City of IF FAQ
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City of IF -> IF Technical Institute and FAQ

#1: City of IF FAQ Author: JezSharpLocation: The middle of anywhere... PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 2:23 am

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is this site?

The City of IF is a site dedicated to online storygaming, where players and authors together create and play storygames. Storygames are unlike traditional stories because they can go in any direction chosen by the players; they're also unlike traditional online roleplaying games because each story has an author who creates a coherent story arc out of the choices that the players make. They're a unique blend of story and game.

If you'd like to know more, you can read the history and vision of the site in the City of IF story.

2. How do you play?

You play in the storygames by posting suggestions in each storygames forum, or by voting on one of the choices that the storygame author creates. It works in four steps:

  1. Author creates chapter The storygame author writes a chapter that describes the events happening to a particular character. The chapter ends at a "decision point," where the character has a chance to take some significant action.

  2. You post You and the other players take the viewpoint of that character (the same character for everyone) and post your suggestions for what the character should do in reply to the chapter. For example, if the episode describes the character finding some strange inscription in a lost temple, you might be invited to say what you do about the inscription. You would post your idea for a possible action (e.g. trace the inscription with your fingernail, show it to the village wisewoman, etc.) in the forum for everyone to read.

  3. Author creates options The author distills the responses into two to five possible actions and posts them as a poll.

  4. You vote You vote for one of the actions. You don't have to vote for an action you posted in favor of (nor even for one you suggested). The action that wins the vote becomes the basis for a new chapter written by the author, and the cycle begins again.
    Each cycle typically takes a few weeks; however, since there are so many storygames, there are always new chapters coming out and new polls to vote on.

Here are some things to keep in mind about playing:

  • Before you post, read everything that others have posted, so that you can put your response in context. If you agree with or disagree with someone else's post, say so. This will help the storygame author decide what options get voted on.

  • Your ideas and the reasoning behind them must be in character. Don't suggest any actions that would require extra-character knowledge (e.g. don't ask the monster if he came here on a spaceship unless the character knows what a spaceship is), and don't suggest storylines or courses of action that are outside your character's control (e.g. don't say "let's have the monster be friendly". Keep in mind the character's personality and background when you suggest actions.

  • There are no right or wrong suggestions. It doesn't matter whether your suggestion is popular or gets voted on or chosen; all that matters is that you contribute what you think is a realistic way for the character to react. And please keep people's feelings in mind when giving feedback on a post; every post is an important contribution whether you agree with it or not, and any feedback should be respectful and considerate.

  • Above all, have fun!

3. You mean all you do is read and write stories? I thought this was a roleplaying game.

This is a different kind of roleplaying game, one that's based on choices and stories instead of exploration and combat. It's not for everyone, but you're welcome to try it out and see if you like it. Many of the players at the City of IF are longtime roleplaying gamers.

4. What else can I do here?

The City has lots of other things going on besides the storygames. You can also:

5. Does it cost anything?

No. All of the City of IF's storygames and other site features are free. There's also no time commitment required - unlike a traditional online rpg, where you have to put in many hours of play in order to gain experience and advance your character, at the City of IF you can play as often or as seldom as you like. The only object is to have fun.

The City of IF has published The Archer's Flight and The Lion's Word, two books based on the site's storygames, but reading the books isn't required to play in the storygames.

Other storygames published independently of City of IF include

Tired of Death Book 1 Dungeon (e-book)
Tired of Death Book 2 Overlord (e-book)
Tired of Death - Complete Volume
Gloom Rising (Former Storygame title - 'The Dark')
Narg the Nasty and the Necromancer's Tower (Former Storygame title 'Narg the Nasty')

and are all available for purchase Here

6. Why should I join?

You can learn about the many benefits of joining the City of IF in the last part of our site history.

7. Can I write my own storygame?

Yes! You can post your own storygame in either Fantasy Forest, Science Fiction, Thriller and Horror, or General Fiction and Experimental forums. Before you post a storygame, you might want to play in some other storygames on the site, and learn from the more established authors. You might also want to read the storygaming tips topic in our Storygame Writing forum.

8. If I write a storygame on this site, who owns the copyright?

You do. As described in our terms of use, storygame authors own the copyright to any storygame they run on the site. That means that you can run a storygame here and later publish it anywhere else you want. It also means that as a storygame player, you don't get any legal ownership of the storygame. Any suggestions or contributions you make belong to the author.

9. Are the storygames here suitable for young children?

We ask that any author whose storygames contain violence or mature themes post a warning message at the top of their storygames, and our forums have a moderator who are responsible for enforcing this rule and for removing any blatantly offensive material. However, given the number of storygames posted, it's impossible to ensure that offensive or inappropriate material won't slip through. We suggest that young children be supervised at the City of IF.

