Friday, November 27, 2015

The tip of the iceberg

If there is one thing, that I would suggest to each and every GM looking to make a new Chat/Larp game somewhere, I would start with the pragmatic and save the cranky, mystical, zen flavored stuff for later. The most salient piece of pragmatic advice that I have to give is the following.
Hire someone to handle your wiki.
Pay them in EXP, boons, sandwiches, sexual favors, or actual cash for all i care, but get somebody, who is primarily concerned with keeping your wiki up, and running, and organized.
The reason for this is manifestly clear. Your wiki is likely the first contact that a new player has with your website. It is quite literally the tip of your games iceberg. It tells the new player the following things:
* What games you have
* How many players each game has (Or at least the number of players who can be arsed to put up a wiki page of their own.)
* How creative those players are (Based on how pretty and well designed the players wikis are, and how well written their flavor text is.
* Whether the Storytelling Staff is a bunch of control freaks. (Based on how large the page of Restrictions of character types/merits/bloodlines are.)
*Whether the players are a bunch of schizoid douchebags. (Based on how large the section is for "Code of Conduct" and "Sexual Harassment")
* How well organized the ST is as a whole (Pretty obvious, if the last book approved for use in the game was "Armory")
* Are the ST's decent writers? (Usually born out by any flavor text written for the Setting or added to the section on "Interesting Places" Interesting Places should make me want to go there, instead of making me want to sleep.)
In addition, there is one point of organization that I can't seem to make people understand no matter where I go. If you have House Rules, they belong on the wiki. They DO NOT belong on the constantly expanding Fora. If a rule is under discussion, or is being worked over. Fine, the Forum is the place for that discussion. But if there is finally some consensus over what the new rules is supposed to beā€¦Then it NEEDS to go onto the goddamn wiki where it is easily findable. There have been multiple episodes of me, stepping on my dick, because of some rule, that everybody ELSE seems to know about, tucked into the middle of some 8 page thread on the fucking forum. That's like putting a building's directory in a washroom on the 6th floor.
Another thing about Wiki's: For god's sake, Do yourself a favor and use a very simple form of wiki like say PBWiki, but if you don't do that, AT LEAST make certain that there is a good Wiki help page and some well made templates for player use. It will make it much easier for players to get in and monkey around with the Wiki. If the wiki stuff is too complicated, players won't bother with it. 
That person who's handling your Wiki for you, make sure they periodically archive it, so if someone monkey's with it, you can tell and put it back the way it was. Some wiki software does track changes to the pages automatically.
Also: It might not be a bad idea, and many places DO do this, to add a section on how to submit your character via PM to the appropriate ST. Many times, this will be left up to the player stumbling around and asking questions. In fact, I'm so used to it, that finding it in the wiki is a nice surprise.
So as you can see, there are a number of first impressions that your wiki makes. Nice graphics on your homepage are pretty and all, but this is the place where a number of unasked questions get answered. And it's important that you have someone on staff whose gig it is to keep it up to date.


At 8:21 AM, Blogger Preston said...

This is something I could never convince anyone of during our last LARP, that the use of a Wiki is something that is very important. I've still got the old Wiki from the last LARP Josh Watts ran ( and it was a labor for me. The ST staff really didn't care much at all for the wiki and never utilized it to the fullest. I've always found a well organized Wiki to be a beautiful thing for a game and it's background.


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