Welcome to the ALFA Player Manual! Inside these pages, we have done our best to contain (in an easy to use format) everything that you will need to know about playing in ALFA. You will find information about our community and about how one becomes a DM (or even builds their very own server). You will find all you need to know about the changes that we've made to make playing that much more fun and you will find how to go about playing an extraordinary character.
Below you will find an outline of the main points found in the APM. If you're looking for something specific, try using the search bar in the top right corner of the screen. If you have any suggestions about how the Player Manual could be improved, we'd love to hear from you!
- 1 Playing Your Race
- 2 Playing Your Class
- 3 Playing Your Extraordinary PC
- 4 Playing Your Location
- 5 Playing Your Gods
- 6 Playing In Game
- 7 Playing In The Community
- 8 Playing by the Rules
Playing Your Race
- Faerun is home to hundreds of intelligent peoples, divided into thousands of tribes, clans, nations, and ethnicities. Some of these races are monstrous predators armed with terrible powers and others are bloodthirsty marauders who terrorize their weaker neighbors, but most are good-hearted folk who wish to live in peace. This great diversity in physical nature, magical talent, belief, and values creates a vast patch work of cultures that spans the continent, a tapestry so complex and wondrous that no mortal can ever comprehend it in its entirety.
Inside A Land Far Away, the races available to the player are the same as those provided in Neverwinter Nights 2 and its expansions. However, there are a few cases where things may differ, whether it be how we handle them in ALFA, or the actual mechanics. Even if you are familiar with the different races, it can't hurt to have a quick skim over the following entries. If you are not familiar with the Forgotten Realms or Dungeon and Dragons races, you'll find links to the wiki pages for each subrace below.
Playing Your Class
- Adventurers seek gold, glory, justice, fame, power or knowledge, or perhaps other goals, some noble and some base. Each chooses a different way to achieve those goals, from brutal combat power, to mighty magic, to subtle skills. Some adventurers prevail and grow in experience, wealth and power. Others die.
Inside A Land Far Away, the classes available to the player are the same as those found in Neverwinter Nights 2 and its expansions. However, there are a few cases where things may differ, whether it’s how we handle them in ALFA, or how the actual mechanics differ. Even if you are familiar with the different classes, it can’t hurt to have a quick skim over the following entries. If you are not familiar with the Forgotten Realms, and Dungeon and Dragons, classes - you'll find a handful of links below which should full you in on the basics.
Playing Your Extraordinary PC
Ever wanted to play that Drow Priestess? Or maybe an Air Elemental servant of Talos? Perhaps that spell throwing Favored Soul has always appealed to you? Or did you always want to advance your character to specialize in a certain Prestige Class? Or perhaps you just wanted to play a local noble's son? Well, whatever it is, this is the place for you. No matter if you are new to, or a veteran of, the world of ALFA and DnD, please take a moment to read over this section.
Extraordinary PCs fall under a special rule, when it comes to character creation. Extraordinary PCs can be roughly defined as any PC concept that gives special advantages over other players (that Noble's son), or creates more work for the DM (a Drow playing in Baldur's Gate). Often this extra work may just be because the concept does not easily fit in the environment, so requires extra effort for the DM to have NPCs react so differently to the PC in question.
Should you wish to play an Extraordinary PC, you must simply send a copy of your characters bio to your server HDM. They will quickly check with the other DMs, and let you know if they have any concerns.
Below is a list of what traits are certainly counted as Extraordinary PCs. If you are unsure, it is best to check with your HDM:
- Grey Orc
- Favored Soul
- Fey Heritage
- Fiendish Heritage
- Any Prestige Class
One notable exception to the above list is the Frenzied Berserker PrC, which is currently prohibited beyond level 5.
Playing Your Location
Faerun contains a wide range of exciting locations. Ranging from the chilling mountains in the far north, to the blazing heat of the southern lands; from the bustling metropolis of Waterdeep, to the sheltered tribes in the great Shaar plains. The sheer diversity in Forgotten Realms is on such a vast scale that even attempting to tackle the entire thing in this section would be a sure one-way ticket down a path towards insanity.
Playing Your Gods
Faerun - a land where the gods live. Deities walk amongst their flock; Clerics control powerful magics at the will of their masters; Warriors wage wars across the lands in the name of the gods; Evil creeps throughout Faerun in service to dark lords. It is not easy to avoid the machinations of the deities and their followers when you walk the surface of Faerun, let alone when you have departed. No matter who you are, what walk of life you are from, or what your beliefs are, the gods will affect your adventures in some way.
The deities of Toril take an active interest in their world, channeling power through their clerics, druids, rangers, paladins and other worshipers, and sometimes intervening directly in the affairs of mortals. At the same time they plot, war, intrigue and ally amongst themselves, with powerful mortals and extra planar beings such as elemental rulers and demons. In this they resemble their mortal worshipers, for to an extent, deities are defined and shaped by their worshipers, their areas of interest and their divine spark. Because they lose strength if their worship dwindles away and is forgotten, deities task their clerics, and others to whom they grant divine spells, with spreading their praise and doctrine, recruiting new worshipers and keeping the faith alive.
