Guide: How to Host a Successful Event

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Guide: How to Host a Successful Event

Post by Aradin » Tue Feb 15, 2022 12:46 am

How to Host a Successful Event
I love events. They’re a way to break up the routine, inject some fun into the community, and give other characters an opportunity to be in the spotlight. If you’ve never done it before, hosting an event can seem like a daunting task! The goal of this guide is to provide a straightforward and thorough walkthrough on how to host a successful event.
Like other guides on the forum, this one will be continually updated to reflect feedback. If you’re a veteran event organizer and have a thing or two to offer, don’t be shy about leaving a comment.

TABLE OF CONTENTS (CTRL + F and search by 3-digit number to jump to desired section)
[001] What Makes a Good Event?
[002] Event Creation Walkthrough
- Step One: Preparation
- Step Two: Advertising
- Step Three: Running the Event
[003] List of Event Ideas

[001] What Makes a Good Event?
It's fun.
Number one rule: it’s got to be fun! And not just fun for you. Events are by their nature social, so when you’re thinking of event ideas, ask yourself this question: will other people have fun at this event? Put yourself in other players’ shoes and think about whether it would be fun to do what you’re proposing.

It gives people opportunities to engage, but doesn’t force them to.
Ideally, other players should be able to meaningfully engage with your event. That could mean anything from participating in a contest to being a test subject in a magical experiment to playing a parlour game at a feast.
At the same time, those engagements should be optional. Not everyone wants to be in the spotlight (believe it or not!) and for any number of reasons a player may get stressed if they’re suddenly thrust into a situation where all eyes are on them. I’m all for that sort of thing happening if you’re engaging in conflict or politics or whatnot, but events are a time for people to just relax and have fun. I think a good event provides guests windows to step into the spotlight, but doesn’t force them through those windows.

If the premise of your event is you talking to a crowd (such as an academic lecture, a religious service, or a concert), think of ways to prompt the audience. If it’s a lecture, then you might ask your pupils to answer certain questions, or have them partner with other pupils to solve a problem. If it’s a religious service, you might have prayers/motions/actions that everyone can follow along with. If it’s a solo concert, your songs might include mentions of people in the audience to garner a reaction out of them, or sing about events that characters in the audience have gone through. Members of any given crowd will make their own fun whispering and socializing, but it’s great to give them the opportunity to engage with what’s happening on stage as well.

If you’re hosting an event that relies on others participating, such as a tournament, game show, trivia night, or cooking contest, then you may need to put in a little effort to get people to participate. The safest way to operate is to assume that no one will volunteer for your planned activity. Here, then, are a few strategies to get people engaged.
  • Plan ahead: When advertising for your event, tell people that there are limited participant spots available, and that those interested should reach out to you beforehand to secure their spot. Those people who are truly interested in participating will make sure they contact you so they can lock in their spot.
    Remember to not just advertise to the world at large - reach out to characters you know and ask if they'd be interested in participating.
    This strategy doesn’t always bear fruit, but it can be useful to nab at least one or two eager participants.
  • Just ask people: If you’re looking at a crowd of people and need volunteers, just ask people if anyone is interested. Use the force of your charisma and the quality of your roleplay!
    If you know the characters in the audience well, you can play them. For example, if you know the half-orc Tug is very prideful, then you can goad her into competing in your tournament just so that she can prove she’s better than the other competitors. If you know the goblin Stink loves gold, you can entice him into competing to get the juicy top prize.
    Make sure to do these character-targeted strategies in good fun, and be conscious of when to move on and try something or someone new.
  • Compromise: Does your concert really need six bards? Maybe you’ll be okay if only four show up. Does your martial tournament really need eight teams of two? Maybe you can adjust the bracket so that things still work out with five teams. When planning your event, consider that you might not get the numbers you’re hoping for, and have a plan for the event to continue if you have fewer participants.
It’s paced well.
You don’t want things to drag. If your show drags on for three, four, even five hours, you’ll lose peoples’ interest. As an event runs, try to make sure things keep moving along.
If you’re hosting a tournament, for example, a number of bouts need to take place. If you have twelve bouts in your tournament and you take ten full minutes between each bout to prepare for the next, you have one hundred and twenty minutes (two full hours) of downtime in your event where nothing is happening. Uh oh! That’s kind of boring. So try to keep things moving along, or fill that downtime with interesting things. If there’s no way to have quicker setups between bouts, then consider having entertainers take the stage to keep the audience engaged while fighters prepare, have a herald lay out the red carpet for the next competitors, allow sponsors who donated prizes a chance to talk; any strategy to keep things flowing and eliminate downtime.

