Being Sean’s observations on the pitfalls and joys of an actual role-playing event.
Today I had the wonderful opportunity to be part of a Warcraft wedding. I’d never been involved one of these before, so it seemed like a great opportunity. I was asked if I could do fireworks for the event (since I’m no stranger to the joys of engineering) and I leapt at the chance. Naturally, I decided to think of a few observations:
- Every role-play event is created by a mini-guild. Even if that guild is only one-person. The point is that the event is the end in and of itself, and usually it’s the result of a small cadre of people who make it happen. In this case, it was the husband and wife to be, along with the bridesmaids, myself (fireworks), several people who provided materials to me FOR the fireworks, and (it was intended) a jewelcrafter to make the wedding rings. That last person didn’t turn up, which is why I’m noting this: Treat your role-play event crew as a mini-guild. Create a global chat channel for them. Get this group to show up (even if just in channel) before the event to run over expectations and ideas. And when it’s done, find some tangible way to express your thanks.
- All the World is Not A Stage, with apologies to David Bowers and Shakespeare: You need to have audience participation. I think possibly the one failing of the wedding we went to today was a sense of pacing, and part of the reason was that the audience was exactly that. They stood around during the ceremony with little to do. Now, it may seem hard to do this, but in fact, weddings lend themselves to these sorts of interactions. Ask for a friend of both parties to step forward, and then ask them to vow that they will stand by their friend, providing help and assistance wherever needed that this man/woman shall stay strong in their marriage. (This is meant to be kind of similar to the way in many weddings the parents of the couple are called on to give their blessing.) And for Pete’s sake, no marriage is complete without the phrase, “speak now, or forever hold your peace.” Always, always find ways to involve your group, ideally in back and forth bouts of interaction then observation.
- Subverting expectations can work. If you’re setting up a wedding, everyone’s expecting a joyous occasion, fun times, and laughter. It is a nigh on perfect place to put in a major tragic event. If you have one ready to go, schedule it in.
- Think pre-events, too. Weddings don’t just happen on their own. The bride and groom both need to get ready, they usually linger around with their respective parties before hand. (And for brides, getting prepared can take an extensive amount of time with dressing and makeup, depending on how involved the dressing is.) These can be fun events to play through, and you should do so. I understand there was (though I was not present for) a brawl in Gadgetzan before the wedding, and the bridesmaids did gather before the wedding to prepare. (Yes, I got to play a bridesmaid as well. Yay!)
- DO think of the sequence of events: If you are a bridesmaid, and you’re thus sequestered from the main group, then you are not available to hand out fireworks as well. THINK!
Despite that last ‘whoops!’ we had fun.
And the fireworks were incredible.