What is this?
This is a panfandom, text-based roleplaying game about an interdimensional travelling carnival.
What is this game about?
Lost Carnival is about a magical, interdimensional travelling carnival and the people who work for it. Said workers are beings and beasts taken from all over the multiverse, that have been tricked, bribed or enticed into joining the carnival for its dimension spanning tour. Gameplay consists of both slice-of-life elements dealing with the daily running of the carnival, as well as additional layers of plots and personal intrigue involving transformation, mind control, and the complications that come with the mercenary work the Ringmaster happens to dish out on the side. Characters will also be given the opportunity to visit the realms that the carnival visits, and experience whatever excitement exists there.
Is this a horror game? I’m concerned about clowns.
It is not a horror game, and the head mod doesn’t like clowns much either so they will be kept to a respectful minimum. While bad things certainly may happen, and characters will probably get messed with psychologically from time to time, the aim is not to torture them or to focus on horrific content. Instead, the environment we hope to create is one that a character could comfortably live in if they play their cards right, or that they could struggle with if they don’t. The aim is to leave room for more subtle mental manipulations and transformation aspects.
What kind of transformation are we talking about?
The longer characters stay with the carnival, the more they will be changed by its magic physically. At first this just means things like fancy eye colors and claws, but over time in can result in various myth-based changes, usually to do with the work they do in the carnival or with the type of magic they involve themselves with. Transformation can also happen more abruptly and extremely as part of temporary (or not) punishments from the Ringmaster, or as part of abilities or powers the characters have actively asked for. Here is our page that goes into depth about transformations.
What is the time ratio of this game?
Lost Carnival’s time ratio is 1:2, meaning that for every day that passes IC, two days pass OOC. The carnival itself will be running one week on, one week off, which means that for every OOC month there will be two OOC weeks of “free time” and two OOC weeks of active performances.
What kind of content is allowed on the comms?
Most things, as long as they’re warned for. Generally speaking, the sweet spot would lay between PG-13 and R rated in movie terms. Sex is absolutely allowed, but the setting is not intended to be extremely dark, so keeping super explicit content to tasteful, bite sized chunks would be the ideal. Nobody should have to deal with that stuff if they don’t want to.
Is fourth walling other characters okay?
Fourth walling means to have your character recognize another character as a fictional entity from a story in their homeworld. Lost Carnival generally would like to avoid this, except for in the case of extremely big name and culturally affecting character, like Superman and Batman, or similar. Of course, you still need permission, even then, and the baseline assumption should always be no. If you aren't sure (even if you have the other player's permission) ask the mods before you fourth wall anyone.
How do I report inappropriate player conduct or alert the mods of a potential applicant’s past unacceptable conduct?
Please speak to the mods privately via the mod contact, and provide as much context and evidence to their poor conduct as possible. For players already in game, anything you consider breaking the rules or the setting can be reported. In the case of seeking a pre-emptive ban for potential applicants, considerable evidence will be required for the mods.
Information that is years old will be considered of lesser importance, unless it is something that will make a large portion of the game uncomfortable like being a bigot towards other players. Information can be supplied anonymously, but doing so will result in it being taken less seriously.
How does my character end up working for the carnival, exactly?
No matter how they end up joining, characters will all encounter the carnival for the first time the same way - they will stumble upon one of its windows into other worlds in a moment in which they feel particularly lost, needing of escape, or searching for wonder. The link to the carnival appears by bending reality - you’ll find it behind a row of trees that once led someone else, or in a lot on the other side of a doorway that was supposed to lead to your bedroom, or at the end of an underground cavern that impossibly leads outside. During performances it almost always appears to be night time, with foreign stars and multiple alien moons swirling in the skies above.
Once they are in the carnival, they will not be paid much mind. Guests are expected, as well as their confusion. From here, they end up recruited one of two ways:
1) They play a carnival game for free and lose, look in on a performance or private show without paying, or otherwise get tricked into participating in some aspect of the carnival. Some of the employees and spirits there will actively try to trick guests into doing this. From then on, they will be unable to leave permanently until they have paid their “debt,” which will be paid in the form of a year and a day of employment to the carnival, as demanded by the Ringmaster.
2) Alternatively, they can avoid being tricked all together and sign up willingly. The Ringmaster finds cases like this particularly interesting, and will bargain with the character to obtain a year and a day of their service. Common payments from her include additional magical abilities or strength, future assistance with trouble on your homeworld, or large amounts amount of your desired form of treasure. It’s pretty flexible, so just come up with something fun and we can hash it out from there. The one major thing she won’t do is bring back the dead. (Unless the character is a lingering ghost, of course.)
What is the Ringmaster like?
