Why am I here and what am I doing here?Though stable for the most part, the aftershocks caused by the Time Compression have rippled through space and time, finding resonance in moments of great mental epiphanies or anguish and then flinging them from their 'world' into our own.
You're here because twenty-three years ago, Sorceress Ultimecia attempted to go back in time to compress time. The resulting tears in the stream of time have people from all sorts of realities and timelines ending up in the present day of this world. Unfortunately for you, Doctor Odine is too preoccupied with greater Sorceress threats and political skirmishes to find a way to send you back to your proper time. You'll have to make do here or start seeking a way back on your own.
I've never played Final Fantasy VIII. Can I still play here?Absolutely! We have done our best to provide setting information for those unfamiliar with it, and we have a number of players familiar with it who will be happy to answer any questions you might have. But that being said, knowledge of the world of FFVIII is not necessary to enjoy the game.
Life in Garden and the world
How do I get by? Where does my character live, eat, sleep? What about money?Characters residing in the Garden are taken care of. Free meals are provided by the Cafeteria, free lodging by way of the Dormitory, and free health care at the Infirmary. SeeD Cadets are given enough from their sponsors to get by (think of them as college students on a sponsorship); SeeDs are awarded a consistent salary based on their current rank.
What you do with your money is up to you. The Garden normally resides near Balamb Town, where characters can purchase items at shops, weapon upgrades, or recreation in the form of movies, live performances, card games, etc. Traveling to other towns may open up more options as well.
For more information on currency, items, and entertainment check here.
What languages are we speaking? Is there a universal translator?We would like to approach the language barrier in a realistic manner while still allowing for interactions between the majority of the populace. To this end, characters that arrive who speak a foreign (non-English, in this case) language will take remedial courses to bring their English up to speed.
In the meantime, they may make use of the services of an NPC translator or another player character should they offer. Communication via facial expressions and body language is also useful during this period.
For those players who don't want to play out overcoming the language barrier, they may hand-wave it by using an Odine brand communication device provided generously by Garden. The device is attached to a choker that is clasped round the neck. This will automatically translate anything they say into spoken English -- although they can still speak in their native tongue if they so desire. Keep in mind that if they misplace the device their speech will revert back to their native tongue, however. Additionally, as Esthar scientists will not be familiar with a lot of languages characters from other worlds may speak, the translations for characters who speak a more obscure language may be slightly skewed at times. (We have designated a number of Earth languages as equivalents to the FFVIII world's (headcanoned) older, rarely used languages, based on cultural and/or geographical equivalents: Spanish (Old Galbadian), French (Old Dollet), Japanese (Old Shumi), German (Old Trabian), Russan (Old Estharian), and Latin (Old Centran).) The Odine Company apologizes for the inconvenience!
The translator also applies to BBS postings.
In the case of the roleplay we use English as the default language purely for convenience. As to the language they speak in the FFVIII world, it's never stated.
What is a GF and how do I get one?An explanation of GFs and a list of known GFs is here.
To utilize GFs properly, a character must take the compulsory class Introduction to Paramagic and GFs (PMGF101). During the course of this class, they will learn to Junction and utilize GFs properly. Upon completion they will then gain access to the school's GFs (a list of which can be found here). Junctioning is accomplished through technological means; a SeeD or trained cadet possesses a small Junction device which provides the necessary bridge that allows the GF's energy pattern to take up residence in, and draw energy from, the brain of the user. In rare cases a very similar canon ability or nature might allow a character to Junction without the use of this device, if it has been approved.
Junctioning a GF has historically been known to cause memory loss to some degree. Modern Junction technology and practices have eliminated this fear, though as a side effect, it is no longer possible for untrained people to quickly pick up Junctioning the way they did in the game.
Some lucky(?) people may find that a companion, guardian, or pet of theirs has become a GF thanks to the machinations of Time Compression. These GFs are unique to their owners -- they may not be traded to others or Junctioned by others. They are entirely personal.
Periodically, Time Compression may refresh or restore GFs to various locations throughout the world, and once Garden discovers them, an enterprising student will be given the chance to assemble a team to capture this GF. On being claimed, the GF will be added to the list of those available as community Junctions. This is the only time a new GF may be added to the game.
- Although multiple people can Junction the same GF(s) simultaneously, they cannot do so while in a party together (e.g. on a mission, on a field trip).
- Canon characters from the Final Fantasy VIII setting are a special circumstance. Because of the effects of the Time Compression, the VIII cast already hold whatever GFs they've acquired throughout their journey to defeat Ultimecia. The GFs were lost in the intervening years, so characters still possess them. Their older Junction technology is not compatible with the school's, however, and so these GFs cannot be entered into the school system. The use of these GFs and Junction devices also still carries the side effect of memory loss.
