Running Cultural Events

edited December 2021 in Common Grounds

Tossing suggestions here. Feel free to add your own or discuss. I am not an expert. Please don't take this as prescription.

Communication

Getting the word out feels like the biggest part of parties and contests. Much of this won't apply to casual get-togethers.

  1. OOC Calendar: Convert those dates somewhere, like Uzriel's post of the Bloodfaire. Or a Google Calendar to share.
  2. Town Crier: If you have aides waking at different times than you, they're great to assist with being a town crier. And New Celest has an actual NPC for this role?
  3. OOC Tweet: Give a town crier message before it happens, using Twitter. Since this is how conflict events and notices before admin-run things are given, best to tweet for something happening Soon. Can only do it once a RL month, unless you Issue yourself with a request. If doing the latter route, Issue early so admin have time to respond.
  4. Org Messages: Probably the best place to get people's eyes on it in-game without expending energy. This works best if there aren't messages that have been there for a long time. People's eyes will skip a block if they see a familiar line at the top. Consider moving those lines somewhere else. (It's a lot of messages for people in all commune/city, guild, and order organisations.) Or swapping the message to be at the top. Changing the colour seems to help for visual folk. Consider the TMS Vote message in comparison.
  5. News posts: Best format for getting out info, including tiers of prizes if relevant. These will fade from people's memory if it's not an activity in the next week.
  6. Individual invites: These work for more formal events or big bashes. Make sure the invite won't decay before the party.
  7. Not advised: Flyers at nexuses. People's eyes don't go to mortal letters or scrolls at nexuses because there's a lot of stuff already there. (However that special scroll to signup or the Ascension Gala would have the useful feature of acting as an RSVP and letting you get a headcount of attendees for goodie bags. Possible PR request?)
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  • edited December 2021

    Types of Events

    Xiran's on the serious side as Minister, so her planned things have a Theme or Purpose. Luckily other folks keep things fun and are better at spontaneity. Activities run the gamut from small to large, and they all work to promote culture. If you have people helping you out, that is amazing. If you don't, that is okay. It may start that way if things have been quiet a while. Find what works with the time you have available.

    Small and Spontaneous

    These tend not to need more than a single call on the aether. Gathering people together to paint (like Velcora does), or do rounds of psychodrama doesn't have to be more complicated than calling for an Astral hunt. Run a 'newbie session' once in a while for those new to the activity to get more people to join in. Tell stories or give tours of your favourite region or quest area. Give young ones tours of a village.

    Some can be run in a quiet timequake or conflict event, if you're feeling sassy. People are gathered and at your mercy anyway, ohohoho. Play word games, pun around, drop a dartboard.

    Small but Planned

    Strike up a song and see if people emote dancing or join in playing music. If not, you at least got a session in.

    Gather for little performances off-stage. Even though the stage is mechanically the same, people have stage fright. But emotes are familiar to them.

    Quizzes take a fair bit of prep. I run these on the Commune aether so people not participating can still learn history and recent events. One could also run quizzes on what to do in an aetherflare or revolt (Xiran, campaign crusade, dang it!) or the like.

    Vengeance and Arena Games

    Can be spontaneous. May want to announce ahead to gather people.

    Rituals and Ritual Events

    This may move along the spectrum depending on a lot of things. These can be spontaneous as a brief prayer before doling out buffs. For things with purpose, or if an Elder's suggesting something might happen ahead of time, get on that news post or org message!

    Contests and Submissions

    The contributions are largely by others, but at this point communication comes in. Collaborate here with other ministers. Power contributions, Library submissions. Rounding up bards and scholars. Essence contests, design contests, fashion contests, a day of performances, and auctions go here too. Auctions* have been run as bidding on people's abilities - designing, hunting, and tradeskills.

    There could also be contests with the various board games, Fate Decks, psychodrama.

    Planned Activities

    Scavenger hunts take some prep beforehand, but it's quite fun to see people running around. If there's some time in advance, you might be able to PR for godmin support.

    Parties

    Getting together around food and drink, usually with at least one small activity. There should be a reason for the gathering. (Positive propaganda is a reason.)

    I think what makes these feel special is when there's Lusternian details. This can be having Fae and ancestral spirits join in dancing. Or serving carrion for Gloms.

    Festivals

    Anything that is a series of activities over more than one day. They support a larger theme or purpose. If something doesn't fit, consider running as a separate activity. Don't try to cram everything into festivals.


