Frequently Asked Questions
What is MST3K?
MST3K, short for Mystery Science Theater 3000, is a TV show that ran on Comedy Central and Sci-Fi during the 80s and 90s. The "plot" of the show was very loose and flexible, although in a nutshell, a pair of mad scientists trap a man in space and force him to watch terrible movies in the hopes of driving him completely insane. This man is Joel Robinson. To keep himself sane, Joel builds a group of robots that watch the movie with him and make fun of it with him. The purpose of the show is, at its essence, to make fun of very bad movies.
Even though the show itself is gone, this concept has lived on in other areas...at RiffTrax and Cinematic Titanic, done by the original creators of MST3K, and on the internet in terms of making fun of bad fanfic. This practice is called MSTing or sporking, and it's what we'll be utilizing in itsjustagamerp.
Is the game journal-based or community-based?
This game is completely community-based. Don't have to worry about adding a ton of journals!
I've been accepted! What are all of the communities I need to add?
itsjustooc OOC comm. – The out of character community. Here you will post intros, hiatus and drop notices, plotting posts, week changes and so forth.
itsjustagamerp Logs comm. – General third-person logs around the SOL and Deep 13 will be posted here. Completed experiments will also be posted here once every game week.
itsjustcambot Cambot comm. – The "journal"/"network" system for all characters: first-person interaction or “action” tags go on here. Most of your RPing will probably be done via the Cambot network.
New characters will also need to friend the mod journal, which is itsjustthemads.
What characters are allowed?
You can app pretty much any character from any movie, TV series, video game, book, comic or otherwise, as long as they fall within the size limit. Humans, animals, undead, inanimate objects and otherwise are permitted, again, as long as they are within size limits. Crack and very obscure characters are allowed (even encouraged!) as long as you are willing to play them the same as you would any other character.
What are the size limits?
Your character cannot be more than 10 feet tall and/or 12 feet long. This is simply because there isn't room on the SOL for them to move around if they're much bigger than that. If you want to play a character larger than that, you have the option for them to be "sized down" so that they can fit. For example, if you want to play a Transformers character, they will still be a robot, but now they will be human-sized. A character like Toothless will be sized down so that he's about the size of a large dog.
What characters are NOT allowed?
- Real people. Your characters must be fictional. They can be a fictional depiction of a historical figure (Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love for example) or a real person playing a fictional persona (Stephen Colbert, for example). However, real people such as actors, comedians or musicians are not permitted. If you're unsure, ask one of the mods.
- Religious figures, even if it's a fictional interpretation of a religious figure (Jesus, Buddha, etc.) Even if you are excellent at playing them, we would just rather avoid any possible headaches.
- A character or entity that you have played on the hexfield, with some exceptions. Crack characters are fine to app, but the hexfield is specifically for unusual characters that you would not play in the game normally. This will be handled on a case by case basis; just please don’t use the hexfield as your personal voice testing platform.
Can I play an AU version of a character? Can I play them genderswitched/aged up or down?
No. In general, we are not allowing AU versions of characters, unless there is a canonical AU version of them (some Kingdom Hearts characters, some Tsubasa characters, or movie versions of comic characters, for example). However, an AU version of a character with no canon basis isn't allowed.
Can I play an original character?
No. We can recommend a good OC game for you, but we’re not accepting OCs.
Can I play a character who has died in canon?
Yes. Your character will wind up on the Satellite completely alive and whole. No real explanation why, they just do.
Can I play multiple characters from the same canon?
Yes, but no more than two. We would like to encourage a variety of canons at Just A Game.
Can I play a character from MST3K?
In general, no. Joel, Mike, the Mads and the Bots will all be played by the mods. You can, however, play a character from a movie that has been featured on MST3K...for example, Torgo, Jan in the Pan, Pumaman, Rowsdower, etc.
Can I apply for a character that was dropped or killed previously?
How long will it take for me to get a response on my application?
