingdoms the LARP organization licenses the rules, environment, setting, characters, and other DK IP from Jesse Heinig, the creator of Dying Kingdoms. Jesse holds the copyright. It’s important to note that Jesse can also shut down DK and revoke our license by issuing a notice in writing, and we’ll have a month to shut down and return all our files to him. This is to prevent the DK IP from being usurped by anyone who could possibly overtake the game and run it without considering the spirit with which we have always conducted ourselves.
Why does the ownership of NPCs go to “DK and it’s Licensors”?
A PC that has retired into an NPC or a story-team-created NPC is developed in the context of the DK larp, and as such is uniquely a part of the DK LARP, particularly once it becomes an NPC and influences the DK history & story. As such, you cannot claim individual ownership & rights in the character exclusively, but obviously the practice of DK is to ask the same players to play their PCs who have become NPCs, and if you want to play an old PC in a new extension of DK in such a way as it would effect the storyline of DK, you may ask DK staff in writing for permission – that’s up to their discretion. Consider that without these clauses, the DK story team could not write story lines about Emperor Antonius Vespasian (a retired PC) when they write about Illumin.
In addition, the name of the character or the basic concept i.e., Johnnyboy the appleseed carrying rogue, is easily something you could play in a different system under a different ruleset. No one will object if you remade your DK PC for Live Effects under the Live Effects rules and setting, but what you cannot do is say that DK could never use your character, ever again, or only in ways that you approve of (there will be some things that happen to your character, even when we try to avoid it, that you do not approve of). That’s what this protects against.
We also want to protect the IP against someone else’s copyright. The same way RA Salvatore can’t publish stories about Driz’zt in the Forgotten Realms without going through Wizards.
So if I write some fiction featuring my character, DK has a cause for action against me because they own that IP?
Only if you do it to make a profit or expect to make a profit, and even then, not if you ask permission: just write an email. Staff rarely denies such requests.
The other options: You could always write your story as satire. You can also write your story set in an independent world.
Basically, if you’re worried about this, just ask for permission in writing and call it a day. It’s extremely unlikely that it will be a problem, and we know that we have some professional writers around. It’s always best practice to ask permission in writing, which can just be an email. There’s a fine line between copyright infringement and similarity but if you are a professional writer, it behooves you to still ask for permission.
So what can I do with stories I write about my PC or the DK world?
If you write a story starring your PC, “Johnnyboy”, in the DK world, you are free to share it with friends and the DK players/staff. Same thing goes for a general story about the DK world, but in that instance you should always check with DK staff in case it contradicts the actual DK storyline. If you want to publish it for free, as “fan-fiction” type stuff, do it. If you want to publish it for money, you must get permission from staff and Jesse, because that involves IP rights in the original world of DK, and you might have to negotiate a separate license contract with Jesse.
Does this mean I can’t post RP things on the forums or post about my character on the wiki or other DK web pages?
Absolutely not, you can always interact with your character on our forums, on our wiki, or even in your personal emails and chat.
6. Code of Conduct.
Why have a “no rape” clause in a fantasy game, don’t we “murder” people in a fantasy game?
While we can be sure no one walking around at game has been successfully murdered, there are plenty of players, both men and women, who have been raped that play in Dying Kingdoms. Think of this as trigger preventative action. This has been also policy for a while and is buried in the players guide re: intimate contact, but expanded upon in the Terms and Conditions. We understand that there have been some storylines and plots that mentioned this subject matter or incorporated it in some way in the past that slipped through the cracks, however, these story lines are all being phased out and going forward such subject matter should not be initiated in any way. If you want to discuss one of those previously-created storylines involving the subject matter, you should talk to staff.
Because a LARP world is constructed entirely through player input, players are already constrained by their own morality (or lack thereof). Players do not come into a game as a purely blank slate – they come in with their own experiences, personal history, beliefs and biases. People will project their own moral sensibilities onto a game setting and make moral decisions based on that. I.E., someone who wants to play a good or heroic character will embody the virtues which Western society has decreed are heroic and virtuous.