What do I do if I am injured? Or dead?!Injured characters in Garden will be taken to the Infirmary, where adequate healing magic will be applied to ensure their condition doesn't worsen. After that, they will recieve care and attention in the amount you desire. You might nurse the wounds as long as it would take to heal naturally under medical supervision, be brought back to health immediately, or any ground in between depending on what you feel makes for the best story. Healing paramagic or magic provided by other characters, or items such as Potions, can also speed this process -- and are, in fact, your only recourse if you are away from Garden.
Those that use the Junction System don't die in combat so much as "pass out," entering a comatose state which Phoenix Downs and Life para-magic can reverse.
For those who don't use the Junction System, death is a permanent affliction. Of course, with creative use of Time para-magic and/or Sorceresses, anything is possible. Still, the matter of bringing an un-junctioned individual back to the world of the living would be a much more involved process, and certainly not something that could be handwaved.
Where can I go?Ordinarily, Garden is close to Balamb Town, where characters may go to shop or enjoy themselves. Going to locations further than this generally requires special transit, which in turn requires special permission from the faculty. Offworlders are also reminded to be mindful of their behavior in public -- the world, after all, fears Sorceresses, and that means any supernatural power at all.
Methods of transpiration include Chocobo, Garden Issue vehicles, rental cars in major cities, buses, the Garden itself, boats, trains, airships, and good old fashioned walking. For more information check here.
Applying and Characters
Can I apply a canon FFVIII character?
oh god yes pleaseYes! Any character from the game is welcome except for those specifically identified as NPCs (e.g. Headmaster Cid, Laguna). Because the game is set twenty-three years past the end of the game, if you were to apply as them from a chronological point they would be twenty-three years older than their game incarnation, and must have some headcanoned history to cover this period. You may app them at any canon point as Time Compression victims as well.
What happens to my canon powers?Characters retain their canon abilities. This is a mixed blessing: in the world of FFVIII, the only people who can use any kind of magic naturally are Sorceresses. Sorceresses are generally regarded as Bad. If your character can do anything superhuman without the aid of Junctioning, materia, or any other kind of outside influence, they will be lumped in with Sorceresses, and NPCs outside of Garden will generally react negatively if they observe them.
We may nerf or otherwise find a restraining bolt for characters with setting-altering powers, of course. We welcome characters with these powers, and setting alterations can indeed be productive or interesting plots! We just need to make sure they happen with planning and forethought, and not just because it would be IC for your character to level Garden after Dr. Kadowaki defeated you shamelessly in Triple Triad.
Non-human characters have a choice: they can either keep their natural forms, or they can become human upon arrival. If you want your characters to gain a human body, please note it on your application somewhere. This is not considered an AU change. Otherwise, we will assume that your aliens, robots, animals, ponies, etc. will remain unchanged.
Inside Garden, non-human characters are tolerated, but the world outside Garden sees them as monsters, which is only good in that it's a tiny step up from being a Sorceress. To this end, the Polymorphus Potion has been developed by Instructor Horace Slughorn to temporarily transform characters into a human shape; however, it has some nasty side effects.
If you're unsure about what kind of abilities/powers would be accepted, go ahead and contact us, and we'll clarify it for you!
Can I app a character with memories from another game?Yes you may. Simply make it clear, in the history section, what is canon history and what is RP history. Also, note that these characters are not OC/AU apps unless they would be so without the prior RP history!
I'd like to app an AU character, what's involved?We allow one AU character per OU character, and having both in the game at once is acceptable! If you feel uncomfortable applying if there's an AU version of your canonmate in the game already, we'd advise you to contact the player in question to discuss details. Some guidelines to your app are:
- Cross-fandom AUs are not allowed (for example, Snow from Final Fantasy XIII as a pirate in the world of One Piece). FFVIII AUs are the one exception to this.
- Genderbend alone is not sufficient to make an AU.
- We discourage AUs that fundamentally change a character's personality. Knife-wielding psycho slasher Ash Ketchum, for example, is no longer Ash Ketchum, but an OC with the same name. Some personality changes are necessary and good, of course, as repercussions of events that run different than canon, but the core of the character should stay intact.
Do you accept headcanon for an OU character?If you have reasonable explanation and some kind of support from canon as to how you came up with it, we will accept it. If you include it in the application, however, please mark it as headcanon!
Do characters start as cadets?Applicants are given the option of having their characters start off fresh as a cadet or to have them enter the game as a SeeD or Instructor. If the latter option is chosen, then the character will have arrived into the sertting at least a year prior to the player's application, and have therefore been trained appropriately and have graduated. It can be assumed that the SeeD has returned from a minor mission when introduced into the game. The same rule will apply if players wish to apply a character as an instructor without having to play out the course of their education in Garden. When taking either of these options, you will need to supply a brief summary of their time in and after Garden in the appropriate spot on the application.