Some events don’t require much thought to be given to pacing: a feast, for example, is simply a social gathering that goes on for a few hours. There’s not a schedule to be followed nor are there specific things that have to happen at certain times. In these cases, you don’t need to worry too much about pacing; you’ll just have to read the room. For example, if you intend to make a speech at a feast, you should wait to do so until there are a lot of people milling around. Don’t do it right at the start (when most people haven’t arrived yet) or the end (when many people have already drifted out).

A good rule of thumb I’ve found is that you can reasonably expect an interested player to stick around your event for a maximum of two hours. At that point people start to want to do other things or they want to take a break from playing. So if I’m hosting a singular show like a competition where I want people there from start to finish, I try to make sure it’s two hours or shorter. If I’m hosting something more relaxed like a festival or a yard sale, I’m content to let it run for three to five hours and have people drift in and out of attendance.

One last pacing tip: if you're planning on a speech, an announcement, or some other diatribe, a good idea is to write it all down beforehand in a text program of your choice. During the actual event you can just copy + paste it into your in-game text box.

[002] Event Creation Walkthrough
Step One: Preparation
All right! You have a loose idea for an event in your head - now how do you make it happen?

A good first step is to find your venue.
Are you hosting a PVP tournament? Then you’ll want to consider the arenas in Cordor, Sibayad, Dis, Andunor (the Devil’s Table), or the Soulhaven Monastery.
Are you hosting a religious service? Consider one of the many temples in cities around the isle, or one of the player-built shrines out in the wild.
A concert? How about the theatre below the Nomad Inn in Cordor, the theatre in Guldorand’s Freeport, or the theatre in the Devil’s Table library?
An academic lecture? Try the Arcane Tower, the Erudite Arcanum, the Hawk’s Nest Inn, or any of the many libraries and classrooms across Arelith.
A big outdoor festival? The Whidershin Fairgrounds is the perfect venue for you!

Go to your venue and visualize your event. Imagine where the stage will be, where the altar should stand, where the snack table will go, how you can work with the existing fixtures and terrain. Once you know the space you’re working with, conceiving the rest of the details can become a lot easier.

Material Needs
Most events require objects or fixtures of some kind. Consider what fixtures and items you’ll need to have ready and figure out a way to obtain them well ahead of the date of your event. Maybe you can make them yourself, and if not, it’s time to search out some crafters and get them made for you.

If you're planning for there to be prizes - anything from gold to runic items to handmade trophies - make sure to get that figured out as well. Short on cash? Consider asking wealthy patrons for sponsorship! Be prepared to thank them during the event, or do whatever else they ask of you in exchange for the prize.

Set a Date
There’s some strategy to setting the right date. To set the best time for your event, you’ll need to consider the MMO nature of Arelith. We have players from all around the world, and most of us are adults with reasonably busy lives. To get those big turnouts it’s not enough to schedule your event for a time that is convenient to you - you have to schedule it at a time that is convenient to the player base at large. If people aren’t online, they can’t attend your event.
Your best bet is to schedule your event on a weekend, which is when the largest number of people are playing. A good time to shoot for is Saturday or Sunday afternoons in Eastern Standard Time (EST). For North American players, that’s the morning/afternoon. For European players, that’s the evening. Not every player in the game falls into one of those two groups, but most do.
Otherwise I’d recommend scheduling it for a weekday evening.

One last thing - make sure you don’t schedule your event at the same time as someone else’s! Check the message boards around Arelith and look on the Event Calendar channel on the Arelith official Discord to make sure that when your event occurs, it’s the only one happening (or at least the only one in your area; if you’re an elf in Myon, there’ll be no problem if you schedule your sermon at the same time someone in Andunor is hosting a tournament).

Trial Runs & Quality Control
Are there specific sequences of events that need to trigger during your event? Are you planning to have people interact with a special fixture or item? Will guests need an ultravision spell cast on them in order to see the venue properly? Don’t leave things like this to chance - do a test run before the event so you can make sure everything will run smoothly when all eyes are on you. If there are things that could go wrong, try to test them ahead of time so you don’t get caught flat-footed on the day of the event.

If your event is one where players will be creating or performing something they have devised - such as making a painting or performing a song - then you can consider checking said projects before the event takes place to make sure everything is up to snuff. If you as a player are concerned that participants might bring "creative projects" that break the rules of Arelith (such as by depicting sexual acts or gore), or if your character simply wants to ensure your event only has quality goods/performances, then read Altair01's reply below this guide; it offers some good tips on how to do quality control.

