"WAR 101" or "So you wanna be in a FK War?"

Hello all.

Since I offered, publically, to be a resource for those seeking 

general information on the niceties of participating in an FK 

war, I have received _lots_ of questions from people that 

aren't covered specifically in Susan's classic Info post.

Hence, I have taken it upon myself (in all due 

humility--really! :-) to create my own info post, covering the 

most common questions I've been getting and giving my own 

personal opinion and advice on getting the most out of a war.  

(I realize that I am, comparatively, quite the war newbie 

myself and I would appreciate feedback, suggestions, (outright 

denials? [g]) from those with senior status.)


*   Post it right!   *

Any war posts go on the _fiction_ list, and should begin with 

"WAR:" (three letters in caps and a colon) so that those who 

are set no-WAR will be spared all our nonsense.  (Be aware that 

some mailers change the colon to a dash on the way out. Make 

sure that yours does not!)

Any *discussion* should, as always, go to the main FORKNI-L 

list, but, before posting, do two things:  ask yourself "does 

this *really* need to be posted, or can I do in via private 

email somehow?" and, if you do post it, put "war" in the 

header so people can avoid it if they want.  (The exception 

is for calling "dibs" on a story part...see below.)

*   Have a big mailbox!   *

(Or at least check it often.)  A war generates a *huge* number 

of postings per day, particularly at the begining and the end.  

If you're gonna participate, you really need to keep up on the 

reading--so realize ahead of time what that's gonna involve! 

(One possibility is to go digest on the other lists--this can

help keep life more manageable! :-)


*   (Private) e-mail is your _friend_!   *

I mean it.  *Really!*  Wars are formed, played, and broken, and 

won behind the scenes.  Contact the War Leader of your faction 

so that you can get in on the email loop and know what's up.  (If 

you don't have a faction, talk to the Die-Hards...consider 

becoming one at least for the War so you're not left out completely

...the Die-Hards specialize in indecision, right, guys? :-)

*   Collaborate with others.   *

Another quote from a vet:  "The best part of the War is writing 

stuff WITH people you've never met and barely know.  I know 

that's half the fun *I* had last time."  I agree completely!

My best net friendships are with people I met through war 

plotting the last time around.

In addition, the best war plots...uh...I mean "stories" [g] are 

always those that are coordinated behind the scenes--both before 

and during their posting.  Try to collaborate with other people.  

Start your own email loop!  Just keep connected!

*   Be flexible.   *

Things change during a war...sometimes at alarming speed.  Be 

sure that any post you're planning much in advance can be 

adapted to the situation at hand.  The War Mistress will let us 

know what's up when the war is declared, and you'll need to fit 

yourself into the stories as they unfold.

*   FK Wars are _not_ particularly gory.   *

To my knowledge, _no one_ has ever been "killed" (or even 

seriously injured) in an FK War.  (O.K.  Karen and 

Jennise...but they didn't _stay_ dead...and that was before 

they realized they'd have to spend 4+ more wars in the shadows 

ducking garlic ;-)))

As a rule, property suffers, _dignity_ frequently bites the 

big one! [vbg], but bodily injury is slight.  (Oh, and keep 

your paws off the Caddie...destroying "that d*mned car" in a 

spectacular fashion is Susan Garrett's turf [vbg].

*   Get permission!   *

Ask permission (privately!) before using someone in your post.  

_Especially_ do not drag in someone who has not entered the war 

without their express permisiion.  Realize, however, that by 

agreeing to enter the war, you've opened yourself up to everyone 

involved (and they to you).

*   No killing!  (Or bringing over! ;-)   *

That's the extreme case, of course.  The rule is that you can't 

do anything _permanent_ to someone else without their 

permission.  Whatever you do has to be temporary and/or 


In the same vein [oops! ;-] respect other people's caveats 

(i.e.  "You can use my apartment, but don't do anything permanent" 

or "I'm too busy to write myself in, but you can use me as long 

as you warn me first and don't do anything permanent"). Remember,

...someday *you* may need to post your own cavet! :-)

*   Respect "dibs."   *

That means *two* things.  If someone publically calls "dibs" on 

the continuation of a story, respect that.  It *also* means [a]

don't call dibs unless you really _need_ it and [b] cough up 

the next installment so that others can jump in again *as soon 

as humanly possible*!  Don't tie up a story for everyone, or 

you're likely to lose your dibs...and rightly so.  24 hours is 

about a reasonable limit.  ('Dib' calls may be posted to 



*   Participate in the war as *yourself*--only better [g]*

Don't bring in characters from other universes.  Don't give yourself 

super (or even vampiric) powers.  Don't make yourself a sudden 

multimillionaire or best buddies with the head of the CIA.  Think 

of yourself as basically limited in terms of "things you could 

do if you could really be as brave/quick-thinking/clever/sneaky/

resourceful in real life as you always are wishing you could be."

Think of it as though all of us are playing a fun, casual 

sandlot ball game with each other.  If you show up in your 

brand shiny new authentic major-league uniform with your 

big-$, regulation glove and your fancy ball autographed by Babe 

Ruth... what's going to happen?  Everyone else is going to take 

one look at you and go..."uh...yeah...right."  You're gonna 

feel awkward [or you should! (g)], we're gonna feel awkward, 

it's completely unneccesary, and it basically just messes with 

the spirit of a friendly little game.

(Yes, exceptions have happened in past wars, but they are few 

and far between and are best done with skill by experienced 

warriors.  Maybe in your next War.... [g])

So don't show up with a million in your pocket...or a laser 

gun...or a letter of safe passage from the Pope or something.  

If you need money, find a way to get it--beg it from your 

favorite vampire (and make us believe you'd get it _and_ end up 

alive afterwards!) or find a way to barter something else--make 

a deal, make several, team up....

and this brings us to one of the deepest, darkest secrets of an 

FK war [g]:

*   The point is really _not_ who wins.   *

This time think of it as a giant treasure hunt.  Yes, of 

course, everyone wants to be first back with everything and to 

claim the glory and the prize.  But if you're just in it to 

race through and beat everyone else, you're really missing the 

whole point.  The race is just to give everyone a goal and a 

purpose.  The *real* fun is in hunting down all the weird and 

crazy junk you need--in being creative, and resourceful, and 

maybe doing a little clever sabatoge of your best friends' team 

[vwg]...*not* in blindly racing through just to be first.

[o.k...that's the last contribution by Dianne, Empress of 

Analogies (g)...I _promise_ :-]

Finally, realize that in some senses you're coming in on part 5 

of a *very* long extended story.  There are plenty of people who 

have been participating since War 1 or 2 here.  The best way to 

know what's going on is, of course, to read up on all the old 

wars.  If you can't, at least read *one* of them.  And whatever 

you do, try not to step on the toes of those who really do know 

better. [g]


Comments, complaints, flames, blessings, revelations from the heavens, stakes, dead otters, chocolate, and the like may be sent to Cat.Goddess@pobox.com.