Death, Dying and Deities
When mortals die their souls are drawn to the Fugue Plane. Most of this place is flat, gray, bland, and no notable topographical features. The spirits of the dead gather here, usually unaware that they have died. From time to time (anywhere from once a day to over a tenday, depending on the deity involved), the powers send representatives - usually outsiders of the appropriate alignment - to the Fugue Plane to gather the souls of their own worshipers.
While most souls wander the Fugue Plane until their deity calls them, the Faithless and the False are compelled to enter the city of Judgment and be judged by Kelemvor. The Faithless firmly denied any faith or only gave lip service to gods for most of their lives without truly believing. The False intentionally betrayed a faith they believed in and to which they had made a personal commitment.
All Faithless receive the same punishment: They form a living wall around the City of Judgment, held together by a super-natural greenish mold. This mold prevents them from escaping the wall and eventually breaks down their substance until the soul and its consciousness are dissolved.
The False are punished according to their crimes in life and serve their sentence in the City of Judgment for eternity.
Nearly all of the beings in the city are members of the False, the rest being deceased followers of Jergal and Kelemvor who enact the will of their deities upon the doomed souls. Depending upon the severity of their crimes, some of the False may receive relatively light punishment, such as escorting visiting baatezu or patrolling the city for unauthorized guests. Others are punished in ways that would surprise the cruelest of demons.
For an adventurer (and anyone else) been labeled as a False or Faithless has further consequences - it becomes near impossible to be raised from the dead. Any attempts made through the Resurrection or Raise Dead spells fail. Short of a Miracle or Wish, attempting to raise a False or Faithless from the dead is futile.
Playing In Game
Subdual damage, basic communication, Character vs Character - you need go no further than this chapter!
Shouting is reserved for DM use and has been turned off on most ALFA servers. If loud conversation is called for in character, please use the talk option. Most chat should be in talk mode. Party is fine if a PC goes past an area transition where party members would still be able to see the PC in real life. If others are around, please be curious and switch to talk mode.
PC names should fit within a fantasy environment without breaking the suspension of disbelief with modern puns, l33tspeak or vulgarity.
Do not run unless it is IC to do so. Running (when not being chased) disturbs the immersion of other players and makes it hard for DMs to interact with you. Do not create PCs designed to be always running. Keyboard commands may be remapped here: options/controls/change key settings. Change drive mode forward to ‘W’ and another key to Run. To walk using a mouse, hold down shift and click.
Character Vs Character
CvC is allowed in ALFA. However, it should be noted that there are many nonlethal ways to be at odds with another PC, and killing ought to be the last resort. Where CvC is unavoidable, the attacking player should make every attempt to arrange for a DM to be present.
In premeditated CvC, the player intending CvC should notify at least the HDM of the likely site of the CvC as soon as the IC decision is made to CvC. If the HDM is known to be away, the notification should go to any server DM. The reason behind the CvC must be outlined in that notification of CvC. The HDM in receipt of the notification must post the notification to a new CvC Forum accessible only by Admin and HDMs, for commentary and cross-server information to be passed among HDMs regarding the possible CvC. If another DM is in receipt of the notification, that DM should pass the notification to his own HDM or if the HDM is away, to a member of Admin for posting in the CvC Forum. The player intending CvC does not need to wait for a response or even for pickup if an IC situation to perform the CvC presents itself immediately, but any CvC that takes place within 24 hours of notification AND for which no DM has picked up the notification of CvC PM will be subject to PA review upon petition to the PA by any participant in the CvC. Any CvC suspected of being illegal will also be subject to PA review. Please note that PMing multiple DMs and waiting for a pickup of the CvC notification will decrease the chances of being involved in a PA review over legitimate IC premeditated CvC.
If the CvC is not premeditated, and postponement until a DM can be present would compromise RP, then a PM containing full information about the CvC must immediately be sent to the server HDM. It should be noted that such a PM will not protect a player from censure if the CvC is later found to have been illegal. If in-character events lead you to believe that your character may get involved in CvC, it’s a good idea to keep a log of what happens. The client log is overwritten with every game restart, so transfer out any text you wish to save before starting a new game.
To sum up:
- If it is Premeditated CvC - Get a DM
- If it is not Premeditated CvC - Get a DM, so long as it does not break immersion
- If a DM isn't present, use your brain. Think about the NPCs around you, and how they would act.
- If a DM isn't present, take screenshots.