Plan a Schedule
Depending on the event, having a personal schedule can be useful. For example, let’s say I’m running a bardic contest. I might write this schedule down for myself:
- Once crowd has gathered, take the stage and give welcoming speech
- Remind people that bar is open (point out Khal-Dun who will be tending the bar)
- Explain rules of contest (have helpers hand out slips of paper to attendees so they can write votes down)
- Have first bard come to stage, sing song
- Have second bard come to stage, sing song
- Have third bard come to stage, sing song
- Tell audience to write their votes for winner on the slips of paper they were given
- While helpers tally votes, thank sponsors for donating prizes
- Announce winners and hand out prizes (make sure to prompt winner for victory speech)
- Thank everyone for coming and end contest

When one is in the midst of running an event, the brain can go a little haywire. But because I made sure to write all this down beforehand while I had a clear and calm mind, I know that I won’t forget to do anything. All I have to do to run the event smoothly is follow the schedule.

Get Help
Some events simply can’t be organized and run by one person - there’s too much to do. But good news! Folks on Arelith are always looking for something to do. Don’t be shy about asking for help from the people your character knows. If you don’t know anyone who can help, write an open letter asking for help and post it around on message boards. Make sure to leave your name (and the location of your quarter if you have one) so interested applicants can reach you, either by messenger or by letter. Remember, potential help can always be enticed by the offer of gold or favours…

If you have an idea for something extra special that you can’t achieve as a player (such as NPCs talking, special fixtures being spawned, etc.) consider asking for the help of a DM. You can do this right here on the forums:
  • Click ‘Private Messages’ at the top right of the forum interface.
  • Click ‘New PM’.
  • In the ‘Add Groups’ box, click ‘Active DMs’, then back over on the left (below the ‘Add Recipients’ text box) press the ‘Add’ button. The page will reload and you’ll see, under the ‘Recipients’ heading, a line that says ‘Active DMs’. Now whatever you send will go to all the active DMs.
  • Type in the details of your event and what you need help with. Do not expect them to help out and do not rely on them to make your event come to life - they’re busy folks, and we have a ratio of 1 DM to 130 players - but one might just help out if it piques their interest.
Step Two: Advertising
You’ve got all the fixtures ready. You have the schedule planned out. Your helpers have assured you they’ll be there on the day of the event to play their part. Now how do you get people to show up?

There are a number of ways to advertise on Arelith, and - assuming you’d like to get a big turnout - you should use all of them. There isn’t one magic “best” method, which is why it’s important to cast a wide net. It’s easy as a player to miss just one form of advertisement, so as a host you want to use multiple forms. If they miss one, they’ll see another. Half of getting people to show up at your event is just having them know it’s happening at all.
A good practice is to start advertising for your event a week or two in advance. This gives people time to find your advertisements, and - if they’re interested - clear their schedule so they can attend.

Message Boards
Most players check the main message boards in the game fairly frequently. When you’re ready to advertise your event, write up a sizzling, attention-grabbing flyer and spread the word! Make sure to post it on the message boards that people read most; each settlement has a big main primary message board, and those are the boards you want to get your flyers on. Beyond that, you might consider advertising on the newsboards in the Shadovar Trade Post, Dis, Treadstone, the Arcane Tower, the three districts of Andunor; really, any place that you think is trafficked with any frequency. The advantage, of course, to placing your flyer on multiple boards is that each board is trafficked by different characters. A ranger operating around the Skull Crags might love the sound of your Cordor-based event if she ever heard about it, but she doesn’t read the message board in Cordor Square. She does, however, read the message board in Westcliff - good thing you put up a flyer there! The more boards you advertise on, the more eyes you’ll draw.

When writing your flyer, there are a couple dos and don’ts.
  • DO: Include the time, date, and location of your event in your flyer’s body. Your flyer should tell people exactly when and where your event is. If it doesn’t do that, it’s not a good advertisement. There should be no mystery about these crucial details whatsoever.
    I personally make sure to include a little “[Saturday March. 12, 3pm EST at Whidershin Fairgrounds]” at the bottom of my event flyers.
  • DON’T: Be long-winded. Your flyer doesn’t need to contain every single rule for your contest, nor does it need to contain every single detail about your religious service. You’re already going to be telling people those rules and details at the event itself. They don’t need to hear them twice. Besides, having a little bit of mystery can be enticing. All your flyer has to do is get people excited about your event and tell them exactly when and where it is.
    Think about ads in real life. A snappy TV commercial for Oreo cookies doesn’t list every ingredient in an Oreo cookie because that would be boring, take a long time, and isn’t necessary for me to want to buy Oreos. Ads in Arelith work in the exact same way. If you wouldn’t advertise that way in real life, don’t do it in Arelith. It’s still all person-to-person interaction, just in the trappings of a video game.
    If you do want to advertise complex rules or prizes, try to make it snappy and enticing. If those details are crucial, like the rules for a tournament? I’d recommend just putting up a sign at the tournament itself with all the rules on it. Remember that your flyer’s primary purpose is to get people to the event, and don't bog it down with unnecessary details.
  • OPTIONAL: Have the date and time of the event in your flyer’s title. For example: “Feast of Lathander [Sat. March 12, 3pm EST]”
    This is great because it not only lets people know the exact time of the event, it tells people that your event is an event. Depending on the nature of your event, the title of it might not sound like an event at all. This tells people that yes, there’s something coming up you should be excited about. It’ll entice people to read the flyer, which is the whole point of a title.
    Still, you shouldn’t feel like you need to do this. So long as your title is catchy and your event sounds exciting, people will probably read the body of the message.
Finally, when advertising on message boards, consider posting a couple flyers over time. If you post your first one two weeks ahead of the event, post another flyer one week ahead of the event, and heck, maybe a third when it’s only a couple days away. Keep the idea of your event in peoples’ minds.
In this vein of thinking: if your event is something that requires a number of participants, then you can consider doing multiple rounds of advertising; the first as an open call for interested participants to contact you, and then - once you have those key people locked in and the date + details settled amongst that core group - a second to advertise the actual event and announce the date.

