Guide To The PPCEdit
So! You’re a newbie. Welcome, welcome, welcome. This article has been written for the sole purpose of answering as many questions as possible, since we Not-So-Newbies generally forget how many things you Shiny New Newbies might not know about who we are and how we do things.
Please be aware that not everything can be answered here. Make sure you also read FAQ: The Board and take a look at the List of Everything PPC, which will help you find the Mini adoption lists, standard charge lists for various ‘verses, the Complete List of PPC Fiction (though sadly, it’s actually far from complete), lists of technologies and Response Centres, Official Fanfiction Universities, and a lot of other things. Also, this wiki is itself very helpful; if you’re not sure about something, start by running a search.
So! Let us start at the beginning.
The Original SeriesEdit
It’s expected that if you’ve come this far, you will have read Jay and Acacia’s Original Series. If you haven’t, go and do that now, then come back. Besides being a great deal of fun, those initial missions explain a lot of our quirks, and set the tone for the PPC in general. That series is the only required reading around here.
… Read it? Fun, no? Good. Moving on.
In the years since Jay and Acacia first created this world and gave Permission for other people to write stories, there has been a lot of extra material created, and since life would be very boring without some variety, that means there are a lot of bits and pieces – some bigger than others – which are commonly used in today’s PPC stories that were never mentioned in The Original Series. First, let us stress that you do not have to read it all, though if you want to, you’re welcome to try. You can find most of the major events by looking up Events, History, and PPC Emergencies (the Comprehensive History of the PPC also gives a good summary of these), and individual missions can usually be found linked to the profile page of individual agents, or on The Complete List of PPC Fiction.
Several later PPC stories, such as Huinesoron’s Crashing Down and other works which outline the Multiverse History, are largely accepted by the community and often referred to, but no one has to follow them. As an example, the death of Makes-Things during a roleplay upset a great many people, and several PPCers are currently entertaining ideas of how to resurrect him, or to show that his death was faked. Others ignore the issue completely and declare that he’s still alive, while some simply side-step the issue by never writing anything about it one way or another. It’s a personal choice. In short, anything but The Original Series can be treated the way fanon is for canon continuums.
Also, it has since been agreed that decisions of this sort must be discussed by the community as a whole (on the Board) before being written. Generally, we don’t like upsetting the status quo Jay and Acacia set, so, if anyone asks to kill off Luxury or invent some new technology that will make CADs redundant, the answer will almost certainly be “no”.
On that note, any changes to the structure of the PPC must also be discussed on the Board first. This means that one cannot arbitrarily invent a new Flower or Department, for instance, because that would ruin the fun for the rest of us. Please remember that this is a shared universe, and we aim for harmony within the community.
In contrast, there are some small elements of The Original Series that are no longer widely used, such as the title of “constable” being given to agents of the Department of Mary Sues. These are generally aspects that Jay and Acacia faded out themselves, but there’s no real reason not to keep using them anyway.
Spirit of the PPCEdit
Since there seems to be no better place for it, we’re now going to take a moment to talk about the spirit in which the PPC has always been intended. This is actually important.
Put as simply as possible, the PPC is about having fun.
This means that the primary focus of our stories and interactions is comedy, and that we don’t like rainy-day types very much. Anyone taking things Too Seriously or who doesn’t enjoy our particular brand of silliness probably won’t have fun here. This is all done for the laughs; we’re not going to change that. We love the PPC just the way it is – with no logic, no sanity, and above all, no realism. After all, we have miniature fiery demons pop into existence every time a random author misspells a name and our Headquarters requires a six-dimensional map – this place couldn’t touch “realistic” with a ten mile pole.
We are also here because we despise bad writing, but let us make it clear that this definition has to be applied more or less objectively – it’s not a matter of taste. There is no such thing as a bad genre, or trope, and even some of the story elements which almost always result in badfic are not necessarily bad themselves. In the words of Trojie: “I have actually run across a GOOD, FUNNY, Real Person Slash MPreg fic. Admittedly it was crackier than a crack sandwich with a side order of crack, but it was well written, funny real person slash MPreg.”
