This section outlines the core mechanics of play, including rules on behavior, combat, props, costumes, and game cues.

In Play vs. Out of Play

For many of these rules, it is important to know whether something is in play or out of play.

Something is said to be in play if it exists in the game world. This generally includes buildings, props, and characters. Abstract concepts such as character knowledge are also considered to be in play. Often, the in-play appearance of something may differ from its out-of-play appearance. For example, a participant wearing a monster tabard out of play appears as a monster in play, and a treasure tag out of play appears as the item it represents in play.

On the other hand, something is out of play if it exists in the real world but not the game world. This includes certain buildings (e.g., bathhouses), certain props (e.g., character sheets), personal items (e.g., toiletries and real-world valuables), and characters wearing white headbands. As in play, some abstract concepts, such as participant knowledge, are also considered to be out of play. Out-of-play characters and items do not exist as far as game mechanics are concerned. Thus, a participant who is out of play cannot engage in combat, pick up an in-play item, hold an in-play conversation, or learn in-play information.

Going Out of Play

While participants are encouraged to remain in play as much as possible during events, it's generally acceptable to go out of play to take care of real-life physical needs (eating, sleeping, bathing, smoking, using the restroom, dealing with an illness or injury), as well as for emergencies. On the other hand, it is never acceptable to go out of play to escape an in-play situation. If your character is being attacked or pursued by monsters or other characters, you cannot go out of play to avoid them.

Capitalized Mechanics

Throughout the game guide, certain key words are capitalized. These refer to game mechanics, such as the Ruin effect or Gaze modifier, as well as attributes, such as your character's Spirit or an item's Value. This distinction can be important. For example, "armor" refers to protective garments while "Armor" refers to their numeric value in game terms.