The official Arelith server has a channel called “Event Calendar”. This is a great tool to use because it catches the attention of players when they’re not even playing the game. My character might never come across your flyers, but if I as a player check Discord and see a fun-sounding event coming up, I might log in to attend that event. Like with message boards, make sure to advertise on Discord at least a few days before the actual event.
There are methods to have a countdown timer to the event specific to a given person’s timezone. This is useful if someone lists an event time in a timezone you’re not familiar with. The most popular method of providing a universal time for your event is this website:

When your event is starting up, go to some public hubs, throw on that /s, and shout about how your event is starting. Seriously. It’s one thing to advertise an event ahead of time and say “fun will happen in two weeks” and it’s another to say “fun is happening literally right now, all you have to do is walk two minutes to this location and you can be part of the fun”.

Direct Messengers
This is a semi-effective if intrusive method. When your event is starting up, you can consider going to your nearest Speedy Messenger or Goblin Runner and pay them to take messages to specific characters advertising the event. Remember, you don’t have to “sign” a delivered message. So if your event is just getting going, search through the old -playerlist and send out some messengers to characters you think might be interested. Let’s say you send it to a character called Lydia. It might sound something like:
“A feast! A feast for all!” *The halfling runs along, calling out his message to anyone who tilts an ear to listen. He happens to stop near Lydia.” “The Feast of Starlight is beginning at House Starym’s estate in the Elven District of Guldorand, and all are welcome to attend!”. *The halfling then continues on his way, repeating his call.*
These ads reach people directly while being framed as a random crier they happened to overhear. You of course don’t want to annoy people by doing this, and you need to already know their name to send a message to them, so choose your targets carefully.

Just before your event begins, place some signs advertising the event at popular social hubs. If you, a noble in the glorious House Chastille, are running a tournament in the Cordor Arena, then at the start of the tournament put a sign up in Cordor’s main square (and throw a resist/protect elements spell on it to make it sparkle and catch the eye, why don’t ya) saying “House Chastille’s Blood and Honour Tournament happening RIGHT NOW in the Cordor Arena! Gold and glory await all who fight!” (Make sure to put this as the name of the fixture and not the description; this way people can get all the info they need just from mousing over the sign)

The valuable thing about signs like this is that they catch the attention of people in yet another new way. John Soldier might not read message boards. His player might not be on Discord. He might have somehow avoided all your advertisements up until this date. But if he enters Cordor at any time during your three-hour tournament, he’s going to see this sign.
If your event is in a hard-to-reach location, then consider putting up a series of signs that will direct people to it. If all they have to do to get to your event is follow the signs, you’ve done a good job.

Town Criers
Probably the least effective advertising tool, but a tool nonetheless. If you have some gold to spare, you can pay a town crier to shout a customised message for a while. Make sure to include the date and location of the event.

Step Three: Running the Event
It’s the day of the event - oh boy! How do you make sure it all runs smoothly?

90% of an event’s success is in the preparation. If you’ve prepared sufficiently and advertised extensively, it should be a snap. Just remember to do your last-minute advertising (shouting and/or direct messengers and/or signs), and if you have or need a schedule, have that handy.
Still, there are a couple potential pitfalls awaiting you. Here’s how to deal with them.

Server Reset
Bad luck. The DM message comes out: “Server reset in 10 minutes!”. What are you going to do? You’re going to get on the line with Beijing and New York, as they say.
Message the DM channel by typing in -dm before your message, and ask them (politely) to delay the server reset until your event is finished. Every time I’ve done this, without fail, the DM has delayed it. And if they refuse, then just make sure to pick up all your fixtures that are over the area’s fixture limit, gather up the inventories in any fixtures (such as buffet tables at feasts), and set things up again after the reset.

