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Draft: L4E Charter

garyh

First Post
The below is a VERY VERY rough charter, largely cribbed from LEW. I've adjusted it based on what we've decided (or are leaning to currently), but also left in several sections that LEW has outlined that we still need to address. I expect a lot of discussion and likely some forked threads out of what's below, but at least we've got something here to talk about now.

________________________________________​

Living 4th Edition is a community campaign setting where a large number of characters can interact in multiple different adventures, campaigns, and stories. Multiple adventures run simultaneously with their own DM and players. What happens in one adventure can directly affect another adventure, and what happens in all of the adventures affects what is happening in the world.

Everyone

First, all regular rules for the message boards are in effect. If there is any confusion on this, consult the FAQ or email any moderator.

In order to get started, a member needs to set their settings on the message board so that an active email address is available to other participants in the game. This can be done by going to the User Control Panel -> Settings -> and then selecting to accept emails from other board members. This is necessary so that relevant emails can be sent to your address readily. Allowing your email address to be made public is important because if your email address is private only, a moderator or admin would need to retrieve the email address and email the user to request if the user would like to receive an email from the individual player or DM. Adventures and characters will not be approved if your email address is not available to the other LEW community members.

Players

In order to play, you will need to create a character. A character is created using the guidelines defined in the Living 4th Edition Character Creation wiki page. The details for character creation are contained there, and not on this page. The official character wiki page (will need this page) contains every character, whether approved or not, for Living 4th Edition. Characters that have been approved will be marked as so on this page, and dated. Characters are also alphabetically linked from this page to their individual wiki pages so that you can easily find any characters statistics. Characters must be re-approved when they level up.

In order to be approved, a character must have all information match the guidelines defined on the wiki page. Once a character is posted (and you should only use one character per page), email one of the judges associated with character approval. That judge will reply to this email with any corrections they have once they get the chance. If your character seems to be taking too long to be approved, post in a general discussion thread to see if anyone can help. Approved characters will be dated on the main character page, and you will need a recent approval before joining a new adventure.

Each player can have up to three different characters (this is a carryover from LEW, we need to come to a consensus on the number of PC's allowed). You can only have 1 character at a given location at a given time. This means that your character cannot interact with another of your own characters. It is also incorrect to indirectly affect your own characters through a medium such as trading with one character in order to transfer an item to your second character. This rule is done both to discourage any form of “cheating” and to encourage players interacting with other players.

Once a character is approved, your character can go to the (currently Mysteriously Nameless) Inn. This thread is for characters in-between adventures. Both before starting and after completing an adventure, your character can go to the (currently Mysteriously Nameless) Inn to interact with other characters and form a party. When a new adventure is introduced, the (currently Mysteriously Nameless) Inn will be the most likely place to find the hook for the adventure. The (currently Mysteriously Nameless) Inn acts as the primary hub for adventures, though there may be additional taverns added later.

When an adventure begins, your character will both need to be approved to join, and be able to stay with the game. This means that you are required to warn the DM if you will not be posting at least once ever two-three days. If you do not warn the DM, they can penalize your character in any experience rewards for the game. Characters can level up after adventures if they have enough experience. Leveling up during an adventure is up to the DM, and because of approval issues it may not be a good idea depending on the group of players.

Approved characters need to submit for re-approval each time they level up. This is necessary to make sure that a character has the correct information. The wiki will automatically save previous versions of your character, so it will keep a back-up copy of your original approved stats and stats at each level up.

Dungeon Masters

A Dungeon Master of some kind is necessary for any adventure, even an extremely short vignette. In order to start an adventure, the DM must request that the current judges in charge of adventure approval approve the adventure. Any adventure needs to submit the following information in order to be approved:

1) Who are the players: This can be a specific list or this can be a description of what kinds of characters are likely to fall in line with this adventure.
2) What is the background: Describe the setting, the people, and the motives that make this adventure.
3) What is the story: What is the story of the adventure itself? Who are the bad guys? What are they doing? How is victory achieved or defeat met?
4) What is the challenge: Specifically, what are the likely challenges the group will face? What levels of characters are expected for this adventure? What are the encounter levels of any combat that will be encountered? Will challenges be overcome through combat, stealth, skill, or diplomacy?
5) What are the rewards: What kinds of rewards are there to be found? Fame, money, magic, and experience should all be expressed here. Anything that can be a reward is important for the judges to see.

