|Date(s):||15 April 2003|
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The Establishment is a multi-fandom RPF RPG created by Telesilla on April 15th, 2003. It was the first RPG on JournalFen and though it has changed moderators several times, it has been running continuously for over five years.
The premise of the game is that a very discreet, international, kinky sex club known as The Establishment exists to cater to the rich and famous.
The characters, or "pups" in the Establishment are mostly actors, along with some musicians and athletes. The majority of pups have been male throughout the game's history, but there are always at least a large handful of female pups played. Few pups are completely AU versions of the real people portrayed, but many deviate from real life storylines in terms of career path, family, etc. In-game news events, such as a particular couple coming out or being outed, have been used from time to time to drive a storyline. Many pups are gay males or bisexual; straight or lesbian pups are rare. Polyamory is also very common in the game, and many pups are in complex relationship structures.
Writers, or "muns," can currently have an unlimited number of pups in the game, though there are rules requiring active play and a waiting period between each pup. Muns can retire pups they are no longer interested in playing, and can adopt previously-played pups either "cleanslated" or retaining previous backstory. Several pups have thus had completely different incarnations over the years of the game.
The Establishment provides a number of ways for pups to interact. Each pup has a journal on the Establishment's journaling system, the real-life equivalent of which is JournalFen. Pups post journal entries either privately, to a friends list, to all Establishment members, or publicly. Storylines are played out in game time through logs, which are usually written in narrative style and posted to a pup journal. Pups can also e-mail each other, talk on the phone or instant messaging, leave voicemails, and send packages. The Establishment's courier system is frequently used for sending gifts and messages in-game. There are also occasional "bar chats" and other Establishment events that are played out in a chat room and written in chat log format. Pups can interact through "meta" in private or public chatrooms, but such interactions are used for character development only, and do not occur in the game timeline unless they are stipulated.
The narrative style of co-authored stories posted as prose was a departure from the RPG practice of posting transcripts of chats or tagging in comments to create narrative lines. The style of alternating points of view in co-authored fic has spread outside the game, mainly by former or current players. See also: BDSM for more details.
Joining the Establishment
Pups can come into the game as existing members of the Establishment or join at some point in the game. If a pup is not a member, a member of the Establishment must sponsor that pup. There is a brief waiting period before becoming a member. This process has often been used to create storylines around pups that are new to kink or new to the club.
On AO3, there is a collection called The Establishment where writers can upload their "fiction, including game logs and chats, connected to the Establishment RPG." The maintainers are kyuuketsukirui, helens78, darkrose, and Telesilla.