Forever Knight Wars

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In Forever Knight fandom, a War (also known as an FK War, or Fanfic War) is a series of posts written on the FKFIC-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU mailing list in which fans fictionally interact with one another, nominally on behalf of the characters. Players join teams (called "factions"), though the actual competition is never the real point of the War, which is more about getting to know one's fellow fans. Since most of the characters in the posts are fictional versions of the players themselves, a War can be considered a sort of role playing game. The result is a type of multi-threaded round robin.

Forever Knight fandom Wars are not like wars in other fandoms; they aren't about fighting, or dislike, or anger.

The purpose of the war is to meet people, to get to know the other people on the list a little better, and to help them to get to know you. — from "FACTIONS: Explanation of Wars" by Susan Garrett[1]
The point of the wars is to learn about each other while creating a slightly odd, cracking good story. — from "How to Play" by Susan Garrett[2]
The point is really _not_ who wins.

[I]f you're just in it to race through and beat everyone else, you're really missing the whole point. The race is just to give everyone a goal and a purpose. The *real* fun is in hunting down all the weird and crazy junk you need--in being creative, and resourceful, and maybe doing a little clever sabatoge of your best friends' team <vwg>...*not* in blindly racing through just to be first. — from "War 101" by Dianne la Mercenaire[3]

Traditionally, in Forever Knight fandom, an attack is the sincerest form of affection.

History of the Wars

The history of the FK wars stars with the history of the FK factions:

The followers of LaCroix [...] tended to play pranks on other list members. A particular Nick fan, Sharon Scott of Texas, once foolishly admitted to the list that she had a phobia about frogs. Of course two of the LaCroix fans jumped on that immediately and sent Sharon gifts of chocolate frogs in the mail (actually supplied by Val King in one instance). Sharon replied that the two [...] were so cruel that they must be cousins . . . .
And so the Cousins were born. They started referring to LaCroix as 'Uncle,' which most people on the list now do out of habit.[1]

Other factions adopted names for themselves as well, establishing the "faction" system in FK fandom. Then:

...just before the first Dead of Winter (FK) convention in Boston, Sharon Scott (Scottie) wrote a short fiction post about having received a green Christmas card from a Cousin and fearing it was a frog, having called Nick to protect her and have the bomb squad open it.
That gave then-Assistant-List-owner Cousin Laurie an opening. The Cousins declared war on the other groups in the form of a round robin story. Various members of groups attacked members of other groups through fiction. Eventually, a truce was called by a consortium comprised of members from all the other groups, known as the Wicked Warren.

It is important to note that the first post in the war, "A Call to Arms", was co-written by three Cousins, Laurie M. Salopek, Margaret A. Newman, and John E. Dencoff; and when they posted it to FKFIC-L, they did so with no prior warning—not even to the list members who were the subjects of their "torments" (i.e., fictional practical jokes). Nevertheless, the reaction was generally positive. Most of those mentioned in the story promptly posted their own stories, in which they coped with the consequences of the attack and responded in kind. Other fans wrote to the three Cousins, asking to be included in subsequent attacks. Yet more fans simply wrote themselves into the story. Only one person actually objected to having been included without being asked.[4]

More wars started after that -- two more that first year for a total of three, then two the next year, then tapering off a bit, although at least one war was played every year until 2001. There was then a three-year break until War 12 in 2004, and a further six-year break before War 13 in 2010.

The most basic premise is always the same: something happens that calls all the factions to Toronto, where the members of the factions support their characters' goals in whatever is going on. e.g., if Nick is looking for a talisman that offers a cure for vampirism, the Knighties help him search, while the Cousins do everything they could to hinder the search, including looking for the talisman themselves to give to LaCroix. And all the other factions join in according to their faction loyalties.

Although the whole point is for people to write about themselves and each other, it isn't about creating Mary Sues; participants can't make themselves super-powered, or have the characters fall in love with them, or anything similar. The most that is allowed was to slightly beef up existing charateristics: cars and computers can be upgraded, an existing brown belt in karate could be written as a black belt, etc.