The judges may ask for detailed descriptions of the above, and it is important to establish whether this is a campaign, an adventure, or a short vignette. Experience in play by post may also be important (a new DM may be discouraged from trying to run a very long adventure more than a DM that has had success before). If there are any questions as to the DM’s reliability, they will be made by the judges (previously abandoning a game will limit the DM to doing a few Vignettes to warm up before taking on a new adventure, for instance).

If an adventure is approved, then the DM can begin recruiting if necessary. The (currently Mysteriously Nameless) Inn is the place to go to find a party of adventurers. The DM can choose to disallow characters from joining, as they need to. It is their adventure, and they should have the right to decide who can play. After the adventuring party is formed, the DM needs to find a judge that is not playing in that adventure to watch the adventure. This judge will help the DM where necessary, but most responsibility falls on the DM to run the adventure.

After the group is filled and the adventure thread starts, the DM will need to record all reward information as the thread progresses. After every point where experience should be awarded, the DM needs to email the judge that has offered to watch their game with this information. The judge will keep these notes on experience and treasure, and will use them to award the party at the end of the adventure (or if the adventure ends prematurely). This is done because it is very important that the judges have ready access to the DM’s notes in order to deal with a missing DM or other problem.

Also, while a game is running, the DM needs to keep a post with the interface information and a list of all characters playing in the game. This information should be kept in the Adventure Tracking Thread (this could be a wiki page). This is important, because it allows anyone curious to find the information on the basic parts of an adventure necessary to relate to it, and also gives Judges a list to go to for finding all the characters related to the adventure. Characters that abandon an adventure or leave midway should be listed, but notation of their condition might need to be added if they are not to receive experience for the adventure past a certain point.

After the adventure is completed, the DM will give final awards for experience and treasures, and resolve how the PCs leave the adventure if it is site based. If there is an option for a continued adventure, it is important to plan for some players to be able to leave and for new members to join a group, because this is the nature of the forum.

For time spend adventuring, 50XPs will be assigned per level per month, to a maximum of 400 XPs/month for PCs level 8 and above. (This is another LEW carry-over that we haven't discussed at all)

DM Credits

(This entire section is currently a carry-over from LEW, and obviously we have a lot to decide on this front)

After concluding an adventure, the DM gains 1 DM credit per real-time month spent on the adventure. A DM credit can be used to add a benefit to one of the DM's own player characters. It is up to the player to find a reasonable explanation for this "windfall". Credits spent must be approved by a Judge, either in the General thread or at the end of the adventure thread where he gained the credits. DM credits should be documented similar to XP.

Credits can normally only be spent on a PC that is not on an adventure. Players on an adventure can petition their DM to allow using DM credits but he has no obligation to allow its use. Even if he allows it, he may limit spending as he sees fit. Also, spending must still be approved by a judge (see above).

DM credits spent will net a PC:

Experience points - the PC gains 50 XP per ECL per DM credit spent. If applied to a new character, you can start that character at a higher level with all benefits (ie more starting treasure, use a LA race/template and so on).
Money - the PC gains 50 GP per ECL per DM credit
Craft points - the PC gains 25 CP per ECL per DM credit
Rewards are limited to ECL 8, meaning that you can never gain more than 400XP, 400 GP or 200 CP by one DM credit.

Special considerations:
A DM which abandons an adventure without notification gets no reward for that adventure. If a DM quits an adventure prematurely but gracefully (i.e. handing over material to another DM and helping her out with minor details) she receives full credit up until the point she quits, while the new DM receives credits from that point on in time. If an adventure ends due to player dropout, the DM gets full credit.

As there are some long-running adventures in LEW, the DMs of these can petition the judge to award credits during the course of the adventure, typically at the same time as XP is given to the players.

Adventures running in parallel will all yield DM credits.

World Building

(We haven't really discussed on-going world building at all, just initial setting start-up issues)

The world of L4E is changing as it grows. There are three different areas of world building that LEW is concerned with. The small scale is left mostly in the hands of the individual DM, and consists of NPCs, small groups, minor sites such as those related to a specific adventure, and the effects of an adventure on articles contained therein. The second tier is the interface between an adventure and the rest of the world including other adventures and the interaction of all things that take place in the world. The third tier is the meta-tier, related mostly to the game itself, but not the story.

