Event Planning

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Good planning really helps in reducing the stress level of the event staff. Rather than having to run around trying to figure out what to do, people either do it or know exactly who to talk to in order to get the issue resolved. When planning, two things are most important: Fighting and Feasting; assign these two things to trustworthy and competent people.

One method of approaching event planning is to identify the tasks that need to take place every day and figure out what you need to make those tasks go smoothly. It can be daunting especially if you're running an event for the first time. Never be afraid to ask your more experienced members or on the national board for advice.

When planning an event, you should consider and plan for the following items: Portapotties, Firewood, Trucks (for moving equipment around), Water & Ice, Trash disposal, and Event shirts. Additionally you may find the following equipment useful: First aid kits, Trash bags, Marshals tabards, Flashlights (for security), Cones and/or tape for marking off areas, Megaphone, Walkie-talkies, Extra Batteries.

Contents

Troll

Troll should be the first place attendees go when they arrive at an event. Like a troll under a bridge hijacking passers-by, Troll ensures everyone at the event has paid their due.

  • At Troll attendees should accomplish these four tasks:
  1. Sign in to the event
  2. Sign an event waiver & verify minor waivers
  3. Pay admission
  4. Receive an event token which serves as the receipt
  • Troll should be located at a point where everyone must pass when first entering the camp site.
  • A tent or sunshade with tables and chairs makes the process more comfortable for both those working Troll and for people checking in.
  • Have a schedule for working Troll. Usually a 4-6 hour shift is reasonable.
  • Troll should run at least from 8:00 AM through 11:00 PM.
  • Maintain a locking cash box.
  • Make sure the people who are working at Troll know what the "flow" of check-in is and who they can contact if there's a question or issue.

Optional Considerations:

  • Arrange the different tasks at Troll so that you don't have people bumping into each other as they go through the process. For example, you could have everyone start at the far left with signing in and then moving to signing an event waiver. After that they could pay their fee and at the end of it all, receive their tokens.
  • Have an event program that can be distributed. This can be as simple as a single-page handout indicating when feasts, weapon checking and fighting takes place or a multiple-page booklet that might also include locations of different stores and restaurants in the area.
  • Parking passes. Parking passes are usually index cards or some other variant that is placed in the windshield or hanging off the rear-view mirror similar to handicapped tags. The parking pass might have the driver's name/realm. This makes it easy for event organizers to quickly identify a car's owner should there be an issue such as a car blocking a road.
  • Run Troll 24 hours a day, especially on the days when most people will be coming in. For a week-long event, that's normally the Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of the event. Expect a fair amount of people to show up on Saturday just for the fighting. For a weekend event, it would be ideal to have Troll 24 hours a day up through Saturday afternoon.

Useful Equipment

  • Tent or some other type of sunshade large enough to cover Troll
  • Lockbox to store cash
  • Tons of pens for sign-in
  • Clipboards
  • Sign in sheets
  • Adult & minor waivers
  • Parking passes
  • Multiple light sources for night time troll, night time field searches, etc.
  • Extra oil/batteries/whatever for Troll light sources
  • Event tokens
  • String for the event tokens
  • Scissors
  • Coat hangers (for those who have locked their keys in their car)
  • A lost and found bin/locker
  • Roadblock
  • Table(s)
  • Chairs

Weapons Check

Weapon checking can be a long and tedious process. However, there are some things you can do to make it more efficient.

  • Organize the weapon checking into stations and separate the checking area into separate zones for shields, weapons, missiles and armor.
    • Zone 1 – Hand-Held Weapons
      • Station 1 – Check that the weapon meets the minimum requirements for length, weight, and proper construction.
      • Station 2 – Items requiring hit testing and further review.
      • Station 3 – Place stickers on passing weapons and pile them up for release to participants.
    • Zone 2 – Shields
      • Station 1 – Check the shield for construction and safety.
      • Station 2 – Place stickers on passing shields and pile them up for release to participants.
    • Zone 3 – Missiles
      • Station 1 – Check arrows and javelins for proper construction and safety. Check bows for proper draw weight and design.
      • Station 2 – All arrows and javelins require hit testing. For arrows, use a bow with the maximum draw weight (35lbs) and fire at full draw. For javelins, have an experienced fighter throw at full force from the minimum distance.
      • Station 3 – Place stickers on passing arrows and javelins; pile them up for release to participants.
    • Zone 4 – Armor
      • Station 1 – Check armor for proper construction, materials and safety.
      • Station 2 – Place stickers on passing armor and bile them up for release to participants.
    • Zone 5 – Failed Items: Remove all failed items from the weapons checking area so that they are not confused with safe items. You may want to tag failed items with the reason that they failed. Restrict access to this area and have a marshal close by to explain why the weapon failed and to offer suggestions on how to repair the weapon.
A typical weapons checking template.

