February 24th, 2007 6pm FST
The Formula for Running a Furcadia Group -- Emerald Flame
Emerald Flame: My talk is titled "The Magic Formula for Running a Furcadia Group!" I expect there will be good information for both new and old Groups and Guilds.
Emerald Flame: In late 1997, I found the magical world of Furcadia. I made my first dream within weeks and quickly had a dream full of bright and imaginative friends. In those days official Guild Charters were in their infancy and roleplay was game-wide, after all 50 players online at once was a big deal. The trouble with roleplay on all maps was that there weren't "safe" places for new players.
Emerald Flame: I decided I wanted to give something back to those around me and make something for my "group" to do. We got together and formed The Circle, a neutral help and friendship guild with a mission to support each other and help other furres when we could. We made a permanent place, or dream as we call them, called Sanctuary. This was a neutral ground and a quiet place for all furres to come for help and to make friends.
Emerald Flame: We became Chartered, made back story, built roleplay systems, helped new players, "ringed" new members, and basically had a wonderful time. Sanctuary quickly became one of the most popular places in Furcadia and we'd often have up to half the players online in our dream.
Emerald Flame: Those were glorious, crazy, mystical days and one of the most influential experiences in my life. I've since gone on to study online community and to form the volunteer Beekins. I've learned a lot about running groups in Furcadia and I'm here today to share my magic formula!
Emerald Flame: You too can build such a group in Furcadia and form your own online community. The magic spell for building a successful, online guild is much like the definition of a noun: people, places, things and ideas, all those wonderful idea!
Emerald Flame: PEOPLE, or Furres if you prefer:
Emerald Flame: People are what guilds are all about, the gathering together of furres with similar interests to work towards common goals. However, there are a few tricks to getting and keeping the right people to make your guild successful.
Emerald Flame: First you must realize that before you start a guild, it's best to have an established group of friends and acquaintances to draw from. I don't say this lightly. You need to be known and know people.
Emerald Flame: If you don't, work to build this first before thinking about starting a guild. Meet people, make friends and introduce yourself to well-known players and staff. Be friendly and follow the rules, even if your guild idea is "dark", remember that Guilds are out of character organizations. Join a well run Guild or volunteer with the Beekins. Meet lot's of people and learn all you can to be the best player you can be first.
Emerald Flame: Once you have your own circle of friends to draw from, you are ready to start talking about forming a Group.
Emerald Flame: If you are going all out for a big Guild and dream, there are key "types" of people that you will need to set up and run things. Most importantly, you will need at least one person who is charismatic and can draw others. Preferably that person is you and you have good leadership skills.
Emerald Flame: Then you will need your creation team. You need artistic types for writing continuities, making patches, and maybe drawing the art for the website. A good dreambuilder and a person who can program quality Dragonspeak is also a must.
Emerald Flame: You will also need someone who can do really nice webpages and possibly another who knows bot programming. It@s nice to have someone with a server or 24/7 connection to run bots and webpages too. Group Packages will help you with some of this and some furres will be able to do multiple tasks, so don't be discouraged.
Emerald Flame: Another very important group of members are your "staff" that are on a lot and help you run the dream day to day. I cannot express enough how important it is to have members that are devoted and in your group's meeting spot all the time to talk to those who come by. You will want players in charge of security and uploading the dream if it goes down. There should be someone to organize activities and oversee them. You will know better who you need when you know what your group is about.
Emerald Flame: I will not say which of these members hold the most importance, as each and every one is essential to making and running things. Its best to have more than one that can do each kind of job, as you will lose many as you build and operate. It@s just the way of the net.
Emerald Flame: However, I cannot stress enough how important it is to be good to your people and to make them feel useful and included. Praise their efforts but don@t be afraid to say if things might need changing a bit to meet expectations. They will want what looks best too.
Emerald Flame: You should not try to do all the building yourself, but spread out the work so they feel it@s their guild too. This may make things take extra time, but it@s well worth the effort and time involved.