We’re here to support goodfic, and goodfic includes all sorts. If you don’t like a particular genre, that’s fine – you don’t have to read it, let alone PPC it (and we suggest that no one PPC their personal squicks anyway) – but no bashing of other people’s likes and dislikes. Allow me to direct you to the Constitution which, though written for The Board rather than the PPC in general, should give you quite a good idea of what sort of tone and style we’re after.
(Please also see the What Not To Write section below.)
Writing For The PPCEdit
We have a whole article on this subject; it was too big to include here.
What NOT To WriteEdit
Unfortunately, experience has taught us that there are a few Bad Ideas which will keep cropping up every so often, and since they have a tendency to spark nasty arguments, we’d just like to put our collective foot down now and avoid the problem entirely.
As said before, we don’t want to upset the status quo left by Jay and Acacia with their Original Series. We’re not interested in anyone doing or coming up with things that haven’t been done before; we like what we have. Little techno-gadgets and creative assassinations, yes, but nothing Big.
We don’t want to see any SuperPowered Agents walking around. This place is not about who can be the “coolest” agent, who has the best weapons, or who can handle the most disgusting badfic. This is not a competition. We don’t want dark, aggressive stories – we want humour, and rest assured that the community at large will respond quickly if things start getting out of hand.
We also don’t want to bring up religious issues if they can possibly be avoided. Generally, it’s considered bad taste for fanfic to be written for religious texts in the first place, as it’s one of the few things around here that can really, deeply hurt people. PPCing religious badfic, while well-intentioned, is often such a delicate, eggshell-walking process that we find it’s better to simply do something else instead.
And then there are Emergencies.
We have, in the past, had several crises that required urgent action from every available agent, resulting in massive multiplayer stories and lots of agents dead. Among others, there was the 2003 Mary Sue Invasion, the 2006 Power Cut and subsequent Crashing Down events, the 2008 Macrovirus Epidemic, which was immediately followed by the 2008 Mary Sue Invasion, The 2008 Ypur Invasion (though that was courtesy of a spambot and not any human decision), and the 2009 Gender Bender Crisis.
And to be quite honest, we’ve had enough.
Emergencies are supposed to be just that – a “serious, unexpected, and potentially dangerous situation requiring immediate action” (so says the OED). When they crop up three or four times a year, they’re not special anymore. Missions are supposed to be normal life for an agent. Yes, yes, routine can get boring, but there’s a big difference between writing about the woes of being unable to get your broken console to stop BEEEEEEEPing and an epic saga which pulverises half of HQ.
I’m sorry to disappoint, but we’re not doing it again. Not for a very long time, at least, and then only with the ratification of the community as a whole – and as long as anyone who was a regular on The Board during 2009 is around, that’s very unlikely to happen.
But not to fret! There are many other things you can still write.
Missions are not the only things we write around here. Many, many other stories exist, including everything from lazy interludes to extensive histories. Though we recommend you write a few missions first, everyone is welcome to put together a little something with their agents complaining to DoSAT or going over to another RC for a birthday party.
Several PPCers enjoy writing stories set years into the future, or non-Action Departments such as Security or Infrastructure. There are also stories that take place in the Nursery or the Cafeteria, and then there are settings like the Cute Animal Friend Adoption Agency, which as yet have no actual stories but certainly could, if anyone feels like it.
Also, if you come to The Board often enough you’ll notice that we sometimes have roleplaying threads just for the fun of it, and everyone is welcome to join in on those - Permission is not required.
So! Now that you (hopefully) have a good idea of what the PPC is generally like, please take a look at the Mission Writing Guide and the FAQ: For Newbies, and then – if we’ve done our jobs right – you’ll be all set.