Useful Equipment

  • Scale to weigh weapons
  • Weapon Checking Template
    • Stabbing hole template. (Weapons/arrows)
    • Pommel hole template.
    • Width template for narrow swords
    • Flail chain length template (Measuring tapes can be substituted)
  • Multiple measuring tapes.
  • Bow poundage tester
  • Pass/Fail stickers
  • Pens
  • Failure description tags
  • Marking Tape (colored electrical tape)
  • Scissors
  • Courtesy items
    • Duct tape
    • Grip tape
    • Roll of foam

Fighting

Every event should include a planned battlefield schedule. This ensures that the fighting doesn't get boring (i.e. Stand and Deliver battles all day) and that all participants can have fun. Field marshals shouldn't let the schedule get in the way of this fun however.

A typical event battlefield schedule may look like the following:

  • Thursday
    • Pickup battles only. No planned fighting.
  • Friday
    • XX:XX – 12:00pm – Pickup Battles
    • 12:00pm – 1:00pm – Stand and Deliver
    • 1:00pm – 2:00pm – Unit Battles
    • 2:00pm – 3:00pm – Kingdom/Realm Battles
    • 3:00pm – 4:00pm – Geritol Battle
    • 4:00pm – 5:00pm – Kill Your Killer/Pickup Battles
    • 5:00pm – End of official fighting. Time for feast prep.
  • Saturday
    • 10:00am – 11:00am – Champions Tournament
    • 11:00am – 12:00pm – Stand and Deliver
    • 12:00pm – 1:00pm – Unit Battles
    • 1:00pm – 3:00pm – Gods War (This is the main event. The prime scenario for the event.)
    • 3:00pm – 4:00pm – Unit Four Corners
    • 4:00pm – 5:00pm – Pickup Battles
  • Sunday
    • Cleanup. Be out by 10am. No fighting.

Feast

When planning a feast and trying to keep on budget, it is often helpful to realize that everyone will not eat some of every food item (unless you only have one or two) when you have bread, fruit, stews, a main course and sides. With good server portioning, one can usually have plenty for all without the caterer's standard amount of food. People will also walk away with more than enough. I've made mistakes in the past, but I assure you this advice is not going to give you shortages. There are some good recipes available on the wiki.

Things to consider:

  1. PLAN - Allow your servers to eat first so that they don't get overlooked. Use this time to talk over and answer any questions about the feast, i.e. who has what duties, how things will run, etc.
  2. MENU - After a hot day of fighting, bread can seem too dry, but it is still a good starter for the table. If you mix butter with honey and leave it in a bowl on the table, it goes much quicker. The fruit is also a good fixture.
  3. SERVICE - Serve the drinks. If you cannot have a whole serving crew at least refresh drinks after the food line. Your patrons will appreciate it, and it adds to the feast atmosphere.
  4. GEAR - Require participants bring their own feast gear. It lowers cost, curtails the trash burden, and frees the event coordinators to do more important things. Recommend it to your patrons; it is always a good standard to have.

Clean Up

Ensure you know the post event requirements of the site before the event. A simple checklist is an easy way to manage and complete all cleanup tasks. Make sure you've assigned enough people to facilitate all tasks in the time required; the site may have been rented to another group immediately following your event. It is a good rule of thumb to leave the site in a better condition than which you found it.

Event Scenarios

Some events have a theme, others do not. If you choose to have a scenario for your event, keep in mind that not all participants will be interested in it.

Try to keep your scenario simple. The simplest things on paper become the most intricate to implement in real life. If there are several key players in the scenario or an involved back story, you may want to write a narrative and include it as a handout prior to the event or at Troll.

The two places almost everyone will gather during an event are the Feast and the Battlefield. These are the best places to carry out your scenario building. Try to keep the fighting on the battlefield and the talking at feast. Swordfights at feast generally turn out confusing, messy or both. They also disrupt the meal so much that they can prematurely end the feast. Same for long dialogues on the battlefield, they typically obstruct the flow of the fighting and decrease enjoyment for participants.

One of the greatest things about Belegarth is that roleplaying is spontaneous. Most people don’t come to an event to participate in a pre-defined story, but to create their own. Your story may enhance theirs, but if it doesn’t they won’t play along. This is okay because the most important thing is for all participants to have fun.

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