Emerald Flame: Gather PEOPLE around you and work as a team to form your Group.
Emerald Flame: PLACE:
Emerald Flame: Many on Furcadia associate Groups and Guilds with the dream they run. I want to reiterate here that Guilds are more about people, than the places and your dream is not your guild, the furres that come there are.
Emerald Flame: However, there is still great importance in place. Humans, by nature, like the familiar. They like to have a place to call home even if they have a tendency to roam about.
Emerald Flame: Your group's meeting spot does not "have" to be inside of your own map; it can be any place your group usually meets. The trick being, that you have someplace that you are usually at and where your members hang out together. Someplace that is always there.
Emerald Flame: If you do not have the means to run a map 24/7, you may want to establish a spot somewhere on a main map to meet all the time and just have your guild dream loaded for going to for role play, meetings, etc. This is actually not a bad way to draw new members also.
Emerald Flame: Guild dreams are your other option and I@ve learned a fair amount on how to make them work over the years. Next month I will be giving a talk on how to build a good quality dream to run as your Group dream or public establishment.
Emerald Flame: First, it is essential that your dream is kept in the same spot or close to it, preferably all the time. Members and visitors need to know where to find you. Carefully consider where the best place for your group will be before you choose your location.
Emerald Flame: Next, it is important that your guild dream become established as a "place". There are a few tricks to this. One is to give it a name separate from your guild name and load the dream with an alt of that name. That way furres always see the name and know where they are. You can always put your Group title under it. (Make sure you get the alt names of both the group and the dream)
Emerald Flame: Now, plan your map carefully. People will develop a fondness for certain places in the map. Give areas in the map names and weave them into your continuity. Don't make a change in the map unless you can give a good IC story as to why the change was made. For this reason, I suggest you start with a smaller map and let it grow as your guild does.
Emerald Flame: Make sure the start has a good teleport system to areas in the map, but never underestimate the IC power of walking from one place to another. This brings reality in and makes furres feel comfortable. Label areas with signs or in some other way if at all possible. Make a tour of the map on your webpages for new members to become acquainted with it.
Emerald Flame: Having an original, well made patch can be a huge boost to a new dream or a pick-me-up for one that is flagging. Make sure there are special and unique thigns to do in your dream and quality dreamweaving and DragonSpeak. However, on the note of map size and download size, more is not better, quality and conservative downloads is much more important. Furres get lost in a huge map and no one has fun.
Emerald Flame: Also try to pick an appropriate upload spot or main map spot for your group. If your dream is persona play, load in AI. Roleplay groups should load in Imaginarium. Social dreams belong in Acropolis. I'm sure you all know that if you are an adult with an an adult theme to your dream you must load it in Furabian Nights.
Emerald Flame: If your group is on a main map, this is important also. Make sure the conversations you want to have will be appropriate to the dream you are meeting in.
Emerald Flame: In all, remember that continuity, interest, and a sense of belonging to a place is what will keep furres coming back.
Emerald Flame: Things:
Emerald Flame: I@ve already touched a bit on the things you need for a guild in "people" and "places" but let me expound a bit here.
Emerald Flame: I would be remiss if I didn't mention Group packages at this point as well. A Group Package is a thing that I have very carefully designed to help make running your own Group much easier and much of the things listed above and below will be easier if you have one. Even the free version will be helpful! You can read my talk about them at http://www.furcadia.com/tenth/gp_talk.html
Emerald Flame: The quality of the support items you have and make has a direct correlation on how others see your guild and therefore on how successful you will be. Group Packages, webpages, guild dreams, bots and communication methods are some of the things you will want to have.
Emerald Flame: The first thing you will need though is a plan of action! You and your members will want to study how other groups are set up and read a lot of webpages and make a plan on how to get where you want to be. Write it all up and and make sure everyone agrees. In the case of Group Packages, this can be the basic form you fill out.