    ---

    *Auctions: Personally, bidding on people makes me extremely uncomfortable. I'd probably run this with emphasis on bids being for a commission from or contract with them instead.

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  • edited December 2021

    Planning

    Avoid Overlap

    When planning festivals or contests, consider what else is already going on, and potentially what big arcs the godmin might have planned leading towards Ascension. Try to find a quieter month.
    Spontaneous things are nice in that they can work anytime.

    Stretch Across Timezones

    Are there people getting left out of activities? Ask them when their availability is. Sometimes a couple adjustments can make an activity asynchronous and more inclusive. Ex. Raffle a prize to players completing an activity, instead of awarding who finished first.

    Find aides who wake at a different time than you.

    Coordinate

    If you have people willing to help, take them up on it. Culture's about building community, so people assisting on this side of things builds their sense of community and contribution to the whole.

    If your activity involves more than you behind the scenes, congrats and good luck! Asynchronous communication OOCly is useful, like a Discord chat or Google doc. Confirm details before posting officially.

    If details are moving quickly, having a meeting might help. For festivals where different people are running each thing, chatting one-on-one gets things done just fine. A meeting's only useful if all the people there need to know the details at the same time.

    Reframe

    Use your frame of mind to your advantage. Although there was intention to what was selected, I actually could not bring myself to call Serenwilde's celebration of the guilds a Festival. It made it intimidating. Viewing them as singular activities was far less stressful. An activity itself can be broken down into it's opening/middle/end too.

    Give Yourself Downtime

    Give yourself and other hosts downtime. Being the same person running activities even a few days apart can feel like a lot. If doing a string of activities like in a festival, space out who's doing what. Mix in elements that take less effort on your end while still supporting your theme, like viewing stage recordings or playing arena games. Use material that's already been done by others (while crediting properly, of course).

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  • edited December 2021

    Wrap-up

    This is more about the mental wrap-up. I'm usually in a daze while wrapping up a party and boxing up leftover goods for people who missed it.

    Rest

    Give yourself a break. If your energy's running low, then you might be overextending.

    Reflect

    Sometimes activities work out well. Sometimes they don't. That is okay. It's just an opportunity to learn and redirect your energies.

    Only do what you can, and no more. Small and spontaneous activities at a more regular clip are great culture builders. Don't burn out trying to go big or make everything perfect.

    Sometimes you run a contest and do everything right, but no one enters, or fewer people than there are prizes enter. That is not on you. You've done your part to make things fun. You're helping make Lusternia a lively game. People have lives outside of it too. I tend to advocate for closing the contest as announced, as extending it is unfair to those who have entered on time and are waiting for results to be announced. And extensions will either confuse people or get lost in newer things going on.

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  • Xiran said:

    Tossing suggestions here. Feel free to add your own or discuss. I am not an expert. Please don't take this as prescription.

    Communication

    Getting the word out feels like the biggest part of parties and contests. Much of this won't apply to casual get-togethers.

    1. OOC Calendar: Convert those dates somewhere, like Uzriel's post of the Bloodfaire. Or a Google Calendar to share.
    2. Town Crier: If you have aides waking at different times than you, they're great to assist with being a town crier. And New Celest has an actual NPC for this role?
    3. OOC Tweet: Give a town crier message before it happens, using Twitter. Since this is how conflict events and notices before admin-run things are given, best to tweet for something happening Soon. Can only do it once a RL month, unless you Issue yourself with a request. If doing the latter route, Issue early so admin have time to respond.
    4. Org Messages: Probably the best place to get people's eyes on it in-game without expending energy. This works best if there aren't messages that have been there for a long time. People's eyes will skip a block if they see a familiar line at the top. Consider moving those lines somewhere else. (It's a lot of messages for people in all commune/city, guild, and order organisations.) Or swapping the message to be at the top. Changing the colour seems to help for visual folk. Consider the TMS Vote message in comparison.
    5. News posts: Best format for getting out info, including tiers of prizes if relevant. These will fade from people's memory if it's not an activity in the next week.
    6. Individual invites: These work for more formal events or big bashes. Make sure the invite won't decay before the party.
    7. Not advised: Flyers at nexuses. People's eyes don't go to mortal letters or scrolls at nexuses because there's a lot of stuff already there. (However that special scroll to signup or the Ascension Gala would have the useful feature of acting as an RSVP and letting you get a headcount of attendees for goodie bags. Possible PR request?)
    It's been a while since I've done anything useful or memorable as Cultural Minister but I love this thread.

