Patrons of the Underground,

There are a few questions the Board of Directors hears often, and after seeing this asked today on a patron’s Facebook, I’d like to try to answer one of them today:

How do I get my character involved in Larger Than Local play?

To answer this, we first need to agree that there are, loosely, two types of LTL play.

The first type of LTL play simply involves characters outside of your game knowing who you are, or it means having the actions your character takes or opinions your character makes have an affect on characters outside of your local game. This is a sort of notoriety and reputation thing, and is not always simple to foster.

Success at playing this kind of LTL game is generally self-made organically by the player and the momentum of the game. Achieving an influential position such as Harpy, Prince or Sept Leader; posting regularly in clan, sect, tribal or other national Facebook groups; playing at convention, regional and national event games; and pursuing high-visibility plots or opportunities are some of the things players can do.

The second type of LTL play involves being part of Larger Than Local plot that the Underground Theater Content Team is running, including holding an LTL position such as Archon.

Periodically, the OST or the Vice President posts to the Storyteller groups asking STs if there are any characters they believe would fit open LTL positions or would be good to involve in or help spread LTL plots. Very rarely do any storytellers respond to these requests. Tell your local storytellers you want to be more involved!

Success at playing this kind of LTL game can also involve a little Out of Character work by you, the player.  Send an email to the OST of your appropriate genre/venue and ask if there is anything your character might become involved with. Tell the OST a small bit about your character and remember to tell them which game your character is based in. You can do this to pursue a rumor the OST may have posted in a Facebook IC group, you can do this to put your character into consideration for LTL positions, or you can even do this just to ask if there is a plot going on you could somehow get roped into.

The OSTs’ job is to help you become more involved and be part of LTL plot, and they will, but they can’t involve you if they have no idea who you are or that you want to be involved!

The first step to being involved in LTL in any way is nearly always, “be visible in and out of character.”

Finally, let’s address some barriers for becoming involved in LTL:

  • I’m a Storyteller: Storytellers and administrators are never chosen by the Content Team to hold Larger Than Local positions. This is to help maintain fairness and avoid instances in which conflicts of interest can occur.
  • I’m a brand new character: A brand new character has no reputation and no visibility. One way to help overcome this is to email the OST. Just because you are a brand new character does not mean the vampire or werewolf you are playing didn’t exist in the past or have their own reputation. Another way to overcome this is using the Character Ties Facebook groups to network connections between your new character and established ones, and being active on IC Facebook groups also helps.
  • I’m a brand new player: This is a legitimate concern. The OST is unlikely to hand a regional leadership position to a person that no one knows – you may decide you don’t like the game and quit in two months, you may not have the knowledge necessary about Vampire or Werewolf to manage the position within genre expectations, or maybe you might be insane 🙂 . Begin with following the advice from above in “I’m a brand new character.” Additionally, participate in conversations on the OOC groups so that others can get to know you. Traveling to nearby games and attending event games can also help (if you are able).
  • I can’t travel: This is only a partial barrier. Certainly, if you hold an LTL position, your character will benefit from the ability to be at non-local games, especially National Event games, but not all positions require physical travel, and becoming involved in national plot might not require travel at all if your local storyteller staff is willing to help. Talk to your OST and there may be something appropriate for you.
  • I’m a poo-fart: The simple truth is that, for the game to be fun for everyone, the Content Team is pretty unlikely going to give an LTL position to a character that is played by a player who is just a jerk OOC. If you have a bad reputation as a player who treats others poorly, who cheats, who is difficult for other players to get along with – you probably won’t be chosen to become King of the Garou Nation. Content looks for players who are active, friendly, kind and who try to involve others (regardless of if their character is nice or evil). If that’s not the kind of player you are, begin working toward changing how you approach game and those who play around you.

Hopefully, this helps some of you out when considering Larger Than Local opportunities!

For those of you interested, here are the emails for the OSTs:

Werewolf OST

Camarilla/Anarch/IA OST

Sabbat OST

Best of luck to all of you, and I hope your game keeps getting better and better. Remember, the only way to win is to have fun!

~Ryan Faricelli
Director of Communications

[Being a better player and building better characters are themes from my book on better storytelling, better playing and better culture, On A Roll: Level Up Your RPG.]