Emerald Flame: Next you need a webpage to post this on. The webpage is often a prospective member@s first impression of you. It@s important that you have a quality page that is interesting and informative, as well as reflective of your "theme". It@s even better if you have special features or "tricks" that bring furres back to your page and gets them to bookmark it.
Emerald Flame: Member message boards and calendars are handy too. Try to think of anything that would be helpful or interesting for your Group members and add them there. Remember though, webpage updating can get very tedious, try not to put in things that have to be changed very often like a complete member@s list.
Emerald Flame: As mentioned before, you need a dream or established meeting spot. Be sure to enlist members to help with this and give ideas. DragonSpeak and patching can do amazing things these days. Try to get Masters in these areas to help you make your space especially entertaining and cool. Remember, you may want to attract a lot of visitors as well as keep your members happy.
Emerald Flame: If you choose a Guild dream, you will may want one or more bots to run the dream. They can keep stats on the members and add a lot of fun and interest. Other third party tools can be very helpful as well. Ask around, there may be a programmer out there looking for a nice group to join!
Emerald Flame: Advertising is very important for getting new members. Use the forums and hold events that you can announce over the News Channel. A booth at Groups and Guilds Day is good advertising too, of course! Make sure all your members put the group webpage in their desc and talk about how wonderful it is to people as you do other things in Furcadia.
Emerald Flame: You will need a way to get in touch with all your members, and while some Group Packages will give good ways to do this, you may want to do this on your own. This can be done through developing e-mail and/or IM lists with all their names, or posting things on a forum.
Emerald Flame: On this same note of communication, regular meetings of all members should be held. You will get best attendance if you let furres know ahead of time what meetings will be on and always hold the meetings at the same time and place.
Emerald Flame: There are a lot of advanced things that your creative members might want to implement as well, but these have more to do with what kind of Group you want to make yourselves. They might include special patches, proxies, radio stations, roleplay systems, events, webpages, newsletter, etc. Just be sure to include your members in developing these things to help establish a feeling of community.
Emerald Flame: IDEAS:
Emerald Flame: Now we come to the heart of a group, ideas. These are the concepts, stories, continuities, and goals that bring people together and are the reason for establishing the Guild in the first place.
Emerald Flame: These goals can be as simple as making a place to chat with friends or as complex as establishing a whole roleplay system and continuity and running quests. You can build back-story based on a favorite book or movie or create a helping guild for new furres or those who need to learn more.
Emerald Flame: Your imagination and ingenuity are the only limits! However, I do have some suggestions and warnings to help you find a theme that will be successful.
Emerald Flame: To start with, be genuinely interested in what you want your guild to be about. If it's all about wolves and playing them, know your subject and create some interesting stories to draw others to your play. Be creative and find something original that few have done before.
Emerald Flame: In Furcadia Guilds are broken up in three main types: Socializing, Persona Play (playing characters without major rules) or traditional Roleplay (with set rules and stats.) You need to choose which area your guild falls under and keep to that generalization.
Emerald Flame: When I formed the Circle, I had no clue what I was doing and one of my biggest mistakes was trying to encompass too much. We were a social and help guild who also persona played and were developing an RP system. In 9 years we never really did get the RPG going and our burn-out rate was high.
Emerald Flame: You should think carefully about how much time you want to put into this and make sure the kind of group you form fits well with your expectations. Not every good Group is huge and hard to run. Some are small groups of friends chatting on main maps. Some are huge Guild dreams with hundreds of players. Most are someplace in between though and quite happy there.
Emerald Flame: I study the server log information a lot and it's interesting to see that while there are some really big dreams that draw huge crowds, there's hundreds of roleplay dreams that have between 5 and 15 furres in them during peak times. This is where the proverbial roleplay has gone. It's just too difficult to run a good roleplay if the group gets too big. Don't bite off more than you can chew.