    I've seen people get burned so much over using the DATE conversion and relying on the IC half to be accurate but in truth the further out you try to predict a date, the less accurate it's going to be. Always include some note somehow, somewhere when announcing when something is going to happen OOCly (like 8 pm CST or something etc). It isn't immersion breaking! It saves everybody headaches and having to deal with re-posting the correct date once the error is realized.

    Also if you're working with lots of people from lots of different timezones, having a shared Google document or something you can all throw ideas into is immeasurably helpful. Color coordinating, etc. That's what we did for the Glom 2019 Solstice event. Assigning 1-2 people per activity makes it so no single person gets overwhelmed and you have a backup if someone can't make it to something.  
    ‘It’s important to be kind. You can’t know all the times that you’ve hurt people in tiny, significant ways.
    It’s easy to be cruel without meaning to be. There’s nothing you can do about that. But you can choose to be kind. Be kind.’


  • I'd say if you want to be checking DATE, do NOT forget to account for daylight savings and the fact that it's in GMT. Cross-check with more than one person and also a timezone calculator. If you're still worried the time's wrong, start with an IRL date and use that to find the IC month and year.

    I've slowly started collecting a large list of activities to either do separately or collectively under the banner of a Big Event (like a festival), so I thought I'd share a few.

    Feasting

    Does your org have a dining hall that rarely gets used? Does it not even have a table and chairs in it? Worry not!

    If your org doesn't have any fancy artisan chairs or tables, you could likely run a design contest specifically for that purpose.

    Then, when you're ready to gather everyone into your dining hall, just call across your aether(s) if it wasn't already pre-planned. You could do either a herofete with everyone sitting down, or a more traditional feasting with food on your table. Note that herofetes without enough dining chairs ignore people who aren't at the table, and gives a rather depressing message for it.

    Lectures and Sermons

    Want to espouse the virtues of the Light in your festival, or publicly analyze the visions in a Solstice lamp with your org? Outside of regular lectures or sermons that are spontaneous based on players, you could also organize players to perform lectures or sermons on the stage. I generally categorize sermons as being spiritual/Divine in nature, and lectures as not, though I imagine this would vary wildly from person to person.

    Player Vendors

    Do you want to have some sort of NPC vendor, but the time before the event is running out, and you don't have time to submit a PR? Certain items like garlands or mementos can't be created by players, that's true, but we can still create a wide variety of items to sell; I found that during the 2019 Glom Solstice Festival, people really enjoyed this. You could even ask them to donate the proceeds back to your org, guild, or order (whoever may be running the event).

    Some ideas for player vendors might include: skylanterns and origami, jewelry, tailored items, and food and drinks, but there's certainly others I've not thought of.

    Scavenger Hunts

    I believe Xiran would have more experience in this than me, but give your vict- players a list of rooms or items to look for, and let them loose. I think that the best way to go about this is in one area (such as an org territory), with a max of 15 things to look for. You can keep your answers and clues in a doc to keep track of them. I believe the winner of a scavenger hunt is usually whoever did it first and whoever had the most correct answers, but as Xiran said, you could reward people for completing it, rather than whoever did it first.

    Auctions

    In my mind, auctions do not have to be on players' skills. Around Ascension, Hallifax had run an art exhibit and auctioned off the paintings to those who sent in a bid to their Minister of Culture. You could ask for donations to purchase artifacts, gleaming wondercrystals, some number of unbound credits or aethergoop (depending on what you're bidding with), art pieces, etc.

    Art Exhibit

    Some of your players might be particularly artistically-minded, so you might go ahead and do an art exhibit; you could have a theme, or you might not. You could then run your exhibit on the stage, describing each piece, saying what the title was, the painter, and any curator notes. You could also do this with designs if you had previously ran a design contest.

    Running The Stage

    Have a favorite playwright you want to show with someone? Or just want to show some newbies how to run the stage? Here's the section for you. This section can be as simple as running an older play on  the stage for people to watch, to doing basic improv on the stage, to writing out a play for this specific event (such as a ritual performance). If you're running improv, I'd recommend looking at various improv games that already exist, like Change or Fortunately, Unfortunately. Remember to set some basic ground rules, like keeping everything fairly PG.