Let’s start with the widely accepted assumption that rape is a crime of power and control. It is one person, with power, exerting it over someone who has less/none. In the really real world, power has largely been tied to resources, inherited wealth & status and physical strength. Therefore, the powerful could and did rape with impunity. However, DK is a different world than the real one we live in. Someone, of any race, class or gender, could be born with a unique ability which gives them a strong measure of personal power. They could make deals with supernatural entities, and thereby gain power. Hence, personal power is not as tied to circumstances of birth or society the way it has been in the really-real-world. So the sort of patriarchy which leads to a rape culture just doesn’t exist, because there is no class of people who are perpetually powerless. There’s also prevalent birth control in the game. Anyone who wants it can find it. As such, women are not restricted by unwanted childbearing; leaving them free to pursue other avenues over their lifespan.
We understand that LARP is also partially about wish fulfillment. However, if you have a rape fetish, LARP is *not* the appropriate place to explore that. Find a safe, sane and consensual group of people into BDSM, and find someone that you can negotiate a consensual scene about feigned non-consent. We are not going to judge if people want to explore themes of non-consent, dominance and submission on their own time. There’s a thriving community of people who do that, and they gain a lot of personal satisfaction and enjoyment out of it. But that’s all done face to face and the scenes are negotiated well in advance, and anyone has the right to revoke consent whenever they desire. The BDSM community is a group of people who are *primed* to accept your fetish and they are ready and willing to educate you and make you feel less shameful about your proclivities. The BDSM community has the tools and skills to deal with your fetish in healthy ways. A LARP does not; nor should it be expected to.
LARP is different than real life, and very different than small games with close friends. DK is a huge, shared world; and more importantly it is a shared community. If you explore themes of rape in your role-play, you’re not just involving your chosen few in your rape play; you’re by necessity involving your Storyteller and the rest of your game in your personal fetish. That’s the part where your personal desire crosses a line in our game.
As far as the argument for including rape in our game to add “realism” goes, we want to remind our players that DK is not “based off of” any historical time. It is based off of a fictional genre. You may note that while Conan, Witch World, and Elric are all cited as influences, Gor is not. DK uses elements of real-world cultures simply because it’s easier for people to identify them and understand them. If a player says “I want to play a character like William Wallace from Braveheart” they can immediately grasp that the Culberran culture will give them something along those lines. This does not mean that all cultures are a one-to-one analog. Xiao culture does not include foot-binding. Bechan culture does not include powerful mounted knights. No cultures include true misogyny or misandry. The broad strokes exist for familiarity, but not to create a constraint that says that everything must be the same, after all.
As with all live-action games, there is a degree of both authenticity and of fiction in the game. Each game gets to choose what levels of these it pursues. In DK, we pursue some amounts of authenticity because this creates verisimilitude — having you, the player, acting out your character’s role directly gives you a sense of immediate connection to what’s happening. We also accept large amounts of fiction because that gives us the opportunity to enjoy the fantastical elements of a world that is not our own, with magic and undead and dragons and . . . giant rats.
We get to draw the line on the amount of “reality” that we want to inject into the game. Most people, personally, cannot get through the weekend without a lukewarm shower at least once, so we presume that the game has a pretty good emphasis on sanitation that might not have existed in a low-technology culture. Similarly, DK doesn’t have any sorts of organized religion, really, for a multitude of reasons that fall into a different discussion.
Furthermore, DK is designed as a community entertainment. People who participate do so with the knowledge that they are going to get X, Y, and Z in this entertainment. DK is not under any compunction to include rape in the game, nor is it under any compunction to include gray aliens or cyborg street samurai. The staff decides what is appropriate for the game, and the players decide if that’s the game they want to play.
As a final note, rape as a plot device/character motivator is both overdone and lazy. Threats of physical violence or acts that remove agency from a player are boring. More compelling conflicts come from threats to which the character consents: the classic dilemma, in which the character has a choice and it is the results of that choice that lead to drama, conflict, and rewards. Rape elements do not typically provide this element of choice in a compelling way.