It becomes pretty obvious after a little bit of detective work that the Ringmaster is some kind of fae creature wearing a human guise. In terms of personality, she's mostly what she seems like on the surface. She is a thrill seeker and an entertainer first and foremost, and has little regard for ethics or other people’s physical autonomy. However, despite being as chaotic neutral as they come, she is rarely intentionally cruel, unless you’ve already crossed her. She is actually far more inclined to be aggressively helpful and supportive to her employees, in the hopes that they’ll be inclined to stick around for longer, or so that she might get lucky and manipulate them into taking on another year of service by allowing them to gain more debt. She genuinely likes and is enthusiastic about the majority of her workers, but that doesn’t mean she’ll feel any guilt about enchanting or transforming them for the cool factor, or for “their own good.” She does consider herself the authority on what’s best for you.
What happens if a character dies?
Death is always permanent, unless your character has purchased a Rebirth from the Ringmaster as part of AC rewards. However, these can only be purchased in advance, as making the spell doable requires a small magical preparation performed any time before the character’s death. This discludes characters that are revived by a player character’s resurrection ability with mod permission, shortly after their death.
What happens if a character is dropped by their player?
There are a few different things that could have happened to result in their character leaving. The ideal would be that they had been around long enough to finish their contract - of course, that is not always going to be possible. For characters who enter the carnival and leave a few months later, the most likely option is that they were sent home by a force outside of the Ringmaster control (she has a deal with some powerful outside entities that allow her to do what she does unscathed), which essentially nullifies the contract with the carnival. These characters can easily be apped again, with or without memories of their first visit.
There are other more plot specific options available to those who don't want to end their stay with something so ambiguous, however. For instance, the character could be returning home for an extended break from their contract as a conscious choice, to return at a later time - the Ringmaster will allow people to go on vacations sometimes, if they seem to need it enough. (This is also what ends up amounting to a canon update.) They could also be plotted to have done something law-breaking enough in the carnival that the Ringmaster punishes them with a long term transfiguration into something inanimate or incapable of self awareness. Or, on the other side, it's theoretically possible to do something fantastic enough for the carnival that she can consider your debt paid early. These aren't the only options, either. Talk to the mods if you'd like your character to leave the game in a way that is a plot relevant, and we can brainstorm ideas.
Characters can also be dropped via death, but only if they have already contributed significantly to the game, have mod permission, and the death is plotted/threaded out. If a character dies in game they cannot be apped again, by that player or anyone else.
Can characters be canon updated?
Yep, this can be done pretty easily just by assuming they went on a vacation back to their homeworld. Of course, they won’t remember the carnival while they are there, and the flow of time-space is mysterious as always.
Is there an in character network for characters to use?
Everyone will be given a magic walkie talkie and their own “frequency” upon joining the carnival. There are functionally unlimited frequencies available on the walkie talkies’ dials, and it can store a limited ‘history’ of received voice messages, and can communicate between dimensions, but besides that they function exactly like a normal walkie talkie and can only be used for voice. They can be hooked up to headset for hands free usage as well. If your character is deaf or mute they will need to ask for some special enchantments in order to use them functionally. Beyond the walkie talkies, text communication is limited to notes being slipped into mail boxes and trailers, notices posted on the community board in the back yard, and passive aggressive post-it notes.
Is there a language barrier?
No, not really. Everyone who enters the carnival is enchanted to speak a particular faeish tongue, and will probably not even realize this at first. Of course, once they do realize they will be capable of pointedly switching to their native tongue if they choose. Words that are culture specific and don’t have a faeish equivalent will come out in the original language. Visitors will only be able to speak faeish temporarily whereas employees will know it as a permanent language after a few days in the carnival.
Where do character live and eat?
Character will usually live in the trailers set up in the “backyard” section of the carnival. Generally speaking workers are divided into roommate pairs and asked to share a trailer between them. Veterans are capable of earning a trailer to themselves, and large workers can sleep in one of a few giant tents. The accommodations and generally comfortable and clean, and some degree of maintenance is done by the cinder spirits. Meals are served at the cookhouse a few times a day, with snacks available in between.
How many characters can each person play?
Two characters per player - most of the time.
However, long standing players may have the opportunity to app a third character, provided they meet the necessary requirements. Those are: 1) Having a clean AC record extending backward at least three months, consistently achieving activity substantially above the minimum, and 2) is willing and able to raise the base activity requirements for all three of their characters from 10 log comments per month to 20 log comments per month. While playing three characters, this is their new standard AC requirement, until the time they drop back to two characters.
This is not meant to be easily doable, as generally speaking two characters is considered to be sufficient for most players. The third character option is mostly there for players who are consistently going above and beyond activity-wise, and can obviously handle taking on a third. If you are interested in doing this, and have a good activity history, feel free to talk to the mods in order to discuss the possibility.
How long do I have to wait before apping from a brand new canon?
Let’s say one month from its launch date.
What kinds of characters do you allow?
