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The Wizard's Desk

The Wizard's desk is a blog space where our staff and creative leads offer their insight and experience on engaging with DrachenFest US! We're excited to share what we can, so pull up a seat!

Camp Leadership: The Councilor

This is part of a blog series on Camp Leadership



The Councilor

Short Description: They make high level camp decisions and communicate the camp’s direction and needs. They also monitor the mood of the camp and communicate it to the Camp Refs.


Skills Needed: Public speaking, social networking


Contest Responsibilities: 

  • Listen to player groups within your camp. Direct them towards accomplishable goals. Reenforce their concepts by directing play towards them.

  • Integrate player groups, creating bridges between them and suggesting theme-related camp-level tasks for them to do.

  • Strategic leads, helping form the camp’s overall strategy and directing action to support it.

  • Lore/large plot decisions. Make sure you get consensus!


Domain of play & basic to-do’s:

  • Set up or adapt the camp decision making & information sharing system, which takes player voices into account. By default this involves group meeting where leaders and stakeholders have space to present things to the camp and get buy-in & volunteers. This allows the camp to make group decisions and act collectively.

  • Set up or adapt the camp legal system, which is fair and fun out-of-game, and emphasizes play-to-lift. This manage internal disputes and hold trials for people who break camp "laws" (generally plot and roleplay-type things, not stuff like leaving the camp a mess).

  • Integrate the dragon philosophy - help make the aspects of your dragon into play for everybody in the camp. Encourage groups to explore one or more draconic aspects.


Risks

  • Player Ego - the ideal councilors are “servant-leaders”, not “rulers”

  • Forcing plot decisions. You’re in the seat to make decisions, but if you do it without consensus, you’ll lose trust.


Details:

The Camp Council may be an individual, or a small group with a figurehead. Larger camps could have a few councilors led by a High Councilor, whereas smaller camps only need one. While responsibility can be shared, there should always be one person “in charge” who can make a final decision.


Each camp’s leadership structure can be unique to that camp. Perhaps Shadow is ruled by an Archmage while Blue might have an Admiral’s Table - the generic name is the Council and the Councilor.


The Council brings the camp leaders (both the formal leaders and emergent group leaders) together and helps them with their needs. A lot of the “camp plot” may become visible at camp leadership meetings, when the leaders talk about what’s going on in their domains and decide what to bring to larger meetings. 


The Council’s main job is to make sure that everybody in camp knows what’s going on and has opportunities to play together. This includes the camp’s goals (both daily goals and overall festival-goals), the schedule of group activities, and other important things going on in the world.


The best tool for this is daily camp meetings. The council should hold (at minimum) a morning information session in their camp. This gives each camp leader a platform to deliver a brief report about their domain. Generally, these meetings are not mandatory to attend, but each group in the camp should send at least one representative. Here are a few things that can be covered during a camp meeting: 

  • Speech touching on the camp’s themes, goals, or topics of interest

  • The camp’s current diplomatic status & relationships

  • This is a moment to celebrate yesterday’s successes and focus on today’s goals. Validate the things your camp members are working on. Especially unique plots and crafting projects.

  • What jobs need to be done around camp, both narratively and practically

  • Important: Early in each meeting, make sure the camp referees have an opportunity to speak! They may want to clarify rules or communicate safety / logistical information. See if the Avatar wants to talk, too.

  • Give other Camp Leaders an opportunity to say something to the group.

  • There may be a limited number of Quests or ongoing plots available to your camp, either created by camp leaders, or presented by the Avatar or their sidekicks. Sometimes these quests can earn a dragon egg, but there are often other rewards or plot outcomes. The Camp Council should keep tabs on these quests, collect the relevant information surrounding them, and suggest them to interested groups who are willing to focus on them. If there are people in your camp who are “looking for something to do”, these are awesome hooks. Note that quests in DrachenFest tend to manifest social or creative play. They involve a problem that can be solved in a lot of different ways. Getting a Dragon Egg is nice, but the real purpose of the quest is to help the game develop a fun, collaborative story - so encourage quest-doers to take their time and involve others. It’s not about the goal, it’s about the journey!

  • There should be a space where players can state what they're doing (their own sandbox plots/etc) and invite others along, provide hooks to get involved.


Another important tool managed by the council is the Message Board. You should have an info-delivery system (like a chalk board or corkboard) in a public spot within your camp. People can use this to communicate the schedule of events and camp activities.


The Camp Counselors should connect, personally, with as much of the camp as possible, throughout the event. They should have a sense of the camp’s mood, and any major friction points that are developing. 


The camp referees use the Camp Council as their point of contact to assess camp mood. The Refs can redirect plots and sabotage efforts or other antagonistic plots if they feel it would sting OOG, so it’s wise to make sure the Refs are looped in about what’s happening.

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