The wars even caused the creation of a new faction: the Mercenaries, or mercs, who could be hired to do pretty much anything for the right price -- from gold to chocolate.[5]

War scheduling

There is no set schedule for Wars. An upcoming War is announced by an anonymous War Mistress (or War Master, or eventually War Maestro) (WM) -- a different one every time. (They reveal their true identities only after the War.) The initial announcement includes both the start date and the estimated end date.

About a week before the War begins, the War Mistress posts its premise -- whatever base storyline s/he has decided on to bring all the factions to Toronto that time. Factions spend the next week organizing and preparing; after the first few Wars, this is also the period when participants have to send in their "permission slips" saying they are willing to be written about.

Affiliation loops use the period of time before and during the start of the war to get to know each other, float ideas for possible attacks on other affiliations, and find out what each person wants out of the war. Some people want to meet a character, others want to set up a certain 'surprise' for a friend . . . find out what your fellow loop members what to do and see if there are ways your wishes could dovetail.[6]

Once the WM opens the war with an initial story post to set the stage, the factions have roughly two weeks to post. A faction (or individual) can call "dibs" on a particular storyline if they have something they really want to respond to, but once dibs are called, it is considered polite to only take 24 hours or so to post the responding story, to keep from bogging down the overall round robin.

How Wars Are Fought

The initial organizing and calls for faction participation happen on ForKNI-L,[7] but the wars themselves are "fought" entirely on the main Forever Knight fiction list, FKFIC-L, as a giant round-robin story that lasts about two weeks.

It isn't a free-for-all, though. The posts that make it to FKFIC-L are the result of massive amounts of behind-the scenes organizing, with many layers of communication.[8]

Each faction declares a leader to be their point person in the war. All the faction leaders are on a private email loop together, to keep the overall storyline organized and to coordinate how the canon characters are used (the "main" faction for each character has control of that character; for instance, any other faction wanting to include Nick in a story has to ask the Knighties for permission, so the Knighties can work that into their faction's storyline.)

Each faction also has its own email loop, to work out the details of what stories are going to be posted. Within that loop, individuals may break into smaller two- or three-person conversations to co-write a particular story that has been approved. (Everything has to be approved, to keep story posts from contradicting each other.)

Mercenaries get hired behind the scenes in private email; individuals in one faction can, and will, try to convince people in other factions to switch sides, still in private email.

The posts that make it to the public list are only the very final public face of the much huger organization behind the scenes.

Forever Knight Wars

War 1

A Call To Arms (January 1994) Approx. 30 participants made 100+ posts.

Plot Summary

At LaCroix's behest, the Cousins start playing tricks on Forever Knight fans who have declared on the ForKNI-L mailing list that their allegiance lies with other characters. The intention is to force them to abjure this affliation and join the Cousins. Instead, matters escalate as reciprocal tricks are played back. The "War" expands as the Cousins start to attack non-aligned lurkers—many of whom promptly decide to declare an allegiance and join War themselves. Eventually, a truce is enforced by a consortium comprised of members from all the factions, calling themselves the Wicked Warren.

Factions

Prior to War One, the Cousins had organized; and, in the early part of the War, their actions dominated—until the other factions were forced to organize themselves in self-defence. As a result, many players began the War without an affiliation, though some declared themselves for one faction as the War progressed. In fact, factions for several other major characters had already been proposed on the ForKNI-L maiing list; but their names had not been decided definitively. For clarity, alternative tentative or rejected names were often listed; and some players consistently used one of these throughout, effectively as a way of casting a vote for it.

  • In the first post, three Cousins are summoned by LaCroix to his apartment in Toronto; and a tripartite War leadership became the Cousins' usual organization in subsequent Wars.
  • Only one FoD played; however, Skankie-ites, Schankites, or Sluvakians are listed as alternative, rejected names.
  • The Knighties are also referred to as Nicholaaahs, by one player in particular.
  • The Ravenettes are equally referred to as ravens, corbies, or bonnie wee corbies.
  • The faction affiliated with Natalie did not have a definite name, but was usually referred to (under various slightly different spellings) as Au-Naturelles, au-NAT-eurelles, or au-NATurales: they ended the War with the explicit intention of picking a better name.
  • The Die-Hards were mentioned, but did not explicitly take part as a faction. However, a number of players were unaffiliated, and remained so throughout the War.

