Avlis has three distinct classes of rules you'll run across while playing: Team or Server Rules, Player/Community Guidelines, and In Character Laws. An overview is given below.
Team or Server Rules
These are the rules that are most important to know as a player before you begin playing. They include punishments for offenses that disrupt the play of other players, or abuse bugs in the game for your own benefit. These rules are Out of Character, meaning that they all involve things you as a Player should know better than to do. They include things such as
- Abusing bugs to rob other players
- Harassing other players through OOC means, such as Tells.
- Metagaming (using knowedge you gain in an OOC manner to help your character).
These rules are covered as "General Rules," and "Specific Rules." When you see something on the wiki called "Rules," it's a sign that this is a Team/Server Rule.
These are called "guidelines" to distinguish them from "rules." These are unofficial rules that the community at large tries to adhere to. For example, according to the letter of the Server Rules, you can freely kill and loot another player if you can justify it In Character, but player guidelines (the Gentlemen's Agreement) advise you not to. If you break this, you won't be immediately banned, but you may find yourself unwelcome in the community.
At an extreme of this are things "Frowned Upon by the Team." Most player guidelines also include this, for example, killing and looting someone, or excessive powergaming. You may find yourself ignored by DMs for breaking these guidelines, but not immediately punished. However, when someone who breaks these guidelines breaks a Server Rule, they are more likely to be punished harshly than someone who is an upstanding community member.
In Character Laws
These are called "laws" to distinguish them from the other categories previously discussed. Since Avlis is a role playing game, we act out our roles in a fantasy world. Any real world wouldn't be complete without laws, and similarly the fantasy world of Avlis also has laws. These laws can be distinguished from the above two because they govern what your character may do (the prior two categories covered what you as a player may do).
Breaking these laws is perfectly accepted by the community of players. Simply expect other characters in game to role play along with their responses, and stay in your role as the lawbreaker. For example, if your character mugs someone in sight of a guard, expect that guard to punish your character for it. This isn't a judgement on you as a player, but solely a role playing reaction to what your character did.
The laws of each city can be found on the In Character boards (www.avlis.org), and also on the descriptions of each nation on the Wiki. When in doubt, you can simply ask another character what the laws of the city/nation are.
One final note on In Character Laws: some offenses that happen in-character are explicitly against the Server Rules. The major example of this is sex crimes. A character found to be comitting these kinds of acts will be punished harshly by the team (since this is a very delicate subject and not one which Avlis takes lightly), despite the fact that you might consider it "In Character." So please read the Server Rules first before assuming you'll only be facing In Character Laws.