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Created on 2017-09-13 00:32:55 (#3290088), last updated 2019-03-03 (6 weeks ago)

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Name:Black Emporium
Posting Access:All Members
The Black Emporium: relics and antiques for the discerning traveler.

Black Emporium is a special fanwork gift exchange, meant to foster growth in rare pairings in the Dragon Age fandom. For the purposes of this gift exchange, a rare pairing is any pairing with less than 300 fanfics on AO3.

Nominations July 28-August 1
Signups August 2-11
Assignments August 12
Due date September 23
Works revealed September 30
Creators revealed October 7


1. What’s a fic exchange?

A fic exchange is where a group of authors and artists sign up to write and draw art for one another. Everyone that has signed up will create at least one fanwork and receive at least one fanwork.

2. So what’s this exchange about?

This exchange is meant to celebrate all rare pairs in the Dragon Age fandom, whether the pairing is canon, non-canon, or sheer crack.

3. Well then, what’s a rare pairing?

For the purpose of this exchange, a rare pair is a pairing with less than 300 completed works on Ao3. Pairings can also include threesomes/moresomes.

4. So let’s say I’m interested. What would be required of me, if I decided to participate?

You will sign up to either write one fanfic or draw one piece of fanart. This exchange will be run entirely through Ao3, so you must have an Ao3 account to participate. If you don’t have an account, contact a mod for assistance.
All fanfics written for the exchange have to be a minimum of 1,000 words. There is no maximum word count. Fics cannot be part of a series – they must be able to stand alone.

Art can be computer or hand drawn and must be complete. Manips are allowed as art, but must be complete and not simply an in-game screenshot with a filter on it.

Both fanart and fanfic may be explicit works provided that they are tagged appropriately. For more guidance on explicit works and tagging, you can check the Ao3 FAQ.

5. Okay, so how do I write a fic or draw a picture for this? How do I know what to draw/write?

The exchange runs through several different parts:

5-1. Nominations: July 27 - August 1st

You can nominate up to 10 different pairings. Pairings may be slash, femslash, het, threesomes, or moresomes. The moderators will go through the pairings to check how many completed works there are on Ao3 – any pairing over 300 completed works will be rejected.

For the purposes of this challenge, the Dragon Age protagonists will be considered different characters based on their gender and surname. This means that there are fourteen Wardens, two Hawkes, and eight Inquisitors to choose from. Please nominate your protagonist of preference with these two criteria in mind. So: Female Trevelyan/Male Cousland will be accepted as a nomination; Inquisitor/Warden will not. If you have any specific class, appearance or background preferences you are free to request them in your prompt.

Since protagonists are considered different characters based on these criteria, you can nominate eligible pairings where one version of the pairing is over the limit. For example, you can request Male Lavellan/Solas, even if Female Lavellan/Solas is over the limit.

Please note that custom/individual Warden/Hawke/Inquisitors are not valid nominations. For example, Mary Trevelyan/Cullen will be considered and evaluated the same as Female Trevelyan/Cullen. However, you can give optional details, such as a preferred name, in your requests.

However, original characters who are NOT Wardens/Hawkes/Inquisitors are allowed, provided they follow the following guidelines:

a) The OC is listed in the relationship in such a way as to give someone freedom in how to write them (e.g. "Orlesian Noble" or "Original Templar Character" instead of "my OC Gerald D'Vivir") - a good rule of thumb here is whether the character can be summed up in 3 or less words

b) The OC is not listed in such a way that would, essentially, reflect the spirit of a canon character that is otherwise not permitted in a relationship. See again: "Mary Trevelyan, a modern girl who fell through the rift and became inquisitor/Cullen" is still ineligible, even if there are only 5 fics with that tag.

Once nominations are approved, we then proceed to the next stage: Signups.

5-2. Signups: August 2nd - August 11th

After nominations are complete, you will be allowed to fill out a form of requested approved pairings that you would like to create and receive fic/art for. (They do not necessarily have to be the same!) You must fill out at least five requests and three offers. You may only select each pairing once, but may give multiple ideas per pairing in your prompt.

For your sign-ups, please go into some detail about what you would like; this helps give the creator of your work some different ideas about what they could make for you. You can put this information in the Ao3 signup form, or in a letter on a third party site, or some combination of both.

Good things to list: general likes, world state options you favor that are relevant to your prompt (eg Anora is Queen/Alistair is King, etc), rating restrictions, prompt ideas, squicks/triggers/do-not-wants, or anything else you’d like the writer to know. Make sure you list things you do not want. Authors and artists are absolutely forbidden to ignore these DNWs. Otherwise, the only guideline of your prompt they are unequivocally beholden to is the requested pairing, though they are encouraged to take your preferences into consideration.

Here’s an example:

Cassandra Pentaghast/Male Adaar: I’ve always wondered what the relationship between Cassandra and Adaar would be like after she becomes the Divine. Please keep it happy, or as happy as things can get in the Chantry.

