Player characters are cooperative by default, meaning they may not intentionally attack one another. To do this, both characters must opt into competitive play, often referred to as "flagging" for "PvP (player versus player)." You do this by indicating it on the website after your character has accumulated 60 or more XP, which occurs after you've played for at least three events.
Competitive characters must wear red armbands as an out-of-play cue for other competitive characters. These must be worn on the upper arm and remain visible whenever the character is in play. Competitive characters are also placed on a special list on each event’s schedule so other competitive characters know who’s attending.
Certain questionable or evil actions, such as killing a peaceful NPC or working on behalf of a dark immortal, can only be performed by competitive characters. A story's narrator is responsible for indicating when this applies. Likewise, only competitive characters may interfere with competitive play (e.g., healing a competitive player fighting another competitive player) or otherwise act in a manner that would give other characters valid reason to retaliate.
Competitive players face more restrictions on being out of play. While cooperative players may be out of play for a variety of reasons, a competitive player may not be out of play in an in-play area unless they are Blinking, left to their fate, or performing a game function such as den duty. This restriction is lifted during breaks.
Competitive fate follows the same rules as ordinary fate. However, if you remain with a character you've slain until they report to the Dragon’s Den, you may accompany them and specify the card they draw.
If you die, whether or not it is the result of competitive play, it is possible for other competitive characters to interfere with your resurrection. If the ritual is contested in this way, only a competitive character may attempt to perform it and the gold must be in hand as it is performed. The gold is not expended unless the ritual is successfully completed.
Thievery & Robbery
Whether or not both players are competitive, thievery (i.e., involuntarily taking treasure) is still prohibited. Robbery is possible, but requires you to coerce the other character to voluntarily relinquish their treasure (e.g., “your money or your life”). Note that searching an incapacitated character for a restorative item you then use on their behalf does not constitute thievery.
Any character, including cooperative players, may engage in a duel. Duels are strictly voluntary; all duelists must agree to participate beforehand, and other characters may not interfere. The duelists may likewise stipulate any number of terms for the duel (e.g., forfeiture of treasure, restriction on use of certain abilities, healing for the loser, compulsion of public apology, etc.). If a cooperative character is involved in the duel, these terms must be honored.
Competitive play can be tricky. The following tips aren't rules, so you aren't required to follow them. However, they are likely to make your competitive experience more successful and enjoyable.
- If you want to keep a secret, don't talk about it in or out of play. Whenever out-of-play knowledge is involved, metagaming is a possibility. It's often very easy to justify knowing something in play. The way to avoid this is to eliminate the possibility of people knowing something at all. Keep your schemes within your circle (or even better, to yourself) and you're more likely to succeed and have fun doing so.
- If you plan to attack another competitive character, try to do it in front of a staff member. Even if they can't arbitrate directly, staff members can act as trusted witnesses who keep people honest and settle disputes without out-of-play drama.
- The only real litmus test for competitive actions is, "Would others reasonably want to retaliate against me for what I'm doing?" If other players should have a right to attack you for doing something, you need to opt into competitive play first. This is why things like hiring an assassin are competitive even if you aren't doing the dirty work. Remember, you cannot engage in competition if you’re cooperative, even indirectly, and intention is everything.
- You may unflag by abstaining from PvP. This is done by declaring your intent on the website and playing your character for three events without engaging in PvP. If you engage in PvP during these events, you must start the process over.
- You may temporarily unflag for medical reasons. Only injuries or illnesses requiring a trip to the hospital generally qualify, and a note from your physician may be required. You must wear an orange headband until you have recovered. Events spent medically unflagged in this way do not count toward the standard waiting period to unflag.
- Defending yourself won't stop you from opting out... to a point. Generally speaking, self defense doesn't meet the above litmus test. Incapacitating someone for attacking you, then, won't usually stop your attempt to opt out. If you provoke them or kill them, however, the situation becomes more ambiguous. Your best bet is to stay out of trouble as much as possible and, if someone attacks you, drop them but get them healing.
- Give clear signals when you're out of play. At some point, you'll want to take off your armor, shower, sleep, or just relax. When you do, make sure it's abundantly clear that you're out of play. Wear a white headband or stay in an out-of-play area such as a bathroom or cabin. If you don't and get attacked, you have nobody to blame but yourself.
- Don't try to use narrative abilities on players. Abilities like Locate might sound juicy for competitive play, but they can only be used as part of an adventure or storyline. Asking to use them in competitive play will only serve to irritate game staff.