The creator decides the difference between 1st tier and 2nd tier content in what they create. As an interactive part of the setting a DM or player needs to decide which parts of his content is available for others to “interface” with. Information that is considered to be available for any other character or DM to interact with is called “PUBLIC” while information that cannot be affected by anyone without judge approval is called “PRIVATE.” Here is how you define what is PUBLIC and PRIVATE:

Information in a characters BACKGROUND is considered PRIVATE unless the player of the character chooses to declare it PUBLIC by stating so. PRIVATE information in a BACKGROUND is to be read, but not touched. You cannot change the private information in another character's entry, and you cannot use it to springboard an idea. So, in a PRIVATE entry, if a character is chasing after someone because they murdered their brother, a DM does not have permission to create that murderer and have them interact with the character. However, the DM can always request that a PRIVATE entry be made PUBLIC for the extent of an adventure by emailing the content’s creator. Any DM could use PUBLIC entries, as they feel necessary. In other words, if a DM sees a public entry, they can choose to interact with it however they want, just so long as they don’t change the public information. So if the murder note above was declared public, any DM NPC could choose to know the murderer or to know them personally, or even to have a similar relationship with this created NPC (thus leading into a possible adventure).

Inside of a game thread, all information is considered PRIVATE until a DM decides to set up an interface. Interfaces can be sites, NPCs, or anything else that the DM would enjoy having interaction with. To declare an interface, the DM needs to post the relevant information for the interface in the first post of the thread. For instance, if a DM declared an Interface for “the ruins outside Daunton & the three keys to the demon's heart which were lost to time, which the players in this game are looking for” then another DM can put that information into their active adventure by having their group find one key, and seek to bring it to the other adventure. Interfaces are only important while an adventure is running, however, because a completed adventure leaves everything behind as PUBLIC content. A completed adventures location, surviving NPCs, left over treasure, and anything else is available to other DMs to use in their own adventures. Incomplete adventures are ripe pickings for a new hook.

All other content that takes place outside of character interaction (such as deities and legends) is considered PUBLIC by default. Anyone can interact with these hooks as they are created. This sort of world building requires special approval though; any content that wishes to be added to the world building, as a whole needs to be approved. In order to get non-adventure related world building material approved, the content must be proposed in it’s own thread. (this could be wikified as well) Once proposed, it will be added to the list of unapproved content, and will be examined by the judges in charge of approving non-mechanics related content.

(The following user-generated guidelines haven't been addressed by us at all)

Third tier content, such as mechanics, is a special variety. There are strict rules about what can be proposed through this. First of all, the content must be Open Game Content or be an original creation. You cannot propose published material that is not OGC, because we cannot accept it into our setting. If a proposed prestige class, race, monster, magic item property, etc. is OGC or homebrewed, it is entitled its thread will be viewed by the judges in charge of approving mechanics related material. The judges that approve this material will examine it, and comment. Once a particular item is brought up for vote, YES votes need to exceed NO votes by at least 2 to pass, with a minimum of 3 YES votes. If NO votes exceed YES votes by at least 2, with a minimum of 3 NO votes, the matter is closed. Voting will remain open until either of these conditions has been met for a continuous period of 48 hours, at which point the decision becomes official.

It is possible that a proposal will neither pass nor be officially closed. Example: A proposal may gain 4 yes votes and 3 no votes and attract no further votes. In such a circumstance, the proposal has not passed and does not become a rule barring a change in circumstances.

A judge cannot vote in his or her own proposals.

What happens with dead PCs?

(Another area we need to address)

In a world where brave adventurers fight against monsters, death can be all too common. Many accept this as their destiny, as priests powerful enough to return a deceased one to the world of the living are rare, and even the good-aligned ones are not always willing to perform that task.

One method is certain to bring back someone killed, which is sometimes referred to as "the northbound path".

It is considered common knowledge (DC 5 intelligence check) that there is a temple of Hyrag in the Godspires district of the City of Sanctus near the northernmost post of En World where even the most powerful resurrection magic can be performed by a sufficiently powerful priest. The costs to perform such a spell are expensive (the same as the cost listed in the SRD), and the material components can be purchased on site for their normal value. There may very well be other temples capable of performing this feat, but none of them speak publicly about these services. The temple of Hyrag is glad to perform this service for anyone of any alignment, but absolutely never discounts the cost, even for a priest of Hyrag.