Emerald Flame: If you really want one of those huge Groups with 200 furres at peak, you must find a way to match people to people. The two largest dreams in Furcadia when I looked recently were a "slave" dream and a dogpound dream. Both of these use almost the same mechanic to match up furres who wanted to roleplay with each other. Then those smaller groups go off and roleplay together.
Emerald Flame: What ideas do you have for matching people up?
Emerald Flame: You and your team will want to think hard about how to design your group and activities. Make it about something you'd love to do. Pick something current and of interest to many or at least to the group you want to play with.
Emerald Flame: Try to stay away from copying others or doing anything to upset other Groups. Stay away from controversial themes like religion or politics or you will spend all your time fighting off harassment instead of enjoying yourself.
Emerald Flame: I'm always amazed to see the new things furres come up with. Put those ideas to good use!
Emerald Flame: CONCLUSION:
Emerald Flame: Now you have the magic formula of people, places, things and ideas that make up a successful Furcadia Group.
Emerald Flame: Setting these things up does not guarantee that the guild will be popular. I have to say what I have learned most about running a guild is that it takes a lot of hard work and persistence. You have to stay with things even when your best friend leaves the guild, your patch goes corrupt, or your webhost deletes the site and you have to start from scratch.
Emerald Flame: Keep the vision and above all else, have fun and create the magic and wonder that captures the attention of those around you and gives you and your friends a place to call home.
Emerald Flame: I will be posting the Groups who had booths in our Groups and Guilds Day today. You can come see them yourselves in the yellow area at furc://festival2
Emerald Flame: Leirune Strict RP Leirune is a Furry Fantasy Roleplay Community operating in an original player made Strict Roleplay Continuity with a focus on creative storytelling and interaction with a hint of comedy. Url: http://www.leirune.com
Emerald Flame: The Association of Dream Makers Help Group The Association of Dream Makers is a help guild. The dream is a great place to hang out and get (or give) answers to dream related questions, to teaching classes on dream / patch / bot making, and some of us even do dream requests. It also has plenty of places to hide out and just weave. http://dreammakersguild.com furc://dreammakersguild/
Emerald Flame: The Writers Guild Social Guild Who we are and what we are about: Our mission is to bring together Furres who enjoy writing; To give them a place to call their own, and do things such as: Get or give indepth critiques from other members, Share their work, Recieve or give help and advice to other furres, and more! This gives furres a place to shine and demonstraite their work, and engage in events, debates and more. We are all about both Poetry and Prose, and all levels of skill are welcome here. We want the guild to become a place where furres feel safe and secure showing their work and to get good writing advice. Temporary Website [we plan on getting a real one soon]: http://www.freewebs.com/naomiwiflath/thewritersguild.htm Guild URL: Furc://TheWritersGuild
Emerald Flame: Cosplay Delight Bar Adult Social Furcadia: furc://cosplaydelightbar Website: http://www.cosplaydelightbar.com The Cosplay Delight Bar is a social RP dream where anybody is welcome. They are not very strict and are very appreciative of their patrons. Their dream is a Japanese theme to suit their title. The dream is built to serve and cater to all in mostly anything they need. It is an adult social dream located in FurN so they wish that all be following the age requirements to be there. So long as they follow the rules anyone can join.