The Cousins used LaCroix's (non-canon) apartment as their headquarters, the Ravenettes/corbies used the Raven, and the Knighties/Nicholaaahs used Nick's apartment. However, the action was not limited to Toronto: players set many posts in their home towns.

War 2

Application Forthcoming (3-19 July 1994) There were 43 participants (plus a number of their pets), and 300+ posts.

Premise

Just before the War began, Janette had been delegated to deal with letters from fans declaring their affiliations. Concerned about the fate of prospective Cousins, Nick offered to relieve her of responsibility for the fan mail; but he then deliberately refrained from forwarding anything on to LaCroix. When Janette told LaCroix what was going on, he sent some of his followers to the loft to retrieve all the mail (not just his own) and also steal the master list of faction members, which was on Nick's laptop. In fear of what he would do with this list in hand, the other factions began to contact each other, planning the best defence.

Factions

The following factions participated in War Two: Knighties, Ravenettes, NatPackers, FoSiLs, Cousins, Die-Hards, FoDs, Graces. Some participants played without any affiliation.

  • Several players wrote posts from the perspective of their pets, mostly cats. These usually acted as members of the FoSiLs faction (followers of Sydney, Natalie's cat). Some of the cats were given shape-shifting powers, and acted in human as well as cat form.
  • Between the first and second Wars, some of the unaffiliated fans had decided to play together as the Die-Hards faction. They wrote themselves a (fictional) headquarters near the University of Toronto, and declared it to be heavily defended neutral territory that would be open to anyone wishing a temporary retreat from the War.
  • Although no fans ever officially affiliated with Alma, a vampire character in the episode, "For I Have Sinned", the story premise included a description of a letter sent to Janette from someone declaring such an affiliation, the name AlmaDens was mentioned, and the character played a recurrent minor role in the War.
  • One player declared an affiliation with the supporting character, Grace Balthazar.

War 3

All Things Fun (Oct. 1994)

War 4

Coup d'Etat (Feb. 1995)

War 5

The Name of the Game Is "Chess" (Oct. 1995)

War 6

And This Time, It's Personal (Feb. 1996):

Not a fiction war, and not archived; the fandom found out that season 3 was being cancelled midway through the year, and in retrospect called their save-the-show campaign War 6. For some details on what happened, see http://eserver.org/bs/24/hoffman.html, an account of one of the first (if not the first) Internet-based save-our-show campaigns.

War 7

Dead Man's Party (July 1996)

War 8

Forever Friday Night (June 1997)

  • War 8 Premise[9]
There has been an unexplained Rift in the Space-Time Continuum. Time has stopped in its tracks. It is now the Night of Friday The Thirteenth, and it will continue to be so for the rest of the war. [...]
You may or may not have noticed Something Strange happening tonight (you probably will eventually notice that clocks are not working properly and the sun does not rise) but it is extremely likely that you will find yourself running into someone who appears to be a Forever Knight Character.
WAR RULE: NO FK CHARACTERS ARE CANON. Because this War is occurring in Nontime, it is presumed that ALL FK characters appearing within are non-canon UNTIL and UNLESS SO DESIGNATED by the WarMistress.
Therefore, ANYONE can invent ANY alternate FK character that they want to write about, without needing to get permission from anyone. However, you may NOT use an alternate FK character someone ELSE has created, unless you get permission first. [...]
These alternate versions of the Forever Knight characters may be vastly different from the norm, but the one thing that they all have in common is that they feel impelled to go to Toronto, and to the place they think of as "home".

War 9

Prepare Yourself... It's Going To Be a Long Night... (April 1998)

The War 9 premise was posted as a story. To summarize: Information about a possible cure for Nick's vampirism has been stolen, and LaCroix has sent word out to the factions that he's offering a reward of $250,000 for its return -- to him. Nick finds out and is angry, and offers his own reward, double LC's price, for the information to come to him directly. But LC also doubles his reward...