People who would be unwilling to be resurrected usually state so to their companions, saying that they wish to "travel south" without interruption. Others carry tokens often associated with that desire.

When your character dies, and he either cannot be resurrected or would not want to be resurrected, leave the character sheet intact, but preface it with a note that the character is dead, and at what level that has happened.

A permanently dead character obviously does not count against the number of PCs a player can have. If a character of 4th level or higher has been killed, the player can mark him as permanently dead, and replace him with a character of a level higher than 1st. This works the same way as retiring such a character, except that the new character starts two levels lower (the lower level issue DEFINITELY needs to be addressed).

What happens with retiring PCs?
Not every adventurer stays one until his death. Some may want to retire before meeting an untimely end, or because they feel they achieved their goals and have no reason to further embark on quests. As such, a player may decide to retire one of his characters, possibly to make room for a new one, since the number of PCs a player may have is limited.

Retirement is permanent. You cannot choose to return from retirement.

When you decide to retire a character, keep the character sheet intact, but preface it with a note that the character has been retired, and at what level that has happened. If you decide to retire a character of 3rd level or higher, you may start a new character at a higher level than 1st. If you do so, add a link to the post of the new character.

The new character starts one levels lower than the retired one, and has the appropriate starting wealth for that level. However, the character may not buy items that cost more than 1/5 of his starting wealth, with the exception of equipment found in the PHB (the Equipment file of the SRD) and potions (in the Magic Items IV file of the SRD).

For example, a new character started at 2nd level has a starting wealth of 900 gp. He may not buy items that would cost more than 180 gps.

If you wish, you can mark your retired PC as public, effectively turning him into an NPC that DMs can use in their adventures, and possibly develop further.

You may also retire two characters at once. If you do, add their experience and calculate level, then drop the level by 1, to a maximum of the highest-level character retired this way. Start with minimum XP for that level.

Judges
The standing judges are _____. _____ is in charge of the character records. _____ has volunteered as a story coordinator. _____ is in charge of moderating, including the moving, closing, and deleting of threads. All of the listed judges have also volunteered for the proposal committee, which approves proposed content.

In order to be a judge, you must already be participating in L4E and should have a good standing as a consistent and reliable player or DM. This means that judges should be people that frequent the forums. If you want to volunteer to help with any specific functions, ask the judges first: e-mail addresses.

Important Links
Living 4th Edition Wiki Main Page
Character Creation Page
Character Listing Page
General Discussion
(currently Mysteriously Nameless) Inn
Pantheon of Deities

Important Email Addresses
Character Approval Questions: ...
Any Game Mechanics or Character Questions: ...
Adventure approval requests must be sent to all of the following: ...
 

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covaithe

First Post
Glad to see I waited and let you do it, garyh. :) Here are some notes, typing them in as I read.

First, all regular rules for the message boards are in effect. If there is any confusion on this, consult the FAQ

Probably want to link to the FAQ here, and specify that it's the ENWorld FAQ that is meant. I envision that there might be a L4W FAQ at some point, though it would probably be premature to write it at this point.

a member needs to set their settings on the message board so that an active email address is available to other participants in the game. This can be done by going to the User Control Panel -> Settings -> and then selecting to accept emails from other board members.

This is now My Account -> Settings and Options -> Edit Options -> Receive Email from Other Members. I always wondered about this paragraph in the other living world guides. Is it really necessary? The only time I can think of when judges need to email players is when approving characters, or, for DMs, adventures. But in those cases the player contacts the judges first. I wonder if we might try softening the wording to something like "It is strongly suggested that players edit their message board settings to allow email from other members. This allows judges, DMs, and other players to contact you privately if need arises."

A character is created using the guidelines defined in the Living 4th Edition Character Creation wiki page.

I suspect we'll want to keep the character creation rules in a sticky post in this forum, rather than in the wiki. It doesn't need the kind of easiness to edit and revision history that the setting pages or the character sheets themselves do, and would benefit from the security of only judges being able to edit it. But I don't feel strongly about this; it would be easy to start with a wiki and change to a sticky later if people want to try it that way.

