The Human Domestication Guide is a collaborative project, in which many people have poured their heart and a considerable amount of time.
For this reason, please do not challenge these guidelines just for the sake of it. Many people join the setting with their first intention being to create evil affinis, or to write a story where terrans are stronger than the affini and able to harm them, just because they see the opportunity to write something that hasn't been done before.
Unlike regular fanfiction, where canon is only dictated by the original author, HDG is a collaborative project, its canon is shaped by the community. Many people have spent dozens, sometimes hundreds, of hours contributing to it, and because of this it is important to be respectful of their work and make sure that this canon remains as consistent as possible.
Nonetheless, these are guidelines, not rules. This means that many of them can be somewhat bent, if you know what you are doing and have a good grasp of the “vibes" of the setting. Going further, it is even possible to write non-canon stories that still understand what the setting is about, though we'd recommend writing a regular HDG story before attempting such a thing.
This page aims to help you better understand these guidelines, as well as why they were created in the first place. We strongly recommend you read this page in its entirety before attempting to write a HDG story, as it was made with new writers in mind. If you have more questions, the Discord server will be more than happy to answer them!
For more technical information on xenodrugs, xeno species and such, check out the “Important Pages” section in the navigation menu!
That is the core tenet of the Affini. They do what they do to help. And they always do. They are, by all indicators, benevolent and moral. However, their moral compass does differ from ours. In that regard, you cannot treat Affini as if they were humans. They do not value independence when they believe a sophont would live a better life as a floret, for example. They can thus sometimes employ sneaky or underhanded tactics when trying to help, if they believe it to be necessary, but they always aim to leave a sophont better than they were before.
The affini respect the wishes and desires of all sophonts (their florets and their non-floret, non-affini citizens) so long as these wants and desires do not run counter to the fundamentals of their ideological goals (Ensuring happiness, safety and wellbeing for everyone, maintaining the dominance of the affini compact, getting to pet cute sophonts).
The affini do not believe other sophonts to be inferior to them. They may be condescending and overly proud at times, but this does not translate to them feeling like they are worth more than them. On the contrary, the affini actually value other sophonts' lives higher than their own, even if they believe themselves to be more responsible. Harming an affini will have fewer consequences than harming another sophont will.
That said, affini tend to be centuries-old, biologically immortal shapeshifters with many decades of experience in their disciplines and the ability to survive damage that would kill almost any other sophont. Thus, especially when interacting with a newly pacified species with a generally feralist culture, there can be a (frequently, but not always, justified) predisposition for Affini to assume they know what's best. This belief doesn't come with the presumptive connotations that being incorrect or less capable reflects negatively on the value of the sophont, though it is understandable that those used to Terran cultural norms might feel that way.
This is a cornerstone of the setting that is fundamentally needed to make it work. Without that certainty, the inherent comfort of the setting collapses. The affini have to be all powerful and benevolent, or they would become existentially terrifying, which would then result in serious moral dilemmas.
There are no civilizations more powerful than the Affini Compact. Some civilizations might have individual fields of tech that are similar to affini tech levels, but only extremely rarely. That is not to say that the affini don't have limits, or that nothing bad can ever happen. The affini, as individuals, are flawed and capable of making mistakes. Systemic mistakes, on the other hand, are vanishingly rare, and become even less common when they would result in fatalities, injuries, and injustice.
This is the necessary corrollary to The Affini Always Win: There is no way for Terrans, as a whole, to meaningfully resist or defeat the Affini. This does not mean individual Terrans cannot have individual victories. A Terran might successfully harm an Affini, or even force an Affini to rebloom if they have a particularly overwhelming advantage, and possibly even manage to escape them in a given instance. Any such victory, however, is at best fleeting and always individual in scope. It will never change the broader outcome, because the Affini as a whole will always, eventually, win.
These little victories aren't inherently a bad thing — if they're serving to ratchet up the dramatic tension or setting up something that'll happen later, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. When you write one, ask yourself: "What does this encounter add to the story? Why am I including it? How does it make getting to the ultimate victory of the Affini more exciting or interesting?"
One of the best ways to approach small victories like this is to ground it in Affini compassion, because a Terran's greatest advantage against the Affini is that the Affini care. Many Terrans, of course, don't realize this, because propaganda has taught them to see the Affini as an existential threat, but some do, and some may also, without realizing, inadvertently take advantage of this trait. The Affini will sometimes let Terrans get away or otherwise claim a short-term victory because it's preferable to risking them coming to harm, but ultimately a sophont that poses a threat to themselves or others only makes the Affini more determined to come to their aid. The Affini are playing a long game, and one way or another every Terran who resists them will eventually realize that doing so was a pointless gesture that, at best, only delayed the inevitable.
The Affini Compact is a post-scarcity kinky queer luxury space communist utopia. Obviously, capitalism does not come standard, nor is it an available option — capitalism is inherently exploitative and requires scarcity to function, neither of which are things the Affini will tolerate.
