Source: Original post written by Kintaii for The Fourth Wall on the old AO forums and lightly updated by Mmir to bring it up to date.
Long-Term Characters: Rules and Information
What is an “LTC”?
LTCs, or “Long-Term Characters”, are special ARK/GM-controlled characters which play a part in the ongoing story of Anarchy Online. These special characters can be identified by their BLUE nicknames (the same color as quest NPCs) and will act (and react!) as though they are a part of the in-game world of Rubi-Ka. LTCs are there to provide a sense of liveliness to the game world, and often have stories of their own to tell - An LTC character will usually have something to talk about, even if it’s just how nice the weather is in Borealis, or how good the coffee in The Cup is.
There are two basic varieties of Events-run character, the first being a general Events character: This character is created solely for the purpose of a singular event, and most likely will not be seen again in-game. An LTC, however, is a character which will be played again and again by a specific individual. This character will have their own background and stories to tell, and maybe even their own events to run; someone who has spent a long time chatting with and getting to know an LTC may suddenly find themselves swept up in a giant battle fighting to protect their friend’s life, or seeking out a rare ingredient for a new recipe they’re attempting to make. An LTC is a character with personality and a tale to tell, with depth and emotions of their own. Usually, an LTC will be around for quite some time, giving players plenty of opportunity to interact with them.
How can I meet LTCs?
Well, first and foremost, get out and roleplay! Hang around in crowded areas where roleplayers meet, chill at the local bar, chat in one of the dimension-specific roleplaying bots, or even just wander around. LTCs pop up in odd places sometimes, so you never know where you might run into Alan Jacobi or Ivan Sergeyich. To help, though, you can begin by adding the nickname of an LTC you’re interested in into your friends list in-game. Whenever the LTC signs online, you’ll be able to know by them popping up as “online” in your friends list.
Can I be out-of-character with an LTC?
Any ARK/GM-controlled ‘blue-name’ character, be it an LTC or otherwise, will not go out of character for any reason at all. All individuals portraying an Events character have been taught never to go out of character no matter the circumstances, and will often go to great pains to avoid such a scenario. Do not expect an LTC/Events character to ever go out of character, even in tells. Likewise, an LTC on the forums will not go out of character for any reason, including PMs received.
Why the hell did that guy just kill me?!
Did he warn you he was about to? If he did, then you’ve only yourself to blame.
LTCs may or may not be combat-ready, depending on the character. And, as in real life, LTCs have personalities and agendas of their own. As an example: If you are a Clan citizen wandering into Omni-Entertainment, the odds are that the local guards and Unicorns will take a few pot-shots at you, if not kill you out-right. The same applies for LTCs. Generally, however, all players are given a warning that they will be shot at (and a chance to get the heck outta dodge) before an Events character opens fire.
Ok, that’s great and all, but why is he screaming at me?
As noted above, an LTC/Events character is considered a part of the Anarchy Online game world, and acts/reacts as though a citizen of Rubi-Ka actually would. This means having their own opinions and beliefs, particularly when it comes to the various factions! So understand - If you’re a Neutral citizen and suddenly find yourself at the end of Simon Silverstone’s temperament (and, most likely, gun), it’s nothing personal.
Can Simon Silverstone help me with my petition?
No. ARK/GM-controlled ‘blue-name’ characters, be it an LTC or otherwise, are not involved in the ingame petitioning process. please use the ingame petition option if you with to resolve an issue.
Why can’t he help me?! I’m going to bother him until he does!
Please don’t. Repeated harassment of an LTC or Events character may result in you receiving a visit from another member of ARK or the Funcom Customer Service team requesting that you cease your behaviour. While we welcome feedback and suggestions, please utilize the proper channels and do not beleaguer the roleplaying characters.
Will I get phat lewt and quests and credz?!
Most likely not. LTCs are made for roleplaying purposes, and do not hand out missions or quests in a formal sense. Occasionally, you may run into an ARK-controlled character which will ask for your help with a specific issue - Say someone has been kidnapped and they need help bringing them home, or a villainous rogue is attempting to blow up the notum cannons in Clondyke; These are not, however, “missions” in the strict sense of the word, and while there may be some rewards for aiding an Events-lead character the true reward is having fun and being a part of the experience.
I want to use Tarkhan Zora in a story I’m writing for the forums. Can I?
Short answer: Maybe.
Long answer: All Events characters are considered official parts of the Anarchy Online universe and story. This means that what happens to those characters is of very big import to the game world and storyline of AO. Unfortunately, due to this, we can’t openly say that everyone can just use an Events character in whatever way they wish - This would end up in chaos. However, if you would like to interact with or otherwise include an Events character in a story you’re writing, here are some simple guidelines:
First: Did this actually happen? If your story is based entirely around actual in-game events, with no exaggeration on your part, then that’s fine. Telling a story about the conversation you had with Simon Silverstone at the last CoT meeting is ok, as this has already happened and is not creating any new scenarios for the Events character. Telling a story about how you and Silverstone went on an intergalactic adventure a few weeks back and shook hands with some Xan is not ok, as… well, I can take an educated guess here and say that probably didn’t happen.
Secondly: What impact does this have? If you mention having seen Philip Ross at a rally many years ago, and don’t elaborate any further, then that’s also fine; you’re not creating any new dialog for the character, nor is this something that’s outside the realm of possibility. Stating that you saw Philip Ross at a rally many years ago and then coming up with the speech he told about how he loved his grandmother? Not ok.
While both of the above scenarios work as good examples of what’s acceptable, we ask that any and all story posts made for the Anarchy Online forums containing official Events/Storyline/Funcom characters be pre-approved by a member of our Events team. You can receive approval by emailing your story to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org - When emailing, please include the words “Forums Story” as part of your email title.
On receiving a story via the mail, our Events team members will read over the story and offer any suggestions/edits they see fit to include. Once both parties have agreed that the story does not infringe upon the storyline character, you will be approved to post. =) Please note that you may not be approved to post your story, based on the considerations of the Events/Storyline team. Our apologies if this happens to be the case, and please keep in mind that it is nothing personal. Posting content containing an Events/Storyline character without the prior approval of the storyline team may result in your post being edited or otherwise removed until such permission is granted.