The official character wiki page (will need this page) contains every character, whether approved or not, for Living 4th Edition. Characters that have been approved will be marked as so on this page, and dated.

I definitely think that the list of approved characters should not be in the wiki; it should be a sticky post. It's important that only judges be able to edit that.

Each player can have up to three different characters (this is a carryover from LEW, we need to come to a consensus on the number of PC's allowed).

I thought there was consensus for one character at start. There was disagreement as to how soon and under what conditions to allow a second character, but I think there was general agreement for starting with one. Perhaps the wording could be, "Only one character per player is allowed currently, though more characters are expected to be allowed later." Or maybe not; that feels awkward to me at the moment.

Once a character is approved, your character can go to the (currently Mysteriously Nameless) Inn.

Don't we generally allow characters that have been submitted but not approved to hang out in the inn?

When an adventure begins, your character will both need to be approved to join, and be able to stay with the game. This means that you are required to warn the DM if you will not be posting at least once ever two-three days. If you do not warn the DM, they can penalize your character in any experience rewards for the game. Characters can level up after adventures if they have enough experience. Leveling up during an adventure is up to the DM, and because of approval issues it may not be a good idea depending on the group of players.

This paragraph needs some work. For one, it's talking about three different things: 1) you have to be approved before you go on adventure, 2) DMs may penalize your character if you don't warn them before a posting hiatus, and 3) characters shouldn't level up during adventures. I think 3) is completely unnecessary; I don't think I've ever seen a game in LEW where people held off on leveling until the end of an adventure. If a DM wants to delay leveling up, they can just hold off on awarding xp. 1) and 2) are good points, but they need to be phrased better.

Approved characters need to submit for re-approval each time they level up. This is necessary to make sure that a character has the correct information. The wiki will automatically save previous versions of your character, so it will keep a back-up copy of your original approved stats and stats at each level up.

Unapproved characters will never receive experience, so that's just "characters" in the first sentence. The second sentence can be omitted entirely, I think; we're defining the rules here, not defending them.

Any adventure needs to submit the following information in order to be approved: [...]

This list will do for now as a placeholder, but as someone who has puzzled over it trying to figure out how to submit an adventure proposal based on it, I can say with some authority that it leaves something to be desired. Still, I'm not sure how to do better. Maybe this is something for the wiki? An example would also help; maybe once we get a few completed adventures under our collective belt, we can dig up one of their proposals and document it as a template.

the DM can begin recruiting if necessary. The (currently Mysteriously Nameless) Inn is the place to go to find a party of adventurers.

I'd like to see the adventure recruitment process be more open to hooks that don't start with the tavern, so I'd like to see that possibility reflected here. Perhaps something like, "Most adventures start with an NPC recruiting a party of adventurers from the (Mysteriously Nameless) inn, but DMs may also arrange a different beginning by arranging it OOC in the general discussion thread."

For time spend adventuring, 50XPs will be assigned per level per month, to a maximum of 400 XPs/month for PCs level 8 and above. (This is another LEW carry-over that we haven't discussed at all)

Good point. I hope we'll carry this over, but if so we should do so by explicitly deciding it, rather than slipping it in under the door, so to speak. But hey, one of the purposes of this draft is to find these things.

World Building

(We haven't really discussed on-going world building at all, just initial setting start-up issues)

True, but we've gone to some trouble in the setting proposals to allow for a fair amount of leeway for DMs to create content in their adventures. I think we can take that as an implicit goal, and the basic way that the world gets created. Players can create content too in their backstories, though at a much more granular level (individual people and specific events rather than geography, locations and so forth). I suppose we might want to describe this somehow in the charter, but the LEW verbiage always felt to me like groundwork for a more rigid system of structured worldbuilding that never materialized. LEB's concept of interfaces goes a little farther, but seems unnecessary to me. Perhaps people with more LEB chops than me can speak to that. In short, I think we can probably just say that individual characters' backgrounds are private and not to be used as character knowledge or adventure material without that player's permission, and let the rest of the worldbuilding take care of itself.

Third tier content, such as mechanics, is a special variety. There are strict rules about what can be proposed through this. First of all, the content must be Open Game Content or be an original creation. You cannot propose published material that is not OGC, because we cannot accept it into our setting.

