If you’ve ever attended a big festival like a renaissance faire, then you know it is a great event because it has so many different activities to attract people from a wide range of demographics. I travel around a lot and always enjoy attending the local ones at various locations across North America. It was at just one such event that I had an idea to host a similar festival in my favorite text MUD!
Even though I am a chef in the game that I play, coordinating a worldwide festival required more work than creating recipes for Barney the Bard’s Beer Cheese Soup and Siroccian Snake Steak on a Stake for people to enjoy during a jousting or arena event. I had to seek out services of juggling jesters, noble knights, mystical magi, and even a menagerie of animals for a stinking pet show. (And trust me – with that many animals, it did stink!)
Learning as You Go
Eventually I managed to get everything together, and the event went off with just a few slight hitches. If you are planning to hold some kind of festival in your favorite RPG then take my advice – it is a lot of work, and you will not get the thanks you deserve, but it will be a lot of fun. Having learned from my own mistakes with the first event I hosted, here are some questions I now ask myself before planning other big events.
What is the goal of the event? – Your event might be something that is just for fun, or you might actually have a goal in mind, like to raise funds for a specific purpose.
Who will attend? – This is important not only so you will know who is on your guest list and how many people to prepare for, but also for how to plan your event. For example if the dwarves and goblins are warring and you invite all the dwarves in the lands, then you do not want to hire a bard to sing the praises of the Goblin King.
Where will you host the event? – Can people get to the venue by their own means, or do you need to provide some kind of transportation, like a magical portal or someone with access to special areas of the game?
When will your event take place? – This will depend not only on your schedule but also on when the bulk of your guests are around in the lands as well. If you host your event at 1100 GMT on a weekday, when only 20 people total are around in the land, then you will not have as much success as if you have your event at 2300 on a weekend when there are 200 people in the lands!
What activities will you feature? – When planning activities, see what members of your planning committee have to offer. Maybe one person is passionate about hosting games of chance. Another might be adept at coordinating interactive puppet shows. And someone else might have an in with a large number of bards who can provide music and other entertainment.
What is your budget? – This is how much you will spend at your event overall. There is nothing worse than wrapping up your festival and finding out that you have lost a bunch of money – especially if you planned to turn a profit. Knowing what you expect to spend can help prevent any shocking financial facts when your event ends.
How will you promote your event? – Will you just use the news? Maybe someone on your committee can make posters or has experience in creating clever adverts. No matter how you promote your event, you should make sure that the message or purpose of your event does not get lost in the advertising.
Using Feedback for Future Events
After my festival, I talked to a lot of people inside the game. I also listened to what people had to say on the forums. Some of it was really hard to listen to, because there were some harsh comments! But after I reminded myself that it was just a game, I looked for the constructive message in both the compliments and the complaints. Needless to say, my next festival went a lot smoother. I’m already looking forward to Spring Break so I can host some other kind of event!
About the Author
Rick Williams discovered RPGs in high school and played all through university as well. After obtaining a degree, he landed a desk job that allows him to play all his favorite MUD games between work assignments. In his free time he is an avid sports enthusiast, and is always up for trying out something new. For example he recently competed in a mountain bike race in western Canada.