Patrons of the Underground,

Are you a patron in good standing who wants to be more involved in our organization?

If any of the below opportunities interest you, send a cover letter with your professional resumé and gaming resumé (detailing your game-related experience as player, storyteller or administrator) to:

BoD@UndergroundTheater.org


Now that Amber Godat has selfishly abandoned her post as Secretary and followed her masochistic desires into the role of President, our board of directors needs to fill the incredibly important position of Secretary.

General Description: The Secretary of Underground Theater is a board of director position that serves a managerial role that collects, organizes, and maintains much of the organization’s business as well assists in helping staff keep up on tasks.

Accountability: The Secretary is directly accountable to the Board of Directors. Certain duties of the Secretary may be delegated to other Board Members, and/or committees as appropriate; however, the accountability for them remains with the Secretary.

Responsibilities:

  • Schedule, setup, invite all parties to, attend and direct all meetings of the Board of Directors. Meetings are usually held once per week, and are conducted electronically via a recorded Google Hangouts session.

  • Monitor internal Board of Directors communication channels for potential action items in order to create the next meeting’s agenda by 24 hours prior to each Board Meeting.

  • Email a list of action items (aka: a To-Do List) to the Board within 48 hours after a meeting.

  • Maintain the list of contact information for all Board Members and Administrators that is stored in the Board’s shared Google Drive.

  • Hire and supervise a minimum of one administrator to function within the office as necessity dictates and archive all monthly Administrator reports from his/her staff for archival purposes.

  • Other duties as required.

Work Experience: An ideal applicant for this position needs to have a professionally demonstrated knowledge of the drafting and maintenance of corporate documents of all kinds; to include meeting minutes. Applicants must have experience in a corporate setting in which confidentiality was required. Finally, applicants must be able to stay extremely organized and possess the ability to follow through with assignments regardless of tight or erratic timelines.

Availability and Responsiveness:

  • The Secretary must be able to reply to  correspondence within 24 hours, barring any previously noted special circumstances.

  • The Secretary must have reliable telephone and internet service, with reliable access to a computer that can run Google Hangouts via video.

  • The Secretary must have a working knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite and Google Documents.


In addition, the Director of Communications is looking for a few admins to help! As we’ve grown, it’s just no longer a workload one person can handle, and there is a great opportunity for us to begin some new projects!

Social Media Administrator will be in charge of secondary communications for Twitter and Facebook. The SMA will create content for enriching, building and promoting our community through regular Tweets and Posts on a variety of topics that are related to White Wolf, By Night Studios, Underground Theater and general genre-related media. Applicant must possess proven social media expertise in a professional environment, a strong understanding of grammar and spelling, moderate photography skill and an attention to detail and deadlines.

Local Marketing Administrator will be in charge of creating marketing collateral for use at the local troupe level for promoting games. The LMA will create flyers, posters, graphics and logos supporting Underground Theater troupes. Applicant must posses layout and design skills, strong spelling skills, an understanding of marketing/advertising strategy, appropriate computer software and an attention to detail and deadlines.

Cultural Attache will be in charge of helping to decipher, read and gauge the strengths and weaknesses of the Underground Theater patronage culture as a whole. The CA will also help to develop action plans to address opportunities for the organization’s culture to be improved upon and enriched. Areas of social focus may include respect, cordiality and kindness as well as difficult topics such as inclusion, discrimination and bleed. Areas of procedural focus may include identifying communication opportunities, integration and involvement of new chronicles/patrons and developing workshop opportunities for players and storytellers to grow their skills. Applicant must be outgoing, possess great communication and empathy skills and people-reading abilities. Ideal candidates will also possess planning and strategy skills.


If any of these opportunities interest you, send a cover letter with your professional resumé and gaming resumé (detailing your game-related experience as player, storyteller or administrator) to:

BoD@UndergroundTheater.org

Friends,

There comes a time when one must take a step back, assess life’s demands, and make an honest decision regarding one’s own health and well being.

I find myself in desperate need of this kind of self-assessment now. I love the Underground Theater; I have poured two and a half years of my life into this Org. I have worked as hard as I could afford to work, and invested emotional and mental resources I probably *couldn’t* afford to spend.

It’s time for me to go.

Those resources need to be freed up so that I can invest them in me, so that I can search for and hopefully find a healthy place again. I need to remember my own joy for this hobby. I need to rest.