10. How do I use the forum?

There is a separate Forum FAQ, which covers the mechanics of using the forum, such as posting, voting, private messages, avatars, and more.

11. I'm ready to go. How do I start?

Great! Go to one of the four storygaming areas (the Fantasy Forest, Science Fiction, Thriller and Horror, or General Fiction and Experimental), pick one you'd like to play, and have fun! Or you can see a list of the most popular storygames. If you like, you can also browse the Technical Institute for general newbie tips and tricks.

12. What are fables?

Fables are the City of IF currency. You can earn fables by writing and replying to storygames, and you can spend them in all kinds of ways. Read more about fables.

13. How do I get to be a City Council Member, Builder, etc.?

The first time you post, you'll see the word "Visitor" next to your username. As you post more, your rank will increase:

Visitor: 1 post
Tourist: 11 posts
Resident: 31 posts
Citizen: 101 posts
Respected Citizen: 501 posts
Honored Citizen: 1001 posts
Elder: 2001 posts
Honorable IFian: 3001 posts
Venerable IFian: 4001 posts
Revered IFian: 5001 posts
Legendary IFian: 6001 posts
Hallowed IFian: 7501 posts

In addition, there are two ranks that you earn in special ways: you become a Builder by making a significant contribution to the development of the site, and you become a City Council Member by volunteering to moderate a forum or help out in some other way, when an opening for volunteers becomes available.

Finally, you can purchase your own rank (subject to approval) for a sum of 5000 fables.

14. What if I still have questions?

You can post additional questions in the Technical Institute and FAQ forum, the place for new players to learn the ropes. Or if you'd prefer to ask by email, you can send email to

Last edited by JezSharp on Sat Aug 11, 2007 1:28 am; edited 1 time in total

#2:  Author: MasterweaverLocation: Look around PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:34 am
How do you get/how much is a forum for a series? Like my Mythbiology series.

#3:  Author: ChinarenLocation: PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:24 pm
Masterweaver wrote:
How do you get/how much is a forum for a series? Like my Mythbiology series.

We have never sold a forum for a SGame. Several hidden ones are around for various guilds and stuff.

I am not sure we would sell one for a SGame. I suppose it could be done, but it would probably be in the City Central area. Um.

The current price for a hidden forum is 3,000Fables.

#4:  Author: D-LotusLocation: Hollywood, USA PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 5:22 pm
I'm afraid I must correct your assertion, China. Or do you not remember the reason I borrowed 1,000 Fables from the Chinaren Bank (all paid back now)? It was to buy a forum for When Stories Travel Together, a story with an excellent title, but which ran out of gas. Smile

#5:  Author: MasterweaverLocation: Look around PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 5:33 pm
Like your tired of death book.

#6:  Author: ChinarenLocation: PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:11 pm
D-Lotus wrote:
I'm afraid I must correct your assertion, China. Or do you not remember the reason I borrowed 1,000 Fables from the Chinaren Bank (all paid back now)? It was to buy a forum for When Stories Travel Together, a story with an excellent title, but which ran out of gas. Smile

Oh yes. I stand corrected. Though that was a forum auction started by the city, D is perfectly right. Sorry. Blush

My 'Tired of Death' forum is a winner of SGotM, like all other current forums.

#7:  Author: MasterweaverLocation: Look around PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:33 pm
Id there any way to get a forum without an SgotM award?

#8:  Author: ChinarenLocation: PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:55 pm
Masterweaver wrote:
Id there any way to get a forum without an SgotM award?

If someone requests a forum for a worthy purpose, which won't fit into a current forum, then I am sure Key would agree to create one.

Depending upon the use of said forum, it may or may not have to be paid for.

All 'private' forums attract a monthly rent too, whether SGotM winners or no.

A private forum for a SGame will cost, and cost big. Wink

#9:  Author: Vishal MuralidharanLocation: City Of IF! PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:51 am
What is a Head Eater?!!!!

#10:  Author: Crunchyfrog PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:01 am
In an earlier phase of IF, we had a large number of people writing just a few lines, and then putting up polls saying things like 'Does this suk'.

To help encourage good quality storygames, the Mayor at the time created the New Storygame Forum, with a group of moderators appointed to help the authors bring their storygame writing up to a minimum standard, and get them ready to enter the Storygame of the Month competition. (The winner would get their own dedicated forum and a chance for their story to be featured on the home page) This group were known as the Head Eaters (derived from the word Editors. geddit? Confused )

As the community dynamic changed, so it became obvious that we didn't need the New Storygames forum any more. So it was scrapped, and the Head Eaters disbanded. There is a legacy though, and that is the minimum criteria of writing quality for entering the Spotlight competition (the successor of the Storygame of the Month competition) - If your storygame meets these criteria, then it will be stickied at the top of the forum it is in. Smile

City of IF -> IF Technical Institute and FAQ

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