We allow characters from any form of media, as well as OCs, canon AUs, and fandom OCs whose presence won’t infringe upon any of the canon character’s understanding of reality - that is, they can only have met if the canon character’s player agrees, and then it can only be briefly and insignificantly. AUs designed by the players that do not have a canon representation are not allowed. Both canon AUs and fandom OCs are subject to potential rejection if they are disruptive, or if they seem too similar to the original canon for both to played comfortably. For example, having Tony Stark from both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Earth 616 comics would be fine. Having Jon Snow from both the books and the television series is not.
Can I app a character who is dead in canon?
Only if you take them from a point prior to their death, or if they exist as a ghost or on screen spirit in whatever canon they are from. Basically, they still need to quality as an active character while dead for them to be applicable. If they are just straight up dead and gone you’ll need to take them from a point where they weren’t. The carnival doesn’t chase after super dead people because that’s weird.
How much canon is required for a character to be appable?
That depends on two factors: 1) Is there likely to be a large amount of new information released about the character in the near future? 2) Do the specifics of any missing information about said character significantly affect the more fleshed out members of the cast? If the answer to both these question is no, you can pretty much app anybody you like as long as the character concept is coherent. If the answer to both these questions is yes, they are probably not appable at this time. If only one answer is yes, it probably depends on the specific context, and you can inquire with the mods to see if said character would be appropriate.
Do my characters need to be humanized?
Nope! Definitely not. Most xeno physiology is going to be completely fine - the only situations where they will need to be tweaked is if they are very large (taller than 15 feet) or if they don’t have a physical body that would be capable of functioning in the game setting. Large characters can just be enchanted to be smaller for their own comfort, and those without bodies can be given a human body, an animal body, or some equivalent that is appropriate to their characters. The only restriction is that these bodies cannot be made of iron or steel, but they can be made from a magical equivalent. When they initially wander into the carnival without a body, they are probably in some manner of spiritual/astral projected form, or in a dream.
Characters that naturally have metallic bodies are allowed only if it is a highly processed steel alloy or some non specific alien metallic substance, as high carbon steel loses much of its anti-fae qualities. Characters with mostly iron bodies will not be invited in the first place.
On that subject, my character has a special food requirement. Can that be obtained?
If they need some kind of magic space material specific to their homeworld, it can be obtained by the Ringmaster, and will be as part of their contract with the carnival. If it’s something easier to obtain, like blood, it will generally be assumed they can take it from carnival guests, though they can also request for the Ringmaster to get that from them as well if they don’t like free range feeding.
Do characters get to keep their powers?
Generally speaking, yeah, characters can keep any powers they have in canon. However, for the purposes of balance, there will be a firm power cap, and anything deemed too powerful or disruptive by the mods will be nerfed. They are explained in more detail here, but here are the basics:
►DESTRUCTIVE POWER: Generally speaking, anything that could destroy the carnival too quickly for anyone to stop them is considered “too much” and will be brought down to a level where it would at least take some time and effort to wreck the game setting.
►HEALING: Instant and mass healing will be brought down to a level where injuries require some recovery afterwards and is always limited by what the receiving player is interested in. Resurrections can be done only with mod permission, and within a very short time of the character’s death.
►INVULNERABILITY: No character can be completely unkillable while in game, even if damaging them is hard. This kind of immortality is considered to be in effect only in their home universe.
►TELEPORTATION: Characters cannot teleport out of the carnival area as it is a pocket dimension. However, if they out and about in one of the visited realms, teleportation will function as normal. They can also obviously teleport around the carnival area.
What does my character get to bring along with them in terms of items and pets?
They can bring along anything that they have on them or that is easily accessible, as long as it isn’t made primarily of iron. High carbon steel is okay, as well as other similar alloys, but soft steel and purer iron is not. However, if they have an important item that is iron that you really want, it can be warded to eliminate its iron properties. Guns, however, are always banned. The Ringmaster just doesn’t want that shit around her workers. Lasers are okay, though.
Any kind of pet is okay, following the same restrictions as the character you are apping. A creature can only be apped in as a “pet” or “companion” if they don’t really have a life outside of their partnership with that character. Mind bonded rider and dragon pairs and the like are acceptable under this rule, whether or not the dragon is sentient, just as long as the pair will not frequently separate or the “main” character of the pair is the major focus.
What if my character sneaks iron into the carnival and attacks the Ringmaster with it?
If you attack any member of the carnival with iron, the punishment is death - no questions asked. Either that, or permanent transformation into some manner of subhuman form. Fae don't fuck around when it comes to their iron weakness, and assaulting them with it is the gravest insult and threat one could dish out. Odds are, it will functionally remove the culprit from play.
Can I play more than one character from the same canon?
As long as they aren't specifically BFFs or lovers or any other closely paired or frequently interacting characters, yes you can. Similarly, your characters interacting with each other is fine as long as it's done sensibly. There are no rules against playercesting, it's just a matter of being tasteful about it.