Emerald Flame: The Haven Social The Haven is a help guild set up by quite a few veterans and furres that think that Furcadia can and will be more. More than just a game where people spend hours playing with no regard for the next person. We believe that there is true merit to this "game" and wish to help create a world where everyone is treated equal. We will try to assist in the furthering of the "education" of new furres and older ones alike as well as cross platforming our teachings to include other worlds and communities. Webpage: http://haven.odelik.net Furc URL: furc://thehaven
Emerald Flame: Top Rail Equestrian Center Feral Roleplay "Top Rail Equestrian Center is a thriving roleplay dream located in Allegria Island for equestrian (horse and rider) roleplay. Feral domesticated animals, such as horses, dogs, cats, and farm animals, are all welcome as well as all furres and humans. The staff is friendly, the patchwork is original, and there's roleplay for all furres. No horse experience? No problem! Our riding instructors and online Learning Center can teach you what you need to know. Visit us today!" furc://WyndlilySharphowl:TopRailEquestrianCenter
Emerald Flame: Atas`Cosita Strict RP furc://atascosita:landofmythlegendandchaos/ www.AtasCosita.com Atas`Cosita is a unique and long standing dice based roleplay guild. Formed in May of 2000 Atas has worked towards providing the RP community with a friendly atmosphere and helpful member roster. With rules that are easy to work yourself into and a grouping of classes that is vast we understand that there is always room for improvement and take into consideration all suggestions submitted from members to help better the roleplay experience.
Emerald Flame: Funnybone Comedy Club Social The Funnybone Comedy Club is a place where players can go to get some laughter, cause some laughter, or just hang out and have a good time . We're a social group aimed at getting other people and ourselves to laugh as much and as often as possible. Website: http://fcc.laffat.us Dream: furc://funnybone:comedyclub/
Emerald Flame: Meteor Blades RP A band of mercenaries, located in the hostile desert and prepared to take any job that comes to them. The warriors of Meteor Blades will stop at nothing to complete a job they have taken, and you would be hard-pressed to defeat one in battle. Each mercenary is ranked upon joining the Meteor Blades guild so that clients can find the best warrior for their job. The Meteor Blades are without a solid time period, as well, and will house all manner of mercenaries, from brutal cavemen to destructive androids. Site: z6.invisionfree.com/Meteor_Blades Furcadia URL: furc://rasaudesertfortress:meteorblades/
Emerald Flame: Daltora Kingdom Daltora Kingdom is a time-honored guild dedicated to fantasy roleplaying in the Dragonlands continuum. With high importance placed on storyline more than anything else, Daltora Kingdom has always offered a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere. With a comprehensive and in-depth continuity, we strive to provide an intricate and intriguing environment for the most seasoned of RPers, as well as offer a fun and pleasing experience for those new to the genre. Webpage: www.freewebs.com/daltorakingdom Dream URL: furc://daltorakingdom:elsinoirecastle/
Emerald Flame: Vasilios Castle Rah: Diablos Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web Page: None Furc Url: furc://vasilioscastle Description: In the process of being built dream. This guild was based on one of the biggest furcadia roleplay families of all time. Ran by Tushen and Xuon back in the olde days. Now re-started by one of the royal members, Diablos. Soon to be reborn into the Imaginarium world. A sort of 'mobster' family. A family of Slayers. Born to dispose of any opposition to them in the world.