This certainly needs a change, since we're building this whole game off of non-open content.

Once a particular item is brought up for vote, YES votes need to exceed NO votes by at least 2 to pass, with a minimum of 3 YES votes. If NO votes exceed YES votes by at least 2, with a minimum of 3 NO votes, the matter is closed. Voting will remain open until either of these conditions has been met for a continuous period of 48 hours, at which point the decision becomes official.

We've been using the LEB version of the voting rules rather than the LEW as described here. In LEW, 4 yes to 2 no would pass, but it would not in LEB, if I've understood the system properly, which I'm not sure of, since the LEB one seems to be assuming a specific number of judges. If we were to use LEB-based rules, I'd rephrase them as "YES votes need to exceed NO votes by at least 3 to pass, with a minimum of 3 YES votes," and similarly for failures.

I don't have a strong preference myself. Requiring a pass by 3 is more conservative; it will make it harder for new rules content to be approved. Which may be a good thing; I don't know.

What happens with dead PCs? (Another area we need to address)

There seemed to be an informal consensus in the discussion thread to allow PCs to be raised as with the Raise Dead ritual in the PHB. We should probably require of setting proposals that they include some information about which temples are likely to be able, and willing, to perform Raise Dead, if only as a guideline for DMs.

This raises another question though, one that's related to this question but runs much deeper. It was a kind of unstated world-building goal for LEW that high level NPCs be rare and not affect the game world too much; the goal being that the PCs would be larger-than-life, worldshaking figures. Do we want the same for L4W? If so, we might should have some guidelines, possibly on the wiki and not as part of this document, that address NPC levels.

But the reason I thought of this is that Raise Dead requires at least an 8th level caster. Those may (or may not) be pretty rare, depending on what we decide.

What level to allow replacement characters after permanent death or retirement is something to be discussed, certainly.
 

garyh

First Post
Oh, there's certainly a TON of work still to be done here. I even agree with most of your points - I just didn't want to go making too big a change to the starting point without getting this kind of feedback. Seeing things you know you want to change laid out can spark the kid of dialog we need to get things right. I'll see if we can get some more comments before I do a second draft or anything.
 

Graf

First Post
I think people should turn their email on.
It's unbelievably annoying to try to contact someone and try to contact someone and they've got everything turned off. Then have them come back two weeks later and be like "well, you never told me so how was I supposed to know...."

If you don't want to commit to at least receiving communication then I'm firmly of the opinion that people shouldn't play.

You don't even need to give out your primarily. Just set up a secondary on gmail or whatever and have it forwarded.

>>Once a character is approved, your character can go to the
>>(currently Mysteriously Nameless) Inn.
>Don't we generally allow characters that have been submitted but not approved to hang out in the inn?

This has confused me since I first saw it. What's the point of approval if people start playing before this...?
It's in the character guide too.

>"Most adventures start with an NPC recruiting a
> party of adventurers from the (Mysteriously Nameless)
> inn, but DMs may also arrange a different beginning by
> arranging it OOC in the general discussion thread."
Concur with this language.

>But the reason I thought of this is that Raise Dead
> requires at least an 8th level caster. Those may
> (or may not) be pretty rare, depending on what
> we decide.
This is how it worked in 3.x. 4e is completely different.
It requires an 8th level PC.
But 4e NPCs can just use rituals.

Personally I like "death to mean something" etc etc in my games. At the same time... somebody gets a bad roll (or winds up in a bad group) and their lovingly crafted PC dies?
I don't see the harm in allowing them to bring them back; we just need to "build with that as a option".

I put some time into writing up Hadeys in such a way as that "returning from the grave" is imminently reasonable in roleplaying terms; specifically with this in mind. "He can't resist the offer to be paid for something twice".

I like the idea of "owing Hadeys a debt" that they need to repay in the future.
Maybe an involuntary trip to the underworld to perform for him in a gladiatorial combat?
 
Last edited:


covaithe

First Post
That's basically it. It can take sometimes a week or two to recruit a party, during which time nobody is doing anything except talking. There have been a lot of times when it would have been far more difficult to come up with something resembling a balanced party if characters that were proposed but not yet approved were unable to be considered. My current adventure "Urn Your Pay" in LEW would have been delayed by weeks.
 


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