The Cantr page for tropes, before I put it on the main page, punch it live or whatever. Advice and such, and feel free to edit.
Cantr II is a text-based persistent browser-based role-playing game (PBBRPG). There are no NPCs in the game world, leaving the only interaction to be with characters played by other players. Created as a social simulator, it has gone far beyond the scope of the original (a game played by the creator and some friends using Lego pieces to represent the 200 or so characters, and scraps of paper to detail their motivations and goals), to a true multiplayer game, with all the social interactions (and friction) that implies. Empires, kingdoms, thieves, knights, librarians, personalities, managers, leaders, schemers, schisms and good old chatter, Cantr has it all. And with some interesting developments, the scope has expanded again to reach the Meta, into an exploration of what happens when oversight disappears, muscles flex and who can survive the regime. Fascinating stuff, but not for the thinskinned, or faint of heart. Of course, you could just use it as a chatbox, but when else do you get to (safely) explore the ramifications of living under an oppressive dictatorship? And that's not getting into the ingame dictatorships that arise.
Essentially you create a character, choose gender and see where you are placed (spawned). Everything after that, is up to you and the people around, including your own characterisation of your character. Spawned in a bustling town, with opportunity? Take them up, and see where life goes. In a quiet town with little going on? Make something happen, and liven up the place.
But a few caveats. Cantr can get very serious and consequences can happen to your character with little or no warning especially as a new player and character both, so hopefully these tips will keep you coming back to the Green, and creating interesting stories with friends.
O.O.C. Is Serious Business: For talking player to player, as in asking about game mechanics, use the shorthand OOC: .But try to keep it as a whisper, to respect others immersion. Also think if it'd be possible instead, to ask in character? "How do I get the ship going the right way" vs "OOC: Hey, which button does the steering?". However, this rule of etiquette and respect to other players is frequently violated, and used as a tool to get their own way, much like a child having a tantrum. Report it, and don't stoop to their level.
Earn Your Fun: The game, as life, is full of people who's idea of fun, you will not comprehend, let alone enjoy. So it's up to you to make it fun. If that's by earning wealth and travelling, or by sticking around some friends, or by singing silly ditties, then it's up to you to find your fun.
Guide Dang It!: The forums are filled with answers, and questions (many unanswered still). The wiki, more answers but not uptodate. The IRC channel, very sparsely populated. But, ask in game in character, on the forums, scour the wiki, and hope for someone to be on the IRC, and at worst, roll up your sleeves and find out.
The game operates on a tick system. Every 3 RL hours, there's 1 cantr hour, and in each Cantr hour, there's the travel tick, sea travel tick, and project tick. It doesn't matter what you've done in the previous hour, just what you're doing when the tick hits. Takes some getting used to, but it's useful knowledge to have a good grasp of the mechanics.
The forum: http://forum.cantr.org/
or, the server details to add to your IRC client Server: irc.newnet.net Port: 6667 (if needed) Channel: #cantr
And, the trailer! Unofficial, but far more intriguing then the official. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RimL7HchBxU
Cantr enhanced: https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/7409-cantr-enhanced . Not essential, but has a wide host of useful UI improvements, including a version of the Tick timer.
The original tick timer: http://joo.freehostia.com/cantr/ticks/ . Again, not essential but knowing when the project ticks and travel ticks are, makes life a lot simpler.
This game provides examples of:
- 24-Hour Armor: Everybody wears shields, if they can afford them. Previously when repairing the shield periodically, this would mean the character didn't benefit from it's protection, resulting in people having a 'repair shield' as well.
- After the End: With such a dwindling player base, a common joke is that this is what the game is simulating. Reinforced when reading about a thriving town and the reality is empty buildings and corpses with no explanation, just what news survived. And the ubiquitous flood of keys to old locks.
- Angrish: A favoured tactic of some players when their character is having a bad day. Yelling "RRRRRRRGGGH! You insulted Moss", is a timetested tactic of the type
- Author Existence Failure: Player that gave up or are unable to get online leave behind "sleeper" characters. This includes characters attached to a banned account, who can stay alive (if fed) for eternity.
- Ax-Crazy: The impression that new players can give, before they acclimate away from a kill em all attitude in other games. Of course, some players stay in this mode, until they get a chance to unleash. "Halt, thief of a sock! Taste steel!"
- Big Brother Is Watching: Part of the allure is living in this sort of world, without the physical danger of this. If you come to the notice of staff, you *will* be punished, months later at their leisure.
- Calling Your Attacks: The polite way to mechanically attack someone, or when a more lighthearted RP scuffle, is to emote it out, letting the other person respond. But this may be left in the dust in more hectic combat moments.
- Critical Encumbrance Failure: A character cannot carry more than 15000 grams, barring a few workarounds. Travelling speed, whether in a vehicle or on foot decreases when they carry more.