It can take up to a week, but we'll be as fast as we can. Please don't pester the mods; we'll do our best to get to everything as soon as we can. Keep in mind that we process apps in the order we receive them.
What happens if my app is rejected, or if I need to do a revision?
If your app is almost there but not quite, we may ask for a few revisions. Send back your revised app, and it will be accepted.
If your app is poorly written, inaccurate or missing lots of important info, it will likely be rejected. Please realize that we have the right to reject any app for any reason we see fit, and are not required to explain to you the reasons why. You can try and reapp in the future if you'd like.
How long can I go on hiatus?
You can take a hiatus for up to two months. After this time, the mods will contact you about whether or not you'd like to remain in the game. If we don't hear from you within a week of contacting you, your character will be dropped. If you have other circumstances, please let us know and we'll work something out.
What sorts of plots are allowed?
Most any sort of plot is allowed, and aside from the experiments, players are encouraged to come up with their own plots and events. If your plot will affect a large number of people or the experiments in any capacity, please consult the mods first. There are, however, plots that are not allowed or strongly discouraged.
What sorts of plots are NOT allowed?
Rape, mutilation, torture, suicide or other psychologically damaging/"character-breaking" plots are not permitted. The object of this game is to create laughs. If you are looking for a place to do grimdark, super-serious, heavy-handed plots, then this is probably not the game for you. If you're unsure about whether your plot counts as one of these, just ask the mods.
Is smut allowed?
In general, no. While you can have your characters hook up off-screen, sex logs are not permitted in the community. Keep in mind the ratings system for logs should range from G to about PG-13. You can skew a little higher in terms of things like language, suggestive themes or cartoon violence, but no full-on sex. If you really want your characters to sex up, you’re perfectly welcome to do so in a private RP setting or a musebox. Just no logs in the comm, please.
How does time work in It's Just A Game?
Just A Game runs on double time, which means that every IC day = two OOC days, and one IC week = two OOC weeks. New weeks will be announced in week change every other Saturday night. Four IC weeks equal one IC month. Major holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas will fall within their respective IC weeks. You can choose to have your characters celebrate their birthdays and age, but time is loose enough on the SOL that it's not necessary.
Do I have to strictly follow game time? Can I forward/backdate posts?
You have flexibility in game time with the exception of the experiments. Experiments must be completed on time since morale points are based on them. Otherwise, you can take as long as you want on logs or forward/backdate posts as you see fit.
How do you handle the fourth wall in Just A Game?
Treat the fourth wall like a screen door...you can see through it on occasion, but don’t go busting it over or you may bring the house down. Keep your fourth-wall-breaking tongue-in-cheek, and don’t break your character (or another character) with it. You do, however, have some more freedom with the fourth wall in experiments rather than in logs or network posts.
What happens when my character is pulled onto the Satellite of Love?
Your character will black out, and suddenly find themselves on board the SOL, in the cockpit area. They will find their weapons or special items missing, and none of their special powers working. They'll be given a brief explanation of their plight by Gypsy or one of the other occupants. They have randomly been pulled onto the SOL because of the Twin-screw Universal Controller.
What exactly is the Twin-screw Universal Controller?
It's a device created by Joel Robinson to control everything...no literally, everything. Before he left, Joel left it on a particular setting so that it would bring in a few extra people to help out Mike. Unfortunately, it's now malfunctioning and bringing in people randomly from all manner of dimensions.
Can't we just find the Twin-screw Universal Controller and fix it?
Nope. No one on the SOL or in Deep 13 even knows that the Twin-Screw Universal Controller is what’s causing people to randomly appear...at least, no one knows yet.
Where does my character stay?
Anywhere they want. Consider the SOL like the TARDIS: it’s bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. There are virtually limitless rooms and odd spots around the Satellite for you to explore and set up shop. The only places your character may not stay is in the cockpit (where the Mads communicate with the Satellite inhabitants) and the theater. If you want more specifics, check the page Around the SOL and Deep 13.