Internet Drop
Sometimes a person’s internet is on the fritz and they drop out. And it’s even worse if they’re a character who’s crucial to the event’s success - like you!
You can’t know when these drops will happen, but you can improvise around them. If you’re running a contest and one of your contestants drops out, tell a joke or two to the crowd. Hand out some booze. Get the other contestants chatting. All to buy some time for the dropped person to log back in.

At the end of the day the show must go on, so be prepared to wing it a little. If you’re the one who drops out, send messages via Discord to your helpers or to anyone who can keep spirits up/run the event until you can get back online.


And that’s it! You’ve hosted a successful event. Make sure to thank everyone for coming, and start thinking about what your next one will be.

[003] Event Ideas

If you’re short on ideas, here’s a list of events (most of them tried and true) to try out. If you’ve ever imagined events that would be neat to see, write them in a reply to this thread and I’ll add them to the list.
  • Academic Lecture: Expound your knowledge on any topic you choose - just make sure it’s an interesting one! Present your findings in an engaging manner, and be ready for some Q&A.
  • Archery / Axe-Throwing / Dart-Throwing Competition: The archery target and dartboard fixtures on Arelith have their own built-in scoring systems. Set up a playzone, anywhere from a tavern to an open field, and have your contestants hurl away!
  • Art / Writing Contest: Have players get creative with paintings or books and host a contest with some snooty judges to prove who’s the best. This event idea pairs extremely well with the one right below…
  • Auction: From valuable paintings to slaves, auctions are always a thrill. Choose your venue, product, and audience carefully - offered goods can range from prissy elven sculptures to black market weaponry.
  • Book Signing: Are you an author? Have a book signing in a cozy library somewhere, and read an excerpt to your fans. Make sure to have copies of the book to sell.
  • Business Opening: Did you just get a shop? Time to entice some new customers with a grand opening. Put your stock on sale, provide snacks for guests, and get your name out there.
  • Concert/Play: Prepare a music concert or a performance of a play (either solo or with fellow performers) and put on the show of a lifetime.
  • Cooking Contest: You’ll need a few volunteers to cook on stage, a few more for your panel of celebrity chefs, and a host with a whole lot of panache. I highly recommend forcing your chefs to use very exotic ingredients.
  • Dungeon Dive: Set a date and gather all the willing warriors to go on a dungeon crawl of epic proportions. There are a few epic dungeons like Udos, Baphomet’s Mountain, and the Deep Wells that work well for this sort of thing.
    Some dungeons on Arelith also have a lot of lore cooked into them. If you want to take a more academic approach to the expedition, go slowly and try to puzzle out (or explain to interested newcomers, if you already know it) the lore of a particular dungeon.
  • Feast: A feast is a great way to mingle and relax with your peers. Social roleplayers rejoice! Feasts can be part of larger events, such as an afterparty for tournaments or festivals. They can take a number of different forms, from a formal affair in an elven high hall to a rowdy tribal gathering in a torchlit cave.
    All you need to justify a feast is a reason to celebrate, and those are countless. If you’re a devout drow priestess, perhaps you’re honouring Lolth with this feast by sacrificing an elf in the middle of it. If you’re a member of a combative faction, perhaps you’re celebrating a recent victory over your sworn enemy. If you’re a simple farmer, perhaps you’re celebrating the changing of the seasons.
    It’s hard to go wrong with a feast. I have literally never seen one “fail” - they will always, always draw people in.
  • Festival: A large-scale and multi-tier event, festivals are usually composed of a number of smaller activities. If you can think of a unifying theme for it, you can bind together several smaller events into one mega-event!
  • Gala: This is a fancy, high-society event. Fine food will be catered, expert musicians will play waltzes, and guests will dance and mingle with the highest of society. These are so fun on Arelith because many characters are unwashed ruffians, and forcing them to get into tuxedos and dresses is an absolute gold mine for roleplay.
  • Game Show: An on-stage event featuring a host and a few players. Drill your players with trivia, make them shoot apples off each other’s heads, and have them do all manner of shenanigans you can imagine. So long as there’s a nice prize pot to encourage them…
  • Open Sail: If you own a ship, coordinate a date where you’ll have plenty of skilled crew and take some landlubbin’ guests out on an ocean adventure! Perhaps you have a treasure map, and the purpose of the sail is to bring your guests to go dig up the treasure. Perhaps you have a diving bell, and you’re taking passengers underwater. Perhaps there’s an exotic location you want to take guests to, like Rayne’s Landing, for a beach day. An open sail can look like anything you want.
  • Language Lesson: Whether you want to learn a language or teach one, these lessons can be a nice little way to bring the community together for some social and mechanical benefit. Use it as an opportunity to trade lore and stories with other characters.
  • Meet-and-Greet: If you’re running for office in one of Arelith’s settlements, doing a meet-and-greet can be a great way for the people of the settlement to get to know you and ask you questions.
  • Memorial Service: If a popular character was killed (and subsequently rolled), then the dour hearts of the community may be softened with a memorial service or a funeral. Have those close to the deceased tell their favourite stories, offer a prayer to the gods, and lay the lost soul to rest.
  • Moot / Town Hall: Is your community going through hard times? Host a communal moot to discuss the challenges facing you as a community, and try to work towards a solution. Make sure to provide some snacks.
  • PVP Tournament: Player versus player tournaments are a way for PVPers to show off and win prizes, and a chance for less thrill-seeking roleplayers to sit back and enjoy a show. There are many different ways to structure them, from solo duels to team matches, from fists-only to full wards and magic - get creative!
    While tournaments will always draw a crowd, you’ll often find you have far more people wanting to watch than to actually participate - some tips to help with that are up in the “What Makes a Good Event” section.
  • Race: A race can take many different forms. It could be a race for horse riders across several areas, a race for familiars, golems, or summons around a track, or an obstacle course for player characters.
  • Religious Ceremony: Religious ceremonies vary widely depending on the deity they’re celebrating. Work with your local clergy to come up with an interesting way to honour your deity, then do a big public showing of it.
  • Scavenger Hunt: Hide a number of objects around an area, then have your players search for them with the help of cryptic clues. First team back with all the objects wins.
  • Scroll / Bardsong Exchange: Wizards and bards can both learn new abilities with the help of other wizards and bards. Gather your peers together, share your knowledge, and don't miss out on the opportunity to roleplay teaching others songs and spells rather than just clicking a couple buttons. Your fellow characters are just that - characters! - not ability vending machines.
  • Talent Show: Whether it’s a battle of the bards, a storytelling competition, or a variety hour, this is an on-stage event that pits PCs against each other in a contest for the grand prize - and the bragging rights of victory.
  • Trivia Night: Just like in real life. Have a number of teams try to call out the answers to questions you come up with; whichever team has the most points at the end of the night wins. Works great in a tavern.
  • War Games: Coordinate with another settlements’ military or navy to do some war games with each other; it’s an opportunity for both sides to learn how to fight more effectively as a group. After the exercises, why not take both militaries to the local tavern for a drink?
  • Wedding: If you’ve got some characters in love, a wedding can be a fun way to advance their stories. Hire caterers, get the right venue, and have a beautiful day of food, speeches, dancing, and celebration.
  • Yard Sale: Carpenters (and to a lesser degree the other crafting skills) can craft fixtures. Fixtures are so widely used but don’t usually sell well in shops; instead, display the fruits of your labour at a big yard sale. Consider having a raffle to win a free piece to really incentivize people showing up and taking a look.
Last edited by Aradin on Wed Feb 16, 2022 4:38 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Guide: How to Host a Successful Event