I am proud of my time as President of Underground Theater. I have set goals, and I feel like I’ve accomplished most of them. Without doubt, the most important goal I’ve reached towards is that of a strong and healthy community. It has been my dream to establish and maintain a group of fellow hobbyists that care for one another, protect one another, and strive together to create an atmosphere that enhances and fosters mutual enjoyment and fun.

This is a goal that never ends, and one towards which every moment is a new opportunity to excel. If my time in the hot-seat has taught me anything, it’s that failure in this pursuit is always a hair’s breadth away and that each success is hard fought, but well earned.

It’s so easy to let a few careless words slip when you’re irritated. It’s so easy to damage someone else’s sense of joy or calm, especially when that person is little more than a faceless “player” on the internet somewhere. It’s so much harder to actively struggle to remain positive, and helpful, and energetic when you’re not completely happy.

Guys, it’s *so* hard to walk way when you know you probably need to.

Underground Theater is built on the foundation of fighting, and winning, that battle. We strive to be better than we have been. We work to ensure that the image of the Salon WoD LARPer is that of a healthy, eager player who wants to engage and *play* with their friends. No one in Underground Theater is a faceless “player” on the internet somewhere. Every single one of us is a WoD LARPer who loves this hobby, and loves what we do.

I challenge every one of you, as you transition into new leadership, to find within yourself what drew you to this hobby to begin with. Share with each other why you do this thing weekend in and weekend out. *Talk* to one another.

Care for one another. Protect one another. Strive together to create an atmosphere that enhances and fosters mutual enjoyment.

Have fun.

I’ll see you all at game.

Signing off for the last time as,

James Davey

President, Underground Theater

Good evening Patrons of the Underground,

This afternoon two of our patrons were suspended from Underground Theater. This is never an action the Board undertakes lightly, and it is never an action we get any enjoyment from. In this instance, it was particularly difficult.

The two patrons in question have become engaged in legal proceedings against one another in civil court. These proceedings affected the operations of our organization.

Our organization retained a lawyer to help us navigate this situation. Following the instructions of our legal counsel, the two patrons’ attorneys were notified this afternoon that these two patrons have been suspended from our organization, and will remain suspended until, at minimum, their legal battle is concluded.

We would like to offer an apology to all of our members for the inconveniences this will cause, and we ask that everyone please understand that this is a serious legal matter best left to the parties involved and their lawyers to resolve in court.

The Board of Directors

Patrons of the Underground,

There have been a number of concerns brought forth involving statements made during the keynote address at The Grand Masquerade event in New Orleans last week. Additionally, the community response to these statements has provided an opportunity for us to focus upon problems that our gaming community as a whole is facing when it comes to participant safety.

The concerns and safety of our membership is incredibly important to us. As our organization grows and works to increase the health of our community, we must also acknowledge that many of our members are also members of other LARP organizations. While we have our own unique community, we are also an important piece of the larger Live-Action Role-Play gaming community.

On Tuesday night, leaders of The Hidden Parlor, Mind’s Eye Society, One World by Night and Underground Theater came together in an unprecedented meeting with By Night Studios to discuss these concerns. As a single community of gamers, we are bringing these concerns with one voice of solidarity to the leadership at White Wolf in the interest of garnering insight and moving forward toward a resolution.

To those who have voiced concerns – either about the content of the keynote or the safety of our overall community – we want to reassure you that these concerns have been heard and are not going unaddressed.

We will be requesting that White Wolf provide us with a timeline within which we can expect a response, and ask that everyone please be patient and civil as we await their reply.

The leaders of each of our clubs share the same goal in this matter: Make this the safest, most inclusive and greatest hobby that we possibly can. This is an opportunity to usher in a major, positive cultural shift in our communities, and Tuesday night’s meeting was the first step in this journey. However, we cannot make this journey alone. We must all undertake education, compassion, vigilance and responsibility. We will need you, our members and fellow White Wolf fans, to join with us and help make change happen.

The health of our communities can only grow from this opportunity for our organizations to work together, and we believe this will only strengthen our efforts to continue recognizing and addressing the concerns you bring to us.

The leadership of:

Hidden Parlor,

Mind’s Eye Society,

One World by Night,

Underground Theater