How does my character get transferred to Deep 13?
If your character is busy lowering morale, causing discord and misery, and just all-around being villainous, Dr. Forrester may recognize their talents and bring them down to assist Deep 13 instead. Your character will not participate in experiments or SOL events, but instead will help the Mads and other villains concoct new and interesting ways to torment Satellite subjects...and may get to participate in some Deep 13 events instead.
Keep in mind that this can work in reverse, too...if you're called down to Deep 13 and Dr. Forrester discovers that your antics are not so helpful to him, he may just send you back to the Satellite!
My character is a villain, but I want them to stay on the Satellite instead of going to Deep 13!
You are not required to go down to Deep 13 if asked, but Dr. Forrester will strongly insist. There are advantages to working in Deep 13...your character will still be able to interact with those on the Satellite via Cambot's network. They will have access to some resources the SOL doesn’t have, and be free to inflict any villainy they see fit on anyone...whereas on the Satellite, trying to do your villain thing may get you beat up by hero characters, or worse!
What are all these cameras floating around?
These cameras are Cambot's network. His network allows you to communicate with anyone on the SOL or in Deep 13 at any time, anywhere. However, keep in mind that Cambot has NO privacy settings on his network...everything you do on camera, anyone can see! This means that you cannot make your network posts private or filtered to any particular character. Don't be too surprised if Cambot's network catches you doing something embarrassing. However, Cambot is certainly not a rude ‘bot. If you ask him to leave, he’ll leave you alone. If you really want a private conversation, your best bet is to make a closed third-person log.
Cambot has a wide variety of abilities that he can use while recording, so take advantage of all he has to offer! He can shake the camera during something dramatic, add filters or scopes, add theme music or supplemental video, add sing-along text, language translations or close-captioning, and more. Don’t be afraid to spice up your network post with some of Cambot’s abilities.
Can I build or grow new things while on the Satellite?
You can, and pretty much have free reign. However, your characters cannot create any new sentient robots...only Cambot, Gypsy, Tom and Crow are allowed. You also can't get yourself off the Satellite with anything you build.
What sorts of things can be found on the Satellite?
Nearly anything and everything, whether or not it should logically be there. The Satellite is stuffed full of storage units and boxes containing food, costumes, random objects, novelty items, books, small rodents, you name it. The general rule is that if it's funny, your character may find it. For example, they may come across a bag full of purple rubber chickens, but they're not going to find a gattling gun they can mow down dozens of people with.
Can my characters go outside the Satellite?
They can, using subpods or other devices on the Launch Deck, and the magic of Rocket #9. They can't escape the SOL, though. They can just fly around and see stuff outside the Satellite if something cool is going on out there.
My character has a curse/illness/condition that gets worse as time goes on. What happens to them?
They will have whatever medical or magical means they need in order to keep living. No real explanation why, they just do.
My character has incredible powers or abilities in their canon. What happens to them?
As soon as they arrive on the Satellite, they lose them completely. No dampened or reduced powers, they're just gone. If your character uses magic, psychic powers, special weapons, super strength or giant fireballs, get used to not using them...in this game, you rely on your wits and your wit. For the most part, your characters will not get their powers back. But who knows what will happen down the line...
My character has a special weapon or talisman. What happens to those?
They lose them. Whether or not your weapon is magical, they will not have them on the SOL. Your characters arrive only with the clothes on their back, and they do not get their weapons back. Other weapons may appear on the Satellite when it's most (or least) convenient, but don't expect them to be around you all the time. If you have questions about what is or isn't considered a part of the costume, ask the mods.
My character has a pet/familiar/animal companion that always accompanies them. What happens to them?
Generally, your character can keep their animal companion. However, their companion will also lose any special powers or abilities. They just behave like an actual pet. They are also still subject to the size limits.
Can I critically injure my character?
Yes, but keep in mind that it will be played for laughs. If you severely injure your character, they will be completely fine by next week.