Post by Edens_Fall » Tue Feb 15, 2022 7:00 am

Love the post and well thought out ideas for events! Thank you for sharing.

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Re: Guide: How to Host a Successful Event

Post by Altair01 » Wed Feb 16, 2022 2:06 pm

This is really great. I'd add that for events like auctions, job fairs, crafting fairs and cooking contests that require a lot of volunteers and contestants / people to sit at the stands, you need to have two stages of announcements: one where you make a call for volunteers, contestants etc., and the other when you announce the event itself. The second announcement should only be made after you've set up a date jointly (and only jointly!) with all the important people who will be attending.

When announcing a call for volunteers or competitors, don't just tell people to reach you via speedy (and to state their full names in the message), but give your regular playing times, and give them a list of characters to contact (preferably one on every server so they can be seen in the player list) who can inform them of your discord account OOCly and inform your character of their interest ICly. Even if you don't use Discord (and you really should), it's important that the prospective contestants successfully get in touch with *someone* on their first try, because they'll be putting a lot less effort in contacting you than you will in contacting them. Ideally, you could also create a throwaway discord account for your events and include it in the advertisement.

Tell all contestants and volunteers to show up half an OOC hour early. This will mean fewer of them will run late. Furtermore, it gives you time to set up, give last-minute instructions and prepare for the eventuality that you'll be short on people.

