Friday, December 4, 2009

Guilds and Groups and Leaders

I've been asking folks lately what sorts of posts they would like to see on the blog here. The other day a really good idea was put forth by Doagle, who wanted to see something about maintaining a healthy distance between you and your character. This is a tough topic that I'll try to start to address in a later post once I get my thoughts wrapped around it a little more.

In the meantime though, I wanted to take the time to expound a little more on some of this morning's changes (Guilds!) and offer a 3rd plug for one of the related topics.

Over the last couple weeks I've slowly been inching towards the little bit of maintenance that I did this morning on the MUD. Looking at the guild list and seeing some on there that really haven't been cutting it lately, some that have, and some that..well it doesn't matter as much is kind of annoying sometimes. Thus, I decided that I wanted to strip out some of the dead wood to leave room for some new growth. Folks weren't doing much with their nobles, so that was the first thing to pare down. It was kind of a toss-up between leaving two houses and only leaving one. It doesn't make sense to leave Damodred, I figured, since they are the most powerful house ICly anyway (what with Laman being on the Sun Throne), so it had to be one of the others. Riatin is usually the next best choice, so that's what stayed. To keep Damodred down a little, I threw them out along with Saighan. What does this mean? It means that if you want to play a noble, get into politics a little, exert some influence over the city, bluster and try to order about some guards..well you're locked into Riatin for the time being. Once they get back on their feet a bit more we'll bring back some others.

The AFAC (known to some as Aflac) is also out, mostly because nobody can seem to do much with them right now the few times we've tried. I love the idea of having a group to represent the criminal underworld in Cairhien, but I found that this particular one didn't work as well without its founder. Much like what happened to another group, I've tossed them out to leave room in case someone would like to start up their own thief/assassin/etc. guild. It's really a pretty nifty sort of thing once you get into it, so I'd definitely encourage folks to think about it.

The one that may draw a little heat comparatively is probably the Mercenaries of Fortune. The Mercs had a couple people that actually were logging in, though they weren't really doing to much outside their own little group. I think this is all due mostly to a lack of clear vision and leadership to the group now that their founding father is also gone. Limping along simply to limp along seemed to be most of what was happening. We've talked about throwing them out with the bathwater before, but always decided to give it another go. This time, I decided that it was probably time that they go the way of the AotH, etc. before them and disband.

This does a couple things: first, it frees up all the IC "power" they had accumulated, namely the NPCs can now go back to their family. Granted, that wasn't really a huge number, but there's no longer a group of a bunch of mercenaries camped somewhere out there getting into trouble. Second, it also affects the players who were involved. For those who haven't logged in for a while, it's probably not going to mean a whole lot. For those who've been on...well that's a bit different. You're all now free to go do contract work, RP with and teach others, etc. You may have woken up without a job all of a sudden, but that doesn't mean that the relationships that you formed within that group have to go away just because the group isn't there anymore. The opposite is probably also true, since now you aren't really as obligated to teach/RP/hang out with those people from the mercs anymore if you don't want to.

Much like with the AFAC, this also opens the door to a new mercenary group being formed. Someone had asked me a couple weeks ago whether I thought it was possible for them to form their own merc group. The answer I kind of had to give at the time was basically a wait and see thing. It doesn't necessarily make the most sense (at this moment) to have two competing ones, especially where one isn't a rising star and the other is fading away. So with that in mind, if you'd like to form up your own merc group, now's the time to start thinking about it.

On the note of guild creation, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, read the help files for guildstart/guildstart2. They lay out the requirements for starting your own group. There are a couple things in there that tend to be stumbling blocks for people though. The first of those is the CP requirement. If you read up on that, you'll find it's at 150. That's kind of a lot to scrape together for most folks, even if you're pooling your resources. I added a note today to the help files saying that some clemency can be given in this area. What I mean by that is that if you can't scrape together the full amount I'll still consider the group's application,  you just won't get as much bang for your buck. Namely, no guild area and such for starters. Just talk to me, and we may be able to come up with a figure that you can meet, don't let a lack of CP be what stops you from putting stuff together. The putting things together bit can be tougher than people realize too. It takes 5 people (total) for a group that wasn't from the books, and 6 for one that was. The reason for that is to make sure that you get off on the right foot and have enough folks to actually be able to RP together, get some interesting guild events going, etc. It can be kinda tough to get that many folks together and have them all agree on things like who should be the leader, etc. though. It's that person that gets interviewed, but they should also be your IC leader too because we want to know how your IC leader is going to operate, not just whether you have someone in your group that can be a convincing salesperson.

One of the other stumbling blocks can sometimes be that you have a really great idea, but you don't really have the muscle to back it up. Say that you want to start an assassin guild. You have a great concept for one, and you have a bunch of friends who want to be part of it, but there's one problem. None of you really have any of the associated forms, skills, etc. On the surface, it would be sheer folly to form a group like that without those things. Well, we can help. If you have some key roles that require someone with a specific background, or particular forms and skills, and none of the people that you have brought together to form your new guild has any of that, it's still something we can help you work around. New guilds are great things, and I like to encourage them. Thus, if you can get the good concept, and the good people together, I'll definitely entertain applications for SSet characters from them to give them a leg up to get started. The apps will still have to be reasonable ones and such to be accepted, but just know that the option is definitely there.

One thing that I think is worth mentioning in all this is the guild leader person (again, really). While it may be, on the surface at least, enough to have a good concept in terms of what'll get you a guild, you're going to need more than that if you want it to succeed and mean something in the long run. Folks, you actually need a plan for what you want to do. Having a mercenary group isn't as good as having a mercenary group with an agenda that consists of more than "fight for moniesz." A starting point might be groups that you want to work for/with, causes you want to champion, innocents you want to terrorize, etc. I'm not saying any of this is like, a pre-requisite for having a guild, just that you should definitely take it into consideration if you want your guild to last.

All that being said, sometimes it may make more sense for there not to be A leader, but rather for there to be a group. Running things by committee can be a real disaster, but it can also work just fine if the mix is right. This is a viable option for setting things up, though there will still need to be one spokesperson for the staff interview part.

I think that's about it for now. If you have questions or want to just bounce ideas off me to see if they're feasible, let me know.


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