Can I kill my character?
Yes. Death is not a permanent feature around Deep 13 and the SOL...if your character dies, they'll just be back next week, all memories in tact. Your character can die as many times as you want, just keep in mind a few things about it:
- Like everything on the Satellite, death is not taken too seriously. People know you'll be back soon, so death is often played for laughs.
- However, killing your character (or another character) does affect your morale points. SOL characters dying deducts morale points, and Deep 13 characters dying grants morale points. Check the Morale Points System for more info.
Can I kill my character and not have them come back next week?
Yes, and this will be considered a character drop. This will also make your character available to app by a new player again.
What happens ICly if I drop my character?
Your character is either killed and doesn't come back, or else the Twin-screw Universal Controller malfunctions and zaps them back to their own dimension.
I want my character to participate in the experiments! What do I do?
The first thing you do is sign your character up for riffing duty. Every week change, there will be a random drawing for 3 characters to view the experiment. If your character is chosen, you and your partners will have the full game week to complete the experiment. When you complete the experiment, you must alert the mods so that they can post it. For a full explanation of riffing, view the Riff FAQ.
Please remember that if you don't sign your character up for riffing duty, they will NOT be considered at all to view an experiment.
Do I need a certain character to participate in experiments?
The only requirements are that your character must be able to talk, and they must be on the Satellite of Love. If they've been transferred to Deep 13, they will not be considered for experiments. Otherwise, anyone is a go.
Am I required to participate in experiments?
Nope. The riffing part of this game is completely optional: if you want to do it, just sign up your characters. While we would encourage everyone to sign up since it’s a lot of fun, if you’re really not comfortable with riffing anything, you’re perfectly welcome to just play in the game without doing any experiments. There are plenty of other venues where you can earn morale points without participating in an experiment, so your characters won’t be left out.
What happens at each week change?
The Mads will announce what their next experiment will be, and the characters chosen to view it. Current satellite morale will be posted, based on the Morale Points System. Any Hexfield visitors will be listed, plus the day they are visiting. Any special events (alien visitors, strange effects, etc.) will be listed, too.
What are Hexfield visitors?
The Hexfield viewscreen is a device in the cockpit that allows the SOL to communicate with people outside the SOL and Deep 13. Hexfield visitors are characters/creatures/entities/etc. that are not in the game, but will show up on random occasions just to chat or argue with SOL inhabitants. Visitors will not stay long; only showing up for one game day. Anyone can submit a character to be a Hexfield visitor...you are not required to be a player in Just A Game to participate as a Hexfield visitor! For more information on the Hexfield viewscreen and to submit your character for consideration as a visitor, visit the Hexfield page.
What is the Morale Points System?
The purpose of this RP is for your characters to boost morale on the Satellite of Love. The better the satellite's morale is, the happier people will be and the easier life will get. As you earn more morale points, you’ll also unlock “achievements” (or if you lose enough points, you’ll unlock “failures”) that will enable you to do more on the ship or create interesting new situations. Raising morale will not only unlock achievements, but it will also help set larger plots into motion. Morale points are not indefinite...there is a lowest score and a highest score, both hidden. If your characters get the SOL to the highest score, the Mads will give up and your characters will all get to go home! If they drop down to the lowest score, then Mike's will will be broken and the Mads win! So yes, it is possible to lose this game!
You win morale points for various things in the game...chiefly for doing well on experiments. You can also get morale points for doing other things around the ship...writing songs, creating art, telling jokes, putting on skits or plays, organizing events, parties, and more. The more you do to lift spirits and create humor, the more points you'll add to morale.
In contrast, the Mads and all associated with them will be trying to deduct morale points. You get points deducted for incomplete or missed experiments, for unfunny business, failed jokes and invention exchanges, or for general misery and discord on board. For more info, check the Morale Points System Info page.
How does my character eat and breathe, and other science facts?
Repeat to yourself: it's just a game, you should really just relax!