Make sure to get 50% more volunteers and contestants than you actually need, because you may end up with some of them dropping out. Get someone to replace you as announcer if you suddenly can't make it or a mishap causes you to log off mid-event. If there are some volunteer roles that are essential (such as judges in a cooking competition), tell them that they should prepare a delegate or two to be on standby for the event to replace them in case they can't make it. Ask the volunteer in question to introduce the delegate(s) to you so you can give instructions. I made the mistake of not asking for this for the Brog cooking & brewing competition last year and a delegate showed up late because she wasn't clearly told by the judge she represented that she should come to the indoor market *in Brog* and was instead waiting in the indoor market *in Guldorand*. Make sure you get all the other organizers, contestants, volunteers and special guests on discord, and post "I'm playing character X, you're playing character Y, I'm running event Z and you'll be in role T" as your first discord message to them after you friend them, so you won't get confused about who's who after you've added 10 different people on Discord, and so they can quickly know how to contact you when they need to. Relying on contacting them purely in-game, even via /tells, is an extremely bad idea.

Before you set the date of the event, ask all the important participants for their playing times, then propose a date for the event to them all that fits in with all these playing times, and only once everyone has agreed to a date can you announce the event.

Things will take much longer if you want to have quality control and check each auction piece, each recipe for the cooking contest, each sculpture at the art gallery etc. For the cooking and brewing contest I ran in Brogendenstein, I had to check samples of every dish and drink to make sure they complied with OOC rules and weren't ICly too strong or disgusting (one character wanted to cook kobold legs - be prepared for anything!) and that took two weeks or more if I remember. The entire event took a RL month to organize and included having to ask a lot of people if they were willing to be contestants or judges or knew someone who was - for events like this, don't expect many contestants to participate based on your announcement alone.

Make absolutely sure you have quality control for things like bards and storytellers, or any person who takes center stage. Give clear rules about what you want the song to be like before the bard / storyteller composes it. Ask the bard / storyteller to hand your character the lyrics / story, give tips on ways to improve it if it's borderline bad, and pay them a certain amount for their time if you reject them. You do not want someone who trolls or does a terrible job to take the stage, because a lot of characters and players will be disappointed.

Write all your announcements in a text editor so you don't end up fumbling during the event.

Get wands of detect and neutralize poison if you're serving food and drink, get someone who can open portals if you're not close to a portal source (state that a portal will be available in your announcement!), and possibly offer in your announcement to summon people if you can, provided they message you with their names, in case a prospective participant has a new character that doesn't have portal access to your event's location.

As a side note, if you run a bard song exchange event, and you are a bard, ask the other bards via /tells to role-play teaching the songs instead of doing it purely via the mechanics, otherwise the whole event will be a matter of "hey, I need song X", followed by another character doing "-song teach X", on and on until everyone's had their song from the song vending machine, which is dreadful.

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Re: Guide: How to Host a Successful Event

Post by Irongron » Wed Feb 16, 2022 3:35 pm

Just wanted to drop a heartfelt thank you to Aradin for crafting a truly helpful post.

I'm making this one a sticky so it remains in pride of place for years to come.

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Re: Guide: How to Host a Successful Event

Post by Aradin » Wed Feb 16, 2022 4:30 pm

Glad that folks are finding this helpful, and thanks for the sticky, IG.

I've updated the guide to account for a couple of Altair01's tidbit-sized tips; your post as a whole is pretty thorough so I've just directed people there rather than paraphrase a bunch of it.

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Re: Guide: How to Host a Successful Event

Post by wulfburk » Wed Feb 16, 2022 6:17 pm

Great post! i'll just add some "soft skills" and tips that i've found important when handling events (I thought of making a topic a while back but never got to it, so here it goes). These might be just for me, who constantly suffers from anxiety, thinking if people are enjoying the event or not, when leading. Most of my events I've managed to end them in one or one and a half hours, which I find it is the optimal duration for most.

- Prefer short sentences over longer ones. The longer you keep typing without hitting enter, the more time people have to think your character is simply waiting and not saying anything. Thus, they might interrupt you without realizing, or you might have to interrupt them, or worse, gloss over their actions, emotes and dialogue, because you were already typing this long paragraph beforehand.

- Keep your important emotes to their own text. In tune with the above, it is probably best not to do long paragraphs that goes to and fro from dialogue and *emotes*, which might make it harder to read and understand. This is especially true for emotes that would get a reaction from people.

- Try to acknowledge people on the fringe and be inclusive. A lot of these events you get characters that are not really known to others, and simply are observing. If you have the opportunity, address them personally and try to get them involved, and present them to others. Or at the very least, emote your character ackowledging them and their words, when it gets hectic.

Personally, the most fun I had when hosting an event was during a Clan Feast. We had a really cool brawl tournament, but the peak was the crafting tournament. We gave the materials to any smiths that wanted in, and they spent 5 minutes by the anvils writing the description of their crafts. However, who decided the winner was not us, but the audience, as each clan member went and chose 1 member of the crowd to give their votes on who crafted the best equipment (or rather, their preferred description). I chose this svirfneblin who had sat in the corner and wasnt really interacting with anyone, and I think she had a lot of fun during that roleplay, casting her vote.