War 10

Winds of War (August/September 1999)
war site (premise, participants)
war posts

Having heard the various legends of cures, Nick is suddenly presented with a chance to try one that had once reportedly worked, but had seemingly been lost over the centuries. Time unfortunately had faded the exact details of the story, and so it was that he knew of the icon but not it's curse.
Attempting to activate the icon, he soon learns that he doesn't know the whole story and in time will need to get the other elements before the two weeks are up.
Several factions will receive elements for the staff, each mysteriously given to a leader of the faction, without their knowing the story behind it.
Each recipient will take a liking to the element and carry it with them, triggering various characters to realize the implication of the elements and the changes that have occurred.
Undoubtedly, unaligned factions, or participants will also be able to discover the story of the icon during research as to probable causes of the changes. Web pages and other sources will conveniently appear that will help point them toward the story as needed.
In his sudden euphoria at having succeeded at his quest, Nick will discover the icon he had used is now missing and he will have to search for it amongst the various elements that will be discovered. He will also need to convince the others to give them back to him by the end of the two week period and to give up their new found mortality.
Elements will be given to those near friends of Nick, mortal friends such as Tracy, Nat, and Schanke, and immortals -- friend and family, such as Janette, LaCroix, Vachon, Urs, Divia and Screed.
Once Nick has activated the Icon, as will have happened at the opening of the war, all vampires within a hundred square miles will suddenly become mortal, which will undoubtedly cause them to summon help to figure out what has transpired.
It will be up to the participants to help them discover what happened and attempt to fix the problem.
It may soon become apparent that someone has started the whole process in motion, but who? and for what purpose?
Would he, could he, if he could?
Would he, will he, if they asked?
Would they, will they, want to change?
Will we, should we, ask them to change?
Does he, could he, say he knows of Love?
Could he, does he, know that blood is thicker than water?
Will he, could he, know the Love of friendship or family?
This will be, should be, easily seen very soon.

War 11

We Are Each Other (July 2001)

  • publicly archived on YahooGroups; this is the only War that hasn't been concatenated/edited into some type of smooth-flowing storyline, but is archived exactly as the posts hit the list.
  • War Eleven Premise [12]
LaCroix once told Nicholas, "We are each other. You will always be mine eternally!" He may or may not have been speaking figuratively, but let's take him literally. What if Forever Knight characters suddenly did start becoming each other?
PREMISE: When FK characters start displaying personality changes, factions begin to worry. The worry becomes greater when factions realize that characters, both mortal and vampire, are actually taking on personality traits of other characters. But it's more, much more than that. They are truly on the road to becoming each other, and begin having total identity switches.
What is causing these changes? Can they be prevented? Are they permanent? How can the characters be brought back to themselves? These are the challenges facing factions as they converge on Toronto.

War 12

For more information, please see the main page for War Twelve.
  • Archived at Romancing the Stone, It's Nothing to Sneeze At (November 2004)
    NOTE: The War 12 website was originally hosted on a free site (http://sky.prohosting.com/fkwar12/index.html ) to preserve the anonymity of the War Maestro during the war. It was moved to her own site, NancyKam.com, on 12 March 2011.
An FK fan buys a photocopy of the Blackwing Treaty on Ebay for a song (plus shipping). When it arrives she settles down for a little light, historical reading. To her amazement the photocopy shows mysterious text written on the borders of the treaty. What was very faint on the original shows up clearly on the photocopy.
Intrigued, she does some research to figure out what the mysterious text says. The language is badly transliterated Mississauga, but she can't find anyone who can translate it. Finally, she calls upon a Vaquero friend to ask Vachon if he can help out. Vachon uses his knowledge of Mississauga to translate the text. According to him, it's a cryptic reference to a large carved rock that contains "the cure for the disease that bites viciously like a wolf in winter and often kills."
There is only one conclusion for an FK fan to arrive at: this is the cure for vampirism! Nick needs to find this carved rock, located somewhere in Southern Ontario. To help or hinder his cause, all the factions are called to Toronto.