Emerald Flame: UTG's Guild Adult RP A private,multi-dream, plot line based, guild long-term only RP guild with a public twist. Plot line Matriarch coming to the planet of Furcaida, bears a daughter then eons later, two sons and two daughters from a rape. The matriarch is killed by the thing that raped her, leaving her daughters and sons to do their best to rid the planet of unwaranted cruelty against slaves and free furres alike. The two younger daughters have been removed from the guild, leaving only the three. Everyone else in the guild either works for the three siblings as slave labor, or is being treated medically/psycholgically, is a friend of the family, works as a free furre employee, family member, or family pet. General jobs to be had in the guild are, Healer, Security, Maid, Recruiter/Trainer, Club worker. Private dreams in the guild include Security, Treatment, Recruitment Centers, as well as numerous houses belonging to various guild members. Public dreams include The Entrance
Emerald Flame: Starship Avalon Freestyle RolePlaying - Science Fiction Based Starship Avalon is a Sci-Fi Roleplaying continuity based inside the Imaginarium. Avalon is unique as it blends the worlds of several hit series, such as Star Trek, StarGate, Star Wars, and even adds a splash of fantasy and magic along for the ride. Most characters who have found a home in the several great Furcadian RP groups can bring their characters here, as our timeline can find place for even the most unique character, with an Empire spanning the multiverses! Come join today! webpage: www.starshipavalon.org furc Url: furc://starshipavalon:tifcncc20206c
Emerald Flame: Ansteorra Kingdom Medieval High Magic Founded in 2002, Ansteorra Kingdom (uploaded near the Bardic Circle) remains one of the most comprehensive continuities on Furcadia. Our continuity is more than just one kingdom; it's a whole living, breathing world filled with rival nations, treacherous evil, and high adventure. It is a semi-closed continuity which is not based on the Dragonlands continuity. This has allowed our members to have a say in most aspects of the guild from the continuity to the combat system. It is through the creative endeavors of our members that the guild has persisted and thrived for so long. Members enjoy the opportunity to role play and also face combat situations which are regulated by a combat system. Webpage: http://furc.steelangel.com/ansteorra Furc URL: furc://ansteorrakingdom:feanorcontinuity
Emerald Flame: The Kingdom of Travina Roleplaying The Kingdom of Travina is a fun roleplaying kingdom. It is a fantasy medievil dream, so magic and swordplay is allowed. There are no guns or advanced technology, but there are plenty of other things. Travina has a royal family and they are one almost every day. Travina is placed in the Imaginarium around the Street Corner. For more information, go to http://www.freewebs.com/alexandriaforce or whisper Cattzs, Cherie Verenza, or Sephiroth Verenza. Webpage: http://www.freewebs.com/alexandriaforce Furc URL: furc://cherieverenza::thekingdomoftravina
Emerald Flame: The Edo Era Continuity is a Japanese-inspired, strict roleplaying guild. Our dream has what we have termed "an open-Edo era setting." This means that our dream is set in an Edo Era time period, without a specific year in place. This allows for a more diverse range of characters within the time period. We have an official time flow, so that characters do age at a steady pace, and we run on six IRL months to one IC year. Our members are friendly and helpful, and while we do have a strict application process, we are willing to counsel applicants one on one and assist them. We have a strong out of character foundation in our community, which we will continue to build with our various OOC contests, discussions, and other events.
Emerald Flame: Draconigena Feral Roleplay Draconigena is a semi-strict feral roleplaying community located in Allegria Island. The dream was started in November of 2005 and has been steadily growing since then. Draconigena is set in a place where Humans, Furres, and other such creatures are unheard of; they are mere myths. Wolves dominate the forest, but other creatures can be found as well (see our webpage for species listings). Mutations and and magic abilities are not accepted as part of the dream, so patrons can enjoy a semi-natural setting to interact in (again, see our site for details). The woods are divided into four territories, each run by a separate pack. The dream features advanced DragonScript, which allows for animated prey items, weather, scent marking, and many other interactive features, and also offers a fun and close-knit community of roleplayers. Webpage: http://www.freewebs.com/draconigena Furc URL: furc://draconigena:wolfroleplay/
Emerald Flame: Furcadia Radio Social Dream Furcadia Radio has been around for close to a year now, we play anything everything you wanna hear, and today is the day we make our comeback. We take requests, we do shoutouts, dedications, and almost anything you can think of...You haven't heard of us? Well check us out! http://www.furcadiaradio.com/nuke if you like what you see, come listen at http://s7.viastreaming.net:7240/listen.pls We're also hiring DJs so if you have always wanted to DJ for a very dedicated radio station, whisper Deja Greycloud furc://furcadiaradio:furcadiaradio
Emerald Flame: Woo! Sorry about the spam, but you can look at them through the logfiles
Emerald Flame: Thank you for listening in on our event channel to the Groups and Guilds Day today! There will be another next month on the last Sat. Check the forums for more information. If you still haven't checked out the booths, head to the yellow section of furc://festival2 Have a great evening!