- Dont mind if few people show up. If you only had one person for your religious ceremony, for example, take the opportunity to have some more profound roleplay with them involving the sermon you had in mind, so that instead of having a speech to an audience of 10 mostly passive people, it is you entering a conversation with another one. Because if 10 people had shown up, odds are you wouldnt have the time to speak with just one of them, so take it as a blessing in disguise. In addition, if you had an interesting speech or actions planned, dont consider them "wasted" just because you already did them with a small audience. You might have presented them for a few people, but nothing keeps you from scheduling the same event in a few months and repeat your ideas.

But above all, dont shame people IC or OOC about missing your event. Odds are you've missed hundreds of events yourself, and you had your reasons. They have theirs.

- Know what to pay your attention to. Now this sometimes may be controversial, but I'd be lying if I didnt do this, and it always comes up. If you are hosting a tournament and you have 10 questions and off-hand comments at the same time, you probably want to focus on the ones made by your competitors at first. If you are making an important speech or ritual, you might not want to get interrupted and sidetracked by everything happening in the vicinity, especially speedies. Inversely, If you get speedies of raiders, bandits or whatnot, it might be best to be immediately active about it, in the sense of asking for 1 or 2 trusty members of the audience to investigate and report back, while thus giving others a reason to wait and continue on the event. Otherwise, if you ignore such speedies yourself, people might all make the choice to ward and investigate it themselves, thus ending your event.

However, this point shouldnt be an excuse to ignore people on the fringe. If you are interacting with 2 strangers and 5 people that you always RP with and are friends in the discord, odds are that those you know wont mind having their actions briefly glossed over during a hectic roleplay when everyone is typing at the same time. I personally find that an OOC sensibility is useful in this type of situation, when things are moving fast and you cant give your focus to everyone. It may be preferred to pay extra attention to strangers and new players than to the popular characters in the isle. This might not make sense IC, but for me it does OOC, for inclusivity.

- Master the art of "Left Click Move in the distance and then press enter to write while your character walks unaided", during events that need walking. In fact, this will come in hand not only during events, but whenever you are doing some RP while hunting, in dungeons, and etc. If you have to stop whenever you have to write, the event might drag on for too much. Of course, this might not be a problem if everyone is also stopping and writing. But this often isnt the case, which brings me to:

- Try to gauge (or establish) the pace of the crowd. This is also important in dungeon RP. Often you notice that most of the people around wants to run in a dungeon. If so, instead of getting frustrated while walking and getting left behind, why dont you run too? Inversely, write short sentences asking the group's attention when you want it, instead of writing a long paragraph and then noticing that everyone's away already. However, odds are that in an event, people will be following the host's pace, thus you should try to establish it and keep it steady, asking people to stay together when needed, to wait for others, to halt for a moment at this important site where you want to say a few words, or to run when warded for the boss of a dungeon, for example. Try to always be upfront about it in advance, dont have people guessing when it is time for "RP" or "run to attack the next mobs", if they are indeed following your pace, that is.

- In addition, press enter to say your lines only when people are around you. Often while moving, you'll be writing and then people have ran away or (most likely) transitioned to the next area before you. Always look first to see if your intended recipients are by you before sending your dialogues and emotes, so people dont miss them.

- Mechanically test your plans (that involve mechanics) with fixtures, objects, spells and whatnot before the event. For example, in my last event (a religious ceremony) I thought it would be cool to have people place their offerings in a barrel, then I would pick that barrel and roleplay placing it in a fire (an iron bowl), thus burning all the offerings (or, mechanically, breaking the barrel while it sat immediate to the iron bowl). However, when I tested it 20 minutes before the event, I realized that when I picked the barrel its inventory simply dropped to the ground, while the same happened if I broke the barrel, making that idea unworkable. What I did instead then was have people give me their offerings, and I roleplayed placing them in the fire. Then, later, I simply threw them all in a trash bin.

In a recent event, we had an archery competition. I briefly tested the targets with my clan sister and marked the positions where the short/medium/long shots happened, and since we both got different points in them, I thought all was good, but that was only because my char was an archer. So, by the time the event happened, everyone (bar the sole archer) was getting the same points in the medium range. Since I hadnt tested it further, I changed mid-competition to the short range, which didnt work either. Going to the long range had people get (somewhat) different points, which I might have known if we had tested it better beforehand. This was a rather hectic event to host, and I almost thought I had to cancel the competition.

- Lastly, always mind your language! Make sure you are speaking in common (or undercommon) when you have a lot of people around, from different races.
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