War 13

For more information, please see the main page for War Thirteen.

This war was dedicated to the memory of Susan Garrett, Forever Knight fan extraordinaire, who died 14 August 2010.

  • Dates: 2 to 16 October 2010
  • Factions taking part: the Cousins, Knighties, Perks, Mercenaries, Die-Hards, Nick & NatPack, RatPack, Unnamed Faction, and Vaqueras. There was also one independent player.
An irate LaCroix discovers that all his clothes have disappeared, just as one of his followers, Tok, finds herself bereft of socks. Who could have taken them? The Cousins decide to go to War.
That night, ALL of the socks (and pantyhose etc.) of all of the FK war participants in Toronto disappear while they are sleeping. Over the following days, one by one, people find that their clothes have also disappeared, except for whatever they had on in bed.

War 14

"The Unexpected Party"

  • Dates: Sunday January 13, 2013 through Monday January 28, 2013
  • War Mistress: remains anonymous
  • Archived on the FKWarArchive Yahoo!Group. The War Mistress did not prepare a website to serve as a hub and archive. Instead, she established a Twitter account (@FKWM14), and employed the article on War 14 in the Forever Knight Wiki as a place for players to go to see the progress of war.
  • The factions officially playing in War 14 were the Cousins, Mercenaries, Nick & Nat Pack, Die-Hards, Knighties, Vaqueras, Ravenettes, Perks, and RatPackers. There was also one independent player.
  • In all, there were 40 people who signed up to play in War 14, not counting the War Mistress. Collectively, there were 161 story posts, including those made by the War Mistress.
  • PREMISE:
    Early in December, flyers begin to show up in the hometowns of Forever Knight fans. On the flyers are three runic symbols. Some days later, the same three symbols that were on the flyers appear carved in the snow outside CERK, laid out in flagstones outside Vachon's church, and spray painted on the water tower above Nick's loft.
    On coming to Toronto, fans in the different factions quickly learn that several of the characters received odd Christmas presents. Natalie, Tracy, and Schanke had each received a wooden gift box containing a bottle of "private reserve" wine from Point Pelee Estates; and Nick, LaCroix, Janette, and Vachon had each received a copy of J.R.R. Tolkien's book, The Hobbit.
    There is a mystery afoot. Can the fans figure it out before it's too late?

War 15

"Twenty Years On"

This war was held in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of War One.

PREMISE: There was no official premise. However, the previous November, there was discussion on the FORKNI-L mailing list. At that time, it was agreed that the war should culminate in a grand celebration to be held in a hall rented at Casa Loma in Toronto.

Resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 FACTIONS: Explanation of Wars, posted to Forkni-L by Susan M. Garrett. Archived on the web by the War 12 War Maestro. Accessed November 23, 2008.
  2. How to Play, by Susan M. Garrett. Archived on the web by the War 12 War Maestro. Accessed November 23, 2008.
  3. "WAR 101" or "So you wanna be in a FK War?" by Dianne la Mercenaire. Accessed November 23, 2008.
  4. Information supplied by Lisa McDavid in letters to FORKNI-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU on 24 and 25 March 2011.
  5. Mercenaries' homepage for War 10, 11, and 12, including acceptable forms of payment. Accessed November 23, 2008.
  6. War Orientation Pep Talk by Susan Garrett, accessed November 23, 2008.
  7. Archive of list posts to ForKNI-L organizing for War 10, accessed November 23, 2008.
  8. War Tutorial by Susan Garrett, include many samples of what sorts of posts would go to an affiliation/faction loop. Accessed 1 August 2010.
  9. War 8 Opening Post, with rules at the bottom, via Wayback Machine. accessed November 23, 2008.
  10. War 9 Premise, in story form, written April 19, 1998. Accessed November 23, 2008.
  11. War 10 Historical Info, accessed November 23, 2008.
  12. War 11 info page, accessed November 23, 2008.
  13. http://sky.prohosting.com/fkwar12/premise.html
  14. http://fkwar13.co.cc/premise.htm
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