DNW: no break-up, no non-con, no death.

5-3. Matching: August 12th

After sign-ups are completed, the mods will begin to match people based on their interests. You are guaranteed to have a match by August 13th. If you do not have a match by then, please contact the mods.

Once matching is complete, you will receive an email with your assignment. You will be assigned to write or draw for someone who requested at least one of the pairings that you offered to write or draw for. Since everyone must put in at least five requests, it is likely that your assignment will include pairings that you did not request or parts of canon you may not be familiar with.

5-4. Create a fanwork: August 13th - September 23rd

After you receive your assignment, you should select one of the pairings in your assignment that interests you and start working on your fanwork. The pairing does not have to be the one you signed up with – if there’s something else that catches your eye, you’re most welcome to run with it! You will have six weeks to complete your assignment. Again, you must honor any do-not-wants listed by your recipient but otherwise, you must only create a work with one of the pairings they requested.

You must remain anonymous (e.g., not let your recipient or anyone else know who you are creating for or what you are creating) during this period. If you have any questions to pose to your recipient and are not sure how to go about it, you can ask a mod for help.

5-5. Posting: September 23

All stories and art must be posted by September 23. You may continue to edit your fanwork until November 20th, but it is imperative that you have a complete work submitted on the 13th. The mods will then go through posted fanworks to make sure that they are not placeholders (eg garbage text, incomplete stories, un-altered screenshots, etc.). You may put your story or art in the collection earlier without impunity.

5-6. Reveals: September 30th-October 7th

All stories and art will be revealed anonymously on September 30th. You must have your final draft up by this time. Creators will be revealed on October 7th; after this point, you may post your fic or art on your own tumblr/DW/etc or other third-party websites.

You are required to comment on any and all gifts produced for you. Anyone who does not leave a comment on a gift for them will be banned until they leave at least a two-sentence comment on their assigned gift.

6. Uh…crap. So it looks like I bit off more than I can chew. Uh… can I just… not post anything?

The purpose of a fic exchange is for everyone to have a present. If you know you cannot finish your assignment by the due date, it is imperative that you contact the mods as soon as possible. People who default in this challenge must write a full-length treat before the start of the next round if they wish to participate in future rounds of Black Emporium.

Defaults will be sent out to a pinch hitters list in order to ensure that recipients do not go giftless. The archive won’t open until everyone has something.

7. I’m not sure I can commit to the full challenge, but I’d like to write/draw something. Is there anything I can do?

Yes! You may pinch hit and write fics or draw art for people who have to default. You may also volunteer to beta or write or draw treats.

8. What exactly is a treat? Who can create treats?

A treat is any fanwork created for this exchange that is not a participant’s assignment. You can create treats for anyone who is participating – you don’t even have to have signed up to write a treat! You can even create a treat for your recipient if there is just a prompt that really grabbed your attention.

Treats have no minimum word count but must follow the same rules about do-not-wants.


All of the nominated pairings on our list are absolutely beholden to these stipulations:
* No extreme underage sex (i.e. explicit sexual content depicting children of pre-pubescent age)
* No heterosexual couples where one of the participants is homosexual in canon

Aside from these rules, we are not in the habit of policing fan creativity or otherwise prohibit transformative works that deal with sensitive issues like abuse, rape, and other potentially problematic adult themes. We believe that these works absolutely have merit in their own right, and we will not project real-world judgment on fictional scenarios. We hope our participants can muster the same maturity.

That being said, we understand that not everyone wants to read stories with this kind of content. This is why we have several rules in place that hopefully protect both author/artist and audience from interacting with fan content they do not want to:

Participants are to write down their do-not-wants in their description box or letter on their Sign Up Form. Their assigned author or artist are absolutely forbidden to cross these lines.

Authors and artists will not be forced to create content they do not want to. The only thing they are unequivocally beholden to write/draw is one of their recipient’s requested pairings. If their recipient asks for a scenario they do not feel comfortable with creating, they are free to ignore their prompt. If an author/artist absolutely feels like they cannot create a fanwork for their assigned recipient, they may contact the mods and we will come up with a solution together.

Our participants are required to tag their work(s) appropriately, and otherwise ask us if they are unsure. This means that they are to warn for any adult themes and scenarios. As such, it is your personal responsibility as a reader to check the tags and rating of a fanwork you are about to access. We’d also like to point out that the ‘back’ button is there for a reason, and that the old axiom of don’t like, don’t read still holds water. We highly disapprove of flaming fanworks that do not pertain to your particular tastes and will take action.

These rules will be enforced by the mods before the Black Emporium Archive opens. We will go through all the fanworks and make sure they do not violate the rules as described above. If they do, the creator will be asked to rectify the oversight. In our experience, participants are rarely malevolent in this matter and have only forgotten a tag due to a genuine oversight or misinterpretation.
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