- Easing into the Adventure: Averted, characters created by a new player face the same world and the same rules as anyone else.
- Elemental Crafting: In the few cases this applies, this is true. A steel knife deals more damage then a bone one, but there's no such thing as an iron battleaxe to compare to the steel battleaxe
- Everybody Has Lots of Sex: It's a roleplaying game on the internet. Do the math. See Fantasy Pantheon below, for a shoehorned ingame reason.
- Fantasy Pantheon: All religions are created by the players of the game. Some of them worship the creator of the game. One of the most notorious ones, is a simple copy paste of the Donii religion, which cheerfully ignores the fact that everyone spawns at 20, sex doesn't create children, there are no volcanoes, nor caves. But hey, since when did that stop someone waving their Fetish Fuel around? Caveman rumpy ahoy!
- Furry Fandom: The ingame player craftable items of furry ears, and furry tails, not to mention custom descriptions of other items. 'nuff said
- Ghost Town: While the resources never run out, when the town becomes boring, or the people leave or die, then the town stops being anything but a museum. Locked buildings might still contain the corpses of their former owners. See After the End.
- G.I.F.T.: A few layers of anonymity, starting with each persons character not being linked to their account. The second layer, comes with the even more anonymous ingame radio. Does This Remind You of Anything? It has indeed been called 4-chan on the forum, generally by detractors. Very few lolcat pictures, but one instance of ASCII art. But this is perfect for couch warriors, trolls and other attention seekers to quickly get their fix, and stir up molehills.
- Hide Your Children: Everyone spawns (the term generally used for when a new character is created) at the age of twenty. This doesn't stop some people acting like 2 year olds except when it comes to adult relations. Nothing says in-character like a child who can't operate a hammer, but bounces the bedsprings like a champ.
- In-Universe Game Clock: One day passes ingame per real day. However there are 20 days in a year, 8 hours in a day, 36 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute. Can lead to confusion when planning things, having to clumsily word around Cantr hour and real hour, without breaking character.
- Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Averted, if you find a treasure it was most certainly hoarded by a different character sometime before.
- Internet Tough Guy: Ingame, the anonymous radio system basically breeds this type. Declare into the Internet equivalent, of a game on the Internet, that everyone is in serious trouble now because Sgt Hard Pants is alive and well, and then go back to sleep, content in being a couch warrior, twice over.
- Item Crafting: Everything in the game is crafted by players.
- Lamarck Was Right: Newspawn receive skills based on a random combination of the skills of other characters in the spawning location, with a random modifier. With a little detective work, you can find out your spawn parents (and thank them for that expert level Burying, Fishing and Carpentry, balancing out the awkward fighting and meager muscles.
- Like You Would Really Do It: Due to every character being played by a writer, this comes up a lot in game. "If you don't do what I want, I'll stop eating/go away/harm myself fatally", etc. Years (ingame, and in real life) later, they're still alive and kicking. In a meta sense, the forums crawl with announcements of players 'ruining' the game (including several of the disreputable staffers trying to blame the players for their imminent Rage Quit.)
- Mao: Possibly the only way to experience Mao without playing it, is to play Cantr. From the forum rules that are visible "Discussion of [rule breaking] is not allowed." "Only generalisation of rules is allowed" "Complaints about staff are to be made to staff, and only in private". There's a lot more rules that aren't available, not to mention it's a rare case when the player is informed of which rule was broken, or the evidence. The 'logic' behind, is that players who knew the rules, would evidently work their Loophole Abuse magic, as propounded by one staffer who is fondly referred to as the Goat Wormhole (You put in a valid argument, and the response is a goat. Any further comment is referred back to the goat. "What do you mean, it's not a good goat? See, four hooves and everything"). The game is a social simulator after all, and what better way to simulate North Korea and Soviet Russia then hiding the gamefield, until a misstep and Land Mine Goes "Click!".
- As further hilarity, the Players Department professed function is to 'guide' players when dealing with possible rule breaks. Yes, guide them, by standing on the other side of the minefield and shouting that everything is fine .... until it isn't.
- Country Matters: - One of the invisible rules that has been pieced together over the years, is to never use this word, or imply it tangentially. This especially can come across a little bizarre, when placed side by side with several potentially Squicky subjects, including Master/Slave-chat, assassination attempts, corpse cuddling (and sometimes more) and more 'children' characters acting out their owners Lolita fantasies.
- Mary Sue: Also like you would not believe. Doesn't work so well in a communal roleplaying environment, as it does when it's just one person and their Word doc. Hilarity Ensues when one of these, meets a Parody Sue, and they don't have the nous to back up their rippling muscles, hourglass figure, cunning wit and deadly charm. Other sue tropes include
- 30-Sue Pileup: My perfectly handsome character, is surrounded by other perfectly gorgeous characters. End result, is walking through the Uncanny Valley with porcelain mannequins on either side.