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  • Gurashi said:
    I've seen people get burned so much over using the DATE conversion and relying on the IC half to be accurate but in truth the further out you try to predict a date, the less accurate it's going to be. Always include some note somehow, somewhere when announcing when something is going to happen OOCly (like 8 pm CST or something etc). It isn't immersion breaking! It saves everybody headaches and having to deal with re-posting the correct date once the error is realized.
    The google calendar really trivialised all of this for me, because you just see the event in your timezone so it takes out the conversion step plus you can sync it to get reminders. Seems like it'd be pretty neat for ascension as well and it's constructive metagaming in the end.
  • I'll echo the above that having a shared google document is pretty key. Some other items.

    1. Start planning early. Real life can rear its ugly head, and things can just take longer than you might expect, especially with multiple people needing to contribute. If you're doing designs or want people to design for a contest, bring costumes etc - it can take awhile.

    2. Spread the work out. We ended up having one person who was maintaining the overall schedule of events in the last Bloodfaire (me) with other people being assigned items (specific events, making food, decorations, etc). Beyond just asking for volunteers you might need to prod at people to voluntold them. One person trying to do everything is going to burn themselves out. This is where that shared google doc comes in handy, people can fill in all the details of their event there - then if they miss it at the last minute if all the details are up somebody else can fill in.

    3. Follow up with people assigned work. Just because somebody promised they would do something, make sure to follow up. Don't bug them everyday or so much as to be annoying, give them space to work in. But also don't assume they will remember/have time/follow through. Whoever is the overall coordinator should be following up with people to make sure they know what they need to do and can follow through.

    4. Involve your patron early. Give them more time to prepare, find if there are specific dates that are good for them, see if there are existing faire items that can be re-used. Bloodfaire has been around for ages and Dro had a very full list of things we could re-use and also some good suggestions.

    5. Advertise! Who all is invited? Make sure they know they are invited, don't ever assume people know or that because you told a GM/CL/random person in an org/etc that the invite was given to the rest of them. Putting the dates somewhere with an OOC time is also good - I like the forums for that, posting in discord is nice but it will scroll past pretty quick.

    Bonus item not for planners.

    ATTEND THE EVENT. It can be very disheartening for people to spend months planning and preparing an event, only to have nobody or only a handful of people show up. Even if it's not something that particularly interests you, try to show up - assuming you were invited of course.
  • edited January 2
    Uzriel said:
    I'll echo the above that having a shared google document is pretty key. Some other items.

    1. Start planning early. Real life can rear its ugly head, and things can just take longer than you might expect, especially with multiple people needing to contribute. If you're doing designs or want people to design for a contest, bring costumes etc - it can take awhile.

    2. Spread the work out. We ended up having one person who was maintaining the overall schedule of events in the last Bloodfaire (me) with other people being assigned items (specific events, making food, decorations, etc). Beyond just asking for volunteers you might need to prod at people to voluntold them. One person trying to do everything is going to burn themselves out. This is where that shared google doc comes in handy, people can fill in all the details of their event there - then if they miss it at the last minute if all the details are up somebody else can fill in.

    3. Follow up with people assigned work. Just because somebody promised they would do something, make sure to follow up. Don't bug them everyday or so much as to be annoying, give them space to work in. But also don't assume they will remember/have time/follow through. Whoever is the overall coordinator should be following up with people to make sure they know what they need to do and can follow through.

    4. Involve your patron early. Give them more time to prepare, find if there are specific dates that are good for them, see if there are existing faire items that can be re-used. Bloodfaire has been around for ages and Dro had a very full list of things we could re-use and also some good suggestions.

    5. Advertise! Who all is invited? Make sure they know they are invited, don't ever assume people know or that because you told a GM/CL/random person in an org/etc that the invite was given to the rest of them. Putting the dates somewhere with an OOC time is also good - I like the forums for that, posting in discord is nice but it will scroll past pretty quick.

    Bonus item not for planners.

    ATTEND THE EVENT. It can be very disheartening for people to spend months planning and preparing an event, only to have nobody or only a handful of people show up. Even if it's not something that particularly interests you, try to show up - assuming you were invited of course.
    Echoing all of these really but especially both the 'start planning early' and 'involve your patron early'. Especially if you want to have something like unique festival-only items! But even if you can't get a patron made item for an event, you could ask your fellow city/commune mates to make items to hand out instead. We handed out a unique player-made pin for each day of the Solstice Festival in 2019 :) (and because they were player made, we could put runes on them so I still have my charming solstice bat pin). 
    ‘It’s important to be kind. You can’t know all the times that you’ve hurt people in tiny, significant ways.
    It’s easy to be cruel without meaning to be. There’s nothing you can do about that. But you can choose to be kind. Be kind.’


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