101: Officer Roles: Coordinator and the Storyteller

Portuguese: 101: Funções de Oficiais : Coordenador e Narrador

–Introduction–

The Mind’s Eye Society is a group of like-minded people, fans of the World of Darkness who like to gather socially as well as to “slip into someone more comfortable” for a few hours a month.  With dozens of players locally and thousands across the world, it can be quite a workload to arrange meeting places, manage character sheets, come up with engaging plots and also sort out rewards for good service.

For this reason, the MES has set up a division of responsibilities – a Storytelling wing and a Coordinator wing.  Or branch.  or job.  Whatever jargon you want to use, the duties of running the games we play and making sure we have a place to play them that is conducive to gaming are separated, and for good reason.

This document should help you learn the differences between the offices in terms of powers, responsibilities and how and when to approach officers in both offices.

–The Storyteller–

This is the easier job to describe, so we start with this one.  Many players who are new to this hobby of LARP come from the smaller-scale medium of table-top role playing.  Maybe a hack-and-slash dungeon crawl, a high-tech cyber…  crawl or one of the World of Darkness genres.  Around that table were several players and one who has been agreed upon by everyone to be the grand referee, dungeon/game master or Storyteller.

This is the person who sets the stage, portrays necessary NPCs, makes rules calls and otherwise helps drive the entertainment of the evening by giving the players a challenging and engaging plot.  The ST rewards PCs with loot and experience points, and further quests, missions and other sorts of plots.  She handles the development of the PCs by providing means to achieve a prestigious class of character or to develop some arcane/divine spell.

Then, everyone goes back to their dreary, mundane lives until next game.

That is very much like the Storyteller in the MES.  The ST and his/her team prepare an evening’s game for the players to enjoy.  Between games he takes care of downtime actions as well as the acquisition or development of special items or traits like Bloodlines, usually by logging into the Approvals Database to respond to any requests there.

The Storyteller also checks the activity of the PCs to make sure that the traits chosen are are within the rules, and that players are not putting information their PC would not have to use in the game.  The Storyteller has certain powers to make corrective measures in these and other regards, but those are limited to how the players move their PCs around the game, not necessarily between the players themselves.

The Storyteller’s main job is running a fun game for the duration of their term, then preparing the next Storyteller for their turn.  Yes, like your friendly tabletop game, the MES allows and even encourages a rotating ST, once a year or so, to keep things fresh and to avoid burnout.  This is not required, but even the most passionate of Storytellers wants to take some time off.

The Storyteller is the officer you are likely to spend the most time talking to in the MES, if things run smoothly and you are a casual player.  When things do not go as smoothly, or as you might gain interest in getting more involved with the Mind’s Eye Society, you will start to encounter the logistical side of the Club…

–The Coordinator–

This is the person who makes sure there is a table to play on, so to say.  The Coordinator is responsible to securing a game site that is safe and comfortable for the players, monitoring the activity of players and rewarding good sportsmanship while making sure that problems between players are dealt with fairly.

The Storyteller has power to correct bad gaming, and the Coordinator has the power to reward the good sportsmanship and deal with the bad.  If a player is being disruptive at an event (a game, social or whatever), the coordinator is the one who is often called upon to deal with the situation.  The coordinator can send players home for this and other reasons.  If something comes up between two players during the time between games (for instance a nasty break up or some other conflict), the Coordinator is the one who will arbitrate between the members to make sure that they both, and everyone else, has the maximum enjoyment the MES has to offer.

Along these lines, a coordinator is responsible for giving the rewards for service to and for the MES.  The Prestige system is detailed elsewhere, but it is the Coordinator who gives these points out.  When a player accumulates enough points, they come back to the coordinator for their award of Member Class.  (Make sure to remember that it is the player’s responsibility to keep their own records of prestige once it has been awarded.)  Conversely, it is the Coordinator who can take those points away if the rules of the MES are not followed.

Another special thing that the Coordinator does is plan social events.  These are times when the players of the games take off their fangs and just have some fun being themselves.  Birthday or holiday parties are times to put away the intrigues of Court and Moot, and who wants to talk about their other life as a faerie when the playoffs are on?  A Coordinator might not plan these events, but they have the final say if something another members plans will count as an official Social.  See the Membership Handbook for more details about what makes a Social.

–The Differences–

Some folks might wonder why we have this division.  Anyone who has tried to run a large game, even of tabletop, knows that it can be a handful making sure there’s a fun game to play, in a safe and comfortable place, and that everyone at the table gets along civilly, especially when things become tense in the game.

The MES splits up these responsibilities to allow members who excel in one area not be bogged down with the details of the other.  During your time in the MES, you will find out which side, if either, you have the skills to perform – maybe both!

It is not unheard of for a Coordinator to be a Storyteller as well, though not often at the same level of the Club.  Your Domain Coordinator might be your Accord VST, or your ANST Apocalypse could be the person who counts your prestige as your Chapter Coordinator.

–Who To Contact–

New and old players will need to contact club officers during their time as members of the MES.  Who they should contact depends on the nature of their issue.

In bullet form, here’s roughly who you should contact about what:

Storyteller

  • You’ve created a character that you would like to play
  • You wrote a cool plot for a game and want to run it for others
  • You want to send your PC out to follow Grax the Unkind into the sewers
  • Yours and another’s PC are engaging in hijinks

Coordinator

  • You want to receive recognition for cleaning the game site or other IC game related activities
  • You were approached by another player in a way that made you feel uncomfortable
  • You have a special need at the game site (eg – allergic to cigarette smoke)
  • You want to host a Social to watch The Big Game(tm)

–Conclusion–

The Mind’s Eye Society is a large organization.  Such entities often require specialization and distribution of duties to make sure that everything runs smoothly.  The division between logistics and story has worked well for us, and we hope it works well for you.