Sometimes, the question of, "but what if a character needs material accumulation to be happy?" is raised, and the short answer is "the Affini aren't going to let one sophont recreate systems of oppression, violence, and power over others no matter how happy it makes them."
The long answer is, well, longer. Most sophonts who claim that material accumulation is necessary to their well-being — and certainly every Terran who claims it — are going to have been raised in a culture that both exalts wealth and actively criminalizes poverty. This creates a very powerful motivation to both acquire and retain money — under capitalism, it's required to live! This rationale, however, no longer applies in the Affini Compact. Most sophonts will eventually realize this after a bit of interaction with their friendly household compiler, which will happily spit out virtually anything they ask it to.
Those rare sophonts who, even in a post-scarcity society, still obsess over and pursue material wealth for its own sake may require therapy and possibly a wardship, both of which the Affini will happily provide, until such a time as they're able to unclench from the trauma of having lived under capitalism. Sophonts upset that their former wealth and stature in society no longer affords them special privileges will likely end up in the same boat.
Games or simulated economies are, potentially, permissible under the Compact, but these will be strictly controlled, especially in the context of a culture, like Terrans, still recovering from capitalism. Essentially, any economy game the Affini tolerate will have about as much social meaning as your score in Cookie Clicker — just because the computer says you have fifteen quadrillion cookies does not mean you get fifteen quadrillion actual cookies.
HDG is fundamentally an adult and kink setting. For this reason it is impossible for characters to interact with the setting in any way that is neither adult or kinky. Thus, exploring the question of minors in the setting is forbidden and we ask that you do not do it under any circumstances.
This also includes “lolis” (or characters that could reasonably be mistaken for children), breeding, the idea of having children, or the implication of children.
You can mention a character's childhood, depict it in flashbacks set before the arrival of the Affini, and have characters recall and discuss their childhood, but minors cannot be depicted as or implied to be interacting with the Affini or the society that they have built, directly or indirectly.
This rule exists for out-of-universe reasons which should be obvious, not for in-universe ones, so we ask that creators and the audience suspend their disbelief and just don't overthink it. (Discussions about systemic floret sterilization and comparisons to real life reproductive violence and eugenics are definitely overthinking it.)
Human Domestication Guide is a collaborative setting built and maintained by its community, which means that there's a certain degree of flexibility built into the setting itself. Consistency here does not mean that the HDG canon is a fixed, relentlessly fact-checked one, where even the smallest of details in earlier stories must be rigorously adhered to by subsequent entries. As an example, there have already been several Affini names repeated across the canon — it just happens, and that's okay.
Authors of HDG stories have room to build onto the settling, room to play with new ideas within it, and to generally write the story they want to write. The canon guidelines are provided to help authors do so in a way that respects the setting and the work others have put into it. Stories may actively diverge from canon, and that's fine, but doing so should be an intentional choice that is respectful of the canon even if it doesn't adhere to it, such as an Alternate Universe fic where some of the basic assumptions of the setting are changed. Examples include fantasy AUs, the Affini arriving earlier than in canon, and so on — the Affini are still recognizably the Affini in these stories, even if the details vary.
However, it's important to note that even stories verified as canon frequently diverge from one another. We often say that we don't aspire to the kind of hyper-detailed continuity of, say, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but rather to something like the James Bond canon.
What does that mean? On a macro level, it means that different stories will have different vibes, focus on different themes, and ultimately look very different from one another. Sometimes HDG is a setting heavy on the non-consensual aspects, where feralists are cunningly broken down by big, scary Affini who do all kinds of erotically charged things to the helpless little terran, and sometimes HDG is a fluffy comfort setting where all the florets get in a big cuddle puddle and play video games and maybe, if they're feeling very scandalous, hold hands. Both of these takes are consistent with the canon guidelines and are celebrated parts of the setting — neither is more HDG than the other.
Meanwhile, on the narrative and creative level, it means that consistency is a matter of being respectful of others' stories. Terran space is a big place, with an estimated 2 million stars, and there's room for stories of all kinds in a sandbox that big. Sometimes, though, stories do run up against one another. Sometimes, an author likes another author's idea so much they specifically want to play with it or expand on it further. This is not in and of itself a problem — but when it happens, if you're the author playing with something someone else has already created, we ask that you be kind and considerate about doing so, and respect what they've added to the canon. If you want to play with their characters, you should at the very least ask if they're okay with that before writing anything down. We especially ask that you not actively contradict other stories — writing "fix fics," targeting other authors or their characters, or similar practices in this vein negatively impacts the community. Please remember that HDG stories don't simply emerge from the aether fully formed, but are the product of another sophont's hard work and care.
This isn't to say that you can never write a work that's critical of the Compact, but ultimately this is a comfort setting and more-or-less a utopia. Works that approach the universe with a metatextual hatred of the affini generally won't work with the canon, and it also disrespects the work that other authors have done to create a relatively kind and benevolent universe.