While rape could be included in fiction or games — it shows up in books, movies, some of the LARPs out there — it is not a necessary component, and it is another selecting element for your consumers/participants. People who do not want to deal with rape in their entertainment media will seek out forms of entertainment or art that do not explicitly include or deal with it. We are not in the business of telling other LARPers what to do in their games; conversely, if folks come to DK events, they should come with the knowledge that this is an issue that is serious to many of our participants and in the interests of fostering a community that is having a good time together it is a part of the fantasy world that we don’t consider as an element of story craft.
The people who push for the inclusion of rape in games tend to fall into a couple of broad categories: Folks who just don’t realize exactly how serious it is to victims; and folks who do understand but just don’t care that it will upset other people. People in the first category may simply not grasp how triggers work or how much a really traumatic experience can affect your ability to function rationally; human psychology means that it can actually be physiologically damaging to deal with circumstances that echo a traumatic past event (PTSD, et. al.). People in the second category are typically out to get what they want from the game and don’t tend to care how it ruins the game for everyone else. While rape may be a sad and infuriating fact of life in the real world, the games we play aren’t the real world, and we do get to make calls about what we want in the stories that we tell through them. If it sacrifices “reality” then that is a piece of reality that we are willing to let go.
Lastly, LARP blends you and a character together, in ways so complete sometimes that some people can’t separate parts of themselves from their character. If you decide to rape a player’s character where the actual player has been raped in the past, that can trigger a huge amount of trauma back on the player without doing what you wanted to do story-wise with the character, and just makes the player feel unsafe. It’s lazy storytelling, but more than that, it is almost always harmful storytelling. This is actually one of those themes where you do need to check your privilege and realize that sometimes other people’s opinions and feelings of safety matter more than your desire to explore a theme with your character.
20-25% of women and anywhere from 3-10% of men have been raped, and we want those individuals to be able to play in our game, not to relive their trauma in our game because someone felt like it was their right to explore it. The fact of the matter is, you’re grownups. You have the right to tell whatever stories you want to each other, so long as all parties consent… on your own time. If you want to indulge in rape fantasies, rape role-play, or bake cookies shaped into the word ‘rape’, then you have every right to do so… on your own time. But you do not exist in a vacuum, and neither does Dying Kingdoms, so you can’t explore those themes in our game. One in four of the women that you deal with at any given time have been raped or sexually assaulted. That means that one in four women at our game have been raped or sexually assaulted. The next time you see 4 women together chatting at game, think for a moment that it is statistically probable that one of them has been raped or sexually assaulted. Your right to explore rape for entertainment value does not trump their right to not relive their trauma.
It’s one thing to have the rape discussion be an intellectual exercise, quite another to knowingly recreate a traumatic event from a friend’s past and act it out in real time. Keep in mind that even if our game isn’t real, the emotions of the people involved are real, and those emotions are important to our players wellbeing.
TL:DNR Version: It’s too much of a trigger for too many other players, staff has thought about it very carefully and discussed it with our players, and we don’t allow rape related storylines and plots in our game under any circumstances in order to make a safe gaming environment for our players.
Obviously, any real-world criminal acts and breaches of actual consent, like rape or sexual assault, between our players can and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
What is the purpose of the PvP clause?
Precisely because we have had instances where characters fun has been compromised and because players have not all been on the same page on the PvP policy, we have stated our policy on PvP clearly and concisely. The rule that you should talk to the other player and staff about PvP action BEFORE it takes place is one that we hope our players are clever enough to figure out in the heat of the moment in game. Think on this before you act: Will my actions ruin another players fun? If the answer is yes, you need to figure out an alternative, more interesting solution.
But what constitutes PvP?