For those who wish to apply an instructor, you are free to choose which classes you wish for them to teach by choosing a course that does not have a designated instructor on the class list. Instructors are limited to teaching two different courses, and each course will have two instructors; one who teaches the M/W/F classes, and another who teaches the T/Th classes. This is to ensure that should one instructor be sent out on a mission, another will be available to cover those classes. In addition to choosing 'instructor' in the entry position question of the application, please include the classes you wish for your character to teach as well.
Characters may also be apped as Garden staff, in which case they are not graduates, but employees. They have not undergone the training, but are still serving some role in Garden for pay.
Can I canon update my character?Yes. Due to the nature of the Time Compression complications and the characters' arrival, allowing canon updates is feasible.
In the event of a canon update, the character in question will fall into a coma. The coma will last at least 3 (no less) in-game days to prevent updating on whims or the constant fluctuation of time periods (in other words, to prevent abuse of canon updating/regressing) As well, it will provide a period of time long enough that other characters in game will take notice.
During the coma, the character's consciousness will be sent back/forward in time depending on the nature of the 'update'. If they age during the update, their aging process will be rapidly accelerated during the coma, and vice versa for de-aging.
To update your character, reply to your application comment (or on the application page if your original application is on Livejournal) with their new canon point and any changes in their personality, ability, and/or appearance as a result of their canon development. You do not need to wait for mod approval.
Can I play a character who has died in canon?The character would have to be taken from a point in canon before their death, unless they have a "functionally alive" death in canon (for example: Bleach, The World Ends With You, Dragon Ball Z).
My character is outside the age range! What now?In this case, you have several options!
- Your character can lie. So long as they look the appropriate age, they can get away with it pretty easily. So a robot activated last month or a goddess that is 1700 years old could be accepted if they looked to be teenagers, for example.
- Your character can have won an exception from the Headmaster, if they aren't too far out of the range. He's a big softie.
- Your character can take on a faculty or staff role, rather than a strict SeeD role.
- If your character is very young and it would not be appropriate for them to take typical SeeD courses, they may take a more age-appropriate set. We do not have these detailed (and are not likely to :( ) but you are welcome to make reasonable assumptions about them!
What equipment may my character come in with?As a general guideline, normal/mundane items are acceptable, though be aware that a cell phone is probably worthless without cell coverage. More powerful items, however, may be limited or forbidden. In general, if it has incredible or setting-altering power (eg. a Sylladex from Homestuck or a Sphere of Annihilation from D&D), it is not allowed.
Help! My character...
- is a fandom OC/an extremely minor canon character/a customizable protagonist! All are acceptable. Use the OC/AU app form!
- is kinda morally grey! Antiheroes, shady sorts, even outright villains are acceptable in the game, but since the game is based on social interactions in Garden, they need to be able to play nice to be successful.
- comes with a talking pet/intelligent weapon/some form of secondary character! Include a writeup of their personality and abilities in your application, and you may play them as an NPC.
- is an FFVIII OC/AU! They may have taken classes at Galbadia or Trabia Garden before transferring to Balamb.
- hasn't had their canon translated yet! If your canon is expected to receive an official translation, we ask that you wait until it is released.
- is a Replica/Somebody/Data/whatever the heck Kingdom Hearts comes out with next of a canon character! So long as they have some established presence in the series, no problem; they count as separate characters.
- is poisoned!/cursed!/needs medication!/is in some other way doomed! Garden has access to paramagic, healing items, and Esthar technology. One of these three will be used to ensure your character survives.
- is a vampire! Feeding on humans is Capital B Bad considering how offworlders are viewed, and will have serious repercussions. We don't oppose vampire PCs but strongly suggest they confine themselves to an animal diet.
- has military experience! They may request an evaluation of their skills for certain course completion credits.
- in some way physically disadvantaged! They will still be required to complete their required specialization classes without accommodation, and so are strongly recommended to take less-demanding specializations.
Can cadets double major?If cadets express an interest in more than one major, they can choose to double major. Double majoring may delay graduation for cadets due to additional courses which need to be completed to fulfill requirements.
Where should I post? What are the posting formats?Here you go. Also, please note the tagging system.
Is NC-17 content allowed here?Yes, so long as it's appropriately tagged and bagged. Don't forget to pick up your Garden issue condoms.
For more information on our policy regarding NC-17 content, refer to the rules.
If you have a question that wasn't answered here, feel free to ask us in a comment to this post. You may also contact a moderator to ask a question personally if you wish.
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