Subdual deaths are considered IC and subject to permadeath policies. One may be killed by subdualing; the PCs and players should note the loss of blood/hit points and recognize that damage is ocurring. Elemental or divine damage will do actual damage to a PC. A critical hit or damage that takes a PC from above 0 hp to below -10 will kill the PC. Sparring with non-deadly intent should be arranged to stop at a low hp/near death level using non-lethal weapons. Ask a DM for a sparring arena or weapons if necessary. Any IC CvC intending to subdue the PC should recognize the chance of killing the PC instead.
In Character/Out of Character
All players are expected to remain in character and not to disturb others’ RP with out of character chatter or metagaming comments. If OOC commentary is needed, hold it in tell or DM channels, depending on who needs to be involved. As a last option, use the talk channel but bracket all of the out of character chat with double parenthesis or preface them as "out of character--"
Do let your environment—time, weather, landscape—influence your RP. Do speak to NPCs as you would PCs. Do look upon all items and placeables as RP props and at monsters as targets for persuasion, intimidation or interaction with more than just your weapons. Do fill in your deity field and behave as a follower of that deity, or write in ‘faithless’ so the DM knows you didn’t forget. Do write a description—NOT a biography—in the PC creation screen. Do describe your PC, or at the very least, empty the default text. Do cover brief real world absences with IC explanations. Do show expressions and actions, but not what you may be thinking in emotes, ie *smiles as she pulls a coin from her bag*. Do roleplay to reflect your low charisma and high wisdom. Good roleplay may result in experience points from DMs while poor may result in loss of experience.
A Day in the Life
Before setting digital foot in-game, Nivonen the Ilmaterian cleric or Mirabilus the Evoker should begin life as properly set-up ALFA PCs. Stats should reflect real people, not a min/maxed divine spell-casting tank or a wizard with nothing going but intelligence. Incorporate stats into your perception of the PC and play them true. Clerics choose domain powers in keeping with the PC concept. Wizards choose a familiar and any specialty magic school for the definition they give a PC, not for powergaming purposes. Send your biography to a DM of your server; fill in deity and description fields, and slip Silk the rogue into game.
When Leafwalker Half-Elven first encounters a human of the city where his dead mother was born, he does not rush into greetings. Seeking trust, he offers to scout, to return the lost party to the forest outskirts. Orcs attack. Bull the Uthgardt flies into a rage to protect the fair druidess Garnet, but spends his reserve of strength in the frenzy. Pascal of Torm must sacrifice his life to cover the retreat of the party, falling mortally wounded with a prayer on his lips and his sword in the heart of the last orc. Nivonen offers to take the pain, for life is pain, and such is his purpose. He eases the passing of the paladin, who goes to the arms of his god glad for a valiant death. Grieving, the party burns the bodies of the orcs, never noting when Silk slips something small into her sleeve from within Pascal’s pocket. Leafwalker, shaken by the death of the human of his mother’s city, leads them all the way to the city walls, with Bull carrying the dead to the Temple of Torm for proper services.
Playing In The Community
A nice short chapter, just giving a bit of detail about how you can get the most out of the Community, whether that be participating in discussions, a nice social chat, or helping out keeping the place running.
Volunteering to DM in ALFA
In ALFA, we are always looking for more DMs. In a world like ALFA, DMs are not something that there can ever be enough of. If you've got a talent for telling a story, or if you've ever wanted to try out those hundred and one characters that you have brewing in your head, or maybe you've just always wanted to see a certain plot run - well then DMing is for you!
If you’ve never DMed before, do not fear! There are many people who are more than happy to help you find your feet in the DM Client and answer whatever questions you may have. Simply jump along to the DM Application form, quickly throw a few answers down, and you're done! If you've got any questions, contact the current DM Administrator.
- See also: Our Forums
If you want to find some players in your time zone, to contact a DM, or just have something you wish to communicate to people, the Forums are always a good starting point. Logging in with your website account, you will see a range of different on-going discussions which anyone is always welcome to join in on.
ALFA has its very own IRC channel, based on the Sorcery.net server. You can either click on the link on the left hand side of the site, or use your own Client (such as mIRC). The channels you will want to know about are:
- #alfa-players - used primarily to coordinate while playing on our servers and to offer help and support for new members.
- #alfa-tech - for general help with tech related issues.
Playing by the Rules
In ALFA, rule-making is divided between the 5 administrators that the community has elected. Lead Admin has oversight over the other Admin and may veto their decisions. The Player Admin handles in-game rules and applications, while the Infra Admin handles the website and our servers. The Tech Admin handles scripting and technical side of the game. Finally, the DM Admin handles DM Standards.
All censurable in-game and out-of-game rules can be found in the ALFA Rulebook. Any changes made to the rulebook will be made visible to you, so you are aware of them.
The ALFA Charter defines the governing of ALFA. If you wish to see how things run under the hood, the Charter is the place to go.
ALFA's rules are based on its Pillars, which act as a form of constitution.
ALFA's pricing documentation is based partially on the DMG format, with modifications for the existing gameworld. This document shows how to price items correctly for the game world.