We don’t intend for these rules to deprive players of meaty roleplaying and inter-character drama and conflict. For the purpose of the PvP clauses, you should consider PvP to mean actions taken against another PC which would significantly and negatively affect that character’s story arc or interfere with their ability to enjoy the game. This will be the definition that staff uses to judge actions and it is admittedly a bit subjective. Here are some examples: Prisca and Koralk have a heated argument about morality. In the heat of the moment they come to blows. Other PCs seperate them, heal them up and the two characters live with some ongoing tension between them. Good, juicy conflict. However, if Prisca decided to break a talisman of Necromantic Death, or stalking Koralk’s relatives and poisoning them, negotiated an exchange with the necromancer kings where Koralk would be given to them as a slave. PvP. Some of this might even be a constructive and interesting story development for the two characters, but the players of those characters MUST discuss such irrevocable actions with one another and with staff first and make certain that all parties are comfortable with taking the story in that direction.
That said, many of the actions that our hypothetical Prisca took above, if part of a consistent trend of behavior, would begin moving the character towards villain status. It doesn’t mean that her player wouldn’t be able to play her any longer, but that the character’s actions and interactions would fall under the direction of staff in order to keep the tone, pacing and action of a game in control.
Re: The alcohol and orange headband policy: What about those times designated after game is completed? Must we still wear orange headbands?
No. After game is completed it is assumed everyone is out of combat.
In 8.3.b, 9.1, 9.4 Why are observers released from liability from injuring us or our property? Releasees include observers, why are they protected from willfully disrupting the game and/or causing participants injury?
They are not protected from willfully causing participants injury. As far as disruption of the game, that’s not really actionable – we can try to make them leave, but that’s it. We are releasing observers from liability non-willful actions, in connection with the game – but we can narrow this if it makes you uncomfortable. However, there have been people who come to DK to observe before playing and might not fit into the participant category.
In 9.2 of the Terms and Conditions, what do you mean by a Dying Kingdoms tax?
These are the taxes that Dying Kingdoms might be liable for either for selling Dying Kingdoms merchandise (such proceeds if any go entirely to game props, storage, site fees, etc.), or after incorporating, or any other possible taxes that Dying Kingdoms might incur.
To my knowledge, Dying Kingdoms is not an organization of any sort right now. Will that have an effect on the enforcement of this document? Who is Dying Kingdoms and how is that denoted?
“Dying Kingdoms” is a recreational and social club run by Dying Kingdoms LARP LLC. Which is, by definition, an organization. The official representatives and controllers of Dying Kingdoms are the Staff and the Licensor of the Dying Kingdoms IP (that is Jesse Heinig) – and Staff shifts in identity. It could mean any one of the players who takes on that responsibility. The Dying Kingdoms Terms and Conditions is an agreement between our participants and the Dying Kingdoms LARP LLC that can and will be enforced.
DyingKingdoms LARP LLC is a Limited Liability Corporation based in California as of 2012.
In the terms, what do you mean by ‘profit’? Is Dying Kingdoms a for-profit organization?
Not now, and not for the foreseeable future, but who knows what will happen 20 years from now. Right now we operate on a budget that allows us to pay for sites and insurance, costuming, and props for the game. We have no employees and dole out no salaires to anyone on staff or otherwise.
8. The spirit of DK.
I am concerned that DK is becoming a cold corporation.
DK has been run by individuals, tying up their personal finances and liability into the game, for a long time. In many cases paying out of pocket for our players’ benefit. It’s a situation that can’t continue due to personal liability and the sheer number of players. We apologize if this scares you, but we believe it is unfair to ask any individual to put themselves at huge financial and legal risk by running a game that should be for fun. DK is still a private club and still runs on a shoestring and makes zero profit while maintaining high production values and player immersion. In fact, DK was operating at a loss towards the end of 2011 and this whole incorporating into an LLC business comes from trying to stay afloat and be able to rent larger sites without having someone pledge their first born if someone gets hurt at game.
It should not affect your play in any way, and should not affect the storyline in any way.
Dying Kingdoms is a game that runs on the combination of a complex, storyteller-created world, and the enthusiasm and creativity of its players. The story is evolving, and every PC becomes a part of DK history as they “live” through the game. It is the intent of DK to keep the community spirit, without jeopardizing the game for future (and current) players or the rights of its creator, Jesse Heinig.
Check back on this FAQ in the future, as people ask questions DK Staff will do our best to answer them!