- Jerk Sue: Bah, the elegant man says. All these fur wearing rabble are not worth my spit .... Wait, where are you going? Why are you leaving my perfect town?
- Parody Sue: Nothing rattles cages more, then being upstaged in every department. And when it's a mere peasant doing so, the cage rattles even harder
- Copy Cat Sue: In the old days, there were plenty of Clouds, Gokus, Egwene's running about. Makes for a jarring political discussion, having Sephiroth and Vader agreeing on terms.
- Still abounds. See an unusual name, throw it into google and blanch at the Purple Prose that is spat back out. Strange name, supremely powerful, angsty backstory? Sounds perfect for Low Fantasy -ish roleplay!
- Sympathetic Sue: Blind, mute, lame and stupid - enough disabilities for an entire school, jammed into one character. From Bad to Worse , when a second, or third pops up and feels their limelight is being stolen. Cue walls of text, of passive aggressive disabled combat, as to who has it harder. Pity the normals.
- Nobody Poops: Hunted and domesticated animals can produce dung, though. You can vomit once a day, emptying your stomach and showing appreciation to the people around.
- Out-of-Character Moment: As mentioned previously, for when the player (as differentiated from the character) needs to speak to other players (again, different from characters), the standard of OOC: is used. This hasn't stopped longwinded rants when the player (different from character) has been upset or annoyed by some ingame event, and decided to use the power of Talking Is a Free Action. An especially [[Egregious]] and amusing for all involved example, involved the word Shutup, 87 times in the space of a minute
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: One of the more entertaining ways of dealing with another characters antics. While it may be a Curb-Stomp Battle, it's certainly more entertaining for the other characters around.
- Perma Death: Dead characters remain so. Except for several times when a server rollback caused many dead characters to rise up, and stand quietly until they died. Again.
- Running the Asylum: As mentioned in the introduction, the creator has largely left the game, leaving it to some staff to manage things. Over time, this has resulted in what has been referred to as the Internet Illness. Basically, any person getting a chance to live out their powertrip fantasies, and going for broke. Hilarity Ensues
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: See above. This is part of what makes the game fascinating, watching the mental gymnastics performed to justify punishing one person and not another, for the same infraction.
- Schizo Tech: Your most valued tool might be a dungfork, your vehicle is a stationwagon and you're on the lookout for olives. Another character might be riding a horse, swinging a steel axe and pushing around a combine harvester. A third has gold, rubies, steel, and every night washes himself with animal fat soap. It smells foul
- Serious Business: How some stories can come across. Boyfriend left town without saying goodbye three times? Better get on the radio and call him heartless. Running low on food (as in, only four years left)? Conscript all the locals, into some cooking project to save the world. Someone said your beer tastes like piss? Only response is to threaten them with death. See Internet Tough Guy
- Sex Slave: You might get dragged into a dark shack to be this for some 'character'. Bear in mind that simply ignoring that character, and not playing into the persons fantasy is a valid response. Yes, it's a twisted game in many respects.
- Special Snowflake Syndrome: Like you would not believe. Characters have walked into towns and asked if there was a plague, from all the stuttering, limbs missing, sobbing and wailing. No, just a Tuesday.
- State Sec: Hand in hand with Big Brother Is Watching. One of the more blatant abuses involved the banning (Unperson, comrade of several players for daring to +1 in a thread that asked for information, publicly. The staff member hasn't logged in since, but waits for the next call of their master.
- Talking Is a Free Action: You can be sewing, driving a car, eating food and listening to the radio. Doesn't stop the character from using their iron lungs to expound a wall of words on whatever subject is foremost in their mind, only limit being how fast the player can type. Or paste into the textbox.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: What often can happen when sleepers (players who barely wake up, thus don't really know what's going on around them), new characters or new players get promoted to leadership roles. Special mention must go to the man who chased a boat ... in a van. Needless to say, he didn't achieve very much, but became the butt of jokes for a long, long time. See also Ax-Crazy, for the other mode guards switch between.
- The Landbased Zuzi Navy has always been a force to be feared. Doubly amusing, as they were chasing pirates, who did do things.
- Unusual Euphemism: Be well, kind regards, best wishes. Standard signoffs from staff, after handing down arbitrary judgements with flimsy justifications, the implications when reading through the rest of the message is "Go away and die, little bug". Collect the set! Bonus points if Angrish is making the nonsensical even moreso.
- Wide Open Sandbox: As the terrible intro trailer stated, be the most famous politician, feared village idiot, lovable rogue, etc. Truth is while these are possible, they are very very difficult, simply because of player inertia. But so much more worthwhile when they happen, because of that.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Another tactic, guarantteed to get sympathy. Or encourage the more ..... violent members of the community to try and pull a Dexter. Or The Silence Of The Lambs. Or Psycho. Hell, pick a serial killer trope, and we've got/had some iteration of it.